On Fathers and Fatherhood: An Engineer’s Perspective

In the spirit of Father’s Day, we take the opportunity to recognize the contributions that fathers and father figures make on their families’ lives every day. Fathers influence their children endlessly in ways seen and unseen, such as sparking an interest in engineering by completing handy jobs around the house and guiding them to seek answers via education and persistence. This Father’s Day, our team has some special memories and lessons to share about their fathers and what it’s like to balance a busy career and fatherhood.

Doug Koeneman, ASG’s co-founder, principal and senior consultant, is a father and grandfather to four bright individuals. Doug shares that being a father and grandfather “reminds me to be patient, and that I still have much to learn … especially how to be silly from them.”

Doug  Koeneman with his wife, Onna, and their grandkids

We can all learn and benefit from the children in our lives, Doug said, “Life is not perfect but it’s yours to live.” When asked about balancing fatherhood and career, Doug said, “I can’t always be there for everything, but I do all I can to be there for the important things. Listen to your family and ask them to let you know and when in doubt, just show up.”

Suna Sibi and her father

Suna Sibi, engineer, has some memories about how her father influenced her in her career. She says, “my father manages a PCBA company…when I was a kid, he’d show me an incredible array of circuit board variants.” She explains, “It’s fascinating hearing about the diverse set of clients he serves. Just seeing how he interacts with so many types of people inspired me to also want to work in a field where I can interact with people of varying backgrounds.”

Matt Gum and his dad

Matt Gum, process engineer, first learned about engineering from watching his father fix items at home. “One reason I ended up as an engineer is from watching and helping my father in the garage,” Matt said. “He was a habitual tinkerer and tended to find ways to solve problems and fix things on his own, including cars, electronics, and other things around the house. I believe some of that habit rubbed off on me, making me curious about how things worked.”

Doug shared some thoughts about his own dad and grandfather, who grew up around the family farm. “They were never short of problems to solve and the drive to find better ways to do things,” he explained. “Those early impressions were really important to me and my curiosity to figure out how things work. I wish I could say I was as good at putting things back together as I was at taking things apart. That’s where I learned persistence.”

Derek Koeneman (center) and the family

We also heard from Derek Koeneman, Doug’s son, and the father of his three grandchildren, about how Doug impacted his life. “Dad was supportive in my natural curiosity to take things apart and even tried to help me put them back together,” he said. “He helped me take my 1976 classic car apart to restore (OK repair – it was the tree’s fault) in high school! Yes, we both graduated high school with cars in pieces, but mine still had its shell attached-ish to the frame. It’s in his garage but has yet to run. The Koenemans love their classic cars, but sadly few of them run!”

Whatever your story with your father figure is, we hope you find some value in our team members’ stories. ASG sends a special thanks to all fathers and father figures on this holiday. We especially thank the fathers of our team for any role they played in our engineers’ journey to joining our ASG family. Happy Father’s Day!

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