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Where Has My Journey Taken Me?

Welcome back to Mark Grevas, PE, (PA, SC, NC and GA).  It's now been four years total we are following Mark on his professional employment passage.
Mark's employment challenges give us lessons in career perseverance, flexibility and vigilant credentials maintenance.  Let's follow the twists and turns of Mark's story. 

In 2015 my contribution to this publication was my professional advice to obtain that occupational or professional license before moving to a new jurisdiction.  When I last graced this internet monthly, I was speaking from western Pennsylvania in the summer of 2017.  The subject at that time was the multiple PDH requirements I had to manage and track.  Actually, that was a luxury because my employer back then was very committed to conducting PDH presentations and encouraging us to participate in professional engineering societies events with continuing education courses.  You remember in 2017 I actually  had a surplus of PDHs to carry over to the next license renewal cycle.  
This being the third installment of my license maintenance as a professional engineer I will recap my PE life experience for the past 2 years. 
I returned to the Pennsylvania market for a job with which I was experienced without my family.  They remained in South Carolina.  I continued to apply for senior professional engineering positions, after all, three of my professional engineer licenses are active and valid in these jurisdictions.  Almost exactly two years of being away from the southeast, I got a call from a national firm about a position less than a dozen miles from my home in early 2018.  It was a big relief and improvement over the 542 mile trip made only every other month. 
A Friday afternoon interview at a coffee shop with three senior leaders from the firm and I was extended an offer for a new position.  Finally, I was going home.  Great news, living with my family again, able to work around the house and meeting new people and clients. didn't last!

Just about a month into the position, I was informed that the person I had replaced was returning to the firm.  He came back in early June after 10 months.  I felt vulnerable because my employment began at the end of February,  I thought this could be a problem but resolved to make the best of it.  That is until he complained about my experience as every turn.  I simply was not trained in the bridge design programs of this firm (and apparently the offices of all the other consultants doing SCDOT work).  So, management cut their losses and once again I became a free agent in November.

Turns out I was unemployed six months and another half your of salary.  It was not a situation that I could not afford to be in for long, particularly as the firm did not provide opportunities for PDHs in-house.  And the engineering society the firm associated with did not know I was on staff until I had already scheduled an afternoon of continuing education.  Even while I was unemployed, I did not spend much money on PDHs because I was uncertain I would be offered another professional engineering position. 

That short experience was disappointing, but an even shorter term with a small local firm was even more discouraging.  In late April 2019, after about two months of vacillating by a consultant, I went to work as an independent contractor to rate a single bridge for a state client.  I quickly learned this firm was not schooled or experienced in transportation design work.  Over the course of nearly four weeks for my efforts I was paid exactly nothing.  I learned about and was misled by this small  local firm. Originally it was a large firm that had struggled and became a small local firm. 

Once again this small local consulting firm had no interest in providing an opportunity to obtain continuing education to maintain my professional engineer license. 

I chose to leave and successfully became a permanent employee with full compensation.  My employer is a consultant providing contractors for a large project in Georgia.  

Reflecting back on my 2017 article, you may remember that my Georgia PE was waiting for such an opportunity. 

In light of my one page contract with the small local firm which spent more ink on how either party could terminate the agreement immediately, I knew the bird in hand was not worth the potential on a huge project.  The conditions were right to move on.  I had seen how they refused to protect their investment, and so I moved on. 

But now the shoe remains on the other foot for PDHs.  My employer is based in Ohio, my division headquarters is in Tulsa, and my work does not require my PE stamp.  So, as you can imagine, I am researching PDHs myself and it is even more important to keep track of them.  The folder of PDH certificates is full and with the carryovers, I have this cycle of license renewals covered.  However, I won't have any PDH carryovers.  I am now on a search mission to locate a professional engineering society which offers continuing education at their meetings.  That is if I keep my licenses. 

I am now a review engineer and project planner sending out building projects to outside consultants.  But, I've learned a great deal about buildings and even more politics than I was ever exposed to before.  It has been a lot of fun applying my plan review skills of bridge design to buildings design.  The buildings are so much taller and the specifications are much more involved.  It is simply a matter of using the same skills and the other side of my brain.  And, I get to interact with MEP engineers, architects, landscape architects and a whole new set of criteria for contracting and materials. 

Or is it?  After all, it is still engineering .  Actually I am now even more grateful for my earlier 3 year experience engineering large recreational venues in New York City. 


Many thanks to Mark for continuing to share his professional and personal life story.  His history illustrates not all career development transitions are seamless, and, yes, securing your PDHs or LUs  are "on you!" Enter LS Credentialing Services, we can help you stay focused on your career and enjoy your personal life, too, by managing your individual professional credentials and/or counsel you concerning corporate credentials compliance issues.  For more information visit or call us at 913-608-7880. 


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