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“My professors were dedicated to teaching and to the students. They were also excited about what they were teaching. My experience at Lafayette was very inspiring,” says Christopher Blechschmidt ’97, a civil engineering graduate selected as Young Engineer of the Year by the Lehigh Valley chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers.

Blechschmidt researched roof construction of large Inca structures for his senior honors thesis at Lafayette, then accepted a position at Liberty Engineering, a civil and structural consulting engineering firm in Allentown, Pa. His projects have included St. Luke’s Hospital additions in Allentown, Pa., and Cumberland Valley High School additions and renovations in Cumberland County in Central Pennsylvania.

As a project engineer, Blechschmidt is responsible for the design of a building’s entire structure, including steel framing and footing. Just as architects develop the “look” of the building, Blechschmidt and his team provide the structural skeleton.

“The coordination in the design of the building among all of the consultants, project architects, structural and mechanical engineers, etc. is fairly challenging,” he says. “We have to get everything to work among all of us. The reward is seeing it all come together in the end.”

Blechschmidt believes that Lafayette did a “fantastic job” of preparing him for his career. “The attention from the professors wasn’t solely in the classroom lectures, but on a one-on-one level, talking about engineering outside of the classroom. Opportunities like externships and internships were a big benefit to finding a job.” His practical experience as an undergraduate included serving a for-credit internship at the engineering company Barry Isett & Associates.

Blechschmidt is an outside consultant for the team of Lafayette civil engineering majors offering potential designs to Lower Saucon Township for a municipal park as a senior design project. In 2000, he received the Young Engineer of the Year Award from the Lehigh Valley chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers. He is a member of Construction Specifications Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers, and Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles