Poly Pomona - IME Engineering Colloquium Speaker Series - Winter
- What a Young Engineer
Should Know About...Being a Consultant
- Based on a Presentation by:
- Lynne Uribe, P.E, IE `91.
- Uribe & Associates
- February 9, 1998
- (Return to Colloquium Page)
- By Mario Rodriguez and J.P.
Tenore. Photography by John Kord. Editing and Web Page Design
by Phil Rosenkrantz.
- Table of Contents
Ms. Lynne Uribe, P.E.
Lynne with students after speaking at the IME Colloquium
Lynne Uribe became a
consultant after having the good fortune of developing a strong
association with an experienced consultant early in her working
career. Because she had a strong undergraduate education and
had developed good professional and people skills, she was able
to capitalize on this situation. She shares below what she has
learned with young engineers who may be considering a career
as a consultant.
How to Prepare For Consulting
- Before graduation you can start preparing for a
consulting career by making smart choices during your undergraduate
years and developing important skills. Lynne suggested the following
strategies during your undergraduate education in order to best
posture yourself for a consulting career later on:
- Curriculum - Follow the curriculum set for
you. Learn the concepts in all courses because each one is important.
Learn problem solving techniques. They will help in developing
and applying sound thinking processes and the ability to look
at the "big picture".
Skills - It is important
to always be grammatically correct and write flowing sentences.
This skill is required for proposal writing--a necessity for
- Various experiences
can be applied in future consulting projects. From necessary
engineering tasks to menial jobs, you can always learn people
skills. Be a student of how to understand people from varying
backgrounds and ways to approach them.
with Professional Societies - Professional
societies can help you network with other engineers who specialize
in various areas. They are a good way of keeping up-to-date with
the latest information.
Center - Students are
able to practice and learn about interviewing techniques, proper
attire, and speaking skills. These are necessary skills to develop
to be a successful consultant.
After graduation you can continue to prepare for
a consulting career by pursuing the following:
Registration/Certification (EIT and PE) - Take the EIT as soon as possible and always
take the review courses. Passing the EIT will always leave you
with your options open.
Societies - Continue
being involved. Organizations such as IIE are important.
- Keeping up and sharing
with classmates and friends from other organizations and industries
is a good source of ideas and information.
How to Get Started in Consulting
Lynne discussed two methods in starting
a career in consulting: Joining a consulting company; or becoming self employed
with associates. As in every option, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Here are some of Lynne's comments:
Joining a Consulting
- Established for many
- Usually work in a single
function (selling, marketing, etc.)
- Easy to establish mentor(s)
- Steadier income
- Working for a company
and having a boss
- Continuous traveling
- Constant push on justifying
- You get to be your
own boss, from writing your own proposals to making your own
- Potentially great financial
- Stretched for time
due to working in other functions such as marketing, selling,
tech support, etc.
- Periods of no business
which can affect income
- Requires self-discipline
A Few Things to Know When Self-employed
Since Lynne is a self-employed consultant,
she was able to provide a little more insight on what can help a future
Goals and Needs
- Properly set up your business based on your goals and needs. You must
decide whether or not to incorporate based on your own personal situation.
You can reasonably expect to:
File a fictitious business name
Incorporate or reserve a business name
Obtain an Employer ID
Obtain a state employer account number
Build Your Image
- Image is important for a consultant. Money should be spent here since
it adds value to the company by promoting an image. Your business cards
and stationery may seem trivial, but they create an image with clients and
Another Person or Organization If You Can - If
there was one thing Lynne stressed that was a critical factor in her success,
it was that she had the support from a parent company. It was a mutually
How to Maintain Consulting Career
to Cultivate Business -
Take courses in marketing and selling. They will help with communication
skills between mangers and upper level personal as well as help
you with your own product development.
Writing - Watch your
language and try to learn the language of the customer. Shut
up and listen to the client and then write it down. Try to quantify
the client's needs as much as possible and avoid vague goals
and objectives. Work in stages with evaluation points (milestones)
which can be used to show progress to the client.
a Little Extra - Give
a little more than what the client expects. This helps in getting
more referrals and repeat business. Lynne feels that this practice
has generated much of her follow-on and referral business.
How to Identify Pertinent Information - From
the start, Lynne stressed the importance of discussing and sticking
to "pertinent information"--a very important tip she
covered for future consultants. Read up on the subject at hand
and find out what is considered relevant and important. Learn
from previous assignments and your mistakes. If you stay focused
on your goals it is easier to decide what is pertinent and you
can stay headed in the right direction.
How to Maintain Your Edge When Consulting
Since being a consultant
demands a lot of your time and the hours can be irregular. Following
are some of Lynne's suggestions for coping with these conditions:
discipline for personal well-being - In
order to have the energy to be a consultant over the long haul,
it is necessary to eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and performing
some type of physical activity to relieve stress. When traveling,
learn how to take a break from work. You will need one schedule
or routine for while you are at home and one for when you are
discipline if you are working at home - You need to separate work from home life.
When starting your work day at home, do not stop for anything
personal. Lynne treats her work time as mandatory and does not
change her work routine unless it is an emergency.
Lynne (Egan) Uribe graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in June 1991
with a B.S in Industrial Engineering. As an undergraduate she
was active in student professional organizations and received
numerous department scholarships and honors. Upon graduation,
she worked as a production supervisor for Frito Lay Inc. at the
Rancho Cucamonga Plant from 1991 to 1992. As production supervisor
she implemented an empowerment program to a 25 member work group,
facilitated a cost performance improvement within the department,
and assisted in a reduction of department downtime by 30%.
In October 1992 Lynne founded Uribe & Associates, Industrial
Engineering Consulting. The company's emphasis is in the field
of work measurement. In the last four years, Lynne has worked
in a range of environments: automotive, food processing, digital
audio, personal electronics, furniture manufacturing; corporate
offices, mail rooms, maintenance departments, and others. Lynne
has consulted and trained engineers, managers, and technicians
at Ford Motor Company, Ethan Allen Inc., Mattel Toys Inc., Sony
Inc., Qualcomm Personal Electronics, Harman Consumer Group, Henredon
Furniture Industries, and Century Furniture Industries.
Currently, Lynne is performing project
management for the development of a new software product for managing
labor standards in the case goods industry.
Lynne is married and
has one child.
Table of Contents