parametrix inspired people blog

Meet the Newest Professional Engineers at Parametrix

1-06-2022

Recently, several employee-owners earned their Professional Engineer (PE) license. They share their experience, what inspires them, and advice for others.

Aleksei Hnastchenko headshot

Aleksei Hnastchenko, PE | Portland, OR

Tell us about your professional background.

I am a graduate of Iowa State University and a Minnesota native. I graduated in 2018 and made my move out to Portland two months after to start at Parametrix. Besides an internship my short career has been with Parametrix entirely. I am looking forward to continuing to develop myself and my career at Parametrix for many years to come.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I think like a lot of people, Legos was definitely a toy I really liked playing with and was quite literally a building block of my engineering career. I always played video games and I have always liked working on the computer. I also liked learning new games, and learning new programs is similar in a way. I started doing computer drafting in my sophomore year of high school and it immediately clicked as something that I enjoyed doing, and the world of computers has always been a place I felt comfortable. I have always liked drafting and using design software since then, so a career in engineering only made sense!

Aleksei wearing a hat and glasses with a stream in the background

Aleksei taking photos at a project site, Allender Creek

What is your next career goal now that you’ve earned your PE license? What is your ultimate career goal?

I think the next goal on my list would be to use my PE license and stamp a drawing. It could be as small as a curb detail or a signpost, but I can't wait to see my name and stamp with a design. I think my ultimate career goal would be to work on or lead a trails oriented project. I think the rails to trails conservatory is something that is really interesting to me and would love to eventually get involved! I was lucky to have a rail to trail project from my childhood home connected to downtown Minneapolis. I spent almost my entire childhood on the trail and think that it is an awesome project idea and is really important in providing outside space that will impact a massive population of people.

Tell us about a project you’re currently working on. What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?

I am currently working on the Interstate Bridge Project. Lately, I have done a lot of conceptual design, but I imagine as we nail the design down more, I will get into more specific modeling and design efforts!

My favorite project that I have worked on so far has been Latourell Bridge, I started the project from scratch and got most of the general sheet layout set up. Steve Katko and Cory Clausen did the design work, and now the project is currently in review!

What advice do you have for others pursuing their PE license?

Get the Civil Engineering Reference Manual immediately. I used this book for the pen and paper exam but prepping for the computer exam you still need it. Get used to this book first and foremost, as it is the most important book of any in preparing. You can take almost the entire exam using just this book only. Then just take practice exams and sort out time to prep and study.

 


McKenzie Griffith headshot

McKenzie Griffith, PE | Tacoma, WA

Tell us about your professional background.

After college I moved to Seattle to begin my career in heavy civil construction; I worked there for roughly four years before moving to Parametrix. It was at my previous company where I ended up on an abnormal project in an owner’s representative type position that led me to pursuing Parametrix and the Tacoma Owner’s Representative team. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

In high school, I took an advanced physics class with my favorite teacher. He strongly encouraged all of us to pursue engineering. It was his encouragement that led me to believe I could be successful in the field. 

What is your next career goal now that you’ve earned your PE license? What is your ultimate career goal?

Honestly, I am still figuring this out. But I love being part of the Parametrix team and how supported we are in continued professional and personal growth and I know whatever I set my mind to they will support and encourage me to achieve. 

Tell us about a project you’re currently working on. What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?

I am currently working on multiple projects for Tacoma Public Schools small works division. I love the fast paced nature and constantly working with varying groups of people.

Cheesy, but my favorite project is from my old company where I met my now husband. 

McKenzie wearing an all white outfit and smiling

McKenize at her wedding rehearsal dinner in December 2021.

What advice do you have for others pursuing their PE license?

As someone who was lucky enough to take it twice, I understand just how draining the studying process can feel. But continue to push through the stress and the sacrifices because the other side is freeing. Knowing the amount of time, effort, and dedication you put into the process makes it that much more rewarding. 

 


Amir Almotahari headshot

Amir Almotahari, PE | Las Vegas, NV

Tell us about your professional background.

I joined Parametrix in September 2020 after completing my PhD in Civil Engineering. I am a transportation engineer with experience working on a wide range of projects including traffic studies, travel demand modeling, statewide planning, and corridor studies. I love applying data-driven approaches to develop informative insights on transportation networks, congestion patterns, safety issues, etc. I also enjoy developing Benefit-Cost Analysis for discretionary grant applications. My daily responsibilities include data analytics, GIS mapping, traffic modeling and writing. Doing all these to help clients in their decision making process is very rewarding.

Understanding transportation systems requires applying emerging technologies and innovative solutions. This inspired me to pursue my studies to higher levels in this field. My graduate studies enhanced my technical skills by supplementing them with research capabilities, programming skills, and analytical decision making.  

Amir with his wife and dog standing in front of a canyon

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I was always interested in understanding human-infrastructure interactions. How do people's decisions affect their built environment, and how does the built environment affect people's day-to-day activities? Transportation engineering is a combination of science, economics, politics, and public involvement. Bringing all these together to help clients in their decision making process is very rewarding. That is what truly attracted me to Transportation Planning and Traffic Engineering. 

What is your next career goal now that you’ve earned your PE license? What is your ultimate career goal? 

I'm very interested in Smart and Livable Communities, and I think this is the direction I want to pursue later in my career. Besides gaining more technical experience, I would also like to expand my project management and leadership skills. Making steps toward building good relationships with clients is definitely part of it.

Tell us about a project you’re currently working on.

I love data analytics, interactive mapping, and GIS applications. I recently developed NDOT Freight Planning Storymap as part of the Nevada Department of Transportation Freight Program Implementation Support services. I also enjoy developing traffic simulation models with VISSIM. I've been supporting our traffic analysis team in several projects throughout the Southwest region. 

What advice do you have for others pursuing their PE license?

My recommendation to others pursuing their PE license is to diversify their technical skills as much as they can. Try go beyond and above what you know and do your best to be part of new projects. What you learn in a real project will be more useful than what you read in textbooks. BUT, it does not mean you can pass the exam without practice!

Anything else you would like to add?

I want to thank everyone I worked with over the last one and a half year, especially our fantastic Nevada team. I'm so grateful that I'm part of this company, and I'm very excited to work with others at Parametrix.