Hernandez has had many success stories over his 18-year career helping clients secure grants. But there was one recent memorable experience that stands out for him.
“The client had tried several times to get funding for a project, but to no avail,” Hernandez said. “We knew it would qualify for a competitive new grant program under BIL and it was our mindset to pursue it. So, we started early, collected new data, and brought in additional subject matter experts.”
The application resulted in a $400 million award.
“The funny thing was, they only sought a $100 million grant in their first four attempts,” he added. “So, they actually received more money by waiting a little bit longer.”
Hernandez, who started his career as a transit planner at a small agency, said he still finds it rewarding to win funding for new services and amenities in rural communities. “I saw the rewards of that in my grant writing then. Now, I’m doing much larger infrastructure projects, so it's nice to see those be recognized.”
In the past 15 years since WSP started offering this client service, it has achieved $41.8 billion in grant awards and loans for 275 client projects.
Hernandez said he enjoys the challenge of working with state DOTs for billion-dollar projects that are going to have a major impact on millions of people.
“I like that grants keep me on my toes, because of all the rolling deadlines,” he said. ““But the most difficult part is when a program is successfully funded and I have to say farewell. But I still enjoy keeping tabs on their progress on my own. The entire process is fulfilling and rewarding.”
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