Think Like an Engineer
In science, we research, explore and analyze in order to understand our environment. In design, we create our environment, and then research and analyze to justify our creation. While the skill sets in science and mathematics are core competencies for engineering, in practice these activities are often derivatives of the intuitive and creative process.
The reward of engineering is the satisfaction of creating something where there was nothing. This creation has a purpose and design has a goal. Goals are not all utilitarian. However, utility is a condition of engineering practice. In the realm of bridge design, the primary goal is obvious – to carry vehicles from one end to the other. The utility is more complex. Most bridges are created with public funds, and prudence at least, and efficiency at best, are obligations. Both are established at the conceptual design stage, where behavioral concepts lead to structural form, largely defining the amount of materials and the methods of construction that result in an initial cost, service life, and overall utility for the design.
The history of bridge engineering has many lessons for designs of today, where our modern tools and materials allow us to extend classical concepts and create greater utility in our built environment. The art of engineering is to make difficult problems seem simple. The talent to visualize and express effective design concepts that one can then prove with analytical science is the mark of an engineer.
David Goodyear is the Chief Bridge Engineer for the firm of T.Y. Lin International. David is a graduate of Cornell University, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering. After four years designing nuclear reactor containments in Boston, David joined the Olympia, WA office of Arvid Grant and Associates in 1980 as a bridge designer. David formed his own engineering practice of DGES in 1987, which became part of T.Y. Lin International in 1996. David has led the design of a number of major bridges, including the Mike O’Callaghan Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge at Hoover Dam, the Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver, BC, and the Crooked River, Sellwood and Tilikum Bridges in Oregon. While working for Arvid Grant in Olympia, David was an engineer on the Pasco-Kennewick Bridge in WA and the East Huntington cable-stayed bridge in West Virginia.
David has served as President of the Structural Engineers Association of Washington and Chairman of the PTI Committee on Cable-Stayed Bridges. He was a member of the ad-hoc committee in PTI that wrote the original guide specifications for concrete segmental bridges, and has been actively involved in AASHTO Bridge Code committee developments for concrete bridge design. He is a recipient of the Beavers Organization’s Outstanding Engineering Award for his work in engineering for construction of arch and cable-stayed bridges, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.