B.S. Civil Engineering, 1997
Emerio Design, L.L.C.
Neil Fernando was born in Sri Lanka and spent extended periods of his youth in Africa. His introduction to civil engineering began in Botswana while he was selling pumps and other water-related equipment. In the course of his duties, he frequently met with civil engineers.
“I thought it would be cool if I could be one of those people someday,” said Fernando. Due to limited opportunities to receive higher education where he was living, he applied to Oregon State through the International Cultural Service Program.
While at Oregon State, Fernando spent three years as coordinator for the Asian Cultural Center. During that time, he coordinated programs, developed skills in conflict resolution, budgeting, and project management, and learned how to deliver bad news to good people. “In a nutshell, I learned the how-to’s of being a leader,” he said.
He began his career at engineering firms in Portland, Oregon. In 2005, he founded Emerio Design, and has established a stellar reputation among architects, contractors, public agency personnel, and property developers as a responsive and creative problem solver and project manager. Emerio Design is one of the only engineering firms in Oregon that offers services ranging from feasibility to final permit in-house.
Last year, Fernando established an endowment through the OSU Foundation to support at least one student on a full scholarship.
“Somebody paid for me to go to school, so I’m trying to pay it forward,” he said. “Oregon State did what no one has ever done for me, and I’m eternally grateful for that.”