Training the Next Generation
Credit: Original article published here.
Here at Wells, we believe the best experience is hands-on. In keeping with that belief we have launched a new Engineer Development Program – or EDP. It is a custom pathway for our newly hired, fresh out of college engineers to gain exposure to the nuts and bolts side of the precast industry. The end goal of the EDP is to make well rounded engineers capable of visualizing the entire operation rather than just the design facet of precast.
The EDP is slated to be a 4-year training class starting in Quality Control, moving on to Field Operations, and finishing in the Engineering Department. Each stint has a range of time allotted (12-24 months), which is dependent upon the progress of the candidate as well as his/her job preferences.
Quality Control will expose the new engineer to all of the standard testing we perform every day, as well as giving them first-hand experience with all of the assemblies that get installed in a panel prior to casting. It will give them real world perspective and appreciation for the assemblies that are easy to install and, on the flip side, assemblies to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Time as a QC Tech will drive home the need for precise, accurate information being fed to the folks on the production floor in order to produce a superior product for the consumer.
Field Services is the “end user” of our product, at least from an employee’s point of view. Time spent in this area will give appreciation for work done well in the plant and also force the engineer to come up with fixes for work that was not done so well – it happens from time to time. In addition, time in the field gives the engineer exposure to other means/methods/materials that precast shares an interface with. Field work also gives an appreciation for the year-round ability to efficiently erect precast components.
Upon completion of the first two legs of training, the engineer moves into the design realm and incorporates all they’ve learned from their time on both the production floor and the jobsite. Design work generally starts with simple flexural members and progresses through wall panel design, lateral analysis, and total system design.
At the end of the EDP, the engineer will be fully prepared for the PE exam and, depending on preferences, eligible for any number of positions throughout the company. Wells hopes to one day employ engineers in every department in the company – except Accounting because, well, Accounting.
Vice President – Drafting/Engineering