Job Shadowing at Civiltech

Posted: 5/26/2010

Civiltech hosted three high school seniors from Niles North High School on October 22, 2009. The students are planning to pursue Civil Engineering in college and wanted to get an idea of what engineers do on a day to day basis. The students began their day with a brief introduction by some of our department heads, followed by a tour of the office.

Phase I engineers let them “roll up their sleeves” after a brief overview of the types of projects that Civiltech is working on. Using Highway Capacity Software (HCS+), they input traffic numbers and changed traffic signal timings at an intersection to come up with the best Level of Service. Then we showed them the same intersection using VISSIM, a traffic modeling program, which is a visual simulation of the traffic and how the intersection operates. The students learned how we can use CAD software to provide 3D visual representations of how the proposed roadway improvements would look incorporated into the existing terrain. This visual model is a combination of a surface model, digital pictures, and the proposed roadway geometrics. A quick tour of the Structure and Traffic Signal departments gave them a better appreciation of the complexity of a complete roadway design team.

At lunch, the students discussed their career goals and were given some advice on schools they had applied to and what classes would be beneficial to their intended career direction. Back to the office, they were introduced to Phase III personnel who provided them with colorful stories about how field engineers ensure that quality designs are utilized in the field to build roads. Phase II followed this by giving an overview of the design process to reach a set of roadway plans. They were shown a demonstration of survey data conversion into a CAD drawing, to help make the connection between the two stages of the design process. Finally, we briefly explained a final set of plans and how the information was organized so the contractor can construct the roadway, and they saw photos of some completed projects by Civiltech.

Civiltech was pleased to hear that the students were more excited about their career direction than when they arrived. We would like to thank them for visiting. Their youthful enthusiasm reminded us why we chose such a rewarding career.