Nikki Welch 2016-03-25 05:55:44
THE ENGINEER: JIM WILGUS, P.E. Interim Director, Cobb County Department of Transportation Following his graduation from Virginia Tech - and putting his Civil Engineering degree to good use - Jim Wilgus, P.E. went to work for W.L. Thompson Consulting in 1983. Further into his career, Wilgus joined Heery International and helped design water parks around the world, including Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park in Central Florida. Now acting as the Interim Director for Cobb County Department of Transportation, Wilgus spends his time balancing and managing the many different transportation-related projects across the fourth most populated county in Georgia. Wilgus and his wife Judy, an employee at Prime Engineering, Inc., are members of Smyrna First Methodist Church, where Wilgus is a part of several choirs and singing groups. Together, Wilgus and Judy are avid wine-makers, as well. Each year, they make four or so different wines with Judy designing the labels. To date, their wines have won 23 awards. Wilgus has two children from a previous marriage: Sarah, a Senior Program Manager for Transportation at Midtown Alliance; and Sam, a Graduate Student at NC State University studying Industrial and Organizational Psychology. THE ACTOR: Stemming from his love of singing, Wilgus has been involved in community theatre for 13 years. In that time, he has had the opportunity to display his acting chops in many different shows, including Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, The Diary of Anne Frank, and most recently, Mary Poppins. “One of my most challenging roles was that of Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank” says Wilgus. “I really had to learn a lot about Otto - the only survivor of the Frank family following the Holocaust. It was an incredible experience to portray him.” One part of taking on a role that Wilgus enjoys is getting to immerse himself in the character: "Portraying other individuals on stage really gives you a chance to be someone you’re not, discover other parts of you that never existed before. Whether it is accents or style of conversation, I always try to make sure that I know who the character is...What do I think about the other characters? Why do l have the feelings that I have? Those are always the types of questions that I ask myself when I take on a role." Since 2003, Wilgus has acted in more than 20 productions, including his favorite, Neil Simon’s Rumors in the summer of 2015 at CenterStage North in Cobb County. Having just wrapped a play in February, Wilgus plans to continue pursuing his passion for stage work in the coming years. HOW DOES YOUR ALTER EGO IMPACT YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE? “Community theatre is a large time commitment and takes a lot of engagement - I definitely have to gauge my time when it comes to taking on a role,” says Wilgus. “Also, being on stage as an actor has made being in front of an audience at speaking opportunities considerably easier. I’m never nervous to give presentations for work or take part in panel discussions because I’m accustomed to it.” ANY ADVICE FOR ENGINEERS ABOUT STRIKING A BALNCE? “It’s important to have outside interests because it makes you a more complete person. Fulfilling hobbies is a great chance to expand your personality which, in turn, gives you more perspective and ultimately makes you a better engineer.”
Published by American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia. View All Articles.
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