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I graduated college at the height of the Great Recession. As a result, I bounced around to different jobs outside of my field before landing my first real journalism job with a hyperlocal news website startup called Patch. I started as a freelance writer and worked my way up to the editor of one of the largest brand websites in the Metro Detroit area. However, I had lots of help in the form of mentors who helped guide me along the way.

I was young — in my first real job in my field. Several of my more experienced coworkers offered advice on everything from crafting interview questions to covering city and school board meetings to reading data and turning it into a story. However, it was my manager who really made the largest impact on my career by offering advice on handling difficult situations and becoming a sounding board for ideas.

Mentorship is so important in any field, however, I would argue it’s even more important for MEP engineers. While academic programs equip individuals with a foundational understanding of plumbing engineering principles, mentorship offers practical insights into the nuances of project execution, client interactions and problem-solving strategies.

Mentorship serves as a conduit for passing down invaluable insights, industry best practices and practical wisdom garnered through years of experience. Seasoned mentors possess a wealth of knowledge honed through diverse projects, challenges and innovations encountered throughout their careers. By imparting this wisdom to aspiring plumbing engineers, mentors provide them with a roadmap to navigate the complexities of the field effectively.

Mentorship can also foster a culture of collaboration and camaraderie. By facilitating open communication and knowledge sharing, mentors create a supportive environment where mentees feel empowered to ask questions, seek advice and exchange ideas freely. This not only enhances individual growth but also contributes to the collective advancement of the profession as a whole.

Engineering firms would do well to create their own in-house mentorship programs, but if your firm doesn’t have one in place, ASPE has a program you can get involved with as either a mentor or mentee. The ASPE Connect Mentor Match offers a unique online networking and career development tool as the mentor/mentee can be in the same city or on the other side of the country. It only takes a few minutes to complete a profile and enroll. Visit for more information.

As the industry continues to evolve and expand, the importance of mentorship in shaping the future of plumbing engineering cannot be overstated. It is through the guidance and support of mentors that the next generation of plumbing engineers will rise to meet the demands of an ever-changing world.