American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon

What is a Consulting Engineer?

Consulting engineers are independent professionals in private practice who provide engineering and technical services to clients. Consulting engineers provide expertise and leadership in the planning, design, modification or rehabilitation of public and private infrastructure.

Consulting engineers are involved in designing virtually every construction and renovation project in the nation, from bridges and schools to water purification plants and energy-efficient generation and distribution systems. They design ventilating and electrical systems for new hospitals, build tunnels and renovate wastewater treatment systems.

As catalysts in the problem-solving process, consulting engineers lead teams of multi-disciplined professionals on complex technical projects. They also serve as expert advisors to state, local and federal agencies and to private businesses.

What Do Engineers Do?
Engineers today work on tomorrow’s problems.
For example:

Chemical engineers seek to make our world better by devising systems to control pollution by trapping harmful pollutants before they spread into the air; looking for hardier strains of wheat, rice and corn that will survive drought, insects and disease, thus easing world hunger; designing high strength plastic composites that are stronger but lighter than steel; and joining the war against cancer, AIDS and other deadly diseases.

Civil engineers design solutions to cope with many of our planets most serious problems-- foul air; decaying cities, roadways and bridges; clogged airports and highways; polluted streams, rivers and lakes. They also design the transportation systems we will use to colonize the moon and building we will live in.

Electrical engineers design products that meet human needs for today and tomorrow-- huge power-generating systems in dams as well as the tiny electronic circuits that keep spacecraft on correct trajectory a billion miles from Earth. They create the electronic components that run computers, TVs, stereo systems, and automated factories and seek ways to improve the transmission of messages by laser beams.

Mechanical engineers can make our lives more comfortable by designing more efficient transportation and delivery systems for raw materials or products; improving the use of cryogenic techniques for super-conductivity; and improving the work environment through increased use of automation and robotics, more efficient heating, ventilation or refrigeration. They may even completely redesign the manufacturing process with special machinery to make production easier and more efficient.