Gretel Ochoa-Nhac, EIT
Staff Engineer – MONROVIA
Where did you attend college and what did you study?
I obtained both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. I studied General Civil Engineering for my undergrad, then continued my studies with an emphasis on Transportation Engineering.
What drew you to working for Civiltec? What do you like best about working at Civiltec?
I was hoping to work for a local firm that was both not too big and a place where I could grow professionally. I first spoke to David Byrum via email and was later given the opportunity to work with Civiltec at the end of my in-person interview. I have been there since then!
I love the flexibility Civiltec offers in terms of scheduling. Since my son was born three months premature, my husband and I have had numerous doctor appointments and weekly therapy sessions, aside from all the time spent at the NICU when he was born (114 days in total). Having that flexibility meant and still means the world to me. I am still able to do my work while not missing out on anything with my son. Today, he is a healthy two-year-old boy with some speech and occupational therapy but he is healthy and thriving which is the upmost importance to my family.
What skills have you gained since joining the Civiltec team?
I hit my four-year anniversary in April this past year – it has been a blast! I have learned how to use our computer modeling program, InfoWater, to model existing and new water systems. Further, I have grown professionally: I have gained confidence in myself as an engineer through both speaking and writing, and have learned how essential communication is.
On a personal level, I have gained some amazing friends who happen to be my co-workers. I think that is one of the best things, especially when we realize we spend more than a third of our day at work.
What are some of your favorite types of projects to work on?
I am mainly working on planning projects at the moment but I hope to work on projects involving streets in the future. One thing that I love about working on planning projects is that I get to do the initial analysis behind a big development. I have worked closely with David Byrum on many planning efforts; with his knowledge and expertise, I am able to produce planning analysis more independently than I used to. I enjoy understanding how an existing system will be influenced by a new development and how all the infrastructure works hand-in-hand with each other.
When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your time?
I spend a lot of my time with my family when I am not working. I am very close to my siblings as well as my in-laws. Most weekends, we all go try out new places to eat, watch movies, go to concerts when possible, and just spend time together. BBQs at home are always the greatest.
Is there a particular hobby, interest, or skill you have that other employees might not know about?
At the moment, most of my hobbies and interests consist of spending time with my son and family. We want him to grow up to be well-rounded so we try to take him out and explore places and be friendly to everyone. These outings range from walking around the neighborhood to going to park with friends. My husband and I are both full time workers so quality time vs quantity time is key for us as a couple and a family.