Even in a challenging economy, Oregon State graduates are managing to find great jobs in the Portland Metro area. Engineer Cory Smith’s Q&A is the fourth in a series that profiles recent OSU grads and how they found their positions.
Who: Cory Smith
Construction Engineering Management
Alumnus Spring ‘09
You just landed a job with Tice Electric Co., in Portland. Can you talk about that?
My job is with the power resources division, which builds electrical substations in support of wind, hydro, and other generation and transmission.
You are a Construction Engineering Management major. What were your goals when you started school?
I did not begin at the University until I was 25. I had been working in construction, and it came to the point when I realized I needed an education. I found that Oregon State had an excellent Construction Engineering Management program. I am excited to have landed here at Tice Electric. I was an intern with Tice last summer, where I worked on several different projects – like the light rail extension on the I-205 South Corridor, an electrical substation connecting to a wind farm in the Columbia River Gorge and a bid for a solar array with a few small wind-turbines near PSU. It was terrific. Tice Electric is an excellent progressive company full of wonderful people, and I feel very fortunate to be joining the team.
Why is Portland an ideal city to work in as you help to create a more sustainable environment?
In terms of green living, I have heard that Portland has been ranked at the top. Everywhere you turn there are bicycle riders and hybrid cars. Portland is a very diverse and interesting place to live.
How did you land your position?
Last spring term, a number of electrical contractors affiliated with the National Electrical Contractors Association came to recruit at the university. They held in informational lecture with interviews the following day. I attended both, and there were many others students interviewing for the same internships. I received more than one offer and after doing my research and speaking with the Tice, I decided to go with them.
How did you make yourself stand apart from the other applicants?
I think I stood out because I made my personal beliefs and my morals very clear. I want to be a good person and feel good about what I do. I mentioned this and told them I wanted to work for a company that I felt was making society and the world a better place.
In what ways to you think OSU has prepared you for this position and for the working world?
The Construction Engineering Management program is excellent. The professors care and the class sizes are not too large. The workload is pretty heavy, which forces us, like most engineering students, to be organized. If students are not motivated and self starters they won’t last in the program.
Do you have any advice for OSU students, either in the engineering program or otherwise?
Try to be the best person you can, work hard at what you do, and be helpful when asked. Also, delayed gratification is quintessential, however challenging it may seem.