Board Member Spotlight June/July 2022
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 PastPresident@ymf-oc.org.
For the June/July Spotlight, we would like to introduce...
We asked him to state his name, company, and position(s) in ASCE:
Matt Quintanilla, PE, MS, ENV SP
Civil Engineering Associate III, City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering
ASCE OC YMF University Outreach PAL
We also asked him a few questions about the following:
Where did you grow up?
What made you want to become an engineer?
Growing up I used to love taking apart things and putting them back together just to see how they operated or functioned. That paired with a strong interest in math really pushed me toward the engineering field.
Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
Watching sports, particularly football. basketball, baseball, and soccer. I also like hiking, playing video games, and baking, and I have become a Disney enthusiast after buying an annual pass.
Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
... either watching soccer games or doing yard work around the house.
What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
UCSB - BA, Environmental Studies 2013, USC - MS, Environmental Engineering 2018, UCLA - Certificate, Sustainability 2018
WORK & PROFESSIONAL LIFE
Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
I am currently a Construction Manager for the Environmental Engineering Division which oversees the delivery of wastewater infrastructure projects throughout the four main wastewater plants located in the City of Los Angeles. I perform Construction means/methods analysis, plan checking, constructibility assessment and management of ongoing construction and proposed construction projects for the City of LA Clean Water Infrastructure. Coordinate engineering contractor work with other city agencies, professional and technical consultants, and private contractors/subcontractors. Assess & advise on sequencing engineering & construction activities.
Some significant projects I have worked on have been the initial permitting implementation of the 5G network throughout the City of Los Angeles and the construction and commissioning of a new a biotrickling filter for odor control at the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.
What project are you currently working on and what have you accomplished/what are your tasks?
Currently I am working on rehabilitation projects at the Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant. One project involves upgrades to the final clarifier tanks skimmer system which will replace skimming equipment to ensure the flocs and scum created by wastewater get properly collected so that the water being treated meets safety and environmental standards. The other is upgrading the digesters at Terminal Island that have been in operations since the 70s. The current insulation will be replaced with new metal cladding and will be paired with LED lights to highlight the digesters at night (similar to LA city hall with the colors on the building at night). Both projects require extensive coordination as we have to work together with the Contractor and Plant operations to ensure the plant is still meeting requirements and in operation and that the project is being delivered on time and under budget.
What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
My favorite part about being a civil engineer is the wide spectrum civil engineering encompasses. I have been fortunate enough to work in different facets of civil engineering from utility permits, sewer design, and now wastewater construction management. I feel that civil engineering gave me that opportunity to explore those different avenues and help me decide what I liked best. I like the different challenges I face on a daily basis and working with my team to come to a solution.
What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
Public speaking, confidence, and humility I feel are the most important skills to have and that I try to focus on in my career. I need to able to effectively communicate and convey my message to whomever I am speaking too. Whether it is in a field visit, progress meeting, with design engineers, or even my peers. I need to be confident in my abilities but also be humble enough to ask questions when something does not make sense or I need more clarification on something. I feel that those skills have helped me in my career so far and I always try to improve on those skill sets.
What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
My undergraduate degree is in Environmental Studies from UC, Santa Barbara which is not engineering related. I enjoyed my undergraduate studies and when I decided to pursue engineering as my career choice, I wanted to tie in my undergraduate degree into my career somehow. I got my masters in Environmental Engineering which not only tied in key concepts and theories i learned as an undergrad but it also led me into wanting to pursue a career in wastewater in some capacity. I could do anything differently to start my career, I probably would've have looked to acquire my certifications earlier (EIT, PE, ENV SP) as I feel having that knowledge and certification earlier would have been beneficial early on in my career as it would have given me more confidence to ask questions and be more vocal in my work. Something that I found down line in my career. That as well as be more involved in ASCE when I started my career but it never too late to be involved.
ASCE & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
Originally I became involved in ASCE through my girlfriend who is involved in ASCE. I would attend events and see how ASCE role and involvement in these events. Eventually I decided to become involved in ASCE myself and help with the coordination of events. As time has progressed, I have expanded my roles in ASCE and try to help with the University Outreach team in any capacity that I can. I choose to stay involved as I like to see the beneficial work we do and how it can be seen with the upcoming engineers graduating college and they themselves joining ASCE afterwards. I feel that it expands and continues the growth of the civil engineering industry and profession.
How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
ASCE has given me to chance to meet and interact with other industry professionals on both the private and public front. Seeing the different jobs and projects these engineers are working on I feel is so fascinating because, as I mentioned, civil engineering is such a wide spectrum that you will most likely meet someone who is working in a different aspect of civil engineering in ASCE. Specifically being a part of University Outreach has been very fulfilling as it gives me an opportunity to give back to our future engineers with the mentorship program, meet the mentor panels, and resume/mock interview workshops. I feel that these events and involvement with the student chapters help young engineers with a blueprint on how to be successful in this industry and is my favorite part of being involved with ASCE.
Who is someone you admire and why?
I admire my parents. They are incredibly hard workers and have always provided anything and everything me and siblings have needed to be successful. They support our goals and I look up to them because they have never given up in the face of adversity and that's something I want to carry over when I have a family of my own.
If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
Be confident in your abilities and don't be afraid to ask questions!
Lastly, what would be your personal motto?
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take - Wayne Gretzky" -Michael Scott
If you missed the last (April/May 2022) Board Member Spotlight, Javier Urias, you can click here to read his article.
To view the archive of all past Member Spotlights, click here.