Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Random Thoughts about Engineers

Location: Farr Park RV Campground (el. 55 ft); Baton Rouge, Louisiana

(click pictures to enlarge)

I stopped at Baton Rouge to attend the Engineering Conference that is put on by the Louisiana Department of Transportation. It usually occurs every two years. Looking back, I guess I've attended about 12 to 15 of these things over the years.

I was very reflective in my thinking during this conference, since I think it may be my last. I did some in-depth people watching and saw myself in the others as they played out all of the roles that I had previously played over my career. I saw the young engineers who were full of piss and vinegar trying to learn things that weren't taught in college but at the same time, acting as if they knew it all. Then I saw the middle bunch of engineers. These are the ones who have been around the block enough to have the experience to do just about anything that is asked of them. They are at the top of their game but probably don't realize it. Sadly, each one has become jaded in different ways due to some hard knocks they have survived. I guess that is a "right of passage". The last group are the ones nearing the end of their careers or perhaps even beyond it. They are shaking hands with old friends they haven't seen in a couple of years and reminiscing about good and bad times. These are the old timers that have seen, heard or experienced just about everything. They are also the ones with the memories of things that were never written down; the "lessons learned" over several decades of work. They weren't written down because we thought the memories would last forever. Little did we know, they don't.  

The common denominator between all of the attendees is the learning. Young and old alike come there to learn new things about Engineering and Transportation. It is the love of learning that keeps engineers ticking. I know I will always be an Engineer even though I may never practice that art/skill again. Being an engineer is more a way of thinking than anything else, and that is something that just can't be switched off. 

As I walked away, it felt as though a chapter in my life was ending. I could feel the others nearby. They were the engineers that I personally have known throughout my career but who are no longer with us, except in spirit.  

Next time you go over a bridge or travel on a roadway, think of the engineers who designed and built it. It doesn't matter if it is a major structure like this Mississippi River Bridge or if it is just a bridge over a small bayou. Think also of the craftsmen, operators, inspectors and technicians who worked alongside those engineers. Yep, there are some mistakes out there, but overall, it's a darned good transportation system which just needs some tweaking and a more reliable funding source.

Tomorrow is moving day and I will be heading east to a campground near Waveland, Mississippi. Perhaps the Gulf of Mexico with its water and sand will help me get over this pensive mood.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

  

8 comments:

  1. Enjoyed your thoughts on this. I think that no matter what our career is we go through the same phases. While I enjoy being retired there are times that I really miss being in the thick of things. Enjoy the water and sand. Nothing soothes like the sound of the waves.

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  2. I hope the state is taking care of our bridges. I have lived in South Louisiana for about 60 years and have crossed the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles many times. For some reason I no longer want to cross that bridge and will go out of my way to miss it. Hope I'm just nuts and there is nothing wrong with the bridge.

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    1. Hello Martha,I know the bridge you're talking about. It was an ominous looking bridge when it was new. All bridges, in Louisiana and around the country are inspected on a regular basis, sometimes as frequently as every 6 months. I know the engineer who is in charge of the bridges in that part of the state. He is a good man and engineer. I can give you his name if you would like to talk with him, just tell him Darrell Goza sent you.

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    2. I'm not going to bother anyone with my nutty ideas. I just find it strange that I can cross the Baton Rouge bridge but don't like the one in Lake Charles. It might be because the one in Baton Rouge is wider. I always worry about breaking down on a bridge. I had a blowout on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge and that was a 3 hour nightmare trying to get help.

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  3. I understand your comment "think of the engineers". My husband is an IBEW electrician and has a similar comment when we see lights :)

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  4. Since you're my baby brother I can verify that you've always had an engineer's personality! Engineering was your destiny. Every post on this blog is from an engineering prospective--every drive and site is analyzed piece by piece lol.
    All these traits are why we're so different and why I love you.
    Happy travels to my baby brother.

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    1. Thanks,,,, but I'm retired now,,,, so no more Engineering,,,, at least for pay. Take care, love ya'll.

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