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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




Joel (JR) Lagade Jr.

Assistant Environmental Engineer
Tetra Tech, Inc.
ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum


Where did you grow up?
America's Finest City! San Diego, CA.

What made you want to become an engineer?
I owe my aspiration to get into engineering in general to my high school AP Stats / Computer Science teacher Mrs. Shirley Miranda! Without her and helping me get into COSMOS at UCSD and then observing ISEF (International Science and Engineering Fair), I would most definitely not be where I am at today. I ultimately chose civil engineering when I got into UC Irvine because the presentation for aerospace engineering was really boring (sorry!) versus the presenter for civil engineering who was energetic. I was particulary drawn to the direct effect we have in improving people's lives through infrastructure.

If I had to choose a different career path, I would have gone to a liberal arts university so that I can be in sitcoms, be a comedian, or even a DJ. I love entertaining people and making sure everyone has a grand ol' time.

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
Basketball. I bleed Purple and Gold! Through thick or thin, I've been through it all with the Lakers. I have never even stepped in a wagon before. My current hobbies and interests include traveling, DJing, dancing, long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, and introspection while listening to 90's hep-hawp.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...

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 and obtained a BS in Civil Engineering - Specialization in Environmental Hydrology and Water Resorces. In regards to engineering, I was a part of the inaugural Engineering Global Brigades, Chi Epsilon, ASCE, Engineering Student Council, and the Pre-Engineering Prep Program.


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
Currently I am an Assistant Environmental Engineer at Tetra Tech (Irvine) in an operating unit focused on environmental assessment, management, and remediation. A major project that I've been a part of since its conception is investigating and remediating perchlorate and chromium impacted soil and groundwater in Henderson, Nevada. We are currently implementing an experimental remedial technology known as soil flushing to release and transport contaminants present in the vadose and saturated zones for extraction and treatment. From field work, drafting, and reporting, I've dabbled in every aspect of this grand project.

Within our operating unit, I help lead in planning community service events and social activities. I also fill the office with great music.

What project are you currently working on and what have you accomplished/what are your tasks? 

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
Knowing that my work directly affects society and its function.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?


How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
I initially got involved at UCI. However, due to the many other organizations I was a part of, I wasn't as involved as I wanted to be. Then once I entered the industry I was voluntold (like many others haha) by Liz Reudas to join the OC Branch. From there I got more involved in YMF. I continue to be involved because it motivates me to strive to be a better person and engineer around such passionate and thoughtful professional leaders. Especially being in YMF, we are all succeeding as well as struggling and we can help each other out in both the professional and personal realm.

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
I've definitely been heavily influenced by the mentors I've gained at the Branch level and the contemporaries I surround myself with. When I feel that I am overwhelmed with work, my mentors and friends in ASCE give me great advice and when I succeed, they continue to push me to not be complacent. The best benefit in my opinion is the relationships I have gained since being involved with ASCE.

Who is someone you Admire and Why?

If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?

Lastly, what would be your personal motto?


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