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Aviation Engineer Brings Mentorship, Holistic Outlook to Role

January 31, 2020      

Tags: Aviation, Culture, Our People

When RS&H associates Dan Carroll and Nick Patterson graduated from Michigan State University and drove to sunny Jacksonville, Florida, in 2004, the pair were excited to start their careers.

There was just one minor issue – Nick had only $27 to his name, and that would fall a little short of his part of the rent.

“Dan covered our first month’s rent and just said ‘pay me back when you get your first paycheck,’” said Nick, a senior aviation engineer. “Not many people would do that.”

But that’s just who Dan is, say his fellow associates.

Two Practices. Two States.

Dan started as a civil engineer in the Corporate Practice in Jacksonville in 2007. When his son was born in 2013, he and his wife decided to head back home to Michigan for family support.

All the while, Dan was scouring for opportunities to get back to RS&H.

“I’ve compared every company I’ve ever worked for to RS&H,” said Dan. “I’ve worked for companies with 25,000 employees, and I’ve worked for companies with 300 employees – so various sizes and various cultures. But I felt that RS&H by far had the best overall environment and culture.”

Big Picture Mindset

Dan returned to his RS&H roots in 2018, landing this time in the Aviation Practice’s Environmental Stewardship & Resiliency Group as a water resources engineer.

While the Aviation and Corporate Practices are different, Dan feels that engineering is more about solving problems than focusing on what industry they pertain to.

And Dan’s officemate, Patrick Frame, sees his Corporate experience as an asset.

“He hasn’t been working in aviation his whole career, so he brings a knowledge of other projects and other experiences beyond what we normally work on day-to-day,” said Pat, Vice President of Aviation Management. “That experience from other areas helps him take a different look at things. He sees the bigger picture.”

‘A Ray of Sunshine’

Dan is the kind of person who lifts the spirits of everyone around him – a “ray of sunshine,” as one colleague described him.

“He is always happy when he answers the phone. You will never know if he has a problem occurring,” said John Lengel, Vice President of Aviation. “He’s got a very positive outlook on life in general that he brings to his work.”

Known to toss out a Seinfeld reference or two, Dan also brings a sense of humor and levity to conversations with those around him.

“People gravitate towards Dan. People want to be around him naturally. He’s very much a glass-half-full person both personally and professionally,” explained Nick.


Dan is not the bragging kind. But one aspect he does pride himself on is his ability to be a reference point for the younger associates within the firm. That stems from memories of the beginning of his career.

“I’ve made some assumptions that I thought were right and ended up doing a bunch of rework, but that’s part of the growing pains,” Dan said.

Dan aims to take some of the guesswork out of that equation for associates like Edith Henderson, a recent University of Michigan graduate who works alongside him.

When she was fresh out of college, she often found herself nervous about tackling projects.

“He’s been very helpful and very willing to answer questions and explain. No question is a dumb question with him,” laughed Edith. “He’s made the experience much better than I think it could have been.”

Moving Forward

The Environmental Stewardship and Resiliency Group is growing rapidly.

Dan hopes to continue bringing on new graduates to his team, and his fellow associates say Dan is only going upward in his career. But beyond his projects and his team, Dan’s main priority for now?

Just getting through that cold Michigan winter.

Interested in joining Dan and the rest of the RS&H team? Learn more by visiting our Careers page.

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