Brady Meister

Focal Point: Brady Meister, PE, LEED AP, BD+C, Mechanical Engineer

Meet Brady Meister, an experienced mechanical engineer at Wold who’s committed to developing education and healthcare spaces that last longer, consume fewer resources, and better serve communities. He attended South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) and earned his bachelor’s degree in structural and sustainable engineering. He also earned two Master's degrees from SDSM&T: one in construction engineering and management and one in engineering management, with a focus on the manufacturing industry and a comprehensive approach to business management and operations.

Brady has been a valued member of the Wold team for 5 years. Learn more about what inspires his engineering approach, advice for young professionals, hobbies and much more in our latest Focal Point Q&A below.

What’s your method for inspiration?

I am inspired by all buildings and building systems. When I am in a space I have not been in before, I look at how the structure works, what provides ventilation, and how the engineering needs are balanced with or incorporated into the building’s aesthetic. When thinking about these systems, I close my eyes and imagine I am the water moving through the plumbing, air moving through the ducts, electrical current running through conductors, or building load flowing through the structure. I can then bring the design of our engineering systems to life.

How does your personal experience influence the planning and design of education and healthcare environments?

Growing up, my father worked in the commercial mechanical maintenance industry and my mom was a registered nurse. While in high school, my father was on the school board. As an adult, I recognize how the exposure to these industries impacted how I view both education and healthcare facilities. I treat every client I work with and space we “touch” as if it were my own organization or property. As part of this commitment, I am hyper focused on the long term impact of the decisions we make as part of the planning and design processes. Our industry has a significant impact on people and communities, and a thoughtful process helps create maximum value for years to come.

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How did you first become interested in the architecture and engineering industry?

My interest began in ninth grade when I took all the drafting and architectural courses my high school offered and even took an independent study on AutoCAD. However, interestingly enough, the following summer my school district hired Wold Architects & Engineers to help with master planning its facilities. Since my dad was on the school board, and I had completed all the drafting courses offered, I was asked to be a part of the Facilities Planning Task Force. I thoroughly enjoyed the master planning experience and have been hooked ever since.

What do you think is one of the most pressing issues for those in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry today?

The push for sustainability is one of the biggest challenges our industry faces for several reasons. Buildings contribute to a significant portion of global greenhouse emissions. If the world wants to reduce emissions, buildings must unquestionably be part of the solution. However, shelters are essential. As such, we must find ways to cost effectively reduce emissions in existing facilities as part of regular maintenance while allowing for effective operation. There are also infrastructure improvements that will need to be completed beyond the control of each facility owner. Lastly, to meet the aggressiveness of sustainable targets in the marketplace, conventional engineering systems will have to grow at a rate faster than ever before.

What gets you excited about the engineering industry today?

Both the systems and collaboration get me excited about the engineering industry. Building systems are improving and evolving at a very fast pace. I enjoy getting to learn about these new systems and ways they can be incorporated into new and existing facilities. I also enjoy the amount of collaboration in the AEC industry. We regularly interact with decision makers, accountants, facilities managers, maintenance professionals, space users, designers of other trades, construction professionals, and so many others with different perspectives to ensure success of each project.

What advice would you give to your 21-year-old self?

I’d tell my 21-year-old self to persevere in the face of challenges I imagined I’d face and many I didn’t. I’d remind myself to keep working hard and focusing on my goals. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed achieving them more than I could have ever expected.

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If you weren't an engineer, what would you be doing?

I would have tried to be a performing artist because I enjoy singing and playing the guitar. In high school, I was in theater and got to play the lead roles of Private Phil Davis in White Christmas and Sherlock Holmes, among others. I was a part of several bands throughout high school and performed as a solo musician during college in the local bar scene in Rapid City, SD. When I contemplated careers at the end of high school, I thought of my options as a performing artist, architect, or engineer. I knew I wanted a family, couldn’t draw and was good at math. Therefore, I thought the logical choice was to become an engineer.

What advice do you have for new professionals in the industry?

My advice to new professionals is to always be curious, never put yourself in a box, and ask for help when you need it. Your unique experiences and passions can take you to any frontier you choose.

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Family matters:

I am blessed to have a large family on both my side of the family as well as my wife’s. We have three wonderful kids in elementary school. We are just starting to get into all of the kids' activities, and I am enjoying watching them grow.

What do you do in your spare time/what are some hobbies you enjoy?

Over the past 10 years I have collected vinyl records. I specifically look for colored vinyl prints. I have a rather eclectic set of genres ranging from crooners (Bing Crosby is my favorite) to current pop, country, and rock. Much of my hobby time has been taken up by running my kids around to their events, ranging from piano lessons to sports games and practices. However, last fall, I decided to purchase a Peloton to keep healthy year-round. I was skeptical if I would actually use the home workout equipment at first, but I have really come to enjoy the experience. There are now a few of us from the office that have Pelotons and keep each other honest. I recently completed my 100th ride and got a call out from the instructor. If you want to check it out, do the 30 min HIIT & Hills Ride with Erik Jager from 03/05. My username is BradyMeister.

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What type of music is on your workplace playlist?

Music is very important when I need to get into a creative flow. When working in the office, I have music streaming to block out distractions and provide a soundtrack to the movement in my mind. When I’m home, I play music on my record player to accomplish the same thing. I prefer the record player because it makes me take a break to stretch when I’m super focused by having to change the side. I enjoy many types of music, including rock, country, pop, r&b, soul, funk, blues, classical, and crooners.

What's a fun fact about yourself that many people may not know?

I have a few. I was once an accountant for a beauty salon; I wrote and performed a graduation song instead of a speech for my high school graduation; and I also lived in Kuwait for 2 years.

To learn more about Brady, his experience and insights, click here. Our Focal Point series provides a behind-the-scenes look at the talented team members that bring our work to life.

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