Category Archives: Engineering Philosophy

Owning the Process

A little over a year ago, I jumped off a cliff. I left my job at a world-class engineering firm, peered over the edge, and jumped into entrepreneurship. I have a mortgage and a musician husband, and two cats and a dog, and I gave up my steady paycheck and awesome benefits to go out and do my own thing.

Because here’s the deal: I don’t think engineering firms are run properly. I don’t think we frame the process– working with an engineer– as we ought to. I think that people like you, who may need the services of a civil or structural engineer, are faced with hiring one of these firms to complete your project. When you do, you find that the journey is very confusing. Nobody explains what’s going on, the process isn’t at all transparent, the schedule is unclear, there are a lot of surprises, the engineer doesn’t seem to understand what you want and what your values are, and the experience is frustrating and incredibly nerve-wracking.

I have seen this happen over and over again in working for conventional firms. The thing you don’t know is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We, as an industry, are failing you. I knew that I could change how this works, and I wanted to start my own firm to prove it to my clients, to my cohorts, and to my industry. We can do better than we have done in the past.

I have a heartfelt commitment to making sure that my clients are comfortable with the process. Surprises are inherent to construction; there’s not a lot that I can do about that, but a lot of these surprises can be anticipated. We can take time to explain the back story of why the municipality is suddenly asking for a certification, or what’s going on when we look behind your wall and find a whole host of unseen problems. I’m a firm believer in explaining to the client as much as they care to know. I’m a born teacher who has a penchant for explaining calculus to seventh graders, so I know I can explain homes to homeowners, or buildings to architects, or even just basic structural principles to high school students (and nobody ends up with a headache from thinking too hard, either). The end goal is to make the client feel as though this is a process that they’re part of, that they’re in control of… Not some horrible ride that they’ve found themselves on.

That’s what we’re about at Thalia. Being customer-centric to the core.