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Job description: Ohn serves as the deputy segment lead for the the San Jose-Merced section of California’s high-speed rail project. In her role, she manages the project’s scope, schedule, budget and sub-consultants. Ohn also designs the track plan and profile as track and guideway lead for the section. In addition, she coordinates with other rail agencies, cities, counties and stakeholders.
Education: Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, University of California-Berkeley
Nominator’s quote: “Myat has poise and capabilities that exceed her years of experience and convey technical confidence. She consistently demonstrates both a high level of professionalism and a desire to grow and take on new challenges in her career.” — Darlene Gee, HNTB
How did you get into railroading?
After a few years doing general civil engineering design in transportation projects, I took an interest in learning about railroading. From working as a railroad design engineer to becoming a track guideway lead, I learned the ins and outs of track work and track engineering. During my learning process, I have supported task leads and mentors who taught me the ropes of track design in many different systems such as light rail, heavy rail, rail yards and maintenance facilities. Throughout my career, I was given the opportunity to work on various railroad projects, including ones with Bay Area Rapid Transit, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port of Oakland.
What career accomplishment are you most proud of so far?
My current project with the San Jose-to-Merced section of California’s high-speed rail program. It’s something I am looking forward to working on as a railroad engineer. Having visited some foreign countries and experiencing their high-speed rail systems firsthand, it is my hope and desire to have the similar systems that we can enjoy and rely on here in the U.S. I am happy and proud to be a part of this team.
What advice would you share with a first-year railroader?
Work for unity of purpose and think team effort. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t take things personally.
What would you say to convince someone to consider railroading as a career?
Railroads are vital mass transit systems for our communities. They move people and goods while limiting our environmental impact. With high-speed rail and other faster rail systems, it’s also the green future of transportation. You can always be proud of your profession, and it helps that there will always be a big demand for jobs.
What inspires you?
I feel that transportation is vital to the growth of a community and a country. Roadways are not the transportation solution of the future. We need railroads to connect communities and transport the goods efficiently while limiting impact to the environment. That belief inspires me and keeps me passionate for this profession. I am proud knowing that every one of my projects will serve the people, the community and the country, and that every day the work I am doing will make a difference, making the world a better place little by little.
What do you enjoying doing when you’re not at work?
I enjoy watching basketball games and traveling around the world to see and learn about other cultures, including other rail systems. I also like to whitewater raft and play some tennis. I do regular volunteer work with Burmese Community Groups and Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS). I am in the WTS membership committee and also help out with the program's events.
What do you hope to be doing (or learning) five years from now?
I want to find more efficient ways to improve our current systems; be a part of the team to bring U.S. passenger railroad systems to another level to achieve parity with the rest of the world; and mentor and grow next generation railroaders.
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