Engineer reflects on nearly 30 years working at architecture and engineering firm
By Ernst Lamothe Jr.
Q: Tell me a little about your company.
A: I have been with Clark Patterson Lee for nearly 30 years. When I joined the company, there were only 20 to 25 people. Now there are more than 250 employees companywide. When I look back I am always so amazed because you go from having your office Christmas party in a person’s house and filling up one quarter of it to now having to have big parities throughout in 11 or 12 offices in different states. It really is amazing how much we have grown during these years. It has been a lot of fun. We are going to continue to work hard to make sure the company is successful and have fun doing it.
Q: What made you go into this career?
A: I went to college for civil engineering. I took an aptitude test and they told me I should think about areas in math and science and that maybe I would be suited for engineering. I thought I might as well be an engineer. I went to school in northwest Indiana where I met my future wife. I worked for the Indiana Department of Transportation as a construction engineer building bridges. I eventually found my way to Upstate New York.
Q: What do you enjoy about your job.
A: I enjoy the creating part as an engineer. I like high quality design and responsive projects. This might seem strange but I also love inspecting and building bridges. In fact, if I did not have this current job I would work for a contractor building bridges.
Q: What do you find the most fulfilling about your career?
A: I like working with people and the pursuit of the projects. It is challenging and fun. It is something we have the inner drive to keep doing.
Q: You have a good number of millennials on your staff. Tell us about them.
A: I would say out of the 300-plus people we have about 100 are millennials. When you think about it these people are very impressive. They are young, energic and talented. It is a lot of fun to have them around. They are technical savvy and they want all the bells and whistles and you balance that desire with also teaching them the importance of maintaining economic balance because we can’t afford everything. I think every company should have a good mix of millennials on their staff because I think it does make your organization better and you are able to mentor the next generation.
Q: What do you enjoy about Upstate New York?
A: I really think Rochester and Upstate New York is one of the most underrated places in the United States. A lot of people have not heard about this area but it is so incredibly beautiful. I have enjoyed raising my kids here. And I don’t mind the seasons. I can just as easily snowmobile in the winter as I can golf in the summer. It is also a great place to have a business.
Q: What do you do in his spare time?
A: I spend time with my family, especially with our 1-year-old granddaughter. I like to golf in the summer and go snowmobiling in the winter. I’m actively involved in Bivona Advocacy Center and American Council of Engineering Companies of NY.
Q: What is some important advice that he would give to people?
A: Always do what you say you’re going to do. If there are issues, don’t brush them aside, get them addressed and resolved even if it’s an unpleasant situation.
Q: What do you credit to your success?
A: My wife stayed home while the kids were young, which allowed me to be out in evenings for work meetings and events. That is really what helped me progress my career.
Q: What do you do to stay active as you get older?
A: I’m very active in the summer months, so I really don’t work out until the winter months, when I go to the fitness center three or four days per week. There, I usually do half an hour of cardio and another half hour of weights.
Q: Could you name some things on his bucket list?
A: A few things off my bucket list would be a trip to Italy, and golfing in Scotland and at Pebble Beach.