We Are One Big Family, No, Literally (Part 2)

Family is everything—whether you’re speaking of the people you work with, the community you serve, or, you know, those people you share a home and dinner table with. Yet, at BFW/Marcum, we have the distinct privilege of overlapping. We hire based on excellence, and it’s been great to see excellence and family intersect when the position is right.
This is the second part of our family series, where we sit down with fathers, daughters, sons, and mothers that work in our companies.

Michael & Laken – Father & Daughter

We talk often about how our interns can teach us just as much as we can teach them. It’s interesting, then, to pick the brains of Michael and Laken. Michael is a civil designer at our Murray location. His daughter, Laken, is a summer intern.

Following in Her Father’s Footsteps

“I was very surprised when Laken chose civil engineering and surveying,” Michael explains. “I always thought she’d get into chemical or electrical engineering.”

“During the COVID pandemic, when I did remote schooling, I couldn’t help but see my dad at the other end of the house working from home as well. I knew I wanted to follow in his footsteps, but that solidified it. I got to see a lot of what he was working on firsthand.”

Laken brings up a good point, and touches on one of the reasons we invest so much in our internship program in the first place. You can learn engineering, but you can’t learn the exhilaration that comes when you see it in practice. Firsthand experience and firsthand observation; they’re both integral to inspiration.

Be Grateful; Your Hard Work Pays Off

We asked both Michael and Laken to exchange words of wisdom. Michael, ever the elder, has some sage advice. “Always strive to do your best work and listen to those with more experience.” With age comes experience; the art of listening is lost on many, so mastering that can take you much farther on your journey.

Laken wants her dad to remember that his work matters. “Remember that your hard work will pay off, will be helpful to others, and they will be grateful for it, even if they don’t thank you for it.” She exemplifies the plight of the engineer—they work for their family and the community, but good engineering (like good parenting) is often unnoticed. Either way, it’s important.

Joe & Noah – Father & Son

Are Joe and Noah cut from the same cloth? Only time will tell. What is for sure is that Noah has, thus far, enjoyed following his father into engineering. Luckily, he’s earned himself a summer position at BFW/Marcum so he can see for himself firsthand how his father spends his day.

Joe is proud of his career choice. “I am a ‘Project Engineer I’ within the civil department and am responsible for design of any civil engineering systems. Most of the projects are related to site development and sanitary sewer and water system expansions.”

Without people like Joe, we’d not have firm ground to build on. While Joe is a veteran, Noah is a fledgling. “I’m in a summer position with the firm, working at the Paducah branch for the surveying department.”

Joe is no stranger to hard work, and he’s happy to have imparted that trait to his son. Surveying in the summer is no easy task—it often means long bouts in the sun with little shade. Even then, Noah is happy to do the work.

It Takes a Strong Resolve to Become an Engineer

A thick skin and a strong backbone—believe it or not, these are the traits of an effective engineer. Joe is happy to see that his son is putting his best foot forward. “When Noah expressed interest in engineering, specifically in the surveying field, it made me feel proud to know that I have had a positive influence on his potential career direction.

I know well the strain and reward of this field and it takes a strong backboned person to persevere. The work pays off in the end, as engineering is a career path that makes a real difference in the world, especially in the community you serve.”

Noah is happy with his trajectory. “Did I know for a fact that I wanted to follow my father’s career path? Not really, to be honest. It kind of snuck up on me, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I find so much of it interesting, and engineering has cemented itself in my mind as the path I want to take.”

At the End of the Day, Be True to Yourself

Both Joe and Noah traded advice, which was surprisingly close in its meaning. They both ask each other to continue their pursuit of honesty—with themselves and others.

Joe’s is first. “One thing I hope will always stick with him is, first and foremost, seek out a career choice that he can enjoy and wants to do every day. Worry about everything else after that!”

There is a simplicity and purity to this advice. Do the right thing—the thing that feels best and most honest, and the rest will fall into place.

Noah thinks his father has already tapped into that deep honesty he asks of his son. “My advice to him would be to just stay the same. He has always been very driven and takes his career very seriously, I think that he will succeed in anything he decides to do if he just keeps the same mindset and work ethic that he has had his whole life.”

We agree with Joe and Noah. When you’re true to yourself and honest with others, you can’t help but do the right thing. Success isn’t always about finishing first, or even finishing. It’s more to do with how you pursue a goal. We’re proponents of the straight and narrow path. That is to say, when you do something right, and you’re unwavering in your resolve, it’ll sort itself out. Joe and Noah exemplify this philosophy in their words to one another, and we’re happy to have them in our family.