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Philip Gates ’08

Sustaining a Great Career in Energy

By Donna Parker

Philip Gates, who received his bachelor’s degree in engineering science from Trinity in 2008, stayed close to campus after graduating, securing a position in the sustainable energy sector with the City of San Antonio, just down the road.  Philip credits his alma mater for fine tuning his critical thinking skills, which he uses on the job each and every day.

“The University really provided me with the necessary background skills to succeed in my current position,” says Philip.  “Creative thinking, problem solving, and a big picture perspective have been invaluable in researching areas of new technology and recommending best practices for energy and environmental policy to the City of San Antonio.”

“It’s been a very open and flexible work atmosphere in which I can conduct research and then assist in policy decisions.  I’m very hopeful about the future of energy usage in San Antonio as we work on reducing energy waste and creating new jobs for the people of San Antonio.”

Philip says professors such as Mahbub Uddin, department of engineering science, provided the guidance and expertise necessary to help him succeed.

“He was engaging and personable, going the extra mile with students.  He taught environmental engineering and I use those principles daily.  Richard Butler, department of economics, was also a brilliant man teaching us how economics and the environment are intertwined.  Most of the projects he assigned were so real world and right on; they were surprisingly similar to what I’m doing in my work with the city.”

Philip also remains committed to a life of service, working with the homeless and participating in his neighborhood’s community garden.  Giving back of his time stems from his student days when he co-founded a residence hall community known as the Swashbucklers.

“We felt the need for more than what was provided in typical dorm life.  There were up to 100 of us living together in one dorm.  We were involved in each others’ lives—hanging out and studying together.  Our doors were always open and we hosted events that were an alternative to the typical party scene, such as ultimate Frisbee, capture the flag, and holiday-themed parties.”

Even now, Philip shares a house with three of those Trinity friends, hanging out playing cards and board games, practicing bass guitar, and escaping city life by backpack camping and hiking.  He also loves to swing dance in his free time. He takes lessons and goes to swing dances, occasionally running into Trinity “swing bums,” whom he knew while in school. 

Certainly his first year out has been a success and in looking ahead to the next 10 years, Philip has very clear goals.

“I want to be engaged with my local community and working in a field that allows me to be socially and environmentally proactive.  I hope this takes me to a place of real need, where I can lend my skills and grow as a person.”

You may e-mail Philip at Philip.gates@sanantonio.gov.