Q+A with Todd Gilliland, Project Engineer - Process Mechanical (Dearborn)
How do you describe your job to people outside of the industry?
I help clients facilitate process equipment installations by collaborating with other engineering disciplines (and the client) to develop a scope of work, overall layouts, detailed drawings, and providing field support. What is process equipment you ask? Process equipment is the mechanical components and machinery used to make the client's product.
Why did you decide to become an engineer?
A high school drafting co-op program offered me the opportunity to interview and ultimately work at a company designing and engineering thermal processing equipment using AutoCAD. Using technology to design and convey mechanical content has always been fun and rewarding for me. It was the perfect fit back then and continues to be for nearly thirty years.
How would you describe life at Ghafari?
Obviously, there are ups and downs with life at Ghafari however, and I say this with absolute honesty, I like working here. I promote our company whenever I have a chance and I take the time to explain what we do with the intent that one day this interaction will result in a need for our services. Life here at Ghafari is easy, except when it’s not. I like being in demand and at Ghafari I tend to be able to fill many requests. Whether working on a solo project or on a project team, I’m encouraged and almost expected to be technically aware and clever with my time and designs. Life at Ghafari is flexible and forgiving but also presents challenges and opportunities to meet those challenges and learn and invest in yourself.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened during your time here?
The most exciting thing that has happened during my time here has been the inclusion of the process team on multidiscipline Revit projects.
What is a key idea or lesson you have learned while working at Ghafari?
Listen to what the client is saying, to understand not to respond. Most clients I am involved with are they themselves searching for an understanding of what needs to be accomplished. That is why they are here, so listen. Quite often just allowing the client to talk and be heard will help the entire team gain an understanding together, to share in the discovery of the goal and what needs to be done. What better way to serve the client than by listening to understand. Once an understanding is reached then use all the standard project execution tools that Ghafari has developed over the years: our PPM, Revit templates, AutoCAD standards checker, BIM sites, standard documents, and the Ghafari way.
How do you like to spend your free time?
Free time is spent on family activities, major construction projects at home and attending and volunteering at church. My wife Kimberly and I have two girls: Stella (6) and Olivia (3). Days are normally filled with trips to the cider mill, school events, local splash pads, family BBQ’s, weekend trips to Paris and Tokyo …wait… scratch those last two. I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen and the grill so in the evenings I typically bust open ATK (Americas Test Kitchen) and make dinner. After dinner sometimes a family walk and wagon ride to the park, building intricate mechanical inventions with Technic Legos or just basic wrestling around with my girls in the living room and building forts under the dining room table. After the girls retire, I like to spend time repairing something in my new garage, helping someone in the neighborhood, or plopping in front of the television watching Top Gear UK, WW2 documentaries, or reruns of Miami Vice (84-89).