Board Member Spotlight
As part of our new 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 PastPresident@ymf-oc.org.
For the February and March 2018 Spotlight we would like to introduce...
We asked him to state his name, company, and position in ASCE:
Andy Nguyen, raSmith, Co-photographer.
We also asked him a few questions about the following:
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Little Saigon (Garden Grove, California).
What made you want to become an engineer? If you had to choose a different career what would it be?
My brother was a civil engineer and I have always looked up to him. So when I went through school and realized I was good at math and science, I decided to follow in his footsteps and try out civil engineering. If I had to start over in a different career, I would be in marketing/sales. To make the best of both worlds, that is my own business on nights and weekends. I create photo/video marketing content for businesses.
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. I have a B.S. in Civil Engineering and specialized in structures. I was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon, both honors engineering organizations. I was also involved in ASCE at UCI as Rowing Captain and as a member.
WORK & PROFESSIONAL LIFE
Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
Primary Role - Significant Projects:
My primary role on projects is to produce construction documents for retail developments in California. This involves grading and drainage, utility design, stormwater management, hydrology and hydraulics, and construction administration. Typical land development engineer responsibilities. Significant projects have been Staybridge Suites, Towneplace Suites, and Mariner’s Church in Irvine.
What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
My favorite part about being a civil engineer is being able to work on a multi-disciplined team. I communicate with the architect, landscape architect, mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineers, and the client on a regular basis. Managing and meeting everyone’s needs to keep the project on schedule and on budget is a challenging but rewarding part of my job.
What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
Communication is key in all things. Learning how to interact and communicate (both in person and remotely) is paramount to success in engineering. It’s not a skill that’s developed in school, but it’s definitely a skill that you need to work on throughout your career. Always think of your audience and communicate your thoughts in a concise manner. But more importantly than that, always be kind and patient.
What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
I was drawn to land development because of the team-based work. I did not want to be the engineer that worked in a vacuum and just had his head down at a computer screen every day of his career. I enjoy the phone calls, meetings, site visits, and interactions with others in the process. If I could start my career differently, I would have listened to my entrepreneurial spirit and perhaps guided my career in a less technical route. At this point, I am trying to marry the two worlds into a role where I am most effective. The great thing about civil engineering – there are many routes you can take. It is unlikely that you will get “stuck” in this field.
How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
Like every young individual, I initially involved in college to pad my resume for jobs. I ended up staying because of the people I met along the process. There is great value to be had in an organization with like-minded individuals. We can’t always do things alone – we can achieve a lot more together.
How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
ASCE has kept me involved in the community, both in regards to service as well as professional. I get exposure to aspects of civil engineering beyond the limited scope of what I encounter at work. It has also given me opportunity to learn project management skills and interpersonal skills that directly affect my value as an employee.
Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
I am someone that has to always be engaged in something new and exciting, so my interests have ranged (in chronological order):
Video games, health and fitness, breakdancing, competitive powerlifting, photography, horology and watches, personal finance, men’s fashion, cinematography, and running my own business.
It’s a wide spectrum of interests, but I love to delve deep into new subjects on a regular basis. I love learning, and maintaining multiple interests means there is always something new for me to learn.
If you missed the last (Nov-Dec 2017) Board Member Spotlight, Josue Candelario, you can click here to read his article.
To view the archive of all past Member Spotlights, click here.