Laurence Esguerra earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine in civil engineering with an emphasis in water and wastewater. Laurence interned with Tetra Tech as a student and joined our Irvine office after graduating in 2003. As a project manager and technical lead, he focuses on water and recycled water infrastructure. He manages design and implementation of water and recycled water capital improvement projects for local municipalities. We talked with Laurence as part of our #TtInspires campaign celebrating the passion of Tetra Tech employees. Follow #TtInspires on social media for more stories.

What inspired you to get into your field?

I followed my older sister's footsteps by studying civil engineering. She has always been an inspiration to me. She told me about how broad civil engineering is and the different directions it can take you in your career. While I was in school, my sister worked for ASL Consulting Engineers, which was later acquired by Tetra Tech. She introduced me to some of the engineers with whom I now work. She showed me several projects her group worked on in Orange County and highlighted how important water is in Southern California, leading me to work within the water market at Tetra Tech. I developed strong relationships within this group, and it surprises me how quickly time has gone by.

Now I mentor junior engineers who just started their careers. It is important to me that junior engineers receive the guidance they need to advance in their career and be provided a working environment that promotes their growth.

Tell us about some of the most inspirational projects you’ve worked on.

I am proud of the Recycled Water Expansion Project with El Toro Water District in Laguna Woods, California. We designed more than 20 miles of recycled water pipelines to convert existing potable water irrigation meters to recycled water. At the beginning of the project, I did not know how it would impact the community. The community is mainly a retirement community and did not know much about recycled water and water conservation. Thanks to a successful community outreach campaign spearheaded by our client, by the end of the project the community became supporters of recycled water. They also began practicing water conservation at home, in turn reducing the overall potable water usage within the community. This project was physically large, but the biggest impact for me was how the project positively affected the community.

Another project I am proud of is the Burris Pump Station with Orange County Water District. This project transfers up to 200 cubic feet per second of water collected from the Santa Ana River to recharge basins several miles from the river. This pump station is vital to replenish the groundwater table so local utilities can provide a reliable water supply to their community. Burris Pump Station is the largest pump station to date that my office has designed. This was a unique project that utilized a computer model to aid in the preliminary design of the wet well and a scaled physical model to finalize the design.

What do you do outside of your work that makes a difference for today’s environment?

My father and I recently replaced his lawn with artificial turf, planted drought tolerant plants, and converted the existing spray irrigation system to drip. The project qualified for the local water district’s landscape transformation program, enabling us to recoup some of the costs in the form of a rebate. Eventually the project will pay for itself in water savings. As a bonus, my father really loves the time saved from not mowing a lawn.