5 Questions With An Expert: Anil Raavi

December 13, 2023

We sat down with HVJ 's East Texas Geotechnical Services manager, Anil Raavi, who shared how he and his team use the power of geotechnical engineering to make communities better and safer.

1.    Starting with some background about yourself, can you share how you got started in this field and what inspires you most in your work? 

Since childhood, I’ve been captivated by large railway bridges and dams spanning rivers.  I questioned how they were built, particularly impressed by their ability to hold a large amount of weight or retain vast amounts of water.  This curiosity ignited my passion for civil engineering, so it was an easy decision to pursue this path in college. 

After completing my master’s degree in 2012, I started my professional career as a Staff Engineer based in Houston.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my work has been the opportunity to contribute to the design and construction of structures that have a tangible impact on communities.  I am proud to showcase my projects to my family and friends because of their positive impact in creating a safer, better community.  By ensuring that infrastructure is safe, functional, and sustainable, our work improves the everyday quality of life for countless people. 

2.    What is your role at HVJ, what is your favorite type of project/work, and why? 

I am the Department Manager overseeing Geotechnical Services in East Texas.  I have the privilege of leading a highly skilled and diverse group of professionals.  Our team is committed to taking ownership of results, thinking outside the box to solve problems, and making commitments we keep.  I especially enjoy working with clients on large-scale transportation projects.  Being the go-to firm for our clients’ Geotechnical needs is a testament to their trust and confidence in our work.

3.    What are the common types of problems that your customers are trying to solve?  What do you think draws them specifically to HVJ?  

Clients come to us with a wide range of needs.  HVJ has decades of experience working with public agencies on large and complex infrastructure projects.  This experience gives clients confidence that HVJ has done or seen it before.  Clients know that they can expect a smooth and successful project.  Ultimately, this cultivates long-term partnerships and motivates clients to return to HVJ for repeat business.

4.    Can you briefly describe one of your recent projects and what you found most exciting or rewarding?  What was the most significant achievement that came out of the project? 

A recent project that I found interesting was the Houston Ship Channel Expansion Project.  My role was to manage the project and produce a cost-effective geotechnical design adhering to a tight timeline. 

We needed to enable the utilization of material dredged during the channel’s widening and deepening to create placement areas.  Given the project’s scope and scale, achieving this within the expedited schedule was challenging.  Our work involved borings in water along three ship channels in Galveston Bay: Houston, Barbours Cut, and Bayport.  Keeping the project on schedule while working with multiple agencies for required approvals was challenging.  The desired slopes for the channels and placement areas were problematic due to soft soils.  Our ability to keep the project on schedule and within the budget despite the challenges was a rewarding outcome. 

5. One of HVJ’s promises is a commitment to ongoing learning.  What resources or training opportunities have you found to be most helpful?  What tips do you have for keeping up to date with ongoing education?  

I appreciate that HVJ emphasizes professional growth and leadership development.  While my educational background has provided me with the necessary expertise in my field, I’ve realized that effective collaboration and teamwork require a different set of skills, such as management and leadership.  As an example, I’ve immensely benefited from the Generative Leadership program.  I would tell others in this field that it’s important to nurture leadership growth beyond just technical skills. 

Anil Raavi


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