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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




Jonathan Lee


Designer I
LPA, Inc.
UC Irvine Practitioner Advisor
ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum


Where did you grow up?
I was born in Jeju Island, Korea, moved to Southern California when I was 12, and have lived here since.

What made you want to become an engineer?
As a child, I always wanted to build my own house. I debated between Architecture and Civil Engineering as my career path. My passion towards math and physics led me to become a civil engineer.

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
Snowboarding, Golf, Playing guitar, Camping, Watching musicals.

Finish this sentence: On Sunday mornings, you can usually find me...
in bed watching a K-Drama.

What college(s) did you attend? Can you list your degrees, any honors, and involvement in engineering organizations during school?
Graduated with a Magna Cum Laude at University of California, Irvine, B.S. Civil Engineering. ASCE UCI Chapter. Chi Epsilon.


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
My responsibilities as a Designer in LPA revolve around design, coordination, and production. Design components include demolition plans, paving plans, drainage plans, utility plans. and grading plans. All of these plans require coordination with architects, landscape architects, structural engineers, and MEP engineers. During my time at LPA so far I have worked primarily on Education projects such as Hamilton HS Comprehensive Modernization, North Verdemont ES, and CSU Dominguez Hills.

What project are you currently working on and what have you accomplished/what are your tasks? 
I have been heavily involved in the Hamilton High School modernization project. A valuable task I completed was designing sections of the storm drain gravity system for temporary and permanent parts of the project. This task was especially meaningful because it was my first time independently designing a drainage system. Additionally, to complete the drainage design I investigated and redesigned portions of the water and sewer utilities based on pipe conflicts, pipe clearances, and structural zone of influence conflicts from building foundations.

What is your favorite part about being a Civil Engineer?
My favorite part of being a civil engineer is seeing our design come to life. I love how tangible civil engineering is and how much civil engineering is incorporated in our daily life.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
Currently as a young engineer, I believe adaptability is the most valuable skill to focus on in my career; in this early part of my career I get to work on different design components of several projects based on where our team needs support. Being open minded and prepared for the changes a project or project team members send my way is critical for my future success.

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
I chose Land Development as my career path because this field requires you to understand and utilize several branches of civil engineering design: water resources, transportation, structural, and geotechnical. In an alternate universe, maybe I went to graduate school to finish the master’s program for Structural Engineering and became a Structural Engineer.


How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
I got involved with ASCE during the Winter Quarter of my Freshman year. During an ice skating social that my friend invited me to, I met the Project Manager of Timber Strong Design Build and I knew I had to join the project. When I attended 2019 PSWC (PSWS) as a clueless new member, I received so much support, guidance, and love from the ASCE UCI student chapter. ASCE shaped me into who I am today and transformed me into a better engineer and a better person. After serving three years of leadership roles for ASCE UCI, serving as UCI Liaison after graduation, and now serving as Practitioner Advisor for UCI, I am hoping to give back through YMF for everything I received from ASCE.

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
My favorite ASCE involvement benefit has been the community and networking opportunities. Meeting new people and hearing their stories inspire me to become a better engineer, and future leader.

Who is someone you Admire and Why?
Kathereen Shinkai, I am lucky to have Kathereen Shinkai as our Civil Team Director at LPA. I am amazed to see her involvement and impact in the ASCE society while balancing her role at LPA. She supports my mental health and well-being as an employee, my growth as an engineer, and my development as a leader in ASCE. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Kathereen for everything she has done for me.

If you have one piece of advice to give to young professionals what would it be?
Take your PE exam as soon as possible!

Lastly, what would be your personal motto?
"Live everyday as if it were going to be your last; for one day you’re sure to be right." -Harry Morant


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