Getting to Know... - May Edition

This month we are getting to know Laura Rockett, our current Membership Chair and Ben Baker, our University Outreach Chair.

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Laura Rockett

 

                

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Ben Baker

Where did you grow up?

Where did you grow up?

Pembroke, Massachusetts – a suburb south of Boston. I grew up in Burbank, CA.

Where did you go to college?

Where did you go to college?

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) located in Worcester, Massachusetts I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's of Science in civil and environmental engineering. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a Master's of Science in engineering and project management.

Who do you work for? Tell us about some of the projects that you have worked on.

Who do you work for? Tell us about some of the projects that you have worked on.

I work for Los Angeles County Department of Public Works where I’m currently in our Road Maintenance Division. I provide engineering assistance to our field crews that maintain the roadways, sidewalks, and urban forest in portions of the unincorporated South Los Angeles and East Los Angeles areas. In addition, I manage a number of contracts, review construction plans for larger improvement projects, take field surveys, handle constituent concerns, review policies related to road maintenance, and a number of other small things. Maintenance may sound a little boring compared to big engineering projects, but it’s very important and definitely keeps me busy!

Prior to this assignment, I spent 4 years in our Watershed Management Division where my biggest accomplishment was helping to create the Department’s Sediment Management Strategic Plan. The plan helped to identify various long-term solutions to relocate and reuse sediment that needs to be removed from our reservoirs and debris basins to free up capacity for more water conservation and ensure public safety.

I work for Walsh Group as a project engineer as part of the joint venture team known as Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors. We have a design-build contract worth over $1 billion with Metro for the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Corridor light rail transit line. I have experience on various other projects from my work at KPFF, LABOE, CPUC, LBNL, JPL, USDOT, etc.

How long have you been involved with ASCE? What positions have you held?

How long have you been involved with ASCE? What positions have you held?

I’ve been involved with ASCE (specifically LA YMF) for about 7 years. I have been the Popsicle Stick Bridge Competition Co-Chair twice, Community Service Outreach Chair, Social Coordinator Co-Chair, Vice President, and am currently our Membership Co-chair. (Join ASCE!!) I have been an ASCE member since my undergraduate freshman year, 2006. I became involved with the LA Younger Member Forum in Fall 2012 and I have been University Outreach Chair since 2013.

Are you involved with any other professional organizations?

Are you involved with any other professional organizations?

No, but I do occasionally attend some of my sorority’s (Alpha Gamma Delta) alumnae events. Not extensively at the moment.

What are your interests outside of engineering?

What are your interests outside of engineering?

To list a few: running (5k, 10k, half marathon), hiking, camping, baking, softball, volunteering, and traveling when I can. That, and basically anything that sounds like it would be fun! I enjoy spending time with my family, including my two nieces. I enjoy reading. I enjoy keeping up to date with the news from sources such as The Wall Street Journal and the PBS News Hour. I enjoy getting exercise outdoors such as hiking and running on the beach.

What is your most prized/treasured possession?

What is your most prized/treasured possession?

If I were going to rescue one thing from a fire, I’d probably have to say my photos. I’m not huge on possessions, but really treasure my memories and experiences. I find that photos are a great reminder of many good times I’ve had and amazing places I’ve been.

I have a lot of love for my family and I am grateful for my friends. Whereas my car, laptop, bicycle, etc. could be replaced if necessary, I could not replace the people in my life.

What is your dream vacation?

What is your dream vacation?

To travel most of the world and see everything! It’ll be a long time until this can happen for me, so until then I’ll just piece together trips here and there to check new places off my list. I have enjoyed watching The Amazing Race. There are several places around the world I hope to visit eventually. An around-the-world ticket to several locations would be great. I went to Hawai'i during the ASCE Pacific Southwest Competition, and I would be glad to visit again.