E-Week Spotlight: Justin Hall, PE

Justin Hall is a Professional Civil Engineer with the Municipal team based out of the West Fargo office. He has 8 years of Engineering experience, including private and municipal projects throughout the state of North Dakota involving sewer, water, and street improvements. Justin graduated from North Dakota State University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and is an active member in American Society of Civil Engineers.

Give us a general overview of the duties/functions/responsibilities specific to your practice area.
“As a Municipal Engineer, my main duty is to assist smaller municipalities with maintaining and improving their infrastructure.”

What do you love most about being an Engineer?
“As some would say, you wear a lot of different hats if you’re a Municipal Engineer. One of the things I love most about being a Municipal Engineer is the variety of projects that you’re able to work on. In school, my thought of an Engineer was constantly designing, using equations and crunching numbers. In reality, there is quite a bit less of actual design and a little more report writing, public interaction, or writing specifications and contracts. The variety of work is what I love most about being an Engineer.

What drew you to Engineering as a career?
“When I was young, I took an immediate liking to architecture. I was always building something -like taking wood scraps from my Dad’s projects and building forts, figuring out how to make them bigger, better, and stronger. I am not an artist by any means, but I always enjoyed sketching – monster trucks to laying out house floor plans. Up through high school, I was lucky enough that math came easy to me, which obviously is a major component to being an Engineer. It wasn’t until later in high school when I realized that the things I enjoyed on a day-to-day basis could become my career. Initially, I started out at Bismarck State College to obtain an Engineering Technology degree, but was then inspired by professors to continue on to obtain my Civil Engineering degree.”

What drew you to your practice area?
“Surprisingly, during college I thought I wanted to be a Structural Engineer. I took just about every elective you could take in the structural field. I found it interesting, but it wasn’t until I started interviewing with Engineering firms for a summer job that I realized the structural field maybe wasn’t the best fit for me. I obtained a summer internship with a civil firm and was placed on their survey crew. Being on a survey crew gave me a lot of opportunity to see different types of projects, from wind turbines to small city improvement projects. I came to enjoy the variety of projects that one would see in a Municipal setting. That varied from utility replacement, to street reconstructions, to simple sidewalk and bike path projects. After that summer internship, I knew I wanted to be in the Municipal field.”

What do you find unique about the Engineering field?
“You have a job that allows you to partially work in an office setting, but also spend time out in the field on construction sites.”

Do you have advice for someone interested in this job/field?
“The one thing I regret not doing more of was being involved in organizations outside of the classroom, such as the American Society of City Engineers (ASCE). I would also strongly encourage obtaining summer internships as soon as possible during college to gain as much experience as possible before entering into the career full-time.”

What are the particular talents or skills that are most important for an Engineer?
“Being able to work with a group or team, attention to detail, public speaking, thinking outside the box, great problem solving skills!”

Are there any other interesting tidbits you have to share about being an Engineer?
“If someone asks you, “What do you do for a job?”, and you reply with, “Well, I’m an Engineer.” – for some reason, you get this instant positive response and praise, almost like you said you were a brain surgeon, a rocket scientist or that you’ve successfully cloned someone. I’ve just always thought that was interesting.”