Job Title: Engineer
Type of Company: A public utility.
Education: BS, Biology BS, Mechanical Engineering MA, Mechanical Engineering
Previous Experience: I worked at one of America's largest computer companies.
Job Tasks: I am Director of Contract Management for our construction division. This means that I am responsible for negotiating and managing over $300 million in annual spending on construction services, including engineering services, building distribution lines, trenches dug in roadways and storm emergencies.
A typical day for me might include developing technical specifications to describe the scope of work required; identifying contractors and evaluating the local market's ability to furnish the services we want; identifying internal costs and trying to determine if out-sourcing is a cost-effective and performance-enhancing alternative; identifying key performance indicators to track and reward performance, and developing and issuing Requests-for-Proposals (RFPs). (An RFP is a document that defines the scope of work and formally requests a pricing and schedule commitment from a company that's bidding on it.)
I am also involved in developing our contracting strategy: whether to use unit pricing (cost/unit is ideal for work that's repetitious) or T&E (an hourly time & equipment rate, better suited to amorphous kinds of work) or lump-sum (a not-to-exceed price) or more progressive arrangements such as target pricing and other incentive-based performance measures. To manage the contractors, we track KPIs and work performed to budget and schedule.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job are working with hands-on construction people, developing an understanding of the variety of services that our company deliver, driving improved performance, and developing creative approaches to doing what we do more cost-effectively.
The worst part of my job is the backlog of work that I have to get done -- and the inertia I encounter when I want people to change the way they do things.
1.) When beginning your career, don't be afraid to move around the company and try different things. The more varied your experience, the better you'll be at your job and at understanding how it fits into the bigger picture.
2.) Get good at the basics -- especially understanding financials! Everything comes back to "budget" and "profit" at the end of the day.
3.) Spend some time working in a construction environment.
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).
Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
Grow Your Career with the University of Saint Mary
Try Your Introductory Course Risk Free
Join the community of thought leaders at University of the Rockies. Pursue your graduate degree from the University’s School of Professional Psychology or School of Organizational Leadership.
Colorado State University-Global Campus
Colorado State University-Global Campus (CSU-Global) recently received state approval to enroll students with little to no prior college experience. To help ensure student success, the university has created a program especially for these students who plan on starting their college experience for the first time with us.
Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.
Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.
Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.
Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history.
Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Your Educational Journey. From Application to Graduation, the Support You Need to Achieve Your Goals. 100% Online.
The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.
Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.
Most stories include:
Please also see our detailed information about Purchasing Managers, Buyers, And Purchasing Agents, including: