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Large Abroad | Designing the future of Texas - Jamaican influencing construction in US

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMAndre Poyser
Giancarlo Grant

Even though he is still an engineer-in-training (EIT), Giancarlo Grant, has been integrally involved in designing a number of buildings that will dominate the Texan landscape in years to come.

Now, at one of the leading structural engineering firms in Texas, Grant told The Gleaner that he has worked on designs of airports, schools and several building renovations.

"Daily, it involves the design of the buildings, working with the architects and mostly designing beams and columns ... . Sometimes I work on six different buildings in one week," he said while explaining the details of his job to The Gleaner.

Grant, who left Jamaica at age 16 to pursue studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, also explained that he landed the job based on his excellent academic performance during his bachelor's and master's studies in structural engineering, which he later completed at the University of Texas at Austin.

His academic performance, however, was not always up to scratch.




Grant recalls with some humour the struggles he faced with mastering mathematics, and the fact that he got into the engineering programme with a grade 7, straight G profile in Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination mathematics did not help.

"When I went up, I was really struggling with the math, so I went to the math clinic that they have at the college and I just sat in there and started working math and studied hard until I started picking up, and before you know it, I became very knowledgeable in the subject. Calculus became like cake," the EIT explained.

So masterful did Grant become at calculus that he was hired as a tutor/supplemental instructor for this topic during both his undergraduate and master's programmes.

In sharing why he decided to pursue his master's, Grant said he wanted to gain deeper knowledge about the design of buildings and in so doing distinguished himself in the field.




His entry into graduate school was, however, not without incident.

"I applied to Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of Texas at Austin, and in that first round, they all rejected me," he said with a chuckle.

Undeterred by the rejections, Grant reapplied and was finally accepted to the University of Texas at Austin.

Now on the job for almost a year, Grant is enjoying the opportunity he has to influence the designs of buildings in Texas. Come October, he will be sitting the licensing exams that will officially make him a registered engineer. With this designation, he hopes to continue putting his imprint on the designs of buildings and, in so doing, serve as an inspiration to others.

"Hard work trumps everything. What brought me here, I think, was mostly hard work. I don't think it was any superior intelligence. Most people shy away from hard work, so once you work hard and you know what you want and keep focused, you will make it," he said.