Welcome to the second part of our series introducing you to the people behind the projects! Last month we introduced you to some of the amazing people in our Construction division. This month, we are focusing on our Engineering group. Take a moment and meet engineers Mark and Megan!
Mark McKinney is our Structural Engineering Manager and works from our Oklahoma City office. Money is what brought Mark to structural engineering – quite literally. When he was a freshman general engineering student at OSU, the head of the civil engineering department offered him a $300 scholarship to change his major to civil engineering. He changed it the next day and is happy he did!
Having celebrated his ten-year anniversary with Ross Group just last month, Mark notes that having in-house engineering sets the company apart from other construction companies. “For a small company, our capabilities are very broad, meaning we can design and build many different types of projects in different industries.”
One of Mark’s favorite projects that he has worked on over the years was designing a reaction mass system for vibration testing equipment at two Northrop Grumman locations (check out our recent blog about this project.) He enjoyed traveling to the sites in Redondo Beach, CA, and Huntsville, AL, during construction and reviewing the work with the client. “When I look back over the years, I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to do work that I enjoy and that is important to me and my community,” Mark said.
While reflecting on past projects is enjoyable, Mark is also looking ahead to the future. He is excited that our country is “reshoring” industrial projects from other countries, bringing production and manufacturing of goods back to the US in order to shorten supply chains. Mark sees engineers playing a large role in this process.
Outside of work, Mark’s wife, three teenaged daughters, and two dogs take up most of his time. He enjoys cycling, hiking, and playing the ukulele. He has twice hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim – that’s over 20 miles each time! He also enjoys reading, and really liked Michael Lewis’s books Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game and The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Both books tell true stories of people succeeding through unconventional means. “Conventional thinking is sometimes completely wrong,” Mark explained. “People who challenge conventional thinking are not exactly….embraced.”
To close our time with Mark, here is his best advice: Treat others as you want to be treated.
Now let’s meet Megan Donald! Megan is a Project/Process Engineer who, like Mark, works out of our Oklahoma City office. A graduate of OSU with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Megan has been at Ross Group for just over a year. Still, that has been long enough to realize the company has a very cohesive team that truly sets us apart from others.
“We are a tight-knit group with a strong work ethic,” Megan explained, noting that everyone on the engineering team has something to offer that positively impacts projects. She also appreciates team members are quick to offer support, both to each other and to clients. “We offer strong support to our customers and other companies that we collaborate with on all of our projects. You can really see that Ross Group values relationships and building a team mentality.”
Megan really enjoys working in design because it requires a lot of problem solving, understanding of engineering concepts and chemical processes, and simulating real-life scenarios through software and mathematics. She has been especially interested in working on our carbon capture projects in Texas. This relatively new industry captures carbon dioxide from natural gas processing plants and sends it through pipelines to wellhead sites to assist in enhanced oil recovery: a great option for plants looking to reduce carbon emissions!
“I have really enjoyed being a part of this project because it presents exciting new processes and plant designs for me to learn,” said Megan. “My chemical engineering education has really been exercised with learning about equipment design specifically for carbon dioxide capture and transportation. It is also exciting to just be a part of a fairly new, growing industry.”
Megan is also excited about the growth in new technologies, anything from simulation software and innovative mechanical technology and equipment to even smaller devices helpful for project management and site visits. She enjoys trying out new gadgets and software that help make engineering faster and more precise. That goes along with her best advice: “Keep your mind open and foster your creative spirit. Creativity helps with problem solving skills, which can sometimes play a big part in engineering.”
Outside of work, Megan enjoys riding her horse. She grew up riding reining horses, and they are still a passion of hers. Those early years of riding were not in Oklahoma – Megan was born in Alaska and has her Canadian citizenship. She grew up in the northwestern part of the country, and half of her family lives in Canada. Her father was big into hockey, so she and her brother grew up playing as well. “Whenever I get a chance, I still love to go back to my roots ice skating and skiing!”
We hope you enjoyed meeting Mark and Megan! Come back next month to meet some folks from Ross Group’s Industrial division.