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Forensic engineering is defined by the National Academy of Forensic Engineers (NAFE) as “the application of the art and science of engineering in matters which are in, or may possibly relate to, the jurisprudence system, inclusive of alternative dispute resolution.” These engineers serve as consultants to the legal profession and as expert witnesses in courts of law.



  • Interesting work
  • Low liability
  • High hourly rates
  • Advanced payment via retainer
  • Little competition


  • Can be stressful
  • Sometimes requires travel


To be an “expert witness,” you don’t need to be an engineer, but you do need experience and credentials in your field. To be a “forensic engineering expert”, you will usually need an engineering degree and a license as a Professional Engineer. In addition, being a member of NAFE is a big help in being selected and in assuring acceptance as an expert in court.

It is also important to have knowledge and qualifications in the engineering specialty involved in the particular case at hand. For example, if the issue is lighting or illumination, experience in lighting design and membership in the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES) would be helpful. It’s best to stick to your general area of expertise. If you are an electrical engineer, for instance, don’t take on a civil engineering case.

In addition, you should possess the following general traits:

Speaking/teaching ability. In court you need to speak clearly, using proper English and making your statements and replies concise and easy to understand. You will be teaching the judge and jury your opinion of the case and it is your job to convince them that you are correct.

Writing skills. Written reports need to be clear and professional. Don’t put anything in writing until your attorney-client requests. Be sure you can defend every word under cross-examination.

Willingness to prepare. You are being paid to study the case and the technical issues involved. This can often be tedious, but it is the key to success. When preparing for court or deposition, it is crucial that you prepare for all possible questions and memorize much of the information.

Reading skills. In most cases you will receive a box full of documents to review. These may include: (1) affidavits (written declaration of facts sworn to);  (2) complaint (plaintiff’s initial pleadings); (3) depositions (oral testimony taken by the opposing attorney in advance of trial); (4) indictments (written accusations presented by a grand jury); (5) interrogatories (written questions sent to the opposing side and written answers submitted under oath); (6) petitions (written applications to the court requesting judicial action); (7) pleadings (written statements of contentions of the parties in the suit); (8) subpoenas (written orders for witnesses to appear); (8) summons (writ directing an officer to notify a defendant to appear in court); and (9) transcripts (official record of proceedings in a trial, deposition, or hearing).

It is part of your job to read all of these documents and to cull the information pertinent to your involvement in the case. This can mean many hours of reading even though many of these documents have no bearing on your portion of the case.


Litigation consulting is interesting, challenging, and profitable. If you have what it takes, I recommend adding “Forensic Engineering” to your consulting engineering practice. The largest chapter in Jack’s new book The Complete Guide to CONSULTING ENGINEERING covers this topic in detail.

“Excerpted from The Complete Guide to FORENSIC ENGINEERING © 2017 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. See DISCLAIMER and order at” Use discount code “paperback” and save.


Learn how to be a forensic engineer. Learn how to be a forensic expert witness. How to be an engineering expert witness. How to obtain training as a forensic engineer. How to obtain training as an engineering expert witness.

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The “Complete Guide” to Consulting Engineering


In essence, readers discover “step-by-step” how to start & manage an “outstanding” Engineering Practice and exactly how to gain a reputation as an expert in their specialty.

This is both a handbook for new engineers and a constant reference manual for seasoned professionals.

The book is divided into “five parts”: Preparation; Planning; Implementation; Managing; and Cashing Out.
• Selecting a collage. Make sure that it has the right accreditation to allow you take the Professional Engineering license exam. (ABET-EAC accredited)
• Take the FE exam. In your senior year at college, while the fundamentals of engineering are still fresh in your mind.
• Gain experience. A minimum of four (4) years of “certifiable” experience in engineering work.
• Join engineering societies. Become an officer; make contacts; gain credentials; and build a reputation in the industry.
PLANNING includes:
• Recognize opportunities. Buying an existing practice; starting upon another engineer’s retirement; becoming a partner in an existing firm; or hanging out your shingle.
• Consider ownership options. Carefully consider the pros & cons of being on your own verses having partners.
• Choose Specialties. Choosing between being a “single-discipline” or “multi-discipline” firm.
• Prepare a Business Plan. Learn how to write a “Business Plan” including how to estimate expenses & income for both start-up and your first year.
• Apply for a Business Loan. Discover the secrets to getting approved for a Business Loan
• Pre Start-up “Check List”. Once you have made the GO decision, find out the initial steps to take & things to avoid.
• Start-up “Check List”. Discover how to actually start your practice step-by-step.
MANAGING includes:
• Acquiring service. Learn how to select the right Attorney & CPA and obtain the insurance coverage needed.
• Marketing. Discover the marketing materials & methods that will keep your firm busy.
• Expert. Learn the secret of gaining a reputation as an “expert” by publishing technical articles.
• Fees. Uncover the mysteries of preparing winning & profitable fee proposals including the graphs & lists that make it easy.
• Forensic Engineering. Find out how to make this interesting & profitable litigation specialty part of your engineering practice.
CASHING OUT includes:
• Selling your firm. Learn how to sell your practice for the maximum profit and retire comfortably.



7″ x 10″ (17.78 x 25.4 cm)

Hardcover (Casewraped)
Black & White Bleed on White paper
316 pages


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Websites For Engineers

Websites for engineers should look professional

Much to my surprise, an engineering firm’s website has become one of the most active sources of new clients. Some new clients will go to your website because of a referral or because they have heard that a competitor of theirs does business with your firm. However, you will find that many of your client’s will find you while surfing the net. That is why websites for engineers should look professional.

First of all, your website should look professional. Do not try to design it yourself; hire an experienced professional. If you have a colleague who has a great website ask about his website designer. Did the designer heed the client’s wishes and was working with him/her easy? Were they prompt in constructing the site and in making requested updates? How are the hosting services?

Your website should have the following general features: be quick and easy to navigate; have no blinking, spinning or moving parts; not produce any sound/audio; bear the same main headings on each page; and be easily changed and updated. The site should be automatically backed up and integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website in a search engine’s un-paid search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.

This Internet marketing strategy, considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another tactic.

Often your website designer is experienced in SEO. Make sure that whoever you choose is ethical. While SEOs can provide clients with valuable services, some unethical SEOs have given the industry a black eye through their overly aggressive marketing efforts and their attempts to manipulate search engine results in unfair ways. Practices that violate search engine guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence or even the removal of your site from the index.

Website ads are a way to drive traffic to your website. However I believe that your money would be better spent on an attractive website and better SEO.

Excerpted from The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. Order at Use coupon code “paperback” and save.


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Engineering Loans

Upon completion of your “Cash Flow Analysis” for your Business Plan, consulting engineers have a pretty good guess as to your first year’s funding needs. To be conservative seek 20-30 % more in business loans

There are two types of funding: Equity & Debt.


This is what you and your partners have saved and are willing to invest in the business. Lenders will expect at least 30 % of your first year funding needs to be “equity” funded.


This is borrowed money that must be paid back; engineering loans. Normally the principal and interest is paid back in fixed monthly payments. Be sure that you have estimated these payments in your “Cash Flow Analysis”.




A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits and channels those deposits into lending activities.

Credit Unions:

A Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative operated for the purpose of promoting thrift and providing credit to its members at competitive rates.

In opening your account at any financial institution, be aware that a local branch manager has less “approval authority”, without the need for committee approval, than does a senior manager at the main office.



The Small Business Administration (SBA) program is designed for business owners who may have trouble qualifying for traditional bank loans. The SBA does not give loans; it guarantees a portion of loans. Loans come from banks and other approved lenders who make the final decisions. Also, the SBA does not offer grants to start or grow a business.



If you have saved all that you need to start your Consulting Engineering Practice, I congratulate you as one of the few. If you inherited wealth or won the lottery, I envy you. But, if you are like most of us you are going to need funding. The financial institution that you go to is required to do what is called “due diligence” and will require the following:

A neatly bound copy of your “Business Plan”.

“Your Net-Worth Statement” which lists you’re assets & Liabilities. It is important that it is not negative and that you have some liquid assets, like savings and investments (in addition to 401Ks & IRAs), and don’t have credit card debt that is not paid off monthly. Each partner will have to provide this information.

Know your “credit rating” and be prepared to discuss it.

In addition, expect that a “Credit Check” will be done regarding each of you.

Also, in most cases a “Background Check” will be done.

It is also common, nowadays, to do a “Social Media Check”.

It is important that you prepare for the meeting with the Loan Officer. This is one of the most important meetings of your life, but if you are prepared, you will make a great impression. Not only will the bank be evaluating your business plan, but it will be judging your presentation, as it relates to your ability to win clients and projects.

Dress professionally. Try to appear self-confident, enthusiastic, and well informed.

Prepare a 20 minute presentation of your business plan. Assume that the loan officer does not know what type of engineering that your firm does or even what a consulting engineer ensures. Sound professional, but remember that you are talking to a “layperson”. Don’t talk down to them.

Stress your ability to service the debt; your level of commitment; and your integrity, as demonstrated by your credit history.

Thank the Loan Officer for his time and consideration. A “thank you” note or e-mail is always a good idea.



If your loan is turned down, try to find out why. This may give you the opportunity to correct the problem and reapply. Also, it would be helpful to know what to correct before applying elsewhere. Reasons for rejection include: insufficient collateral; lack of financial commitment on your part; a poor business plan; your character, stability or personality. On the other hand, the problem may be internal to the bank; perhaps they have exceeded their quota of commercial loans for the time period.

“Excerpted from The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Used with permission of Professional Value Books, Inc. All rights reserved. Order from” Use discount code “paperback” and save.



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The Solar Revolution

 of BloombergBusiness reports that the renewable-energy boom is here. Trillions of dollars will be invested over the next 25 years, driving some of the most profound changes yet in how humans get their electricity. That’s according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets to 2040.

Here are some massive shifts coming soon to power markets near you:

1. Solar Prices Keep Crashing

The price of solar power will continue to fall, until it becomes the cheapest form of power in a rapidly expanding number of national markets. By 2026, utility-scale solar will be competitive for the majority of the world, according to BNEF. The lifetime cost of a photovoltaic solar-power plant will drop by almost half over the next 25 years, even as the prices of fossil fuels creep higher.

Solar power will eventually get so cheap that it will outcompete new fossil-fuel plants and even start to supplant some existing coal and gas plants, potentially stranding billions in fossil-fuel infrastructure. The industrial age was built on coal. The next 25 years will be the end of its dominance.

2. Solar Billions Become Solar Trillions

With solar power so cheap, investments will surge. Expect $3.7 trillion in solar investments between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Solar alone will account for more than a third of new power capacity worldwide. Here’s how that looks on a chart, with solar appropriately dressed in yellow and fossil fuels in pernicious gray:

Electricity capacity additions, in gigawatts
Source: BNEF

3. The Revolution Will Be Decentralized

The biggest solar revolution will take place on rooftops. High electricity prices and cheap residential battery storage will make small-scale rooftop solar ever more attractive, driving a 17-fold increase in installations. By 2040, rooftop solar will be cheaper than electricity from the grid in every major economy, and almost 13 percent of electricity worldwide will be generated from small-scale solar systems.

$2.2 Trillion Goes to Rooftops by 2040

Rooftop (small-scale) solar in yellow. Renewables account for about two-thirds of investment over the next 25 years.


4. Global Demand Slows

Yes, the world is inundated with mobile phones, flat screen TVs, and air conditioners. But growth in demand for electricity is slowing. The reason: efficiency. To cram huge amounts of processing power into pocket-sized gadgets, engineers have had to focus on how to keep those gadgets from overheating. That’s meant huge advances in energy efficiency. Switching to an LED light bulb, for example, can reduce electricity consumption by more than 80 percent.

So even as people rise from poverty to middle class faster than ever, BNEF predicts that global electricity consumption will remain relatively flat. In the next 25 years, global demand will grow about 1.8 percent a year, compared with 3 percent a year from 1990 to 2012. In wealthy OECD countries, power demand will actually decline.

This watercolor chart compares economic growth to energy efficiency. Each color represents a country or region. As economies get richer, growth requires less power.

The Beauty of Efficiency

Source: BNEF


5. Natural Gas Burns Briefly

Natural gas won’t become the oft-idealized “bridge fuel” that transitions the world from coal to renewable energy, according to BNEF. The U.S. fracking boom will help bring global prices down some, but few countries outside the U.S. will replace coal plants with natural gas. Instead, developing countries will often opt for some combination of coal, gas, and renewables.

Even in the fracking-rich U.S., wind power will be cheaper than building new gas plants by 2023, and utility-scale solar will be cheaper than gas by 2036.

Fossil fuels aren’t going to suddenly disappear. They’ll retain a 44 percent share of total electricity generation in 2040 (down from two thirds today), much of which will come from legacy plants that are cheaper to run than shut down. Developing countries will be responsible for 99 percent of new coal plants and 86 percent of new gas-fired plants between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Coal is clearly on its way out, but in developing countries that need to add capacity quickly, coal-power additions will be roughly equivalent to utility-scale solar.

Source: BNEF

To learn about consulting engineering, get the new book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING by John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer with over 35 years of experience as a consulting engineer. Order at Use discount code “paperback” and save.

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It’s time to unveil EC&M’s highly anticipated Top 40 electrical design firms list for 2015, ranked specifically by electrical design revenue earned in 2014. Due to the ongoing economic recovery, many of the nation’s Top 40 firms are posting revenue gains, pursuing new work, and rapidly expanding their teams. As a group, respondents posted total electrical design revenues in 2014 of $1.68 billion, which is down slightly from $1.808 billion in 2013 and up from $1.348 in 2012.

As these key players expand operations by opening new branch offices, one trend emerged in this year’s survey data. More than two-thirds of respondents reported facing a labor shortage of engineers, identifying the three most difficult positions to fill as staff engineers, design engineers, and project engineers. To find out more about the driving forces behind these firms’ successes, details on what solidifies their position as leaders in the industry, hot and cold markets, and key trends shaping the business climate this year, look for the full 2015 Top 40 Electrical Design Firms Special Report.

The original research EC&M conducts on behalf of the Top 40 article each year has become an invaluable resource for consultants, manufacturers, and electrical design and contracting firms, making it an EC&M institution readers wait for every year.


No. 1 — Burns & McDonnell

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of nearly 5,200 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants, and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. It strives to create amazing success for its clients and amazing careers for its employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned and is proud to be No. 15 on FORTUNE’s 2015 List of 100 Best Companies to Work For.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $617.4 million

No. 2 — Stantec, Inc.

The Stantec community unites more than 13,000 employees working in more than 200 locations. The company, headquartered in Edmonton, Canada, collaborates across disciplines and industries to bring buildings, energy and resource, and infrastructure projects to life. Its work — professional consulting in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management, and project economics — begins at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $202.7 million

No. 3 — CH2M

CH2M helps to lay the foundation for human progress by turning challenge into opportunity. The company takes on its clients’ most complex infrastructure and natural resource challenges, and solves them in new ways. CH2M works in the water, transportation, energy, environment, and industrial markets, with gross revenues of US $5.5 billion. It has 25,000 employees around the world who are passionate about improving the communities where they live and work.  The culture is based on respect, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, and it’s grounded in the core priorities of ethics, safety, sustainability, and corporate citizenship.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $146.8 million


No. 4 — Tetra Tech, Inc.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $130 million

No. 5 — Stanley Consultants

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $71.5 million

No. 6 — Mesa Associates, Inc.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $58 million

No. 7 — Commonwealth Associates, Inc.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $33.5 million

No. 8 — Henderson Engineers, Inc.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $30.4 million

No. 9 — Affiliated Engineers, Inc.

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $25.4 million

No. 10 — M-E Engineers

2014 Electrical Design Revenue: $21.6 million

To learn about consulting engineering, get the new book: The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING by John D. Gaskell, Retired Professional Engineer with over 35 years of experience as a consulting engineer. Order at Use discount code “paperback” and save.


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Reasons to choose engineering

A flexible career path and positive job outlook are among the benefits of pursuing job in engineering. Reported in an article in “Consulting – Specifying Engineer Magazine”.

Sonny K. Siu, PE, PMP, Jacobs-Kling Stubbins, San Francisco


A major milestone in every young person’s life is choosing how to spend the rest of his or her professional life. Based on personal experience, here are five reasons I think high school students should apply to engineering programs.

  1. Large selection of engineering paths gives career flexibility.

Entering an engineering program opens the door to multiple branches of engineering. Many schools require the student to complete a general first-year curriculum (math, science, English, and computer skills) before moving forward in an engineering specialty. This allows the student to explore and firm up his or her engineering interest. A typical college may have the following engineering majors: aeronautics and astronautics, agricultural, biological and food processing, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, construction, electrical, environmental and ecological, materials, mechanical, and nuclear.

All engineering majors lead to careers in sub-disciplines. The IEEE lists 38 technical societies related to electrical engineering alone.

  1. Engineering occupations are high-paying.

In a recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) The Editor’s Desk (TED) report, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) occupations were classified as high-paying. The mean annual wage for all STEM occupations was $77,880; only 4 of the 97 STEM occupations were below the U.S. average of $43,460. The highest paying STEM occupations of $100,000 include managerial, petroleum engineers, and physicists. The BLS reports that civil engineers made $77,506/year (2010) or $37.29/hour, mechanical engineers made $77,560/year (2012) or $38.74/hour, and electrical engineers made $87,920/year (2012) or $42.27/hour. The Bachelor of Science degree is the entry-level education requirement.

The National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)’s 2013 Engineering Income and Salary Survey reported that the average income of respondents was $95,420. The range from engineer level I through VIII was $55,500 to $156,000.

  1. Engineers’ job outlook is positive.

The BLS’s June 15, 2011, TED report indicated that technical jobs in STEM represented approximately 6% of U.S. employment (nearly 8 million jobs). The largest STEM occupations were computer support specialists, computer systems analysts, and computer software engineers; each had employment of approximately 500,000.

The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook projects positive job growth from 2010 to 2020. Employment for civil engineers is expected to grow 19% from 262,800 to 313,900; mechanical engineers is expected to grow 9% from 243,000 to 264,500; and electrical engineers is expected to grow 6% from 294,000 to 311,600.

  1. Engineers’ work is fun.

Civil engineers plan, design, construct, and manage physical infrastructure such as buildings, bridges, tunnels, transportation systems, wastewater treatment systems, coastal and ocean facilities, and public works. Mechanical engineers apply principles of mechanics, dynamics, and energy transfer to the design and analysis of complex buildings and to the testing and manufacture of machines, engines, power generating equipment, vehicles, artificial components for the human body, and other products. Electrical engineers apply engineering concepts to power generation, transmission, and distribution of power. At the building infrastructure level this includes standby generators, transformers, switchgear, protective devices, and uninterruptible power supplies.

  1. Engineering work is challenging.

Engineers work in a professional environment where there is an opportunity to learn and grow through on-the-job and formal training using the most up-to-date technologies. There will never be a shortage of new challenges, as engineers are constantly faced with having to adapt solutions and change technology to move with the trends and needs.

Based on the above reasons, if any young person has strong STEM aptitudes, has completed the STEM coursework, and has a desire to work in problem solving and help the world, entering the engineering program is the right choice as a means to a better life economically, job satisfaction, and a good career.

Sonny K. Siu is a senior electrical engineer at Jacobs-KlingStubbins. He has been in the engineering business for more than 30 years. His elder son received his PhD in mechanical engineering controls (robotics) from UC Berkeley in May 2013, and his younger son just began at UCLA in electrical engineering.

The Engineer’s Resource extrapolated available data and adjusted for inflation and offers the following 2015 estimate in US Dollars:

SPECIALTY   ENTRY  5-10 Yrs.  10-20 Yrs.  20 + Yrs.
Electrical Engineers $64,000 $94,000 $126,000 $154,000
Mechanical Engineers $62,000 $90,000 $121,000 $148,000
Civil Engineers $55,000 $81,000 $108,000 $131,000

For more about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at Use discount code “paperback” and save.


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Engineering Licensing

The Professional Engineering (PE) license is a coveted professional credential that will grant you increased pay and job opportunities. Since applicants are required to have at least four years of supervised work experience prior to taking the PE exam, hiring managers for engineering firms immediately favor license holders because they know they already have a solid base of expertise and a college degree.

Even so, very few working engineers are professionally licensed. This is due to the arduous application standards as well as state and NCEES exceptions that enable engineers to practice, as long as they remain under the supervision of a licensed professional. By earning your PE credential, you can distinguish your portfolio and resume from other applicants and you will be able to take on more job responsibilities like accepting government contracts, becoming a principal at a design firm, stamping and sealing designs or working for yourself as a consultant. If you think an engineering career is right for you, then plan to prepare for the PE right after you graduate from college.

The path to PE licensure is rigorous and starts while you are in an ABET-accredited college with the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, after which you will need to get work experience and pass the Professional Engineering exam.


Most states allow reciprocity between states, which means you can transfer your professional credentials no matter where you live as long as you have an ABET-accredited degree. This is a crucial caveat because the ABET’s standards are the scale by which all state boards and consumers measure the professionalism and worth of engineers and engineering firms. If you do not have an ABET-accredited degree, you will likely have to reapply for licensure if you move to another state.

Continuing Education

You must participate in continuing education to maintain your P.E. credential. Continuing education standards are dictated by state boards instead of the NCEES, so determine the requirements in your location after passing the PE exam. A number of activities can qualify for continuing education credits, depending on your location; for example, in Alaska, continuing education credit is awarded for publishing an academic paper pertaining to engineering or completing semester and quarter-long courses in subjects related to engineering, such as public safety or health.

After earning your license, you should review your state’s requirements for continuing education and professional development in order to avoid having your licensed revoked or voided.

Employment Prospects recommends reading the new book The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING to find out more about being a Professional Engineer in private practice is exciting and challenging. Learn what is common to all engineering “specialties,” such as building your reputation, finding and keeping clients, calculating lucrative fees, promoting new work, being selected over your competition, and managing your engineering practice profitably. (Use coupon code “paperback” and save.)

Learn the answers to your most compelling questions about consulting engineering:

  • Is it the right career choice for you? Consider what this fascinating profession entails and how it will change your life.
  • Do you want to have your own engineering firm? If so, you will learn the step-by-step procedures to make it happen.
  • Would you like to be able to predict your first year’s income and expenses? You will discover how to prepare a Business Plan.
  • Do you know how to calculate the best fee quote for each project? Learn the “insider” secrets to winning quotes that will make your projects profitable.
  • Do you want to become known in the engineering community and develop an impressive list of contacts, achievements, and awards? Learn how easy it is and how you can do it.
  • Do you want to be considered an “expert” in your specialty? If so, learn how to become a published author and how gratifying it can be to see your words in print.
  • Do you want to be part of an exceptional engineering practice? If so, you will learn how to make, both you and your firm, “outstanding.”
  • Would you like to more than “double” your firm’s selection rate for projects? Learn how to prepare the best marketing materials and implement effective marketing methods.
  • Would you like to add a “specialty” that allows you to charge one and one-half to two times your normal hourly rate. If so, consider the profitable and fascinating field of “forensic engineering.”

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New technology keeps your smart phone charged for 30 % longer

REPORTED IN – New tech keeps your smart phone charged for 30 percent longer

May 26, 2015 by Pam Frost Gorder

New technology developed at The Ohio State University makes cell phone batteries last up to 30 percent longer on a single charge.

The patented circuitry converts some of the radio signals emanating from a phone into direct current (DC) power, which then charges the phone’s battery. This new technology can be built into a cell phone case, without adding more than a trivial amount of bulk and weight.

Some of the inventors, all engineering researchers at Ohio State, are working with a spin-off company to further develop the technology and will launch a Kickstarter campaign in June for market validation and fund development.

“When we communicate with a cell tower or Wi-Fi router, so much energy goes to waste,” explained Chi-Chih Chen, research associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. “We recycle some of that wasted energy back into the battery.”

There are some products newly on the market that harvest stray radio signals to charge tiny wireless devices such as temperature sensors. But the Ohio State invention is many times more powerful and efficient, said Robert Lee, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

“These other devices are trying to harvest little bits of energy from the air,” Lee said. “Our technology is based on harvesting energy directly from the source. They can capture microwatts or even nanowatts (millionths or billionths of a watt), but cell phones need milliwatts (thousandths of a watt) or higher.”

By Lee’s reckoning, nearly 97 percent of cell phone signals never reach a destination and are simply lost. Not all of it can be recaptured, but some can.

“No one can charge a cell phone from the air, but we can reduce power consumption by retrieving some of those lost milliwatts. Think of it as a battery extender rather than a charger,” Lee said.

The work is a natural outgrowth of Chen’s research, which focuses on the design of small antennas and radio frequency energy-harvesting circuitry. Whether he’s developing antennas to be embedded in clothing or a device for detecting and neutralizing buried land mines, the key is designing a circuit that quickly and easily identifies signals of interest, even when the antenna is moving.

Read more at:

To learn about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at Use discount code “paperback” and save.


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Engineering School Enrollment Increases

Rise largely fueled by influx of foreign students

After remaining essentially flat for the past two years, the number of full-time graduate students enrolled in science and engineering programs rose by 2.4 percent in 2013, to nearly 425,000 students, according to a new InfoBrief from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).April 17, 2015

NCSES found the increase was largely due to a 7.9 percent rise in full-time enrollment of foreign graduate students on temporary visas. Foreign enrollment hit an all-time high of 168,297 students in 2013, or 39.6 percent of the full-time science and engineering graduate student population–up from 35.9 percent in 2008.

In contrast, full-time enrollment for U.S. science and engineering graduate students fell for the third year in a row. But while overall enrollment by U.S. citizens and permanent residents declined, the number of U.S. students of Hispanic or Latino descent has climbed steadily since 2008, resulting in 25.8 percent in growth.

NCSES found that among U.S. graduate students, enrollment continued to become more diverse. Of the total students enrolled in science and engineering graduate programs:

  • 8.9 percent were Asian and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islanders.
  • 8.6 percent were Hispanic or Latino.
  • 8.1 percent were Black or African American.
  • 2.1 percent reported they were more than one race.
  • 0.6 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native.

Those groups made up 28 percent of total graduate enrollments in science and engineering, including U.S. and foreign students. In 2008, they accounted for less than a quarter of students who were U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

The study also found that a decade-long decline continued in postdocs conducting research in the sciences. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of postdocs in science fields dropped by 2.8 percent, with the largest decreases in the two biggest science fields: biological sciences and physical sciences. Over the same period, the number of postdocs in engineering fields rose by 2 percent, with the largest increases in chemical engineering, biomedical engineering and electrical engineering.

See more in this report: Full-Time Graduate Enrollment in Science and Engineering Rose in 2013, Fueled by a Large Increase in Foreign Graduate Enrollment. reports that many recent graduates are considering the field of Consulting Engineering.

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Is Consulting Engineering right for you? “Click Here“.

To learn about consulting engineering see The “Complete Guide” to CONSULTING ENGINEERING © 2015 John D. Gaskell. Order at Use discount code “paperback” and save.