My name is Pat Sweet. Before I get too far into this Engineering and Leadership project, I thought you might appreciate knowing more about the man behind the blog.
I’m an electrical engineer living and working in Ontario, Canada. I studied electrical engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and graduated in 2008. After graduating, I followed a girl out to Ontario, which turned out to be a great decision since I ended up marrying her in 2011. Since graduating, I’ve been fortunate enough to get some experience in consulting, utilities, and manufacturing. I’ve worked all over Canada and on all kinds of interesting projects. I’ve been involved in multi-million dollar construction projects, earned my leadership in energy and environmental design designation, designed LED street lights, managed funds to help people develop energy management projects, and now I build trains for a living. It’s been a wild ride so far, and I know I’m only getting started.
In my experience in industry, I’ve noticed that there’s a real need for leadership among engineers. I think this applies just as much to front-line engineers-in-training as it does for the folks in corner offices. Young engineers stand to gain a lot in terms of career advancement, recognition and job satisfaction by exercising leadership skills. Skills that, for the most part, aren’t really fostered in school. Engineers who are able to communicate effectively, organize themselves and others, and who can influence the world around them are the ones who bubble up to the top. Don’t get me wrong – you need technical mastery to be a good engineer, but you need leadership skills to be a great engineer.
What I’m going to try and focus on in this blog is front-line leadership. I’m going to try and explore ideas about leadership and try and frame them in such a way that young engineers can implement them in their day-to-day roles at work. I’ll do this in the hopes that you’ll take something away from this that you can actually use at work.
So, why should you take my advice anyway? Good question. The fact is, I don’t hold any formal leadership position at work. I don’t “Leader” or “Manager” on my business card. That being said, I’ve had a lot of opportunity to fill informal leadership roles at work. Beyond that, I’ve been a leader in sports, in school, and at church for years. That puts me in a unique position. I understand 100% what life in a cubicle is like, because that’s my daily existence. At the same time, I’ve got a lot of leadership experience to draw from that I’m confident would benefit other engineers in my position.
My mission here is not to lecture. I don’t have a PhD. What I want to do instead is share ideas. I want to share what works for me as an engineer-in-training trying to be a leader in his own right. I want to try and build a community of like-minded junior engineers so that we can discuss leadership as it applies to real life in the cubicle, work site, plant, or lab. My hope is that through this sharing, everyone benefits.
I really hope you enjoy what you read, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you.