ABOUT THIS SERIES
In 1951, the National Society of Professional Engineers initiated Engineer’s Week to highlight the important role engineers play in our society. It’s been celebrated every year since. E-Week events and publicity also focus on attracting young people to the profession.
In honor of E-Week, we’ve asked some of WBRC’s newer engineers and engineers-to-be about their chosen careers.
Michael Guethle, PE – Civil Engineer
Mike Guethle arrived at WBRC in 2021 with diverse experience and respected in the industry. Mike is an insightful project team member and a proactive leader of our civil engineering department.
Why did you become an engineer? What attracted you to this profession?
I told my parents I wanted to be an engineer because, as a toddler, I knew they drove the train engines. I’ve kept to the script since and no one’s said I don’t belong.
Did you have a mentor? If so, what did you learn from him or her?
At this point in my career, I’m fortunate to have had over a dozen excellent mentors. The biggest lessons I have learned from these people are to have fun while working, to never stop learning, and to work hard while at work so that time off-the-clock remains a place to refresh.
What traits do you think are needed to be successful in your engineering discipline?
You need to have a strong foundation in math and sciences. Once these skills are established, the traits most critical to engineering design and construction are a genuine curiosity to learn and understand, and then the soft skills of time management, bookkeeping, and communication.
What would you say to a young person who is interested in becoming an engineer but unsure if they have what it takes?
While many excellent engineers are indeed very book-smart, some of the best engineers I have worked with were very interested in their work but were B and C students through their standard high school and early college math and science classes. Many of these engineers excelled in their later years in college and as professionals.
A critical aspect of engineering design is understanding difficult topics and breaking them into manageable, understandable pieces of information and then relaying that information to builders, review agencies, and other people who may not have a strong technical background.