Meet William “Will” Benson, the newest member of our MEP Team!
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself…
William: I grew up in Southeast Iowa and graduated from Central Lee High School in 2015. I then attended Iowa State University where I received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and worked as a project engineer on the Salt Lake City Airport Terminal Redevelopment Project. I recently moved back to the area to be closer to my family. Outside of work, I enjoy skiing, hiking, hunting, kayaking, and traveling.
Q: Why did you want to become an engineer?
William: I have always enjoyed fixing things and understanding how things work. Growing up, I was fascinated with construction projects and would always watch cranes as we drove by any construction sites. Becoming an engineer has allowed me to turn that passion into a career.
Q: What piece of advice would you give someone choosing the same career?
William: My advice would be to find someone who will take the time to mentor you. It is impossible to know everything in the engineering field and it is important to understand your current limits and reach out for help when you do not fully understand a process. Having a good mentor will allow you to gain the knowledge and tools you need to become a better engineer.
Q: Is there a project you’ve worked on thus far in your career you are proudest of?
William: While working as a project engineer, I was a part of the Salt Lake City Airport parking garage seismic retrofit. The airport parking garage was designed prior to a discovery that it is possible for the West Valley fault zone (boarding the airport) and the Wasatch fault zone to combine into a larger earthquake than previously thought possible. This led to a need to provide additional earthquake protection within the structure of the parking garage near the end of the project. The seismic retrofit team was able to perform beam testing, carbon fiber wraps of critical structural components, and modify over 1000 possible failure points for increased flexibility in the event of an earthquake. The seismic retrofit of the parking garage was completed in under eight months – on time for the opening day of the new facilities – and is designed to withstand a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Approximately halfway through the project, Salt Lake City experienced a 5.7 magnitude earthquake; there was no damage to the airport or parking garage. That experience highlighted the need and importance of the project.
Q: What’s your favorite family tradition?
William: My favorite family tradition is the yearly pheasant hunt we do every Thanksgiving morning. It is a blast spending that time with my younger cousins and nephews and having fresh pheasant in addition to turkey afterward.
Q: What was your first job?
William: My first job was helping a tractor and automotive mechanic. It is fun to look back and remember the complaints directed at engineers for some harder-to-fix problems that we came across. Pulling the entire cab off of a pickup for a head gasket replacement was always a “fun” job. It was a good experience that highlights the need to really consider the ease of maintenance when you can, when designing a mechanical component.
Q: What’s the most daring thing you have done?
William: The most daring thing I have done was summiting King’s Peak in Utah. It is a multiday near 30-mile hike through some very rough terrain with a snow-covered peak in June when we made it to the summit. The base of the mountain looks very similar to Austria, so through the altitude and exhaustion I think my group sang the entire “The Sound of Music” soundtrack on the way to our base camp.