Stories of the unsung heroes in maintenance who support and sustain our world.

Aaron Kim, Focused on Steering His Career in the Right Direction

Failure as a Stepping Stone to Success

Ever since he was young, Aaron enjoyed discovering faults in everyday systems and developing creative methods to mitigate a system’s inefficiencies. Going into college, it seemed like the perfect choice to pursue a degree in Structural Engineering, where Aaron could continue to live out his passions by improving the safety and functionality of buildings and structures.

However, Aaron struggled with a core class necessary for him to graduate with a Structural Engineering degree, and unfortunately failed. Aaron shared,

“I was devastated and in disbelief by my failure. But, I knew that it was something I had to embrace in order to move forward.”

Aaron’s professor encouraged him to not give up, but maybe consider venturing into different branches of Civil Engineering. Taking the professor’s words to heart, Aaron enrolled in a course about Traffic Engineering. It was a new and foreign territory for Aaron, but he was thankful that he could still pursue his passions in a different way.

Learning the Ins and Outs of Traffic Engineering

Fortunately, Aaron loved his Traffic Engineering class! He enjoyed learning how to create and design plans to streamline the flow of traffic, conducting traffic studies, assessing if existing conditions are satisfying current demands, and inspecting infrastructure related to traffic (i.e. traffic signals, pedestrian crossings, freeway ramps).

After taking this course, he was offered an internship as a Transportation Intern, where he gained hands-on experience working in the field. This internship further led to a position as a full-time Traffic Engineer after he graduated. He shared with us,

“Back then, I was so nervous about the sudden change in the trajectory of my career. But, I could not be happier with where I am today! I get pumped talking about traffic because it is something that needs continuous improvement. I think it’s really cool that all of the projects I work on directly impacts thousands of people everyday.”

Finding Common Ground

As a young engineer, the more Aaron gets into his profession, the more he realizes that there is much room to learn and grow. Nevertheless, he is excited for what is to come in his professional career!

He closed with these remarks,

“‘Traffic Engineer’ might not be a typical job title people think about when it comes to maintenance and reliability. But, I hope to shed light on how engineers, along with technicians, facility managers, and so forth, are all working towards the common goal of ensuring that our surrounding communities are running smoothly.”


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