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Planning to go out on my own

Planning to go out on my own

Planning to go out on my own

(OP)
This is my first post so I would like to say hello to everyone. I have been lurking for some time. I have been cautious about posting the following question.

It is my intention to start my own engineering firm but I am looking for a reality check.

I finished my associate’s degree in 2001 and started working as an associate engineer for a large multidiscipline engineering firm. After a year, layoffs were coming so I jumped ship to a small ME design/built firm were I worked directly for the VP. In spring of 2006 I completed my BSME. The company has now grown from 10 to 20 people, including seven engineers. I still report to the VP, but hold the position of Project Manager with several engineers and mechanical assemblers working for me. I manage projects from infancy to completion, including SAT testing with the customers. I work closely to support the sales team and am involved in reviewing contracts, specifications, ect.

We really don’t do complicated work, mostly custom designed components for the pharmaceutical market. We do quite a bit of 3d modeling using solid works and I have become pretty good at balancing many projects and challenging schedules (everybody wants it yesterday).

Part of me wants to start a design company now, and when I get my PE in two years then expand to offer engineering services.

Another part wants to leave and go to a larger company for two years were I can get some good experience and possibly make a substantial increase in salary.

Another part wants to play it safe and just stay were I am and never leave.

While I can certainly recognize that no one can give me better direction than myself, I am really looking for what is more valuable - 2 more years as a PM or 2 years working in the capacity of an engineer?

Also, I would love to here from people running design/build firms without a PE?

Thanks in advance

Angleburt
 

RE: Planning to go out on my own

Look thru this forum -  This has been dsicussed MANY times with a lot of good info.  

IMHO - Get your PE and a few more years of experience.
 

RE: Planning to go out on my own

More years as an engineer mean little if you're not growing as an engineer... if you can learn no more in your current position, it's time to move on to something bigger and badder, particularly if you want to run your own business down the road.  Running your own business and "playing it safe" are quite often mutually exclusive, especially in the beginning.
 

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Planning to go out on my own

If you're not sure, it's not time yet.  Definitely not before you get your PE.  

In my state, I cannot practice and call myself a structural engineer with out a license.  Don't know about mechanical engineers doing your kind of work - whether they have to be licensed - but you better be sure before you strike out on your own.  Don't want any problems with the State Board.  bigsmile

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Planning to go out on my own

(OP)
I could not do engineering work without a PE, even as an ME.

Most of the work that I am currently doing could be labeled as turnkey design, with the deliverable being a tangible item.

While we have a PE on staff, we have never stamped a drawing. It is very rare, but when the equipment requires structural analysis, we will contract someone out.

Thanks

RE: Planning to go out on my own

I have done what you are contempating, but after I got my P.E.  Take advantage of the fact that you have a PE at your current company to "sponsor" you thru the testing application process.  PE's can be hard to find outside of the structural and civil world, as most manufacturing companies don't require it.  

I left my nice salaried job partly becuase I was learning nothing new.  I learned a great deal after going out on my own, and had an interesting time.  You could do what I did:  sub out manufacturing to qualified vendors, and do all the design and project management yourself.  

Good luck!

RE: Planning to go out on my own

I agree that: management = efficiency.
 

RE: Planning to go out on my own

(OP)
Thanks for the input guys.

I am going to take advantage and work to get my PE first.
I think staying were I am may be the best thing for now.

Angleburt

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