One2One Mentor/Protégé Spotlight: Harold Cobb and Stacy Chu


harold-cobbMENTOR: Harold Cobb | Executive Vice President at Terracon Consultants, Inc.

SMPS Member since: 1997

Why did you apply to the mentorship program?  I have served as a SMPS mentor for several years and I find it a great way to give back to the profession that I love.  Over the years I have participated in both formal and informal coaching/mentorships and the SMPS program by far is the best formal mentorship program I have seen.

What do you hope to learn from each other?  When I was presented with Stacy Chu’s information, I was excited by the prospects of mentoring a young engineer who saw the benefit and was interested in marketing/business development early in their career.  I looked forward to being encouraged by Stacy’s enthusiasm and drive and the opportunity to have a glimpse into her generation’s mindset. I was not disappointed.  My goal for her was to help her stay focused on developing technical credentials while at the same time integrating and learning to do effective marketing and business development.

How did you (or plan to) structure your mentorship? Do you meet at the same time every week? Do you have an agenda for each meeting?  Initially we worked through selected items from the SMPS Mentor Protégé Program syllabus meeting every other week and then monthly.  In the fall we met on an as needed basis while Stacy was preparing for and taking her PE exam.

What do you like best about working in the A/E/C industry?  I have always loved creating and playing a part in building things.  I still do but I learned a long time ago that what I like best about the A/E/C industry is the people.  I am not biased at all but the folks in this industry are the cream of the crop, the best our society offers. They are professionals in every sense of the word, creative, smart and work in teams to build great things – buildings and infrastructure the public depends on but take for granted because we do excellent work.  I am very blessed and most thankful for all the opportunities this industry has afforded me and my family.


stacy-chuPROTÉGÉ: Stacy Chu | Graduate Engineer & Business Development at Ensight, Inc. | Programs Committee, SMPS Houston

SMPS Member since: August 2015

Why did you apply to the mentorship program?  After working as an engineer for about 3.5 years, I was given the opportunity to get involved with the marketing and business development at our company due to my chatterbox-ness, I mean, my outgoing personality. Coming from an engineering background, I had no concept of what it meant to do marketing or business development. I was advised to apply for the mentorship as it would really help give me direction and launch me on my way to being more helpful to the company.

What do you hope to learn from each other?  I was so excited to meet Harold. I heard nothing but great things about him prior to starting the mentorship. And even now, whenever I mention that Harold is my mentor, I still hear nothing but raving remarks for him. And rightfully so! Harold is a wealth of experience, wisdom, and encouragement. Whether it be my insecurities for how to approach potential clients or just wading through my inundation of ideas, Harold has been amazingly patient and helpful in giving me advice and tips as to how to approach any obstacles. He’s one of those people that I can absolutely say that I want to be like him when I grow up! 

How did you (or plan to) structure your mentorship? Do you meet at the same time every week? Do you have an agenda for each meeting?  We kicked off by just trying to get to know each other a bit better first, then attempted to follow some of the Tool Kit for structure. After a while, it became more of me coming to Harold with more specific questions and asking for advice for both in-house and client dealings. Harold has even been amazing enough to pull resources from his company to help me in both the marketing side as well as helping me study for my PE exam!

What do you like best about working in the A/E/C industry?  Hands down, the people and the work. The built environment as always been astonishing for me growing up. After working in the industry for some years now, I have a deeper appreciation and understanding for how things are built and put together. I firmly believe that our industry is one where people are able to make a good and honest living. That, and there is a certain pride that comes from being able to point out a structure or project somewhere and say “I was part of that!” It’s an amazing feeling. I think the capacity to feel that pride after coming together with other down-to-earth, hard-working people to pull projects like that off is just plain awesome.