This ‘Engineer Spotlight’ features Robert Fu, Structural Department Manager and Director of business development, technical sales support, staffing requirements and manpower allocation. Additionally, Robert is responsible for providing project support, engineering oversight, contract administration, backlog management and personnel recruiting.
With his experience of over three decades, Robert is a veteran and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in CA, a Licensed Structural Engineer in California and Hawaii and is a member of the SEAOC – Structural Engineer Association of California.
Robert’s technical expertise is Structural Engineering, and he gets a huge sense of achievement to see the structure he designed being built and functioning the way it was intended. In structural engineering, his expertise includes seismic design, an area not very well-known outside of the Western US.
We got an opportunity to converse with Robert, and he shared with us his wide and varied career history and how Design Group has defined his experience, and finally his message to new engineers embarking on their careers.
Interestingly, when we asked Robert about a difficult project that he faced in his career, his response was that in his opinion, there is really no such thing as a ‘’difficult project’’. Robert elaborates this further and explains his views on how a project can potentially become difficult.
Please provide your educational background and brief career history.
- Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Cal State Long Beach 1983.
- Master of Science degree in Structural Engineering from UCLA 1985.
I started my career as a designer at a small engineering office while I was attending UCLA. After I finished graduate school, I was a field engineer working on a Nuclear Power Plant in Illinois. In the following years I had worked for a few engineering firms focused on residential and commercial developments. In 1992 I was employed by City of Pasadena, CA Building Department as Senior Engineer performing plan Check services for Building permit applications. I joined Delphey Gerdes Engineering in 2001 and became a partner in 2005. Design Group acquired Delphey Gerdes Engineering in 2010.
What are your areas of technical expertise and role within Design Group?
My technical expertise is Structural Engineering. I am both Structural Department Manager and Director at Los Angeles Commerce office.
How has your technical expertise complemented the client needs?
All clients have the need for equipment support or platform or even a new facility at some point in time. Such structures must be engineered to be safe and Building Code compliant. Structural engineering is often an integral part of solutions to clients’ needs.
What, in your opinion, is key to building client trust?
Be informative and truthful in providing guidance and alternatives to help clients to make the right decisions on their investments.
Has there been a ‘’most difficult’’ project challenge that you faced in your career at Design Group and eventually overcame?
In my mind there is no difficult project if given the right amount of time. A project becoming ‘’difficult’’ is mostly due to lack of time whether it be caused by client’s request, scheduling conflict with other projects or internal design changes. The first two causes are often not in our control. However, internal design changes, which are in our control, cause ripple effects to other disciplines to re-design, consuming more time. The most difficult project to me is the project with the most internal changes.
My expertise is valued, and my opinions are respected.
What would be your suggestions for new engineers starting their careers?
“Grab every opportunity to advance your technical skills as much as possible to strengthen the fundamentals. Watch and learn how the leaders handle the business internally and externally outside the technical arena!’’
At Design Group, we will continue to celebrate the success of our professionals and clients. Keep watching this space for similar inspiring stories in the ‘Engineer Spotlight’ series.