Saipan resident James William “Bill” K. Ripple was recently certified as a Professional Engineer, or PE, in the CNMI. He took the California Civil Special Seismic Exam in October 2013 and just two months ago received his positive exam results. Immediately after receiving his results, Ripple applied for a CNMI PE license, and obtained his official license last month.
Prior to taking the California Civil Special Seismic Exam, Ripple passed the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at San Jose State University.
After graduating, he worked as an environmental engineer at a private engineering firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the course of his first job, he decided to pursue a master’s degree in civil engineering, specializing in geotechnical engineering, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. There, he also served as a teaching assistant to undergraduate engineering students and a research assistant under several professors in the geotechnical engineering department.
Upon receiving his master’s degree, he accepted a position as a geotechnical engineer at a private engineering firm in Hawaii to continue accruing enough experience working under a PE—another requirement to become a PE.
Ripple then took and passed the eight-hour Principles and Practices of Engineering Exam in April 2013 and subsequently moved back to Saipan.
Ripple told Saipan Tribune that he originally planned to take all his exams in the CNMI. However, the CNMI board is no longer affiliated with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying, and therefore cannot administer the necessary exams for a CNMI PE license.
“I hope in the near future, engineers will be able to take these exams at home,” he said.
He credits his parents as his biggest inspirations for pursuing a career in engineering. “At a young age, my parents introduced me to the heavy equipment and construction industry. My parents always encouraged me to pursue hobbies that involved engineering.”
Ripple, a 2004 Mount Carmel School alumnus, said that his high school career gave him direction and exposed him to opportunities for higher education. He considers pursuing his bachelor’s degree as his biggest challenge since he was competing with others well versed with the curriculum.
He encourages students thinking about pursuing an engineering career to take as many AP classes in math and science. He said that taking these steps in high school will allow them to easily transition into college math and science courses.
“Math has a reputation for being challenging and steers people away from majors involving any math. If the youth are motivated to pursue a career in engineering, they will find that math has broad and practical applications.”
As a PE, Ripple now holds significant responsibilities, along with other PEs in the CNMI, such as preparing, signing, and sealing engineering plans and drawings. He currently works as project manager at Hofschneider Engineering, LLC, which offers general civil and structural engineering design and a wide range of project and construction administrative services.
Ripple is the son of Jim and Agnes Ripple.