CEE Alumnus Takes Construction Engineering Expertise around the World
As a Construction Engineer for ExxonMobil, Omar De Leon (MS ’11) helps manage day-to-day construction activities in order to complete projects safely while under time, cost, and quality constraints. In his four years with the company, Omar has been able to travel the world, supporting exploration and development projects in the Black Sea, South America, and now Russia.
“I work on a $7 billion expansion project of one of ExxonMobil’s production facilities in Russia,” he says. “I’ve had three different assignments and traveled to six different countries.”
His hard work has proven to be fruitful. On top of his rotational assignment in Russia, De Leon has shown his dedication to innovation and STEM education in multiple platforms.
In 2014, De Leon was profiled in a Spanish Univision commercial that highlighted the benefits of STEM education to Hispanic children and parents. He has also been published through the Huffington Post, where he shared his passion for increasing the number of younger minorities that are pursuing STEM degrees and was one of the five finalists for the inaugural IOGP/SPE Outstanding Young Professional Award.
De Leon cites CMU as a major influence on his professional career, particularly in the relationship between industry and research. He feels that the department stood out because of the distinct combination of technology and creativity and is unique in the field.
“When an employer hears that a candidate is from CMU, they know that the individual comes from a unique environment that produces intellectually capable and curious individuals that will help take on the world’s toughest energy challenges,” he says. “Because of my experience at CMU, I personally make an effort and see the value in helping foster a great environment where individuals and teams can achieve much more than expected.”
He recalls the sense of community fostered by the department being one of his favorite parts of his time at CMU. “I saw that in addition to the rigorous curriculum and academic workload, there was a culture of unity and support amongst members of the CEE department, which stemmed across professors and staff, through to the students,” he said.
This sense of community was pervasive: it reached everyone in the department, regardless of how heavy the workload was at times. Being present helped drive the feeling of support throughout the department.
“Everyone found time to attend the social events: the canoe outings, ski trip, happy hours, department seminars, intramurals, talent show, spring carnival, and all of the events supported by the department and university,” De Leon recalls.
Omar advises current and future CEE students to work hard, but also work smart and work with others.
“Help create an environment where you and your team can succeed – we are all more productive when we enjoy working with our team and feel like our work matters.”