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From the USMC to our latest CEM

Here at Smith Engineering, we are drawn to the unique, the exceptional, and the unconventional. We pride ourselves on our out-of-the-box thinking not only in our work but throughout everything we do in our organization, including the people we hire. 

We are here to celebrate Kelby Hohler!

Kelby, who is just shy of his one-year anniversary with Smith Engineering, recently took the accelerated Certified Energy Manager (CEM) course and received his certification. Receiving a CEM certification, especially within the first 10 months of joining Smith Engineering is a great feat. This represents just one of many accomplishments we have seen in Kelby’s performance and one of many that we expect as he proceeds toward new opportunities within our organization.

Kelby is a Marine (once a Marine always a Marine) who served in the infantry for 8 years. He completed two tours, one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan. He was Honorably Discharged in 2012 as a Sergeant, and as if that wasn’t enough, after that he put himself through Engineering school at Oregon State University.

Kelby began his engineering career as a Process Engineer at a paper mill, where he worked for 3.5 years. The environment of a paper mill, similar to his service in the Marines, is that good is not good enough.  A paper mill with high pressure steam and caustic chemicals can be a deadly environment.  The expectation is that we need to be great, we need to be thorough, we need to work from facts, and we need to understand how everything works. The ability to embody these qualities is what drew us to Kelby as they are the same qualities we try to adopt in an industry overwhelmed with mediocrity.

To illustrate this, in less than one-year of working at Smith Engineering, Kelby was chosen by a customer to become a subject matter expert on a cogeneration facility. He was given the task of learning everything about that piece of equipment and come back and review it with them. In addition to that, Kelby has become Smith Engineering’s resident subject matter expert on different pieces of equipment and in doing so is shifting the direction of his role to a more independent and leadership role.

Kelby shared one of his most humbling experiences to date when Smith Engineering’s founder asked him to learn the ins and outs of a complex component of a district energy plant. His assignment, learn it well enough to review it with experienced and more senior engineers. This is just another reminder of the level of confidence that people have in his ability.

Along those same lines, the best advice Kelby received in his career so far is, if you don’t understand or want to learn about how a piece of equipment works, read the Operating manual. It’s the simplest thing to do, yet most people don’t do it. He has taken this advice and put it to practical use, which speaks a lot to his character, he is willing to do what others won’t do and that’s just one of the things that makes him stand out.

While these are just the opening chapters of Kelby’s career, he has proven himself to be a leader and an asset to the organization.  These are the type of people we want on our team.

Disruptive Technology. Sustainable Efficiency.
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