Topic Moderators

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Meet the ASCE Collaborate Topic Moderators

Topic Moderators add value to the discussion, increase the body of knowledge, and nurture the ASCE Collaborate Community. Find out a little more about them.

Hala Abdo, E.I.T.

 Hala.jpgHala Abdo, E.I.T., Road and Drainage EIT at FAM Construction, LLC. 

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

I do believe that each one of us has some knowledge to share no matter our experience. Also, as a civil engineer, I reflect my curiosity with same and different minded colleagues both on the national and international level on this platform. From being an ASCE student member to becoming a young professional, networking with fellow civil engineers supported me both professionally and personally and there is no better way to give back to others even on a virtual platform

 

Dr. Reza Mokarram Aydenloo, Ph.D, C.ENG, P.E., S.E., M.ASCE


Dr. Reza Mokarram Aydenloo, Ph.D, C.ENG, P.E., S.E., M.ASCE

Professional engineer of structural design and seismic rehabilitation - Author of specialized book in Elsevier

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

I believe that due to the existence of specialists in various fields of civil engineering in ASCE collaborate, we can access the best answers in the shortest time by participating in the forums by expressing questions, challenges and experiences.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Career life is like a road, It is not clear where it will end, if you do not know where you want to be. So set a goal based on your best interests and abilities with all your focus and strength. If you have doubts about identifying that goal, you can get help from the mentors in ASCE Collaborate mentors are here to pave the way for your future career.

Do you agree that by helping people we know, their talents may be seen and their lives changed?

Do you know that many talented people, given that they can not show their abilities, unfortunately deviate from the main path and goal of their creativity and also do not achieve their ideals. Maybe we can develop talent in someone.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

Ever since I got to know my abilities, I have come to realize that I love high-rise structures. It is a great feeling to see that by constructing a safe structure I can give a sense of peace to a family and society. If I was going to be born again and choose a job, I would still be a civil engineer.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

From childhood, my family raised me in such a way that I wanted to teach what I was learning to others so that the most enjoyable part of my career is gaining experience in the filed of design and seismic rehabilitation on professional projects and teaching it to others as an author of specialized books. In this regard, today I have been able to write several volumes of specialized books in the field of seismic rehabilitation.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

So far, I have faced three project challenges in my professional career life :

1) Design of the first high-rise structure

A project with specifications, 20 floors on the ground with an area of approximately 25,000 square meters in a special position for a precise employer. I was full of stress whether I could finish my work successfully. I did a lot of hard work several times modeling, optimization and special controls and ...., I was so focused on my work deeply . Even when I slept, I dreamed of structural design and my mind was occupied with it. It's been 11 years since it was designed, people live in it, sometimes I pass in front of the project.I remember those days and I smile. I do not think there is anything more enjoyable for me or any engineer than to see the results of efforts in a project.


2)seismic rehabilitation of special project 

In March 2014, a professional company introduced me to a special project for seismic rehabilitation. The main demand of the employer was to increase the area and general changes in the architecture of plan and facade. Existing structure designed and built several years ago, had 17 floors of concrete structures. In addition to seismic rehabilitation, I had to redesign it. In this regard, I thoroughly studied and evaluated the increasing of 7 new floors on the existing structure, so that I could finally find a best solution to strengthen the existing structure. I demolished two floors of existing concrete structure and added seven floors of new steel structure on it , finally designed and presented its complete details, I tried with all my strength and interest for a year and completed the project. Today I see the result of my efforts, a building with special and beautiful face in 22-floors with an area of 41,000 square meters. Every time I watch this movie, I forget the tiredness of those days. This is a very special feeling, I wish you experience this feeling about your project as well.


3) Writing a specialized book for Elsevier Publications

Finally, in 2018, I managed to sign a contract with Elsevier Publications to publish my book. It is true that I had written three books before and I had enough experience. But publishing the book internationally was a new experience. I had to be more careful, my audience had increased. In this regard, I tried hard for 2 years. I even remember working up to 15 hours a day for the last 6 months. Eventually the hardships ended and the book was published in 2020.

Salvador Bentolila, P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE

 

Salvador Bentolila, P.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

I think we are always at some point in our career where we needed someone else’s advice or mentoring, especially during the early years. As one grows in the career and becomes more experienced, I think it becomes a responsibility to give back and replenish that knowledge given to us so the younger generations can benefit from it.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Try to get exposure to as many possible different areas in engineering as possible. As you start out your career, you might have an idea of what you want to do, which may or may not be right. The easiest way to find out is by getting involved with different projects and disciplines so you can then have criteria and a basis for comparison.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

Construction projects always amazed me in terms of the level of coordination and complexity involved. I was given the opportunity before graduating high school of interning at a large construction project which hooked me in for the Civil Engineering career.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

The ability to wear different hats and build relationships with different stakeholders. Because each stakeholder behaves and has to be managed differently, your ability to adapt accordingly becomes and tough but super valuable skill that can be used in your personal life too.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

A Rainwater Harvesting Project at a local school in a remote village in Kenya. The scope of the project was actually really simple, but completing the design on our owns (the project was part of EWB), raising funds, coordinating with local people, finding the construction materials and actually building added other layers of complexity.

Daniel Bressler, EIT, A.M.ASCE

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Daniel Bressler, EIT, A.M.ASCE, Junior Structural Engineer, Stratford Engineering 

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

ASCE Collaborate is a great platform to share and exchange ideas and have positive discussions. The sharing of ideas and positive discussions is essential for growth and development. By having open forums, new topics and conversations can be had with people of varying background allowing for some interesting insight. By furthering conversation we are helping to further the civil engineering profession.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Have confidence in yourself. Always be open to new opportunities to grow. Don’t be afraid or nervous to ask for help, ask questions, email someone or have a conversation.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I was always handy and trying to figure out how things worked, I liked science as was good at math. So pretty much I was a catalyst to become a civil engineer.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy the creativity, problem solving and people skills that come with a day’s work.

Ari Daniels, P.E., M.ASCE



Ari Daniels, P.E., M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?


My life and my work share a common theme: continuous improvement. One of the best resources for almost any knowledge‐based process is an experienced/exposed human mind. All the textbooks, manuals, and articles in the world won’t equal the minds that have produced them or consumed them. And no reference manual/tool is flexible enough (yet…) to answer all possible thoughtful questions. People are crucial, and Collaborate is a great hub! And for the civil engineering profession as a whole? See the question below, “what do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?”

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Make sure you study and make moves toward what excites you, since work is such a huge part of life. It may be many incremental steps before you land (or make) your “dream job,” but keep orienting yourself toward that which gives you energy, rather than takes it. And be flexible, broadly and generally. Which is stronger, the oak or the palm?

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I’ll distill this one, since it’s kind of thick. I have always been an engineer in the general sense of the word. I wanted to study physics, but a wise guidance counselor in high school told me to study engineering (I think specifically mechanical, given my interests). I originally studied mechanical engineering in college, but the limited focus areas of that degree at my university at the time (no direct connection to environmental engineering, either energy or water), combined with a “eureka” moment in Probability and Statistics (that an overarching goal of many manufacturers/producers is to maximize profits, not optimize quality/function), caused me to switch to civil/environmental, and I ended up with greater focus on some passions of mine, water resources and environmental engineering. Basically, this is where I thought I could be of most service.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

The work is always applicable and necessary. I never question whether my work is valuable. The magnitude of the value of my work may be in question – for example is this little bioretention worth the time and money? But civil engineering is truly necessary, and I focus on the need, rather than the want. Fundamental needs of the human organism: food, water, shelter, medicine. Well, I’m connected to all of those to some degree, and I’d give our profession a solid 3 out of 4 on this.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

Hmm. I’ll interpret the question as including “within the realm of engineering.” :‐) My most challenging projects have largely been difficult due to human factors – plan/permit reviewers, over‐involved HOA members, ridiculous legal constraints – rather than technical factors. My single most challenging project was my smallest project, ironically: a tiny wet swale ‐ turned vegetated swale ‐ turned infiltration trench ‐ turned abandoned infiltration trench ‐ turned basic rain garden/conservation landscape ‐ which should have just stayed a wet/vegetated swale. It took over three years to wrap up (with me renting equipment and doing it myself) and helped me coin the phrase “death by checklist.” The most challenging technical projects I’ve faced were the “what were these people thinking?” situations that require re‐engineering. Starting from scratch is almost always much easier than starting from “oops.”

Horacio Galicia-Gaona, ING. S.E., M.ASCE



Horacio Galicia-Gaona, ING. S.E., M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

I think that the civil engineering, like all other science and arts, it grows sharing and discussing so many point of views as possible. For me, the most important at the engineers work is the creativity and I consider that a good way to develop it is observing, critiquing and trying to understand what other yet think or do and, finally apply adapted or innovative ideas to solve our regional situations.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Young people are impetuous, and that impetus must be directed towards helping to improve the conditions of their people.  Civil engineers have a large part of the development potential of our cities in our hands.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

I don't know ... I think I always liked being an engineer ... fixing, building, inventing things, ... mathematics and physics;  As a child I was amazed by the buildings and bridges that I saw when I passed through Mexico City, so ... I'm learning how to make them.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

What I enjoy the most is being involved in the construction of something I designed, seeing what was in my head materialize.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most challenging project for me has been the "Puente Terrero", 120m in total length, and the highest I have designed (17m from the footings to the road level) and passes over a river with a 10m depth of water.  If you want to know it, this is its location 19 ° 02'54 "N 102 ° 39'12" W and you can contact me to share photos of it.

Jayvon Garth, P.E., M.ASCE



Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Network. This allows civil engineers around the world to collaborate & share ideas that can provide guidance in their profession. From career advice, to ideas for solving problems they may face in a project. Nothing from a career growth standpoint is more valuable than having an environment where people share the same professional passion, learning and sharing their ideas & experience for all of us to learn.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Understand that communication is going to be a huge key in the growth of your career. Learn how to communicate with others, and learn how to listen to others who are communicating with you.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I wanted to design roller coasters. In middle school I discovered a civil engineering degree and pretty much stuck with it. Along the way I learned that it could be used for building design and now I’m working as a structural engineer designing buildings. I never had any exposure in civil engineering or even knew of an engineer until my junior year of college so becoming a civil engineer has been a “faith walk” for me.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

Solving complex problems and being in an environment where I can learn something new each day. I also enjoy the uniqueness of my career, such that students I talk to are typically being exposed to civil engineering for the first time. I love exposing students to civil engineering & seeing their reaction to projects & examples they have never seen before.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

I can’t really point to a specific project that has been challenging, but one thing about my work that proves to be challenging is figuring out the best way to make clients happy while protecting the public. I thought that I would just be performing analysis & design but I find that I spend time considering the psychological impacts of my work to people.

Alexander Granato, A.M.ASCE



Alexander Granato, A.M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering

profession as a whole?

I believe that because Civil Engineers are mostly recognized for creating the infrastructure that
developed countries use every day, most media do not fully recognize the responsibilities of the
profession. Although fields like Information Technology are rising in popularity right now,
engineering still has difficulty getting the recognition that it deserves.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

I remind people that they are all living a different type of career with a different type of career
focus. Whether we are working on a project as a team or not, we will all face another challenge
and need to discover new skills to get the job done. To that end, everyone needs to be true to
themselves about their place in their careers and reach out to larger organizations to see the
bigger picture.

Why did you become a civil engineer?

When I went to Metro Early College High School, there was a FIRST Robotics Club that offered
to take students to annual competitions after designing and constructing each robot. Having
been able to visualize designs in three dimensions ever since preschool, I joined the mechanical
engineering section and decided to major in that at Ohio State. After more examination of the
engineering majors, however, I realized Civil Engineering covered other interests of mine as
well and shifted to that major.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?
The major has introduced me to several different topics that are involved with design and
maintenance, like surveying and graphics. The major also allowed me to have Technical
Electives that were about geodetics and the environment, fitting my standard approach of
organizing work and examining the minor details within it.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?
In March of 2018, I joined a Make OHI/O thon to complete a challenge: construct and
demonstrate an alpha prototype of an original idea within twenty‐four hours. Achieving that is
taking a design idea, finding resources to build the planned design, and a demonstration to
judges when all the work was done.

To that end, I set up a team with three other students, and we met twice beforehand to figure
out what our prototype would be. We agreed to a “smart” medicine dispenser that would use
Arduino programming to ask random passerby what kind of medicine they needed, identify that
person, and unlock one of those pills. Because I created the team, all four of us had a plan,
documentation, and distributed responsibilities when the twenty‐four‐hour period began. In
turn, our team obtained all the necessary resources and realized all the remaining steps for
completing the alpha prototype. The team won the Top Tier award after presenting the final
results.


Figure 1: The ”Smart” Medicine Dispenser

Dr. Andres Guzman, ING., M.ASCE

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Dr. Andres Guzman, ING., M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

ASCE Collaborate is an excellent opportunity to share our knowledge with young and former engineers and also with colleagues around the world. We can talk not only about technical issues but also about our profession, including ethical issues.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

As a civil engineering professor, I always tell my students to dedicate their work to serve, to do everything in the right way. I also tell them to be involved in different activities (sports, music, arts, other disciplines) to increase their knowledge and acquire new points of view in facing the daily practice. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I’ve always liked mathematics and physics. I like to know how everything works. Last but not least in importance, my university is the best in my home country (Colombia), and I wanted to learn and know with the best.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy helping others with no reward in mind. I can design any structure I can imagine and watch how it grows when it is constructed. That is beautiful. 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

Right now I am involved in a project (a concrete building to serve as an art school) that uses different design disciplines, and during construction all conditions changed (soils, materials). The project needs to be verified for every new load that appears during construction.

Jameelah Ingram, P.E., M.ASCE

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Jameelah Ingram, P.E., M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

ASCE Collaborate is a tool to engage with civil engineers around the world. Contributing to ASCE Collaborate allows me to build relationships and share knowledge with other engineers. I also gain advice, new perspectives, and an opportunity to enhance my writing skills.

As we serve the public through civil engineering, the works we create serve us in return. Therefore, contributing to the civil engineering profession is essential, and I enjoy playing my part.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

1) Join a Professional Association - Professional Associations offer ways to: engage in engineering outreach on a large scale and strengthen the pipeline of future engineers; develop connections with professionals locally and globally; and grow leadership skills.

2) Read Engineering Articles - Reading engineering articles is an excellent way to explore interests outside of the projects you are working on. The articles can give you a glimpse into other niches in the engineering industry. Online publications and industry magazines often provide insight for problems you are working to solve as well.

3) Ask Questions - If you reach an impasse in an engineering calculation, try asking questions. Prior to the conversation, be sure to do your research. Come prepared to show the ways in which you have already attempted to arrive at a solution.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I was inspired to study structural engineering by the infrastructure and architecture in my hometown of Chicago. I was captivated by soaring skyscrapers and beautiful bridges. My mother, who is a surreal artist, and father, a technical professional and U.S. Navy Veteran, greatly influenced my path. As a civil engineer, I also have the opportunity to help others reach the destinations most important to them.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

As a civil engineer, our projects are tangible. Our designs solve critical problems and create conveniences to improve quality of life. I enjoy the feeling of happiness that comes with seeing a project I have contributed to being constructed and ultimately used by the public.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most challenging project I have ever completed was a new six span pedestrian bridge across a busy interstate with spans up to 173 feet (approx. 53 meters). It was challenging because it was a project full of “firsts” for me. It was the first pedestrian bridge, the first prestressed concrete bridge, and the first bridge on the East Coast of the United States I had ever designed. I had to learn new standards and software programs. I also collaborated with a new group of engineers for the project. The challenges made the completion of the project even more rewarding!

Rafael Estrada Moncada, EI, A.M.ASCE



Rafael Estrada Moncada, EI, A.M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

I think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the Civil Engineering profession as a whole to continue moving conversations forward and to give space to share, talk and reflect on them.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

The typical advice I tell someone early in their civil engineer career is to ask questions, be open to criticism, and take charge of your career.

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I became a civil engineer to protect our environment for future generations.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy most working with the Client and Contractor to build the project according to the approved plans and specifications we designed.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

Studying for the P.E. has been the most challenging project I have ever completed. Working full time as a consulting engineer, being newly married, and living in a pandemic, made my study schedule that more challenging.

Llala Chrishaye S. Ocampo, S.M.ASCE



Llala Chrishaye S. Ocampo, S.M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

The importance of joining ASCE collaborate during the times of membership is that what you can offer that makes worth while to help each other and create milestones to help yourself grow professionally. And to collaborate with your organization is having a meaningful communication with other professionals. Students nowadays are given the opportunity and as they join ASCE organisation they must experience ASCE Collaborate and make a meaningful membership. 

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

I advise them to study well and harder, to save for good investment in the future career, allow failures and never give up. Invite them to join an organisation like ASCE which is a good step for an engineering career that would help them while creating a good network of people there and growing together with the others, exploring great opportunities like having a mentor-mentee relationship, free webinars, get involved in the thread of discussions, get aware of Engineering magazines. I would like to advise that it's great to collaborate too. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

A civil engineer always seeks the problem and provides solutions, they care about people in the surroundings, its sustainability, in a creative manner. That's why I love to pursue Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering even if its hard. And then get help with this profession by joining ASCE organisation, get involved in the collaborative, webinars, events, and mentor-mentee relationships. Afterwards I must pursue licensure, and consider continuing education or other related training. 

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoyed Civil Engineering while studying as of now, since it helps me to build a good foundation of learning, to be a professional, a lifestyle of what I desired. While in the future I surely enjoyed collaborating with the team and be a problem solver, build, design, and innovate. I enjoyed the opportunities waiting since it's varied in every field, and in every field is a good experiences and learnings. 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

I was able to understand programming language and write a code like using Eclipse, C++, Turbo C, Java, and Visual Basic for the thesis purposes in my class. The challenges are delegates the work, to be a leader, and trust the team. These programming languages helps when innovating technology in the infrastructure and also a good example I could give that a Civil Engineering is everything. But when it comes to biggest project in the industry, I never encountered one since I'm still studying although as of now I tried to enter a freelance contractor, then it's difficult for me to find a trustworthy skilled construction workers team and a client. 

 

Nicolai Oliden, P.E., M.ASCE



Nicolai Oliden, P.E., M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

We always have to be thinking about the future of our profession. When we contribute to ASCE Collaborate, we help mold those upcoming engineers and provide that guidance so they become even better than we could have ever been ourselves.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Keep your head up while you work. Don't be so singularly focused that you miss opportunities to advance, grow yourself, and serve your team. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I watched my dad work in the construction industry and then eventually move into engineering. I always loved the idea of helping the community from behind the curtain. Nobody really thinks about civil engineers until something is going wrong, yet our work impacts everyone.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

Working with people. I learned fairly quickly that engineering isn't all about number crunching. I love interacting with other engineers on projects and working together to come up with unique design solutions.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

My most challenging project was the SR202L South Mountain Freeway. It wasn't as challenging technically as it was just a LOT of work with a limited team (just me and one intern). I worked 300 overtime hours in 3 months but we met every deadline for the project.

Charles Ou-Yang, S.M.ASCE



Charles Ou-Yang, S.M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

As Elon Musk and Steve Jobs shared in their biographies. They are able to accomplish so much because of the A-team that they hire. I believe there is synergy in working together, and that kind of mission driven, pure intention, safe environment is a community that needs to be fostered. I think ASCE is a home based for all civil engineers. Sometimes we have great companies, sometimes bad, but ASCE allows us to see a different perspective. I also love that this ASCE Collaborate is shared across the globe. 

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

It’s not an advice for civil engineer, but it is my motto. Never settle. If life isn’t what you want, then do something to make it so! There are so many great resources out there, and so little cost to trying. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

Having worked in architecture for 6 years. I felt that the profession was missing the engineering mindset. I’d like to compliment my skillset, as a pivot to post-Covid career change.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I love that there is a formula to every question! There is a straight forward answer, unlike most parts of life. I also love that engineers know how to collaborate together, and understand team work. 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most recent challenge (as challenges grow as we level-up!) was my development project. I was forced into being the General Contractor for my investment. It was a lot of scare and delays, but once the wall came down, and there was no turning back, it was an amazing flow. I am proud of overcoming the fear and surprised that we added value (55% to purchase)!



Mandeep Singh Kohli, CP, M.ASCE

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Mandeep Singh Kohli, CP, M.ASCE, Senior Engineer at Samsung Engineering  

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

   Engineering is not a very well defined science, it is part Science and part Art. What we learn in our school is just the basic building blocks, our main skill comes from doing the work and learning from others. One  

   can gain only a limited experience by doing things himself, but by collaborating with others and learning from other's expirience we can tap into their knowledge. This belief has always been my motivation in sharing knowledge    

   and it is this same reason why think it is important to contribute, for my own self development and the development of the entire community. 

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

   My advice would be to be patient and walk through your career’s initial days slowly so that you can grasp the fundamentals completely. The amount of efforts that you put in the initial years will pay dividend throughout your career. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

   I was always fascinated by mathematics and Science, so it was logical for me to choose engineering. Since i was open to any Hardcore engineering discipline, it had to be either Mechanical, Civil or Aeronautical and when it 

   came to choose i chose Civil Engineering.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

   Being able to see your work play out on the actual field is the best part of being a civil engineer. 

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

  The most challenging Project was my last project, which was the Engineering and Design for a grassroots Propane Dehydrogenation Plant in Alberta. I was the Area Lead and responsible for the design and checking for all of the 

  major and critical Structures in Our scope, out of those item was the reactor structure, which consisted of 4 more than 60 mt tall structures having Heavy Reactors at top and 3 similarly tall interconnected stair towers.

  That structure and its Foundation was in a way the culmination of my 10 years of engineering knowledge. It had several challenges, not the least of which was maintaining the drift at top to less than 2”. Having done that and   

  seeing how it stands today is one of my proudest achievements. 

Oanh Le, AFF.M.ASCE

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Oanh Le, AFF.M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

I believe ASCE Collaborate is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded persons and in order to have a successful profession that spreads its branches, around the world, there needs to be a way to have a space to share our thoughts and ideas with one another to advance our profession and contribute to collectively and to our communities that we aim to benefit. 

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

I am not entirely equipped to answer this question, but having a little of background in this profession, I think the best advice that I can give, particularly from people who are just starting in this profession is admitting that you know nothing and then asking what you can do to know something. A famous quote by Socrates is, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” Every early entry level engineer has an advantage in admitting that there is something they don’t know and usually no one will think anything wrong of it. 

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I started out as an architecture major and I switched over to civil engineering because I found this major to be more concrete in terms of realizing a project and building it. 

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy the opportunity to have a role in not only witnessing projects become a reality but to also be a part of projects that benefit communities.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most challenging project that I constantly work on is people so it’s not completed. I hope I am not only person who relates to this.

John Schwartz, S.M.ASCE



John Schwartz, S.M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Civil engineers offer a unique perspectives and talents to our modern society. First, civil engineers possess skills that pass the test of time, which allow them to create lasting change in our society. The opportunities/possibilities are endless for civil engineers since the profession is applicable to almost every facet of modern society. Civil engineering acts as the foundation for the rest of society to build on top of. If a foundation is crumbling, then the building cannot stand. Therefore, our world needs experts collaborating to develop the lasting solutions for an aging infrastructure. ASCE Collaborate is so important because it is a catalyst for innovative sustainable development solutions and ideas.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

A piece of advice for anyone starting their career in civil engineering is to design their own plan for what their goals are for their journey as a civil engineer. Please feel free to reach out for an example plan!

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

I chose to become a civil engineer to make a tangible change in our world. I feel that there are numerous ways to contribute to society, but one of the most rewarding ways is to see real life structures brought to fruition.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy the high level of technical problem solving involved in the coursework and journey as a civil engineer.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

The most challenging project I have participated in was a deck I recently tore apart and rebuilt. I do not have any high-level civil engineer experience so far, but these small projects early in my career present challenges like what I will face in years to come. The deck was built poorly by the previous owners, so there was lots of modifications and adaptations needed to build a beautiful, and safe deck from the structure in place.

Christopher Seigel, P.E., M.ASCE



Christopher Seigel, P.E., M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

Society faces a myriad of interconnected global challenges every day. No matter where you go on this planet, you can find Civil Engineers working to address these issues. It is my hope that through greater communication, we can learn from each other in order to better solve challenges and work to improve the quality of life for us all.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?
Be open to as many opportunities as you can. You never know what experiences you will take away from them or what you will learn. Find a field or a job that truly matters to you. It will help make the tough days more bearable and give meaning to your work. Be kind to your co-workers and remember that everyone is human. Learn to “manage-up” and offer solutions once you begin to understand the lay of the land where you are working.

Why did you become a civil engineer?
Contrary to most other engineers I’ve spoken with, I was never a naturally gifted science or math student. However, I have always enjoyed working with others, and participating in things that can make a positive impact in some manner. As I was finding my way through my undergraduate degree and wondering where this path was leading, I was introduced to some of the environmental issues that society has faced and continues to face today. These topics further drew my interest and led me in the direction of the water resources field in which I currently work.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

I enjoy contributing to work that is meant to improve the lives of people and to make us more responsible stewards of this planet that we all call home. 

Heidi Wallace, EI, P.E., M.ASCE

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Heidi Wallace, EI, P.E., M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?

When we share ideas in a way that is receptive to feedback, we grow both ourselves and our community of engineers. Maybe someone has already found a solution to something that you're struggling with. Maybe you have a perspective on a topic that others can use to broaden their outlook. Maybe no one has a full solution but together we can bring our individual perspectives together to find the next steps. When our ideas and perspectives remain within our little bubbles, we limit our ability to find collaborative solutions that best serve our communities and our profession.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

Don't just ask about the "what" but also the "why" behind what you are designing. For example, if you just ask what pipe material you need for this waterline project and don't ask why, you'll have to ask every single time. When you start to understand the reason behind the design choices, it grows your ability to "think like an engineer."

Why did you become a civil engineer? 

Civil engineering seemed like the intersection of several of my interests in high school: math/science, community service, and communication. When I was thinking about studying engineering, I went to an engineering camp at a university to learn more about the different options within engineering. One of the draws of civil for me was that I didn't have to have a masters right away to go into the workforce. Another benefit was that civil engineering doesn't restrict where you can live since civil engineers are needed everywhere.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

One of my favorite things about being a civil engineer is seeing the positive impact made in our community through our projects. Whether it is something as simple as streetscaping in downtown or the redevelopment of a historic building for recovery housing to combat mental health struggles and homelesness, it is rewarding to be part of the team that made these projects come to life.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed?

My most challenging project so far was probably an apartment project in an existing subdivision. We had to balance the stoop height requirements from the form-based code, meeting code for accessibility, having garages along the back side, maintaining positive drainage, and the roads around the lot were already installed. We ended up with around 25 finish floor elevations across the development in order to meet all the requirements and constraints. It took a lot of working and reworking to find a solution that satisfied both the code requirements and the needs of the developer.

 

Mitchell Winkler, P.E., R.ENG, M.ASCE

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Mitchell Winkler, P.E., R.ENG, M.ASCE

Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?  

The opportunity is twofold: 1) to help others develop their professional skills by sharing experience and to 2) create insight into challenging problems that can help others achieve their goals.

What advice do you often share with someone early on in their civil engineering career?

With the caveat that I’ve spent large part of my career outside of mainstream civil engineering, my advice to those early in their careers is to develop a deep technical competency before broadening.

Why did you become a civil engineer?  

I was attracted to civil engineering by the types of problems that civil engineers solve.

What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?

Being able to look at building or piece of infrastructure and having insight into how it was designed and constructed.

What is the most challenging project you have ever completed? 

Leading a multicompany team to achieve a common objective.  

*** Interested in being an ASCE Collaborate Topic Moderator? Contact Tirza Austin at [email protected]