At Larson Design Group, we believe that our employees are our greatest asset. In this feature, we profile some of the staff members who contribute to our success. This month the spotlight is on Ed Brown, PE, Senior Design Engineer with our Williamsport office’s Water/Wastewater Group. Ed recently won LDG’s Greenest Employee Award for his commitment to sustainability. In 2012, he rode his bicycle to work over 100 times, a 32-mile round-trip.
Where did your career take you before joining LDG?
I spent two summers while still in college and one summer after graduating working for P. Joseph Lehman, Inc. in Hollidaysburg, PA. I did construction inspection on bridge projects, and inspections, structural analyses, and ratings of existing bridges.
I worked one year as Clerk of the Works/Construction Inspector for the Borough of State College on the construction of the Fraser Street Parking Garage.
I worked about 8 years for BCM Engineers in Plymouth Meeting, PA, and then 5 years at Gannett Fleming, Inc., in King of Prussia, doing water/wastewater engineering. While at BCM, I participated in the design of the new Water Treatment Plant and related facilities for the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority.
What was your first Job? What did you learn from it that still influences the way you work today?
My first job was a paper route; I learned about providing a service, satisfying customers, and making a profit. I also learned that some people are simply unhappy and it may not be about my service.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
• Gardening; I am learning organic techniques, composting, and am planning to add rain barrels to my house this spring.
• Collecting and listening to music. My favorite genres include Pub Rock, Punk, Garage, Rockabilly, Surf, and Psychedelic.
• Collecting and reading books, especially history books.
What has been your proudest moment in life so far?
I rode a bike to the top of Trail Ridge Road in the Colorado Rockies. This is the highest continuous paved road in North America, elevation 12,183 feet.
What trait do you admire in people and why?
I admire the ability to use few words to say much.
What advice would you give to people who hope to follow a career path similar to yours?
• Never delay in delivering bad news. Problems usually don’t go away if you ignore them – they usually get worse with time. Be straight with people without having to announce it.
• Don’t be intimidated by anyone. People are still people, no matter what their position.
• In engineering, it is better to be “approximately correct” than to be “exactly wrong.” Complex calculations or computer models can hide flaws and give a false sense of accuracy. Find ways to break down complex problems into simple problems to get an approximate solution. If you can’t do the hand calculations, you have no business doing computer models.
• Turn off the TV and the electronics. Read some good books. Spend some quiet time, listen to your own thoughts, and learn to think for yourself.
What do you enjoy about working at Larson?
I learn something every day.