Welcome back to another installment of our Get to Know Our Hylan Family blog series. We find these blogs especially comforting and pertinent in these times, as a way to thank and celebrate our employees for all of their hard work despite the global health crisis. As industry leaders in telecom infrastructure construction, the core services of all Hylan divisions have been deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and have therefore continued to operate safely with added precautions. We thank our employees for their dedication, whether out in the field or working from home.

In this edition, we will be meeting Brian Rodriguez, Project Engineer for Western Utility.   Keep reading to get to know Brian Rodriguez and learn more about his work with Western Utility.

Hi Brian! How long have you been working with Hylan’s Western Utility division? What led you to the job?

I have been working at Western Utility since December 2018, so I am approaching a year and a half. I had a friend from college who interned at Western Utility and mentioned to me that there was an opening. He gave me a brief rundown of what type of work they do and emphasized how well the company collaborated across departments from, accounting team, to project management team and field team. I was intrigued by this “other side” of construction. When I used to think of construction, my first thoughts were always high rise buildings or commercial properties; not telecom infrastructure.

What do you enjoy most about working for Western Utility and Hylan as a whole? 

I enjoy working with my colleagues and the challenges that come with the job each day. Through the various challenges also comes great support. I am only a year and a half into the telecom industry, so I have a lot to learn. Luckily, I have a great group to support my transition from college to the workforce, including experienced Senior Project Managers who are helping me develop management skills and  advance my industry knowledge to further my success. They provide a helping hand, but also allow me to work through situations on my own; it is a balance of both. I am thankful for their patience and guidance along the way and I have noticed the growth I have made since my first day up until now.

What recent Western Utility project(s) that you are involved in are you most proud of?

Currently I am tasked with helping with project management and day to day operations for our AT&T TFS Maintenance contract. Over the past several months, I have helped develop organizational structure for processing and scheduling the jobs into our schedule. I work closely with the field superintendent and AT&T managers to get a crew on site to perform the work. In order to keep track of what is done, we have a tracker that includes every detail of the work completed through paperwork and work zone sketches provided by the foreman. We are called upon to perform emergency or routine work with AT&T’s buried telephone lines and fiber. They call us to dig up their utilities so they can do repairs. Some jobs require directional boring and some are simply open cut. Through this contract, we perform work in the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, and even certain parts of Indiana. Each job can have different issues, so it is important to have all the information from AT&T so our field crews are well equipped for the job. I have also been tasked with a couple of additional long-term projects, such as a fiber optic installment for Village of Oak Park & Oak Park Elementary School District 97,so I am excited to get started.  

What are you most looking forward to in 2020 at Western Utility? 

I am looking forward to my continued growth. I am continuously trying to learn more about the industry. My short-term goal is to gain trust and more credibility. If I can perform my assignments quickly and effectively without sacrificing any quality, I can bolster my reliability and therefore be assigned new tasks and challenges. I want to take on bigger responsibilities that will further develop my critical thinking and decision-making skills. I feel 2020 will be a great year for me. I have taken significant strides in my work and with the guidance from Senior Project Managers; the possibilities are endless!

 Now, just to get a little personal! Where are you from? 

I am from Chicago and proudly from the Little Village neighborhood, also known as La Villita (in Spanish). It is located on the southwest side of the city and is a predominantly Mexican neighborhood. I have been living here my entire life. The community is rich in culture and is full of hard-working individuals. This community has helped shape who I am and I could not imagine growing up anywhere else. It has and always will hold a special place in my heart.

Brian Rodriguez Project Engineer at Western UtilityWhere did you go to school and/or get training? 

I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and graduated in Spring 2018. I majored in Technical Systems Management with a specialization in Construction Management and a minor in Business. Technical Systems Management integrates management and engineering principles and provides a lot of hands-on courses to go along with the science and business/management courses.

 Tell us what you like to do in your free time.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. We have game nights and enjoy outdoor activities such as barbecuing and playing sports. I love to watch sports, crime shows and comedy shows, but my favorite show is The Office. I also play soccer three times a week year-round; indoor during the winters and colder months of course. I love to work out and run which I do four to five days a week to help keep me in shape. As much as I love to work out, I also love to eat, so I like to keep a healthy balance!.

Lastly, do you have any special advice for young professionals looking to get into the telecom and/or urban infrastructure industries?

As a young professional myself, I would suggest other young professionals surround themselves with a mentor within the company. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a senior level employee, anybody who has more knowledge about the industry will be able to help you immensely. These mentors can be a great resource; they were also once young professionals, so they know the challenges that come with entering the industry and are always willing to help. From personal experience, it can be intimidating to ask for help, you want to figure things out on your own, but it is important to know you are not expected to know everything. Questions are encouraged and show the initiative and desire to learn. Moreover, it is important to be confident in your abilities! Be confident in your work, voice your opinions on topics, and be open to ideas and constructive criticism. Place an emphasis on learning something new every day and never be complacent. Good luck!

To everyone aspiring to pursue a career in telecommunications after college, or even if you are not yet sure what career path you are interested in, heed Brian’s advice! We hope you enjoyed learning a little more about another Hylan Family member and can see why we value our employees as much as we do. Until next time!

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