Yesterday, a colleague shared the link to the article on Inquirer.net about San Francisco Bay Tunnel Project Manager Johanna Ilano Wong.
Johanna who hails from the Philippines graduated with honors her civil engineering course at the University of the Philippines. Her family moved to the US for better advancement opportunities.
Her family started hard in the US, living in a garage for a home before moving to a real house. Despite being top notch civil engineer in the Philippines, her lack of actual US experience made finding a job very challenging.
It was her mom, Jasmin, who egged her to take a job selling clothes while there were no engineering jobs available. She worked at a small retail store for two months until an opportunity came.
A Filipino church mate offered her a job in a startup engineering company as its first, and for a long time the only engineer, on a regular full-time assignment. At first, she had to be mentored by the church mate and was practically working until 9 p.m. earning only a little more than the minimum wage. That decade-long arrangement worked for her as she learned a lot and became well rounded.
That the company grew and became well-known, and she soon was sent to become a consultant to other big-name companies like Bechtel Engineering, Construction and Project Management Company and Caltrans, the California agency responsible for highway, bridge and rail transportation planning, construction and maintenance.
It was also at this time when she went back to school for her master’s at University of California in Irvine, going to classes that lasted up to 10 p.m. after her consultancy job at Caltrans.
She is currently the Bay Division Regional Project Manager (RPM) of the Water System Improvement Program for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, overseeing all the Bay Division Projects, which includes the Bay Tunnel Project.
Working hard to make her way to the top and be involved with important infrastructure projects, Johanna proved her resilience. She is committed to making her mark as a hardworking competent engineer, with integrity and one who strictly adheres to U.S. engineers’ code of ethics.
Bringing her resilient engineering experience and strong values as the direct Project Manager of the Bay Tunnel Project, the San Francisco populace is assured of a very important resilient infrastructure.
The eight-kilometer San Francisco Bay Tunnel Project, which will be fully operational in spring 2015, replaces the old pipeline built in 1920s and 1930s. It’s designed to withstand a major earthquake, a seismically reliable infrastructure delivering fresh water to approximately 2.5 million people in the Bay Area.
PHOTO CREDIT: Christopher Chan via Flickr Creative Commons License