The Impact of Radio on the Life of an Engineer
When one thinks of the qualities of an engineer, the term “communicator” rarely comes to mind. That is where I wanted to make my mark in the field of engineering. I knew that giving myself a positively distinctive trait would set myself apart as a highly qualified candidate for any position. When I discovered WERG my freshman year, I knew that it was the place for me to foster those communication skills and hone in on my talents as an engineer. I started at WERG in the spring semester of 2013 upon a suggestion from a graduate (Thanks, Beth!). One cold February evening, I met Chet LaPrice inside of the old studio in the Walker Building. I shared with him that I was a mechanical engineering major with no experience or technical teaching in radio but I had a love for music and communicating with others that I thought could be cultivated through WERG. With that, I was able to take on a shift on Mondays from 6-9pm (!!). I was flabbergasted because I had friends that had just started radio at other schools and had simple one or two hours shows between 3 and 6am. Not at WERG. It gave me the opportunity to grow my talent of communication with those around me through the camaraderie of the folks at the station as well as with the great city of Erie (and beyond!) on the air. I also had the honor of running the WERG Social Media accounts and website for three years. In that time, we took home nominations for best website and social media at the prodigious IBS National Conference in New York City. In that way, radio not only influenced me to be a better speaker, but a better communicator through text and on paper. These awards gave us a concrete goal of becoming the best radio station we could be; and we accomplished just that, netting us the Abraham and Borst award for Best College Radio Station in the Nation. It was the type of affirmation that really took us to the next level. We were more than just a collegiate radio station. Being a part of that was something special. Fast forward to today; I am a mechanical engineer at a consulting firm named Karpinski Engineering in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio. Clear and precise communication is important in an engineering field, but even more so in the field of consulting engineering that I am a part of. Our company, which specializes in the areas of healthcare, education, and commercial, designs the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, and technology systems for new and renovated buildings. As a result, a LOT of coordination must happen between disciplines not only internally but externally with the architect, the construction manager, and the owner. To be successful in your design, you have to be able to pick up the phone and effectively deliver facts and information to the person on the other end who is making even more design decisions as a result. Through being on air at WERG, this was an easy transition for me into the world of engineering. WERG influenced me in so many ways, but one rings paramount. Yes, it helped with my public speaking and the other similar learned traits of radio, but the most crucial skill that I learned was that readiness to speak fluently and effectively to others. The work world, just like the radio world, is extremely fast-paced, and sometimes you don’t have the time to prepare a response or outline a call like you would like to do. In this way, WERG is extremely special because you don’t have to be a communication major to gain something from the experience. And because of it, I am able to stand out as an outstanding communicator in my field.
Nick Tabar is a Gannon University Alumni of 2016. He has been a Mechanical Engineer at Karpinski Engineering in Cleveland, Ohio since 2016.