Civil Engineering Team Member Highlight: James Light, P.E.
In 2016, James joined our GLS team in Bryan, Texas as a Project Manager in our Civil Engineering Department. Having graduated from Texas A&M University in 2000 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering, James became a licensed Professional Engineer in December of 2005. When asked why he chose civil engineering as a profession he said "I wanted to save the world. I wanted to make communities a better place for people to live in and help increase the quality of life for individuals. I actually was in the civil engineering major when I started college as a freshman but changed my focus to agricultural engineering after my roommate shared his experience in the department. It was a lot smaller major than civil and had a bigger emphasis on what I wanted to study originally - everyone was from small farming communities and I felt at home there." As a child, James wanted to be a veterinarian because he grew up on a farm raising pigs, cattle and other animals - he even nursed a baby owl back to health that had fallen out of a tree. However, as he grew older he realized his affinity towards the application of science, design and construction in order to serve communities.
Before he joined our civil engineering team at GLS in 2016, Mr. Light had experience in different fields of works. For 6 years after graduating from A&M, he worked for a consulting firm out of Houston, Texas performing land development. As his family began to grow, James moved out of Houston to work with municipal utility districts and spend more time with his children. From 2008 to 2016, James worked for a coal mine as a civil engineering manager performing planning, reclamation, budgeting and more. In March of 2016, he decided to return to the consulting world and became a civil engineering project manager at our Bryan location.
Nearing 5 years with our company, James has worked on several projects, with the Normangee ISD 2017 Bond Improvements project and the City of Bryan Midtown Park Sedimentation Ponds project listed among his favorite to work on (Brief project descriptions are listed below). Normangee ISD not only renovated school buildings but also added on to existing buildings and provided a new parking lot for the campus. "It was cool to see the Normangee ISD project come together and to see the work we did at GLS be utilized by the students. A lot of times, after a project is completed I don't get to see communities enjoy the end result, so I think that it was a special project for me because it was so close to home. As for the Sedimentation Pond project with the City of Bryan, I really enjoyed it because it took me back to some of the things I had done while working for the coal mine. But more than that, it was a project that really reminded me of why I chose to be an engineer in college - I wanted to make communities a better place to live. Sedimentation ponds remove sediment from waterways and that truly does make a city safer to live in for families." - James Light, P.E.
Normangee ISD 2017 Bond Improvements Project - included a new auditorium, a High School addition, new running track, new parking lot and 3 secured entrances
City of Bryan Midtown Park Sedimentation Pond Project - Phase 3 of Midtown Park Detention & Desilting Pond project. Included the installation of erosion control measures, top soil stripping and stockpiling, concrete paving, hydro-mulch seeding, excavation of detention/desilting pond, HDPE pipe and fiberglass manholes and a retaining wall.
When asked about his favorite GLS tradition, James responded, "I have quite a few favorite traditions here at GLS, but first and foremost it is the culture that has been created of giving. It has become quite a tradition here that when someone has a garden, goes hunting or fishing or bakes something at home, they always bring it to the office to share. From corn to peaches and squash to chocolate chip cookies and pecan pie, someone is always sharing something in the office." In regards to his department, James said, "I've always enjoyed the positive environment that the civil department has. We are blessed to have a team that is experienced, talented and hard working. But I think what makes working with my team so enjoyable is that everyone is light-hearted and finds ways to make some of the longer days fun."
The biggest bass he has caught weighed 8.8 lbs.
He has had a garden since he was a junior in high school - including all throughout his time at A&M!
Q. What is your favorite sports team?
A. Texas Aggies! Football is my favorite, but if I had to choose a professional team, I would choose the Houston Texans because I lived in Houston for a couple of years.
Q. If you had to listen to one album (or artist) for an entire year, what would it be?
A. Johnny Horton's Greatest Hits
Q. If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?
A. Time travel
Q. If you were stranded on an island for a year and could not leave, what 3 items would you have air dropped to you?
A. Flint, a fishing spear, and a knife