Maybe you built Lego kingdoms or toy bridges as a child. Underlying that, however, was a pull from the world of engineering. Perhaps you had a DIY dad as you grew up who instilled a fascination with how things are put together. Here are some real-life stories from Parkhill, Smith & Cooper engineers with themes of three signs that you might be destined to be an engineer.

1. It’s in Your Genes

Joe Rapier, Director of Innovation, said his father was both an architect and an engineer as well as a firm owner, so he grew up in the industry.

“I knew it was in my DNA,” he said.

Dean Lackey, a control systems engineer in Lubbock, agrees that engineering can be innate to one’s nature. He has two brothers who are engineers and a father with multiple patents.

“It’s in your blood,” Dean said. “I grew up on a farm learning from my dad how to create solutions with the power of your mind and the resources at hand. To me, this is engineering at its essence.”

2. You Love Math and the Thrill of Solving Problems

Kendra Hanfeld, a civil engineer in our Abilene office, was a teacher’s aide for calculus in high school. Her teacher encouraged her to go into engineering.

“Solving a tough problem right gave me a rush.  Like a tough workout, I felt accomplished,” she said. “Looking back, I loved to play with K’nex. I would build miniature Ferris Wheels, roller coasters, cars and all sorts of objects. I can also tell I have an urge to know why and how things work which just feeds the engineer in me. Now, finding a creative way to solve problems within the budgeted amount is that rush I had with my calculus problems.”

When El Paso Civil Engineer Kimberly LaBree was growing up, she encouraged the math teacher in her class to use faster methods. As a 7-year-old at home, she said she took apart and reassembled phones and alarm clocks.

3. You Want to Know Why and How Things Work

Holly Holder, principal and civil engineer in Lubbock, said it is a natural trait of engineers to have a desire to understand how things work.

“For instance, at a young age, it can show up with a child taking a toy apart and putting it back to together just to see how it works,” he said. “Engineers have that mindset of a desire to know how to make things work. It’s that understanding that leads us to take a blank sheet of paper and designing a system that becomes a reality for others to benefit from.”

Scott Honeyfield, principal and engineer specializing in water resources in Amarillo, remembers “all the toys of the engineer-to-be” including Legos, Lincoln Logs and his Erector Set.

While Scott said he was certainly unaware of it at the time while playing with these toys, he found that they relate “the actual to the theoretical that will be learned in the university years of an engineer.  Subliminally, the theoretical has already been demonstrated from years gone by, allowing the learning and understanding to come much easier.”

Diana Camacho, a graduate engineer in the El Paso office, was drawn to electrical engineering much like Thomas Edison was drawn to the lightbulb.

“For me, this is not work,” she said. “It’s like having fun all the time.”