Jonathan Wheat was always fascinated with creating ideas and seeing how those ideas impact the future, which led him to a career in engineering. He currently works for the City of Carrollton as the Director of Engineering, which fosters his love for people and this work itself. In his free time, Wheat can be found doing a variety of hobbies, such as gardening, creating music, reading, golfing, or exercising.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Growing up on the coastal side of Houston, I have always had an affinity for both warmer weather and the ocean, which contributed to my degree in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as many of the activities I enjoy. While attending Texas A&M, I had the opportunity to pursue a dream of playing music in various venues and met my wife because of that opportunity. Prior to joining the City of Carrollton, my previous work required a significant amount of traveling all over Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and even up to Pennsylvania and North Dakota, as well as meeting people from many different backgrounds. This experience helped me to understand how important communication is to building relationships and widening our own understanding of the world.
What do you do in your role as Director of Engineering for the City of Carrollton?
As the Director of Engineering, my role is to guide the engineering department and to help remove any roadblocks for a better, faster, and friendlier service. Our team oversees multiple functions, including capital improvements of city facilities and infrastructure, floodplain management, transportation engineering, construction Inspection, TxDOT and DART coordination, development reviews, and the 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan.
What is your favorite part about your job?
There are two parts of my job that I love, people and engineering. Every day, I get the opportunity to work alongside some of the most dedicated, hardworking, and generous people who genuinely love that they are building a better community. The culture within the City of Carrollton is second to none and permeates throughout every interaction. This culture of caring and desire to create a community that families and businesses want to call home makes me eager to come to work every day. Engineering works in various aspects throughout the city, from reconstructing city infrastructure, enhancing city facilities, constructing trails and parks, assessing transportation challenges, reviewing stormwater flows, and developing long-term plans. Our team is also consistently working with both external customers (the residents and businesses that make Carrollton home) and internal customers (the city’s other departments) on these projects and evaluating the impacts they may have. The role of the engineering department plays directly into my top three motivators: Challenge, Variety, and Impact. Every day, our team gets to solve problems that affect the residents, businesses, and employees in the city across a vast array of projects.
Where is your favorite place to spend time in Carrollton?
This is such a difficult question: there are so many amazing places in Carrollton to discover and enjoy that picking a favorite is impossible! Some days it is heading to Downtown Carrollton for dinner, coffee, and a show or to enjoy one of the fantastic events our marketing or parks and rec teams put on. Other times it is getting outside to explore the city’s parks and trails or play a round of golf at Indian Creek Golf Club. And other days it is experiencing Carrollton’s diverse food offerings that showcase meals from around the globe.
What are you passionate about?
Two things: new experiences and cultivating relationships. I am constantly learning new hobbies, visiting new places, and trying new foods. Sure there are some things that I come back to consistently; however, if a new experience presents itself, I will do my best to take that adventure. On the other side, I love meeting people, talking through their experiences, and hearing their stories.
Who or what inspires you?
Spending time with people I enjoy being around really energizes me, especially when it involves new experiences, adventures, laughter, and sharing stories. Everyone experiences things differently and it is truly eye-opening to take the opportunity to listen to what other people have experienced and dream about accomplishing.
What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?
As Dr. Henry Cloud says, “Just as we leave the effects of our work behind in results, we leave the effects of our interactions with people in their hearts, minds, and souls.” The work of an engineer always involves people and places, and my hope is that my effects on both leave them in a better condition than before I interacted with them.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Being curious about new experiences and people, and making my wife and kids laugh. My curiosity has driven most of my hobbies to always come and go, as I firmly believe the world is full of things waiting to be tried… unless they are olives. Right now, you can often find me creating music, gardening, golfing, reading, or keeping myself grounded in the morning with exercise.
How did you know this career was something you wanted to pursue?
From an engineering perspective, I have always been fascinated with creating ideas and seeing how those ideas impact the future, and, to me, engineering is solving various challenges by sorting through the clutter to find the best route forward. After spending a decade in the private sector, I had gained enough experience to know who I was and what type of people I wanted to work with. Working for the Engineering Department aligns with my top motivators as a person and working with the team at Carrollton aligns with people and culture that I want to be a part of.
Please share anything else you would like our readers to know.
The women and men who work for the City of Carrollton deeply desire to positively impact our businesses and residents. Whether you are driving to the store, walking along the trails, grabbing a glass of water, or playing a round of golf, remember the intentional effort that went into planning, designing, constructing, and maintaining the infrastructure and facilities that make Carrollton such an amazing place to work, live, and play.
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