Part of me has always been drawn to doing work that is meaningful to society. I enjoy bringing my knowledge to working on important problems.
After earning my master's degree and doctorate in mechanical engineering from Caltech, I was offered a position as an assistant and later associate professor at MIT, where I worked on multiple interesting projects with amazing students and fellow faculty members. But academia is primarily research-focused, and I had a yearning to do something more impactful.
Our projects are never the same. The work is very demanding, but also dynamic and rewarding, and that's what's exciting about Exponent.
That's when I met the then-CEO of Exponent, who served on MIT's visiting committee. He convinced me that I should come work full time as a consultant. He believed I could bring something to the company and that I had what it took to make a difference here.
Forging New Opportunities
Not long ago, there was a push for a national liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure. I recognized our opportunity to contribute to this societal need. With a small group of us, I developed a plan to engage with this new industry. We attended conferences and met with decision makers, wrote multiple thought leadership pieces based on exploratory work we performed, including an article in the Oil & Gas Journal about the challenges the industry needed to overcome. That got a lot of visibility, and within a year, I was able to help develop an LNG practice that is alive and well because of those early efforts.
The joy for me at Exponent has been in the journey of perpetual learning and new experiences.
But I wouldn't have been able to do that without the support I received from Exponent and my supervisor at the time, who believed in what I wanted to do and allowed me the freedom to pursue it. I had to sacrifice some productivity for a short time to get started in this new industry.
It's important that the people at our firm don't all look alike and that they bring different life experiences to the table. We make special efforts to identify individuals who fall outside a single demographic, to drive toward an environment that is more representative of society at large.
We've come a long way with diversity, but we also have further to go. We've put deliberate recruitment processes in place that are part of our day-to-day practices.
Professional Growth and Development
Engineers considering Exponent need to know that here, they can move the needle on important questions in society. It's important that our less experienced colleagues grow as quickly as possible, so we make sure they get all the exposure and visibility that we can provide. I give a lot of responsibility to my less experienced colleagues and encourage them early on because they benefit from those experiences.
We leverage our staff a great deal; we trust them, believe in them, and promote them, because our work depends on them.
It's all about empowering them, and it's my responsibility to give them everything I can so they can grow professionally into their own, just like my supervisors have with me.
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"We are exceptionally collaborative and diverse in our thinking."
"Exponent is outstandingly supportive of allowing its people to publish independently. This firm can do stuff that other firms can't, and that's why I'm here."
"Fill your curiosity. You can do that here."
"People look out for each other here."