From Concrete Canoe to LA’s Wilshire Grand Center, civil engineering alum keeps projects on track

By Rebecca Rudell

Published February 7, 2019

Over the past five years, Alvaro Giron (BS ’13 civil engineering), has been busy. Really busy. Serving as a project engineer and a cost analyst for Turner Construction, the largest general contractor in the U.S., he has helped ensure that projects like Long Beach Memorial Hospital, Kite Pharma in Santa Monica and the Wilshire Grand Center in Los Angeles stayed within budget.

“What helped me most was the hands-on learning. Working with teams for competitions like Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge and Seismic Design.”
Alvaro Giron, civil engineering alumnus
Cost and contracts manager, Related Companies

The largest project he’s worked on so far, the Wilshire Grand Center, is 1,100 feet tall with 73 stories; features 900 luxury hotel rooms and 400,000 square feet of office space; and is composed of 160,000 cubic yards of structural concrete and 70 million pounds of rebar. And Giron worked on the enormous project from start to finish.

He began his five-year stint on the job as an assistant helping with document control and management. From there, he started managing more trades: painting, flooring, food service, surveying and spray-on fireproofing.

Alvaro Giron on a job site.

Alvaro Giron (right) onsite at at the Wilshire Grand Center.

“Next,” Giron says, “I assisted our senior engineer with change orders, basically all the dollars associated with any changes needed for the project. I then took over for her and managed the entire Wilshire budget for the final year and a half.”

He was soon promoted to senior engineer.

Giron has always been industrious. At UB, he was in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), serving as its president for one year. He was also part of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program and was a Daniel Acker Scholar.

“When I saw Alvaro’s name in my LinkedIn updates, I had to see what he’d been up to. Imagine my delight when I saw his work on Wilshire Tower! I remember Alvaro as a hard worker, and I am very proud of his professional success,” said Letitia Thomas, director of STEM diversity programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and director of UB’s LSAMP program.

When asked how his time at UB prepared him for his career as an engineer at Turner, Giron says, “What helped me most was the hands-on learning. Working with teams for competitions like Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge and Seismic Design.” He explains that he would create budgets and be sure the team worked within those budgets. He also contacted sponsors to get materials and invited them to share their knowledge with students.

“And, of course,” he concludes, “being on a team project where everyone is working toward the same goal really helped too.”

Giron recently left Turner Construction to work with the Related Companies, a development focused company, as a cost and contracts manager. One project he will be working on is called Related Santa Clara, a 239-acre, LEED-certified urban center that will combine residential units, restaurants, entertainment venues, retail and office space, and hotels into one vibrant, pedestrian-friendly community.

“This will essentially be an expansion of my cost analyst role with Turner, which will allow me to see the dollar aspect of a construction project, but now from the perspective of a developer and owner,” he says.

The $6.5 billion project will certainly keep Giron busy for the next few years, but with the Wilshire Grand Center under his belt, he’s definitely ready for the challenge.