Ralph B. Peck Interview and Advice for Graduating Engineers

Ralph B. Peck, PhD, PE, NAE, Hon.M.ASCE
Ralph B. Peck, PhD, PE, NAE, Hon.M.ASCE - Photo courtesy of Geo-Strata Magazine

The late Ralph B. Peck PhD, PE, NAE, Hon.M.ASCE gave an interview to one of his former graduate students, University of New Mexico professor Fernando Moreu, sometime prior to his passing in 2008. The interview was published in the special 20th Anniversary Issue of Geo-Strata Magazine, a terrific milestone for a great publication! The entire issue is worth reading, but in particular, this interview is highly recommended. There were so many things that resonated with me from the interview, but here is one answer directed at the next generation of civil engineers that really hit home with me in these times of great uncertainty and change.

Make the most of educational opportunities, and then after you graduate, don’t be afraid to take advantage of opportunities that come along that may not be exactly what you had in mind to start with. If everybody did exactly what they were trained for, there wouldn’t be any advancement. Certainly my career was totally changed by a subway experience with Terzaghi, which wasn’t planned at all. If I had missed that, my life would have been totally different.

Ralph B. Peck

I can attest that when I have been open to new experiences and new types of work, I have benefited and grown greatly in my own career.