New year, new roles! At Cleary Zimmermann, the beginning of the new year is a time to celebrate the promotions of our team. We had the opportunity to sit down with Jacob Fritsch, PE, Director of Plumbing, to learn more about his personal history and experience at CZ.
Jacob Fritsch, PE, joined Cleary Zimmermann in 2022 as Senior Plumbing Designer. Graduating from Texas Tech in 2014 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Jacob gained over 8 years of experience in design and analysis of plumbing and fire protection systems. His proficiency in the production of 2D and 3D models utilizing the latest in design technology allows him to produce high quality designs in a timely manner. His experience with new and renovation project designs includes commercial, laboratories, education, healthcare, retail, hospitality, and government.
In September of 2023, Jacob achieved a significant milestone, stepping into the role of Director of Plumbing. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Jacob, diving deeper into his experience at Cleary Zimmermann Engineers.
Hi Jacob! First off, congratulations on your promotion! Could you share more about your background at Cleary Zimmermann?
“When I was hired, I was brought on as a Senior Plumbing Designer for CZ. I have worked in that role for about a year and a half at CZ and about 8 years for other firms. Being a Senior Plumbing Designer, I designed multiple plumbing systems, such as medical gas, domestic water systems, & sanitary waste systems for medical facilities, higher education, and industrial construction projects.”
Can you tell us about your new role and responsibilities?
“I’ve been promoted to Director of Plumbing. This promotion entails a lot of new and exciting responsibilities. In addition to my design roles, I will be transitioning to a lead technical role for the department as well as supporting incoming plumbing engineers. The other major part of this role will be managing workflow for my department to make sure we keep a good work-life balance for my team.”
How has your previous role and experience at the firm contributed to your professional growth?
“My previous roles and experiences have contributed greatly to my professional growth. As a Senior Plumbing Engineer, I have been tasked with projects that stretch my understanding of plumbing beyond my comfort zone. Thanks to this journey, I’ve experienced tremendous personal growth and accomplished goals that a decade ago seemed beyond my reach.”
Has there been any specific mentors who influenced your career growth?
“Thomas, [Principal of Building MEP] and Perry [Senior Plumbing Designer] have been the biggest mentors so far at CZ.
Perry has been a really amazing mentor in the fact that he’s helping me step into my role as Plumbing Director. At a different company, he had been a plumbing director, therefore he has been an amazing sounding board for me with years of experience. He continues to teach me patience, kindness, and he’s not afraid to correct my mistakes. Thomas does the exact same thing.”
What advice would you give other people aspiring to advance their careers and secure a promotion?
“I recommend working hard, putting in the time, and applying yourself fully to your trade. These seemingly basic tasks will allow you to go further than you ever thought possible. Another thing I would recommend is asking questions. There are no such thing as “stupid” questions and sometimes just talking through a problem with another person can solve even the most complicated issues. The biggest thing is don’t be afraid of mistakes. They teach more than getting the answer right the first time.”
Looking forward, what do you hope to accomplish in your new role? What are your goals for the first year?
“As Plumbing Director, my department goals for this year are to elevate the look and consistency of our BIM modeling to be the best they can, while also working with my team to streamline our design processes to provide clients with the best possible products. My greatest hope is to increase efficiency without [significantly] increasing workload for our team, allowing for a better work-life balance.
My personal goals for this year are to pursue educational opportunities that increase my competency in the engineering discipline such as working towards getting my certified plumbing designer accreditation (CPD) through ASPE, as well as getting my ASSE 6060 certification for med gas design.”
As we reflect on new year promotions, we can’t help but notice the ambition that radiates amongst all our CZers. From effective communication, resource allocation, and team-building, our crew continues to bring new talents and new abilities to the firm. We are eager to step foot into the new year, with ambitious plans for growth!