Scroll Top

Celebrating National Engineers Week With Mechanical & Electrical Engineer Kaeko Leitch


DiscoverE is the backbone organization behind National Engineers Week and several other engineering related programs. Its mission is to get students excited about careers in engineering. To celebrate Engineers Week, February 18-24, 2024, we decided to sit down with five Widseth engineers and ask them about their profession, the future of engineering, and what advice they have for students. This post features mechanical and electrical engineer Kaeko Leitch, PE, VP, LEED AP, from our Mankato office.

What’s the most unusual or interesting thing you’ve encountered during a project?

When I was working on a project at a zoo, a baby giraffe was born while I was there. The newborn calf was seven feet tall!

If you could have a superpower that would help you be a better engineer what would it be?

I am not sure if this will make me a better engineer, but if I could change the height or shape of my body, it would be very convenient. I can be very tall when I need to investigate a ceiling space, very narrow when I need to crawl into an air duct, very small when I need to walk through a tunnel, or grow wings when I need to look at equipment on a rooftop.

This year’s theme for Engineers Week is ‘Welcome to the Future!’ What advice do you have for students considering a career in engineering? What are your predictions for the future of engineering?

We are immersed in new technology every day, and the HVAC industry is part of the excitement. There are so many creative and cutting-edge ideas incorporated to help us design HVAC systems while creating a better current and future environment. It is also our job to balance the cutting-edge technology with the practicality as everything comes with a cost. I think that figuring out a creative way to design a system while answering the owner’s wish and protecting our environment will be an intriguing challenge for the young engineers, especially because young engineers are naturally more knowledgeable and have a knack for the newest technology.

How does your work as an engineer impact your community?

Some of the biggest impacts have been made by working with community nonprofit organizations such as VINE. They started to work on a large renovation project to house their growing organization. I was able to help them see the complex processes of the major renovation and how they could complete the project successfully. VINE continues to serve some of the oldest and most vulnerable members of our community.

Most people do not see or know much about what we do, but it is all an import part of every day of your life. Are you comfortable inside at your office or house? Are you too hot or too cold? Do you have enough outside air coming into the building for the indoor air quality? Do you have enough water pressure when you take a shower? That’s part of mechanical engineering in our industry. Do you have adequate lighting in your office or home? Do you have enough power to operate your equipment? Do you have a code compliant and safe electrical system? That’s part of electrical engineering in our industry.

What’s one thing that nobody knows about you?

After graduating from high school, I wanted to become an artist, so I went to Pratt Institute to study art. To support the expense, I worked for a brokerage firm on Wall Street in New York as a bilingual helper.

After moving to Illinois, I studied physiology as a pre-veterinary student. Following a discovery of my allergic reactions to some of the animals, I switched my major to mechanical engineering.

Then we moved to Minnesota for my husband’s job, and while raising our young children, I attended MSU to study interior design and construction management. My career started when I helped a professor there who was a part owner of an architectural company in Mankato, but first as an interior designer. After the company added an engineering department, I made a switch.

Oh, I also played music in a band in Japan and played multiple instruments. Our favorite song was Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, and it is still my favorite.

If I were to have lunch with you what would you order?

I am not sure, but I would like to try something exotic and something I have never tried before.


Kaeko Leitch, PE, LEED AP, brings a world of knowledge to Widseth’s clients.

Search Archives

Newsletter Sign Up

Recent Posts