Chief engineers work in a wide range of fields, overseeing the engineering and technicians as they develop designs, approximate costs, and execute their plans with highly technical skills and in accordance with regulatory standards. A chief engineer job description describes the many different qualities and responsibilities necessary to execute the position safely and effectively.
The chief engineer is responsible for the entire engineering department, from approving project designs and assigning engineers and technicians to ensuring that all safety and structural standards are met throughout the completion of each project.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Chief Engineer
- Works with the design team to develop safe, efficient, and effective projects that will fall within the budget.
- Evaluates all costs associated with each project including materials, costs of labor, and time expended.
- Negotiates contracts with vendors and clients to ensure the most cost effective means of reaching the customer’s needs.
- Approves plans and budgets for each project and makes any adjustments needed in consultation with the client and the CEO or COO.
- Coordinates the engineering team, assigning short and long term goals for successful completion of the project’s plans.
- Ensures safety of the worksite during the course of development.
- Reviews safety standards for the finished product.
- Makes sure all projects and undertakings stay on budget and within the projected time schedule.
- Manages the engineering team and oversees training of new employees.
- Allocates resources effectively including personnel, materials, and time.
- Drafts reports and data analysis for review by the company’s board of executives.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Knowledge of principles of engineering and engineering design experience.
- Must possess exceptional organizational and time management skills with an obsessive attention to detail.
- Must be able to collaborate and bridge the communications gap between the engineering team, service technicians, business managers, and clients, interfacing with each.
- Must have superior budgeting and cost management abilities, assessing estimated costs early in the project and bringing the actual costs in line.
- Must be able to draft clear and comprehensive reports on the statistical efficacy of projects, the use and allocation of resources, and the quality of each finished project.
- Ability to draft, review, and evaluate engineering blueprints.
- Must possess technical acumen and the ability to troubleshoot on a variety of projects.
Education and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in civil, mechanical, or electrical engineering plus active certification in an engineering professional organization.
- Extensive experience in the designated industry including but not limited to construction, plumbing, carpentry, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, HVAC, and mechanical systems.
- Must have experience leading teams of individuals from a variety of different backgrounds and disciplines.
- Time is divided between the office and onsite supervision.
- Must be able to work in hazardous conditions with an attention to maintaining safety standards.
- Must be able to spend long hours standing, sitting, and lifting up to 25 pounds.
- Must be willing to work outdoors in adverse weather conditions, industrial settings, and construction sites.
- Salary can range anywhere from $40,000 to $160,000 depending on the specific industry in which he or she is employed.
- Average yearly salary for general mechanical engineers with at least 5 years’ experience around $100,000.