Engineering a Solid Career

Medicine? Law? Construction?

One of the most important decisions we ever make is our choice of a career. We struggle to find the occupation that will be the perfect fit for our interests and abilities. For many finishing high school or entering their first year of college, the answers don’t come easily.

Richard DeShon’s career path became clear to him only after an unexpected pivot:

Richard DeShon, Design Engineer

“I had been working in construction for a family member since I was 12,” said DeShon. “I loved it, but my family always told me I needed to get an education.” Following his family’s advice, he pursued a degree in neurology, but found it wasn’t a good fit. He withdrew from the program and took a job in a manufacturing facility while he sorted out his career direction. It was there he began asking the questions that would lead him to the field of engineering.

DeShon took advantage of his time at the manufacturer to talk with his coworkers about their jobs. He was particularly curious about the work of the company’s engineers. The more he learned from them, the more interested he became in the field. With his employer’s support, DeShon earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s in industrial engineering at Wayne State University. In 2021, he joined Lee Contracting as an engineer.

What is an Engineer?

Engineers are the original problem solvers. From our earliest days, people have sought answers to practical questions. Questions like, “How do we move water uphill?” or “What’s the most efficient way to transport heavy loads?” Even “How can we put a man on the moon?” For generations, engineers have said with deep satisfaction, “Problem solved.”

If you have an aptitude and interest in math, an engineering career could be right for you. Engineers work in a variety of industries and play major roles in how the world gets built and keeps running.

Engineering at Lee

Because Lee is a single-source industrial contractor, we are called on to solve complex problems in a multitude of industries. From aerospace and automotive manufacturing to energy, environmental and heavy industrial projects, our engineers can be found wherever people need answers.

We design and build everything from facility piping systems to completely new factories, and design and execute critical maintenance programs. With our depth of real-world experience, we’ve developed a strong reputation for our value engineering prowess.

Lee is well known for teams trained to work in many disciplines. And, like their tradesperson counterparts, Lee engineers can find themselves working in one industry one day and a completely different one the next.

“Most design engineers work in static environments,” DeShon said. “Lee is dynamic; I’m always moving, always on the phone interacting with people on current or upcoming projects.”

DeShon came to work with Lee during the pandemic and soon found himself attracted by the sheer diversity of the projects he encountered. One he particularly remembers was a company that was having problems with parts failures. As the company contact was describing the parts, DeShon was designing the part on his computer. When the contact saw his design, “he almost fell out of his chair. He was ecstatic and I was like, ‘yeah this is what we do’.”

“I’m always amazed at how well our company responds [to client needs],” DeShon commented. “How we can take something that weighs 500,000 lbs and move it in a day. That blows my mind; how we can plan and execute projects that most people think are impossible.”

In addition to his duties with Lee, DeShon is also an adjunct professor at St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron. He often addresses his students about their career direction and tells them, “If you want something that will always be here, consider engineering.”

Because of the variety of projects at Lee, DeShon sees more opportunity here than any company he’s ever been at. He is particularly impressed by how Lee’s cross-functional teams can come together and perform massive, multimillion dollar projects quickly and effectively. “I’ve been blessed with a good group of guys and hope it only gets better.”

Considering an engineering career—or looking for a company that can challenge your professional skills? Talk to us today.