The dichotomy between engineering and the arts is apparent to most people. However, those lines seem to be blurred for Eric Broemel, PE, Engineering Quality Manager and an Associate at Schmidt Associates. Maybe that is why he is able to make engineering understandable to most people?
Where did you go to school?
I grew up in Indianapolis and went to Pike High School. From there, I went onto Purdue and majored in Mechanical Engineering. Would you believe I sang in the University Choir my freshman year before engineering school took over and consumed everything?
Singing? So you are a musician and an engineer?
My family is very musical. My dad played bassoon in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra while I was growing up. He still plays the piano and composes music. My brother, Carl, is a guitarist in My Morning Jacket—a rock band out of Louisville, Kentucky. Though I enjoy playing music recreationally, I guess you could call me the odd duck as the engineer of the family.
So with all the music in your family, how did you become an engineer?
My grandfather, Forrest (who my first-born son is named after), was a self-taught engineer. He worked at Grumman Aircraft designing the pneumatic steering system for aircraft used during World War II. I learned how to be more comfortable about the practical application of engineering concepts from him.
What inspires you?
I like the idea that things don’t always have to be done the same way they always have been. I think that is how I live my life, both at home and at the office. I am always evaluating processes and products to see if there is a better way. Because a good portion of our practice involves educational facilities, I love the idea that we can make the client’s building as energy efficient as possible, which allows more money to go to in to the classroom to assist students and teachers.
What do you do in your free time?
I enjoy bicycling and even ride my bike to work on the Monon Trail when the weather is reasonable. I also enjoy being involved at my children’s schools as President of the Dad’s Club at Fox Hill Elementary in the MSD of Washington Township and coaching basketball.
Do you keep anything special at your desk?
I have a framed picture of Brett Quandt (Accounting and Finance Manager/Principal) that says, “Have you done your timesheet yet?”. I opened it at a White Elephant exchange. Oddly, no one wanted the picture. The truth is, when I unwrapped it, I noticed a Starbucks gift card taped to the back, but I certainly didn’t publicize that part of the gift! Now, it just serves as a good reminder while I drink my coffee…
What is your favorite hidden activity or place to go in Indianapolis?
My wife, Jennifer, and I love to go to Broad Ripple—Public Greens, specifically—on the Monon Trail. They have delicious food! A lot of times we will turn it into a true date and go to the galleries at the Indy Arts Center afterwards.
So to use Eric’s term—odd duck—to describe himself is an interesting way to describe this complex man. Schmidt Associates is proud to call Eric one of our ducks. His leadership in the engineering department, combined with his dedication to his family (wife, Jennifer; Chloe, 12; Forrest, 10; and Zach, 8) definitely embodies the culture of our organization.
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