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LT 1 Upper Valley Math/Engineering Session Day Notes 2.10.10

Summary of Math/Engineering Session Day on February 10, 2010:

Morning conversation: Math and Engineering
- John Lens, Owner, Geodesign, Inc.
- Todd Menees, Civil Engineer, Engineering Ventures, Inc.
- Sue Reed, Architect, Smith and Vansant Architects

John Lens works in geotechnical and construction engineering, focused on design for construction. He showed examples of infrastructure projects, the Bellows Falls railroad tunnel, stabilizing slopes and walls for seismic stability, etc.

All three speakers shared what skills people in their career field need:
- need to communicate ideas/needs effectively
- empathy
- listening skills
- inquiry
- speaking & debating
- writing letters and reports, procedures, recommendations
- two-way communication is so important
- You Tube “BIM” – Building Information Model
- Be brief in communications/writing – organize and get to the point
- Checklist to decrease errors
- Critical thinking skills, curiosity
- Juggle multiple concepts at the same time – conflicting issues (environmental, social, etc.)
- Technical knowledge
- Value of sports – teamwork, work ethic, satisfaction in confidence

What does it take to be an engineer?
- Technical knowledge/base
- Interest in getting to the fundamental problem
- Be able to take criticism and get better at what you do
- Repetition and practice so important
- Learn from the people you work with
- Continuing education is key
- Structured mentoring program helpful

Example of how engineers and architects use math every day:
- Converting measurements
- Quantify things
- Measuring weight, distance, time, money, etc.
- Numbering skills, codes
- Many things are based on sizes/numbers of the human body (handrail sphere small enough so child doesn’t get head stuck)
- Convection/conduction
- Addition/subtraction
- Estimating, making sure numbers make sense
- Not overanalyzing

So many different careers work together on a building project (surveyor, biologist/wetlands, zoning/planner, architect, engineers, attorneys, etc.).

Speed dating concept: have businesses come and talk to students and parents at an open house or science fair to introduce them to various careers available locally.

Late morning conversation: Math in Agriculture

- Chris Bessette, Senior Loan Officer, Yankee Farm Credit
- Phil Scully, Dairy Nutritionist, Cargill
- Kyle Thygesen, Owner, The Farmstead at Falls Hill, LLC

Chris, Phil and Kyle shared their career paths and interests and discussed the variety of jobs in agriculture available to interested students. We also discussed Farm to School initiatives, a basic overview of how the price of milk is set, and how many farms are diversifying to offer value-added products to customers.

During our afternoon conversation, Mary Bohannon and Sheryl McDevitt from Mascoma Savings Bank shared various aspects of their jobs and skills they are looking for in successful employees. They shared the teller test they used to administer to new hires, and discussed On-boarding, the training program they offer during the first couple of weeks on the job.

Skills people should possess for working in the bank:
- Computer skills
- Interact comfortably with coworkers and customers
- Problem solving
- Thinking outside the box
- Paying attention to detail and being accurate
- Retail/cashier experience is helpful
- Business etiquette, positive attitude

Debriefing of the day: Common themes - communication, manners, etiquette, civility. “Hire for attitude, train for skill.”


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