More likely than not, you can find examples of advanced transportation in your area. Buses, trains, and planes are all common examples of transportation possibilities in most metropolitan areas. There are teams of professionals responsible not only for building these titans, but developing the systems in place that help them run. Kimberly Cuchilla, Jr. communication & control systems engineer for LINXS, began her career as an intern before accepting a full-time position. She is now working on one of Los Angeles County’s most ambitious projects.

The People Mover Project, which is expected to be running by 2023, will significantly increase transportation options for Los Angeles residents. The train will run two miles between the LAX airport to various Los Angeles stations to help alleviate the traffic around the airport area.

Kimberly attributes her current success to her love of math. She attended California High School in Whitter where a teacher and mentor suggested that she enter one of the engineering fields. She had the choice of electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering. She ultimately chose mechanical engineering due to the complex math problems involved. Upon accepting a paid internship position with LINXS, Kimberly began with the construction team, which gave her experience examining plans that included the pipe and electrical paneling system. She was moved to the Systems Team once she was brought on board full-time.

Kimberly’s team works on the electronic systems that will be placed onboard the train. The devices need to communicate with one another, and the systems team implements software to make it possible. For example, they are responsible for programming when the doors close and how the doors respond when someone is standing in the doorway.

“Every day is something new,” Kimberly said. Her team is constantly making sure they follow safety standards and examine the best software needed to make the train work. As a Junior Communication & Control Systems Engineer, some of Kimberly’s primary responsibilities include keeping track of submittals (shop drawings, material data, samples, etc.) between subcontractors and LINXS, and working on the software documentation plan that keeps track of all software that will be used.

In a role similar to Kimberly’s, individuals can expect that it will take some time to learn the different processes that are in place in order to understand a complex and multi-department project such as this. Not only would a person in this role be expected to learn certain acronyms, but communicating across departments takes patience depending on the different “languages” each job uses in their field. In addition to communication skills, individuals should have the ability to sit with a problem and think of different approaches to produce a solution.

The typical starting annual salary for someone beginning this career is between $55,000-$70,000. To stand out from other applicants, Kimberly attended her college’s career center workshops to get resume writing tips. She also found that serving in leadership positions, such as her officer roles with both the Women’s Society of Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, made her resume stronger.

To learn more about programs within California Community Colleges in the fields of Advanced Transportation and Logistics, click here.

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