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MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

As part of our Member Appreciation Program, we are showcasing a member in our bi-monthly Board Member Spotlight. Our member spotlight recognizes members for their outstanding contributions to the profession and our local communities. For any questions regarding the program please email PastPresident@ymf-oc.org.

October/November

2022

INTRODUCING

Jess Gascon

PE

Senior Consultant, Civil Engineer
WSP USA
Treasurer
ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum

PERSONAL LIFE

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Cerritos, CA.

What made you want to become an engineer?
I had a physics teacher in high school that inspired and encouraged me to pursue engineering.

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
I love playing video and board games. However, I also enjoy my fair share of sports by playing badminton and tennis.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
playing badminton with friends.

What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
I went to CSU Long Beach and graduated with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. I was very involved with the ASCE Student chapter for multiple years working on the concrete canoe project as the design lead.

WORK & PROFESSIONAL LIFE

Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
I mentor junior staff, providing technical oversight, and address any challenges from a technical perspective. I also assist with the development and analysis of roadway geometrics and developing corresponding plan sets. My main project right now is the I-5 Managed Lanes PAED.

What project are you currently working on and what have you accomplished/what are your tasks? 
I am currently working on the I-5 Managed Lanes PAED as a project engineer. The project consists of converting and expanding the current HOV facility in OC into a HOT facility. My tasks include the development of plan sheets, design analysis, and the mentoring of junior staff.

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
It’s fun seeing the reactions of people that ask what civil engineering is and seeing them realize how many things in their daily lives were designed by civil engineers. There was a John Oliver video about infrastructure with the quote “Infrastructure: If anything exciting happens we’ve done it wrong.” Civil engineering may not sound the most exciting, but life would be very different without it.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
I think that being able to think critically is very valuable.

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
I had an internship with a seismic retrofitting company, and I realized that crunching numbers all day wasn’t for me. After switching to a roadway related internship, I realized that drafting and being able to visualize designs and ideas was more aligned with my interests. If I could start my career differently, I would have prioritized my work-life balance and rely on my team rather than trying to meet tough deadlines on my own.

ASCE & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
I had lot of very passionate classmates in the ASCE student chapter at CSULB. Their energy and dedication were contagious. I walked into one meeting for the concrete canoe project and stayed on the project for the duration of my student years.

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
ASCE has exposed me to the various disciplines of civil engineering allowing me to broaden my understanding of the field. My favorite benefit is being able to network with the many types of people involved. Even though we are all “civil engineers,” the scope of work we encompass is fascinating.

Who is someone you Admire and Why?
I admire a coworker from my first job who helped mentor me when I was a new graduate, eager to prove what I could do, but started to overextend myself. My coworker shared that my wellbeing was more important than working desperately.

If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
As my old coworker shared with me: You work to live, you don’t live to work. Taking care of your wellbeing is much more important than overworking yourself to meet a deadline or expectations.

Lastly, what would be your personal motto?
Do what you have to do.

CHECK OUT PAST OC YMF MEMBER SPOTLIGHTS

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