Daniel “Gray” Garrison


Where are you attending college and what are you studying?
For my undergraduate studies, I attended University of Oregon to study Architecture. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in 2013, with a minor in Architectural History. Currently, I’m enrolled full-time at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), where I am pursuing my Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE) and specializing in structural engineering.

What drew you to working for Civiltec? What skills or knowledge have you gained from this experience?
I wanted the opportunity to get more work experience in an engineering firm while still in school, and I was admittedly a bit jealous when my friend and classmate Sergio Vasquez told me he started working at Civiltec. The work environment and experience he described was highly appealing, so when he mentioned a job opening, I jumped at the chance and sent in my resume.

It’s only been a few weeks but already my knowledge of AutoCAD has drastically increased. Most school projects don’t require a knowledge of the more sophisticated commands, and the opportunities to practice drafting skills are rather limited, so it’s great that I’m able to get that here. I’m also enjoying learning the standards and practices of the office, as things are going to be done a little differently everywhere you go.

Additionally, I am learning about myself. Being comfortable with asking for help when I don’t know something and owning up to inevitable mistakes is an important part of professional growth. Lastly, time management in balancing my school, work, and personal life has been demanding and I welcome that challenge.

What do you like best about working at Civiltec?
I like that, from day one, everyone has been so warm and welcoming; I really do feel at home. I previously worked in a very large office in the public sector, so I appreciate the smaller scale — people tend to be friendlier and you can actually get to know all of your coworkers. I’m still the new guy here so I’m trying to soak everything in and learn as much as I can.

What are some of your favorite types of projects to work on?
My past experience involved inspections and repairs to flood channels after natural disasters, which I thoroughly enjoyed. However, I do not think I have enough experience yet in a wide variety of projects to really say that I have a favorite type. I am still figuring that out!

Is there a particular hobby, interest, or skill you have that other employees might not know about?
I’ve always been a bit on the artsy side. I used to take a lot of classes in photography, sculpting, painting, etc. I did a lot of hand drawing and Photoshop rending when I was in my architecture studios.

I also play guitar and occasionally dust off the trumpet. Music has always been a large passion of mine; I am always searching for new music. I love almost all styles, from mainstream and oldies to the bizarre and obscure. I can’t seem to get into screamo or death metal though…

My second passion is hiking. I love to get out on the trail and away from the city, especially if I can afford the time to backpack overnight. I am trying to be more adventurous and will someday get into rock climbing and alpine mountaineering.