Written by Ron'ada Hewitt
On a daily basis, skyscrapers are being built, new roads are being constructed and highways are being expanded. Automobiles cruise through construction zones as men and women in hard hats labor to make roads, bridges and monumental structures safe for the world to use. Companies like Blythe Construction, Inc., headquartered in Charlotte, contribute much of the heavy civil construction in the Southeast, including roadways, bridges, underground storm drainage and highways.
In order for these projects to come to life from the page, guidance from a skilled engineer is necessary. Charles Rose, Jr. has worked with Blythe as a field engineer for two years. Since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2014 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering, his expertise has contributed to numerous projects in the greater Charlotte area.
Rose, valedictorian of his high school class in his native Bahamas in 2010, graduated at the top of his class at UNC Charlotte as well four years later. His accolades earned him the coveted opportunity to serve as commencement speaker during his graduation ceremony. His collegiate resume includes membership in Phi Beta Delta International Honors Society, the Engineering Leadership Academy, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
As a current field engineer, Rose manages quality assurance and safety operations, negotiates subcontractors and vendors, creates budgets, and a host of other tasks to ensure that each project is being completed on time, and within the scope and vision of the designer.
Despite multiple deadlines, cost analyses and budgets, Rose believes that above all, safety is his number one priority. Knowing that his staff goes home safely every evening brings him peace. After safety, training is the most important.
“I believe that taking the bull by the horns is good after you've had some training," says Rose.
Because of this, he has been developing a detailed training manual, which will aid future engineers who are new to the company.
“There’ll be no need for them to feel that they have to reinvent the wheel, if all of the information is there,” he adds.
As Rose reflects on his work, he finds satisfaction in knowing he’s a part of building lasting legacies.
“Looking at roadways and bridges on paper and seeing them come to life day-to-day is amazing,” says Rose. “And driving over a bridge you helped to build – you know you're a part of something that will last 50 to 100 years.”
Rose is currently involved in four projects in various parts of the state, one being the Salem Creek Connector in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a project one mile in length, but very complex. His staff will be building bridges, including a railroad bridge, creating storm drainage, and paving.
Though he believes that construction workers are widely overlooked, he points out that they have to be flexible and sometimes come up with designs to make things work.
He leaves this piece of advice for aspiring engineers or construction workers: “No matter what it is, stick to it. Know that your reward comes internally, rather than externally. Know that you're making a difference out there in the field by making sure people are safe with awesome highway systems. If you're a part of the project, even if you aren't a manager or CEO, stick to your passion.”
The My Brother’s Keeper Scholarship at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte is an endowment fund targeted to Black males majoring in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields at UNCC. The "What They See Is What They'll Be" blog series, adopted from the motto of 100 Black Men of America, is a bi-weekly blog series featuring personal stories of Black men from the UNCC community who are actively engaged in those fields. The goal of the series is to serve as a source of information and inspiration to others aspiring to follow similar career paths. Learn more at www.unccmybrotherskeeper.org.