How did our President & CEO Doug Shatto, PE, PTOE, get his start in engineering? Here’s how 👇
My engineering story probably begins like many others: I was drawn to it because I “enjoyed” math, science, and physics in high school…the classic STEM core. “Enjoy” may actually be too strong a word, but I was pretty good at geometry, trigonometry, and physics (our physics and chemistry teacher made us use slide rules, which I thought was a game of its own), so I was motivated by the subject matter and it stuck with me. As soon as the guidance counselors see those traits, they point you toward engineering. Full admission: I found calculus a little more challenging, though having it in high school made it much easier when I got to college.
I had other influences prior to high school. When I was young, I was given an “old school” drafting set (this was truly an antique) that belonged to a great uncle who was an engineer. It had a full array of compasses and mechanical pencils, but for my purposes (at that age), it was an elaborate toy. Perhaps just as importantly, I always loved the challenge of puzzles…of any kind…and got a dopamine rush whenever I found a solution to a problem. Truth be told, this was probably a sign of OCD, but I guess it predetermined my fate too!
I ultimately decided to pursue a career in engineering. Frankly, I was influenced by its reputation for paying well and providing stability, so I looked at colleges with strong engineering programs. I started as a Mechanical Engineer, but thermodynamics and a professor that worked for NASA on the side conspired against me, so I made the switch to Civil Engineering. The beauty of civil engineering is that there are so many disciplines from which to choose: soils, water, structures, transportation, etc. Ironically, I may have capitalized off one non-engineering course (although still a prerequisite) more than any other: Technical Writing. That leant itself to my “first career” as a Traffic Engineer Consultant since I not only had to “do the math” and solve the problem, but I also had to write about it.
Being an engineer and representing an engineering company is most rewarding when you can see the fruits of your labor. During my years practicing Traffic Engineering, I loved being able to see all of the sites (developments) and systems in which I played a role, no matter how small. I particularly loved optimizing the traffic signals in a corridor – I could immediately see the benefit of my efforts when traffic flowed so much more smoothly than before I was involved.
In the time that I’ve been with Lochmueller Group, that sense of pride of work and satisfaction has been elevated by projects that we’re responsible for that are changing lives in the communities we serve. Wastewater treatment facilities that are resulting in less pollution and safer conditions for residents; new roadways that are promoting economic development and improving mobility; trails that improve the quality of life in a city; and mitigation sites that preserve and restore natural conditions in infrastructure corridors. We have made a positive impact on so many communities and people, even if many of them don’t know who was responsible for it.