Super Powers

10 reasons why engineers are real-life superheroes

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No—it’s a quality engineer.

Think it’s difficult to mistake a quality engineer with a superhero? Think again. Quality engineers are basically superheroes with more employable skills. Sure, superheroes might have X-ray vision, the ability to generate force fields, and some are even immune to poison—but quality engineers can create X-bar charts, conduct force-field analyses and calculate Poission distributions.

Like superheroes, quality engineers make the impossible possible with their arsenal of quality tools and out-of-the-box approaches to vanquish variation, wipe out waste and protect the greater good of society.

And though quality engineers may not be the subject of comic books or blockbuster movies, every year in February quality engineers and their superheroic friends in other engineering disciplines are recognized during National Engineers Week. This year it’s Feb. 16–22.

It’s a small token of gratitude. From the roads we drive on to the devices and methods we use to communicate with friends and family, engineers touch our lives daily and hold the promise of discoveries that are yet to come.

In honor of National Engineers Week, QP took a closer look at what makes engineers and the profession super by asking the global engineering community to weigh in with its thoughts. While there are countless attributes, 10 key reasons emerged:

  1. Engineers view the world differently. "I once had to explain to my mom how being an engineer makes me think differently. I pointed to a lamp on the table nearby and said, ‘You see that lamp? Most people see just a lamp, a simple fixture that when powered on provides light to a room. As an engineer, I see swarms of equations to determine voltage, mass and dispersion area, circuitry schematics, technical drawings, and ways to disassemble it and determine how it works. It’s not just a lamp. It’s a puzzle.’" —Denise Wrestler, director of quality assurance and regulatory at AutoMedx Inc., Flower Mound, TX.
  2. Engineers are the world’s problem solvers. "We take science and turn it into solutions. We find the order in chaos and the beauty in numbers. Starting from the humble words, ‘What if we … ?’ civilizations have been built and advanced. As an engineer, my greatest joy is watching an idea turn into an accomplishment." —Dan Marvin, director of technical services, MAPEI, Deerfield Beach, FL.
  3. Engineers know no bounds. "Being an engineer makes you think positively and create solutions from pressing needs. Engineers are always are focused on finding new ways to do things." —Ojarikre Egbenine, mechanical inspector, United Cement Co., Calabar, Nigeria.
  4. Engineers impact daily life. "I love that something you put down on paper can be converted into something that functions in the real world as you predicted it would." —Lance B. Coleman, quality engineer and lean leader, Tech Group, Phoenix.
  5. Engineers are paid with smiles. "My favorite times at work are when approved changes actually make sense and they make systems in daily use safer. I love being thanked for creating real operational improvements and seeing the smiles that accompany them. I get to make a difference every day and I get a paycheck for it. There’s nothing like hitting a grand slam." —Darryn Jarrett, senior manufacturing engineer, Eaton Electrical, Lincoln, IL.
  6. Engineers are the gateway to the future. "Engineers use their knowledge to serve their communities. Engineering is the center of improvement and it’s at the core of advancement." —Cesar Remartinez Martinez, quality and after sales manager, Concord Brand, Barcelona, Spain.
  7. Engineers are artists. "Engineering is artistry based in science that cannot be seen in a museum because it is ever changing and evolving." —David Knowlton, senior quality systems engineer, FLEXcon, Jefferson, MA.
  8. Engineers have global reach. "Engineering is without borders more than ever before. Engineering can provide knowledge to help others, regardless of their discipline. Engineers can provide input needed to build public interest in near and long-term technology. Their involvement can have far-reaching implications for the economy, public health, safety and national security." —Ramesh Bapat, senior principal engineer, Foster Wheeler, Houston.
  9. Engineers are altruistic. "Being an engineer is serving mankind. What I love most about my profession is creating engineers who excel in their chosen fields and surpass me." —Darshak Desai, professor, G.H. Patel College of Engineering and Technology, Gujarat, India.
  10. Engineering is intellectually rewarding. "Engineers face challenges on a daily basis and try to make things better. I’m convinced that if everything went as it should, engineers would not be needed. The bigger the problem, the more satisfying it is to have solved it." —Iván Infante Vázquez, quality manager, Auto Cast México, Queretaro, Mexico.

Like superheroes, an engineer’s work is never done and the world would be lost without them. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back—you deserve it.

—Compiled by Megan Schmidt, contributing editor

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