parametrix inspired people blog

Meet an Engineer: Sheng-Wen Seow

2-20-2020

To celebrate Engineers Week 2020, we're introducing you to several engineers at Parametrix. They'll be sharing what inspired them to pursue a career in engineering, what they enjoy most about their career, and their advice for up and coming engineers.

Today, meet Sheng-Wen Seow. He is a transportation engineer based out of Southwest Washington. He has over 20 years of industry experience.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I’ve always been interested in figuring out how things worked since I was young.  When I was a kid, I dreamt of being either an inventor or a mad scientist. Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that while being an engineer may not be as “glamorous” as being an inventor or mad scientist, but it is a career that is realistic, suits my abilities, and serves the greater good.  However, if you have the aptitude to b... (more)

 

Meet an Engineer: Elizabeth Healy

2-20-2020

We continue the celebration of Engineers Week by introducing you to several engineers at Parametrix. They'll be sharing what inspired them to pursue a career in engineering, what they enjoy most about their career, and their advice for up and coming engineers.

Today, which also happens to be Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, we're excited to introduce you to Elizabeth Healy. Elizabeth is a transportation engineer based out of our Salt Lake City office. She has 5 years of industry experience.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I wanted a career that was both rewarding and challenging. That, plus my LOVE of math made engineering seem like the perfect field to specialize in!

<... (more)

 

Meet an Engineer: Cameron Carlson

2-19-2020

To celebrate Engineers Week 2020, we're introducing you to several engineers at Parametrix. They'll be sharing what inspired them to pursue a career in engineering, what they enjoy most about their career, and their advice for up and coming engineers.

Today, meet Cameron Carlson. Cameron is an electrical engineer based out of our Seattle office. He has 5 years of industry experience.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I was sitting in my parent’s basement failing to make ends meet as a musician, and I thought about the most challenging thing I could imagine doing to improve my life. Electrical engineering was the first thing that came to mind. I was inspired by how poor my grades were in physics and math and how little I understood electromagnetism; I figured the key to my prosperity was to turn my greatest weaknesses to my greatest strengths. I was also fired up about th... (more)

 

Meet an Engineer: Hiba Farag

2-19-2020

To celebrate Engineers Week 2020, we're introducing you to several engineers at Parametrix. They'll be sharing what inspired them to pursue a career in engineering, what they enjoy most about their career, and their advice for up and coming engineers.

Today, meet Hiba Farag. Hiba is currently completing at internship at Parametrix. She attends Seattle University and plans to graduate this June with a Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I’ve always been drawn to math and science, but when I learned that engineers can apply their knowledge to the real world to help better communities, that’s when I decided to pursue engineering.

What do you enjoy most about engineering?

What I enjoy most about engineering is being able to take what I enjoy doing, solving problems, and impact the community for the be... (more)

 

Meet an Engineer: Seth Sokol

2-18-2020

For Engineers Week 2020, we're introducing you to a few engineers at Parametrix. They'll be sharing what inspired them to pursue a career in engineering, what they enjoy most about their career, and their advice for those pursuing a career in engineering.

Today, meet Seth Sokol. Seth is an engineer in our Portland Water group. He has 14 years of industry experience.

What do you enjoy most about your career in engineering?

For me, engineering is all about problem solving. This could be a simple calculation to determine the correct slope on a pipe or perhaps a consensus-building consultation with a municipal client to help them achieve their clean water goals. Either way, these and endless other problems are all waiting for the engineer’s judgement and hard work to solve.

What advice would you give to someone pursuing a career in engineering?

Do... (more)

 

Meet an Engineer: JC Hungerford

2-17-2020

For Engineers Week 2020, we're introducing you to a few engineers at Parametrix. They'll be sharing what inspired them to pursue a career in engineering, what they enjoy most about their career, and their advice for those pursuing a career in engineering.

Today, meet JC Hungerford. JC leads Parametrix's Puget Sound Water Division and has 13 years of industry experience.

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering? I was a chemistry major in college hoping to get into med school and working as a survey intern during the summers. One LONG chemistry lab I was doing titrations as all of my friends were at the ski hill. It suddenly hit me that I likely didn’t have the grades to get into med school, and I didn’t want to be stuck in a chemistry lab for the rest of my life. I really enjoyed surveying and working with the engineers in the office. The next day, I talked to my advisor and cha... (more)

 

Resiliency Planning: Will your infrastructure survive when catastrophe strikes?

1-06-2020

By John Phillips, ENV SP

When catastrophes like storms, earthquakes, fires, or terrorist attacks occur, the first response is automatic: addressing casualties. The second response, which is nearly as urgent, should be ensuring that critical infrastructure is still in place, starting with power and water.

When power and water systems malfunction, the immediate effects of a disaster multiply in a myriad of ways. Power and water failure can impact critical medical care, slow down food distribution, and create conditions for crime.

Unfortunately, many communities in the world have infrastructure that is anything but resilient. Mature regions often have aging, under-maintained systems, and systems that are over capacity. Developing economies may have the opposite problem. They struggle to put infrastructure in place and then scale it to support rapid population growth.

So, what does it mean to have resilient i... (more)

 

Smart Water: How Technology is Changing the Water Industry

12-18-2019

By Eleanor Allen, Parametrix Board Member and CEO at Water For People

Although water is abundant in nature, the amount of water available to drink and sustain life on earth is fixed and is becoming increasingly more strained as demand for water increases with population growth and development. Leveraging reliable and robust technology, financing, and data to innovate every part of the water cycle – from sourcing to treatment to consumption to reclamation – is an absolute necessity to protect and manage our finite supply of water for future generations.

At the Future of the Profession event hosted by Parametrix in Seattle on November 19, 2019 (which also happened to be World Toilet Day!), leaders from across the industry were invited to discuss how technology is changing the water industry and what this means for the futu... (more)

 

Defining Smart & Connected Communities: Addressing Equity, Privacy, and More

12-11-2019

By Darby Watson

Smart and Connected Communities use the internet of things and data collection to manage assets and resources efficiently to improve people's lives. While cities and communities rise to embrace new technologies, they must also make sure that the results are equitable and provide for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

At the Future of the Profession event, hosted by Parametrix in Seattle on November 19, 2019, we invited leaders from across the industry to discuss what smart and connected communities mean for the future of cities. Panelists included Bryan Nace of GHZ Communications, Nico Larco, AIA of University of Oregon, and Steve Marshall of City of Bellevue.

Smart and Connected Communities Panel

The session began with each panelist introducing their are... (more)

 

Intelligent Mobility: Unleashing the Power of Technology to Transform Tomorrow’s Transportation Today

12-06-2019

By Bardia Nezhati, PE, PTOE

Intelligent mobility is a rapidly growing trend in urbanized areas to connect people, services and communities through the power of technology. It involves reimagining infrastructure-heavy approaches across all transportation modes and enabling the power of data and analytics, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence. It has the potential to transform the way we move people and goods while saving lives, improving mobility, promoting su... (more)

 

Employee-Owners of Parametrix: Alex Johnson

11-26-2019

In this series, we follow the employee-owners of Parametrix to see what a day on the job for them entails.

We recently caught up Parametrix employee-owner Alex Johnson at the Shake Mill Revetment Repair project for King County in North Bend, WA. He walked us through what's happening at the project and what his role as a Resident Engineer includes.

 

Bringing Solar Energy to Rural Oregon: Parametrix Conducts Natural Resources Survey and Permitting for Solar Facility

11-25-2019

By Richard Roché, RG, LHG

Each year, Parametrix selects three projects of the year that exemplify our core values, mission, client service, and innovation. The Airport Solar project was named among the top three 2019 Parametrix Projects of the Year. Read about the project below.

Parametrix recently conducted a natural resources survey on the site of a solar energy electricity generating facility near Lakeview, OR. The team also monitored water resources, including mapping playas and potential wetlands within the 160-acre site.

Airport Solar project Mapping

The project included over 100 miles of mapping

Due to the very complicated site hydrology and soil conditions, challenges regarding defining playa edges, and evolving regulatory guidance, the project technical... (more)

 

Building a Zero-Emission Fleet: Parametrix Partners with King County Metro

11-21-2019

Eastgate P&R Rapid Charger Station

By Steve Olling, PE, PMP, ENV SP 

The concept of a zero-emission bus fleet isn’t as far off as you might think. In fact, transit agency King County Metro has been using zero-emission trolley coaches in Seattle for nearly 80 years. The agency has also been recognized as a national leader in early adoption of diesel-electric hybrid buses.

King County Metro is well on their way to meeting their goal to have a zero-emission fleet by 2040. The agency has begun using battery electric coaches, along with continuing to use and modernize their electric trolley fleet. This meets around 11% of their goal already. Starting in 2020, Metro plans to only purchase zero-emission buses as older buses retire and to increase fleet size to meet growing service needs.

The agency will transition to a fleet of all-electric trolley and battery-electric buses ... (more)

 

Construction is Underway on the First Ever Public K-12 Design-Build Project in Washington

11-15-2019

Groundbreaking of Boze Elementary School in Tacoma, WA. Photo Courtesy of Tacoma Public Schools.

By Jim Dugan

Tacoma Public Schools' Boze Elementary School is the first ever public K-12 school approved by the State of Washington to use the design-build method of project delivery. Since the school received approval in July 2017, multiple school districts have submitted for design-build approval to deliver public K-12 schools.

Construction is now underway on the new school to replace the original Boze Elementary, built in 1969. The budget for the new school, which will serve up to 550 preschool through 5th grade students, is $35.3 million. The project is being funded by a school construction bond passed by voters in 2013. When the bond was passed, it was based on a $295 per square foot construction cost. By 2019, construction costs had inflated to more than $450 per square foot. Innovation an... (more)

 

Log Jacks Put in Place to Protect Montesano Wastewater Treatment Plant

11-12-2019

Log jacks sit along the Wynoochee riverbank with the City of Montesano wastewater treatment plant in background

Montesano, WA is a town of around 4,000 located 40 miles southwest of the state capital. For years, the City’s wastewater treatment plant has been peacefully located along the banks of the Wynoochee River. However, now movement of the river threatens to overtake the treatment plant. The bank continues to erode at an alarming rate of 17 feet per year. If this pattern were allowed to continue, the river could breach the plant, sending millions of gallons of raw sewage spilling down the Wynoochee, into the Chehalis River, affecting many communities along the way and eventually making its way to Puget Sound.

The Montesano Wastewater Treatment Plant next to the Wynooche... (<a href=more)

 

Building Sustainable Communities: Downtown Redmond Link Extension

10-30-2019

Rendering courtesy of Hewitt Architects, Inc.

By Brad Phillips

 

Each year, Parametrix selects a Project of the Year that exemplifies our core values, mission, and vision. At the Employee-Ownership Celebration on October 12, the Downtown Redmond Link Extension project was named the 2019 Parametrix Project of the Year. Read about the project below.

Sound Transit is extending light rail 3.4 miles from the future Redmond Technology Center station to Downtown Redmond, WA. The project includes two new stations and a 1,400-stall park-and-ride garage.

Parametrix was selected as the prime consultant for the planning, preliminary engineering, environmental clearance, permitting, public involvement, multi-agency concurrence, and design-build procurement packaging. This includes managing over twenty subconsultants across multiple disciplines, with 15% small or dis... (more)

 

The ABC Method: Replacement of a Multi-Span Bridge Over the Snake River

9-03-2019

Photo courtesy of Idaho Transportation Department.

By Shane Brown, PE, SE

The 19-span, 615-foot long precast concrete stringer bridge over the Snake River in Bruneau, Idaho was deteriorating and in need of replacement. Not only did the bridge need to be replaced within one year, but traffic flow needed to be maintained during construction. In addition, work would take place over the environmentally sensitive Snake River.

Photo courtesy of Idaho Transportation Department.

Parametrix was contracted by the Idaho Transportation Department to provide structural engineering services during construction. To meet the challenging project conditions, several innovative methods were used, including accelerated bridge construction (also known as t... (more)

 

Superfund Site Transformed into Waterfront Attraction

Courtney Purdin | 8-06-2019

The Wilson Way Multi-Use Trail and Dune Peninsula Park at Point Defiance in Tacoma, WA opened to the public on July 6, 2019. Community members and project stakeholders gathered to celebrate the project’s completion and be some of the first to experience it. From the looks of it now, you may never know that the project sits on an EPA Superfund site where Asarco operated a copper smelter for over 100 years.

History of Tacoma Smelter

The Tacoma Smelter Plume shut down in 1985, but before it did, managed to pollute over 1,000 square miles of the Puget Sound region. 400,000 cubic yards of dirt had to be removed from the... (more)

 

Meet Parametrix’s Summer 2019 Interns

7-25-2019

July 25, 2019 is National Intern Day! Meet the 11 students joining us this summer who will have the opportunity to gain challenging, hands-on project experience. Learn why they chose an internship at Parametrix and what they hope to achieve.

 

Maya McCants | Seattle, WA

Maya is a Seattle-area native who just wrapped up her sophomore year at Arizona State University. She plans to graduate with a degree in civil engineering.

This will be Maya’s second summer at Parametrix. When asked what made her return she said, “The people at Parametrix are very welcoming. There are many things I haven’t learned about construction - lots of codes, acronyms, and readings unfamiliar to me... (more)

 

Defining ‘Waters of The United States’ and Why it Matters for the Watershed Management Community

5-07-2019

By John Phillips, ENV SP

On April 15, 2019, The United States Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers closed the public comment period on a rulemaking process to redefine “waters of the United States.” This definition has been an on-going discussion in the watershed management community for several decades.

What is the Clean Water Act?

Let’s start at the beginning by giving some background on the Clean Water Act. The Clean Water Act establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the “waters of the United States.” The law was enacted in 1948 and was originally called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act but was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. "Clean Water Act" became the common name with amendments in 1972. The law has since prevented pollution from industries and created a massive investment in wast... (more)