“To see the high level of expertise that we had in extra areas, in addition to building performance and building structures, was a surprise – but a very welcoming surprise.”
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Why did you join Thornton Tomasetti?
I was looking for a new progression in my career. I was looking for a new platform. I was basically looking for some place where I could finalize my career. I came to Thornton Tomasetti with a wide range of experiences working on small projects to large projects, all of them technically challenging, all of them high profile. I spent a lot of time looking around at different firms before I decided to join Thornton Tomasetti. One of the reasons is that they offered me the platform to continue working on high-profile, challenging, interesting projects. But they also offer me a structure, an infrastructure, a platform where I can grow within a company.
Thornton Tomasetti’s in an interesting place where, at 700 to 800 people, we’re in between the large firms and the small firms, between the boutique firms and the mega-firms; and it allows us to do many things that other firms can’t do. We’re big enough that we can hit any project in the world, from the tallest skyscraper to long bridges to stadiums to whatever infrastructure project we look upon. But we’ve also got small market sectors and small teams which allow us to have a more boutique approach, a very personalized approach, that allows us to give a real high-quality level of service. And that’s one of the reasons I wanted to join.
Was there something you didn’t expect when you came on board that you later discovered?
I knew that we were strong in building structures. I knew that we were strong in building performance. But what surprised me was the level of expertise that we had in some of the other areas. The advanced computational modeling team, for example, was absolutely phenomenal. The skin team is very strong, and creative. And the sustainability people, as well, are also strong. So to see the high level of expertise that we had in those extra areas, in addition to building performance and building structures, was a surprise – but a very welcoming surprise.
How would you describe the culture at Thornton Tomasetti?
Culture is a huge part of joining a firm. It’s interesting the jobs that you do, the technical work you do on a day-to-day basis – that’s a big part of it. But working with people, that day-to-day interaction is huge and important. So before joining Thornton Tomasetti, I knew people that worked here and had worked here. I obviously consulted with them, but for me the biggest seller was actually sitting down with the leaders. I sat down with Tom (Scarangello). I sat down with Aine (Brazil). I sat down with Gary (Panariello), and I spoke to them. I felt like they were people that I could work with. I also felt they were approachable within the firm. It wasn’t people that were going to be removed from me once I was working here. I was going to have that interaction with them, and it’s great to know that you’re going to be sitting, working with those people here (who are) technically strong, but also nice people, and that’s important at the end of the day.
Is there a special type of project you get exposure to by working here?
One of the great things at Thornton Tomasetti is that we do so much. We do so many different, diverse projects that your day-to-day challenges are different. And it’s great also to mix up your day from looking at big picture – what the logistics of building a platform over a live rail track are – to exactly what is this detail for this expansion joint, to how do I integrate this architecturally exposed steelwork in a way that is beautiful and in accordance with the architectural vision but is also practical and constructible and meets the cost. All of those different challenges are why most of us are in engineering. And again it comes back to passion, and that passion has to come through. You have to want to go the extra mile to solve those problems. You want to come and you want to advance your career, and you don’t want to be boxed into one type of problem or one type of project.
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