It's Engineers Week and we're celebrating the thinkers, doers, problem-solvers, and dreamers! Here is one of our own. Meet Justin Lee.
Years at the co-op: 3.5
Describe your job at the co-op:
In my current role, I am responsible for system analysis including reliability studies, system coordination, and the building of our 4-year Construction Work Plan as well as the supervision of the Technical Services department covering substations, metering, and the SCADA system. I also work with various contractors on projects ranging from Solar Systems to New Substation Construction and substation maintenance. There is never a dull moment and every day has new challenges.
Degree: Bachelor of Civil Engineering
School: Auburn University (War Eagle!)
Certifications, Affiliations, and/or Accreditations: Licensed P.E. in State of Alabama
When you were a kid, did you take things apart to see how they worked? If so, did you put them back together or abandon them?
Yes, sometimes they went back together and other times they went into the spare parts pile.
Did you have an “ah-ha” moment when you knew you wanted to be an engineer?
In a way yes. My father was a mechanic and I always wanted to be like my dad when I grew up. One night when I was a teenager working in his shop, he asked what I planned to do after high school. I told him that I figured I would just do what he does. He promptly sat me down and told me that he wanted better for myself and that like it or not I was going to go to school for something. I told him that night that if he and my mother were going to pay for my school, I would make it worth their while and not waste it. Engineering seemed to be the best way to have a good career and get something back for all the investments that my parents made in me.
What is it about engineering that you like?
Engineering as a career provides you with options. You don’t have to be nailed down to one specific job all the time and each day you are in a role that ultimately affects people’s lives, hopefully in a positive way. As a professor in college once said, “A lot of people know the how’s, Engineering teaches you the why’s”.
What do you think is the future of engineering?
The future of engineering looks bright. Technology seems to be advancing faster than ever before and there will always be a need for engineering. Whether it be the infrastructure of our country, the equipment used by our military, the fuel we run our vehicles on, or the electric grid used to power our nation’s homes and industries, there will always be a need for engineering in every field.
Throughout school, what was your favorite subject and why?
My favorite subject was actually History, not math like most engineers. Our past can teach us a lot, and if we forget our past we are doomed to make the same mistakes again. We have more technology on our phones than it took to send a person to the moon. It is very amazing to look back through history and see what was accomplished without any electronic aid.
Did you ever “invent” something?
Not yet, but never say never.
What advice would you give to young people who are thinking about engineering as a career?
Go for it and don’t let the school work scare you. You have to have some self-discipline, but anybody can achieve anything if they put their mind to it and put in the work. The beauty of engineering is regardless of your actual degree you may work in a field that is totally different. I am a Civil Engineer by degree but I work in a largely Electrical Engineering field that has pieces of Civil Engineering in it. Your years spent in college simply provide a foundation, nothing can be built without a solid foundation; but it’s not till you get into the workforce that you truly learn the rest.
Meet Justin in person and ask him your own questions at our free community event, Dream Big: Engineering our World, an IMAX movie, on Thursday, February 22 at 5:30 pm at our Eva Rd office. LEARN MORE