Raj Setty’s journey to joining his family-run engineering company was anything but straightforward.
The Virginia native studied mechanical engineering at UC Davis. There, he worked on a CalTrans research grant project, designing and building robots to fill cracks in freeways. To this day, he said, the experience is one of his fondest memories. “You can do anything with engineering,” Setty ’92 said.
Shortly after graduating, Setty returned to the Washington D.C. area. Working with GeoTrans, a transportation consulting firm, he tracked and plotted the impacts of pollutants on drinking water in the Central Valley. Shortly after, Setty joined the Peace Corps and moved to Namibia to teach math and physics. “It was spectacular,” Setty said, describing his experience there.
Several other jobs followed after the Peace Corps, landing Setty in San Croix, Charlotte, the Marshall Islands and Taiwan, before he joined the family engineering design firm, Setty & Associates. Since its founding in 2001, the 20-person business has grown to 220 employees with eight office locations. The firm is dedicated to creating energy-conscious buildings.
Setty, now president of the firm, is currently working with UC Davis in Salinas, on a Department of Agriculture research lab. He said his favorite project has been Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. “It became LEED platinum, and it has one of the largest geothermal fields in an urban setting in the world.” he said. “I’m very proud of it.”
When asked about working with his family, Setty said, “The trust is inherent. The enthusiasm of youth cannot be understated, nor can the wisdom of elders.”