It has been a quick five months since Paul C. Parks, P.E., Founder of Benchmark Group, handed over his presidency to David P. Kimball, P.E. During this transition, David has been leading the Benchmark Group team forward, and now we want to take a few minutes to further introduce our new President.
What motivated you to go into engineering? My grandfather immigrated to the United States from Germany in the 1920’s. He was an industrial engineer for DuPont. Before I was 4 years old, Grandpa would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would say, “I want to be a gun or a fire engine.” He would say, “No, you don’t, you want to be an engineer.”
In the summer between David’s sophomore and junior years at La Tourneau, he reconsidered his decision to become an engineer. When he came home for the summer, he talked with Dr. Pearson, Professor of Engineering at JBU. Dr. Pearson advised him to “Get the degree. It’s a good discipline.”
Who has encouraged you to achieve? When I went to college, Mom and Dad encouraged me a lot. My dorm mates also encouraged one another. We had an agreement that when someone made a 100 on a test, they had to buy pizza for everyone. If you made above 100, bonus points, you had to buy that many toppings. One guy made a 108 on a test. We made him order 8 toppings on that pizza. It may sound like you wouldn’t want to make a 100 because you had to buy everyone pizza, but we made sure that if someone made a 100, he was buying us a pizza!
What is your advice for designers new to the workforce? Be sure you are prepared when you go into a meeting or a new project. Don’t wing an answer because it will come back to you. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”
What was unexpected in your career? I am surprised that I stayed with Engineering this long. After beginning my career in Engineering, I went back to school and earned a masters in Education with an emphasis in secondary math. I enjoy teaching and pouring myself into people. So, to be here after 20 years, still in engineering, is surprising. But as I looked for something fulfilling, I found teaching here at Benchmark to be that fulfillment I was looking for.
What do you enjoy the most? I enjoy spending time with my kids and family. Sometimes I would like to go home and sit for a while. But my kids are active and ready to do things. We like to play 5 on 5 basketball, kayak, go out in the Sunfish (this is his grandpa’s 1970 sailboat), and play tennis. We are all pretty competitive. My son, Jason, is a real basketball player. Sometimes I say, “Jason, can you tone it down?” He says, “No dad. I can’t.” We are all pretty competitive. I also enjoy teaching the teens in our church youth group.
What do you like best about BG? I like that the general attitude of our Staff is helping others, pitching in, providing resources. As an example, when we have a new Staff Member, people around them listen and try to help answer their questions. I also like the expertise here. Several Staff have been in this industry a long time. There are a lot of people you can go to who know what goes into a building or design. It makes working on a project more enjoyable.
What do you picture as BG’s future? In our future, I see us growing as competent leaders in our fields. I see us expanding our areas of expertise, and I see BG (through our Staff Members) as a reliable neighbor to our community as we reach out to help others.
See David’s Resume