Apex Engineers Enjoy Professional Development Opportunity at Virginia Tech

group of Apex engineers attending professional development course in Virginia
Pictured left to right: Davor Bozic, PE, Jacob Drost, Tiara Walters, Brian Cave and Anthony Gang enjoying a recent professional development opportunity at Virginia Tech’s short course on Structural Design Topics in Wood Construction.

Apex recently continued its investment in the company’s future by sending five rising stars from its engineering department to attend a short course on Structural Design Topics in Wood Construction at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The group included Davor Bozic, Jacob Drost and Tiara Walters from the Jacksonville division, and Brian Cave and Anthony Gang from the Mid-Atlantic division. The 15 hours of continuing education was delivered over the course of three days in May. Five instructors addressed 12 topics ranging from ethical standards in the professional engineering industry, code-related standards and updates, truss engineering specifications and requirements, and all things timber-related!

“As a recent grad, it was a neat experience to have a stress-free learning opportunity like this,” explains Anthony, who has been an Engineering Associate at Apex since 2022. “We still have lots to learn, and it was great to do some of that without the pressure of homework and exams. We could just sit and listen as well as enjoy the chance to meet new people and get to know our coworkers better.”

Jacob, an Engineering Associate with Apex since 2022, says he enjoyed the opportunity to learn about topics outside of the day-to-day norm of the projects he usually works on. “I found the classes about mass timber buildings and designing wood structures for fire resistance particularly interesting because they aren’t in our typical scope of work on a residential home,” he says.

Apex engineers exploring Virginia Tech football stadium
The group enjoyed some team building time with a tour of the Virginia Tech campus led by Anthony (pictured front), who graduated from VT in 2022, including this exclusive shot of the VT football field.

“The biggest takeaway for me was how many different types of industry professionals were in attendance,” says Tiara, a Junior Project Manager with Apex since 2020. “I realized that a truss engineer looks at a project differently than a structural engineer who looks at it differently from a code official. This experience gave me a much bigger picture of what goes into the overall residential construction process.”

“This was a great experience that inspired me to be a better engineer and continue learning about why we do what we do,” says Brian, a Junior Project Manager with Apex since 2020. “I was impressed by how much knowledge was needed by the presenters who talked about their experiences with forensic engineering. It inspired me to take more ownership and have an even stronger sense of accountability.”

“The course was a great blend of topics on wood construction that covered both residential and commercial applications,” explains Davor, a Sr. Project Manager who has been with the company since 2016. “As a new PE, the course on ethics was especially interesting and impressed on me the magnitude of the responsibility as the engineer of record on a project. It also reminded me that we should take pride in the work we do when we put so much effort and expertise into each plan. When you think about each house that is built holding a family and multiply that by the number of homes we build each year, the reach we have into the community is huge!”

Everyone in the group clearly appreciated the opportunity to take a few days away from the office to gain new knowledge and perspective. Likewise, Apex’s Head of Engineering Jeff Arneson expressed how important it is to the company to invest in people in this way. “We love the VT program, but this trip wasn’t just about getting CEUs,” he explains. “We are focused on pouring into rock solid engineers who are also emerging leaders in the company. These opportunities to gain knowledge, be exposed to others in the industry and grow personally and as a team provide immeasurable value. And kudos to everyone for seamlessly covering daily demands during these three days. Everyone is very busy right now but we were able to invest this time without disruption to our clients. Great job!”