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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




Ryan Hankes

Head Field Engineer
GeoTek Inc.
ASCE OC YMF Internal Activities Co-Chair and CSU Fullerton Liaison
ASCE Orange County Younger Member Forum


Where did you grow up?
Born in Kansas, but grew up in Lake Forest, California, attended El Toro High School.

What made you want to become an engineer?
Math always came easy to me (at least until I got to calculus in college). My grandpa is also an engineer, and of his 6 children and 14 grandchildren, I was the only one to follow his footsteps. If I chose another career, it most likely would have been a business occupation like my father.

Favorite hobbies, sports, and interests outside of engineering?
Still love to run, especially mud runs and obstacle courses. When it comes to watching sports, it's all about football, especially my Green Bay Packers, Go Pack Go!!! Outside of work and ASCE, I am also a member in the US Navy Reserves. My unit is FOS DET Seal Beach where I hold the position of Assistant Command Fitness Leader (ACFL) and Leading Petty Officer (LPO) of the Qual Cert Program which keeps our sailors up to date on their qualification to handle arms and ammunition.

Love trail running in my off time, line dancing, attending country concerts, spending time at the beach or other water areas, and snowboarding in the winter

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 California State University Fullerton. BS in Civil Engineering I was involved with ASCE student chapter for 3 years, and was the Vice President my final year. I was also a member of Student Veterans Association (SVA), and ran on the track & field team and competed in the 800 and 4x400 relay.

Before college I was part of the US Navy and worked on the H-60 helicopters out of Coronado, San Diego as an avionics electrician.


Describe your responsibilities and some significant projects.
Head field engineer for sampling and testing of soil and material. Working with CalTrans to do soil testing for the new changing FasTrak sign that will be going in soon near the 91 and 55 freeway areas. I had to work in the middle of the night in the middle of freeways to accomplish this task. Getting our lab more certifications to do more testing with stricter chemicals and expanding out lab to test international soil.

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?
Favorite part of being a Civil Engineer is being about look at something in a new way. Where before, when you see a skyscraper, you just saw a tall building. As an engineer, you understand and have some-what of an idea all the work, planning, and calculations that went into making a single structure.

What skills do you find most valuable to focus on in your career?
The skills I find most valuable are the simplest ones that we should be taught early on, about safety and what to look for when entering a site. These skills grow more though experience rather than knowledge. These skills can be taken to any job as well, even non-engineering related.

What drew you to your specific career path? If you could start your career differently, what would you do differently?
My career path found me, I got into an internship that dealt in the geotechnical field of engineering mostly, and because of that internship my job was also in the geotechnical field.


How/Why did you get involved? Why did you choose to stay involved?
I got involved in college, especially when I was done with track and field and needed something to fill the void while I was still at school. I liked the extra responsibility, and the helped it gained with my career. Without ASCE, I would not of had an internship, or my current job. Why did you choose to stay? I stay because I love the people in ASCE and being involved with something outside of work brings joy to me. I have had a blast at every event I attend as well. I know that the networking this organization brings will help my future career.

How has ASCE impacted your work and/or what is your favorite benefit of your involvement?
My boss was very excited to hear I was attending the conference in Alaska. My company encourages our employees to branch out and be more involved with more organizations like this. Not only does it make us, the employees, look good and grow as an individual, but the company as well.

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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