Dayton is one of our talented Design Engineers and is the first to star in our “Meet the Squad” blog series. Dayton is what you would call a Jack of all trades—a design engineer by day and a car enthusiast, muay thai master, and an adrenaline junkie by night.
To understand who Dayton is and why he loves doing what he does here at Onward Engineering, it is important to have an idea of what a civil design engineer is responsible for. As a design engineer, Dayton surveys and analyzes roadways, prepares engineering plans using computer aided design (CAD) packages, and compiles Engineer Estimates which show projected construction costs.
Of all his responsibilities, the one that Dayton enjoys most is preparing engineering plans. When I asked Dayton why he enjoyed designing so much, his facial expression was the same expression you’d see from Matthew McConaughey if you asked him why he likes driving a Lincoln. With a confident smile on his face he said, “It’s like a puzzle!” He paused for a moment, recollected his thoughts, and elaborated, “My days go by in a snap. I put on my headphones, and put together this intricate puzzle that challenges me every time. It’s fun. When I’m finished I feel accomplished, it’s the best feeling.” The more I learned about Dayton the more I understood why he enjoyed preparing engineering plans so much.
I should have known that as a design engineer Dayton essentially has to have a high level of spatial memory. Tasks like plotting points and drawing lines to illustrate roads may seem tedious or monotonous for most, but for Dayton, the formation of lines and points to ultimately design a comprehendible item of information and imagery is anything but monotonous, it’s art.
Before submitting project plans to the client, Dayton’s pièce de ré·sis·tance is tediously examined at three different tiers of quality control; peer review, project management, and lastly by a Quality Assurance/Quality Control Manager. After his piece of art has made it through OE’s review process it is then scrutinized by the client’s team. This entire process happens 2-4 times before the plans are finalized, put out to bid, and then used to construct roadways, sidewalks, parking lots, trails, bikeways, bridges, waterlines, sewer lines, or storm drains.
Having your work meticulously studied by so many can be overwhelming and nerve racking. When Dayton was asked if the scrutiny of his peers and clients made him uneasy, the seasoned design engineer replied, “The more eyes on it the better.” Not only is Dayton confident in the quality of his work, but he also understands that the amount of time and money invested in a public works project is too great to allow a mistake. His humility and confidence could be attributed to his appreciation and involvement in pop art. He has taken art courses and learning new art techniques years before his career in Civil Engineering. It’s no wonder he is so comfortable with the criticism of his peers. According to Dayton, "Artist have to be open to constructive criticism, if they wish to grow." Individuals like Dayton promote a prosperous work environment, where mistakes are opportunities, and where the service of the firm and client is of the highest priority.