About Me

To satisfy the thousands of requests from the loyal readers, I finally updated and fixed the about me page. I’ve had the site up now for almost a year and thought it was time ha ha.

Who am I you ask? Who is this guy trying to write all this stuff down and make me smart?

Me. That’s who.

Let’s see…

Me - caught crabs.

Me – caught crabs.

I’m Steve and I started messing around with websites in August of 2010 kind of as a hobby.  Prior to that, I had absolutely zero experience doing anything in regards to websites.  I got an email somehow about internet marketing, which I had never heard of, and thought, wow, I can do that and make money!  Well way easier said than done.

I don’t make any money but I do spend a lot of time trying to improve this site.  The way I figure it, I probably get paid like negative dollars per hour, lol.

I like sharing ideas and concepts with others, I think in my other life I should’ve been a teacher.

In real life

I’m a stationary engineer.  I basically take care of all the operating systems a building requires.  I have a boiler’s license as well as refrigeration.  In the past, I have held an electrical license as well as one for fire sprinkler systems.  I am a big hands on guy.  I build things and usually have some project going.  I am very handy and do everything around my house and car myself.  I’ll tile floors or install wood flooring.  I can build fences and cut down trees.  I have a garage full of every tool a guy could want and sometimes I’ll just go out there and look at them.

Personal Info:

I played every sport known to man growing up, my parents were big on staying active.  I took gymnastics when I was little.  I guess my next sport was swimming which we did for several years.  Then I started wrestling in grade school, I was maybe around 9 or 10.  I continued wrestling all the way up until college and then did intramural at college (I wasn’t that good.)  But back to my youth, besides wrestling, I also played baseball for 4-5 years, football for 2, soccer for 3, basketball for 3.

Right now I’ve got a kickarse dog that keeps me going.  We go to the park at least 4x a week, he runs in front of my speeding bicycle the whole time.  He is a German Shepard mix and he is a monster.

Background

My submarine logo

My submarine logo

I went to a public school through the 6th grade and then a private school from 7-12th.  Then college.

I joined the Navy where I was in the nuclear engineering department aboard a Trident submarine.  I got out, honorably, in my mid 20’s and went to work as an engineer for a hospital in Seattle.

I started at the ground level and offered to do anything.  To learn, to kill time, and to get my hands dirty.  I just moved up and up.  After about 2 years there I made it to Maintenance Engineer I – you could do anything on a shift.

One commute home, a fellow passenger mentioned something about this commercial real estate/property developer/manager hiring, also in Seattle.  The guy said it was way more engineering type work and they paid more.  Bonus.  I applied.  No joke, it was almost like the military getting in there.

Not the security but the background stuff before they hired you.  They wanted movers and shakers, outside of the box thinkers, people committed to a Standard (capitalized on purpose.)

They only wanted people that wanted to learn, grow, move up, and be in charge of their next $200 million building.  Seriously.  Think about that.  Think about the responsibility.  It was awesome.

For example, the first criteria was that Wonderlic test.  The same one they give to NFL players and sometimes glorify or crucify based on their scores (test yourself here – friggin’ awesome & stressful to compare.)  My score from right now should be in that graphic.  I’m going to keep taking it all day to improve it :-).  To justify it, I took the 3:00 version, not the full.  Full later lol.

I began there as a Journeyman Engineer, it was an actual trade there.  2 year program with weekly training at the Union hall, plus in house training, testing, and supervision requirements.  It was a 42 story structure built in 1980 – water flowing up and down hundreds of feet of piping, thousands of cubic feet of air being moved every minute through all 42 floors.  18 high speed elevators.

The engineers there did it all, virtually no contractors.  A person learned a lot.  I got to skip most of the 2 year official trade training due to my nuclear Navy and the previous 2 years.  I did still have to meet the company engineering qualification standards though.  By doing this, the company ensured that all of their engineers would run future buildings the same way, and hold it to the same standards.  Flow downhill like water Danielsahn, or like poop too.

Soon I was the Assistant Engineering Manager!  Like 2 years.  There was the Chief Engineer and then me.  I was still young.  Unfortunately my marriage was near the end and it was a stressful time.  It ended abruptly and my whole personal and work schedule had to change like over a weekend.

Me & my youngest son on  the porch at my parents house.

Me & my youngest son on the porch at my parents house.

Suddenly I was taking care of (trying to) 2 young boys half the time.  I’m not one of those weekend Dad’s.  My commute was 2 hours one way – my weeks with the boys became 18 hours crazy days.  My parents saved my ass.

Let’s get back on track here before I put my entire biography up here.  I began feeling guilty for this great company.  Here they were basically giving me all of this stuff and only asking for hard work in return.  They were very family oriented.  They catered to my every single parent need and way more.

Still, I felt guilty having to leave before EVERYONE else EVERY day every other week.  They had kids too you know?  Because I was single I was entitled to more time than them?

About 2 years after that, a new, well established construction company made it known they were looking to get into building engineering management.  I got an email basically recruiting me to see if I’d like to hear them out and come for an interview.  I did.

I was to be the first engineer hired for this company to oversee a facility.  It was a brand new science facility on the edge of a classic lake in oldish Seattle.  All of the equipment was new, I was the man in charge, and it paid more money.  Yes please.

So then I did that.  I ran that facility from the very start for 2 years.  I set up everything for that place – the operating budget, the initial tool loadout, all of the key management system, contracts, digital controls.  Again I learned a lot.

Engineering insider tip:

Don’t ever agree to be on call if you are on salary.

Next, my ex decided we all had to move to TN.  Here I rot.  Just kidding but not really.

Finally

You see those ads with the dog running through the woods?  Duke eats him.

You see those ads with the dog running through the woods? Duke eats him.

I operate this site.  Me.  I send emails from my personal gmail account.

I will do my best to not recommend anything that I feel is a rip-off.  I am a pretty honest guy and want to build a relationship with the readers of this site.

But because I do want to try and earn a small side income from here, I do use things like Google Analytics which tells me if a user clicked one of my links or ads.  It doesn’t tell me who you are specifically, I just know that someone say clicked this link today.  By using programs like this, I can make my site better for all of us.  Again, this stuff doesn’t invade your privacy or anything.

My contact info is as follows:

Steve Larsen

stevenelarsen@gmail.com, or admin@buildingengineertraining.com

901.550.0195

If you have any questions regarding the content in this website, about the products that are mentioned, or just any questions at all don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d also love to hear any feedback on the site if you’ve found it helpful or have some ideas about how I can improve the site in some way.

I will reply to all messages as soon as possible.

Steve

Green Building Plumbing – Helping or Hurting?

pex

From buildipedia.com

Well this little story should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Doing your part to help save the planet are you? Good. We all need to contribute yeah? The article below was sent via email. It is entitled “Drinking Water Odors, Chemicals Above Health Standards Caused by ‘Green Building’ Plumbing“.

First off, how does the title alone make you feel?

Kind of scary huh? Here we are dedicating so much effort and resources into conserving energy and reducing our impact and consumption to only find out it may actually end up hurting us in the long run.

This little app called Google Alerts sends daily stories from around cyberspace. It’s set up to send notifications of relevant stories from four categories (you can pick as many or as few as you like.) Two of the categories for the site are building engineering and facility maintenance. It helps by stimulating thought or discussion when you see these other stories.

The article is below, commentary will be below, and then a link to where you can read the original article is at the bottom. Again, how does this make you feel? Does it make you angry? Could you not care less? What? I feel both angry and upset that this could be possible. Let’s get to the article. Read more

Which Is More Dense – Ice or Water?

density of iceTelling you right off the bat, it’s sort of a trick question. It’s an easy trick question if you think about it, specifically water and ice separately from pretty much other substances.

Most people automatically think of the solid form of a substance as of course being more dense than the liquid form. Not water though. Water is special. Maybe that is why life depends on it? Everyone needs and uses water, the building engineering industry uses water in huge amounts because of its properties. Scientists use water as the base, or foundation, to compare other things to because it is so special. How does this substance behave in comparison to water? Read more

Engineering & Rube Goldberg Machines

rube goldberg simple machines

Rube Goldberg

Is anyone else kinda sorta fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines? Do you know what they are? Half the people that check this site (my parents and one friend) don’t. So maybe the other three of you do?

Since I was a kid, before I even knew what these little pieces of engineering art were, I used to try and make them in my bedroom. These weren’t engineering feats but rather traps made out of my limited assortment of toys, string, and whatever else to try and destroy my sister. Only later did I find out that these devices had a name. I still don’t know why, I suppose I could look it up for you.

Anyway, yesterday one of the Google Alerts I’m signed up for sent me this story from ASU, Arizona State University, where they have set up these STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) camps in a couple of cities – one near Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one in Shonto, Arizona.

The STEAM Machines program challenges student teams to apply the engineering design process to build chain reaction machines like those made famous by cartoonists Rube Goldberg and Heath Robinson.

It teaches engineering skills, systems thinking and collaboration, and integrates the arts with the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

Read more

Getting Out of the Nuclear Navy & Into Building Engineering

how I got into building engineering

Good old dress whites. The one uniform I have that is all dolled up.

Good morning this fine Monday, now Tuesday.  September is wrapping up, it sure is getting nice outside.  Been getting a lot of stuff done outside, how about you?

Would you agree that there hasn’t been too many “blog” posts on here?  Hey, I admit it.  Mainly training and me peddling stuff. This will be a blog post, some personal stuff, so that you the sensitive reader can learn even more about the person behind the site.

Also, this post could serve as advice for anyone looking to get into building engineering.  This could be coming out of the military, like me, or a trade school, or even high school.  This is going to be my story.  Read below and find out how I went from being below the waves of the oceans to a huge downtown Seattle hospital and starting my career in building engineering as a stationary engineer. Read more

5 Tips for Choosing a Location for Your Shed

choosing a shed locationTalking with a very tech savvy friend a while ago I nearly choked on my coffee when he told how much he had paid to have some work done in his backyard. $6000.

The work that was done? A teeny tiny section of regular old fence was replaced and they assembled a pre-made shed kit for him which he bought separately. The hardest part of the contractor’s job was probably making sure the foundation was level. After that it was simple assembly.

$6000! Again, coffee choke. When my friend had asked me to name a ballpark figure, thinking he had gotten a steal, I knew what I was being set up for and didn’t even want to guess. After some friendly peer pressure, I said “$1500?” Read more

Woodworking Projects

free woodworking plansYou can build a bench. Or an awesome set of shelves. I bet you could even build a kickace shed. The question is, do you want to?

You’ve always wanted to right? Come on now. Maybe wishing that you could just find out how to do it. There is something very romantic about building something out of wood. The way it feels and smells, to knowing you did it, you have to admit that there is something about a finished woodworking project.
Read more

Before You Build Your Shed, Ask These 7 Questions

Plus Get Free Woodworking Plans & Project Ideas!

free woodworking plansWe helped a neighbor build a shed once.  Actually our little cul-de-sac built an outdoor shed as a surprise for one of the other neighbors.

A wife sent her husband on some trip for a weekend and organized the rest of us into a crew for her Dad to use to build it in a couple days.  Her Dad had drawn up woodworking plans for his own shed and then just shared them for this one.

I gotta say, that was a fun frickin’ weekend.  It’s too bad for the husband that got the shed because he was out of town ha ha.  It was basically a weekend beer and bbq party while we messed around with tools and wood.  Both nights we had outdoor fires and more beer while we worked until midnight in the summer.  It sort of reminded me of one of those awesome high school memories we have.

Building a shed is not something I was familiar with so it’s important to make sure you know what you’re doing at least a little bit.  It involves getting a nice, straight, and true foundation, framing, roofing.  But it is fun as hell.

I don’t know, I really, really like looking at something when it’s done knowing that I built that.  And when you are done with a project like this, you’ll realize how easy it is and how capable you truly are.  You’ll want to be building your next house guaranteed. Read more

Should You Get An Air Compressor?

do I need an air compressor

Channel locks & a union wrench. Trade it for an air compressor?

What would you say is your most versatile tool?

Channel lock pliers? Duct tape lol? I guess it would be kind of hard to call an air compressor an actual tool because without a device to use the air it produces, like a grinder or nail gun, an air compressor won’t really accomplish much.

However…

With an air compressor, the proper air tools, and your brain, you can do an incredible amount of work, projects, or improvements around your house. An air compressor is like a hub – with one, you can simply plug a tool in and go.

Maybe woodworking is your hobby. Want to fix up your house so that you can get as much money as possible when you sell it? Perhaps you restore old cars and metalworking is your thing. Whatever it is, from metal and woodworking to simple home improvement projects, a compressor is easily one of the most versatile tools. The initial cost of an air compressor is not too bad but it may surprise some of you. Remember that it pays off to invest in one if you plan at all to really get into home improvement or other sorts of projects. Read more

3 Reasons You Should Get an Air Compressor

air compressors

Probably overkill yeah?

Why does anyone bother using an air compressor or tools that operate off of an air compressor?  I mean we’ve got electricity – indoors, outside, 110V, 208V, 480V.  We could find the power that we need to operate pretty much any tool correct?  The answer is fairly simple.  Air compressors provide a lone power source for a wide variety of air tools.

Here are 3 very good reasons why compressors have become so popular with contractors and DIY’ers alike: they are versatile, economical, and very powerful.

An air compressor provides a single power source for a wide range of air operated tools that can do just about anything from working with wood and metal to painting and mechanical work.

There’s a huge variety of air compressor sizes and capacities. Choose from tiny inflators, to more powerful pancake air compressors and professional grade stationary models. Read more

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