Career Transformations

Collin Richtarcik

Current Position: Graduate Engineer

Hire Date: May 10, 2020

Hired as an intern? Yes

Other titles held: Intern

What made you decide to join AEW?

Originally, I came from a science background with a BS in Human Biology from Michigan State University. A couple years had passed with little to no luck in the medical/ pharmaceutical industry, so I decided to go back to school.

I started Wayne State University’s Civil Engineering Program in Winter 2020. Being eager to gain industry experience early, I was looking for an internship with a civil firm after my first semester. I talked to AEW at Wayne State’s career fair. They gave me an opportunity to intern with them and I took it.

Funny Story, Sydney Kanan, my current supervisor, was the one who recruited me at Wayne State’s career fair! Sue was also there!

Do you remember how you felt when you started at AEW?

Nervous but excited, I really wanted to do well. I had originally come from a science background, so working for a company based in an entirely different industry was a bit unnerving. However, I had worked several construction jobs prior while in school, and having started at AEW in the field, it was a fairly smooth transition.

What were your career goals then compared to now?

When I started my goal was to become a licensed professional civil engineer. That hasn’t changed. I will be starting my PE exam prep soon, with the hope of passing sometime next year.

What advice would you give to college students focusing on Civil / Architecture / Survey?

Learn your programs! I was amazed by the lack of CAD training opportunities while I was in school. Having a thorough understanding of AutoCAD and all its functionalities is so important in this industry, especially if you have any desire of being a designer.

There is a push more and more towards paperless engineering. Being able to use CAD programs, 3d modeling software, Microsoft Office, document editors, etc. will all make you a much more effective engineer. Learn it early to give yourself an edge!

What do you consider the biggest accomplishment of your career to date?

For me, probably earning my full-time position at AEW or passing my Fundamentals of Engineering Exam.