Employee Spotlight: Vince Sage

How long have you been with NWESI? 
21 years

What is your primary role at NWESI, and what does it cover?
As a senior commissioning authority I manage 15-20 projects at a time.  This includes estimating, management, managing and mentoring junior commissioning engineers, as well as performing some (approximately 40%) of the project work.  I have worked on a variety of facilities including schools, healthcare facilities, data centers, airports, office buildings, hotels, and performing arts centers.  I focus on design review, commissioning meetings, communications with the project team, and reviewing the work of junior engineers.

What led you to NWESI?
I have worked for NorthWest Engineering since leaving college.  I started out as Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing Engineer and moved into commissioning several years later.  I was looking to work in the HVAC industry, though at the time I didn’t know what TAB and Cx were.  When told at the job interview, I thought such work shouldn’t even be necessary; maybe they had some sweetheart deal with the trade unions.  Needless to say, I had a lot to learn.

What has been a personal or professional growth that’s happened since you’ve been here?
I have learned so much it’s hard to know where to begin.  Working as a TAB engineer caused me to develop great respect for the complexities of building process and all of the trades.  I learned the satisfaction of working hard and building something tangible.  I also learned that engineering is mostly about refining and implementing ideas rather than generating them.  That is not a bad thing since inspiration only strikes once in a while and implementation and refinement take a lot skill and hard work.  I also learned soft skills like budget tracking, training junior employees, and reviewing their work.  These skills reinforce each other and complement others such as estimating.  I like working for a small company where I do all of these things rather than being dedicated to one without understanding the others.

If there’s a favorite part of your work, what is it, and why?
My favorite part is troubleshooting problems.  Many commissioning authorities simply state that a test failed and assign it to the control contractor.  I like to find out why it failed.  Not only does that give me a chance to use my skills but it vastly improves the chances of getting it resolved.

Do you have any outside hobbies?
I like hiking, bicycling, and kayaking.  All involve getting out into natural areas, provide exercise, and do not diminish the experience with noise or exhaust.  I like woodworking including homemade picture frames, rustic furniture, as well as home improvements.  There is satisfaction in building one’s own design.  I also like to work jigsaw puzzles; the more pieces the better.  I like puzzles of places to travel because looking at the pieces closely enough to work the puzzle causes me to see far more detail than I would ever notice by looking at the whole.

I started drawing house plans when I was six years old and continue to dream about my ideal house to this day.  I have also designed cars, airplanes, recreational vehicles, and cruise ships.  These hobbies provide real world applications that inspire me to continue learning engineering principles.