I Choose Memphis: Jittapong 'JT' Malasri

Special to The Daily News

MALASRI

“I Choose Memphis” spotlights Memphians who are passionate about calling this community home. New Memphis Institute provides the profiles.

Name: Jittapong “JT” Malasri

Job Title and Company: Lead engineer, MLGW

Length of time living in Memphis: 26 years

Life history: Although born in Miami, Fla., I am a Memphian by choice. I originally moved to Midtown when my father took a job at Christian Brothers University and soon thereafter moved to Cordova, where I eventually graduated from Houston High School.

I received my B.S. in civil engineering (’06) and M.B.A. (’12) from Christian Brothers University and an M.S. in civil engineering (’11) from University of Memphis.

I currently serve as the lead engineer in Residential Engineering for Memphis Light, Gas and Water, where I oversee the utility design for new residential use developments throughout Shelby County.

My interests include urban land design, water resources and low-impact development.

What connects you to the city? Although my friends and family are here in Shelby County and working at MLGW presents unique opportunity to meet a variety of people, it's actually my work with various civic and professional organizations where I meet most of the individuals who help connect me to the city's pulse.

Civic and volunteer work provides not only the opportunity to give back to my profession and community but also helps me develop relationships with the individuals and organizations who are on the ground working to move Memphis and Shelby County forward. Seeing results and progress keeps me both connected and engaged.

What do you find surprising about Memphis? I am amazed with the work from current community leaders on not only developing the next generation of leaders but also what is being done to leave a better Memphis for the future generation. I recently had the opportunity to attend a land use “bootcamp” session, which introduced a new paradigm of thinking on how our land is used and developed. The session was attended by public, private and nonprofits sectors and community leaders, including some elected officials. Memphians are coming together, collaborating and re-evaluating current approaches to develop long-range solutions.

Memphis’ most underrated trait? Memphis' most underrated trait is the ability to produce homegrown talent. Being tried and tested in the Memphis environment forges strong leaders with grit. The magnitude and complexity of the challenges which we face as a city today forces problem solvers to be creative and innovative in order to discover solutions that work. I believe when you find an effective solution in Memphis, you can apply the same process anywhere.

Greatest opportunity for Memphis? Memphians are the greatest opportunity for Memphis. I believe we have a tremendous upside potential of human capital from the citizens of Memphis. I recently attended a panel discussion which stated that the city of Memphis has one of the largest under-18 populations in of all major metros in the U.S. Our opportunity is to invest, develop and inspire our future citizens.

In your opinion, what can be done to move Memphis forward? For Memphis to reach its full potential, it’s going to take a change in the collective mindset of Memphians. We need to each make a personal choice to take ownership and responsibility for the future of the city. We need to break free from any existing limiting beliefs and dream of what this city can become. We need to acknowledge the reality of our challenges but remain hopeful. We need to realize we are all connected and that we will either collectively fail or succeed. We need to strive to build the self-esteem of Memphians to feel proud our city.