10 Jun Owner Profile: Raquan White
Creative. Smart. Driven. These words describe many WithersRavenel employees, but they are especially appropriate when you meet or work with Raquan White. The CAD Technician has a passion for learning and also serves his country as an Air Force reservist, where his engineering knowledge and experience is often put to good use. Let’s meet Raquan in his Owner Profile.
What does a typical workday at WithersRavenel look like for you?
I’m a Stormwater CAD (Computer-Aided Design) Technician currently, I started in that back in October 2020. But I’ve actually been with the company for about two years, starting in the Geomatics Department. Day-to-day, I’ll work on designs and edits for SCM (Stormwater Control Measures) ponds and riser structures.
Tell us about one of the memorable projects you’ve worked on while at WithersRavenel.
The most memorable would be a Chatham Park project I worked on a while back. It was one of the most intensive CAD projects I’ve worked on. When I first opened the drawing, I was blown away by the amount of details that were in it. But I enjoyed it because I typically enjoy challenges and continuous learning. I went in and worked on preliminary grading, riser structures, and a lot of creating and editing. It tapped into my creative mindset.
Your background at WithersRavenel includes a lot of different aspects of engineering – surveying, SUE (Subsurface Utility Engineering), CAD, stormwater. Is there a particular aspect of engineering that you like best or that you can see yourself doing in the future?
I enjoy the CAD work more than anything else. I started working in Geomatics and SUE because that is what I do in the military. In the military, it’s an open book – we do everything. It’s electrical engineering, architectural, mechanical, surveying. But on the civilian side, I wanted to focus more on design work, so that is what I enjoy.
What got you interested in engineering?
The military. Previously I was in college pursuing a business degree. It wasn’t until I decided to join the military and took my ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test. I qualified for the engineering job, and then realized how much I enjoyed engineering so I decided to take that to the outside.
What prompted you to join the Air Force Reserve?
I was an athlete in college, I ran track and played football, but got injured (ACL tear). I went to the military to help pay for tuition and that’s how it all got started.
How does your engineering work at WithersRavenel help with the work you do in the military and vice versa?
Being a reservist, not everybody does the same thing on the outside that they do in the military. But for me, by working at WithersRavenel I have this experience working with the engineers and other people here that I can take to the military and train other troops. It just helps out a lot – it’s a smooth transition between WithersRavenel and the engineering work I do in the military.
In the Air Force our biggest priority is safely getting the planes on and off the ground. One of the biggest things I do is surveying work on the runways. Making sure the runway is completely level for the planes, they have a certain tolerance that they can take off in.
How often are you called on by the Reserves?
It depends. It is a requirement that you serve one weekend a month and then two weeks out of the year. But occasionally if we have a project somewhere like the one I just came off, it might be a couple weeks or a couple of months I’m serving.
Last year, I was in Minnesota, and the project was a track and access road at a base. The base didn’t have a running track. In the military it’s important to have a track; obviously we have to stay in shape. I did surveying work, a lot of CAD work, preliminary grading, asphalt testing, concrete testing, compaction testing, there was a lot over about four weeks.
It can be frustrating at times, especially when they call on you on short notice, and you have to be there on a certain day, certain time. But it’s very rewarding. I like the travel and the challenging tasks.