Investing in People: Q&A with Principal Engineer Stuart Shakespeare
Our team members are the engine that drive Gray. Without the hard-working men and women inside the offices and on the jobsites, our projects would not be possible, and Gray wouldn’t be the company that it is today. With that in mind, Gray understands that it is vital to continuously invest in those who are helping grow Gray. We spoke with Stuart Shakespeare, principal engineer with Anderson Dahlen Inc., a Gray company, about his time with Gray and how the company has invested in him.
Tell us what your normal workday or “day in the life” is like.
“My day comprises a mixture of estimating, engineering design, and project management. The amount of each type of work I do varies significantly depending on where different projects are in their life cycle. Some days I am performing mostly detailed engineering calculations and producing detailed, conceptual designs. Other days, I am looking at customer concept sketches and models, trying to work out how we might go about fabricating those— so that I can put together a detailed project proposal. I am just one link in the process, but seeing a project go from initial bid, through detailed design, manufacturing, and to the customer, is very exciting every time.”
What do you enjoy most about your work?
“The absolute best thing about my work is working directly with our production team. We have the most talented group of fabricators, welders, machinists, assemblers, and support personnel that I have ever worked with. Getting their help at the front end of projects, and then continuing to work closely with them throughout a project life cycle, is tremendously humbling and rewarding. I never hear “we can’t do that.” I only ever hear about things we might try or ideas for overcoming the challenge.”
Since you started with the company, how has it changed in your opinion?
“Ethically and personally the company has changed very little – which I’m grateful for. Nevertheless, ADI has grown dramatically in factory size, resources, and number of people. The pace of growth has been so fast that it’s difficult to remember how things were when I first joined, but again, the personality and small company feel is still there.”
What does being a part of the Gray family mean to you?
“It is extremely satisfying being part of a large organization, while at the same time continuing as ADI. Gray clearly believes in allowing the individual businesses to define what works for them and structure their grow within that.”
How has Anderson Dahlen shown a commitment to invest in supporting you and your growth?
“My journey to citizenship began in 1998 when I first set foot in the country—as part of a collaborative effort between two divisions within a multinational company. I enjoyed being in America so much that I quickly began to seek temporary work authorization status. That progressed to immigration—via a green card—and ultimately citizenship. Although the process started with former employers, the leadership team at ADI has been tremendously supportive of everything I do. In fact, ADI ultimately sponsored my citizenship application. Although a permanent resident for some time, I felt that to properly integrate to the culture and give as much as possible to both the company and the nation was to attain citizenship—with all the rights and responsibilities that brings. Being American means being an integrated part of the greatest nation and mix of cultures on the planet.”
In one word or phrase, how would you describe Gray?
“Trusting and undoubting. I have been a part of acquisitions where new cultures and approaches were forced upon us, but with Gray we are clearly being allowed to follow our own ideas and grow the way we think is best. I ascribe this to the Gray ideology being so close to ADI’s ideology in the first place.”
If you would like to learn more about joining the Gray family, please visit gray.com/careers.