Engineers Week: Tim Brown, PE

What inspired you to become an engineer?

There wasn’t a single specific event that inspired me to go into the field of engineering. Actually, I had originally wanted to be a chef, and I still love to cook. Lucky for me, while in high school, I was able to see first-hand what being a chef is like, and I quickly realized that that lifestyle was not for me. In terms of engineering, I have a couple of older cousins that went into the field ahead of me. They helped me see that with engineering, I could use my natural inclination towards math and science in a tangible way. After that, engineering and I just gravitated towards each other.

What is your favorite thing about being an engineer?

Being in the AEC world is great! I get to see, in relatively short order, my concepts and designs go from lines on the computer to pavement I can drive on.

What is your biggest challenge or reward?

Some of the biggest challenges are the ebbs and flows of the industry, which are especially hard to navigate as roles and responsibilities are concurrently changing. But that is also one of the greatest rewards. Being outside academia or theoretical engineering, and feeling grounded in the real world, means that I cannot do anything alone on an island. This helps create relationships both within EEA and with architects and other engineers that you rely on. I try not to take that for granted.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?

This is the toughest question by far. I will say that Old Town Park in Chicago was a lot of fun to work on. An entire micro-neighborhood was created to where a whole city block was transformed with three brand new mixed-use residential towers, including a grocery store, the remodeling of an existing smaller apartment building, and the creation of an at grade park and playground. Not to mention all the rooftop amenities they built on top of the tower podiums. You can really live, work, and play all in that space. As an urban planner, as well as an engineer, it is very cool to see something like that come together.