Alumni spotlight on Jeremy D. Billig
Jeremy D. Billig, P.E.,
President, McLaren Engineering Group
, CEE B.S. '04, M.Eng. '05
Q. How did your educational background prepare you for your current role?
A. My educational experience at Cornell prepared me for my current role by teaching me the theory behind the formulas…not just how to pull formulas from a book. By learning theory and applying it to various real-world problems I was then able to learn (and feel) structural behavior which is key to being a good structural engineer. One of our Professors treated our project teams like we were a real business forcing us to track our time and submit invoices with each assignment. This put a different spin on how we approach our course-work and taught us about the value of time. The well-rounded elective courses exposed me to skills, such as: technical writing, decision making, and communication techniques…all which I implement on a daily basis.
Q. What trends do you foresee in your field?
A. Advancements in technology continues to be a trend that is shaping how we approach our work. The sophistication of programs continues to expand which in some ways is good and in some ways is bad. The ability to understand structural behavior gets harder and harder the more your interactions with structural behavior are through a computer. On the flip side, advancements in technology have allowed us to take on more complex projects while being able to accelerate the design process and better optimize the solutions.
Q. What advice/suggestions do you have for someone who wants to gain experience in your field?
A. First, get lots of exposure through internships and try to get opportunities at firms in different markets and with different philosophies. Getting this well-rounded exposure will allow you to determine where you best want to focus your career. Second, make sure you get exposed to more than just the engineering components of your education. If you want to advance in this field you need to understand where the work comes from, how projects get financed, how you actually get work and how to manage human interactions…after all, this is a human interaction business and the engineering is typically secondary.
Jeremy Billig has led a distinguished career at McLaren over the past 15 years, directing a range of engineering projects while starting and growing the New York City office to over 40 staff. As the firm has expanded, Billig has managed McLaren’s organizational planning efforts, including developing a scalable structure to accommodate growth, supporting the firm’s merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and overseeing coordination and management of the regional offices. As an accomplished engineer, Billig has worked across the firm’s 10 markets, ranging from entertainment venues and healthcare facilities to comprehensive structural work and restoration of landmarked buildings.
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