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A Day in the Life of a Professional Engineer

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Author: Blair Minyard, PE,CPD,CDT, Virtual Design & Construction Engineer at BL Harbert International LLC

Have you ever wondered how something worked? Or were you ever curious about how it could be better? These were the motivations behind thousands of questions I asked as a child, and I found that most of my questions could be answered through math, science, and my very patient parents!

My name is Blair Minyard, PE, CPD, CDT, and I’m a Virtual Design & Construction Engineer with BL Harbert International LLC. Working out of Birmingham, Alabama, I’ve had the opportunity to see the various stages of construction projects – from the design stage right up through the construction phase.

I grew up in a home that valued this field; my father worked in construction and I learned by listening to him and others. I recognized that being an engineer would allow me to bring projects from a conceptual design to a reality. I’ve always been drawn to technology and enjoy using it to generate better and more detailed drawings. Having an engineering license in architectural engineering, I enjoy virtually constructing a project to check for and resolve potentially major issues before they can arise in the field.

My schedule and activities looks different from day to day…sometimes, I have to look for ‘clashes’ within projects, for not just my own, but for co-workers and team-mates too. I participate in design meetings for various projects, answer questions and help associates with everything from computer software utilization, code understandings, peer-to-peer sanity checks (just kidding!), and mechanical procurement, which is the purchasing of material and equipment for a particular project. It is important to understand the specified material and/or equipment to be purchased from an engineering perspective.

If I’m not working in the design / constructability arena, you will find me working on Mechanical, Plumbing and Fire Protection Procurement for our projects. Outside of my usual working hours, I also aid and advance the Educational supports for the American Society of Plumbing (ASPE). I occasionally find time for the much needed coffee and a couple snacks along the way (Twizzlers count, right?!). 

I actually joined ASPE when the President of the Alabama Chapter at the time encouraged me to join – I was employed within the same company and had only been working in the industry less than a year. I met the one other female in the chapter, Carol Johnson, and she took me under her wing. How fitting now that she is the ASPE President 2018-2020 and I am currently acting as the VP of Education (isn’t it ironic!). I don’t think I could have asked for a better mentor, friend, and role model within the industry. Since I started, I’ve been hooked! I’ve worked continuously on the chapter level in varying chapter positions and am at this moment the President of the Alabama Chapter.

My past two years on the board as the ASPE Young Professional Liaison really helped grow my interest and knowledge of the inner workings of ASPE. Having a passion for education, I naturally progressed into these positions through my ASPE membership. I have always been a big proponent of education. I have taught independent classes as well as serve as an adjunct professor at both Jefferson State Community College and The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Therefore, the Vice President of Education just seems to be a perfect fit for me. My goals as VP is to create modern and frequent education opportunities for current and potential ASPE members. In addition to the webinars and workshops, I want to make sure the technical sessions at the Technical Symposium in Pittsburgh in the fall of 2019 and the ASPE Convention & Expo in 2020 continue to offer the members what they need to excel in this profession.

I am proud of each and every one of the projects I am involved with, and without identifying a specific job name or place, I really appreciate having worked on buildings that are uncommon. Each project takes dedication and passion to complete. Whether it’s designing, purchasing the material, or constructing, it takes a lot of hard work! Over the past 10 years since graduating from college, I can honestly say the diversity of the projects I have been able to work on are what keeps my passion alive and strong.

Empowering Women in Industry is *now accepting* Award Nominations!

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