Los Angeles may not be the first city that pops up in a search on “transportation efficiency,” but up-and-coming advocates, like Charlie Hetland – an enthusiastic transportation engineer based in our Los Angeles office – are constantly driving to change the pattern in the most populated U.S. county.
Whether he's out in the community advocating for transportation funding, serving as an officer for Civil Engineers 4 Infrastructure Political Action Committee to help make infrastructure a priority or tackling responsibilities on our West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor, California High-Speed Rail or Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Improvements projects (to name a few), Charlie’s passion for improving how transportation infrastructure is planned and designed shines through.
Actively seeking out opportunities to build his knowledge of the transportation industry, he continues to position himself as a leader for the future. He participated in the American Public Transportation Association’s Emerging Leader Program, and he’s a graduate of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association Transportation Development Foundation’s Industry Leader Development Program.
“As part of the Industry Leader Development Program, I got to meet face-to-face with members of Congress and their staffs about pending federal transportation policies, including the FAST Act,” Charlie shares. “The program really gave me a solid understanding of industry economics, how transportation work in the U.S. is funded and financed, how actions by the federal government impact the industry and how I—and CH2M—can become engaged to help shape transportation policy.”
Intrigued by global trends, such as migratory shifts into urban cores, demographics changes, generational preferences, climate change and technology, Charlie assists clients with their forward-looking infrastructure efforts, like Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Regional Short Range Transit Plan, a 10-year action plan proposing improvements for public transportation and highway modes, and addressing sustainability and future funding strategies.
With the perspective of “think globally and act locally” Charlie assisted in advocacy efforts to revitalize the Los Angeles River into a sustainable, natural environment while also creating a civic, recreational and active-transportation resource. During the November 2016 election, Charlie worked alongside the Mayor of Los Angeles as a devoted campaign volunteer on the successful Measure M campaign to transform Los Angeles County by easing traffic congestion, improving system connectivity and resiliency and supporting economic growth.
As a result of these efforts and his many other contributions to the industry so far - Mass Transit even named Charlie to its 2017 Top 40 under 40 Best and Brightest list!
“The intersection between current global trends and financing shortfalls and deferred maintenance, and how this intersection will challenge cities and future leaders when it comes to improving our transportation infrastructure is truly fascinating, says Charlie. “There is a bright, exciting future ahead for transportation, and working at CH2M – a company driving this future around the globe – is an incredible opportunity, and one that makes me very proud.”
While Charlie gets the opportunity to tackle the things he loves, like engineering, urban planning and politics, we get the privilege of his excitement and drive in addressing our client’s most pressing challenges to ensure the country has robust, effective and sustainable transportation infrastructure – and that’s a future we can all be proud of.