Staff Spotlight: Alec Escamilla Becomes a PE!

Project Engineer

Wow, congratulations on becoming a Licensed Professional Engineer. This is a huge step in your career and one to be very proud of, at Civiltec we know we are! Let’s throw the spotlight on you to learn more about your journey to accomplishment. 

Now with three years of industry experience, let’s reflect on your goals before coming to Civiltec. 

My main goal before joining Civiltec was to make an impact. I wanted to learn as much as I could as quickly as I could to help drive Civiltec’s and ultimately our clients’ success. I was also determined to earn my PE license as quickly as possible.

While working for us these past three years what are some new goals did you develop? 

I still have that main goal in mind to make an impact and I have added several others. I am working on developing more project management experience and would like to continue learning the business side of Civiltec (along with gaining more technical experience from projects).

What discipline would you say you lean towards? 

Definitely water. Most of my projects are water treatment plants, wells, and pipelines. From design to construction management, I love the breadth of experience that I have been able to gain.

Can you describe your PE journey? 

In school, I really thought I might not ever get my PE. I didn’t take the FE exam to get my EIT during school because I didn’t think I’d be a design engineer. When I got my offer from Civiltec my mindset shifted and I realized I needed the PE to progress further in my career. I ended up passing the FE to earn my EIT within my first year at Civiltec then turned my sights to the PE. I ended up taking and passing the PE national exam about a year later, just hours before my daughter was born. Once I had the necessary 2 years of experience (and referrals from the awesome licensed engineers I work with here at Civiltec), I submitted the paperwork and waited for approval to take the seismic and surveying exams. As you can guess, I passed those two exams and earned my PE just over 3 years from starting at Civiltec. I’m excited about the new role now as a Project Engineer.

Do you have any recommendations for those starting their PE journey? Study tips or test-taking hacks perhaps?

Two main tips:

  1. Take the exams as early as possible. And take the PE national exam soon after the FE exam. The FE prepares you for the first half of the PE exam so it is best to pair those two that way the studying is fresh on the mind. 
  2. Take practice exams. They are incredibly helpful and can be used as a reference for the state exams.

What would you say was the hardest part of the process? 

The hardest part was making time to study. I am a pretty good test taker so I probably studied less than the recommended times, but making the time to take practice exams and having a good plan is the toughest part. Get started, know your abilities, and study!

Now that you have this license what goals do you have for the future? 

With the license, I am hoping to start working more on business development and learning that side of the company. I’ll have to get out on the golf course and not embarrass myself too much.

When you interact with clients what do you feel is the most important thing to remember and why?

I think the key thing to remember working with clients (contractors and coworkers as well) is that they are looking for open, honest, and timely communication. We partner with our clients at Civiltec to deliver exceptional results. Critical to that client success is developing the type of trust that comes from that type of communication.

In the past few years do you have a favorite project? What elements of it make it top of mind? Any particular challenges you faced on it?

One of my favorites was a small treatment system for Amarillo Mutual Water Company. We put in a pair of Granular Activated Carbon vessels for their only operable well and designed the site, piping, etc. I enjoyed getting to lead the design efforts. I enjoyed using some of the skills and knowledge I had learned from bigger systems I had worked on and helping a client who was just great to work with. The biggest challenge we faced was the long review and permitting times from DDW as well as new testing requirements that hadn’t been on any of our past projects.

Where does your non-engineering time go these days? 

I ask myself that too. I get to spend some good time with my wife and two kids eating good food, traveling to see family, and playing. I also spend a good amount of time serving in the community as a volunteer leader in my local congregation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What race has been your favorite so far and when’s the Civitlec team racing next? 

The Malibu triathlon has probably been my favorite so far, but I am always looking forward to the next one. Omner and I ended up doing the Angel Stadium Spartan in September and are looking forward to the Spartan Beast in November. Nothing is set yet for the whole Civiltec team but hopefully, we can go out next April to improve on our performance from last year near San Diego. Or maybe try a team triathlon sprint in Pasadena in March.