Perspective

What Does an Engineer Do?

A little self-reflection never hurt anyone. In an industry that speaks a different language than your average civilian (note the blank looks you get when you bring up dead loads, ductility and deflection at a party), it’s worth asking: what does a structural engineer do?

Ever curious, Project Manager Chris Sebilia posed that question to unsuspecting employees at DCI’s Austin office. Opened in 2008, the Austin office represents DCI’s first permanent presence outside the West Coast. While leaving the earthquake-prone locales of the West Coast may make structural design sound like a cake walk, the hurricane winds of the Gulf of Mexico pose their own challenges. The Austin office has met design challenges all over the country and the world, including Mexico, Aruba, and Bolivia. The office also recently began work on the designs for a 17-story Homewood Suites hotel in downtown Austin. The 195,000-sf facility will include three levels of elevated parking, an open lobby, bar, lounge, meeting rooms with a fitness room and rooftop pool.

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