STEM Professional of the week

Arthur E. Maestas, P.E.      
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Arthur (Art) Maestas has dedicated his career to the betterment of the United States through his 32 years of dedicated service with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

Art currently serves as the Chief of the Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering Branch for the District. He leads a professional team of 28 personnel and is currently assigned duties as Dam Safety Officer and Levee Safety Officer for the District. In a time where our national infrastructure to include dams and levees are currently under intense scrutiny, Art and his multi-disciplinary teams, are leading the charge for Albuquerque in meeting these critical infrastructure needs.

Art grew up in a small rural town in northern New Mexico. The eldest of seven sons, he was raised by young loving parents who not only instilled in him the need for hard work and a good education but also provided an opportunity for a well rounded childhood. Art enjoyed playing team sports, hunting, fishing and doing well in school. He spent his summers playing baseball and during high school, working at a full service gas station where he pumped gas, checked engine oil and cleaned windshields.

Guided by the desire for higher education, he applied and was accepted at New Mexico State University where he majored in Civil Engineering. Art made the most of opportunities available to him during college applying for internships with the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked during the summers. Art earned his Bachelors’ in 1980 and with this achievement, became the first member of his maternal grandfather’s family to earn a college degree. Within two weeks of completing his university education, Art was able to secure a permanent position with the USACE Albuquerque District.

Art’s vast career has spanned many areas of project management, engineering design, construction and environmental engineering. Considered by his peers a subject matter expert in “all things” geotechnical and a “jack-of-all-trades” in “everything else,” time and again, he has proven to be instrumental at times of national emergencies. Art has volunteered on multiple occasions to support the Corps’ response efforts during emergency events. This willingness to be of service has taken Art to the frontlines of national hurricane emergencies, flood fighting efforts in several states and even to Iraq and Afghanistan where he has volunteered for assignments in support of the war effort. During his most recent deployment in 2011, Art served as the Chief of Engineers in Afghanistan.

However, his contributions are not only measured by the responsibility he carries or the projects he has successfully completed over his expansive career; but also by his ability to inspire and motivate others around him through formal and informal processes. His participation in the Albuquerque District’s mentoring program provides an avenue for passing along his experiences and guidance to USACE employees. Art’s professional conduct, commitment to excellence and inspiration by example consistently motivate those around him to reach for higher goals. His volunteer services and contributions over the years earned him several commendations which include the Achievement Medal for Civilian Service in 2000, and the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service in 2005.

Art is an amazing ambassador for USACE and for the State of New Mexico and a positive role model for the next generation of Civil Engineers and STEM professionals in general. He is the recipient of the 2012 HENAAC Civil Engineering Distinction Award.

© TECHNiCA Magazine

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