Member Highlight Interview

MemberSHPE Highlight interview

Arturo J. Perez, MSCE, P.E.


1.) Tell us about yourself! (job/career, hobbies, family, etc.)

I am a Professional Engineer (registered in Florida, Georgia and Colorado) with over 32 years of experience in the fields of transportation planning and traffic engineering. I was born in Venezuela and moved to the United States in 1980 at the age of 16 soon after graduating from High School there. I went to school at the University of Central Florida (UCF), now the largest university in the United States where I received both Bachelor (1985) and Master (1992) Degrees in Civil Engineering. Soon after completing my coursework for the master’s degree I started a small firm (Leftwich Consulting Engineers, Inc.) with one of my UCF professors (Dr. Scot Leftwich). I worked there for over 28 years until a near death medical issue (hemorrhagic bleed in the brain on July 7, 2014) required a change to my very stressful and hectic life. I now work for CDM Smith as a Senior Project Manager – Toll & Finance, doing Traffic and Revenue (T&R) Studies for toll facilities across the US at the Maitland office.

I have been married for almost 29 years to my wonderful wife Karen. We have three children, our oldest son Alex (23) is a second-year medical student at the University of South Florida (USF) and wants to be a Pathologist. Our daughter Nicole (20), known as Coco, is a second-year college student at Seminole State College, and wants to be an early childhood education teacher. Our youngest son Andrew (17) is a high school senior and wants to become a Civil Engineer following my footsteps.


2.) To what capacity have you been involved with SHPE?

The SHPE Central Florida Professional Chapter (CFPC) was founded in 1992 by a group of people lead by Mr. Larry D. Madrid, P.E. that included myself, Mr. Marco Franco, Mr. Luis E. Diaz, P.E., Mr. Gustavo M. Castro, Mr. Carlos Asturrizaga, Mr. Luis Grajales, P.E., Mrs. Grace Pierce, P.E., Mr. Jesus A. Mustafa, P.E, and others. Since its initiation, chapter members have stood out at the National level by winning multiple awards including the Corporate Achievement Award, Pioneer of the Year (Arturo J. Perez in 2002), Junipero Serra (Jesus Mustafa in 2003) among others. Locally, the chapter has contributed on several community service activities, including feeding the homeless programs, as well as providing underprivileged children with a holiday experience. The Central Florida Professional Chapter has made a strong bond with UCF and its SHPE student chapter. With this partnership, the SHPE CFPC has enjoyed a pipeline of membership of UCF graduates that remain in the Central Florida area. The chapter was fortunate to be able to request and receive at a very early stage the National Technical and Career Conference (NTCC), SHPE’s premier national conference for Latinos in the US. Held at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) and the Sheraton Hotel in 1998 with the theme “The Magic of Science and Engineering,” NTCC was a complete success attracting over 3,200 attendees. A mere six years later, NTCC 2006 was once again held in Orlando at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort with over 4,000 people in attendance.


3.) What sparked your interest in SHPE? What motivated you to become an active member?

Mr. Larry Madrid was the first person that mentioned SHPE to me and got me interested in the organization that was founded in 1974 by a group of engineers in Los Angeles, California. I have been a fairly active member ever since the local chapter was created in different roles as President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and even without a board title. I have attended about 15 national conferences in the past 25 years, including last year’s Seattle, WA, and this year’s Kansas City, MO, conferences where I was part of the organizing committee (signage team). I truly enjoy attending the conference a get invigorated with the influx of young new talent that represents the best of the best of the STEAM Latino community in the US.

I decided to become a member for life of the organization the first year it was available, becoming lifetime member number 4.


4.) What is your most memorable moment with SHPE?

Without a doubt it has to be listening to Mr. Jagjeet “Jeet” S. Bindra’s speech at the 1998 National Conference in Orlando, FL. At the end of the speech, over 3,000 participants of the luncheon gave him a standing ovation that must have lasted over 5 minutes. It was just an incredible success story that showed dedication, humility, and a can-do attitude by Mr. Bindra. At the time he was the President of one of the seven (7) Chevron companies, Chevron Pipe Line Company. A native of India, Mr. Bindra earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in 1969 and, a year later, earned his master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Washington in Seattle. He earned his master’s degree in business administration with honors from Saint Mary’s College of Moraga, California, in 1979. Almost 30 years to the day he arrived in the US, he was named President of Chevron Pipe Line. A truly remarkable individual, with an amazing and inspirational story for all people who migrate to this country.

Please read the entire speech here:


5.) When not devoting time to SHPE or working, what activities/hobbies are you involved with?

I love to travel and when my son Alex played Lacrosse for both Oviedo High School (OHS) and Florida State University (FSU) I went to see him play as the Goalie for eight straight years. I also love the Olympic movement and have attended the 1992 (Barcelona), 1996 (Atlanta), and 2004 (Athens) games. I like to snow ski, play tennis, and a good game of chess. I also attend most home and some away UCF Football games. I was there when UCF lost their 12th game (0-12, 2015 season), the most attended game (109,295, 9/11/2016) in UCF History in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the 11th game (11-0, 2017 season).


6.) Anything else? (anything at all!)

I want to call upon all current students to continue to be involved in the organization after graduating from College and give back to the next generation of STEM!


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