Aviation career takes off for young civil engineer

Headshot of Daniel Doyle smiling, wearing blue button-down shirt.As a child growing up in south Florida, Daniel Doyle, P.E., knew he would eventually work in one of the science, technology, engineering or mathematics fields. During his childhood, Daniel’s grandfather shared stories of working on large transportation engineering projects, such as the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco, which inspired him to pursue a similar career in civil engineering.

During his studies at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, he set his sights on starting his career working on transportation projects with an engineering firm in the area. When he reached out to contacts while searching for a part-time internship for his senior year, he spoke with an employee of Amherst Consulting Co., an aviation design and consulting firm in Maitland, Florida, that was acquired by Hanson in 2021.

“They were also looking for a part-time intern out of UCF and were ready to begin working with me the following week,” Daniel said. “One week later, I was in the office, being exposed to a whole new field of engineering that I had not previously considered. The aviation aspect of civil engineering wasn’t even mentioned as a career path during my studies.”

Niche no longer up in the air

Daniel’s internship began in the middle of several projects, and he helped with small tasks while familiarizing himself with the new work and concepts. Quickly integrated into the company, he participated in several site visits and a final walkthrough for a newly completed taxiway in Lakeland, Florida.

“Within my first month, I attended the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo with my co-workers in Lakeland,” he said. “Sun ’n Fun is the second-largest air show and aircraft exposition in the world. During the visit, I got to see firsthand how multiple aircraft types operated at the airport and watched how we work with our clients to design facilities that help improve operations and allow for growth.”

During his first two months as an intern, Daniel’s colleagues introduced him to many new aviation-specific civil design concepts. He learned about the Federal Aviation Administration’s strict engineering guidelines for airports, and he gradually built on his knowledge of aviation design concepts.

“Fast forward five years, and I have had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of airfield projects, from new taxiway and apron designs, runway and taxiway rehabilitations, to new public T-hangars and private multijet hangar site designs,” Daniel said, adding that every project presents challenges that fascinate him and further his growth as an engineer.

Taking on the P.E. exam

Daniel took another step forward in his career when he began the process of acquiring his professional engineer (P.E.) license. P.E. applicants are required to practice engineering for at least four years and pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. The civil P.E. exam is a rigorous, eight-hour test that touches on a variety of civil engineering topics.

“The designs that I help put together on a daily basis include many of these aspects, which made studying for the test a little easier,” Daniel said. “I was able to use real-world examples encountered in past projects to help rationalize and solve some of the questions. The test covers a wide variety of civil engineering topics and concepts, so you must be proficient in each area, even those that you might never use in your career.”

Finding fulfillment in client success

Every project Daniel undertakes presents new challenges and requires a wide variety of civil engineering concepts, including transportation and planning, as well as geotechnical, structural, drainage, electrical and value engineering. Every success comes with a practical approach to meeting multiple agency requirements and sometimes fast-paced client needs.

“With the help of fellow co-workers and mentors, I have been able to learn, grow and take on additional tasks with each project,” he said. “It’s rewarding to see projects taken from the conceptual phase through design and construction. All the hard work and planning shown on paper transforms into successful projects for our clients.

“One of the most rewarding parts of my job is engaging with clients and listening to what they would like for their airport,” Daniel added, “then helping them through design challenges, permitting, funding and eventual construction of their projects.”

Daniel Doyle, P.E., is a civil aviation engineer in Hanson’s Orlando, Florida, regional office. He can be reached at ddoyle@hanson-inc.com.

Aviation History Quick Hit

On this day in 1929, Polish aviator Ludwik Idzikowski crashed in the Azores and died attempting a westbound transatlantic flight.