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Opening Paths to Careers in Rail through SoCal Railway Association

Sep 15, 2023
Group of people talking

When we were both in college for civil engineering, a rail networking event and college course opened the door for us to become the rail engineering specialists we are today at STV.

As more state and local agencies invest in rail projects like the Los Angeles Metro’s C Line (Green) extension and the California High-Speed Rail Burbank-to-Anaheim route, the Southern California (SoCal) rail industry is experiencing a renaissance. Training the next generation of rail engineers, planners, and designers is paramount, which is why we’re passionate advocates for college outreach within the industry and our work at the Railway Association of Southern California (RASC).

People in construction hats and vests walking

We both joined RASC after connecting with our fellow local STV rail experts. STV’s team in SoCal has been an ardent supporter of RASC since the organization was formed in 1996, serving in various leadership capacities on association committees. Additionally, as a corporate sponsor, our organization has  worked with RASC’s leadership to help provide financial support to dozens of college and graduate students, to the tune of more than $200,000 in scholarships.  This past spring, RASC awarded scholarships to eight undergraduate and graduate students from UCLA, UC Irvine (UCI), Cal Poly Pomona, and USC.

Additionally, RASC recently launched its pilot outreach program with the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. The program works to build awareness and access for students, connect them to industry professionals, and provide networking and mentorship opportunities. Through our UCLA pilot program, we held site visits to Metrolink’s central maintenance facilities (pictured below) and the Southern California Railway Museum. Next year, we’re aiming to launch courses, a resume workshop, and grow our guest speaker series to keep students engaged and excited about the industry.

Man in front of group of people at table speaking

As we expand our college partnerships to include UCI, Cal Poly Pomona, and USC, RASC is also promoting greater gender parity within the program and the industry overall, including future partnerships with the local Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE) chapters.

We’re proud to represent STV at RASC. We know how vital it is to network with fellow rail professionals, especially in the West, and to facilitate connections between college students and firms like STV. —just like we did. By getting students out into the field earlier on, they get to experience the rail industry holistically, from construction to operations and maintenance – to see themselves as the next generation of rail experts.

Group photo of people in construction hats and vests

Alex Lewis, EIT, is an engineering specialist at STV. Previously serving as treasurer of the Railway Association of Southern California, Alex is the chair of RASC’s College Outreach and Scholarships program and web developer. A lifelong rail enthusiast, Alex is also a member of the American Rail Engineering and Maintenance Association (AREMA).

Henry Dadsetan is an engineering specialist at STV. In addition to his role as treasurer of the Railway Association of Southern California, he is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, having served as the events chair while an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University.  

All Photos Courtesy of Metrolink