Alex, a Des Moines area native and a young up-and-comer, found his career at ISG as a civil engineering intern. With many projects under his belt and a hunger to tackle more, this former college football player and sports fanatic now shares his knowledge with other young ISGers.

What made you interested in Civil Engineering?

I was good at math and science in high school but didn’t know what type of engineering I wanted go to into. I played football for Grand View University in Des Moines and was enrolled in their pre-engineering program and was deciding between civil, mechanical, construction engineering. My grandpa told me that civil engineering had a lot of great career options and helped swayed my interest towards civil engineering. I transferred to Iowa State University and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

What made you choose ISG?

I found out about ISG through the Iowa State career fair where I met Derek Johnson and learned about the culture and career opportunities that ISG would provide. When I came in for the interview I quickly learned that this company provides an atmosphere I wanted to be part of. There were other internship opportunities with other companies in the area and also outside of the Midwest that I could have pursued but ISG’s new and growing office in Des Moines helped me decide that this was my best fit. Within the first two weeks of my internship, I immediately fell for the office culture here in Des Moines and knew it was a place I wanted to be long term.

What does an average day look like as a Graduate Engineer in Civil Engineering?

Being a civil-site design engineer at ISG under the commercial business unit, there are a lot of moving parts on a large variety of projects on a daily basis. This fast-moving pace that the commercial projects provide always keeps me on my toes, anywhere from quickly providing conceptual site designs for a national company, or helping lead site designs on a local project in the Des Moines area. My days are usually filled with phone calls with our other offices, coordination between developers and cities, site designs, construction documents, or plan reviews.

What do you enjoy most about your current position at ISG?

I really like being able to design creative solutions to challenging problems that arise in the site design field. There are a multitude of items that civil engineers are tasked with and I enjoy being able to balance all the site coordination and design items in order to get the project built. Additionally, putting all the small details come together to create the bigger picture on a project is extremely rewarding.

Are there any cool or interesting projects you’re currently working on?

About two years ago, I was tasked with developing preliminary layouts for the Metro Waste Authority Material Recovery Facility in Grimes, Iowa. Once the site was decided upon, I was able to help provide part of the site design and construction documents to get this project completed. A few major items were determining the traffic circulations for the inbound/outbound trucks by working with our project team, all of the architectural coordination items and stormwater management. The project is almost complete and will be very cool to see this facility when it is up and running and know that I had a part of such a large project in the Des Moines area.

What projects would you want to work on in the future?

I definitely enjoy working on projects in the Des Moines area because I get to see the end product first-hand. I’ve worked on many projects in this area, both on the small scale to the larger scale projects and am eager for what is to come in the future.

What are some of the challenges of being a Graduate Engineer?

There will always be challenges in every project, whether its permitting, cost, or design. I enjoy being part of a great team that provides responsive solutions on a daily basis.

Do you have a personal motto or quote?

An old football coach of mine once said “Attitude and effort requires zero talent.” To me this means showing up each day with a positive mindset and working hard can get you farther than talent alone.

What’s playing in your headphones at work?

I listen to a lot of different podcasts and music. Some of my favorite podcasts are Pardon My Take, Joe Rogan Experience, and a few political and sports podcasts. My music choice can switch between country, rap, rock, and EDM on a daily basis– it’s a good blend of everything.

What’s one fun fact people would be surprised to know about you?

I am a big fan of traveling and have been to over 40 states. The last few years I have gotten to travel a lot with my fiancé who is a travel nurse. My favorite place so far is Hilton’s Head, South Carolina because of the relaxed atmosphere and golf courses.

What do you like to do on the weekends?

I usually spend my weekends with my fiancé, our two dogs, and friends and family. Our weekends usually involve sports or traveling in some capacity as well as golfing in the summertime and football games in the fall.

If you could pick any superpower, what would it be?

I definitely pick the ability to fly. I think it would be cool to be my own personal drone and fly anywhere I want.

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