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Author: Annette

The Hiring Dilemma: Senior Engineers or Recent Graduates

What both young and senior engineers must embrace to bridge the gap.

This article isn’t about age. It’s about experience. Because, the truth is, when you are hiring, you may need to choose between someone who has some and someone who doesn’t.

Any competent and growing engineering firm is looking for the best of both worlds. We need fresh faces with new ideas. And we need experience. Together we are stronger.

If you are a young engineer, with a degree in hand, you’ve got a lot to learn. But don’t let that keep you from applying to the best firms. Strong, growing engineering firms, like TTR Engineers in Akron, have a lot to teach!

If you’re a seasoned veteran, then you already know the benefits of staying relevant, and constantly learning the new engineering landscape. But is there something else you can do to become a more critical component of your firm’s future and success?

How Senior and New Engineers Can Differ and Improve

1. Recent Technical Fluency:

Let’s start with the obvious. Fresh out of college, young engineers are well-versed in the latest technologies and methodologies. Senior engineers know their stuff, but it’s been a long time since they were in school. A competent engineering firm will create a culture that encourages collaboration.

2. Adaptability and Open-mindedness:

Young engineers and senior engineers can be set in their ways.  One because of what they think. The other is because of what they know to be true. But young engineers, if flexible, can learn innovative problem-solving approaches. Senior engineers can leverage this advantage by being open to learning, and by being willing to teach.

3. Enthusiasm:

Youthful exuberance often translates into high levels of energy. Young engineers are eager to prove themselves. Senior engineers may not be bouncing off of walls, but they value excellence. Experience and enthusiasm can be built together.

What Senior Engineers and Younger Engineers Must Have in Common:

1. Continuous Learning:

Just out of school doesn’t mean you are done learning. And, the seasoned professional must stay on top of rapidly evolving technical environments. Young engineers can suggest new skills and instructional forums. Senior engineers can incorporate new skills with tried and true results.

2. Mentorship and Knowledge Transfer:

Senior engineers play a crucial role in guiding and mentoring younger colleagues. AT TTR Engineers, we feature a Career Pathway that encourages growth at all levels. Whether you are just starting out or have been a long-term standout, there is a place here for you to begin and grow.

3. Embrace Innovation:

Young engineers are valuable to a growing engineering organization. We encourage experimentation, supporting new ideas, and creating an environment where learning from failure is valued. Senior engineers can lead by example and learn new methods at the same time. Everyone wins.

The difference isn’t about age. It’s about experience and generational aptitudes. Growing engineering firms need the best of both worlds in engineering today. If you’re a young engineer, looking for a break with a growing structural engineering firm, consider TTR Engineers. We’re looking for the best and we’re growing. Let’s grow together.

Where Will You Begin Your Engineering Career?

Large or Small…the Choice is Yours.  Choose Well.

Are you a young engineer looking to build your career?  You’ll be in demand, no question.  So, where do you want to start?

Large engineering firms hire more people, do more work, and often pay more money.  But for every extra large-size corporate engineering firm, there are countless smaller firms, and they are doing great work, too.

There is no one right way to go.  It all depends on what you want to do, and how you want to do it.

Want to learn more about how to start your engineering career?  Here are five ways large engineering firms and small engineering firms are the same, but different:


Small firms often consist of a tight-knit team.  You’ll get to know everyone well. You also may wear multiple hats, expanding past your primary role.  Your input matters.  In a larger firm, you’ll typically stick to your department and team, focusing on specific tasks within your expertise, with well-defined job roles and responsibilities.

Project Scope

Smaller firms may work on a variety of projects. You’ll pick up new skills fast, and learn to make quick, confident and important decisions.  Larger firms typically do one thing, and they do it often.  You’ll gain in-depth knowledge in that niche. Most decisions happen at a higher level.

Client Interaction

Sometimes, smaller firms include a more local customer base, allowing you to get to know your customer’s needs with direct communication.  A larger firm typically has project managers and sales teams that handle those relationships.

Income and Benefits

Larger firms can pay more.  But the benefits packages are typically not different.  Larger firms workforce may be more competitive which can be stressful.  Smaller firms may pay less, but they may offer more flexible working hours, family time, and job security.


Larger firms have Research and Development departments working on cutting-edge technologies.  They’re slower to change but often break new ground.  Smaller firms have greater flexibility to embrace innovative approaches. And you’ll likely have more of a say in that direction.

Ultimately, the key lies in finding the right fit that resonates with your career objectives and personal values.  Remember, large or small, principles, ethics, culture and strategic direction matter more.

At TTR Engineers, we are a bit biased. We’re small, and growing.  We’re also proud of who we are and what we do, and we hope you’ll find a firm you can be proud of too. If you wonder how to start your engineering career, we like small!

By the way, if you can’t tell…we are hiring!  Click here to learn more.

Pursuing a Principles-Based Career in Engineering

What do you…and what won’t you…stand for?

There are certain qualities that any young engineer (or any aged engineer, actually) should strive for.  You’ve got to be good at your craft.  Certainly, you need to gain the credentials and work to gain the experience you need to move forward in your career.

But what some might call intangibles may be the most important qualities of all.  Things like guiding principles, core values, and purpose.

The finest engineers for our future not only build and design from a firm foundation…they live their lives that way too.  Here are some qualities we think are valuable for upcoming engineers.

Attention to Detail

Precision and accuracy are crucial in engineering to ensure safety and efficiency. If you are the kind of person who wants things done right, and won’t stop until they are, you’ll be able to stand up against less-than-adequate, and potentially dangerous work.


The field of engineering is constantly evolving. Leadership positions should be available for you to continue your development as a leader in your field

Ethics and Professionalism

As you would in life, you want to maintain high ethical standards and professionalism in all your work. Integrity is a core value of ours as a company, and each of our engineers is to be trusted and counted on.  If you have it, develop it further.

Time Management

But not just to get more work done.  You’ve got to want to manage your time for family and personal growth.  Work/Life/Family balance is critical to each aspect of your life.

Entrepreneurial Spirit

We value the desire to be your own boss.  To make decisions in you company’s and your customer’s best interest.  We call it Extreme Ownership.


Be prepared to face setbacks and failures. A resilient attitude will help you learn from your mistakes and continue to improve.

Customer Focused

Few see the role of an engineer to be public-facing. Still, a desire to satisfy the customer with excellence is a strong character trait and will make you a valuable addition to any growing engineering firm.

Being a successful engineer demands technical skill and know-how.  To be the best, you should have the character traits that add humanity, empathy, and passion to your skill set.

If you have already developed these principles, you’d make a good fit for any engineering firm.

In fact, you’ll be a strong fit for ours!  TTR Engineers is hiring!

You ask the questions! How tables have turned in the interview process

Six things you need to ask so that you’ll know more about your employer of choice

There was a time, not so long ago when the jobs market was different  An employer got to call the shots, ask the questions, and make the decisions about who was right for them.  In short…we choose you.

Not anymore. The tables have turned in the interview process.  Today there is a shortage of workers and more work to be done.  Engineering firms that want to grow must stand out to a potential engineering applicant as a company of choice.  In other words…you choose us.

And so, the interview process is switched around. The potential employer is not in charge of the interview, you are.  The responsibility is on you, the applicant, to sort out who you want to work for, and why.

Here is a list of questions you should ask of an engineering firm during the interview process.  The answers to these questions will help you know what matters to them…and how much it matters to you.

1). “What is your core engineering focus and specialty?” Perhaps you want to try something new or do more of an engineering specialty you

love.  For instance, TTR Engineers specializes in stairways and connections but does other structural engineering projects as well.   We also take on other varies of work that can make your job even more interesting.  Try to find the right fit for what works best for you.

2). “What are the career opportunities for growth?” This is very important if you are looking to grow within the company.  TTR Engineers has a Career Pathway plan in place for all of our employees.  We want you to grow with us.  Larger firms may not have that available, and if it matters to you, you should know your options.

3). “What is the company culture?” Some firms expect you to stay at your desk and do your work.  ALL THE TIME.  But engineers are human, too!  If you’re a hard-working human, then you need to find a fit that helps keep you balanced.  How you are treated by ownership, management, and others should matter.

4). “What is the work-life balance here?” You may be career-focused and want to work 90 hours a week.  Or, you may need some family time to help you reset and recharge.  AT TTR, work hard.  We also value family first which may be a rare combination to find.  Ask your interviewer for his expectations of your time.

5). “Is there collaboration and support among team members?” Or, is everyone on their own?  In some firms, if you can’t cut it yourself, you can’t cut it.  In others, something a team works on together is stronger than if done alone.

6). “Who makes the decisions?” While ownership always has final responsibility, you may desire more of a say in the creative and problem-solving process.  TTR Engineers calls this “Extreme Ownership”, and we value it.   Some engineers want to contribute in a leadership manner, yet many firms don’t give any leeway to the team members.  Choose wisely.

When you ask these questions, you should know where you belong.   

For instance, if you asked us these questions, you’d learn that TTR is a growing structural engineering firm that puts family first, values honesty, integrity, and decision-making skills, and likes to have a little fun while you’re building your career.   

The tables have turned in the interview process.  Just remember, there are as many different types of engineering firms out there as there are engineers, and you’ll do yourself a favor when you ask the right questions to help you make the right choice for you and your engineering career.

Satisfying Budget and Quality demands with Structural Design Engineering

Three ways to get More for More, and More For Less.

Money matters.  That’s the understatement of the year.   Even though we know we can not sacrifice quality for cost, we still want value

When it comes to structural engineering, the problem is exacerbated.  We are talking about the structural foundation, the “bones” of a building.  Cutting corners is not an option.

How can you get the most for your money, without sacrificing one ounce of quality?  Watch for these opportunities:

Don’t budge here:

Experience and Expertise: Look for engineers who have a track record of success.  It is still true that you get what you pay for.    Look for References, reputation, and a relevant portfolio of similar or related projects (Link to Portfolio)

Technical Proficiency: The firms you are considering either know their stuff or they don’t.  You’ll also want a firm that complies with the code and carries appropriate liability insurance.

Collaboration, Culture, and Communication:   Effective communication and collaboration skills are crucial and can save money.  Here are some things you should look for (link to culture blog) and should be baked in for a strong structural design engineering firm.

Choose wisely here: 

Over Engineering:  There is no substitute for structural safety.  Period. But, be careful about agreeing to over-the-top design, excessive material usage or unnecessary complexity.  You’re looking for the right balance.  While less can often be more, more is always more!

Life Cycle Costs: Your project has a budget to build it. Then, there are maintenance costs, staffing, growth considerations, etc.  Cutting corners and poor planning can cost more money down the line

Build value here:

Seek Multiple Bids:  You may already have relationships established.   Still, everyone should put their best foot forward and work to earn your business.

Work with a local firm:  If the mandates above are met then strongly consider the firm that is local or more readily available to you.  Community matters, so find someone who cares about yours.

Value Engineering: Ask for suggestions to save time and money.  This can generate better ideas and savings without sacrificing quality.

Good advice would be to establish a shortlist based on the nonnegotiable.  Then, get to work on the structural design engineering alternatives that can give you more for more, and more for less.

TTR Engineers is a structural design engineering firm located in Akron Ohio.  We have over fifty years of experience in structural design engineering.  Call us at 330.733.8332 or click here to contact us online.

In Search of…the Structural Design Engineering Unicorn

Eight things to hope for as you choose a Structural Design Engineering firm.

A unicorn is hard to find. This image shows a floating plastic unicorn Choices are everywhere.  In a world full of options, marketing slogans, price, and experience levels, it’s very hard to know when you are making the right choice.  That argument is as alive for choosing a structural design engineering firm as it is deciding what kind of ice cream cone to buy, or where to go out to dinner this weekend.  

Does it matter?  Yes, especially when your choice impacts the quality, cost, timelines, and well-being of everyone involved in the project.  Usually, it’s hard to choose an option that is all things perfectly woven together. 

And so, you have to decide what is most important.  Here are just a few things to consider.  They are all important to some level.  Read through them, rank what matters, and then find a match for what matters most to you, your team, your clients, and your project.  

Experience and Expertise: A scan of projects on their website portfolio can certainly help determine whether they’ve been here before.   Consider the firm’s expertise in your specific industry or project type, as different structures may require unique knowledge and skills.  And by all means, check the references.

Qualifications and Credentials: Reputable firms should have licensed professional engineers (PEs) on staff who are qualified to provide structural design services. Industry organization certifications are another nice add-on that can show you a structural design engineering firm’s commitment to excellence.

Technical Capabilities: If it matters how they get it done, then this is important.  A firm that stays up-to-date with the latest technologies, such as advanced software, modeling techniques, design trends, and “Green” environmental initiatives may be what you need to help you sleep better at night.

Ethics and Mission:  This one may surprise you, but it may be the most important consideration.  If it matters to you how someone does business, how they treat employees, interact with the community, and work with clients…then don’t miss digging in. Find a firm that matches your mission, and that can make your decision easy.

Project Management Skills: If you care about time and budget, then a firm’s project management skills are key.  Consider communication methods, project scheduling, and how they handle any potential challenges or changes during the design phase.

Resources and Team: Do they have enough and the right staff and expertise to handle your project the right way?  Also, ask how many projects they have, and how many they can handle.

Cost and Value: You knew we wouldn’t leave “how much” off of this list.  Cost matters, and you just have to decide what you’re willing to give up (likely one or more of the above) to get the least expensive option.

There’s an old saying: 

 “There are three ways to do business. 1). Quality, 2). Cheap and 3). Fast.  Choose any two.”  

It’s rare to find a perfect collection of every potential benefit.  It will pay to decide what matters most to you, and then to find the best collection of the rest to select a structural design engineering firm to bring excellence to your next project.  

Structurally Sound

Why Culture Matters, even with structural design engineering firms

When you think of an engineer (and come on, you know you do!) you may not picture a team.  You picture one person, alone, at a desk, in front of drawings, deep in thought. The engineering field can be seen as an individual workspace and not so much as a team effort.

However, in the best firms, a team culture is fostered.  In the best situations, professional engineers rely on each other for advice, feedback, innovative ideas, and support. 

That’s why culture matters.  An engineering firm has multiple employees just like any other business, and they rely on each other to produce better results, every time.  Working together, as a team in a fun and fulfilling environment is Win/Win for everyone, and that’s the kind of company you should want to work for or do business with.  

Here are four things to remember about culture:

A strong culture starts from ownership.  You’ve got to have a mission, something you stand for, and something you can ask your employees to buy into.   In this way, employees know exactly how to respond at any time to problems or opportunities.  At TTR Engineers, for instance, a structural design engineering firm in Akron Ohio, owner Brian Rostedt has created a culture promoting Extreme Ownership (click to the page about values).  Every member of the firm has the freedom to make decisions at the ground level, based on their understanding of what is best for the company and the client. 

When the culture is right, people want to join in.  Engineers, especially the best and brightest, are in demand.  Setting the right culture in the workspace can attract people to your team who fit your style and workplace culture.  Better yet, if your employees fit well and thrive, odds are they will want to stay for the long term. TTR Engineers is always hiring  but only the best and brightest who value what we do.

Your customers can feel your culture.  When the quotes are in and the ideas are pitched, sometimes it’s a gut feeling that will lead organizations to sign on with you.  Organizations that value your culture likely have a good one themselves, and these are mutually beneficial projects to gain, and relationships to build. 

Culture impacts your community.  It is contagious. Those around you will want it.  Imagine a culture in your workplace that leaks out and transforms your community. But be careful.  It works both ways.

When all is said and done, it’s expert engineering that will impact the bottom line.  In the structural design engineering business, nothing trumps expertise, planning, skill, and implementation. You can ask your engineers to sit at their desks and do great work on their own and build great things.

But for true organizational success, customer satisfaction, and an experience that values and retains the best and brightest employees, it pays to focus on culture.


A Career Pathway for Engineers

Four Ways to Grow Through Changes in Your Career 

“I want to be an engineer!”

Do you remember when you first realized that you wanted to design and build things? That is what you wanted to change the world in ways that would stand the test of time. 

Yet, like many career fields, the dream can get lost in the “job”.  Perhaps the company you work for doesn’t match your ideals or reward your contributions.  Maybe there is no path to advance.  Often, by the time you figure that out, it’s too late.  

That is what’s known as “stuck”. 

Successful engineering firms should provide a path for advancement to motivated employees.  Different ways to enter the company and different paths to growth.  You, your experience, your capabilities, and your desires may change over time.  A good engineering firm should have a pathway in place to keep you challenged and motivated and on the team!

TTR Engineering, for example, has a documented career pathway in place to help you begin where you should, and grow to reach your goals.  Our pathway consists of the following opportunities:

Structural Engineering Co-op

A Structural Engineering Co-op is a student or recent graduate who gains experience in the field of structural engineering. You work and learn under the guidance of experienced engineers and company leaders to learn the ropes.  A good co-op program offers the chance to impact the team and the client’s success

Engineering Structural Designer 

After you’ve gained the knowledge, you’ll want the responsibility.  At this level, you’ll be designing and creating structural plans and drawings for buildings, stairways, and other structures.

Professional Structural Engineer:

The buck stops here!  Professional Structural Engineers typically have a degree in civil or structural engineering and have passed a rigorous examination to become licensed. At TTR Engineering, we are proud to offer some of the brightest talents in the industry, but we are always looking for the best who want to further their career in this position. 

Senior Structural Engineer 

If you are a senior structural engineer, you know it.  You are a leader, you are responsible.  You may be deeply involved in project management, budgeting, client relationships, etc.  You may not want to leave where you are, as you have paid your dues.  However, TTR Engineering offers this as an onramp option to work with us.  You’ll enjoy the “Extreme Ownership” our company provides, and we will rely on your learned experience to make us even better suited to handle our client’s needs.  

Final advice:  Make sure you aren’t just getting a title.  A good career pathway provides ownership.  That means you can make decisions that impact the company and the project results.  Micromanaging and Engineering don’t have to go hand in hand.

For more information about TTR or career opportunities, feel free to reach out, and let’s talk about what’s best for both of us.  

Are all structural design engineering firms the same?

It’s about more than math. Here are 5 unique differentiators to know.

If you are reading this article about structural engineering, then you likely already know what it is. Designing and analyzing structures, ensuring structures are safe, reliable, and able to withstand all of the ongoing pressures and forces of daily use.

What you may be interested in, however, is why it matters whom you choose for your project.

Engineering firms exist in a competitive marketplace, just like every other for-profit organization. While math and engineering concepts are undeniable laws, how the organization puts these rules into practice is what sets one engineering firm apart from another. Things like experience and principles matter when it comes to project success.

Therefore, you have a choice. Here are some tips on finding the structural engineering firm that fits your expectations.

1). Experience: Knowing the mathematical models and computer simulations is one thing. Knowing the impacts of these data lines against the success of the overall project is something else. It takes having done a few of these to know more than just the facts and figures. An experienced firm will be able to show you a portfolio of successful projects, not just photos of structures that were built

2). Employee satisfaction: The way an engineering firm treats its people is likely how they’ll treat you. At TTR, we have a work environment that focuses on Integrity, Family First, Extreme Ownership, and Purpose. Engineers who want to work in this kind of environment seek us out. So, if you are looking for the right structural engineering partner, you should seek out someone who matches your values.

3). History: Similar to experience, would you like to know what years do to a structural design project? Then you’ll need to find a firm that has been around for years and can show results in the years that followed. It pays to check references and take the time to go back a few years. A solid firm will be able to give you solid references.

TTR Engineers Team
Each a member of a team working together for our customers

4). Teamwork: Structural engineers work closely with architects and builders, who collaborate to ensure that the project adheres to building codes and safety standards. The architects need to trust the structural engineers, and the structural engineers need to provide great advice to the builders. You’ll want to find an engineering firm that plays nice with others.

5). Community: What an engineering firm designs will last a long time, and be a lasting part of the efficiency, safety, and long-term future of the community. Make sure your structural engineering firm cares. You can tell just by talking with the owners. Best of all, if their entire team practices “Extreme Ownership” where each employee feels empowered to lead, you’ll be able to tell whether the entire firm believes in your project and your vision for the community.

As in any walk of life, you have a choice when it comes to structural design engineering firms. The choice you make will impact the budget, efficiency, timeline, and success of the project. Choose well.

For more information about TTR Engineers, and how we might be able to satisfy the needs of your project, call us today.

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