Engineers Week is coming up later this month (February 21-27), and to celebrate, we're spotlighting MWMC Executive Officer and Professional Engineer Matt Stouder with some Q&A on his engineering career.
What got you interested in engineering?
I have always had an interest in the outdoors and the environment. I really enjoyed science in school, particularly biology, and thought about majoring in Environmental Science in college. When I went to a college career day in high school, I decided to sit in on a talk about Environmental Engineering, which seemed to be about many of the aspects I was interested in: science, biology, cleaning up the environment and keeping it safe. After the talk, it solidified my choice to become an Environmental Engineer.
What experiences in your engineering career were most impactful in getting you to where you are now?
I was fortunate to have a couple of very good mentors along my journey to where I’m currently at. Not only did they take me under their wing and provide me with guidance, but they challenged me to think outside of the box with respect to problem solving. I would also say that getting my Master’s degree at Oregon State University was very impactful; it afforded me the opportunity to see real world examples of environmental engineering at work, and helped prepare me for my current role with the MWMC.
What’s your favorite thing about your role?
This is a hard one because I have several favorite things about my job. I love the people that I get to work with everyday, and I am thankful that my job makes a meaningful difference in the lives of everyone living in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan region. It’s very important to me that my role plays a part in protecting the health and vitality of our local environment, particularly with respect to the Willamette and McKenzie rivers. I also enjoy that I am able to work across the communities of both Eugene and Springfield, as well as Lane County.
What advice would you give an engineering student or young person thinking about getting into engineering?
To the engineering student, I would tell them to stay focused on what got them interested in engineering to begin with. The road to becoming a licensed engineer can feel pretty lengthy, but once you’re done, it’s a major accomplishment and it will open up a lot of doors for your career. To the young person thinking about getting into engineering, I would advise them to seek out different engineers in different fields and ask them to have a conversation about engineering. Getting multiple perspectives from folks will help determine if engineering might be right for you.