Success Story… Prior preparation paid off…

As the Boy Scouts say… be prepared! Because Dave was prepared, he was able to make a rewarding career change to consulting after unexpectedly losing his job.

Dave’s experience was a actually a catalyst for Kimmel Gerke Associates. I knew Dave casually, and my business partner was pretty good friends with him.  It was the mid-1970s, and we all worked together at the same defense contractor.

Dave loses his job…

Due to a business downturn, a significant number of engineers were laid off — an occupational hazard of the defense business. Dave was a very competent engineer, but as he was just winding down on a project, management considered him “expendable.”

Job hunting was tough, as other defense contractors were downsizing as well. But several years earlier, Dave had obtained his PE (Professional Engineer) license. While this credential often means little in the defense industry, it is very important for engineers working for consulting firms. It is a bit like having a CPA license in an accounting firm.

Dave quickly lands a new job…

On a lark, Dave called up one of the largest engineering consulting firms in town to inquire about jobs.

  • The FIRST QUESTION was, “Do you have a PE license?”
  • With a YES answer, the SECOND QUESTION was, “What is your background?”
  • When he answered electronics, he was immediately invited in for an interview.

You see, most of their electrical engineers specialized in power, not electronics. A PE with electronics experience was rare. He had exactly what they needed to work on electronics systems in buildings — security, fire alarms, HVAC (heating/ventilation/air conditioning), etc.  Furthermore, as a PE, he could legally sign/seal the engineering drawings, and also supervise the work.

Prior preparation paid off…

Thus Dave began his new career. He called my partner and told him to “Go get your PE  — you’ll never know when you will need it!” Soon after, we were both enrolled in a class on the PE license. Not long after becoming licensed, we started our own part time consulting practice – later to become full time.

Today’s Lesson… Get credentials and licenses BEFORE you need them!

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