September 30, 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 Yan Weng and Jayadeep Reddy from our Chicago MEP department.

Yan, our Chief Technical Engineer, PE, LEED AP BD+C, has been with Epstein for nearly 10 years. Mechanical HVAC system design of commercial, institutional, healthcare and industrial buildings is her area of expertise. One of her notable projects, currently under construction, is the multi-year high temperature water (HTW) generator replacement project at O’Hare Airport’s Heating and Refrigeration (H&R) Plant. She has also been involved with various production facilities for Glanbia, a global nutrition company.

Jay, our Senior Design Engineer, LEED AP, has been with Epstein for a little over six years. He started his career as a commercial HVAC designer. At Epstein, he has gotten exposure to working on industrial projects and, ever since, has developed a liking for the challenges these projects present. Jay was also one of the lead mechanical engineers for large pork processing facilities like Seaboard Triumph Foods and Prestage Foods. Prior to joining Epstein, as a material science engineer, Jay worked on silicon carbide thin films and its mechanical properties and presented the following two papers under National Science Foundation research funding:

  1. “Mechanical Properties of 3C-SiC Films for MEMS Applications”.
  2. “Residual Stress in CVD-grown 3C-SiC Films on Si Substrates”.

Yan helped Jay settle in his role with Epstein during his initial days.They instantly struck a chord and bonded over cultural similarities from their respective countries of origin.

What is the biggest takeaway for you from this relationship?

Yan: “I am amazed at how quickly young engineers can adapt to new types of projects and how well they can learn from the field during the construction phase. Jay did not have much experience on industrial projects before he joined Epstein; now, he is a lead engineer who can handle any industrial building mechanical system design very well."

Could you share a memorable project you worked on together?

Jay: “Healthcare projects for Veterans Affairs (VA) (William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison). Each VA project was unique, especially the design of MRI Lab and Cath Labs that require special ventilation and design requirements."

What are your secrets for a successful mentor/mentee relationship?

Yan: "I think about what I had been through when I was young; how my mentors treated me - the way that really help me to grow. Communication is very important, especially between mentor and mentee. The more appreciation, the more trust, and the more encouragement from a mentor, the better and faster a mentee can grow."

Jay: “Yan lets me start all projects on my own design ideas until I am met with hurdles, and she helps guide me through with different solutions. She has let me learn on my own - that way it helps me develop as an engineer."

What’s the best lesson(s) you’ve learned from Yan so far?

Jay: “She always mentions that continuous learning is key and that you will always learn new things every day, be it in our work place or daily life. This is so true, and I can relate this to every project I have worked on so far. Yan leads by example and is always open to learning new things from us. Apart from work, she has greatly inspired me to focus on physical fitness, healthy eating habits and work out as often as possible.

Yan, how would you best describe your mentoring style?

Yan: “Trust, respect and appreciation!"

Something I appreciate about my mentor….

Jay: “I cannot understand how she stays composed even under pressure, which is a great quality I wish I had. Also, she is the first female chief mechanical engineer I have encountered and she has excelled in that role, especially in the construction industry."

Something I appreciate about my mentee…

Yan: “He always gives me feedback and updates me with the results of the issues we discussed before, especially the ones we didn’t have a solution to. A good engineer does not need an answer for his question, he just needs the tool to find the answer."

What are some of the challenges Yan has helped you overcome as your mentor?

Jay: "Interacting with the clients and contractors was new to me, but, with her constant guidance, I have been able to handle tough circumstances that have come my way."

What best describes Jay?

Yan: “Jay is responsible and reliable. He is a very hard working person and a great team player."

A little known fact about Yan…

Jay:Yan goes to the gym for 2-3 hours every day. She has inspired me to eat healthy and work out as often as possible. She is also an avid mountaineer and has been climbing around the world (Mount Everest base camp, Kilimanjaro and many more). Only COVID lockdown has stopped her!"