We are so very thankful for the hard work our RailPros Engineering Team puts into each project and task. Below are reflections from some of our talented RailPros engineers, written for National Engineers Week in February 2022. Started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the goal of National Engineers Week is for members to educate the public about the engineering profession and bring more focus to the contributions to society that engineers make. It is also a time for engineers to emphasize the importance of learning math, science, and technical skills, and inspire the next generation to explore how they can contribute to our world through a career in engineering.
As a kid, Adam Halls really liked playing with Legos. In natural progression, this sparked an interest in the engineering industry. As an engineer, Adam enjoys looking at projects critically and identifying better solutions to rail layout issues in design plans.
“You don’t have to be ultra-smart to be an engineer, you just need to be determined and work hard to learn and succeed,” he said when asked for advice. He added, “If you are struggling in school, use your resources. There’s no shame in getting a tutor, attending supplemental instruction, or stopping in for office hours to fully grasp what is being taught. If you don’t understand something, just ask. It’s extremely likely someone else has the same question but may not be bold enough to ask aloud.”
Julina C. is RailPros’ Project Manager. When she was younger, she liked that solutions to problems an engineer develops were physical and could be seen, like a toaster or a bridge. Later, she learned that the unseen aspects of the solution can have even greater impacts. She was drawn to the rail engineering industry by the pioneering spirit of the railroad. In day-to-day life, Julina enjoys fostering a team mentality that encourages innovative ideas to solve unforeseen problems.
“A successful venture in the industry requires a personal commitment to core values such as communication and safety”, she said when asked about advice to others in the industry.
Nathan Ortega, RailPros’ Associate Vice President, was drawn to engineering through the opportunity to work on a variety of interesting projects. Nathan’s favorite part of his job is working with the RailPros team and staff members. “We have built a staff of great individuals who come together as one team with the common goal of delivering the highest quality deliverables and service”, he said.
His advice to others wanting to join the industry? “Jump right in! Railroad engineering is not a narrow industry, while it is a great specialty, it actually involves all aspects of civil engineering. We have to design and engineer roadways, utilities, grading, drainage, and all other civil engineering disciplines.”
He added, “Railroad and Civil engineering has allowed me to work on exciting projects across the country that involve all aspects of engineers: from planning to design and then through construction. It is a very satisfying and rewarding career.”
Coming from a family in the engineering profession is David Berryman, P.E., RailPros’ Program Manager. Early in his career, his firm gave him the opportunity to be part of a 5-year Engineering Consulting job for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. He took the opportunity and began his journey into the world of railroads. David loves seeing projects that benefit society and make transportation run smoothly and safely.
His advice for those joining the industry is to “continue to follow your passion, get involved in the work that really excited you, and remember that ultimately we have a duty to make things work better for our community.”
Meet Karen Hankinson, PE, TE, Vice President and Senior Project Manager, at RailPros. Karen was drawn to the opportunity that engineering provided to improve the quality of life for others. When asked what her favorite part of her job is, Karen said, “Being part of a collaborative team of co-workers that are making a meaningful difference in grade crossing safety.” She added, “I love that each project is unique and that I continue to be technically challenged and get to solve problems.”
Karen’s advice for people wanting to join the industry is, “Talk to others that are in the industry, attend a professional organization meeting, shadow an engineer and research what discipline of engineering is the best fit for you! Engineers make a real difference in peoples lives. Everyday.”
Meet Kelly A. Giblin, PE, RailPros’ Director of Engineering. In fifth grade, Kelly took an aptitude test that said he should become an engineer.
Growing up in a railroad town, Kelly was no stranger to train whistles 24/7 and had many family members in the rail industry that guided his passions to the particular field. In it, Kelly enjoys solving problems for people, combining his technical knowledge with his writing skills to explain issues and propose solutions.
When asked for advice for anyone joining the rail industry, Kelly said, “Accept most any project assignment you’re asked to handle. My career growth was largely facilitated by becoming a ‘generalist’ who went wherever I was needed. If you have the opportunity to take a technical writing course as an elective, DO SO. The ability to write cogent and persuasive arguments is a skill set that will be invaluable to you.”
Next up is Travis Bailey, Public Projects Manager and Traffic Engineer, at RailPros. Finding an affinity for problem solving at a young age, Travis wanted to be an engineer since his youth. His interests began pointing towards rail engineering specifically as he enjoyed the unique challenges and operations related to railroads.
When asked about his favorite part of his job, he answered, “Field work keeps my job exciting. There are always new complexities to work through.”
Meet Danielle Libring, PE, TE, RailPros’ Project Manager. Her inspiration to become an engineer comes from her father. She was drawn to railroad engineering specifically when RailPros pursued recruiting her at a college job fair. Danielle’s favorite part of her job lies with “The people! Both internally and working with the clients to solve complex challenges”, she said.
Happy #NationalEngineersWeek! Are you an engineer? In honor of this week, we want to hear about why you love what you do. Let us know in the comments below!