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Drive288 Hero

This January, two members of the Drive288 field team were commemorated by the City of Houston for heroic acts of bravery and protecting Houstonians’ interest. This all stems from a news story that broke late 2018, when employee Henry Alvarez unclogged a flooded highway drain after his supervisor, Luis Torres, scoped out the situation.

Keeping his ear to the ground, Luis Torres reached out to Henry to act quickly after discovering that loose debris caused by inclement weather clogged a drainage grate on SH 288. Due to the flooding, Henry was unable to use his car to get to the problem spot. Leaving his vehicle and proceeding on foot, Henry walked a quarter mile to the drain to clear the debris causing the delays. Once removed, Henry stuck around to ensure no additional fragments caused interference with the drain.

Not knowing he was caught on tape, Henry came home to see his face on the local news. Being called the Drive288 Hero by ABC13 reporter, Deborah Wrigley, both Henry and Luis have been acknowledged by the City of Houston for their efforts. All commuting public of Houston also extends their thanks and gratitude to these men for their quick thinking and swift action.

To see more about Henry’s act of bravery, check out the video below.


A 288 Success Story

Here at Drive288 we love it when a plan comes together.

We’re proud to say that Summer 2017 intern, Adreanna Broussard, has officially been hired on the project! Having finished her Civil Engineering degree this past December at UTSA, Adreanna joins the team as a Field Engineer, focusing on Segments 5 and 6. The Drive288 team is very proud of the work Adreanna has contributed to the project thus far and couldn’t be more excited to have her on the project. 

Syntoria’s Story

The flooding and destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey was an unprecedented catastrophe in the city. Homes were destroyed, families were forced to seek shelter, and damaged highways were non-functional for weeks. The city of Houston has since rebuilt, restored, and lent a helping hand to its citizens, but there are still many families who are displaced or rebuilding. The latter is true for some employees of the Drive288 project.

Meet Syntoria Flagg. Born and raised in Louisiana, Syntoria joined the commuting ranks of Houstonians nearly a decade ago. Initially working in the Oil & Gas Industry, Syntoria began weighing her options when the industry took a drastic downturn. The plummeting cost of oil caused many companies to panic, taking rash measures to stop the hemorrhaging cash flow. Because of this unstable environment, Syntoria decided to leverage her existing skillset and apply them in the Construction industry. Having worked in the field for two years, as well as being a regular commuter on SH 288, Syntoria recognized the potential of the Drive288 project and wanted to be part of the amazing transition that would take place over the next few years.

Prior to Hurricane Harvey, Syntoria and her family ate, slept, played, cooked, and lived in the same home for eight years. Due to the events of Hurricane Harvey, their home suffered damage to the structure of the house: roof, walls paint, sheetrock, and carpet. On top of that, their family lost furniture, storage units, yard equipment, and additional belongings that added to Harvey’s tally. But thanks to the help offered by the Drive288 Project and the Association of General Contractors, much of their home has been repaired and they have replaced lost items.

“I love how our AGC family pulled together their time and resources to help so many of us who lost so much during Hurricane Harvey,” says Flagg. “The AGC grant helped us recover expenses we incurred as a result of the damage.” Syntoria also called out the kindness of one Drive288 employee in particular, Raynese Edwards. “[Raynese] was relentless in referring us to any additional resources that became available. I would receive a couple emails [from her] per week, as well as stopping by my office if she heard of a resource we could possibly benefit from, she passed on the information.”

Syntoria commented on the overwhelming support of AGC, Drive288, and BTG. “Having a work family like AGC reminds us that there are still people in the world who are concerned about others in time of need. I am grateful! Thanks again for your support!”

Vicente Gomez – Behind the Design

The Drive288 Project is in full effect, with about a year and a half of construction remaining. As field engineers and construction workers grind day and night to complete the 10.3 miles of managed lanes, the overall project is helping to be fulfilled by Design Build Manager, Vincente Gomez; one of the tours de fource behind the design.

Coming to Texas with a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Madrid, Spain, Gomez serves as the Design Build Manager for the Drive288 Project. Joining the Construction industry as an intern for Dragados in 1999, Gomez was inspired since childhood to follow in his father’s footsteps as a Civil Engineer.

Prior to the joint venture for the construction on SH 288, Gomez has offered his services on several major projects across North America; the most recent being the NEAHD in Edmonton, Canada. This project included the closure of the Edmonton ring road and was executed with a budget of $1.5M (CAD).

As the Design Build Manager for this project, Gomez’s responsibility is to help develop the design of the project, coordinating the relationship between the designers and construction team. “It’s a very challenging project,” says Gomez. “Building eleven miles of toll lanes and three big interchanges around an existing and very busy highway is an incredible challenge.” But Gomez remains excited and anticipatory for the end of the project, where the traveling public will be able to get “from Pearland to I-69 in just ten minutes!”

Women in Construction: Sara Hennningsgaard

The Drive288 project takes great pride in establishing an inclusive work environment, with a team of workers that reflects the uniquely diverse community of Houston. In one of the most male-dominated industries in the world, we deeply value the hard-working women whose diligent work on the project is unparalleled.

On this edition of Women in Construction, we highlight Sara Henningsgaard. Raised in Damascus, Maryland, Sara is a civil engineer and a graduate of the University of Minnesota. With six of Sara’s siblings also being engineers, engineering is a sort of family tradition for the Henningsgaard’s. Her father, who also happens to be a civil engineer, served as a role model for Sara, developing in her an early passion for the field.
“Engineering was the family business, but fortunately, I enjoyed the technical disciplines in school and the problem solving that goes along with being a civil engineer,”
said Henningsgaard.

From college student to intern to field inspector to project manager, Sara worked her way up her organization and now serves as an important piece of the Drive288 project, subcontracted with Roy Jorgensen. With over 12 years of engineering experience, she has also worked on several other major highway construction projects, including I595 Express in Florida, I70 in Colorado, and I495 Express in Virginia.

“This [civil engineering] field continues to be an enjoyable challenge and has always been a good fit for my skill set and personality,” she said.

The Drive288 project appreciates diligent workers like Sara, and she is just as appreciative for the cohesive atmosphere on the team.

“What I enjoy most is the diversity of disciplines that are involved and required on such a large-scale infrastructure project (construction, operations and maintenance, PI, finance, etc.),” said Henningsgaard. “All these project components need to work collaboratively to achieve project success. This exposure also enables me to continue to learn outside of my core skillset.

Drive 288 Human Interest Piece

Drive288 is committed to communicating progress, construction updates, and other details with the traveling public. As the events of Hurricane Harvey have tested our mettle, we came out not only Texas Strong, but #hoUStonStrong. Our team has rallied together and come out stronger after the hurricane, but we wanted to give you an inside peek at the names and faces that have made us 288Strong.

Meet Greg Snider, Enrique Martin, and Fernando Arranz. These men have the vision that keeps Drive288 moving forward. Greg is the Project Manager of TxDOT, the entity all our construction is housed under, Enrique serves as the CEO of BTG, lead developer of the construction project, and Fernando is the Project Manager of the Almeda-Genoa Constructors, lead contractors.


How did you come to work with the Drive288 project?

Greg: My previous assignment with TxDOT was managing Segments F1, F2, and G of the Grand Parkway, a 38-mile greenfield design-build project on the northwest side of Houston. The project was on the cusp of transitioning into the Operations phase when the SH 288 contract was awarded. During this period, I was asked to manage the Drive288 project.

Enrique: As part of the ACSID organization, I was seconded to this Project in August 2015.

Fernando: I came to work on the Drive288 Project in June 2015 as a Construction Manager. I’ve worked for Dragados my entire career, so the company transferred me from a different highway project. As of June 2017, I have assumed the role of Project Manager with AGC.

What has been the most rewarding part of your work with the Drive288 project?

Greg: I would have to say working with the Drive288 team: my TxDOT staff, BTG, AGC, REL, our Independent Engineer and my GEC. Every day, I am surrounded by knowledgeable and experienced staff excited to work on such a vital corridor, fundamental to the growth and development of this community.

Enrique: One of the best parts has been forming a reliable team of hard workers who manage all aspects and parts of the Drive288 Toll Lanes Construction Project.

Fernando: It’s amazing to see how the construction progresses with the great team of professionals that make up Drive288, as we are really working together as one.

As the project continues, how will your work with the project change?

Greg: Looking forward, I hope to continue to work with our partners in the community and stay focused on minimizing the impacts of the project on the daily commuters and community. In the following years, the project will transition from design & construction work to operation & maintenance. As the progression of these project phases occurs my area of focus will transition as well.

Enrique: Currently we are concentrated on construction, but as the project progresses, there will be a moment close to the substantial completion where everybody will have a look at O&M.

Fernando: More work and less sleep.

How long have you been working in the construction industry?

Greg: Out of my 13 years of experience, about 7 years have been in construction.  

Enrique: Around 27 years.

Fernando: It’s been about 18 years now.

What have been some of the difficulties of the project for you, and how have you overcome them?

Greg: At times, working with the various stakeholders has been a challenge. Most of these obstacles can be overcome with proactive communication and forward thinking. Although concerns may arise through the remainder of the project, the level of communication will initiate innovative solutions for a project of this magnitude, as well as our partners.

Enrique: Just the day-to-day workload can be difficult to manage sometimes. Thankfully, we all have a good team right now in BTG.

Fernando: Every day is a challenge for different reasons, so it’s really hard to select just one.

What are you most looking forward to as work on the project continues?

Greg: I’m most looking forward to the day we can all celebrate a ribbon cutting, on time, standing side-by-side with our partners in the community, and the SH 288 team. The experience of being one of the first to drive down the new SH 288 toll lanes will be one I never forget.

Enrique: I’m looking forward to meeting all the deadlines and milestones, and keeping my composure throughout all operations.

Fernando: I am looking forward to opening traffic to our first connector. I can’t wait to see how much the public is going to enjoy the new road.






Women in Construction: Ashley Neighbors-Evans

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”- Michelle Obama

The Drive288 project prides itself on establishing a work environment of diversity and inclusivity, with equal and fair treatment for everyone on the project. Mirroring the unique diversity of Houston, its team of workers come from all walks of life and take pride in the individual challenges and triumphs that brought them to the Drive288 project.

There is one worker in particular who knows a thing or two about overcoming a challenge. Meet Ashley Neighbors-Evans. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Ashley is a traffic engineer and a graduate of Florida A&M University. As a teenager, she slowly developed a passion for the construction field, spending her summers renovating old homes with her uncle. With five years of construction experience under her belt, she has also worked on the massive, $2 billion I35W-I820N North Tarrant Expressway project in Fort Worth—moving up the ranks as a Project Engineer/Project Manager to infrastructure, as a Traffic Coordinator/Traffic Engineer.

“I chose to be an engineer because I knew it would be exciting and challenging,” said Neighbors-Evans. “Engineering is a field that not only solves world problems but also impacts people’s lives.”

Entering a male-dominated industry, the road to Drive288 was not always easy for Ashley. She knew she had hurdles to overcome, but she was more than “up for the challenge.” Fresh out of college, she found herself applying to jobs without receiving any leads in return. Eventually, she took a step of faith and purchased a one-way ticket to Virginia in search of a job. Knocking on door after door aggressively job-hunting, she received her first job offer with a small 8A firm in Washington, D.C.

“Being the only woman in a group of men is a challenge, but it has been important for me to realize that people who do not respect me because I am a female are the exception and not the rule. I honestly embrace those experiences now because they have empowered me to be more assertive and straightforward.”

The Drive288 project is grateful to have workers like Ashley, and she is just as grateful for the cohesive atmosphere on the team.

“I really love the work environment. I like how everyone works together, as a team, coming from all different backgrounds, to get the job done,” she said. “Everyone has been very welcoming and respectful.”


A note from Ashley:

“I would like to thank all the strong women in my lineage who inspired me to be the best I can be, and who also taught us that we could be whoever we wanted to be. Because of you, I am where I am today and I thank you!”

Drive288 Summer Interns Spotlight

In The Median

Drive288 Summer Interns Spotlight

The Drive288 team has been pulsing with new energy and skills that four summer interns have brought from their diverse backgrounds and experiences. We would like to spotlight our valued team of interns and hear about their summer experience at Drive288. Read more below!


Name: Matthew Bryant
“The road to success is always under construction” – Lily Tomlin

Age: 23

Hometown: Angleton, TX

Education: Winter 2018 – Texas State University (Construction Science and Management)

Reason why you got into this field?:
I have always thought construction was fascinating; the way that people build these huge amazing structures always amazed me.  I want to be involved in that process, be able to look at a project that I have completed, and think to myself “Wow, I had a role in building that!”

What did you like about your internship with the Drive288 project?:
The part that I enjoyed the most was getting to be involved with the structures team. I have done earth work and paving operations before but I have never been around structures, such as columns, being built from the foundation up. It was a huge learning experience to see that in person and not just from a book in class.

What segment did you spend your time working on during your internship?
I was assigned to the North Segment. However, I did get to see the whole project and spent time with the field engineers for each aspect of the project from the South Segment all the way to the roadway team.

 What are your plans after graduation?
When I graduate, I am going to try to find a job in the Austin, Texas area since my girlfriend already has an established career in the area. I feel like I will be able to find a good job there, since there is a large amount of construction going on in the Austin area.




Name: Samir Wahab

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

Age: 20

Hometown: Houston, TX

Education: Spring 2019 – Texas A&M University (Civil Engineering)

 Reason why you got into this field?: 
Civil Engineers are responsible for designing and creating the infrastructure that supports our way of life, which is why enjoy the work in this field. Civil Engineers innovate to directly serve the people.

What did you like about your internship with the Drive288 project?:
My internship experience with the Drive288 project, and more specifically AGC, has taught me a great deal about the construction industry. At the same time, I have enjoyed getting to know the people I work with. I have enjoyed being part of such a critical roadway project that serves so many people, because it has given me insight into the development of cities.

What segment did you spend your time working on during your internship?
I was assigned to the South Segment team, but I made an effort to experience and work with a variety of teams such as the roadway team, North Segment and even the safety team. By diversifying my exposure, I now have a well-rounded understanding of the different engineering process required to successfully build an infrastructure project, according to TXDOT requirements.

What are your plans after graduation?
After undergrad, I plan to pursue a Masters Degree in Civil Engineering to further my capacity as an engineer and become closer to gaining my Professional Engineers License or PE.



Name: Adreanna Broussard– “Who Dat?! A-G-C!”

Age: 25

Hometown: Houston, TX

Education: December 2017 – The University of Texas at San Antonio (Civil Engineering)

Reason why you got into this field?:
For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed math and art. When I arrived at UTSA I knew I wanted to do Architecture. There was just something about the idea of designing a house, a building, or sky scraper that just really sparked my interest. Unfortunately, at the time, there was not a high-demand for architects. So, I switched my focus to Engineering. I chose to go the Civil-route, because I felt that it was the closest thing to architecture; in that, there is still that major influence in design and innovation.

What did you like about your internship with the Drive288 project?:
One of the things I have absolutely loved about this internship is the independence and the respect that I have received here. The opportunity, and freedom, to have all the information I could ever need in my field of work…right here… at my finger-tips, had to be the most amazing part of this experience. I’m a nerd, I love to learn; and I’m actually pretty sociable. So, being surrounded by so many people that have worked in this industry for so many years… was a real treat as far as I’m concerned.


What segment did you spend your time working on during your internship?
I spent majority of my time with the Safety department during my internship. But I did take it upon myself to go and tease the brains of the field engineers for tips, tools, and understandings of what they do on a day to day basis. So I guess you can say I had a pretty good mix between my Safety field-time and my Engineering field-time.

What are your plans after graduation?
My immediate plans are to clean and get a lot of sleep. Ha-ha! But I definitely plan to get a job and start work as soon as I can. I am eager to get into the field and start to apply the things that I’ve learned in class. It’s one thing to see it in a book and read about it, but it’s another thing when you’re actually putting that study into application.



Name: Ammar Osman
– “When in distress, I do my best!” – Rene Sanchez, 288 Project Equipment Manager

Age: 22

Hometown: Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

Education: Spring 2018 – University of Houston (Civil Engineering)

Reason why you got into this field?:
As I was younger, I was always fascinated by buildings or man-made structures in general. Once in high school, my physics and math grades were not that great, which deterred me from joining the engineering program in college. Instead, I pursued the medical path. Two years into college, I realized I needed to at least give it a try. I got A’s in all of my math and physics classes and now I am just one year away from finally becoming an engineer.

What did you like about your internship with the Drive288 project?:
I honestly really enjoyed the people and the work environment here. I expected the work environment to be very uptight, since this is a big project that demands constant attention. This was not the case at all. People did finish their work on time but it did not let it stress them or the other employees out.

What segment did you spend your time working on during your internship?
I was assigned to Fabio’s team, who is in charge of the roadway. I had the pleasure to go out onto the field countless times with the field engineers.

What are your plans after graduation?
My plan is to work for a better world. It is certainly a cliché term but the other reason I wanted to become an engineer is because a majority of the structures we build are for the community. For that purpose I feel like, in a way, I am giving back to my community.

DBE Spotlight: Lazer Construction Company, Inc.

In The Median

DBE Spotlight

Lazer Construction Company, Inc.

Because Drive288 is dedicated to enriching the communities around our project, we value employing Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) when choosing subcontractors. Of the project’s $815 million budget, $97.8 million is specified for employing certified DBEs. This quarter, we are featuring Lazer Construction Company, Inc. as our DBE Spotlight. Lazer Construction is currently responsible for the excavation and hauling of 800,000 cubic yards of soil, as well as base and asphalt for detour lanes to keep the freeway moving during the Drive288 construction.

Lazer Construction is a civil construction company that has been in business since 1992. The company works all around the greater Houston area, as well as in Beaumont and Galveston. As a certified DBE, MBE, and SBE, Lazer Construction certainly qualified to be hired from Drive288’s DBE budget. However, the owner, Ousley Lacy, was quick to point out this doesn’t mean getting the contract was easy.
“Yes, the certification can help get you in the door, but you must prove yourself and be competent,” said Lacy. “You must be able to present your credentials and be capable to perform. Be persistent!”

Lacy credits his company’s success to both their moral and ethical backbone, as well as their commitment to new and evolving technology. Between their hard work, and the dedication to provide customers with the most efficient new technologies, Lazer Construction ensures their customers are satisfied. By fostering a positive company culture that results in happy employees with low turnover, Lacy and his team are able to maintain the factors that makes their company great.

“As a native Texan- who moved to Houston in 1978, I’ve been driving 288 for more than 20 years, and I’m glad to be a part of Houston’s expansion,” said Lacy. “Drive288 has been fair to work for, and I look forward to working with them through the end of the project.”

In addition to the Drive288 project, the Lazer Construction Company has been a part of projects for Dynamo Stadium, IAH Airport, George R. Brown Convention Center Superbowl Improvements, the Houston METRO light rail, UTMB, and Beaumont ISD.

In the Median: Quinton Salisbury

In The Median

In the Median: Quinton Salisbury

Former TSU Football Player Advances in Career

The Drive288 team is made up of people from all walks of life, and from all across the world. Although originally from Louisiana, one of the project’s engineers has since made Houston his home. Meet Quinton Salsberry, a graduate of TSU and a promising young Field Engineer on the ongoing Drive288 highway expansion project.

After attending high school in Grambling, LA, Quinton moved to Houston to play football for Texas Southern University. There, he completed two Bachelor of Science degrees, one in Civil Engineering Technology and the second in Civil Engineering. The doors opened by these degrees left Quinton able to move directly into a Field Engineer position on the Drive288 project. This construction is improving the functionality of 10.3 miles of SH 288 by implementing new toll lanes, which will enable the highway to handle traffic better than ever before.

“I really enjoyed a smooth transition from college into my career,” said Quinton. “Texas Southern did a great job preparing its students for what is expected after graduation.”

This is Quinton’s first job on a major highway construction project, and he enjoys the opportunities and challenges the position presents.

“Construction has always been something I took interest in,” he remarked. “The opportunity to get to see something built from the ground up is amazing and takes a lot of patience. I particularly like that Drive288 is a design-build project, which makes it more challenging and interesting, from an engineer’s point of view.”

As a young engineer starting out, Quinton has a leadership role on the project. In spite of some language barriers and having to earn the respect of seasoned laborers in the field, the challenges of the position have made it even more rewarding. Working with the Drive288 team has solidified Quinton’s belief in the effectiveness of the Drive288 project.

“Being a part of this team, I can see how the SH 288 construction is going to make a major impact for surrounding communities and Houston itself,” said Quinton. “The construction so far is coming along well.”

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