Career Spotlight: Get to Know Dave

an engineering/CAD manager working for Hermanson Company

My job is about removing roadblocks, and lifting people and teams to a higher level than they were the day before!

Dave Nehren

Hometown: Auburn, Washington

I live with: My wife of 27 years, Lisa, and two daughters (17 & 15).

Education: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington

Years in the industry: 26 years

My main responsibilities are: Engineer of Record for design build mechanical design projects, along with technical support, quality control and cost effectiveness reviews.

# of promotions since I started: A few now. I started in the industry as a junior engineer, moved up to a mechanical design engineer and then senior design engineer. I was given a team to supervise as a team leader and eventually became a department engineering / CAD manager. During my 17 years at this company, I also spent two as an account executive in a sales role, during the time we were working out of the 2008-09 recession period.

My job is: About removing roadblocks and lifting people and teams to a higher level than they were the day before!

My first ever job was: At Jack in the Box.

My favorite subject in high school was: Computer Programming.

To be good at my job you need to: Be a human engineer primarily, and a technical engineer next.

My favorite part of my job is: Helping people to do and be more!

My least favorite part is: Never being able to truly to work off…

How I got my start in the industry: I graduated in 1992, when employment was hard to find for mechanical engineers. My Mom was a banquet waitress and there was a mechanical contracting event at her hotel. She talked to a number of people there and found someone who, although not looking for a junior engineer, was willing to talk with me on the phone for an hour one morning and share as many company names and industry contacts as he possibly could. One of those companies and managers gave me a chance, and I will be forever grateful for what that opportunity has become!

My advice to someone considering coming into this industry is: In the words of Dale Carnegie, 15% of your ability to succeed financially is due to your technical engineering skills and 85% is due to your human engineering skills. Take that to heart and their will be few ceilings to block your path.

My favorite project was: My first high rise, the ODS Tower in Portland. At the time, it had the largest single rooftop unit (split) that Mammoth had ever made at ~900 tons, covering almost half the roof of the building and surrounding the elevator machine room.

Proudest work accomplishment: When I first took over the engineering group at my company, I had a team of three people and designed $3 million worth of projects. Next year, we will be over six times larger in group size and almost 20 times more in design build project revenue. Being a part of this growth and watching the development of the people on my team has been incredibly satisfying.