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Career Story: Drawbridge Engineer And Inspector

Drawbridge Engineer And Inspector

Job Title: Drawbridge Supervisor

Type of Company: I work for my state's department of transportation.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, University of Lowell

Previous Experience: This is the only job I've had since graduating from college.

Job Tasks: My duties as Drawbridge Supervisor include acting as the resident engineer for three or four concurrent contracts for operations, maintenance and repairs to drawbridges; assigning and reviewing work to up to five subordinate engineers; preparing preliminary estimates and special provisions for the drawbridge operation, maintenance and repair contracts and sub-structure repair contracts; conducting pre-construction meetings; and attending public meetings and giving oral presentations concerning repairs to drawbridges to city officials and the public.

A typical work day consists of analyzing bridge inspection reports and developing work orders for the completion of drawbridge maintenance contracts. As Resident Engineer, I have to make sure that a subordinate engineer has been assigned to inspect the work of our contractor(s). I have to also review contractors' invoices to assure that each payment item matches something in my records and the records of my subordinates. I then have to produce a quantity control estimate, which the contractor and I have to sign before a payment can go through.

Other duties that I perform less frequently include administering written and practical tests to new drawbridge operators, preparing "Urgent Matter" reports for the chief engineer and Public Relations department when there are drawbridge emergencies and attending public meetings involving upcoming drawbridge repairs affecting maritime and motor vehicle traffic.

My primary job location is the District Office, but I have to go out in the field to do drawbridge inspections.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is getting to work on real drawbridges. Lots of little boys build bridges out of blocks, popsicle sticks and Legos and pretend that they are real, but only a few actually get to work on the real thing. Because drawbridges have very large machinery in very poor environmental conditions, they are in constant need of repair. This makes my job challenging and exciting every day.

The worst part of my job is not being able to perform certain repairs to the drawbridges because of budgetary constraints.

Job Tips: To become a drawbridge engineer I recommend obtaining a bachelor's degree in civil or mechanical engineering, but take courses in both disciplines, whichever you do. And get a master's degree.

If you are considering a career in State government, you can expect lower than average pay, better than average benefits and better than average job stability than the private sector.

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