EWB-USA’s newest Project Engineer, Chris Brandewie, has two qualities that we value here at EWB-USA: engineering expertise and a sense of adventure. From working on engineering projects in Central America to skiing steep runs, Chris pours his heart into everything he does.
How did you first learn about and get involved with EWB-USA?
I first heard of Engineers Without Borders USA a few years ago while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala. I interacted with a professional mentor with an EWB-USA chapter that was assessing a project near the town I was living in.
Tell us about your new role here! Who will you interact with and impact the most?
I am the newest Project Engineer working with the International Community Programs team. I will be interacting with student chapters to help channel their enthusiasm towards a great educational experience and a sustainable solution for the communities in need. I will also be building relationships and networking with professional chapters while facilitating their desire to use their expertise to make an impact.
What part of your job are you most excited about and why?
I am most excited about being a part of all the different projects that pass through EWB-USA. It’s an honor to contribute to projects that create a meaningful impact on less served communities across the globe. I also look forward to learning about different cultures and providing engineering support for their challenges.
What’s the most unique engineering project you have helped implement?
I was very lucky to work in two Mexican National Parks. The nature of conserving natural reserves in Mexico is challenging because many people live within the parks’ limits and depend on the land to sustain themselves and their families. I worked with various communities to build community water tanks in exchange for land and labor dedicated to reforestation, watershed restoration and wildlife conservation.
What does “engineering change” mean to you?
Engineering change is a process of understanding, application and replication. These three steps ensure that the most appropriate and sustainable solution is applied and the most positive impact can be made.
How do you spend your free time?
I really like to ski and snowboard. I used to teach skiing and I still enjoy taking it easy with newcomers, but I also like to rise to the challenge and hike to a distant peak in steep and deep snow. I also worked as a wedding photographer through college and grad school and I am still quite the shutterbug. However, having just bought a 100-year-old house, I am now spending a lot of my free time making home improvements.