Spotlight – Roland Holder
I enjoyed a recent phone interview with Roland Holder, Associate and Team Leader for PSC’s Structural Engineering Team. He holds a Professional Engineer license in six states as well as a Structural Engineer license in one and serves as a technical resource for all structural engineering matters for the firm’s clients. Roland is a member of the American Institute of Steel Construction and has served in leadership roles in the Texas Society of Professional Engineers at both the state and local levels.
Q: What excites you most about structural engineering?
RH: I’ve always enjoyed solving puzzles, and structural engineering is like a large-scale puzzle. And once I’m done, there is now something there – a building, a structure, something tangible – that wasn’t there before. I can actually see the results of my efforts, and that is very satisfying.
Q: What sets PSC apart when it comes to working here?
RH: We have a diverse group of engineers on our team, with a wide array of experience and abilities. We have engineers who have been practicing 30 years, and engineers who are not yet 30 years old, and everything in between. It provides us with a beneficial mix of zeal and wisdom, and allows us to bring the best talent specifically suited to each project.
Q: Describe your approach to project design
RH: I like to get involved early in the process, so I can offer suggestions, be the voice of pragmatism, and prevent difficulties later on. I look for the simple solutions, while trying to honor the architect’s vision.
Q: What value do you see in the firm having in-house engineering?
RH: Being able to work side-by-side with us as their consultants enables our architects to improve communication, make real-time decisions, and streamline the design process. And because we are on the same team, there is greater level of trust on the design team.
Q: What traits do you look for in young engineers?
RH: I encourage my team – especially the younger engineers – to ask questions, to challenge the norm. I don’t want the answer ever to be “because that’s how we’ve always done it.” I want constant improvement of the team and of our product. I want them to continually learn and develop. The individual improves, making the team better. And that makes PSC better, which ultimately benefits our clients.
Q: What projects are you most proud of?
RH: The Lake Alan Henry Water Treatment Plant and the Seminole Fine Arts Building were a couple, because of the magnitude and scope, and the impact they had on the community. But to be honest, it was fun to see the seeds planted in my life when I was a student in Kermit come full circle when I was able to design their new elementary and high schools.
Q: What would surprise people about you, or your work?
RH: I’m a grammar person, which I think is unusual for engineers. I’m also a staunch advocate of the Oxford Comma. I’m actually a published singer/songwriter. I play guitar, mandolin, and bass guitar. I lived in Lubbock for several years and played in a band; we recorded a CD and published it. Now in Midland, music remains an outlet – whether playing or listening to it.
Q: What is one thing you wish more people knew about PSC?
RH: We have projects all over the world. We have professionals who are recognized leaders in their field, and I would put our capabilities and expertise up there with any of the “renowned firms” – both in architecture and engineering.