From Career to College

Date Published: 
September 7, 2016

Bobby Brigman photoOn a Nontraditional Track

In January 2016 after almost 40 years as a Locomotive Operator and Terminal Safety Coordinator with CSX Transportation, Robert "Bobby" Brigman decided it was time to try a new career track. Bobby, a UNC Pembroke business school graduate, enrolled in UNC Charlotte this fall to finish his civil engineering degree.

Having worked alongside CSX transportation engineers for decades, it seems fitting that his CEE concentration would be transportation. Bobby turns 61 this year. Earning his BS in civil engineering had been on his bucket list for about four years.

Experience is Life's Best Teacher

He credits family support and physical activity as keys to his success. Interestingly, it was advice from a family friend that steered him, as a high school graduate, away from civil engineering and toward business school. He attempted to return to civil engineering by enrolling at UNC Charlotte in 2001. But Bobby was working full-time for CSX and had a wife and two girls by this time and balancing work, family, and school was overwhelming so he withdrew in 2002.

According to Bobby, UNC Charlotte is the "most student friendly" university around. He's experienced several universities in the area but when it came to finishing his engineering studies, he chose UNC Charlotte. As did his oldest daughter who holds a MS in engineering technology and works in the Hickory, North Carolina area.

Bound To Succeed

Bobby is a new member in the student chapters of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) at UNC Charlotte. He stays active off campus with martial arts and upland bird hunting. He's in no rush to finish his BS and he says he may even go on to pursue his Masters. This fourth generation railway man plans on returning to the transportation industry as a short rail consultant and operations trainer (no pun intended). In fact, he turned down a job offer to return to school. His experience, insight, and energy will be a great asset to the transportation world. No doubt about that.

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