Consulting engineer Evans surveys the arc of his career in this inspirational debut memoir.
The key aim of the consulting engineer, according to Evans, is to achieve zero. That is, he explains, to accomplish on time and on budget what has been proposed to the client. Recognition isn’t expected. The joy of the profession is in watching a design come to fruition and seeing it used by society. In recalling his time spent working as a consulting engineer, the author intends to share these joys and encourage those who aim to make their marks in the industry. The memoir opens with the young engineering college graduate starting his first job at Pacific Gas and Electric Company—a job that he soon learns has little to do with design. Evans then moves on to a new job at the Department of Public Works office and then on to a consulting engineering firm in the San Francisco Bay Area, where his career begins to gain momentum. This section of the memoir focuses on gaining design experience and the importance of learning from mentors. Following the death, from cancer, of his first mentor, the author is taken under the tutelage of a senior vice president at a different firm who involves him in the company’s expansion into Oregon. After 10 years’ experience in a major firm, the author sets up his own, founding David Evans and Associates. He details the initial growth of the firm, from its early recruitment drive to the purchase of its first computer, and also explains the company ethos with a specific focus on hiring and putting trust in outstanding professionals. The company is buffeted by economic downturns, and its staff base fluctuates, but in essence, this is the story of how a large and successful engineering firm was built. The memoir suffers occasionally from its fast tempo, particularly when time spent in Oregon and Hawaii is skipped over all too quickly, leaving readers hankering for descriptive detail. Nonetheless, Evans writes with elegant clarity and displays a ferocious passion for his profession.
A must for the aspiring consulting engineer.