Ben Omura is an associate principal and mechanical engineer at Rushing.
Q. How did you become interested in mechanical engineering?
A. Engineering always felt like a natural fit for me. I loved playing with Legos (still do), anything to do with cars and probably read The Way Things Work about 400 times when I was young. I always felt like I had to know what made something tick. Once I was in college and had selected mechanical engineering as my major I was looking for summer work and my dad got me turned on to construction labor work. (Thanks dad!) It was hard, sweaty work, but in retrospect it was also the job I enjoyed the most (besides working at Rushing of course!) and taught me how satisfying it can be to work on a building project. I eventually found my way into internships and part-time work with MEP consultants during college. These experiences opened my eyes to a career where I could not only design complex machines, but also be able to see them functioning out in the built environment every day.
Q. What do you like about working at Rushing?
A. For me it is a combination of the camaraderie that the culture at Rushing fosters, the ample opportunities for personal growth and the fast-paced work environment. All three of these go hand in hand. The growth in the region has presented us a tremendous challenge to efficiently provide highly-sustainable, integrated MEP system designs. To meet project goals everyone has to be engaged and operating at a high level. Knowing that your teammates are pushing themselves to meet these goals as hard as you are creates this positive feedback loop where everyone is working to support each other and provide the best product possible. I hate being bored at work and I never feel that way at Rushing.
Q. What do you hope to contribute through your work?
A. I don’t consider myself an environmental activist, but I do feel the most effective way I can help to reduce energy usage, fossil fuel consumption and embodied energy is to affect these goals through the HVAC designs that Rushing provides. Working here provides me with direct methods of making a positive impact through energy-efficient designs. It also gives me the opportunity to educate architects, developers and others on how energy-efficient systems work and what the intent truly is behind the extremely aggressive measures in the Washington State and Seattle Energy Codes.
Q. What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
A. Unplug and drive out to the family cabin in Mason County. From there all I have to worry about is when the tides are going to be low enough to grab some clams and oysters from the beach.
Q. What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
A. I resigned from a highly compensated and promising position as a product manager to take an entry level mechanical design position with half the salary. I knew I wanted a more fulfilling career and I knew I could achieve that working in the building engineering industry, based on previous intern experiences. So I bet on myself and after a couple years was able to let building engineering take me back to Seattle where I was born and raised. I’m still trying to find a way to get the Sonics back too. Stay tuned.
Q. What project are you excited about right now?
A. I’m excited about 1400 Madison, which is a partnership between Plymouth Housing and Bellwether Housing, and is Seattle’s first affordable housing high-rise to be built in 50 years. The project itself represents a commitment to make good on the goals so many in the city have talked about to provide affordable and supportive housing within the urban core of Seattle. Not only is the project an exciting and fulfilling mission, but the in-house design team (MEP, lighting and energy services) at Rushing as well as the rest of the project team, is stacked with highly-talented people committed to the project goals. It’s a pleasure to work and learn with this project team.
Meet the rest of our team.