Leading Engineer TJ Ju becomes a US Citizen

Congratulations to TJ Ju, PE, on becoming a US Citizen.  TJ is our lead geotechnical design engineer, a partner at Subsurface, a volunteer in his community and our friend.  We sat down with TJ to see what makes him tick.

Briefly describe what you do all day.

I design excavation shoring and deep foundation systems, respond to various field issues for ongoing projects and brainstorm with team members on new proposal ideas.   I stay up to date reading technical papers from geotechnical engineering journals.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Each project is unique and demands the most creative solution for its success. From time to time I encounter a very challenging one, but I work with very talented team members including PMs and superintendents to get it through. This is very enjoyable and rewarding.

Whether I am designing a shoring wall or deep foundation system, I know our work is one of the first activities on site. Success of the whole project always requires a great start. Our design and construction are essential parts for the project’s success.

What’s the best thing about Subsurface?

Subsurface genuinely cares about people, not just our employees, but also our clients and project owners.  Subsurface works together as a team. We have very talented team members, engineers, estimators, PMs and superintendents. We always do our best and learn from each other.

What’s been one of your proudest moments working at Subsurface?

The most memorable moment in my 17 years at Subsurface was the day I was offered partnership. Since starting Subsurface in Spring 2002, I have tried my best to help the company grow. Then I felt that the founders had recognized the work I did for Subsurface. I was very thankful and truly felt Subsurface caring, not only its success, but also each employee’s growth and success.

What do you like to do when you’re not at the office?

I enjoy spending time with my family. We often go biking and swimming all together. NC is the best state for a family and I want to take advantage of it as much as possible. I also like to travel with family and read books.

What inspires you?

God. He always works through people around me to give inspiration.

Why engineering?

I enjoyed math and physics through my K-12 years and wanted to help practically people in need. Also, my father was an engineer (textile engineer, also businessman) and taught me what engineers could possibly do for the world. Truly it is a joy to see my designs being built and later being used by other people.

If you weren’t an engineer, what would you be doing?

Movie director. When I was in college in Korea, I used to work with a group of people making independent movies. I enjoyed it very much. At one point I seriously thought about becoming a movie director but gave it up due to some personal reasons.

What lead you to become a US citizen?

Below is a copy of my short note to a dear friend who congratulated me on becoming a US citizen. I think that this can be my answer to this question.

“I do appreciate your thoughtful and caring words. Now I can tell you this. Truly what led me to become an American today is not that it is the richest country in the world full of great opportunities, but Americans like you, everyone who has supported me, cared for me and treated me as a real friend of theirs for past 20 years. I assure that you are definitely one of them, my dear American friend. Once again thanks a lot for everything you have done for me and my family. May the Lord always be with you.”