Engineering Boost

GARDENA, CA – Xcel Mechanical Systems’ newest engineers continue to earn their stripes, nearly one year after passing a rigorous state licensing exam, which is great news for the company, its clients, and the pair of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo grads who continue to help drive the company forward.

“Absolutely huge to have two more Professional Engineers in the mix,” said Project Manager Bill Bach. “Great for Kevin. Great for Xcel. Great for our Customers.”

To become a licensed Professional Engineer (PE), one must earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited program, pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, complete four years of progressive experience under a PE, and finally – pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam.

The Professional Engineer (PE) Exam is administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Scores are reported to the California Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists, which oversees the credentialing of Professional Engineers throughout the state.

“Passing the PE exam was a big deal,” said Stefan Owechko, who prepared for the test alongside colleague and fellow 2012 Cal Poly SLO mechanical engineering alum Joe Camacho. “Everyone knew we took it. And so everyone – including my family – was waiting on the results. Passing the test was huge news, and a huge relief.”

What does it all mean?

Every state regulates the practice of engineering to ensure public safety by granting only Professional Engineers (PEs) the authority to sign and seal engineering plans. PEs shoulder the responsibility for not only their work, but also for the lives affected by that work, and therefore must hold themselves to high ethical standards.

“It was definitely a good day,” said Camacho, who like Owechko said he has long had an interest in ‘how things come together.’ “And, it reflects a trend in our industry in which a growing number of clients expect that PEs are working on their projects.”

Camacho said he welcomes the additional responsibility and accountability that has resulted, and like Owechko said the long journey to PE certification will continue to open important doors. “I still have a lot to learn,” he said, “but I’m in the right place, and when the time is right, larger roles on larger projects await. Honestly, my plan is to continue helping however I can.”

Both Owechko and Camacho were quick to acknowledge the support they’ve received from their colleagues at Xcel, and the direct role company president Kevin Michel has played in their continued professional development.

“Kevin has backed us 150-percent from Day One,” Camacho said. “Anything we needed – from additional classes to study materials, to study time – it was there. He understands the importance of it all, and it’s amazing to work for a company that supports you in this way.” Owechko agreed. “I met Kevin when he came up to Cal Poly SLO for our Career Fair. I met with lots of companies, and interviewed with a few competitors. But none of them had the same feel. Kevin really cares about people here. It’s about quality. It’s about family. We all know that we’re taken care of here. We’re happy to be doing more to help Kevin and the company out.”