Jennifer Flanders is passionate about her work and her work allows her to be passionate about her life.
As a project engineer at EBI, Jennifer challenges herself every day to use her engineering skills to make sure buildings are safe and structurally sound. She analyzes buildings based on their structure, materials, HVAC system, and more to let builders and developers know what problems they may face, what needs to be fixed immediately, and what repairs they should plan for in the future.
This work is a dream she’s had since she was a teenager. Though she was a structural engineer for nearly a decade before starting work at EBI, now she’s found a work/life balance that allows her to have an impact on her work, community, and family.
“There was a point where I was working a ton and always in an office, and wanted to find a position where I could work remotely and have a more flexible schedule,” she said.
Now, Jennifer works remotely, as EBI has always done – even pre-pandemic. It’s a welcome change, especially as a working mother.
Finding balance working at home
Depending on what project she’s working on, her days look different. On days where she has a site visit, she typically drops her children off at school around 8:30 in the morning before making her way to the building she’s inspecting. She’ll visit with the client and inspect the site for a few hours, gathering the information she needs. If she has time before her children get home, she’ll upload all of her photos and information to her computer. But if not, it can wait until later that evening or tomorrow morning.
On days when she writes reports, she works from home. It’s usually the same schedule but with even more flexibility, allowing her to exercise or jog in the mornings before logging on to her computer.
“No one is policing you or... micromanaging your time which is the best part.”
Opportunities to learn
The freedom and balance aren’t the only things Jennifer loves about her job.
Despite being a structural engineer for over a decade, there are still many opportunities to learn and grow at EBI and on her team.
“I came into EBI knowing nothing about mechanical systems, and a big part of my job now is telling a client about their mechanical systems, their HVAC system, their expected use of their boiler...so it was a huge learning curve,” she said.
EBI has a system in place specifically for employees like Jennifer. When she began her career at EBI, she attended a several-day orientation program, allowing her to learn about the company and attend different sessions and trainings based on her skillset and what her new job entailed. Jennifer used this time to work closely with a Tech Program Manager to learn EBI’s processes, reporting systems, and HVAC system.
She said the process aligned with what she already knew and wanted to learn. This process created a foundation that she then expanded on as she went out into the field. Her managers paired her up specifically with others who were experts in the areas she was still learning, so she could feel confident and comfortable on the job.
She said even during Covid-19 EBI still conducts a virtual form of this orientation, so new employees have the opportunity to learn and grow.
In addition to learning, every new day keeps her on her toes: no two buildings are the same. It’s the perfect balance of getting into the field, being at home, seeing new places, and talking to new people.
It’s hard for her to pick the most fascinating places she’s seen because she’s traveled to so many and all have been so different. But she recalls doing work with one municipality that owned an old lighthouse and a 100-year-old water tower. Being shown around by a lighthouse keeper and going to the top of the water tower are standout memories for her, both personally and professionally.
Using her skills to make a difference
Certainly one of the best things about her work at EBI is how it’s allowed her to make a difference in her community outside of her work.
In her town, she participates in the local building committee where she’s able to assess buildings for safety and help the local government decide how to invest money into making schools and town buildings safer and more efficient.
This work largely overlaps with what she does at EBI, both in subject matter and timing. She takes meetings monthly for the building committee during the mornings. But at EBI, that’s a non-issue.
She said EBI encourages and understands that sort of community and family participation. It’s something that she didn’t always have in other jobs. Something as simple as wanting to work from home one day a week after her maternity leave ended resulted in a lot of cutting through red tape. Now, these kinds of things are a non-issue.
If you’re looking for a job that emphasizes work/life balance and allows you to learn and grow, EBI Consulting could be the right place for you. Take a look at our open jobs and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions!