Former wildland firefighter and lover of the outdoors, Benito Gonzales has developed a sense of adventure that influences his life. He tells us about his exciting past and how finding the right mentor has helped his professional development.
What is something people may not know about you?
During college I spent summers working as a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service. I traveled with crews battling flames across forests in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Montana. I love going to the gym, hiking, and spending time with my dog. I’ve hiked trails in the Organ Mountains, including the Organ Needle, and in the Gila National Forest. Someday I would love to go hiking at Grand Teton National Park!
What got you into the field?
Growing up, I’ve always been a problem solver and liked to build things. I enjoyed driving by construction projects to see how they progressed. While earning my Civil Engineering Technology degree from New Mexico State University, I landed an internship at HB. Since then, I’ve been able to apply my engineering knowledge and learn the challenging aspects of construction.
What has been your favorite project and why?
The Mountain View Outpatient Plaza in Las Cruces, NM. It was a concrete tilt-up building. Watching the concrete panels being lifted into place was amazing. It was a good feeling knowing that the project contributed to helping people in the community live a happier, healthier life.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the field?
Get out to the field and learn from the people putting the work in place. Find a mentor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. HB Project Director Brian Rodriguez has been a big influence in helping me build my career path. I’ve learned a lot from him about patience and leadership.