Team Member Highlight: TJ Pohorelsky, P.E.
TJ joined the civil engineering department of our Bryan, Texas office in September of 2018 as a Project Manager. Earlier that year, he received his Professional Engineering license after working in HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) for three years and gaining experience as an EIT at another local firm. When asked why he chose civil engineering for his career, he said, “Well, when I was little, I actually wanted to be a fighter pilot - but that was probably because I watched Top Gun too much... I chose civil engineering though, because it challenges me and gives me the ability to help others. When I started college, I was an electrical engineering major following the advice of my family, but found that it wasn’t for me. I wanted to learn how the infrastructure we use in our daily lives was built, and it led me to change my major to civil engineering with an emphasis in Geotech.”
Growing up in a family with a history of military service, TJ said, “I always wanted to serve. My Papa was a combat engineer in World War II and my father served as a Navy corpsman. Their service inspired me to follow in their footsteps and enlist. I loved the camaraderie when I was in the military, being part of the Army and serving my country is one of the best things I’ve been able to do in my life next to being a husband and father.” TJ joined the military after graduating high school and served for 4 years as an 11B / Infantryman in the United States Army 3rd US Infantry Regiment.
Upon leaving the military, he began earning his college education at Blinn College, where he met his wife in history class. He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011 and married the love of his life a year later. Following graduation from UT Arlington, he accepted a position as a project / field engineer with an environmental / Geotech contractor where he was able to work on one of his favorite projects to date. “The first project I worked on fresh out of school still has to be one of my favorites. We re-built approximately 20 miles of a levee along the Rio Grande River in Presidio, Texas. We sourced Rip-Rap from a silver mine out of Shafter, Texas by blasting the rock out of a cliff face and screening it for rip-rap and road base to use in the levee.”
From there he moved to the Brazos Valley where he completed his EIT and gained experience in HDD, before joining our team. When asked what his favorite part about being an engineer was, he stated “Getting to work on different projects with varying challenges. Each client we partner with has a specific issue to be solved and I get the chance every day to design solutions that in the end, serve thousands of people in one community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to not just work with local entities, but in the areas surrounding us whose infrastructure needs improving.”
When asked what his favorite GLS tradition was, he responded “The pot-luck breakfasts! About once a quarter the administrative ladies will post a sign-up sheet so everyone can bring something - usually items for breakfast tacos! – and the morning of, everyone gathers in the break room to load up their plates with food. It helps create a positive, open environment that throughout the rest of the quarter brings everyone closer as a unit. I think overall it’s one of the traditions that just shows the heart of the GLS family.” In regards to his department, TJ said, “I look forward to working with our civil team. We get things done, but we have fun doing it. My coworkers are great people and fun to work with - my favorite part of working here is the way our team is able to have a good time at work while still getting the job done.”
One time in the Army, he ended up at an Al Gore house party.
He was pulled onto the stage at a Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas and was terribly embarrassed… but still had a great time with his wife. They now laugh about the memory.
TJ can play the guitar and loves music.
Q. If you had to listen to one album (or artist) for an entire year, what would it be?
A. Metallica… Justice for All
Q. If you were a superhero what would your superpower 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. machete, fishing line & hooks, box of lighters
Q. What is your favorite sports team?
A. Texas Rangers
Q. Biggest Pet Peeve
A. Not cleaning up after yourself
Q. What is a long-term goal you have?
A. I want to expand my experience so that I can become a better, more effective manager.