When I was asked by Choice to write on the Company’s blog, I immediately thought of many topics I wanted to write about, from my past and present career endeavors to general engineering topics, or simply my family. So, I decided to talk a little bit about all the above since these are all connected, and I feel they always complement each other.
Why Civil Engineering?
Very early on, I was always inclined to science subjects, like mathematics and physics, etc. It was also clear to me that I wanted a career with direct application in the real world, something tangible. That is why the field of engineering was always an interesting choice for me. Besides, this career runs in my family, since many relatives of mine are not only engineers, but civil engineers. I always had someone that could give me an insight within this noble profession.
Role at Choice Engineering
I work in the traffic engineering department at Choice, where I have the opportunity to work on projects performing various traffic engineering studies and tasks like arterial analysis, safety studies, traffic signal analysis and retiming, traffic signal MOT support among others. One of the most important projects at Choice, which I have worked extensively for the past three years, has consisted of the traffic signal retiming of multiple corridors in Miami-Dade and Monroe County. Although most of the effort has been focused in the retiming aspect of many signals in these counties, we also helped the Department of Transportation to achieve the important task of upgrading multiple signals in Monroe County, more specifically, in the City of Key West where we had to upgrade and configure Traffic Signal Controllers with a new Software. Although working on configuring and programming of traffic signals controllers may seem at times to be very technical, and not always the most typical engineering task, it can be a very complementing experience to any engineer in this field regardless of his or her years of experience. This type of technical knowledge allows me to reinforce general traffic engineering concepts that I generally apply in some of the engineering studies already mentioned. I also consider that in any engineering field it is always a plus to be up to date with new technologies and new computer software and engineering tools.
Engineering in general is not precisely a slow-pace field; therefore, it is important to always find a balance between work and family. I have always been an advocate of a healthy work-life balance because it is a very important aspect to the health of the engineer, his/her family, and that of the company. My career achievements will always be a satisfaction and will complement my personal life; that is why I always worked hard to reach my goals, but at the same time my family plays an important role in those achievements. As a father of a beautiful girl, my greatest satisfaction after a long day at work is not only to spend time with my daughter and see her smile, but also to bring a smile home. That is why a healthy company culture that upholds family values, like the one found at Choice, are very important for the well-being of an engineer.
by Alejandro Ortega, EI