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Thomas Shay '06

Major: Geomechanics
Company: Woodard & Curran
Title: Technical Manager (civil engineer)
Field of Work: Engineering

What do you do?

I am currently working as an engineering consultant in the field of civil and environmental engineering. Boiled down, I assist municipal and institutional clients achieve their goals for all types of projects typically related to water resources and land development. I have developed in-depth experience in civil site design for sports and recreation projects and, in particular, outdoor athletic facility design.

How did you become interested in your field?

I have always been interested in math, science, and problem solving related to the more technical aspects of life, which naturally led me in the direction of engineering. Over time, I gravitated toward and became more interested in applying math, science, and engineering to the earth and environment. Ultimately that has led to a career in environmental and civil engineering.

What, if any, additional education (degree, discipline, institution) have you earned?

MBA in strategic management from Pace University.

What skills are vital for success in your field?

There are so many skills that are important but one of the most important is communication. I spend most of my day communicating with others in some way and the more effective the communication, the more gets done and, as a consultant, there is always a lot to get done on a daily basis. Getting a point across concisely and clearly is very important whether it be an email, a discussion, a presentation, design documents, and so on.

What experiences, internships, study, or previous jobs helped you get to your current position?

The greatest experience I had during college was working construction each summer. Understanding how things actually get done in the field, making the job as straightforward as possible, has allowed me to be a better designer and engineer. Being a better designer and engineer has provided more opportunity throughout my career.

What advice do you have for current students interested in your field?

Ask a lot of questions, be proactive, find out what you truly enjoy doing and try to do that as a job. Understand what you value and find an employer that aligns well with your personal values.