Passion and Communication are Key to a Successful Career
Photo credit: PureSolution/Adobe Stock
At an age of just 31, Wesley P. Davis, P.E., M.ASCE, has progressed quickly in his career as a roadway and transportation engineer. After working for roughly three years as an engineering technician for the Koochiching County Highway Department and just over one year as a graduate engineer for WSB, an engineering consultancy in Golden Valley, Minnesota, Davis was hired in 2016 as an engineer-in-training at Bogart, Pederson & Associates, a 25-person transportation firm in Becker, Minnesota — about 50 miles northwest of Minneapolis. There he progressed to senior engineer, and after a founder retired in January 2020, Davis assumed the role of principal engineer. In addition to those duties, Davis also serves as the township engineer for six small townships in Sherburne County. He attributes his success to his skills with industry software, dedication to good communication, and passion for work and family.
What are the responsibilities that come with your new position as a principal?
I do whatever I must for our company to succeed. I mentor younger engineers in our office in using software such as Autodesk Civil 3D to develop construction plans as well as in best practices for construction inspection during the project to ensure that we comply with all the local and state rules and regulations. I use geographic information systems software to create maps and exhibits to present information. I’ll even water the plants to make sure that they look good for the clients who walk through the door!
What do you do in your role as township engineer?
I work with our townships to budget, plan, design, and construct road reconstruction or maintenance projects. They have one to two meetings a month in the evenings, and I go to those meetings. We discuss their capital improvement plans, and I try to help them look five years ahead.
Their work goes by seasons. In the winter months, it’s developing the projects, designing them, and getting the bid packages ready. In the spring, we go out for bid and award the contracts. Then the projects begin construction in the summer.
In the fall, I do a ‘road tour’ with the township board members. We get in a van and drive all the roads to see if they are holding up as expected or if they have experienced any abnormal damage from, for example, plowing snow in the winter. It gets kind of cold here. Pavement does funny things when it ranges from 90 degrees to negative 40 degrees within a year!