Two of our engineers spoke to high school students last week to pique teenagers’ interest in civil engineering, specifically the geotechnical branch.

Eustis Engineering Vice President and CFO Jim Hance, P.E., and Brian Deschamp, P.E., our Gulfport branch manager, connected Friday with students.

Eustis Engineering education

Brian Deschamp, P.E., top photo, of Eustis Engineering speaks to Hancock High School students on 2 November. Jim Hance, P.E., bottom, of Eustis Engineering talks to Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies students the same day.

Coastal protection and restoration projects

Jim spoke about civil engineering to about 20 ninth graders in Mrs. Coats’ Introduction to Engineering class at Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies. Haynes is a  6th to 12th grade magnet school in Metairie.

Jim traced his personal path in engineering before providing a general overview of the civil engineering profession. He also outlined the geotechnical challenges of southeastern Louisiana and explained New Orleans’ Inner Harbor Navigation Canal (IHNC) Surge Protection project. The IHNC project provides coastal protection with a two-mile long, gated floodwall. Jim also went into detail about the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project, a large-scale coastal restoration project for which Eustis Engineering is providing geotechnical services.

“It was rewarding for me to engage such young talented individuals and stress the critical importance of saving our coast,” Jim said. “This presents a tremendous challenge but also a great engineering opportunity.”

'Life tips' at Hancock High School

In Kiln, Mississippi, Brian spoke to about a dozen 11th and 12th grade students at Hancock High School. The students he spoke to were part of the school’s technical/career path. All have engineering aspirations. His talk centered on “life tips” including what to expect during and after college and how to start preparing now.  He also stressed working hard every day. “It’s good to set goals,” Brian said, “but having a daily habit of excellence will serve you even better in the long run.”

Brian told the students about a particularly tedious project he worked on. For this project, he reviewed detailed reports every day for the better part of a year.  The project involved a lawsuit in which Eustis Engineering provided support for the defense.  As much as he disliked the work, he found later that the experience allowed him to view projects and contracts through a legal lens, a practice he now uses almost daily.  The project turned out to be invaluable training that he likely would not have had otherwise.

Brian’s advice based on that experience was this: “Do every job to the best of our ability because you never know how it’s going to help you.”