RailPros Project Manager Mohammad El Hocheimi is a 2023 “Fast Tracker” honoree for Railway Age. Mohammad, who is based in our Riverside, Calif. office, is a licensed engineer in California, Texas, and Guam. Mohammad is also the president-elect of ASCE San Bernardino/Riverside Chapter. He recently sat down with us to answer a few questions for National Engineers Week about how he wound up in railroad engineering.
Q: How many years have you been in the industry & how many of those are at RailPros?
A: 8 years in the industry; 3 years here.
Q: What made you decide to become an engineer?
A: I wanted to become an engineer to build safer roads; I lost my cousin at a young age. He was hit by a car at a local road that didn’t have the minimum safety standards for a roadway. My first published paper during my undergrad was traffic safety analysis, a tribute to my late cousin.
Q: How did you wind up in railroad engineering?
A: My first project was working on a new railroad service extension, which was my first exposure to the railroad, although my role was utility field engineer. I enjoyed that work very much, then I worked a few years on federal projects before I went back to the railroad because that’s where I wanted to focus and spend my career.
Q: What made you choose RailPros?
A: RailPros being the trusted consultant for many railroad agencies in the area and having a tremendous staff of respected engineers in the industry. It makes choosing RailPros the normal decision for anyone looking to expand their career in the railroad industry.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: We are able to move people and freight across the country, as well as providing people with transit options that are environmentally sustainable.
Q: Why should engineers consider the railroad industry over other industries?
A: For people living on the West Coast, transit is in high demand and will continue to be for the next several years; railroads will continue to expand in the western areas, providing thousands of railroad-related jobs for many years to come.
Q: What’s something you wish you had known when you started working in the industry?
A: I wish railroad engineering was given more focus and highlights during my college years, as it wasn’t something I was fully aware of when I started my professional engineering career.
Q: What advice do you have for those interested in a career in railroad engineering?
A: There are multiple disciplines within railroad engineering to specialize in. For college students, consider taking classes in railroad design if it is offered, or look for classes online to learn more about the industry.
Q: How important is it to stay up to date on industry trends and training?
A: It is very important to be up to date on industry trends and training as there are new tools that will make our jobs safer and more efficient.
Q: What advice do you have for someone who is just starting out in their rail engineering career?
A: Enjoy each task you work on and each project, no matter its size. Always be willing to learn. When starting your career, look for a good mentor as this will help you progress in your career.
Q: What is the best piece of advice you were given?
A: Treat each project and each task as if it is your own and always ask yourself this question when completing a task: Am I willing to put my stamp on it? And, can I defend it in front of a jury?