Board Member Spotlight February 2021

As part of our new Board Member Appreciation Program, we are showcasing a board member in our monthly 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

For the February Spotlight, we would like to introduce...



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

Raul Rodriguez, EIT
Roadway Designer | HNTB
Internal Activities Co-Chair | K-12 Co-Chair | Sustainability Committee Liaison

We also asked him a few questions about the following:


Where did you grow up?

Mission Viejo, CA (born and raised).

What made you want to become an engineer?

My interest in engineering was first peaked as a kid when I was learning about ancient history. The story that impressed me the most was the story of how Persian King Xerxes and his army crossed the Hellespont strait (now known as the Dardanelles). The engineers used hundreds of wooden boats laid side by side and connected by cables and wooden planks to form a bridge over the water. King Xerxes marched his army over this bridge to reach ancient Greece. Isn’t that just an amazing engineering feat?

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?

I enjoy playing arena soccer and weight training. I try to always do some form of exercise five days a week after work. I also like watching movies (currently working my way through the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings movies). I enjoy the hobby of Warhammer. Warhammer is a hobby where I build, paint, and play miniatures. I am currently working on building a Lord of the Rings collection as my quarantine project.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...

Playing soccer (in non-quarantine days). 2021 has found me studying for my PE.

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

I attended the University of California, Irvine where I received my Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. I was External Vice President and President of the ASCE student chapter while at UCI. I was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon where I participated in social events and community service opportunities.


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.

I am an Engineer I at HNTB and I have worked almost exclusively on the Brightline West project since I was hired. The Brightline West project aims to connect Las Vegas and Southern California with a high-speed electric train running through the I-15 median. I am responsible for assisting in the roadway design of the I-15 highway using MicroStation and Inroads. I have worked on several exhibits, Geometric Approval Drawings, Safety Analysis, Hazard Analysis, 30% and 60% submittals, and freeway ramp designs.

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?

I enjoy the collaboration required as a civil engineer. I know the importance of teamwork and value the learning I receive when working closely with my coworkers.

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

The skills most in my career that I am focusing on are teamwork communication, active listening, and technical knowledge.

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

I was drawn to transportation engineering early on in my college career when listening to a professor explain the different branches of civil engineering. I was intrigued by the chance to work on large projects that would connect surrounding communities. If I could start my career differently, I would have taken my PE exam immediately out of college to avoid the limbo of test cancellations.


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

I first joined ASCE as a freshman in college. I chose to stay because of my wonderful ASCE mentors, Isai Flores and Hugo Rodriguez. They encouraged me to continue my participation and helped me build the confidence to pursue a leadership role in ASCE the following year. I stay in ASCE because of the great people I continue to meet through the ASCE network; I am truly grateful for the welcoming environment ASCE creates.

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

ASCE has impacted my work by helping me connect with different engineers that I otherwise may not have met. My favorite benefit of my ASCE involvement has been the influence I have had with young students as part of my K-12 activities. I hope to inspire more future engineers and increase the participation of Latinos in STEM related fields.

Who is someone you admire and why?

I admire President Joe Biden a great deal. Personal tragedy encountered him early in his career when his wife and daughter were killed in a tragic vehicle accident. Tragedy continued in Joe’s life when his son lost the fight to brain cancer. Despite all these terrible losses, Joe Biden is a happy warrior. I would expect someone who has experienced that much loss to be imbittered and angry at the world. However, Joe continues to lead with a smile on his face, fighting for what he believes is just. I want to be like Joe and continue pushing forward with my dreams and ambitions regardless of what personal difficulties I face in my life.

If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?

I advise young professionals to work outside of their comfort zones and take chances they may have otherwise passed on. We as individuals learn the most when we are pushed to adapt and overcome an obstacle.

Lastly, what would be your personal motto?

My personal motto: “Little strokes fell great oaks.” - Benjamin Franklin

If you missed the last (January 2021) Board Member Spotlight, Chirath Karunathilake, you can click here to read his article.

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

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