Engineers Week Emphasizes Significance of STEM Careers

Engineers Week Emphasizes Significance of STEM Careers

Pictured Left to Right: Patrick Smith, Larry Smith, Nathan Grasfeder, Will Clark, Trevor Teague

Engineers Week (EWeek), celebrated February 19-25, 2023, is an industry holiday dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing the understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.

Eweek is celebrated annually during the week of February 22, in commemoration of George Washington’s birthday. Washington was a significant figure in the industry’s history as he is widely believed to be the United States’ first engineer. This industry holiday was founded in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), a professional association representing licensed professional engineers in the nation.

“So much of what an engineer does goes unnoticed, and, for the most part, that’s how we like it. Engineer’s Week, however, provides a much needed opportunity to highlight the importance of the engineer,” commented LIS President Patrick Smith.

During this holiday, emphasis is placed on building public awareness of the essential value of engineers to students, educators, legislators, and parents, including the role the industry plays in STEM. STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, is an educational movement that integrates the disciplines in the classroom so that students may form a foundation for a future career.

Betsy Allison, Henry County’s Director of Career and Technical Education, stated, “The Henry County School System is proud to offer STEM education programs in all our schools. STEM classes provide a space for students to be creative and think outside of the box while utilizing technology, art, robotics, 3D printing and coding. Engineering design is a critical component to STEM, and we are excited to expand our partnership with LIS to include programs and activities highlighting engineering and technology career opportunities.”

L. I. Smith & Associates (LIS) employs professional engineers (PE), engineers in training (EIT), and technicians, all of whom specialize in civil engineering. LIS’ engineering team is currently comprised of Patrick Smith, PE, Larry Smith, PE, Nathan Grasfeder, EIT, Trevor Teague, EIT, Will Clark, EIT,  Zech Rowley, Engineering Technician, and numerous technicians that assist with both engineering and land surveying projects.

“Our team is dedicated to assisting the Henry County School System, as well as local universities, with their STEM and Employability Counts initiatives. STEM education is essential to developing the future engineering workforce, and we are ready and willing to do our part,” stated LIS Marketing Coordinator Ashley Horn.

Internship opportunities are offered at LIS each summer at the collegiate and high school levels. Interns work directly under the mentorship of the EITs in a hands-on, team focused environment. Job shadowing is also available for those interested in STEM and the civil engineering industry but aren’t ready to complete an internship.

For more information about career or internship opportunities at LIS, contact Ashley Horn at

Mike Ilko Promoted to Sergeant Major 

Mike Ilko Promoted to Sergeant Major

L.I. Smith & Associates (LIS) Survey Coordinator, Mike Ilko, has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major. As of December 1, 2022, he was assigned to the position of Operations Sergeant Major for the Headquarters Troop (HHT) at the Regimental Engineer Squadron (RES) in the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR), belonging to the Tennessee National Guard. His new duty station is located in Lebanon, Tenn. 

“I am excited and honored to join the 1% of personnel in the entire Army who make it to this level,” commented Ilko.  

The Operations Sergeant Major is a senior noncommissioned officer in the unit’s headquarters working in the command post (CP). Ilko will be responsible for managing the performance of the enlisted operations staff. He will also assist the operations officer with relevant processes, including planning, rehearsals, and monitoring and controlling operations in the current operations integrating cell (COIC), or the section of the command post that manages ongoing missions, among other duties.  

In this role, a normal training year for Ilko will consist of two days a month, usually a weekend, and two consecutive weeks for an annual training (AT) event. At times, three-day weekend drills and three-week ATs may be required as deemed necessary. In addition to the time requirements for training, the National Guard can be activated at any time for multiple reasons, such as natural disaster relief, conducting law and order assistance for civil disturbances, and deploying overseas in support of the interests of the Federal Government. If mobilized, on state or federal orders, Ilko could be gone for up to a year.  

“Balancing the time between your family’s requirements, civilian job, and military obligation is a dilemma all military reservists are faced with. Many soldiers have great difficulty with this, several of which cannot reach that balance and, in turn, get out of the military,” said Ilko. “I have been blessed with a wife, who also served 20 years in the Army, that understands the situation and an employer who is a strong supporter of our nation’s military and its personnel.”  

For the past 10 years, Ilko has played a critical role at LIS. Throughout this time, he worked his way through the ranks from rodman to party chief before assuming his current position as survey coordinator. Ilko is responsible for scheduling field crews from both the Nashville and Paris office locations while also acting as a liaison with project managers. In addition, he manages all company vehicles, survey equipment, and materials needed to complete projects and meet deadlines. 

“LIS is proud to support our veterans. Although our military personnel are sometimes required to leave for extended periods of time, we understand the importance of the leadership skills and personal devotion that come along with the many sacrifices they make. They bring unique value to our team,” stated LIS President Patrick Smith.  

Prior to his promotion, Ilko was the First Sergeant for the 212th Engineer Company (EVCC), located in Paris and Camden, which is part of the 230th Engineer Battalion (EN BN) in the 194th Engineer Brigade (EN BDE). 

In addition, Ilko is a licensed Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) pilot. He also belongs to the Henry County High Band Boosters, in which he supports and assists the HCHS band during competitions.   

Recent Comments