January 28, 2016

From the Corner Office: An Aggie’s Advice to Young Engineers

I was recently asked to discuss what role mechanical engineers play in the MEP industry with Dr. Timothy Jacobs’ ME 381 class at my Alma matter, Texas A&M. Whoop! While Dr. Jacobs left the format of the presentation up to me, he encouraged me to go beyond the technical aspects of what we do and share some insight into life after graduation.

As I began to organize my thoughts, it was easy to convey what these future engineers would encounter if they decided to pursue a career in our industry. However, I wanted to give more insight into how they might live a more fulfilling life. I wanted to reiterate how the core values of Excellence, Integrity, Leadership, Loyalty, Respect and Selfless Service that Texas A&M espouses should not be forgotten. I wanted to encourage them to be life long learners and I also wanted to talk to them about a concept that I learned from Dave Ramsey – “How to Avoid Flat Tires on The Wheel of Life”.

This is not a new concept. I believe it was originally introduced by Zig Ziglar, but I’ve heard Dave speak about the subject on several occasions over the years and it has really stuck with me.

Consider your life as a wheel or a tire and the spokes that support the wheel are the many areas that make up your life. These include things like Family, Health, Career, Attitude, Finance, Personal Growth, Relationships, Social Life and your Spiritual Life.

f we don’t provide equal input into all these areas of our life, some of the spokes will tend to get shorter than the others and your wheel will get out of balance. Keep driving or living this way and you’ll soon have a flat tire.

For instance, if you don’t spend time exercising, your health will eventually suffer. I might compare this to a slow leak in your tire that eventually goes flat. If you spend all your time at work and ignore your family, social life and spiritual life, it won’t be long before you have a blow out. While we can’t always achieve perfect balance in our lives, the Wheel of Life concept certainly gives us all a goal to which we can aspire.

In the end, I discussed with Dr. Jacob’s class what I had learned at and since my days in College Station: when A&M’s core values inform your actions on a daily basis, they set you on the path toward not only professional success, but personal success and a full tire on the Wheel of Life.

Wade Cleary, PE, LEEP AP, CxA, Managing Principal/CEO at Cleary Zimmermann Engineers

By Wade Cleary, PE, Managing Principal