A Day in the Life: RPS Houston

Patrick Gant - Sr. Project Manager

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Q&A

How did you hear about this position?

I come from TxDOT which is really the client side of things. When I was looking to make a career move, I wanted to work with the best.  When I thought about the people that have the best expertise, the go-to people, RPS is right at the top of the list. So, when I was looking to make that change RPS was number one.

Did you work with RPS when you were at TxDOT?

Over 19 years with TxDOT and through that time, RPS was one of our go-to consult teams for a lot of different expertise, whether it be roadway design, or schematic design or environmental designs, RPS was the go-to team.

What is it like to work as a Sr. Project Manager?

It's all about working with our clients. What really drives me is working with the clients, listening to what their vision is and really capturing that vision for myself. And working with them collaboratively to see their ideas come to life. So, as a senior project manager with RPS, I get to do that on a daily basis.

What makes your job exciting?

What makes my job exciting is bringing things to reality and helping the public and the clients achieve their goals. Moving over to RPS, I'm going to be able to do the same thing for not only the Houston region, but the entire state. So that's very exciting to me.

How would you describe your colleagues here at RPS?

My colleagues at RPS really are technical experts. Their leaders in their fields, so when I was looking to make a career change, I wanted to work with the best and so the technical expertise at RPS is really second to none and I want to be with the best. So, what better place to do it than RPS.

Describe a typical workday at RPS.

A typical day at RPS starts off with me arriving early. I like to drop my son off at school and get to work while the Sun not fully out. So, it's a good opportunity for me to get into the office before the rest of the team arrives. That gives me some time to go through my day plan, check emails, get a bit of a mindset ready for how I'm going to attack it and approach that day. That's always really key and then it's just a matter of executing that game plan. So, whether it be attending meetings internally or meeting with the clients.

Who do you work with in a typical day?

We certainly have our local team here in Houston I'm in the Transport side of RPS Infrastructure and so we have a very talented group of staff engineers and other junior emerging staff that help us develop roadway plans and planning documents for really awesome projects and so we work together on a daily basis to do that. But then outside of that we're also meeting with our clients. It's very customary for me to go out and meet with the clients one-on-one to understand their goals and their vision for their individual projects. But in addition to that it's all about the relationships as well and so whether it be other consultants that we work with as we're teaming on large scale projects, it's important that we open up those lines of communication to create good relationships for doing great work.

What is the best part of working at RPS?

The best part of working for RPS is really in my mind just the facilities that RPS has, the work environment that we have is really second to none. It's inspiring. It creates a good collaborative environment for us to share ideas and communicate and collaborate with other colleagues and staff to get the job done. This is just a beautiful place to work.

What advice would give someone that is wanting to be a Sr. Project manager?

One of the things that my dad always told me growing up was to work hard and play hard. And so, whether it be through your schooling efforts or early on in your career, it's so important that you strive to work hard in whatever it is you're being tasked to do. But don't lose focus of family and make time for having fun and being with your family so that you can recharge your batteries and allow you to come back the next day back into the office fully motivated and charged up to get the job done.

How do you see the RPS initiatives of sustainability and resiliency in your day-to-day?

Sustainability and resiliency are something that the whole world is grappling with and RPS is really kind of at the forefront of that being in the engineering realm. And so, working with our partners, whether it be at the state or the county level, it's important that we understand the vision for the region and work with them on delivering new infrastructure and new projects that can set the stage for the 21st century.

How does RPS help you grow and shape your career?

RPS has helped me throughout my career because I did come from the public side, so they were my consultant. That helped me navigate some of the different difficult challenges and issues that we had on certain projects. Their technical expertise really came in handy and allowed me to shine as a project manager. So, I'm very grateful for that experience.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Outside of work, I love to travel and see the world as much as I can. My wife and family and I we like to go on a number of different road trips across the country and if we have the opportunities to go overseas on cruises and things like that, we're certainly willing and able to do those types of things.

 

Fasil Worku - Associate Engineer

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Q&A

What is it like to work as an Associate Engineer?

So as an associate engineer, I mainly do what the resource engineering tasks us.  Such as hydraulic modeling, hydrogeology modeling, GIS analysis those kinds of things.

How did you learn about this field and what made you choose this career?

During elementary school, I had an opportunity to see a water resources project, irrigation project, and water supply project. In my, and around, my city. That's how I developed an interest in working in the water resource field. Basically, that was my motivation to become a Water Resources engineer.

What makes your job exciting?

I enjoy the most the ability to solve all problems that matter using modeling tools and software.

Where did you grow up and how did that influence your decision to become a Water Resources Engineer?

I grew up in Ethiopia in a town called Bale-Robe. So at the time, there was a water supply project for the city and there was also an irrigation project which was underway for a rural community in the area. So that's how I got to know what a Water Resources Engineer or a hydrogeology engineer could do. And I had the opportunity to see what kind of problem they solved, so that is how I am motivated to become a Water Resources Engineer.

What is the best part of working at RPS?

So, there is a lot of opportunity to grow within the company, so I think that is the best part. And then the other best thing about RPS is that the company prioritizes employees. Those are the best thing about the company.

How does RPS help you grow and shape your career?

I first did an internship with RPS, and then they gave me an offer to the company as an associate engineer. And then after I had the experience of working on water resources projects and modeling tasks, they offered me the opportunity to work on different water resources projects, the ability to produce modeling resources, and then prepare reports. So that is very important to me.

How would you describe your colleagues here at RPS? 

So, we have a very great team in Houston Water team.  There are many project managers, there are also senior project engineers.  So, as a young professional or if you are in the early stage of your career, there is a very nice opportunity to learn from senior engineers and project managers.

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