May 19, 2020
We are highlighting the unique relationships we share in our global community of seasoned professionals. The strength of Epstein lies in the wealth of experience shared with each other to better equip our workforce with knowledge and confidence.
From building great professional relationships to long lasting friendships, these stories speak for themselves. This month, the spotlight is on David Hilty and Deion DeBose from our Chicago Civil Engineering department.
Dave is a Project Manager in the Civil Engineering department and has been with Epstein for 28 years. His main area of expertise is site development with a focus on storm-water management. Daves recent riverfront projects in downtown Chicago have earned awards from the Friends of the Chicago River and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois. Dave is also Epsteins resident FAA licensed drone pilot!
Deion is our Senior Design Engineer with a specialization in site civil. Within Epstein, he participates as a member of Epsteins Staffing Initiative Committee representing the Civil department. Additionally, he serves as a Team Captain for the Rebuilding Together project as part of the Epstein Community Foundation. Outside of Epstein, Deion is a board member of the American Society of Civil Engineers Illinois Section Younger Member Group.
Dave and Deion have been working together for the past four years.
What is the biggest takeaway for you from this relationship?
Dave: Deions energy and excitement to learn new things helps to keep me and my team current with technology and work flows. Deion is always looking for new challenges and his ability to handle any situation gives me great confidence as one of the key members of the Civil Site Development team!
Deion: Dave has a wealth of knowledge as it pertains to site civil and is a great resource for any project we are working on. Not only does Dave provide excellent advice and creative solutions on projects, but also an excellent and safe work environment for younger engineers to grow and excel.
Could you share the most memorable project you worked on together?
Deion: Dave has been a guide for many different projects with different challenges. One project that had a significant impact on me was Lincoln Common, a large mixed-use development located in Chicagos Lincoln Park neighborhood. The project presented many unexpected challenges and it was a big learning curve for me. With Daves guidance and excellent advice, I was able to successfully coordinate with the architect, various engineers, contractor and owner as the main engineer for the project.
Dave: Even though Deion did not start the project, he played a tremendous role in the successful close-out of the Lincoln Common project. Deion was able to work closely with the project team to navigate some challenging, unanticipated construction issues that really highlighted his ability to work well with the project architect, owner, and contractor.
It comes as no surprise that both Dave and Deion chose the same project as their favorite at their individual interviews.
What are your secrets for a successful mentor/mentee relationship?
Deion: "Trust has been a foundation for our success in this relationship. Dave has continued to provide new challenges and responsibility that I worked hard to overcome. With each new challenge, I trust Dave to provide a guiding hand while he expects me to deliver a successful outcome.
"A mentor must provide the right challenges in which the mentee must be willing to tackle and accept feedback as a valuable learning experience. If there is any Issue with a project or challenge, he must be there to help guide you, without being overly critical and with a focus on making you a better engineer and furthering your career.
Dave: I used to give golf lessons back in the day and understood that each person had a unique swing that I needed to build off of. I did not believe that tearing their swing down to make it look like someone elses was very productive. This holds true with mentoring an engineer. Each mentee is different and needs different levels of guidance. My secret is that I try to give each person as much responsibility as possible. When corrections are required to designs or client interactions, we use that as an opportunity to learn. Its a fine balance between nurturing good design, letting mistakes happen, being efficient with work effort, and meeting budgets and deadlines a formula that I believe has worked well for me.
Deion, what is the best piece of advice Dave has given you as a mentor?
Deion: One question that Dave asked me - 'If you had to build the project, could you do it with the information you provided on the drawings?' - has really stuck with me. As engineers when we design a project, we should constantly ask ourselves 'How do you plan to build it?'
"This always reminds me to ensure I am providing the right information and amount of detail to accurately construct a project.
One word that describes Deion?
A fun fact about Dave?
Deion: Most of you may not know, but Dave was a pro-golfer and has 3 holes-in-one!"