On any given day in our office, you can hear Bulgarian, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian and English spoken among the workstations. We're fourtunate to be surrounded by different world views and experiences, and to collaborate on a final product that incorporates all of our ideas and practical knowledge.
Two of our engineers, Miroslav Doytchev and Georgi Stefanov, come to Integrated Design Engineers from the country of Bulgaria, and we asked them to share their experiences working in Bulgaria and worldwide.
Q: Miroslav and Georgi, what are your roles at Integrated Design Engineers and what are you currently working on?
Miroslav: I'm a project manager engineer at Integrated Design Engineers and am currently working on the SeaTac Airport International Arrivals Facility project. Previously, I was the project manager for the Seattle Public Utilities North Transfer Station Rebuild and the Andersen Air Force Base hangar construction engineering project.
Georgi: I'm a design engineer here at Integrated Design Engineers. Right now I'm working on a few projects for King County Solid Waste and the design of the InterContential Hotel in San Diego.
Q: In what countries have you practiced structural engineering?
Miroslav: I was a structural engineer in Bulgaria for six years. First at a firm called Dimitrov and Savakliev, then I worked for the international firm Hyder Consulting GmbH at its German offices in Berlin, Munich and Freiburg. I spent the first three months of my time with Hyder in Germany, then was relocated back to Bulgaria to work on projects in Germany, Qatar and Ecuador. For the project in Qatar, I coordinated with people in London, Berlin and Qatar every day.
Georgi: During my last year at the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in Sofia, Bulgaria, I worked for an engineer in my hometown in Bulgaria.
Q: How does practicing structural engineering differ between Bulgaria and America?
Miroslav: The paperwork! There are many more emails sent in America. Also, in Bulgaria the structural engineer is responsible for everything on the project...nothing happens at the construction site without my signature.
Georgi: There is no residential or commercial construction with wood in Bulgaria, it's all either concrete or steel construction. Apart from roofs and small structures, wood construction was completely new to me and it really interests me.
Q: How did you adjust to the structural engineering culture here in America?
Miroslav: It was a challenge for me at first to use the imperial system instead of the metric system. Pounds per square foot? It Bulgaria, the measurements are kilonewton per square meter. When I first started sometimes I needed at ten minutes to convert the measurement to metric first, then back to the imperial system.
Thank you Miroslav and Georgi!
Downtown Sofia image credit: Boby Dimitrov