Othon Estrada, Jr. is a Senior Commissioning Agent, Energy Specialist and Senior Associate at iFactor. We sat down with Othon to learn more about an almost diplomat turned engineer.
Q: During your career, you’ve worked on dozens of projects. What is your favorite part of the design process?
A: My favorite part is the initial planning stages. It is during this part that most of the important decisions that affect the entire course of the project are made. I enjoy it the most because of the interaction among the engineers, owner, and architect.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to a young professional just entering the engineering field, what would it be?
A: Go into finance! J But, if you want to stay in engineering, I would advise getting a hard bound notebook and keeping lots of notes. Memories are short.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: I was told early to ask lots questions and never assume.
Q: What is the greatest work of engineering genius?
A: I would say it’s the Roman Empire road system. It’s amazing to me to think that some of those roads still exist in one form or another.
Q: What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
A: The US Embassy in Kabul. Riding with the Marines in a Humvee with a flak jacket down the Great Massoud Road was pretty awesome.
Q: What is your best memory at iFactor to date?
A: Most definitely, the Thanksgiving parties. Those are always fun!
Q: You’re a Georgetown Bulldog (grad school) and a MIT Beaver (undergrad). How many hundreds of thousands of dollars do you own in student loans? Kidding!
Actual Q: You’re a Georgetown Bulldog (grad school) and a MIT Beaver (undergrad). If the two were to rumble in the park, who would come out on top?
A: The Beaver! The Bulldogs are far too polite while the Beavers know how to fight dirty!
Q: Do you have any big|exciting plans in store for 2017?
A: Probably, a big family trip to Mexico. We’re hoping to visit some of my Mayan ancestral sites, especially Tulum and Coba.
Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
A: I got a degree in international relations from Georgetown, where I met my wife. I almost became a diplomat, believe it or not!
Q: What’s your favorite part of living in California?
A: Being so close to family. Especially with young children, it’s a blessing to be close to family.
Q: What might we find you doing on a typical Sunday afternoon?
A: Mostly, taking it easy with my family and getting ready for the school week.
Q: If you had one superpower, what would it be and why?
A: Death-ray. I have my reasons….
Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Aggressive drivers. It’s never worth getting into an accident.
Q: I’m pretty awesome at _____________.
Q: How many stamps do you have in your passport and what stamps do you hope to add in the next 5 years?
A: I counted once. I have about 35 visas in my passports. I would love to add Mongolia, Croatia, and Ethiopia.