William L. Gunn – 2021 Steel Intern Scholar
Throughout my life I have obsessed over the way things work. How planes fly, how cars drive and how buildings scrape the sky. Despite watching buildings rise and return to the Earth, my knowledge, until this summer, remained frustratingly slight. My experience working at Harris Rebar has brought me deeper into those interests than I had believed possible. Everywhere I go, I see rebar construction and the arteries of the steel industry feeding the growth that I have witnessed. My experience detailing has turned every concrete structure that I see from a nebulous mass to a complex yet understandable project to be dealt with.
In addition to my appreciation for the critical role of rebar and the steel industry, I believe that my experience has made me a better engineer. That statement may seem superfluous, as that is the point of most work, but this particular job has had a significant impact on my perspective. Much of my work this summer was not “engineering” in the traditional sense; rather it was the interpretation of an engineer’s work and communication with said engineer. By placing myself firmly away from a traditional engineering role, I have borne witness to many common engineering failings. Smaller details than I could have previously conceived of lead to significant challenges, challenges I would not have considered if it were not for this job. By working “for” an engineer in the steel industry, detailing broadened my perspective and improved my appreciation of what it means to be an engineer.