Why We Do What We Do
Why We do it This Way
“Why?” might be a common enough question. However, when was the last time you stopped what you were doing and really asked it? Why do you do the work that you do? Why do you live the life that you do?
We’ll be honest; the question of “why?” rarely has a complete answer. As they say, it’s more about the journey than the destination. At BFW/Marcum, the pursuit of “why?” has gotten us far. Our curiosity about every detail, on the job or off, has given us the perspective to take a peek at the “bigger picture”.
Engineering is About Asking “Why?”
Every engineer we know began their childhood asking “why?”. It was more than likely their first word! Many people think that engineering is about designing, building, or somewhere in the middle of both. However, the heart of engineering, and the heart of what drives our firm, is to question our methods, our results, and to ask if we can do better.
These are frustrating questions to ask. Yet, in our pursuit to answer them we’ve gained some valuable insight into the engineering industry, our community at large, and ourselves. Let’s break them down.
Why Do We Do Things a Certain Way?
Whatever our methods, our commitment is to do things the right way, especially if no one’s watching. When attempting to answer these big picture questions we’re forced to look at the little details. When asking “why?” enough times you can’t help but stop, take a breather, and evaluate your progress rather than ride its momentum.
Our clients appreciate this about us. It shows thoughtfulness, a trait important in exceptional engineering. The things we conceive have been vetted by the harshest critics; ourselves.
Why Did We Achieve this Result?
The famous television painter Bob Ross taught us all to appreciate the happy accidents in life. Even we can admit sometimes we achieve a result even we didn’t expect. However, leaving a project to chance or even benefitting from a little luck fails to teach you any lessons.
As Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So, too, is an unexamined success not worth taking credit for. Success isn’t our prerogative so much as understanding how we succeeded. Our introspection goes both ways; we’re just as interested in what led to a failure. If you know why something happened, you’ve learned from it regardless of your success or failure at achieving a result.
Why Can’t We Do Better?
Our industry is famously “promise-phobic”, in other words, we see a lot of our colleagues who are afraid to set expectations high or make commitments to a certain level of quality lest they disappointment their client. At BFW/Marcum we’re always asking ourselves why we can’t do better. The answer? We can and we do.
Pushing yourself to commit to certain goals is the only way you can grow. Increasing your stakes, creating a fearless team, and finding commonality in constantly raising the ceiling is what gives us the success that we have as a firm.
Work that Serves the Common Good is Work Worth Doing
We’re constantly asking more of ourselves. However, it’s important to remember that engineering firms have a commitment to the public. That means getting outside of your head and ensuring that your work goes beyond you; it should strive to benefit the common good, whether that’s your local or global community.
At our firm, we want our work to be bigger than us. It should be intimidating and it should make us scratch our heads at first. We aren’t here to be part of the status quo. Instead, we want to be innovators, community leaders, and contributor to the common good. No one said engineering was easy. We make it harder than it needs to be because that’s how we know we’re doing something exceptional that will benefit the public.
Our Legacy, Our Future, Our Community
Highways, roads, bridges, schools, and public buildings are all important for collective peace-of-mind. Good infrastructure meaningfully enriches our lives, even if it’s in the background. We want our work to serve the community now and into the future. To do that, we commit ourselves to a level of quality that demands hard work, exceptional problem-solving, and an insight into the future.
We’re not just engineers. We’re fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, mentors, and community leaders. We understand the importance of building both a future and a legacy that will outlive us. Our legacy is in the connections we make and the challenges we overcome.