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Meet Fernando A. Ceballos, P.E.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fernando Alfonso Ceballos.

Fernando, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a first-generation Texan, born in Brownsville (The Valley) and raised by my mom and grandmother. Life was hectic growing up with my mom having to work multiple jobs after my parents got divorced when I was seven-years old. I remember as a kid learning how to sell food with my mom door-to-door and delivering orders to neighbors who would buy meals from us to help pay the bills. Fast forward a few years after overcoming my dyslexia, I was doing my own hustling, giving 1st graders math lessons when I was only in 5th grade. Having to grow up faster than my peers definitely gave me perspective on the importance of putting in hours to get positive results, since things weren’t going to be handed. Middle/High school required lots of work to get me in a position to be able to pursue a college degree since the only way I would be able to afford it would be through scholarships.

After graduating from high school in the top 10% and attending college as the first one in my family, life started to open up new opportunities. I had the chance to help lead several on-campus organizations and do an engineering study abroad. Although things were going well in some areas, I was struggling with others. Dealing with the change of pace of school work, test anxiety and financial struggles, my grades started to slip. Luckily I was able to find mentors and friends who helped me re-calibrate. Texas A&M gave me an outlook on life that the world was there for me to explore and make an impact in. It reinforced my community-focused mindset with resources and tools that I could share with others. It also provided me with an education and degree to help me build the cities I wanted to see grow.

Now as a working professional, I have the opportunity to mentor other first-generation students pursuing similar paths as mine. I do all this work in hopes that I can help others overcome their current hurdles and point them in the direction they need to go.

Has it been a smooth road?
Things haven’t been easy to get to where I am today, but that is what makes us strong and able to overcome new challenges. There isn’t one struggle that weights heavier than another since they all have had their fair share of lessons to learn from. Here’s a list of excuses life has given me so far.

Raised by a single mom, raised below the poverty line in one of the poorest cities in America, dyslexic and failed first grade, bullied throughout elementary/middle school for various reasons, attended a university were I was a minority, hit academic probation in college, worked multiple jobs as a leader in multiple organizations and full-time student, lost two little cousins, two grandparents and my dad before graduating college, found a job with an average GPA, failed my Professional Engineering exam by one question, and part of the 7% of Hispanic Engineers in the country.

All that to say, I’m not special just committed to trying to be better than I was yesterday. Challenges will continue to present themselves, but we should all just keep adding them to the list of things we overcome.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am a Professional Civil Engineer by profession and Leadership Coach by choice. As an engineer, I work as a private consultant for a Texas-based company in the Land Development sector. My role is to help take projects from raw pieces of properties to fully developed buildings, schools, apartments, master plan communities and restaurants. All of this is done through designing and producing construction documents after coordinating with the clients, cities, architects, etc. that we work with.

As a leadership coach, I work closely with nonprofits to help lead their programs and new initiatives driven at helping young professionals become leaders in their companies and communities. We work on helping them find their WHY, build a network and find new opportunities to learn through new experiences. I also work on trying to develop future STEM leaders by speaking at various K-12 events throughout the year.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the amount of diversity the city has. I’ve always felt that you can understand someone’s culture with the food you share with them. Being in the DFW area, I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world listening to stories around meals that others grew up with. I also enjoy the amount of “stuff” there is to do, always an event to go to, people to meet and impact to make.

The part I dislike is the potential for Tornado. I know every part of the world is susceptible to some sort of natural disaster, but having to deal with something you can’t plan for like a hurricane is tough.

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