The essential engineer: Finding beneficial solutions for clients and communities
By Mark Bellon
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to nearly every workplace and home across the country, and for many of us, those challenges have become opportunities for adaptation and development.
Whether it’s having your entire workforce work from home for the first time or figuring out how to decontaminate a large facility to continue serving clients, the pandemic has changed much about how we think about our work.
This era also has brought to light which services and professions are essential. Civil engineering by nature is a profession that brings public health, safety, and wellness to communities with every project. Among other things, civil engineers ensure that people have clean water, that wastewater drains appropriately, that roads allow for easy passage and emergency access, and that utilities reach their destinations. Such engineering design keeps our communities and families safe and is essential for new and expanding businesses. The feasibility, design, and other phases of projects that go on behind the scenes enable the construction opportunities that follow – which keep people working, help the economy recover, and keep up with demand.
As we’ve seen, a worldwide pandemic forces out-of-the-box thinking for solutions to new challenges; engineers are trained to do just that, and we are working to find answers that will help keep us all safer and avoid further disruption to our everyday lives.
Design solutions are and will continue to be a significant part of the COVID-19 era, in public, private, retail, outdoor, and many other spaces. We likely will have to reimagine much of how we engage with the world, including such aspects as pedestrian travel. And as we continue to see increased interest in rural living, states such as Montana and others will need to navigate the development demand increase thoughtfully.
I’m proud to be part of the conversations taking place to drive future decisions. Like all IMEG teams, the Missoula team has expanded our ability to bring solutions to our clients – and our history of building up communities strengthens our resolve. While none of us can predict the future, we will do our best to learn from the past and adapt our current approach to bring our clients the best possible outcomes.
That’s what being essential is all about.