If you drive a car, travel by airplane or enjoy clean drinking water, you can thank an engineer. DEC engineers have been making communities better since 1945 with services ranging from ground transportation and airport infrastructure to flood management, water and wastewater systems, and more.
Each year during National Engineers Week we spotlight our amazing engineers and the contributions to society that all engineers make. Let’s meet some of our engineers to learn why they became engineers and what they enjoy about their work.
Farrah Rawashdeh, EIT, ENV SP, Transportation Engineer
I became an engineer to make a difference in our society. I want to set an example for minorities and women in STEM. I want to lead by paving the way for those who want to achieve their dream of becoming an engineer, regardless of their circumstances.
What I like most about being an engineer is the constant need for problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. Also, seeing the success of my work is an exceptionally satisfying feeling.
Youssaira Belmokadem, PE, Bridge Engineer
When I first visited the U.S. as a teenager, the first thing that captured my attention was the multi-level interchange bridges. Little did I know back then that I would be part of the design and construction process of these one day! My passion for math and physics pushed me to opt for a profession that applies the fundamentals of these subjects in solving real-world problems. In college, I found a great interest in structures and transportation classes and I’m glad bridge engineering is just the perfect combination of these subjects. I also feel a deep sense of fulfillment and gratitude serving the safety and welfare of the public and facilitating their daily commutes.
Michel Maksoud, PhD, PE, President/CEO
I became a civil engineer to follow in the footsteps of my father who came from very humble roots. He was a very smart man who told me countless tales about problems he solved. His smartness was also echoed by other family members. As a result, I had told him that I will get a doctorate in civil engineering so that I can prove that I was at least equally smart.
I love solving problems, and being an engineer allows me to do so. The problems, of course, transitioned with my position from technical problems to management-related problems. I still enjoy a good technical problem to solve.
Douglas Harris, PE, Senior Project Manager
I enjoy applying my technical knowledge to the construction process. It’s an opportunity to be creative in the production of original art that can be seen in the completed project.
Blair C. Stocker, PE, Senior Project Manager
I’ve liked to build things since I was young. I built my parents’ garage when I was 18 and it still stands to this day. I enjoy improving people’s lives by bettering the infrastructure they use daily.
Lizardo Ceballos, PE, San Antonio Division Manager
Throughout elementary and middle school I was always good at math but never even thought about one day going to college. When I was in high school, they offered some engineering electives that I somehow ended up in. After taking a couple of those courses I realized that the engineering field would be something I would like since I could use my math and problem-solving skills. In about my sophomore year in high school, I decided that I would become some type of engineer.
What I like most about being an engineer is that I get to work on projects that benefit the public. It’s pleasing for me to see projects completed and being used by everyone in the community.
David R. Balli, Senior Transportation Advisor
Why did I become an engineer? My dad worked for TxDOT while I was growing up and bought me a T-shirt from Texas A&M. At that time, I knew I was going to graduate from A&M as an engineer.
The things I like best about being an engineer are the problem-solving, seeing your work constructed in the field, and the camaraderie among other engineers. To paraphrase Gus in the movie Lonesome Dove, “It’s been a party, Woodrow”
Nick Bokaie, PE, Chief Executive Officer/Principal, Houston Transportation
I knew at an early age that I wanted to be an engineer because of my grandfather's related work and seeing what he was doing. I like the aspect of helping the public as well as the challenges, the collaborations in coming up with solutions and developing alternatives when needed.
Steve Sheldon, PE, Principal, Land Development
I jokingly tell people that I became an engineer because I can’t draw a straight line, so being an architect was out. In Land Development, there’s a new challenge every day and perpetual opportunities to learn new things and solve new problems.