During my first job with STS Consultants, Ltd., there was no time for anything other than work since I wanted maximize my learning as a project engineer. One of my bosses told me that I should get involved with ASCE because it would help me connect with other engineers who were in the same position as me but I was too much of a “work only”, Type A driven geotechnical engineer. There was also the sense of insecurity of continuing to obtain challenging work assignments from principles if I said “no” to them about staying late due to a technical society event.
I loved every minute of that job but when I left to go to a contractor,I realized I had more time on my hands. One of my colleagues was the chair of the Geo-Institute and he encouraged me to get involved and soon I was on the board and getting to know a lot of other engineers who had the same work/life issues. Through the years, I continued to stay involved with the GI, returning to do another three year cycle on their board which ultimately led to the IL ASCE Section Board.
There are others in this ASCE environment like Don Wittmer, Darren Olson, Monica Crinion and Kris Salvatera who inspire me with their continued commitment to giving back to students through volunteer activities and spread their love of engineering. It is an honor to be President of IL ASCE and I am grateful for the others on the board, Megan McDonald, Brian Pawula and Sarah Harbaugh, who help me with the tasks involved in pursuing my initiatives of the Mentor-Protege Program, the 2018 Illinois Report Card and the 2018 Great Lakes Student Conference.
Being on the ASCE Board has helped me in working with others and delegating tasks; having the trust in my colleagues to know that the work will get done, without my micromanagement. I have also enjoyed sharing a vision of changing the way things have been done and creating new processes and events that fit the current membership, including women, minorities and millenials. ASCE has given me the platform to cultivate my ability to mentor, teach and learn and ultimately be part of something bigger than than myself.
Dhooli Raj, P.E.
IS-ASCE President (2017-2018)