2021 WWD Industry Icon Ed Butts | WWD Weekly Digest

Sept. 23, 2021
Ed Butts is the 2021 WWD Industry Icon. He's the president and owner of 4B Engineering and is one of few remaining self-study engineers in the industry.

Ed Butts is the president and owner of 4B Engineering, a private firm he created after leaving a longtime position with an Oregon engineering firm. What makes Butts an Industry Icon is his outstanding desire to be the best he can be, regardless of the circumstances he finds himself in. Due to his position in life when he started his engineering career, Butts earned his professional engineering license primarily through self study, a path that has become exceedingly rare as states update their certification requirements for engineers. 

Butts explains the setbacks that self-study brought on his career and how he overcame them through industry associations, networking, hard work and perseverance. He also discusses how his first true love, basketball, influenced his career path in more ways than one, and how designing a basketball play is like engineering a treatment plant. He also provides advice to industry professionals who feel like they are in a rut.

  • Intro: (0:00)
  • Congratulating the 2021 WWD Industry Icon: (0:46)
  • Determination and self-study for maintaining licensing: (1:22)
  • The increasing rarity of self-study engineers and why: (3:30)
  • The cultural and societal barriers self-study brings with it: (4:43)
  • How basketball and engineering intersect: (6:41)
  • Hobbies are a reflection of one's skills and career: (8:19)
  • How learning to lose sets one up for success: (9:58)
  • Why industry involvement is so important: (11:35)
  • Why writing and presenting are critical for long-term success: (13:30)
  • How feedback broadens perspective and makes one a better person: (15:11)
  • Advice for water and wastewater industry professionals: (16:04)
  • Outro: (18:23)

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