Megan Pham is a Mechanical Engineer and Associate at iFactor. To celebrate Engineers Week 2017, specifically Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, we sat down with Megan to learn more about iFactor’s engineering dynamo!
Q: During your career, you’ve worked on dozens of projects. What is your favorite part of the design process?
A: I love solving puzzles, so the problem-solving aspect is one of my favorite parts of the design process. I enjoy the challenge and being a part of a team that works together to balance constraints and provide the best possible solution for our clients, which then helps our clients be more successful, productive, and better serve their clients.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a young professional just entering the engineering field, what would it be?
A: Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions and being curious is a big part of learning and growing, and there is an immensely vast amount of knowledge to gain in the world. If you’re not continually asking questions throughout your career, then you’re limiting your growth and potential.
Q: What is the greatest work of engineering genius?
A: It’s tough to only choose one, but in general I think that inventions and innovations that defy nature by expanding our capabilities are amazing works of engineering genius. Medical devices that help save lives, the internet, and space shuttles are just a few examples.
Q: What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
A: The Wilshire Grand Tower in Downtown LA. It was exciting to be a part of the design team for an iconic building that completely changed the LA skyline. I also lived a couple of blocks away from the tower throughout most of its construction. It was amazing to witness the tower grow and come to life—from the train of 208 concrete trucks setting the world record for the largest continuous concrete pour to the erection of the final levels and spire, making it the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.
Q: Do you have any big|exciting plans in store for 2017?
A: Yep! I’m tying the knot in November. =)
Q: What might we find you doing on a typical Sunday afternoon?
A: I’m a big fan of relaxing Sundays to recharge my batteries. Oftentimes that includes cooking breakfast at home, cuddling up on the couch and watching Netflix, or going to the dog park or on long walks with my dog.
Q: If you had one superpower, what would it be and why?
A: Teleportation so that I could travel around the world quickly and cost-effectively. I also think the ability to teleport would come in handy to avoid fatal accidents.
Q: How would you describe your job to a third-grader?
A: Third Grader: What does a mechanical engineer do?
Me: Well, I help design buildings and make sure the people inside of those buildings are comfortable.
Third Grader: Comfortable?
Me: Yeah! It’s like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In buildings people are often too hot, or too cold, I help make sure that the temperature in the building is just right!
Third Grader: How do you do that?
Me: I create drawings and lists that are instructions for how to put the building together and what’s needed to build it.
Third Grader: Ohhh…Cool!
Me: Yeah, engineers are super cool!
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: When people are self-absorbed—they think the world revolves around them, and as a result, they act inconsiderately to others and with a sense of entitlement. I appreciate people who imagine what it would be like to walk in other people’s shoes, who try to understand the hardships and situations of others, and who are thoughtful and compassionate.
Q: I’m pretty awesome at _____________.
A: I’m pretty awesome at noticing details. If you ever had to find a needle in a haystack, I’m your person.
Q: How many stamps do you have in your passport and what stamps do you hope to add in the next 5 years?.
A: Eleven. I hope to add 6 in the next 5 years. I don’t have a set itinerary of countries yet, but I think an average of 3 countries every 2 or so years would be fantastic.