As engineers, we know the typical skills we’re looking for when we hire for a new position. We
want someone who designs efficiently, is a good communicator, can work as part of a team, and has the
hard engineering skills to get the job done. What we don’t know are the value-added skills we don’t
have and should be looking to bring to our existing teams.
In the face of constant technological and environmental change, how can we build the engineering
teams of the future without knowing what that future holds? While we don’t have all the specifics, we
do know one of the main issues is adapting to and coping with the effects of a changing climate. This
means we need to start creating teams with non-traditional backgrounds to provide a more holistic
approach to engineering solutions.
For example, engineers might leverage the expertise from disciplines such as geochemistry and
hydrogeology to identify techniques to optimize designs. They may also pursue further collaboration
with landscape architects and ecologists. Designing the engineered systems of the future will also
require investing in research and development, especially for organizations who don’t have that
Some of the most important skills to support these initiatives include research and scientific literacy,
providing opportunities for our teams to become comfortable in the field, lab, and office. Expanding our
experiences and experiments into these various locations will strengthen and support designs by
allowing engineers to have a diverse range of knowledge.
This presentation will discuss the value-added skills you should be cultivating on your team today,
options for accessing expertise and skill development, and how to begin pivoting your hiring strategies
to attract and retain multi-disciplinary engineering teams.