Civil engineering and community are inextricably linked.
So it just makes sense that there is a community for civil engineers. ASCE Collaborate is that community – an online meeting place for ASCE members to compare notes, trade lessons learned, and share perspectives.
And like any strong community, ASCE Collaborate thrives thanks to its strong leaders. The six new topic moderators add value to the discussions, boost the body of knowledge, and nurture the Collaborate community.
Get to know your topic moderators a little better:
Why do you think it is important to contribute to ASCE Collaborate and the civil engineering profession as a whole?
I believe that engineers, and for that matter any professionals, benefit greatly through interactions and discussions. The process helps them learn to refine their knowledge by sharing experience and insight. I think ASCE Collaborate has given engineers that opportunity.
It is important for civil engineers to share their knowledge and experiences. We all become better problem solvers when we combine the experiences of the entire profession to help us with issues that we might otherwise struggle with on our own. ASCE Collaborate is a terrific forum for this profession-wide brainstorming.
When I first started working in the early 2000s, the internet was just taking off and discussion groups for civil engineers didn’t exist. I had to navigate many things on my own, especially nontechnical career development, because I didn’t have anyone to ask.
An interaction with one mentor or one person can change the course of someone’s career. On Collaborate, my goal is to ask good questions to spark a dialogue between two people who may not have connected before.
Why did you become a civil engineer?
I grew up in the middle of what was the largest construction boom in the world: the modern construction of the Middle East. Civil engineering was the bold frontier reviving the glories of ancient civil engineering monuments like the pyramids of Egypt, the Baalbek Castle in Lebanon, and the Roman Aqueducts in Syria (which are still functional today). Kingdoms and empires, even civilizations came and went, but those civil engineering monuments are still standing, proudly shrugging off time.
I mentioned earlier that contributing to Collaborate was important because one interaction can change your life. That happened to me in college, and it’s the reason I became a structural engineer.
I was struggling with picking my college major – in my second year of college! – and had already switched from biochemistry to computer engineering (where I hated my C++ programming class). For exercise and stress‐relief, I often played tennis with a friend majoring in engineering.
He came to play one day straight from his last class, and brought a miniature building model. I looked at the model and asked him in which engineering class he was building models. The rest you can say is history – I went into architectural engineering, and specifically structural building design.
I’d always been fascinated by buildings (but do not consider myself artistic, thus ruling out architecture). I liked math, science, and writing. I didn’t realize you could combine them into a career until this one interaction opened my eyes.
To make an impact by enhancing the performance and safety of high-visibility public works infrastructure projects while increasing the quality of life of the citizens in that community, making it a better place to live. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and mentoring students who one day will hopefully become the future leaders in our profession.
What do you enjoy most about being a civil engineer?
Andres Fernando Guzman
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.
Its down-to-earth presence in serving the public at large, yet outliving almost everything else. Since my first project, a stadium, nearly half a century ago, there has been so much change in the world: its leaders, ideals, fashion, consumer goods, nearly everything; but that stadium continues to host the masses, one generation after another.
It gives me quiet and deep satisfaction to see that the projects I worked on are part of the landscape and infrastructure of so many cities around the world. Some projects were large enough to involve heads of state, and one that I know of was presented proudly on a postage stamp of a country.
Join the conversation at ASCE Collaborate.