GHA Hosts Career Day for Youth Conservation Corps/Lake County Forest Preserve District Conservation Summer Program Students


YCC Shadow DayGewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. (GHA) recently hosted a Civil Engineering Career Day, an annual initiative organized by our Emerging Professional Network (EPN). The event welcomed students from the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC)/Lake County Forest Preserve District (LCFPD) conservation summer program for an immersive learning experience in environmental and civil engineering. In line with GHA’s commitment to cultivating the future leaders of civil engineering, this initiative aimed to provide an insight into the industry.

The day began with an introduction from Wadee Rafati, PE, who outlined GHA’s operations and shed light on the path to becoming an engineer. Rafati emphasized the timeless importance of engineering, linking its historical roots to its crucial role in today’s world.

During their visit, students engaged in a variety of presentations, each highlighting a different aspect of civil engineering in which GHA specializes. The Site Design segment focused on GHA’s project at Glenbrook North Hospital and emphasized the crucial role of green infrastructure, linking this directly to YCC/LCFPD’s mission of environmental preservation. A discussion led by the Water Resources division centered around future green infrastructure trends, exploring all aspects of stormwater management and the importance of echoing natural hydrological processes when designing sustainable projects.

In the Municipal presentation, students got an insight into the community-centric nature of municipal engineering. The presentation included a hands-on Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Cost (EOPC) demo, providing them with a glimpse into real-world engineering work. This first-hand experience gave students an authentic view of engineering and its direct impact on improving local communities.

The Transportation Division walked students through the stages of project execution, starting with Phase I – the study phase. Dominic Olesak, E.I., part of the division, emphasized the significance of Phase I, saying, “The initial phase of a state-funded project, which includes an environmental impact assessment, lays the foundation for a successful and sustainable project.” The presentation then moved into Phase II’s detailed design, supplemented by a traffic signal timing demonstration, further illustrating practical applications in the field of engineering.

Concluding the Shadow Day was a lunchtime Q&A session, giving the students a platform to satisfy their curiosity about the profession and reflect on the day’s learning.

Through initiatives like these, GHA remains committed to fostering an understanding and passion for civil engineering among the younger generation. “GHA is deeply committed to guiding the next generation of engineers. Their passion and dedication today can shape a better future,” said Rafati, at the close of the event.