Name: Michael Colpetzer, PE
Years of experience: Licensed Engineer: 29 Years; Engineering (including survey) 42 Years
A fun fact about myself: I like to have fun more than anything else. Not to the exclusion of everything else, but given the choice, I choose fun. That’s a fact! I am also a licensed professional engineer in California and Arizona.
A single word to define me: Passionate.
I would be lost without: A calculator with RPN. Reverse Polish Notation (look it up, it’s a real thing).
When did you know you wanted to be an engineer? I decided I wanted to be an engineer after I spent a winter break on a survey crew. The work was hard,and it was way too cold – back in the old days when we had cold winters.
What’s been your favorite F&V project to work on and why? Gun Lake Casino expansion projects. They are great because the owner is their own regulatory agency. They tell you what they want, you design it, and you work with the Construction Manager to get it built. If the owner wants to make changes during construction, that’s OK too.
How do you feel are you making a difference to the engineering industry/community?
I don’t know about making a difference as much as holding the line. Engineers need to be people who do what is right all the time to protect the public and make the world a better place, not just when it benefits themselves or their clients. That is what I try to do.
How has a mentor helped you grow as an engineer / how have you helped an engineer grow in their career? Many people have helped me grow as an engineer by explaining and demonstrating how to complete technical tasks. More importantly they have helped me to understand that no matter how brilliant your engineering solution is, if you cannot effectively communicate your ideas through clear plans, specifications, letters and verbal instructions, then your efforts are for naught.
If you could work on any project (future or past – and doesn’t need to be F&V) what would it be and why? If I could have worked on any project in the past, it would have been the Golden Gate Bridge – an engineering marvel. In the future, I would like to work on developing one of the great undersea mega-cities (maybe way in the future; maybe sooner than you think).
What are you most looking forward to in 2020? (career-wise or in general)
I look forward to doing new exciting projects that give me the opportunity to do things I have never done before.