Meet Michael Gurka PE
The ASCE Texas Section Board of Direction members were asked to fill out a questionnaire so that the Section’s members might get to know them a little better on a personal level. These are Michael Gurka PE’s answers.
When did you first get involved with ASCE at any level (student chapter, local branch, section)?
My first involvement with ASCE was in 2006 at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Like most college students, attending the meetings for FREE PIZZA was added benefit. Enjoyed learning from industry professionals at the meetings and participated in the Concrete Canoe Competition.
How has ASCE helped you in your career?
After graduating and entering the workforce, I wanted to expand my professional network, so I joined the Houston Branch ASCE Chapter in 2011. At the first meeting, I introduced myself to the Board President and asked how I could get involved. The Houston Area Infrastructure Report Card Committee had an open position as co-chair, and I joined without any hesitation. While a bit intimidated at first, I was responsible for contacting all committee leads and finalizing the technical reports. After a few meetings, I gained confidence in myself and began to take action. The committee enhanced my skillsets where I quickly learned how to collaborate, communicate, and work with other industry leaders while seeking a common goal. The organization has provided me with numerous opportunities to improve my organizational skills and public speaking. These non-engineering-related skills have been instrumental in accelerating my career growth, and I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles.
What’s your most memorable project?
Served as Project Manager and Lead Designer on Segment 4 of the Luce Bayou Interbasin Transfer Project. The project scope involved 4.5 miles of elevated earthen canal system including 2-water level control gates, 6-hydraulic siphons consisting of 12,000 LF quad (4) 96” pipe for road, 14 gate and siphon structures, and drainage crossings. Two critical crossings involved State Highway and pipeline crossing where micro tunneling and hand tunneling operation was performed during construction. The project diverts raw water at a maximum rate of 775 CFS (500 MGD) from the Capers Ridge Pump Station to Lake Houston. Coastal Water Authority (CWA) was a key partner in delivering surface water to the City of Houston for the Northeast Water Purification Plant and Surface Water Transmission Lines. This project will serve approximately 5 million people across 640 square miles. The total construction cost for the project was $22,300,000.
When did you know you wanted to be a civil engineer?
During my junior year at Jersey Village High School, I took several career pathing surveys and Engineering topped the list. I did some research online and gained further interest in the profession. I met with a few Professional Engineer’s and was intrigued with their role as designer and construction manager on several high-profile projects. I then decided Civil Engineering was my top choice, so I applied to Universities with a Civil Engineering Program. I finally decided on the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and really enjoyed my undergraduate studies. I’m currently 10 years into my career at Quiditty and couldn’t be happier with the choices I made leading me down this career path.
Give us three words to describe what a civil engineer does
Planner, Designer, Manager
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Spend time with my wife, 2 years old son, and soon to be baby girl. Love traveling and good food!
What is your favorite holiday?
Christmas through New Year’s Eve Holiday Break. Get to celebrate 2 Great Holidays in such a short period. Lots of food, drinks, and relaxing around the Holidays.
Who is the most famous person you have met?
Got field passes for Texans game and threw catch with JJ Watt.
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