Getting to Know Us: Jacob Odell

JacobThe Wood Harbinger team is made up of diverse and interesting people, who bring all kinds of backgrounds, professional experiences, and insights to our firm. In this blog series, we’ll share a little something about each of the people behind our successful engineering projects.

This week, the spotlight’s on Jacob Odell, a commissioning technician with Wood Harbinger’s Commissioning group.

Jacob comes to Wood Harbinger after 6 years in the U.S. Navy working in the nuclear power field. He applies the hands-on testing and troubleshooting skills he developed in the Navy to his role working with the Commissioning Engineers to develop commissioning programs, planning, and project documentation, and conduct functional testing. His project experience includes education, military, healthcare, and municipal facilities.

What made you decide to become an engineer/designer/drafter/work for an engineering firm?

A friend of mine from high school was going into the naval nuclear power program and I thought it sounded challenging and exciting. I specifically asked for it when I went to sign up for the Navy and hoped I was smart enough to get it. I didn’t score high enough in the required fields on the overall exam so I had to take a sort of placement exam that was very math heavy. I did well and was slotted for Nuke. From there we were assigned our jobs (electrician, mechanic, or technician) by putting in requests and hoping they met the needs of the Navy. I requested electrician and, as luck would have it, I got it.

I ended up coming to Wood Harbinger because the work I did in the Navy was very relatable to the work of a Commissioning Technician.

Have you held any jobs/had any careers outside of the engineering industry? If so, what industry and what did you do?

I was a U.S. Navy Nuclear Electrician. I worked on power distribution for an aircraft carrier and support equipment for nuclear reactors.

What do you like best about being an engineer/designer/drafter/working for an engineering firm?

The challenging work and the overall willingness of my coworkers to teach me a new concept.

What do you like least about being and engineer/designer/drafter/working for an engineering firm?

Being new to this industry, I’m still learning the best parts of the job and the parts I like least. Ask me again in a year.

What do you hope to be doing in five years (becoming a PE, being a project manager, mentoring junior engineers, working on a high-profile project, developing client relationships, etc.)?

I hope to be able to work a project with minimal help from beginning to end. Getting an Electrical Engineering degree and working towards my PE are also on the goals list.

What’s one funny story of an experience you’ve had on the job?

When I was in the Navy, I was taped to a broomstick like a scarecrow by three coworkers once after being set up by my supervisor. I might have deserved it, but they aren’t here to tell their side of the story, so maybe I didn’t.

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