Employee Spotlight: Louis Northouse

07.08.20   Louis J. Northouse, PE | More by this Author

Employee Spotlight: Louis Northouse

Passionate People Building and Revitalizing Our World. This is who we are. SME's Employee Spotlights provide a glimpse into the passions that drive our team members to build a better world.  

Why did you choose this profession?
During high school and college, I worked for a plumbing contractor. We worked on projects ranging from renovations in a hospital to construction of a water treatment plant. At one point, the plumber was frustrated with the schematic of the plumbing for a portion of the water treatment plant. He said that the layout was impossible to build, but the engineer stated, “Just build it like I drew it!” The plumber lamented that he wished engineers would have common sense. Well that peaked my interest, since I believed, and had been told, that one of my attributes is having common sense. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I should become an engineer and apply my common sense, then I’ll be unique in the industry!” And so my career track was set! An Engineering degree from MTU and a job offer from SME later, and now I'm an engineer. Is my supposed attribute of common sense paying off? That’s up to others, but the career I’ve undertaken has proven to be very fulfilling.

What motivates you to come to work?
I find significant gratification from helping people, both clients and team members. I pursue and perform work that satisfies that desire.

Which SME performance principle resonates most with you?
Ownership. I believe that the best results come from work that people “own”. This applies to both projects and people. If someone feels that they own the responsibility and the outcome and the credit, their output should be the best they are capable of. Also, if you tell someone to do something, they might do it, but the results could be questionable. If that same someone “owns” the idea, I believe the best results will be achieved. 

What is your greatest adventure?
My greatest adventure is personal and includes my roles as husband and father of four. There is no mastering of this role. Just like work, this requires constant learning, adapting, and being proactive.


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