By Doug Berschauer and Mike Ollivant
During major rainfall events many wastewater systems have insufficient capacity to convey all of the combined water and stormwater to the plant. It results in a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) or Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) into an adjacent water body. These overflows occur sporadically during heavy rainfall but are required to be treated or limited to one event per year under EPA consent decree in Washington State.
CSO and SSO equipment only operates a few times a year. These CSO/SSO treatment systems are often very costly and take up a lot of room. They also require quick start up at a moment’s notice.
What if there was a system that took up less space, could start quickly, and provide extremely high-quality water? Approximately 3 years ago, Parametrix began working with the manufacturer OVIVO, a water and wastewater technology solutions company based in Austin, ... (more)
This week, the State Route 99 tunnel through downtown Seattle opened to traffic, culminating many years of planning efforts. At over $3 billion, the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program has been one of the largest transportation investments in Washington State. The now-closed viaduct carried more than 110,000 vehicles per day along the City’s waterfront. While many Seattleites will miss the view from the double-decker freeway, we will all be much safer. The structure was not expected to withstand the “big one” – the major earthquake due for the Seattle area. The possibility of damage or failure in the next earthquake gave the project a sense of urgency and drive for progress.
View from the Alaskan Way Viaduct
Parametrix began working on the envi... (more)
Over the holidays, we had an amazing nine people participate in helping at the soup kitchen near our Bremerton, WA office on New Year’s Eve.
The group, including several Parametrix employee-owners and their families, helped clean up after dinner was served. It was about an hour-and-a-half of bussing tables, wiping down tables and chairs and mopping.
A number of community leaders were present, which was great to see. They spent their time washing dishes and teaching us all how to mop the floors!
I spoke with a woman who has been helping the local homeless in our area by making bubble-wrap camp mats to help people get up off the cold, wet ground. She estimated that there are about 4,000 homeless in the Bremerton area, half of whom are living outside of formal shelters (either in their vehicles or in tents).
A big thanks to these employee-owners and their families who were able to help out. This was ... (more)
Future City is a project-based STEM learning program that allows students to design cities using advanced technology (real or not) to solve complex problems that we face today and then compete against other students. There are several regions in the US that make up about 40,000 participating middle school students. Each team is formed through a group at their school, and also has a professional mentor, usually with a background in engineering or architecture. This competition is a great way for the kids to reach that next level of creativity by solving complex problems without the structure of a classroom or standardized test.
I, along with several of my fellow employee-owners, had the honor of judging the Idaho Regional Future City competition last week. The winner of the Idaho Regional competition will go on to compete in the national competition next month in Washington D.C.
With over 30 teams to judge, we saw some ... (more)
Photo courtesy of the Pacific Science Center.
Background: The Alaskan Way Viaduct (SR99) is the "double-decker" freeway that runs along the Seattle Waterfront. This month it is being shut down permanently. Experts say the structure would not survive the big earthquake that the Seattle area is due for. Therefore it is being torn down and replaced by an underground tunnel. With Seattle traffic already hectic, this shut down has been a major topic in the news and has many Seattleites worried about their commute.
On a rainy night exactly two days and three hours prior to the permanent closure of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Pacific Science Center hosted a panel of transportation geeks to talk about the future of transportation in Seattle. The timing was great, as Seattleites grew anxious about the impending doom to their commute thanks to the extensive news coverage on the closure.
I was honored to be par... (more)
2019 marks Parametrix’s 50th anniversary as a company. Throughout the year we’ll be celebrating this milestone by sharing the history of Parametrix. Today, we would like to share an overview of how Parametrix was founded and has grown into the company we are today.
Parametrix was founded in 1969 in Sumner, WA by George Capestany and Waite Dalrymple, originally as Delta Engineering. The firm was focused on the wastewater business but grew quickly and diversified into six very different business divisions. In 1974, two of the divisions, Delta Engineering and Seattle Marine Laboratories were restructured as Parametrix. With strength in both engineering and science, Parametrix became known as the premier firm for solid waste and city engineering in Washington. Continued steady growth led to expansion into Oregon in 1989 with the opening of our Portland office which specialized in solid waste and environmental remedia... (more)
On December 11, 2018 industry leaders from the public and private sector gathered in Seattle to discuss topics such as Autonomous and Connected Vehicles, Smart Cities, Utilities of the Future and what it all means for the future of our industry.
Here are the 4 Key Takeways from the summit.
1. Our world is rapidly changing and we need to change with it.
“Historical boundaries are disappearing, and better-connected and community-centered aspirations are driving us to seek new ways of living and working.” - Eleanor Allen, PE, CEO at Water for People
2. We have lots of data – the ch... (more)
Rachel Yonamine is an intern in our Portland, OR office. She came to Parametrix through the Civil Engineering Cooperative Program (CECOP) at Oregon State. Parametrix is a partner of the program and selected Rachel as an intern. She is currently studying Civil and Humanitarian Engineering at Oregon State University and is originally from Mililani, Hawaii. Rachel started her internship at Parametrix in June and it will conclude this month as she heads back to school.
I asked her a few questions about her experience at Parametrix as an intern and what her career goals are. Read her responses below.
In 2016, the Kalispel Tribe began planning for a major economic expansion of the Northern Quest Resort. This year, the innovative project which incorporates aspects of the Tribe’s rich cultural history, broke ground.
Parametrix was selected by the Tribe to provide various services including planning, design, and construction services.
Parametrix recently launched a new program called POET, which stands for Parametrix Office Exchange Traveler. This program creates the opportunity for employee-owners to travel to one of our 12 offices throughout the West for training, teaching, empowerment, and fun, all while getting to meet fellow employee-owners face to face. Jenica Hillyard, a transportation engineer from our Bremerton, WA office traveled to our Boise, ID office in late October. Read about her experience below.
Spending the last week of October in the Boise Office was such an amazing experience! I escaped the early morning Seattle fog and enjoyed the sunrise while passing over the Cascade Mountains.
Upon my arrival, I was given the grand tour of the Boise Office. Coming from a... (more)
Each year, we name an employee-owner of the year who fully exemplifies our core values of integrity, compassion, collaboration, fun, client service, and employee-ownership. Employee-owners nominate their coworkers and vote for a winner within each office and then our leadership team selects the overall company employee-owner of the year. That individual then has the opportunity to participate in Board of Directors meetings as the Employee-Owner Representative.
We are excited to announce that this year Cedar Simmons, PE was named Parametrix’s 2018 Employee-Owner of the Year. Cedar is based out of our Bremerton, WA office and is a part of our environmental planning & compliance industrial group.
I asked Cedar a few questions to learn more about her career and goals as employee-owner of the year.
Tell us about your career path – how did you get to where you are now?
After graduating fr... (more)
"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door" - this was the theme of the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship's Opportunity Talks Breakfast held on the morning of November 1. Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) is focused on reducing barriers to higher education and launching young professionals into STEM careers. The organization leverages private donations with state matching funds to provide scholarships along with mentoring and networking opportunities for the scholars.
Parametrix was a proud sponsor of the event, which served as a fundraiser for WSOS. Other sponsors included Sound Transit, Microsoft, Uber, Battelle, and Fred Hutch to name a few. The event raised a total of $895,000 for the organiz... (more)
Several Salt Lake City employee-owners plus significant others participated in a Habitat for Humanity build in Salt Lake County, Utah last Saturday, October 27. This particular Habitat for Humanity project is referred to as the “Field of Dreams.” The primary objective of the “Field of Dreams” project is to provide affordable, energy efficient housing to qualifying low-income families. Once completed, housing units within this community will generate approximately $1.50 a day in utility costs.
October is Employee Ownership Month. As a 100% employee-owned company, Parametrix proudly celebrates this month each year. I asked a few employee-owners, who also happen to serve as the Trustees of Parametrix’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan, what “Employee Ownership” means to them.
“Employee Ownership means that no matter what position you have – upper management, accountant, word processor, surveyor, or a brand-new engineer straight out of college – each one of us has a voice because each one of us owns a part of Parametrix. Each one of us contributes to the bottom line. And best of all, each one of us directly benefits from the success of Parametrix.”
-Cindy Clark, PE
Co-Authored by Greg Mastropietro and Jessica Alden
It was a calm evening on the plains of eastern New Mexico in mid-August of this year. The sun was slowly setting and painting the sky in hues of yellows, oranges, reds, pinks, and purples reflecting off wispy cirrus clouds. A man was out walking along a desolate dirt road, the nearest house at least half a mile away. The man, Darren Pollock, is an entomology professor at Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) in Portales, New Mexico. As he walked along the road about 30 miles west of Portales, swishing his bug net to collect samples of assassin flies for further study, he noticed a strangely shaped rock protruding out of the road cut. Naturally, his scientific curiosity led him to further investigate, and after careful digging, he removed a large stone spear point measuring 8.5 inches in length. Thrilled with his discovery, Dr. Pollock returned to the site with his s... (more)
University of Utah ChicagoLAB 2018 participants. Photo courtesy of ChicagoLAB.
Salt Lake City Parametrix employee-owner, Michael Baker recently completed his Master of City and Metropolitan Planning degree at the University of Utah with the help of Parametrix’s educational benefit program.To culminate his degree, Michael participated in ChicagoLAB – an intensive summer research studio and service learning course in which students spent 6 weeks in Chicago meeting with local practitioners, networking and researching planning issues that matter to the city. This year, the project focused on maintaining housing affordability in Chicago’s Puerto Rican and Latino neighborhoods.
In cities everywhere, renters and homeowners are experiencing the increasing pressure of rising housing costs. In Chicago, the construction of the 606 Trail and linear park—like New York’s Highline Trail—sparked skyrocketin... (more)
August 3 - 5 marked the 12th consecutive year a group of employee-owners from the Boise office have tamed the S. Fork of the Boise River Canyon. Parametrix employee-owners Doug Camenisch, Brock Strand, Matt Iseger, Trey Parry (from the Seattle office), and I spent 3 days rafting, camping, fishing, indulging, eating, and not discussing work! It’s amazing how peaceful life can be when you lose cell reception.
The S. Fork of the Boise River is home to some of the best wild rainbow trout fishing in the west and that proved accurate this year with over 100 fish landed by the group (all but two fish taco candidates were released unharmed). Highlights for the year included: Cody and Trey finding both sheds to a 7 point bull elk, 88 degree days, cliff jumping, the Buffalo Creek Rapid, and a canyon all to ourselves! Only 5 other rafts floated through all weekend.
This trip is a great tradition that we all look forward to... (more)
Parametrix has been using drones (also known as UAV or UAS) for several years to document preconstruction conditions, construction progress, and to gain perspective of hard to reach places like under bridges, above landfills, over waterways, and along cliffs.
Parametrix received an FAA 333 Exemption in the early stages of drone applications to fly commercially and now requires all of their operators to be FAA certified Remote Pilots. That’s when Parametrix employee-owner Brad Rhoades, LSIT decided to join the highly skilled UAV team at Parametrix. Brad is a surveyor in our Bend, OR office. He decided to get his Remote Pilot License so that he can fly drones on projects for our clients. He said he believes that the use of drones will increase over the next several years and he wants to be a part of those future opportunities. He also adds “plus they’re just cool and it’s a chance to relive some childhood fun of operating rem... (more)
Sean joins our Bend, OR office as a land surveying intern. He is from Dairy, OR and is currently a student at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) where he is working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Geomatics with a focus on Land Surveying. Prior to joining Parametrix, he had an internship at the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and has worked at a family ranch and the hospital in Klamath Falls.
What made you decide to pursue a career in surveying?
I like that the job allows you to do a good portion of your work outside in the field. I also like that I’ll have the opportunity to travel to remote places.
What hobbies do you have outside of work?
I enjoy doing pretty much anything... (more)
This summer Parametrix has the honor of hosting several interns. Over the next couple months we will be introducing a few of them on the Inspired People Blog.
Jill Shinn is an intern in the project and construction management group based out of our Seattle office. This is her second summer interning at Parametrix. She is currently pursuing a Master in Civil Engineering degree at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She is originally from Woodinville, WA and enjoys running, walking and hiking with her puppy, swimming, and skiing.
I asked her a few questions about her career, why she chose Parametrix, and what she is looking forward to in the future.
How did you become interested in civil engineering?
I have always been inte... (more)