Dennis Engineering Company has the young New Mexico Tech graduate Brayden Walker working with manhole upkeep in Socorro county.
Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain


Brayden Walker is a 22-year-old project representative for Dennis Engineering Company.

What is it that you do for the company?

I work mainly with quality and control testing. Today our team is on the corner of Grant and Fisher in Socorro. We coordinate with the contractors who come to Socorro and work with the wastewater sewage lines. This project in particular is about ensuring this particular manhole is safe to the public. We fill the manhole with water. We have a ‘spec’ and if the numbers fall below the regulated standards, the manhole is designated as faulty. From there, we have to come back and re-fix the manhole according to proper standards.

How long does assessing a manhole take?

Around two to three hours. If it’s faulty repairing it, depending on the location, it normally takes around 15 minutes to an hour, more or less.

Is Dennis Engineering private or government-run?

It is private sector. Right now we have two projects going on in Socorro, including the wastewater collection facility and wastewater collection lines.

What projects does your group do other than those here in Socorro?

All types of things around the state. We do water lines and wastewater protection lines. We go all the way up from here to the Angel Fire area. Our company tries to cover smaller communities like Socorro to make sure they are healthy and safe.

Where is your company based?

Our original base of operations started here in Socorro but since then we’ve grown to have an office in Albuquerque. Tappan Mahoney is the head boss for what we do.

Have you always been in this industry?

No. I did some construction work. I just finished up my degree here at Tech in Civil Engineering.

What was your Tech experience like?

It was good. Took me five years. There weren’t too many females at this college, which was a bummer. But it was a good experience. The hard classes any student could attest to being a pain. Calc 3 for myself was the worst.

Are you born and raised in Socorro?

I was born in the small town of Clayton, New Mexico. I grew up there for every bit of 18 years before I graduated school. I’ve been here in Socorro ever since.

What was your experience in Clayton like?

Super small community. It was nice because everybody knew everybody. If you got in trouble you would have to face consequences. We were living out in the middle of nowhere. My parents Derek and Jeanette have been together for around 30 years and they raised us.

Did you grow up with any siblings?

Two. An older sister, Sterling Walker, and a younger sister, Jaide. Sterling is currently working on a ranch in Clayton and Jaide just graduated high school so she is trying to figure out what she wants to do.

What was it like being the middle child of the group?

It was fun, despite the fact that my older sister could not decide whether to hate you or love you depending on the day. Growing up on the ranch and learning how to do everything by hand as a family was an amazing experience.

How did you come from a ranch to now here in Socorro?

I watched the show “Myth Busters.” They had an episode on ‘M’ Mountain for testing, and I thought that looked pretty cool. I put in an application and fortunately had the grades to get in. Forensic Science was always my best subject in school.

What was it like integrating with students from around the world at Tech?

It went very well. I got to know everyone within a year. Dr. Wesley Cook was my biggest mentor on campus. Without his help, I would have never gotten through the program. At this job now, I plan to be here at least four years before I can think about applying for a professional engineering license.

Those possibilities would not be on the horizon without my advisors or Dr. Cook.

What is your favorite movie?

Right now, I would say the “John Wick” movies. They’re full of action, and he’s out for vengeance in the right way. I mean, don’t kill a man’s dog.

 What is your favorite book?

Anything by Louis L’Amour. He’s a great country writer, and the stories he tells are incredibly detailed.

What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

I’m a big gamer. I was part of the “Rocket League” team at Tech. It’s super fun and the skill is never-ending. I’ve played it for 2,000 hours and I come up against players so far ahead of me.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do?

Pay off my school debt. Pay off my parent’s debt. Then probably invest in some type of stock.

If you could change one thing about Socorro County, what would it be?

I would have to go with things to do. There’s nothing to do here besides go out and hang with friends. We don’t have any type of entertainment place. I mean, even just a bowling alley or arcade or pool hall. Those things would be ideal.


Greg Byrd | El Defensor Chieftain