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ASPE Member Spotlight: Patrick Hickey

By Rebekah Weidner posted 27 days ago

  

What is your current position? What is your area of focus?
My current position is Plumbing Designer.  I’m the only Plumbing Designer currently on staff, so just about anything with fluid in it comes to me, so I’d say general plumbing is my focus.

What are your Career Journey Highlights?

  • I started as a MEP CAD drafter in 2006
  • Moving into plumbing design in 2008ish
  • The stretch of time around 2009 to 2012 where we worked on a VA hospital and a couple historic high-rise buildings which provided a lot of challenges and opportunities to learn a great deal more about how complex plumbing systems can get.
  • Becoming Certified in Plumbing Design in 2020  

What is one piece of advice you would give to others just starting out in the field? 

Talk to the code officials and the plumbing contractors to get feedback. They’re both going to be looking at the documents you provide from different ends of the construction spectrum and having insight on the information they need to see will help you with preparing a clearer set of plans.

What motivated you to get into the plumbing engineering industry?  
I just happened to fall into it. I was a MEP CAD drafter when our previous plumbing designer left and I was asked to step in and, I guess it worked out!

What is the most exciting or rewarding aspect of your work?
A lot of our projects are providing affordable housing to people who would otherwise have no place to go, so it is pretty uplifting to know that I’m playing a role in that. Also, because most people expect plumbing to just be there and work, they don’t really notice it until something goes wrong, so each time one of my buildings opens and I don’t hear anything, I take it as a compliment!

What value have you gained from participation in ASPE Connect?
The most valuable thing I’ve found is the breadth and depth of knowledge from the other members. If I need more information on anything, there’s probably a thread or two discussing it. There have been numerous times where I was pondering a problem only to have someone post a similar issue the same day.

What is the most interesting plumbing design challenge you have encountered?
Working on a modular apartment building design, but the plumbing fixtures were laid out as though it were a standard building, i.e. fairly spread out standard fixtures rather than wall mounted fixtures located on a chase wall, and having to run all of the underfloor piping within a 5” punch out in the metal floor joists. Some of the tolerances to get the proper slope were in the thousandths of an inch, so it was more like industrial design than plumbing at times. They were being built in a factory, allowing them tight enough control to enable such razor thin tolerance, however, everyone agreed that their next module design is going to have all of the plumbing fixtures on a chase wall!  

What is your favorite hobby or pastime outside of work?
Does collecting hobbies count? If had to limit myself, I’d say running and pipe collecting (totally appropriate for the plumbing industry, right?)
#MemberSpotlight
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Comments

25 days ago

Patrick, while you have done a lot so far, keep expanding.  Develop your skills in writing, articles for your office, information on your projects like would want for your resume etc.  Take the opportunities when they arise to do a little public speaking in the office and beyond.  These will go a long way to help you future growth.  
I started in the plumbing and fire protection engineering and design in 1966.  Writing and speaking became very valuable assets.  
Good Luck in your future.