GALVESTON, Texas (March 1, 2014) –Whether working
in southern Afghanistan or South Texas, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Galveston
District’s Construction Control Representative Louis Esqueda’s responsibilities
remain the same – to review plans and monitor work methods to ensure safety
activities for contract compliance.
For three out of the five years Esqueda has been with the Corps,
he has voluntarily deployed to Southern Afghanistan to oversee the construction
of several Afghan police stations, border patrol stations, Afghan army bases
and an educational facility at the University of Herat. As the project engineer
for the first modern building at the university, he had a rare opportunity to
interact with students who were scheduled to occupy the building and learn how
this construction project would impact their lives.
“During my site visits, the security team would clear a couple of
the students who wanted to shake my hand and say thanks to the U.S. and the
Corps of Engineers for providing them with a modern learning facility, running
water, indoor bathrooms, modern lighting and heating,” Esqueda said. “I quickly
learned that as simple and common as these things are to us, in other parts of
the world they are an extreme luxury.”
Making countless trips to the surrounding provinces in the western
part of the country to oversee these projects, Esqueda explains that he learned
a lot about alternative ways of construction and enjoyed the chance to meet
people from a different culture but adds that he’s glad to back working on
projects in Texas.
“I am excited
to be back working with the Galveston District in South Texas and know the
experience I have brought back from my deployments will be beneficial to the
Corps, my coworkers and my career,” said Esqueda. “I started working on my
first dredging and jetty project, which I have found to be very interesting and
feel fortunate to be given the opportunity to expand my construction knowledge
by being assigned to the dredging and jetty projects.”
The district began work on a $14.5 million jetty repair project at
the entrance to the Brownsville Ship Channel last May to repair the base of
both the north and south jetties to include replacing stones that were moved
and damaged as a result of Hurricane Ike.
Jetties, also known as stone breakwaters, minimize wave action
along the shoreline and prevent sediment from filling the entrances to ship
channels along the Texas coast, reducing dredging maintenance cycles.
"The repaired jetties will continue to prevent sediment from
entering the ship channel and keep the waterway open to allow millions of tons
of cargo, including critical commodities that contribute to the economic
strength of the nation, to be shipped to various ports," said Esqueda.
While he enjoyed his time serving in Afghanistan, this Texas
native says he plans to remain stateside and looks forward to working on his
next project - the Falfurrias Border Patrol Check Point Station.
A U.S. Army
veteran, Esqueda earned a bachelor’s degree in construction management with a
minor in finance from the University of Texas at San Antonio. When not a work,
he enjoys spending time cooking with his family and running.
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