Getting to Know Us: Bill States

StatesThe 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 Bill States, a Corporate Vice President and Wood Harbinger’s Industrial Systems Market Leader. Bill has nearly 40 years of experience in mechanical design and in project and supervisory responsibility, leading multidiscipline engineering groups including, architectural, civil, structural, hazardous materials, and cost estimating. He has built a solid reputation as a hand’s on Principal-in-Charge on which his clients can rely. His broad range of experience includes aviation and aircraft manufacturing facilities; petroleum industry facilities including oil refineries, off-shore platforms, supertanker terminals, oil field gathering and separator facilities, oil/gas pipelines, gas compression stations, and POL Storage; chemical process plants; and power/central utility plants for medical and university campuses.

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

I started out as a math major in college, but once I found out how much teachers made I transitioned into civil engineering. During my second quarter of surveying, I got tired of holding plumb bobs over benchmarks yelling, “GOOD, GOOD, GOOD,” so decided on mechanical engineering. I was fortunate to be hired by Fluor Corporation my junior year as a piping designer, and was immediately put in their eight-week training course where we had a test every day. If you failed three tests over the eight weeks, or your average dropped below 80-percent, you were fired. I passed and the rest is history, which, by the way, was my minor.

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

I started work as a gardener for a 104-unit apartment complex when I was 14, and was assistant manager of an Albertsons grocery store by 20. I also spent time as a liquor store clerk, and as a gopher in a machine shop, delivering downhole tools to oil rigs in Southern California prior to my career in engineering.

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

I enjoy the daily challenges and building trust in clients.

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

Your job never stops when you leave the office (my wife has been very understanding about that) and it doesn’t leave me enough motorcycle riding time.

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.)?

Retired, doing wood working, and hunting in Northern Idaho, with occasional trips to Jamaica.

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

I was in the field with one of my female engineers performing field investigation on the refurbishment of Army Ranger Barracks at Fort Lewis, when an entire squad, not knowing we were there, came through after their shower sans clothes. You should have seen the look on her face!

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