My Degenkolb: Laura Weyl
Project Engineer
San Francisco

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Life & Culture at Degenkolb

How would you describe the culture at Degenkolb?

There is a culture of continued learning and patience, which allow us to repeatedly create quality work for our clients.  This is a company that believes in the way someone thinks and not what they already know, exemplified by the unique interview process.  

Why did you choose Degenkolb?

Degenkolb is known professionally for high-end structural earthquake design and consulting.  Working here I see why.  I’ve never found a group of people who are so bright and hard working while at the same time humble and excited to help.It never ceases to amaze me how the busiest people will drop everything to help make sure I understand a concept; not just to show me the formula or where to look, but to explain it to me conceptually.  

Your Career

Why have you stayed at Degenkolb?

I believe one of the secrets to the high employee retention rates is the variety of work we get and the new challenges every project poses.  No two projects are alike, which means everyone from project manager down to the designer is learning something new on every project.  It may sound exhausting, but in the long run, it’s what keeps your job interesting and stimulating day after day and year after year. Every day I feel lucky to work here.

Since starting at Degenkolb, the company has paid for me to take a continuing education course through Stanford in Performance Based Earthquake Engineering, provided time during the week for informational webinars and talks, and financially supported my attendance at conferences.  There is a strong commitment to continued learning that the company doesn’t just preach, but it practices. Degenkolb paid for my LEED certification exam as well as my study materials and is now doing the same for my PE exam.  Besides financial support, there are so many resources within the company and people willing to answer questions and advise me.

More broadly, I like the trajectory ahead of me at Degenkolb as opposed to a number of other firms I’ve worked for and looked at.  At the project manager level, employees are often bogged down entirely with managerial tasks that engineering is a forgotten past.  At Degenkolb, project managers still have their hands in many of the engineering tasks and are our best resources for technical knowledge.  It’s a place I can see becoming my career rather than a springboard.

On the Job

I tend to be a very cold person, not socially, but my body temperature has trouble keeping up with its duties at times.  I would often shiver at my desk with my coat wrapped around me while everyone else was comfortable if not sweltering.   Just a few days before Christmas my first year, I came into the office to find a package all wrapped up in bows sitting on my chair.  My cottage mate had given me a plush blanket to keep me warm at my desk, completely of his own thoughtfulness.  That is the kind of person I get to work with every day!