It’s National Engineers Week in the U.S., and we’re celebrating the extraordinary work of our engineers as they help to build inspiring projects around the world each and every day.
This year’s theme from DiscoverE, our partner of over three decades, is “Creating the Future,” which celebrates the role engineers have to play in innovating solutions to global challenges that will impact future generations.
For 125 years, Bechtel engineers have been making history by engineering a stronger, more resilient world. Now, as we look to the next 125 years, we spoke with a few of our engineers to see what they think is the future of engineering and what impacts engineers can make.
José Adriasola Velasco has been an engineer for over twenty years, witnessing massive advancements in the field, and he’s excited to see how technology continues to change engineering.
About José Adriasola Velasco
I’m a civil engineer with major and master’s degrees in hydraulic engineering. I studied at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Chile. I have 23 years of professional experience, in which I’ve worked for different engineering and construction projects as a technical specialist. I’ve worked for Bechtel since 2008, and my current role is G&HES Lead for our Mining and Metals business. I’m also a Bechtel Fellow, which means I’m definitively a technical person.
Why should today’s students consider an engineering career?
I decided to study civil engineering because I liked technology, mathematics, and making things work, and I felt I was good at that. Of course, I talked to some relatives with more experience, and they supported my assessment. Being an engineer gives you a great flexibility to work in different industries in a variety of roles, including technical or management positions or a mix of both. Engineering will give you a solid background and an ample degree of freedom to develop your career in the direction you’d like.
What is your favorite part of your job or a favorite project you have worked on? Why?
Most of my career, I’ve supported multiple projects at the same time. My favorite part of my job is when I see things built and working well, as they were intended to work, and see that customers are satisfied. That is really rewarding. A lot of satisfaction comes after the necessary design, construction, and start-up phases of a system. Reaching this point is never obvious and demands a lot of effort, focus, collaboration, and persistency.
What's an engineering accomplishment you are proud of? Why?
I’m proud and thankful for being able to teach different hydraulic engineering courses to civil engineering students over the last 17 years. I really enjoy teaching others how to do the work and having them enjoy it.
What excites you about the future of engineering?
Engineering is changing really fast with all the emerging technologies. I would really like to go to a greenfield site 10 years from now, wear some technologic glasses, and be able to see and walk the virtual project in-situ. Maybe being able even to fix something on the run. I think we are not too far from that with all the GIS capabilities and virtual design tools already available. I also like seeing how complex processes and technical challenges are being resolved by advanced and powerful computational programs. Fifty years ago, doing many things that we do now was simply impossible.