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Chandi Hester: Engineers Week Profile

Feb 23, 2021

Chandi Hester - Engineers Week

Chandi Hester: Engineers Week Profile

Feb 23, 2021

What motivated you to want to become an engineer?

My father is an engineer. To me, he’s always represented poise, intelligence, and kindness. I wanted to be more like him. As for deciding to study biomedical engineering, I saw it as a career choice fill-in when I took the SAT as a high school sophomore. Then, I read more about the discipline and decided that using technical acumen to heal and save lives was exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

What project that you worked on are you the proudest of and why?

At IPS, a BOD project in Alabama is the one that makes me most proud. I was placed in a process co-lead role for that project within weeks of joining IPS. Juggling onboarding, making contacts within IPS, completing deliverables, designing flexible solutions, and traveling to and from Opelika while managing to care for my three children, settling my late mother’s estate, and still being available for my family, church and community showed me just how much I could stretch my bandwidth.

How has your work in engineering changed due to COVID-19 restrictions?

COVID-19 restrictions changed my daily landscape and meshed all of my responsibilities right at my hands, but I’ve actually enjoyed it. I have flexibility in my work day to help my kids with classwork while I slow cook a pot roast. On social media, I’ve shared some of the antics of my toddler daughter whom I affectionately call “the lady at my job”. She often sits in my lap during calls and organizes potluck lunches of goldfish and apple slices.

My engineering work has minimally changed. The beautiful thing about IPS is that our resources are somehow both broad and close. Even before COVID restrictions, internal and external meetings were phone- or web-based. I miss often miss the face to face interactions, but I’ve never hesitated to reach out to a colleague for input.    

What do you love most about your job?

I love interacting with our customers. I love asking them questions about what they envision for their builds and helping them create that vision. I love offering input on the road ahead to get their products to market. I love our teams of experts within IPS that also support these visions and just want to do good work. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Can you please share advice that you have for anyone that is considering a career in engineering?

Don’t stop learning. Get as much education as you can. Sit for your FE and PE early in your career. Talk to senior engineers about their projects and offer to help where you can. Join professional organizations and don’t snub vendors – you’ll need their expertise often. Don’t be afraid to travel or even relocate. The first 10 years in your career can set your trajectory for your next 30 – make the best of that time. And save aggressively for your retirement.

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