So, you’re probably asking yourself: How did this guy’s channel come up in my YouTube feed? Well, if the keywords CIVIL ENGINEERING or CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING are of interest to you, then I think you’re going to like this channel
Hey. My name is Bob. I’m a licensed professional civil engineer. I’ve been working in the road, bridge, heavy highway, infrastructure industry since 1987. I’m starting this channel to fill a void that I see existing that really, nobody seems to be covering.
So let me give you my 10-sentence resume so you can vet me as a credible resource. I studied civil engineering in college, starting at Michigan State and graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1989. While I was in college in the late 80’s, I worked as a both a construction inspector and as a draftsman. Right out of college, I started working as a construction inspector for a Chicago-based consulting engineering company on lots of different road, bridge & airport construction projects. And let me just say, since those humble beginnings, the next 30 years of my working career have absolutely flown by. I’ve been a designer: I was taught in the old school traditional methods of design BACK IN THE DAY when we designed things by hand using Kohinor pens, Leroy lettering kits and curve templates on mylar sheets, but I eventually taught myself how to use MicroStation & GeoPak (old dogs really can learn new tricks!). I’ve been a survey party crew chief doing construction layout. I’ve worked for a couple of construction management companies, running my own engineering division at one and doing hard dollar contracting at another. I’ve been an adjunct college instructor in a construction management program teaching surveying and project management. And, if all that hasn’t been enough, my primary job assignments have been serving as a Resident Construction Engineer, where I’ve run road, bridge, utility, railroad & airport construction projects worth just shy of $500 million. It’s hard to believe, looking back, that I’ve worked on so many great projects, in so many different roles, and have had the chance to work alongside so many great people in the course of 3 decades.
So that’s my elevator speech. And that’s enough about me. I don’t really like to talk about myself, but, I think it’s helpful for you to meet the guy behind the channel so you can decide for yourself if my voice is one that you want to listen to.
Why Start a Channel?
So starting this YouTube channel has been on my personal radar for a while now, but I’ve never had the will (or maybe I should say, the courage) of putting my face in the public eye in this format. I mean, can you blame me? Let’s face it: This isn’t a mug built for TV. But I figure, if Mike Rowe can be on TV and he’s, well, kind of weathered, well then what’s holding me back, right?
OK, I’ve been blogging on-and-off since blogging started as a thing in the early 2000’s (that would be in the AOL days, assuming you know what that is…). I think it was in 2002 that I decided to secure the URL of Hildebranski.com, and that’s where I’ve harbored my writings about civil & construction engineering. (I’ll put a link to the site in the show notes). And then last year, I got the itch to start a podcast called “The Construction Engineering Show” where I talk about, yep, you guessed it, construction engineering. So, suffice to say, I’ve been doing my part to fill cyberspace with lots of, what I believe, is solid, useful engineering-related content.
And now, I think the time is right to extend my reach to YouTube. And here’s why.
First & foremost, I love to teach. I love to share my knowledge & experience. I love being able to serve as a resource for people who might not have the same level of experience or knowledge that I have.
Through my website and my podcast, I’ve met so many people. I’ve been able to answer their questions on construction issues, on career development, technical & administrative issues, my Toolbox – Oh, man, I’ve always got tools, and checklists and safety topics to talk about!!
It’s been humbling to have people reach out to me requesting my input on issues that they are struggling with. To help someone solve a problem or work through a situation that might be new to them but one that I’ve had to work through myself, to me, that’s what it’s about. It’s about paying it forward, I want to pay it forward. I want to be the helping hand to those who are coming up in the industry in the same way that many of my mentors helped me when I was learning the ropes.
So that’s what I want to do here. I want to be a Virtual Mentor. I want to help get your questions answered. To help make you a better field engineer. A smarter construction inspector. To learn from my mistakes. To borrow tools from my toolbox. That’s why I’m starting this channel.
My voice is unique. My experience is extremely deep and diverse within the industry. I’ve got some strong opinions on certain aspects of our industry, of work life, of what it takes to be a solid construction engineer. And I want to share them with you. I want to teach you some of the skills that I’ve developed. I want to show you the items in my Toolbox. And you’ll hear me talk about Toolboxes ALL THE TIME! And I’m not just talking about plumb bobs and string lines and levels: I’m talking about the tools you need to navigate the day.
And when I look at the YouTube landscape in, this, which is now early 2021, I don’t see anybody really discussing road & bridge construction. Nobody is talking about sewers and water mains and paving and railroads. Maybe the algorithms aren’t working for me, but I’m not seeing it. Am I wrong?
People – For at least the near future, I think I’ve got the market cornered!!
And as far as content goes, Look: I could sit here and talk about myself, and tell you stories about how I did this, or while I was on this job, I did that. Sure, there’s a time and a place for stories. But I don’t want this channel to be me talking about me all the time.
I’m not a big fan of interview shows. For podcasts, sure, I like putting an interview on in the background to listen to. But for me, when I sit down to listen to an authority speak on a subject, I just want to listen to that voice. I want to take notes. I want to be able to learn. I don’t get that from interviews. There are plenty of other channels where you can find that.
So here’s my pledge. This is Episode #1. I’m willing to commit to this channel and I would like you to be a part of it. I am willing to spend time answering your question. Your questions are likely on the minds of other, say, high school or college students who are trying to decide on a career path, or college grads, or young engineers just starting out and wondering how to get going, how to land your first job. Or maybe you are transitioning out of a design role into a construction inspection role where you understand what’s involved with a project but you have no idea how to oversee one, or be an inspector. Or maybe, you are transitioning from a different industry. Or maybe, you’re a seasoned veteran like me who simply wants to listen to another gray-beard talk about our line of work, or to chime in with a comment or a different viewpoint, or even disagree with me on an issue. Totally fine by me-I’ve got big shoulders, but I’m always willing to listen, discuss, debate, change my mind – Look, I’m ALWAYS first to apologize when I’m wrong!! Whatever the case, whatever your situation, I want this channel to be a place where we can sit around a truck tailgate and talk shop. 10 or 15 minute tailgate talks on topics that you want to discuss.
Look, the construction industry, the engineering industry, the people, the projects, the lifestyle, whatever you want to call it, is amazing. Everyday, I get to wake up and there’s always a new set of problems waiting for me to help solve. I get to work with amazing people. Construction sites allow you to watch skilled workers, machine operators working in big iron moving materials and shaping them into our country’s infrastructure. It’s the roads & bridge we build that allow people to move freely about their towns & their countries. We get to be involved with planning or designing or building the facilities that bring water and electricity and communication systems to people’s homes, to allow them to wash clothes or flush toilets or sit in conditioned air. To fly in airplanes or take trains from city to city. Civil engineers do that. Construction managers do that. Surveyors do that.
I want you to be fired up about our industry. There is so many exciting opportunities if you are willing to commit. Commit to the work. Commit to the lifestyle. Commit to the long hours, the occasional weekends and night shifts. Commit to the people around you. And most of all, commit to yourself. This industry has hundreds if not thousands of opportunities waiting for you, you just need to commit.
So with that, I will always acknowledge that your time is valuable and that I am grateful that you’d chose to spend a few minutes with me, I appreciate you allowing my voice to be part of your day. I have SO MUCH GROUND TO COVER and SO MANY TOPICS TO DISCUSS. I can’t wait to see where this channel and this community might go.
Leave a comment. Post a question. Give this video a Thumbs Up if I’ve earned it. And if you’re interested to hear more, I’d be humbled to have you Subscribe and hit the bell for notifications. I hope to talk to you again very soon.