Jose Lopez, EIT, AMPP
Growing up with a brother who was an electrical engineer helped pave Jose’s trajectory toward the A/E/C industry. By the time he was in middle school, Jose knew he wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps and planned on doing just that.
Fast-forward to being a sophomore at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where Jose realized that a career as an electrical engineer meant working mostly in a typical office setting, so he changed course. He switched his major to Civil Engineering, which was a better fit for the kind of work atmosphere he wanted and coincided with his love for being outdoors and working hands-on.
From there, Jose found the construction side of the A/E/C industry through accepting an internship at a construction company during his senior year. After graduating, he was hired full time as a project engineer and has continued to grow his career in construction management.
What kind of projects do you typically work on?
Before Freese and Nichols, I was a contractor and focused on heavy civil, water projects such as dams, pump stations, water treatment plants, etc. When I got to Freese and Nichols, I began working on elevated water storage tanks, utility programs and more.
How would you sum up what you do?
On any engineering or construction project, there’s usually three main entities (owner, engineer and contractor) – my job is to be able to make all three work together to have the project go as seamlessly as possible. When issues arise, I’m the point of contact, and my main goal is to try to find solutions and be a mediator, if needed.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Working on public projects that are for the good of the communities we live and work in. We help keep things working through utilities and stuff that are in the back of mind to people.
How do you handle adversity?
I’m super big on meditation – this helps me slow down and look at things logically and from different points of view. I try not to get stressed; instead, I try to focus on the work and not let others’ emotions persuade me. Meditating daily for five years has helped me to better stay level-headed to find the best solutions. Having experience in contracting and engineering also helps because I can relate with all parties.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
Definitely meditation. People are usually taken aback when they learn that I meditate. Also being athletic and working out. I’m also a sneakerhead with a growing collection of 60 pairs and counting.
How does Freese and Nichols compare to other firms?
Coming from my previous experience as a contractor, we’re easy to work with. Another big differentiator is the culture – it’s a huge priority at Freese and Nichols.
What’s your favorite part about working at Freese and Nichols?
I like that every day is different and unpredictable – you never know what’s going to come up on a jobsite. I also like being outside, in the field, and being hands-on but without the stress that comes with being on the contractor end. Looking at project designs then watching a project get built also feels great.
What’s your advice for young professionals trying to get into the industry?
As a civil engineer, it’s a good idea to consider the construction side of the industry because it’s a very rewarding job and mentally challenging – in a good way!