August-September 2016 Spotlight

As part of our new 2015/16 Board member appreciation program we are showcasing a board member in our bimonthly Board Member Spotlight.  Our board member spotlight recognizes board members of outstanding contributions to the profession and our local communities. For any questions regarding the program please contact the Past President at

For the August and September spotlight we would like to introduce...



We asked him to state his name, company and position in ASCE:

"Ryan Hankes

GeoTek Inc.

ASCE OC YMF Internal Activities Co-Chair and CSU Fullerton Liaison"


We also asked him a few questions about the following:




Where did you grow up?

Born in Kansas, but grew up in Lake Forest, California, attended El Toro High School.

What made you want to become an engineer? If you had to choose a different career what would it be?

Math always came easy to me (at least until I got to calculus in college).  My grandpa is also an engineer, and of his 6 children and 14 grandchildren, I was the only one to follow his footsteps.  If I chose another career, it most likely would have been a business occupation like my father.

What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?

I attended California State University Fullerton. BS in Civil Engineering  I was involved with ASCE student chapter for 3 years, and was the Vice President my final year.  I was also a member of Student Veterans Association (SVA), and ran on the track & field team and competed in the 800 and 4x400 relay.

Before college I was part of the US Navy and worked on the H-60 helicopters out of Coronado, San Diego as an avionics electrician.  




Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.

Primary Role:  

Head field engineer for sampling and testing of soil and material.

Significant projects:

Working with CalTrans to do soil testing for the new changing FasTrak sign that will be going in soon near the 91 and 55 freeway areas. I had to work in the middle of the night in the middle of freeways to accomplish this task.

Non-Project work responsibilities

Getting our lab more certifications to do more testing with stricter chemicals and expanding out lab to test international soil.

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?

Favorite part of being a Civil Engineer is being about look at something in a new way.  Where before, when you see a skyscraper, you just saw a tall building.  As an engineer, you understand and have some-what of an idea all the work, planning, and calculations that went into making a single structure.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?

The skills I find most valuable are the simplest ones that we should be taught early on, about safety and what to look for when entering a site.  These skills grow more though experience rather than knowledge.  These skills can be taken to any job as well, even non-engineering related.

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?

My career path found me, I got into an internship that dealt in the geotechnical field of engineering mostly, and because of that internship my job was also in the geotechnical field.

Describe a situation that was a great learning experience for you?

A situation that was a great learning experience for me was my first time drilling.  I had no idea what to look for, or how to operate and handle the equipment, so that time was when I learned the most amount of information in the quickest amount of time.




How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay?

I got involved in college, especially when I was done with track and field and needed something to fill the void while I was still at school.  I liked the extra responsibility, and the helped it gained with my career.  Without ASCE, I would not of had an internship, or my current job. Why did you choose to stay?  I stay because I love the people in ASCE and being involved with something outside of work brings joy to me.  I have had a blast at every event I attend as well.  I know that the networking this organization brings will help my future career.

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?

My boss was very excited to hear I was attending the conference in Alaska.  My company encourages our employees to branch out and be more involved with more organizations like this.  Not only does it make us, the employees, look good and grow as an individual, but the company as well.

What has been your favorite ASCE event since you got involved?

I would have to pick two, the first event is the first retreat I attended because I got meet everyone for the first time on a more fun and social level, and the second was the ugly sweater bar crawl in Down Town Fullerton because it was the first major event that I planned and I think it went smoothly.




Favorite sport? 

Still love to run, especially mud runs and obstacle courses. When it comes to watching sports, its all about football, especially my Green Bay Packers, Go Pack Go!!!


Hobbies and Interests outside of Engineering. 

Outside of work and ASCE, I am also a member in the US Navy Reserves.  My unit is FOS DET Seal Beach where I hold the position of Assistant Command Fitness Leader (ACFL) and Leading Petty Officer (LPO) of the Qual Cert Program which keeps our sailors up to date on their qualification to handle arms and ammunition.   

Love trail running in my off time, line dancing, attending country concerts, spending time at the beach or other water areas, and snowboarding in the winter




If you missed the last Board Member Spotlight, Gyan Sinha, you can click here to read his article.


To view the archive of all past Member Spotlights click here.


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I am blessed and honored to be serving as President for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and contribute to the amazing legacy of OC YMF. A little about me: I work at Parsons as a Road & Highway Engineer and I am so grateful for the support, technical and soft skills I have learned through YMF to enhance my career! I have been in Orange County for 5 years now and love the community of family, friends, and colleagues that has grown over the years and enjoy all the fun things that the OC has to offer!

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