Bechtel Fellows

Peter Carrato, Structural Analysis


Pete’s specialty is seismic analysis of structures and steel anchorages in concrete. He has worked on most of the fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants Bechtel has built during his more-than two decades with the company.

Get to Know Peter

What is the most exciting or challenging project you were involved in, and what was your role?

A recent challenging project was helping design the Ivanpah solar tower, which is a very unique and complex structure. I provided technical support for many aspects of this structure, including heavy welded brace connections, steel erection planning, and overall structural modeling. The most interesting aspect of this structure is the need for a tuned mass damper (TMD) to control cross-wind vibrations. I helped to specify the TMD and oversee the associated wind tunnel testing and damper installation.

What is the best career advice that you’ve received?

I have two pieces of advice to share: Make a point of trying to learn something new every day. Engineers love to talk about their experiences. Take time to listen. Never be afraid to admit you made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. The longer you wait to begin addressing the issue, the more difficult it will be to rectify it. 

What do you see as the key skills that new engineers need to have in the global job market?

Understanding what the other functions—procurement, project controls, construction, legal and risk, management, and business developmentdo and how they influence and are influenced by engineering. Understanding how the company makes money. Understanding what contractors require and how that drives engineering decisions. 

What leadership skills do you think are needed to be a great engineer?

The ability to make a decision in a timely fashion. Know when to ask for technical assistance.