Orange County Branch Newsletter
A Mentor Can Make All the Difference
By Steven L. King, P.E.
I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge one of my mentors. He’s a long time member of ASCE, a Past-President of the Orange County Transportation Technical Group and he’s been recognized by the engineering community for his many contributions. At the end of June, Mr. Pradeep Gunaratne, P.E. will be retiring after 10 years of service with the Orange County Transportation Authority. Prior to working at OCTA, he spent his career in the private sector working on major transportation improvement projects and leading business development efforts for multiple firms.
I still remember when I first met Mr. Gunaratne. I was relocating to Orange County and looking for a new job. My entire career had been spent working on highway and roadway projects, so fortunately for me, OCTA was looking for a couple new project managers to help deliver the Measure M freeway program. He sat on the interview panel and asked few questions but what I remember most was his welcoming personality. He was able to take that awkward and anxious moment, a time when strangers are asking a series of questions about your experience and may decide how the next several years of your career proceed, and turn it into an engaging conversation.
After I got the job and started working, one of the first things Pradeep did as a manager was discuss my goals and what I wanted to get out of the next few years. It felt great knowing that my manager had my best interests in mind and made me excited to report to work and help the agency deliver the program. On many occasions over the next few years, he continued to guide me through numerous opportunities and challenges that came along in both my professional and personal life. That continual effort has allowed me to grow and inspired me to be a better manager.
Not only has Pradeep had an impact on my life, I’ve also see similar impacts that he has made on some of my co-workers. I think Pradeep has approaches every day the same. He comes to work to make a positive impact on all the people he works with and not just the people he manages and the projects that we work on.
I hope today’s managers can use this example and apply it to their new hires and make sure our next generation of engineers gets the start that they deserve.
For those of you that know Pradeep, please help me thank him and wish him well in retirement. He will certainly be missed at OCTA!
By: Steven L. King, PE