Our families play a powerful role in shaping our lives – including our careers. According to the General Social Survey, choosing the same career as a parent is highly likely. For instance, working sons of working fathers are, on average, 2.7 times as likely as the rest of the population to have the same job.
Justin Drozda, Mechanical Technologist at AECOM, is one of the many people who is following in the footsteps of a parent’s career. His father, Gary Drozda, National BIM Director Design Technology at CIMA+, helped shape Justin’s interest in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry from an early age. Recently, we chatted with both Gary and Justin to learn more about what’s it like working within the same industry. Learn more about their story, below.
How did you first get into the AEC industry yourself?
Gary: When I was in high school, I had a couple of construction and drafting classes and really enjoyed them. I started working in the AEC industry right away, and I have been doing this ever since!
When did you first realize you wanted to work in the AEC industry?
Justin: I also realized I wanted to work in the AEC industry as a teenager when I was building things with my dad. I saw just how many elements go into building something.
To me, I was always curious and interested in how things were put together and how all the disciplines manage to coordinate and make it work.
Did your father play a role in inspiring you to pursue a career in the industry? If so, how?
Justin: My father played a huge role in me pursuing a career in this industry. I was always interested in the process of building and construction. However, having someone this close to me that was able to show me exactly what I could be doing, helped tremendously in choosing a career path in the AEC industry.
How did you feel when Justin first took an interest in construction?
Gary: I was grateful that showing him what I do for a career sparked an interest in him pursuing a career in this industry.
This gave us even more things that we had in common.
What was it like working with your son not only in the same industry but at the same company while you worked at AECOM?
Gary: While we did work together on some projects, we were in different departments. Overall, it was a great experience and I enjoyed working with him and being able to provide some guidance and direction from a professional standpoint.
What was the best advice your dad gave you to help you succeed or navigate the industry?
Justin: He advised me to stay current and up to date with the current trends and software. In our industry, it’s crazy and very fast pace. But it’s so satisfying seeing a project go from an idea all the way to a completed project. After working in the industry for more than three years now, I completely understand where he’s coming from!
Over the years, have you learned anything new about the industry from Justin?
Gary: There are always new things to learn in our industry. As a BIM Director, he gave me more of an insight into Mechanical Design from a Designer’s point of view and how Mechanical Engineers work.
What advice would you give your own children and /or future generations if they were interested in pursuing an AEC career?
Justin: My advice to future generations would be, keep an open mind.
If you’re looking for a job or career that is not repetitive and each job is different, and you can enjoy working and designing on the computer, then this could be a career for you.
There is also a variety of different disciplines that can catch your attention. I work mainly designing buildings currently. While I was in school, mechanical stood out to me the most, but there are so many different options to consider.
Interested in reading more inspiring stories from individuals in AEC? Check out our Behind the Build series.