GALVESTON, Texas (Jan. 6, 2016) – Growing up in Mexico, Paulino Hernandez Sandoval spent his days working in the vineyards to pay for night school. While picking grapes and thinking about what he planned to do with his future, he often paused to notice the busy engineers working on a nearby dam construction project. Interested in what they were doing, he would devote his breaks to talking with the engineers and learning about the field. By the end of the summer he surmised that if they could do it, so could he and thus began his journey to becoming an engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District.
“It took a long time, but I accomplished my goal of becoming an engineer,” said Sandoval. “I started out as a civil engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation Department of the Interior in Boulder City, Nevada, in 1990 and had the privilege to be involved with Hoover Dam projects. While working in Nevada, I volunteered to be a part of the Disaster Response Team for the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and was introduced to the USACE.”
By 1996, he accepted a position with the USACE Galveston District as a project civil engineer and while he has changed positions, locations and titles, he has remained with the district for the last two decades.
“Today, I am working on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway shallow draft channel condition analysis as well as several pipeline dredging and levee projects along the Texas coast,” said Sandoval. “I enjoy the construction, the physics and the mathematical components of these complicated projects and always strive to complete the project on time and under budget.”
With the GIWW being an essential component of the nation's navigation network, Sandoval says he understands the important role engineers play in keeping the nation’s infrastructure operational so he dedicates his free time to ensuring the next generation of engineers are prepared to fulfill these responsibilities.
“I’ve taught physics for the San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program for 15 summers at the University of Texas at San Antonio, volunteered with the Professionals And Youth Building A Commitment Program to motivate youth to continue their education and provided College of the Mainland at Texas City students tours of the Pelican Island placement area to discuss the engineering, environmental aspects and beneficial uses of the materials dredged from the channel,” said Sandoval. “I enjoyed the questions the students asked and the discussion that followed. I am a teacher at heart.”
In 2001, Sandoval combined his love of engineering with teaching to save taxpayers thousands of dollars by implementing a practice of shortening the length of the discharge pipelines of the drop-outlet structure in placement areas. He was recognized with a USACE Individual Suggestion/Invention Award for his efforts.
“This is the most memorable moment I’ve had with the Corps and I am still proud of this accomplishment,” Sandoval said. “I get satisfaction from working with professionals who are committed to getting the job done responsibly for the benefit of taxpayers and the U.S. government.”
Now a Texan, Sandoval earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is a licensed professional engineer. He is also a registered radiologic technologist and says that if he could live his life over again, he would have become a medical doctor in the cancer research field to help find a cure before his beloved sister lost her battle with cancer. He and his wife, a retired teacher, spend their free time with their extended family and are avid Spurs and Astros fans.
Visit the USACE Galveston District website at http://www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.