My Degenkolb: Tim Nelson
San Francisco

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Life & Culture at Degenkolb

How would you describe the culture at Degenkolb?

I think the Degenkolb culture focuses primarily on two things: successfully developing your career, and being happy while doing it. Even in the early stages of my career, Degenkolb is giving me opportunities to develop my skills and gain exposure to all sorts of projects. Plus, I am surrounded by engineers who share this culture and are more than willing to help me. Degenkolb takes extra steps by providing flexible work hours, countless in-house technical seminars, company cabins in Tahoe and Monterey, and a very comfortable environment to work in.

Your Career

What professional activities have been the most meaningful to you?

Now, I serve as the Treasurer for the Younger Member’s Forum (YMF), a SEAONC committee that focuses on providing social and technical events for engineers who are in the beginning stages of their careers. Our region’s structural engineering community is relatively small and tight-knit, and I think it’s important to get to know your peers both inside and outside of your firm. Plus, as an officer, I’ve found it both fun and rewarding to help plan events and shape the future of this very large and active committee. 

Your Passions

What’s the best thing about being an engineer or your job?

I love being a structural engineer because I can feel the importance of my work on a daily basis. Whether it’s sizing a bolt for a simple connection or evaluating the seismic safety of a large temple, people’s safety and livelihood depend on the work of structural engineers. That type of responsibility can be a bit intimidating, but I feel fortunate to be in a profession that has such great opportunities to do such influential things.

On the Job

There really is no typical day at the firm, and that’s what I love so much about this job. On any given day, I could be working on several different jobs that range from sketching up the simplest detail to processing the output from a complex computer model. Some days I’ll be focused on technical calculations, while other days I’ll be putting together a seismic evaluation report or doing some research for our in-house Sustainability Committee. The fact that Degenkolb gets many different types and sizes of projects keeps the work interesting and refreshing. That, in turn, makes it very easy to get excited about what we do.