Rosalie Balderaz: Houston Materials Lab Coordinator
We sat down with Rosalie Balderaz, who is a materials lab coordinator working from our office in Houston, Texas. We interviewed her to learn more about her professional background, role and experience as a Braun Intertec employee.
What is your role at Braun Intertec and how long have you been working here?
I started at Braun Intertec almost two years ago as a level three geotechnical lab technician, and I recently got promoted as the materials lab coordinator, which means I essentially run the geotechnical lab. Currently, I am learning how to do specialty testing on top of my other lab duties. I also do the day-to-day lab tests and, when I have time, data entry.
How did you decide to go into this career?
My mom has been in the business for about 30 years. I remember when I was in middle school I would walk to her lab after school and she would let me help with the small stuff or make mud pies. When I was in high school, I started working in a lab as my summer job, which is how I saved money to buy my first car. I realized that it was a good way to make money, so I was eventually able to pay my way through college. I ended up liking this more than what I went to college for, so I came back and started to do it full time. I’ve been working in labs like this full time for about 18 years.
Have you worked at similar firms in the past?
Yes, I’ve worked in other labs. The lab I worked in most recently was a close-knit company and my boss had known me since I was 10 years old because he was also my mom’s boss. The lab before that was the one that put me through college. The whole engineering business is small, so it’s important to not burn any bridges. I’ve gained contacts and have gotten to know people throughout the years so people know what type of worker I am.
What do you like about working at Braun Intertec?
I haven’t worked for a company as good as this one; it’s one of the best. I like that everyone works as a team here. Because the company has so many resources, if we have a problem in the lab, we can always reach out to other people and they’ll help us. At the other companies I’ve worked at, I’ve had to look up on YouTube how to do a test. Here, we work as a team and everyone is happy to help out.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I don’t want to say that I am my own boss but, in some ways I am. I get to work independently. My supervisor comes in, checks on me, tells me good morning then trusts me to do my work. He gives me my assignments and I just go. If I have any questions I can ask about it but besides that, I just run my tests and get results out quickly.
Have you worked with any co-ops yet?
Yes, last year I had two co-ops for about two months, before they went back to college. They were both engineering students. I’ve been able to work with co-ops again this year, as well as train in another full-time helper for the past eight months.
How was your experience working with co-ops?
I enjoyed it and they were very helpful. They did a lot of the prep work and helped me out a lot. I definitely enjoy being able to share my knowledge of the geotechnical lab testing with them. When they started, they knew textbook information. Then, after starting here and getting some experience they were able to have a better understanding. We left a job offer for them open, so maybe after they graduate they will come back.