Finding a Formula for Success in Tough Economy

Finding a Formula for Success in Tough Economy

Photo of Carlos and Lacey Estrada SolisFrom late-night study sessions in Meriam Library to earning four promotions in less than two years, Carlos Estrada Solis has known the value of hard work. But in 2009, graduating with a civil engineering degree, he struggled to find a job.

After eight months, he landed a job as a planner/scheduler for Sturgeon Services International (SSI), a California oil field contractor in Bakersfield. His wife, Lacey (BS, Business Administration, ’09), already worked for the company (see them at work below). “This was far from the engineering position I once was after,” he admits, “but it was the proverbial foot in the door.”

Despite concerns about being on the wrong path, Estrada gave his all to the job. “I was on a mission to prove to myself that I could succeed no matter where I started,” he says. Estrada credits his minor in project management for preparing him to take on whatever SSI assigned him.

As the only engineer at SSI, he found that his education did not go unnoticed. “On any given day, I could be doing engineering design, databasing, cost controls, managing projects, and more,” he says. Estrada’s hard work and self-motivation led to four promotions, the latest to a position new to the company—quality control engineer.

Estrada is grateful to have been given a chance to excel in a difficult economy. “All I know is that I will continue to work hard,” he says, “as it is a formula that has not failed me yet. 

Noëlle Simkins, Public Affairs and Publications