Kevin Nicoletta: Dallas Project Engineer
Kevin Nicoletta is a project engineer who works out of our office in Dallas, Texas. We sat down with him for a conversation to learn more about his background, professional role and path to becoming a Braun Intertec employee.
What is your role at Braun Intertec and what do you specialize in?
I’m a project engineer and construction materials testing (CMT) project manager. I handle the day to day operations with CMT projects as well as some geotechnical report work. I also do some work on proposals and a bit of business development, but I do a little of everything that has to do with CMT, especially on the project management side.
How did you become interested in engineering?
I knew in high school that I wanted a career in STEM because math and science were my greatest strengths. I became interested in engineering because my father was an electrical engineer and my brother was a chemical engineer. In college, I began exploring different options, and I ended up studying civil engineering because I enjoyed it the most.
What attracted you to Braun Intertec?
The people I knew who worked at Braun Intertec had only good things to say about working here. I like that it’s employee-owned and has the feeling of a small company even though it’s quite large. It feels small because everyone cares about each other, but the employee ownership and closeness of the company definitely stood out to me.
What do you like most about your profession?
I like to help people in the construction and infrastructure industry. When the construction of a project begins clients or technicians call me with questions, I like being the person that provides solutions. I strive to be a good manager and enjoy the interaction with both clients and technicians.
What traits do you have that help you in your role?
I’m very organized which is important because this work keeps me busy. Right now, I’m managing a lot of projects, so it would be easy to get them confused if I wasn’t this organized. Another skill that is useful is the ability to be proactive. If I become aware of an issue, I’m the first to pick up the phone to call a client and let them know what’s going on, which they appreciate.
When you’re working with clients how do you help them identify and solve the problems that they’re facing?
The first thing I do is get all of the information to find out exactly what happened. I work with our technicians or clients to find out if it’s an issue I can solve or if I’ll need to bring in someone else on the team. I’ll either get them in contact with someone who they can talk to, or if it’s something like soil, then I work with our team and give them solutions to mitigate what’s going on. That often means going on site to see it with my own eyes and talk to the clients and my team in person.
What kind of work do you enjoy the most? What makes it rewarding?
I mostly do work with school districts and cities and I like the large-scale school district projects the most. It’s rewarding to see a building I worked on being used in people’s everyday life. I like driving down the road, seeing a completed project and knowing I was part of making that happen.
What advice would you give a young engineer who is just starting out in their career?
It’s important to explore different paths that seem interesting for you. At one point in my career, I left CMT and geotechnical engineering to try something new. I ended up not liking it, so I went back, but if I never explored that option I would never know. Secondly, I’d emphasize the importance of networking. When people know you, they’re more likely to trust you and believe that you’re credible. A good way to do this is by connecting with people you work on projects with. Another way is by joining professional societies. I’m an officer in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and I’ve met a lot of people by going to those meetings.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of work?
One hobby I enjoy outside of work is woodworking; I use a lot of the skills I developed as an engineer to problem solve and figure out the correct measurements and angles to make a piece work. Another hobby I have that surprises people is that I play competitive paintball. My team practices on the weekends and I’ve traveled to tournaments in Las Vegas, Chicago and Florida.