#Eweek2021 Spotlight | Michael White
Engineering inclusive infrastructure
For National Engineers Week 2021, we’re sharing stories from Cushing Terrell’s engineering talent to learn more about how they chose their profession and what makes them tick.
What inspired you to become an engineer?
As a kid, there was usually a sprawling Lego city on my bedroom floor. As I got older, I really enjoyed studying physics and earth sciences. After a couple detours in other fields, engineering caught hold of me and didn’t let go.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
I’m a civil engineer, primarily working in land development and transportation. I love the idea of being able to shape the world around me, hopefully for the better. I particularly enjoy the work we do in designing ADA improvements for sites. I think it’s important to advocate for all members of our communities to ensure equitable access to spaces. Infrastructure should be inclusive.
Tell us something about the field of engineering that is surprising or not common knowledge.
The math we use isn’t very complex! Mostly geometry and algebra and a little trigonometry.
Fifteen years later… Here I am pictured in front of a bridge I worked on during one of my college internships.
What is one of your favorite projects and why?
A few years ago, I was the lead civil engineer for a charter high school project in Castle Rock, Colorado. The school’s education philosophy was rooted in experiential learning and the campus was very much integrated into the natural site around it. It was very interesting to work on incorporating their values into the site design.
What piece of advice would you give a young person interested in becoming an engineer?
Soak up as much technical knowledge as you can. Dig in to the details! You’ll never have another period in your life where your entire focus is on learning. Take advantage of that!
Are you involved in any activities that help engage students/young people in engineering?
I’ve always worked to bring college interns onto any team I’ve worked with or managed. My internships during school were instrumental in shaping me as a professional, and I take pride in trying to give that experience to the next generation of engineers entering the workforce.
Michael at a glance
- Civil Engineer
- Living in Highlands Ranch, Colorado
- Defining characteristics: Passion, integrity, optimism, and a gregarious personality
- Interests: Spending time with my son first and foremost. Cooking and music are creative outlets. I spend many weekends working on home improvement projects and haven’t electrocuted myself so far! Trying hard to develop a green thumb.