How to Manage Diverse Designs and Project Scopes in Structural Engineering


Diverse DesignsDiverse DesignsIn this episode, we talk with Gbadebo Atewologun, S.E., P.E., about the importance of finding fulfillment in the profession and the satisfaction of seeing one’s designs come to life. Gbadebo also discusses the impact of computers on the field, highlighting the increased speed and complexity of analysis. He shares strategies for managing diverse designs and project scopes, including effective collaboration with architects.

***The video version of this episode can be viewed .***

Engineering Quotes:

Diverse DesignsDiverse Designs

Diverse DesignsDiverse Designs

Diverse DesignsDiverse Designs

Here Are Some of the Questions We Ask Gbadebo:

  • What was your journey like transitioning into structural engineering and advancing to your current position?
  • In what ways have computers reshaped the landscape of structural engineering?
  • Could you share your experience in acquiring the ability to conduct rapid checks on calculations for structural engineering tasks, and how successful has it been in error detection?
  • How do you manage the diverse designs and project scopes you encounter, and can you recount any memorable instances of navigating significant changes in scope or design?
  • When guiding younger engineers in their career progression, what strategies do you employ?
  • When initiating collaboration with an unfamiliar architect on a new project, how do you ensure smooth teamwork and establish expectations for the partnership?
  • Which initiatives or strategies have you noticed effectively enticing younger individuals to pursue careers in this field?
  • What was your journey in honing your communication and leadership skills, and what methods do you employ to refine them further?
  • How did you cultivate your communication and leadership skills, and what guidance would you provide to those striving to enhance these competencies?
  • Based on your experiences, what advice would you offer aspiring engineers today, drawing from lessons you wish you had learned earlier in your career?

Here Are Some of the Key Points Discussed About How to Manage Diverse Designs and Project Scopes in Structural Engineering:

  • Transitioning into structural engineering was a natural step for Gbadebo, influenced by his father’s expertise and his fascination with buildings and bridges. Despite considering electrical engineering, he found his niche in structures. Graduating early, he gained experience across various projects, guided by his father’s wisdom. Now, Gbadebo finds fulfillment in applying math to real-world constructions while supporting his family.
  • Computers have revolutionized structural engineering, allowing for faster and more intricate calculations and design analysis through software like MathCAD, STAD, RISA, and SAP. Younger engineers face the challenge of ensuring the accuracy of computer-generated results, highlighting the need for strong engineering fundamentals alongside technological advancements.
  • Swiftly checking structural engineering calculations is crucial for error detection. For instance, seismic load calculations sometimes appear unusually high for Illinois, prompting a closer look and revealing parameter errors. This skill highlights the need for vigilant scrutiny to maintain accuracy in engineering tasks.
  • In structural engineering, handling diverse designs and project scopes requires good communication and teamwork. Engineers work closely with architects, explaining how design choices affect structural integrity. These experiences show the importance of clear communication and empathy in managing changes in projects.
  • In guiding younger engineers, creating a supportive learning environment is key. Encouraging them to ask questions cultivates a culture of inquiry and continuous learning. This prepares them to collaborate effectively with senior engineers and supervisors, improving their skills and readiness for career progression.
  • When starting to work with a new architect, it’s crucial to communicate openly and build a good relationship from the beginning. Regular meetings and frequent updates help ensure both parties are on the same page, facilitating smooth teamwork and problem-solving throughout the project.
  • Encouraging children to consider engineering careers is crucial. Programs like Milhouse’s nonprofit arm introduce them to engineering, explaining career paths and benefits. Through presentations and school visits, they make engineering relatable, discussing iconic buildings and sparking curiosity. This approach effectively entices young individuals to explore engineering careers by showcasing their diverse opportunities and real-world impact.
  • Improving communication and leadership means practicing, understanding others, and staying positive. It involves finding common ground, respecting everyone, and being empathetic. Adapting communication styles and continuous learning refine these skills for effective leadership.
  • To enhance communication and leadership skills, explore public speaking courses and study psychology for insights into human behavior. Approach interactions with enthusiasm, empathy, and curiosity, and actively seek feedback for improvement. Continuous learning and feedback-seeking are essential for navigating both technical and interpersonal challenges effectively.
  • Understanding the importance of relationships and project management metrics is key for career growth. Recognizing how interactions affect career progress, collaboration, and client relations is crucial. Managing scope, schedule, and budget efficiently ensures successful project delivery. Balancing proficiency with meeting project metrics is essential for excelling in engineering.

More Details in This Episode…

About the Guest: Gbadebo Atewologun, S.E., P.E.

Milhouse Engineering and Construction, IncMilhouse Engineering and Construction, IncGbadebo Atewologun is currently the Director of Structural & Architecture at Milhouse Engineering and Construction, Inc. With a solid educational background from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he earned both a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a structural emphasis and a Master of Engineering in Structural Engineering, Atewologun brings nearly 17 years of experience to his role. Born in Champaign, Illinois, while his father was completing his Ph.D. in structures at the University of Illinois, Gbadebo possesses a profound passion for reading and writing historical fiction. He is also noted for his remarkable academic achievement, having graduated high school in less than a year.

About the Hosts

Mathew Picardal, P.E., S.E.

The Structural Engineering ChannelThe Structural Engineering ChannelMathew is a licensed engineer, practicing on structural projects in California, with an undergraduate degree from Cal Poly Pomona and an M.S. in Structural Engineering from UC San Diego. He has designed and managed various types of building structures, including residential wood apartment buildings, commercial steel buildings, and concrete parking structures and towers. He also hosts the new YouTube channel “Structural Engineering Life,” through which he promotes the structural engineering profession to engineering students who are not familiar with the industry perspective.

Rachel Holland, P.E.

Rachel Holland, P.E.Rachel Holland, P.E.Rachel is an experienced R&D engineer, developing and patenting multiple new structural connectors. She also offers her expertise to both the end user and specifiers as a branch engineering supervisor. She represents Simpson Strong-Tie as a deck expert, educating others on how to properly build code-compliant decks. Before her career working for a manufacturing company, she spent many years working for engineering consulting companies. She earned her Architectural Engineering undergrad degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from California State University, Monterey Bay. Rachel is a licensed P.E. in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.


Milhouse Engineering and Construction, Inc.
PE Exam
SE Exam
John Hancock Building
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Connect with Gbadebo Atewologun, S.E., P.E., on LinkedIn

Please leave your comments or questions in the section below on how you manage diverse designs and project scopes in structural engineering.

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To your success,

Mathew Picardal, P.E., S.E., and Rachel Holland, P.E.
Hosts of The Structural Engineering Podcast


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Originally posted 2024-04-04 14:31:32.

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