This "Engineer Spotlight" features Brent Rogers, Director and Certified Machine Safety Expert. During his years with Design Group, Brent has evolved to become an expert in safety within the firm. He takes immense pride in having been part of the team that developed the machine safety practice into what it is today. Safety is his mantra, and for him there is nothing more satisfying than supplying a solution that sends people home safely to their families.
We got an opportunity to talk with Brent and he shared with us his interesting journey beginning as a project engineer, his transition into the area of safety, the challenges he faced and what Design Group culture means to him. On the critical aspect of client trust, Brent is candid with his thoughts, and he explains how and why the client always needs to be a part of the solution for success.
Read on to know more about Brent and his passion for safety!
Please provide your educational background and brief career history.
I joined Design Group in 2012 as a Project Engineer, having just graduated from University of Missouri with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. I have been growing my career along with Design Group itself, which has grown from a 300 to a nearly 1,500 heart company.
What are your areas of technical expertise and role within Design Group?
I came to Design Group with four years of engineering experience from a mechanical design integration company out of Kansas City. I had some 2D and 3D mechanical design and machine safety experience working in the automotive and insulation industries. I joined our packaging team and was added to a major beverage company’s machine safety project, after a few months of supporting random projects. Since then, my Design Group career has revolved around machine safety and packaging integrations projects in the food and beverage industry.
Along with a handful of others, I obtained my CMSE – Certified Machine Safety Expert certification. Luke Lytle, Director, and I, along with our team have supported and developed the machine safety practice into what it is today. My role in the team has transitioned from the site lead project engineer, to a technical expert, to managing the client's safety projects and team, to managing the entire machine safety practice for the firm. I provide guidance for all projects that include a machine safety aspect to verify compliance and consistency for our clients across all regions and industries.
What do you like most about your profession and your specific area of expertise?
There is nothing more satisfying than supplying a solution that sends people home safely to their families. We have a profound opportunity to touch the lives of both our professionals working onsite and our clients operating the equipment we upgrade. Our team takes pride in our complete safety solutions’ approach starting from risk evaluation to validating our solution.
How has your technical expertise complemented the client needs?
There has been an industry trend of increased focus on employee safety. This has led to an increase of capital dollars prioritized for safety projects. Our approach and complete safety solution allow our clients to take the appropriate steps in identifying the hazards, developing a compliant design, and validating against national and international standards. Our specific machine safety technical expertise fills a gap in most client leadership teams between their maintenance, engineering and EHS (environment, health and safety) divisions.
What, in your opinion, is key to building client trust?
Listen. As engineers we are notorious for immediately throwing out solutions and options before fully allowing our clients to explain their requests. Listening to our clients is a powerful tool to understanding their past struggles, current needs, and potential opportunities. The client will need to be a part of the solution in order to achieve the best collaboration.
Has there been a ‘’most difficult’’ project challenge that you faced in your career at Design Group and eventually overcame?
Getting our clients to see the value in approaching a safety project in the correct way. Most safety projects do not have a return on investment to offset the costs of an appropriate design, solution, or approach. Whereas Design Group has been successful by having our subject matter experts explain how our complete solution maps out a successful and compliant approach to the client’s safety needs. I have had an amazing team lead by James Prunesti and Michael Bush that continues to exceed our clients’ expectations by setting up safety programs for them to follow.
How has Design Group culture defined your career experience?
Seeing the Design Group culture in action has made realize how unique we are. The ability to recognize our professionals for their effort and abilities is one way that clearly separates Design Group from other companies. I have always received positive recognition from peers and leadership alike to help validate the hard work and dedication consulting life can require of our professionals. I try to pass this recognition on to our team as much as possible.
What would be your suggestions for new engineers starting their careers?
Be open to new opportunities; your career is going to develop and change as you grow as an engineer. Design Group is a large company with endless resources and professionals with amazing experience. Confide in other Design Group professionals you respect; you’ll be surprised how much other people will want to invest in your career and success!
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.