March 9, 2023 | Articles
From Drawing to Building: Laura Capraro’s Career in Construction
“If I could describe my experience in one word, it would be diverse” reports Hill International, Inc. employee, Burak Kurama. Indeed, over the course of his nearly ten years of professional experience, Burak’s work has spanned the globe, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, India, and the U.S., in transportation, medical, and government sectors. His interests, too, range from soccer to international travel and environmental sustainability. This diversity has molded a multitalented engineer and a great asset to Hill.
Burak started working with Hill in the winter of 2017, but his engagement with Hill began much earlier on Burak’s first post-collegiate project in Oman. Having graduated from Pennsylvania State University’s College of Engineering in 2010, Burak found a position working as a quality control engineer on the $1.8 billion Development of Muscat International Airport (DMIA) project. Coincidentally, Hill had been awarded a contract to provide consulting services on the same project. Burak reports: “I was familiar with Hill from the beginning. I really liked the professional way they operated and had a desire to work with them.”
Eventually Burak found his position with Hill. After interviewing with Vice Presidents David Rupp and Mark Dickinson, Hill offered Burak a job as a project engineer on the Philadelphia International Airport. Burak was thrilled. He described his enthusiasm, saying: “It was unreal. I was so excited to finally get to work with the Hill International!”
Burak’s work on the Philadelphia project entailed a substantial move professionally and geographically. Fortunately, Burak loves travel. “I am very lucky to have been able to work all over the world. I enjoy the diversity of my work responsibilities, too. I’ve been able to learn so many different things throughout my career in different roles on different sorts of jobs. Each day has really been an adventure. And just the diversity itself has been educational in a way. I think I approach jobs differently, having such a broad background.”
Yet, Burak also expressed some worry that his diverse responsibilities have held him back. He says: “I’ve not been able to specialize yet, with all the bouncing around. Maybe I’d be further along in my career if I stayed in one type of position longer.” But it is clear that his diversity of expertise and experience has made Burak just the sort of nimble engineering professional that Hill requires. Burak himself attests to the benefits that Hill confers upon clients because of its flexibility. “Hill brings an expertise that really goes beyond borders. They are able to meet local needs, wherever they work, with professionalism, a sense of deadline, and respect for the culture of their clients. They just get the job done.”
And Burak helped Hill get the job done while addressing of some of the challenges that uniquely arise while working on busy metropolitan airports. He says: “One of the major difficulties that came up on the job was making sure that airport customers could still use the parking garages we were repairing. I helped to ensure that the contractor conducted all repairs safely without putting airport guests or their cars at risk. By continued success in this regard, I gained the owners trust and was often praised for my coordination and communication skills.”
After enabling safety and success on his work in Philadelphia, Burak landed a project engineer position on the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Harrisburg. David Rupp, who had just returned from extensive work in the Middle East, interviewed Burak for the job. Dave says of the interview, “I had just worked for ten years in Abu Dhabi, so I really appreciated Burak’s particularly Middle-Eastern style of inspection and oversight.” Dave adds, “It also didn’t hurt that his wife’s family was from Harrisburg!”
Burak is now an integral member of the construction team on the Harrisburg Courthouse. On a day-to-day basis he reviews project schedules, supervises the contractor’s activities and invoices, helps to ensure contractor submittals are reviewed by experts on the owner’s side, and coordinates requests for information. Because of his commitment to the job, forecasted to last at least another two years, Burak is looking to buy a house in the Harrisburg area.
Looking to the future, Burak is hopeful. He is currently working with Hill as a project engineer, but would like to become a project manager and, eventually, a senior project manager. “But,” he says, “I really just want to excel and lead, wherever I am.” When asked if he believed Hill could help him achieve his own professional goals, Burak pointed to CEO, Raouf Ghali; Regional President of the Americas Michael Griffin, PE; and Senior Vice President Vic Spinabelli, PE, LEED AP as professionals he admires and emulates. With such guides and the institutional support of Hill, Burak will surely forge a career that makes grand use of his diverse experiences, enables further sustainability in our world, and promotes his own leadership and excellence.
Other diverse and driven professionals are encouraged to join Hill’s international teams. Here await opportunities for excellence on exciting jobs around the globe with engineering professionals as talented as Burak. We hope that you will soon share your own stories with us! For more information Click Here.
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