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Meet Ben Varela of WorkPoint Engineering in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ben Varela.

Ben Varela, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am a structural engineer, which I find very exciting from a creative standpoint and at the same time honored to have such responsible for public safety, particularly living in an area of high seismicity such LA. I was born and raised in Mexico. Graduated from Monterrey Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree. During my bachelor’s I focused my coursework in structural engineering courses because of my affinity to physics and appreciation for aesthetics in buildings. I worked in Mexico for over a year before pursuing my Master’s at UC Berkeley. After completing my master’s, I moved to LA in 2006 to work for a great structural engineering firm. I was very lucky to work and learn from many exceptional engineers. It was there where I met my wife Alana, also a structural engineer. I worked there for nine years before taking the plunge. In 2015, I knew it was time to change gears again and resigned my corporate job to start WORKPOINT engineering as most businesses start, as a one-person company.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Everyone has challenges to overcome at different levels. Even if you have a plan, the path usually has some bumps on the road and that is just how life works. I do believe that as uncomfortable as struggle can be, it is through struggle that we become better, not to mention we can appreciate more all the great things we have. As an anecdotal experience, I recall very vividly an instance when I was working for my dad during summer, I was probably 14-15 years old and one morning my mom woke me and my sisters up to inform us that she had to rush my dad to the hospital just a couple of hours ago. It happens to be a gallbladder issue, and they needed to remove it. My dad was out of commission for a several weeks. In the middle of it, we had some major technical issues at work and production had stalled. With orders to fulfill and no production coming out I found myself in a difficult spot, visiting multiple shops that can repair the equipment while managing staff and responding to unsatisfied clients. That was when I realized one does not need an alarm bell when there is an urgency to get things done. I learned by giving more weight and value to the small actions we do every day not only helps the project/business to move forward, but also positions us to handle uncertainties when they arise.

Please tell us about WORKPOINT engineering.
WORKPOINT engineering is a full service structural engineering consultancy. We design buildings to withstand nature’s and man-made forces while improving functionality, efficiency and aesthetics of buildings through innovative engineering solutions. But that is only a fraction of what we do or why we do it. At the core of our company we are a group of people intrigued by the possibilities of design and obsessed with the craftsmanship required to deliver beautiful products and outstanding service. We enjoy experimenting new theories and ideas and contributing to the uniqueness of structures and the built environment. We work on a wide range of projects. From single to multi-family buildings, corporate buildings and stadiums to high-rise buildings and sculptures. The ideal project for us is not defined by its size or market sector but by the value we can add.

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