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Wood Rodgers is pleased to announce the promotion of Satish Kumar, PE to Associate. Satish is a water resources engineer with an emphasis on hydrologic and hydraulic modeling. He has over 10 years of experience in planning, analysis and design of flood control facilities, pump stations, levees, water quality infrastructure, and storm collection systems. Satish currently manages complex water resources projects for both public and private sector clients in the Bay Area.

Satish Kumar Promotion at Wood Rodgers
Satish Kumar, PE manages complex water resources projects for both public and private sector clients in the Bay Area.

In this current virtual environment, we put together a Q&A for everyone to get to know more about Satish.

Q&A with Satish Kumar, PE

How did you start working at Wood Rodgers?

I learned about Wood Rodgers while interning for HDR and working on the FloodSAFE CA project. My PM (Chris Ferrari) said WR is a rad place to work. I applied after attending a career fair and the rest is history.

In your opinion, what differentiates Wood Rodgers from our competitors?

Our people and culture. I swear I have more perks than some of my friends at startups.

How have you grown in your career since starting?

I have grown in many ways…getting a PE license, speaking and participating at local and international conferences, becoming a project manager, being promoted to Associate…even my golf game has improved a lot since joining WR 🙂

What is your management style, and how does that contribute to high performing team or a better product for our clients?

I would say I use a collaborative approach and also try to mentor and empower others. Providing context to complex problems, listening, and promoting innovation is important. This style helps focus effort and enables creative thinking to optimize solutions for project needs.

In your new position as Associate, what are your future or immediate goals?

An immediate goal of mine is to continue improving my project management and office management. A long term goal of mine is to continue to grow our Oakland and Bay Area services, reputation, and list of happy clients.

What is an important value that has led you to where you are now?

Only one? How about honesty, communication, innovation, and commitment. Honesty and communication are crucial as a project manager when difficult situations arise that may alter the trajectory or goals of the project. Innovation is part of our DNA at Wood Rodgers and has sets us apart from other firms, we are never afraid to do the right thing. And commitment to the successes of our clients, staff and company is a value I think Wood Rodgers lives by.

What advice would you give to your past self when you were just starting out in your career?

Be patient, try a little bit of everything, and participate in lots of young engineer groups. It is important to explore all parts of the business to gain a holistic understanding of what we do.

What is the best part about working with the Oakland team?

Our team rocks. It’s fun, engaging, caring and rewarding. The food in the office isn’t bad either.

Which projects are you most proud of working on, and why?

Alameda County Flood Control Drainage Master Plans – the detail we put into these studies was a game changer, and the workflows and products developed for the projects set them apart from other master plans. ACFC has been so willing to innovate tools and products with us, and to challenge the way things are to get to how they should be.

Are you involved in any engineering organizations or groups within Wood Rodgers?

FMA, ASCE, STEAM Team, and Chi Epsilon

 

Wood Rodgers is proud to recognize the contributions of Satish through his promotion to Associate. For more stories like this, follow Satish and Wood Rodgers on LinkedIn.

Wood Rodgers is pleased to announce the promotion of Josh Sobolew, PG to Associate. Josh is a California licensed Professional Geologist with 9 years of experience providing hydrogeologic consulting services, designing and managing groundwater resource projects. Josh has provided field inspection and construction management during well rehabilitations and drilling and construction of large municipal water supply wells, monitoring wells, exploratory boreholes, well abandonments, and recharge programs.

Promotion of Josh Sobolew PG, Wood Rodgers
Wood Rodgers is pleased announce the promotion of Josh Sobolew, PG to Associate in our San Dimas office.

In this current virtual environment, we put together a Q&A for everyone to get to know more about Josh.

Q&A with Josh Sobolew, PG

How did you start working at Wood Rodgers?

I heard about Wood Rodgers pursuing the southern California hydrogeology industry and recognized that a startup office would advance my career. Here I am almost six years later and couldn’t be happier with how much my career has grown from this opportunity.

In your opinion, what differentiates Wood Rodgers from our competitors?

Wood Rodgers has many characteristics that distinguish themselves from others and the big three to me are: 1) opportunity and path to ownership, 2) treating the office environment as a family friendly atmosphere, and 3) taking care of the “little people,” which says a lot about a company.

How have you grown in your career since starting?

I was hired on as staff geologist in 2015 primarily providing drilling and construction oversight, and was one of the first employees in the San Dimas office. The San Dimas office had a lot of ups and downs the past six years, and helping stabilize the office is an accomplishment in itself. My roles have changed from a staff geologist, to a senior staff geologist, and now to an office lead “associate geologist.” I obtained my Professional Geologist License in January 2020.

What is your management style, and how does that contribute to high performing team or a better product for our clients?

My management style tries to recognize and utilize individual staff’s strengths and weaknesses, allows input from each team member, avoid overpromising on deliverables with clients, and being transparent with team members.

In your new position as Associate, what are your future or immediate goals?

My future goals will be obtaining my Certified Hydrogeologist License, help root the San Dimas office even further in our industry, and bring other talent and disciplines into the San Dimas office.

What is an important value that has led you to where you are now?

My most important values have been: work hard, be honest and humble with yourself, always have an open mindset, and treat others with respect.

What advice would you give to your past self when you were just starting out in your career?

Enjoy and celebrate the highs, and stay strong and focused during the lows.

What is the best part about working with the San Dimas office?

The best part about working with our office is that we are all aspiring to help one another grow into more prominent roles in our industry and have the same common goal of growing the Wood Rodgers name in the hydrogeology industry.

Which projects are you most proud of working on, and why?

I am most proud of the Golden State Water Company Mountain View Well No. 5 project, which was my first project through its entirety from a marketing and design role. I helped identify the upcoming opportunity, wrote the proposal, managed and designed the project. The end result was a highly productive well that avoided shallow contaminants, met all state drinking water requirements, was designed against drought conditions, and was constructed to last for over 50 years.

Are you involved in any engineering organizations or groups within Wood Rodgers?

I am member with American Water Works Association (AWWA), Central Basin Water Association, Southern California Water Utilities Association, and Groundwater Resources Association (GRA). I have presented at AWWA twice with topics on “Design Considerations for Replacement Municipal Wells” and “Implementation of a Strategic Well Rehabilitation Program.”

 

Wood Rodgers is proud to recognize the contributions of Josh through his promotion to Associate. For more stories like this, follow Josh and Wood Rodgers on LinkedIn.

Wood Rodgers is excited to announce the promotion of Chuck Hilliard, PE to Associate. Chuck is a licensed Professional Engineer in California, with over 7 years of experience in many aspects of civil infrastructure design, with an emphasis in water resources. His experience includes the preparation of feasibility studies, performing alternatives analysis, design of civil infrastructure projects, plan set drafting and design, cost estimation, and supporting projects in the construction phase.

Wood Rodgers is pleased announce the promotion of Chuck Hilliard, PE to Associate in our Sacramento office.
Wood Rodgers is pleased announce the promotion of Chuck Hilliard, PE to Associate in our Sacramento office.

In this current virtual environment, we put together a Q&A for everyone to get to know more about Chuck.

Q&A with Chuck Hilliard, PE

How did you start working at Wood Rodgers?

I started working at Wood Rodgers in September of 2014 after being recruited by Jesse Patchett, whom I had worked with previously.  I was actually hired to work on the land development side but because I had a background in water resources from my previous job and I already had a working relationship with Jesse, I was loaned to the Water Resources Department to help out for a short time. Obviously that loan wound up being of a more permanent nature than originally expected but I think it has worked out well.

In your opinion, what differentiates Wood Rodgers from our competitors?

Two things come to mind when I think about what makes Wood Rodgers different from other engineering companies.

The first is that while it is common for a company to claim that they put their employees first, it is far less common that they actually practice what they preach. This is where Wood Rodgers is different, as management does genuinely care about the employees. This shows through in many different ways and I think it obvious to all that work here.

The second thing is the way that Wood Rodgers management has created a work environment that encourages employees to not be afraid to take on new challenges. This leads to not only accelerated staff growth, but also allows for innovative ideas to thrive, which is of course part of our brand.

How have you grown in your career since starting?

I started at Wood Rodgers with just one year of experience, so there has been a lot of growth in the last 6-1/2 years. I earned my Professional Engineers license in 2017 and was promoted to Civil Engineer (from Assistant Engineer). Shortly after that, I began to take on some project management duties for small projects and as my experience grew, I worked on larger projects that involved managing staff. At the end of 2020 I was promoted to Associate Engineer and have continued managing projects and staff.

What is your management style, and how does that contribute to high performing team or a better product for our clients?

A collaborative approach works best for the type of projects I work on.  I want everyone that I work with to know the underlying project goals so that they understand the “why” of what we are working toward. It has been my experience that this leads to higher performance and an overall better work product, because better decisions are made throughout the design process when everyone understands the ultimate goals.

In your new position as Associate, what are your future or immediate goals?

My immediate goals are to continue growing my experience as a manager of both projects and staff.

What is an important value that has led you to where you are now?

The two most important values to me are having a good work ethic and taking pride in your work.  In other words, that means “do the work” and “do it well”. I think if someone is able to do both of those things, success will always follow.

What advice would you give to your past self when you were just starting out in your career?

I would advise myself to not be hesitant about working on projects that involve facets that I may not have had any experience with. An engineering career is filled with new experiences and having to learn on the fly, so it is better to get used to that as soon as you can.

What is the best part about working with your office, department, or team?

The best part about working in my department is that everyone is always willing to help one another. With the diversity of experience and knowledge contained within that department, one can always someone to provide guidance and help answer questions.

Which projects are you most proud of working on, and why?

If I had to choose one, it would have to the Lookout Slough Restoration Project.  This was a unique project that incorporated a lot of other disciplines that we don’t usually work with. It also required us to create new workflows to accommodate the size of the project and to be able to share information with the entire project team. It was challenging but we wound up with a great product and some valuable experience.

 

Wood Rodgers is proud to recognize the contributions of Chuck through his promotion to Associate. For more stories like this, follow Wood Rodgers on LinkedIn.

 

Wood Rodgers is excited to announce the promotion of Kevin Almeter, PLS, to Principal Land Surveyor. Kevin has been in the surveying field for over 24 years, managing survey and mapping projects for both private and public sector clients. He is skilled in easement and right-of-way research, preparing boundary and topographic maps, ALTA surveys, utility surveys, and environmental surveys. Kevin has extensive field and office experience in construction staking, boundary surveys and control surveys.

Congratulations to Kevin Almeter, PLS, on being promoted to Principal Land Surveyor at Wood Rodgers.

Kevin is currently leading the survey department in the Wood Rodgers’ Reno office. Check out our recent Q&A to get to know a little more about Kevin!

Q&A with Kevin Almeter, PLS, Principal Land Surveyor

How did you start working at Wood Rodgers?

I met up for lunch with an old co-worker from a previous firm that was working for Wood Rodgers at the time and was offered a job. After stopping in the next day and meeting the survey staff it seemed like a place I wanted to work at … best career decision I have made!

In your opinion, what differentiates Wood Rodgers from our competitors?

The family feel, best staff in the business, company events, dedication to staying on the forefront of technology, and the desire to promote from within sets Wood Rodgers apart.

How have you grown in your career since starting at Wood Rodgers?

I started at Wood Rodgers as survey party chief in the field while I was studying for licensure. I was given an opportunity to move into the office to work in the mapping department. Then the company held true to desire to promote from within and I worked my up from mapping manager, to associate survey department manager, and finally to a principal. It is an honor to be a principal in such a great company.

What is your management style, and how does that contribute to high performing team or a better product for our clients?

Be a good mentor and let your team do what they are great at doing. I like to make sure that everyone in the survey department has educational opportunities for continuing to advance their skillsets. I feel like providing opportunities for team members to help in the management of our survey projects and communicate with our clients helps grow their own careers and puts a lot of smart minds together to help address our client’s needs.

In your new position as Principal, what are your immediate goals?

To make sure we continue with our great company culture and provide our staff with the same opportunities for career growth that I was provided.

What is an important value that has led you to where you are now?

To get involved with as much as you can in all aspects of Wood Rodgers, our clients and our professional associations.

What advice would you give to your past self when you were just starting out in your career?

Buy a cool 4×4 van, quit your day job… and just be a ski bum.

What is the best part about working with your department?

The comradery and laughs that come with working with great co-workers and clients.

Which projects are you most proud of working on, and why?

All of them! Each project and client is unique and so much can be learned from all of them.

Are you involved in any organizations outside of work?

I have been involved with the Nevada Association of Land Surveyors from the day I get licensed, and have served on the NALS board for quite a few years. I also have been mentoring Great Basin College survey students with field survey labs for the past couple of years.

 

Wood Rodgers is proud to recognize the contributions of Kevin Almeter through his promotion to Principal. For more on Kevin, follow him on LinkedIn.

Wood Rodgers is excited to announce the promotion of Mike Albrecht to Principal of Corporate Technology! Mike is a retired Naval Officer who specialized in Information Technology. His technical leadership spans more than 22 years with proven results working with executive leaders in both the civilian and military sectors.

Mike Albrecht promotion at Wood Rodgers
Congratulations to Mike Albrecht on being promoted to Principal of Corporate Technology at Wood Rodgers.

Mike’s vast experience with complex computer networks and geospatial systems that supported the Naval Intelligence community brings a fresh perspective that combines high availability operations to the demanding requirements of the AEC networks he oversees at Wood Rodgers. Check out our recent Q&A to get to know a little more about Mike!

Q&A with Mike Albrecht, Principal of Corporate Technology

How did you start working at Wood Rodgers?

Two years ago, I was transitioning after 21 years of Naval service where I worked in IT as an Officer in locations around the world and at sea on various Naval ships. I found that while applying and interviewing for a variety of positions, that there was some bias towards the cultural perceptions of someone coming from the military to a civilian company and how many believed the fit would be an issue.

This was not the case with Wood Rodgers as they really took the time to learn who I was, what my experience and leadership personality were and how both the company’s employees and myself could benefit each other. It was incredibly refreshing and genuine.

What occurred was the leadership at Wood Rodgers was able to see that I was a dedicated and innovative leader who puts others before himself, just as I was taught in the Navy. And what I learned was that Wood Rodgers was a welcoming organization full of diversity, integrity, and a true work hard / play hard mentality that I was seeking. I was tasked with leading a group of exceptional IT professionals in an effort to modernize the technological solutions we provide to our engineers and this is exactly what we have been doing since.

In your opinion, what differentiates Wood Rodgers from our competitors?

Easily, it’s our people above everything else. I can say that we invest in our people and enable them to do the best work they can for the company. Our focus when hiring is to find the right person for the needs we have and will fit with our culture. Once we find that person, we do what we need to in order to bring them onboard, and then get out of their way and let them do exactly what we brought them to the team to accomplish.

This combined with our deep rooted culture of working hard and playing hard make us standout compared to those stuffy, suit and tie, micro-managed engineering firms most of us envision. It’s shorts and flip flops on Aloha Friday, with a suit behind the door for when it’s needed at county offices or public hearings. As leaders, we never make a company decision without considering how it will impact our culture and be perceived by our employees. If it’s a disruption to these core values, then it doesn’t happen. Happy employees are productive employees!

How have you grown in your career since starting at Wood Rodgers?

I started out as an Associate at Wood Rodgers and then two years later was lucky enough to be given a promotion to Principal. I’m responsible for the IT software and hardware for all eight of our office locations, plus the cloud and ensuring all of these locations can communicate, have business continuity in place, and security.

What is your management style, and how does that contribute to high performing team or a better product for our clients?

In my experience and training, you have to become more than one type of leader to get the most out of your people or to achieve different business goals. To nail it down however, I would say that I’m a mix of a Servant Leader and Thought Leader. I tell my team that I’m there to work for them, to provide guidance, remove barriers, be their champion for initiatives and shield them from distractions that could impede their progress.

As a thought leader, I’m focused on strategy and planning for the company and each office. I’ve implemented a strategic plan for technology that we use as a guideline for any new technology initiatives and a supporting document for planning when it comes to security and policy. This information is shared with company and posted on our internal website for reference, and I provide updates to our progress to the Board of Directors and show how these updates relate to the overall IT strategic plan and in turn, the company’s strategic goals.

In your new position as Principal, what are your immediate goals?

In the immediate future, it’s continue to do what I have been doing. It’s these actions that led to my selection and being offered the promotion to Principal, so the worst thing I could do is rock the boat and change it up. My plans and strategy are focused on multi-year goals, so we need to continue to stay focused on the finish line and evaluate how effective those changes are. That’s not to say I don’t have a few ideas on some new business objectives, but those are in the initial stages of evaluation before they become goals. Vague enough? Lol.

What is an important value that has led you to where you are now?

Without question, the most important value I believe that anyone possesses is integrity. Integrity has helped me become the “go to” person throughout my professional life in both the military and now with Wood Rodgers. Open and honest conversations, support, and accurate reporting is key to making the right decisions in business and with day-to-day operations and if you don’t have integrity, you won’t have any believers in you. It’s such an important quality that takes time to gain and only a single instance to lose, which is why it’s so precious. You have to mean what you say, say what you mean, and never ask anyone to do anything that you yourself would not be willing to do.

What advice would you give to your past self when you were just starting out in your career?

I feel very fortunate in my development as a junior technician and working my way up the ladder to now being the Principal in charge of IT for such a fantastic company. I’ve learned many lessons along the way, and the biggest take away is that it’s important for you to stay the course the led to your promotions and acknowledgements of your hard work.

When you are promoted, or given a raise, or praise, it’s because of the recognition of the work you have been doing. I understand how one may feel they need to make adjustments and do something else to continue the trend, but I’ve found that the most important thing is to stay focused on what you were just recognized for. If anything, do it better than before, but not change the focus. If you want to add a new project or business line, ok, but do it systematically and with planning. Recognition doesn’t need to be followed by a big splash of something new. Stay the course, be efficient, evaluate your outcomes, and build a stronger team.

What is the best part about working with the Technology Group?

I love working with the technology group as a whole. We integrate with our CAD, GIS, and UAS team on a daily basis to discuss the differing projects we all have going on and help identify where we need to assist each other. It’s become a great daily function for us and brings about transparency that enables us to be more collaborative. It’s amazing to see all the different projects and ideas we all have on how we can enable our users to beat out our competition and provide additional tools or products by leveraging our technology innovations. We’re a company of around 300 employees, but our ideas are BIG and provide services and tools that large companies are unable to. Seeing these initiatives come together as a group is just awesome.

Which projects are you most proud of working on, and why?

Certainly the cloud first strategy we implemented is a huge project that is complex and lengthy. This is the one that enabled us to be so successful during the pandemic as our ability to bring the user to the data regardless of their physical location was paramount to providing our engineers the tools they needed to do the great work they do day in and day out. This took some serious collaboration, training, and dedication to the process and technology and in the end, it worked exceptionally well for us. Our engineering staff was able to work from home just as if they were in the office, and in some instances, BETTER than in the office.

I’m incredibly proud of the technology team’s dedicated work to provide these capabilities to our engineers. Without it, we would have been hindered in our ability to produce efficient products for our clients due to technology constraints. Our engineers at Wood Rodgers are some of the best of the best and they deserve the top of the line technology so they can work their magic and standout to our competitors. As the pandemic began, this is exactly what we were able to do.

Are you involved in any groups within Wood Rodgers or outside of work?

I have participated in the Professional Development Group (PDG) before, and I plan on joining the STEAM Team this year. My other organizational focuses are external to Wood Rodgers that include veteran support groups, primarily on assisting veterans find employment as they transition to civilian life.

 

Wood Rodgers is proud to recognize the contributions of Mike Albrecht through his promotion to Principal. For more on Mike, follow him on LinkedIn.

Please join Wood Rodgers is congratulating Jesse Patchett, PE, CFM in his promotion to Principal Civil Engineer! Jesse is a native Las Vegan and University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) alumni with 17 years of professional engineering experience. Jesse’s project experience ranges from commercial and residential land development projects, FEMA floodplain analysis, levee projects, water and wastewater treatment projects, and municipal infrastructure projects.

Jesse Patchett promoted to Principal in Wood Rodgers Las Vegas
Congratulations to Jesse Patchett, PE, CFM on being promoted to Principal in our Las Vegas region.

Jesse is currently leading the land development team in the Wood Rodgers’ Las Vegas office. In this current virtual environment, we put together a Q&A for everyone to get to know more about Jesse.

Q&A with Jesse Patchett, PE, CFM:

How did you start working at Wood Rodgers?

This is a great story. But it shouldn’t be shared publicly. :o)

In your opinion, what differentiates Wood Rodgers from our competitors?

We have a pool table, a fully stocked beer fridge, and allow flexible work schedules for our team. That’s pretty unique. A bunch of companies say “work hard, play hard” or “work-life balance”, but Wood Rodgers actually embraces these as being integral to our culture.

How have you grown in your career since starting at Wood Rodgers?

I joined Wood Rodgers as a PM in the Sacramento Water Resources group, and was later given an opportunity to help lead and grow the Las Vegas office.

What is your management style, and how does that contribute to high performing team or a better product for our clients?

My team would be much better to ask, but they say that I am direct, I set clear expectations, I lead by example, delegate and empower them, am a good mentor, and am always willing to listen to and answer questions.

In your new position as Principal, what are your future or immediate goals?

Keep doing what we are doing: growing the office, mentoring staff, and having fun doing it.

What is an important value that has led you to where you are now?

There are several. The first would be that “The reward for good work, is more work.” But beyond that, sharing my clients’ sense of urgency to get a project permitted, providing responsive service & communication to my clients, and doing what I say I will do have helped me grow as a professional.

What advice would you give to your past self when you were just starting out in your career?

I’ve had a habit of letting vacation time build up over the years. I have come to realize that vacation time allows much needed time to recharge and refocus, which is a key ingredient to being a top performer. To that end, I would tell my younger me to use and enjoy earned vacation time regularly.

What is the best part about working with your team in the Las Vegas office?

My amazing team is the best part of working at Wood Rodgers! Specifically, the office comradery we have is great. I think we all genuinely enjoy working together as a team.

Which projects are you most proud of working on, and why?

I’m proud of all our projects. We are doing really good work for our clients.

Are you involved in any organizations outside of work?

When I’m not in the office, or playing outside, I’m involved with a local non-profit called Los Vaqueros that aids disadvantaged youth. We have done several projects for local elementary schools, and St. Jude’s Ranch in Boulder City.

 

Wood Rodgers is proud to recognize the contributions of Jesse Patchett through his promotion to Principal. For more on Jesse, follow him on LinkedIn.

National Engineers Week calls attention to the contributions to society that engineers make. The week is dedicated to ensuring a diverse future engineering workforce by emphasizing the importance of learning math, science, and technical skills. For example, Thursday, February 25th, was Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, a worldwide campaign to engage girls in engineering.

On our blog and social media this week, Wood Rodgers showcased a few wonderful examples that our employees are setting on a daily basis to help inspire the next generation of engineers. We sat down with employees ranging from our company President to a newly registered Professional Engineer and asked them about insights to success in the STEAM field.

Q&A WITH MARK RAYBACK, PE

What inspired you to become an engineer?

In high school we had to take a career proficiency exam to help you determine your ideal college major and career.  Based upon the test, I was best suited for a career in cosmetology.  Once I realized what that job actually was I figured there may be other options for me to pursue.  Math and science classes had always been relatively easy for me so I chose engineering as my major instead.

What is the most interesting or challenging part of being an engineer?

I believe that the most challenging aspect of engineering is explaining the complexities and technicalities of what we do to people with little or no technical background or interests.  The concepts that we take for granted are completely foreign to a lot of people we deal with and learning how to tailor that messaging is an art form.  In many instances, the people we need to explain and convince are the decision makers or funders of our projects.  Learning to be successful in this communication is the difference between getting a project or an idea approved or denied.

In looking back, what advice would you give to those who are considering to be an engineer?

I have a couple.  1) good old fashioned common sense is truly a gift; use it and 2) don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but learn from them when you do (because you will) so you don’t make that mistake again.

Q&A WITH KATIE MASON, PE

What inspired you to become an engineer?

My dad is a contractor and I grew up drawing house footprints on graph paper and dreaming of making it a reality. He never cared if his small daughter was wearing a dress to the construction site, he just wanted me to be there to experience what he does. Being raised in the design environment naturally inspired me to take the engineering career path.

What is the most interesting or challenging part of being an engineer?

As a student, engineering school seemed so daunting and difficult. Now that I have spent a few years in the field it is interesting that, in the right work environment, you can learn on the job so much more efficiently and quickly from your peers.

In looking back, what advice would you give to those who are considering to be an engineer?

Engineering is a rewarding career with tangible results. It may be a difficult educational experience for some, but the success of your future projects are worth the hard work.

Q&A WITH SHAWNEE DUNAGAN, PE

What inspired you to become an engineer?

My dad is an engineer as well and growing up I would use his scrap paper from his structural plans to draw and color on, to “make better”.  When I was in high school I loved Physics, but hated Calculus and had originally really want to become a teacher like my mom.  My dad, being an engineer, encouraged me to tour the College of Engineering before I finalized my major choice.  One of the places I toured was the Water Lab and I was immediately drawn to the various contraptions of PVC pipes throughout the lab.  Students were actively turning on and off valves, measuring water and trying to measure tubes taped up the wall.  This was one of the first times I got to see a side of engineering besides the paper version I had seen to that date.  Ultimately I chose to study Civil Engineering at UNR and wouldn’t go back.

What is the most interesting or challenging part of being an engineer?

The problem solving is both the most interesting and challenging part of being an engineer.  To me the problem solving is like a giant puzzle, but it is not a puzzle with one solution.  There can be multiple answers, but also the possibility to come up with an out of the box, creative solution that maybe no one has thought of before.

In looking back, what advice would you give to those who are considering to be an engineer?

Do not be afraid to take courses outside of engineering.  I think that there are lots of skills that are beneficial to have that are not explored in most engineering programs.  It is worth the time to take a business or education class.  I took courses in Secondary Education at the Master’s Level where I learned to write High School Lesson Plans and get in class time with students.  This allowed me to work on my public speaking skills, but more importantly learning to talk and engage with other individuals who are not Engineer’s.

Q&A WITH KATIE WRIGHTSON, PE

What inspired you to become an engineer?

When I was young, I used to love building useful things for my dolls – places for them to live and store their very large wardrobes, etc.  As I went through school, I had a handful of math and science teachers that believed in me and reinforced my confidence in my competence in these subjects.  My dad is also an engineer, but I never really knew what that meant until it came time to apply to college (and even then it was a grey area).  Ultimately, when it came time to choose a major, I wanted something that would incorporate my interest in math and science, and prepare me for a good, stable job right out of undergrad.

What is the most interesting or challenging part of being an engineer?

The most interesting part for me is the variance from project to project.  No two projects are the same, each project and piece of land comes with different boundary conditions, landowners, clients, jurisdictions, goals, and local community.  When it comes time to construct, the problems encountered along the way are never the same as the last project (at least, one would certainly hope!)  The most challenging part, however, is probably working with many different personality types.

In looking back, what advice would you give to those who are considering to be an engineer?

My number one piece of advice: We are problem-solvers, so, we must never present a problem without also presenting a possible solution (or two or three).  This is something we can apply to all areas of our lives, not just to our work.  You can practice this now as you’re considering engineering! I would also pass on two of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in my career:

1) Nothing is personal.  As engineers, we work on teams that include stakeholders with varying interests and priorities that do not always align perfectly with our own.  Our job is to provide a technically sound product that will serve and do no harm to the public at an economically feasible cost.  It can be easy to internalize critiques and criticisms along the way, and we must keep the end goal in mind to avoid getting bogged down by some of those tricky personalities.

2) There is always more work to do.  You’re never going to be completely caught up, and there will always be lingering items on your to-do list, emails in your inbox.  Prioritize, regroup, and re-prioritize as necessary, but don’t expect to please everyone all the time.

Q&A WITH JUDD GOODMAN, PE

What inspired you to become an engineer?

In high school I enjoyed physics, was good at math, and wanted to do something practical and related to the outdoors.

What is the most interesting or challenging part of being an engineer?

Solving difficult problems with others.

In looking back, what advice would you give to those who are considering to be an engineer?

Talk to people who are engineers. Try out your interests early. Circle what you like and cross out what you don’t, but don’t be afraid of trying new things.

 

And that’s a wrap for National Engineers Week 2021! We hope you enjoyed the features throughout the week. If you missed them, you can check them out on our Instagram story highlight for National Engineers Week at @woodrodgersinc

Wood Rodgers is currently working on exciting transportation projects for the City of Las Vegas (City). The first project, the Citywide Intersection Crash Mitigation Program (Program), was developed to identify intersections with the highest number of crashes and highest crash rates, with a particular focus on vehicle-pedestrian fatal crash intersections.

Safety Countermeasure Roadmap
Safety Countermeasure Roadmap

The first phase of the Program, which was recently finalized, utilized the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Systemic Approach to develop countermeasures within future intersection improvements and traffic operations improvements to prevent future fatalities and serious injuries to reach the goal of Vision Zero. The Program is also helping the City of Las Vegas secure necessary federal funding that is paramount during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figures for Citywide Intersection Crash Mitigation Program

The following is a glimpse at some of the figures Wood Rodgers produced for the Program. The first figure, Figure 7-1B, shows the intersection of Durango Drive and Charleston Boulevard, which compiled data for crashes by the age of driver, by the hour of day, and by the day of the week and month. In addition, it includes crash factors such as lighting conditions, weather factor, crash type, and most harmful events.

Scott Rickert, Associate Engineer at Wood Rodgers, explained how Figure 7-1B was helpful in determining countermeasure recommendations for the Program. “This figure illustrates the intersection of Durango Drive and Charleston Boulevard, which had a disproportionate number of angle collisions, which are largely caused by the permitted left-turns allowed at the intersection during the time of the Program. Additionally, this figure helped identify the need to address hit-and-run crashes, which occurred frequently at the selected study intersections,” said Scott.

Figure 7-1B, Crash Factors at Durango Drive and Charleston Boulevard
Figure 7-1B, Crash Factors at Durango Drive and Charleston Boulevard

The next figure, Figure 7A, summarizes the Benefit-Cost Ratios (BCR) for minor traffic signal improvements, roadway improvements, and pedestrian realm improvements. The BCRs are in present value dollars and utilize FHWA’s Crash Modification Factors, capital cost, service life, crash savings, and crash costs to determine the benefit of the countermeasure recommendations compared to the cost of implementing the aforementioned recommendations. Any BCR greater than one is beneficial, and the higher the BCR, the more beneficial the improvement.

Scott stated, “This figure is helping the City determine which improvements will be most effective at reducing crashes and which improvements to implement first. Additionally, the BCR calculations are needed for some funding opportunities the City is applying for.”

Figure 7A: Charleston Boulevard and Durango Drive BCRs
Figure 7A: Charleston Boulevard and Durango Drive BCRs

The third figure, Figure 10A, illustrates the existing conditions and recommended safety mitigation measures at the intersection of Durango Drive and Charleston Boulevard. The figure separates the improvements based off of the signal system, roadway, and multimodal facilities. The mitigated improvements are a result of the concerns described in Figure 7-1B, combined with the improvements in Figure 7A, and offer a clear direction for upcoming City projects that address safety concerns at the selected Program intersections.

Figure 10A: Systemic Improvements at Durango Drive and Charleston Boulevard
Figure 10A: Systemic Improvements at Durango Drive and Charleston Boulevard

Multidisciplinary Collaboration with GIS and Engineering Groups

One of the reasons the Program was successful was the multidisciplinary collaboration of the Wood Rodgers GIS Group with the Las Vegas Transportation Engineering division. The GIS Group was instrumental in developing a script which took 57,945 crash data points from the Nevada Department of Transportation and categorized them to intersection and segment locations. In addition, the GIS Group developed templates which highlighted the data in an easy-to-read infographic layout, which contains charts and figures relating to the crashes.

“By using cluster analysis and heat map analysis functionality available in ArcGIS Pro, the City was able to select the 10 most suitable intersections for safety improvement analysis,” commented Sheng Tan, GIS Manager at Wood Rodgers. “Additional data was collected in the field using ArcGIS Survey123 at the 10 selected intersections to identify and document the existing conditions of the intersections.”

In addition, the GIS Group contributed to the success of this project with managing and analyzing large amounts of data, automating the presentation of the results of the analysis and quickly sharing the presentation with the client and stakeholders from a centralized location.

Eric Ford, GIS Analyst at Wood Rodgers explained how Python and Matplotlib, a charting module, were used to produce a series of maps with charts for easy understanding. “The first map series displays charts with ten separate crash factors including time of day, day of week, day of month, age of driver, crash factors, type of crash, and crash type trend over time (example illustrated in Figure 7-1B). These charts helped stakeholders understand why the selected intersections had high crash rates. The second map series (example illustrated in Figure 7A) depicts the BCR for each of the proposed improvements, which combines elements from the previous map series and the following map series to provide a summary of the findings for each of the intersections. The last map series (example illustrated in Figure 10A) shows the potential safety improvements that can be made at the selected intersections based on the data collected in the field to identify deficiencies and appropriate improvements in an easy to read tabular format,” said Eric.

In addition, ArcGIS Online allowed Wood Rodgers to host various StoryMap presentations, which were extremely well received by the City and other stakeholders throughout the Las Vegas Valley. The interactive StoryMaps allow meeting attendees to easily visualize areas of concern and help tell the story of the recommended improvements.

“We used story maps on ArcGIS Online to share map figures and information with the client and stakeholders. As each step of the project was completed, the results were added to the project’s story map which created a comprehensive living document that the client and all stakeholders had immediate access to,” Sheng described.

Vision Zero Action Plan

Due to the success of the Program, the City has tasked Wood Rodgers to develop their sought after Vision Zero Action Plan, as well as additional phases of the Program. Vision Zero is an international campaign to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. Wood Rodgers is looking forward to completing these next project phases with the City.

The figures and discussions in this article are preliminary and the final report will be posted on the City’s website this Spring 2021. For one of their recent updates, see the City’s blog here and be sure to follow them on Twitter!

A Twitter update from the City of Las Vegas on December 23, 2020.
A Twitter update from the City of Las Vegas on December 23, 2020.

Wood Rodgers thanks the City of Las Vegas for the opportunity to work on the Citywide Intersection Crash Mitigation Program and Vision Zero Action Plan. We look forward to continuing to Build Relationships One Project At A Time!

For any questions or to contact the Wood Rodgers Las Vegas team, email info@woodrodgers.com. For more on the GIS Group, check out their Esri StoryMap here.

Reno, NV – January 25, 2021 – Wood Rodgers, Inc. is pleased to announce that Dean Schultz, AAE has joined the firm to expand aviation services to clients. Dean has over 36 years of experience devoted to the successful development and management of airports throughout the United States and Internationally. He has worked on a wide variety of projects for many worldwide agencies, and Northern Nevadans may recognize him from his time with the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority. At Wood Rodgers, Dean will help the Transportation Department expand further into the aviation and airport industry.

Wood Rodgers Expands Aviation Services with Key New Hire

Initial Interest in Aviation and Career Evolution

Dean first became interested in aviation while growing up on a farm in Michigan. His neighbor had an airplane and took him for a ride once when he was about 12 years old.

“I was amazed with the different perspective it gave me on the world and from that day forward wanted to be part of that larger world,” explained Dean. “I was so interested in flying; I had acquired my private pilot’s license before I had turned 18.”

While studying at the Florida Institute of Technology for a B.S. in Air Commerce and Flight Technology (Aviation Management), Dean intended to become a commercial airline pilot. However, upon graduation, there were thousands of furloughed pilots and no flying jobs available. Fortunately, his degree program also included the classes necessary to undertake a career in aviation consulting and/or airport management. Dean joined an aviation consulting firm and started his career in the environmental and noise fields. He later transitioned to master and terminal planning work, and then to the airport operator side, which tends to be more about running the business than doing the technical work.

“Therefore, you can see my career evolved a number of times, but I can say that I don’t regret any of the moves. An airline pilot would have been a fine career, but consulting and airport management has provided me with a lot more variety and given me the opportunity to be more creative,” Dean reflected.

Experience with Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority

During the early stages of his career, Dean worked all over the world as an aviation consultant. Dean enjoyed the work, but after 13 years of consulting, he started working at the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, which operates the Reno-Tahoe International and Reno-Stead Airports.

Headshot of Dean Schultz
Dean Schultz, AAE has over 36 years of experience devoted to the successful development and management of airports throughout the United States and Internationally.

Dean said, “I traveled all the time and I wanted to spend more time at home with the family. Also, I wanted to see more of the evolution of the projects I worked on – as a consultant I would do my piece of the project work and then move on to the next project, but I wanted to experience projects all the way from inception to completion.”

Airports are big and complicated organisms with many regulations and regulators, including the FAA, TSA, CBP, Environmental, local permitting, and many stakeholders that all need consideration. Airports also in many respects function as a public sector entity like a city, but equally operate like a private sector business. Throughout his career as a consultant and at the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, Dean has worked on a wide variety of projects, including master planning and terminal planning, environmental studies, FAR Part 150 and noise-related studies, financial and privatization feasibility, and state systems planning. Each discipline is complex, often involving many different stakeholders and requiring a lot of creativity.

Transition to Expand Wood Rodgers Aviation Services

Dean’s 36-year career has been spent exclusively working in the airport environment, and he is looking forward to helping Wood Rodgers navigate these intricacies and expand work at airports. In addition, Dean wanted to be part of a team that significantly contributes to the betterment of the community, which Wood Rodgers strives to do through successful projects as well as our community action program, STEAM Team.

“First, having worked with many of the staff for years while at the Airport Authority, I have great respect for the team – they are hard-working dedicated folks who care about doing good work for their clients,” said Dean. “The company and the team spend the time to look at creative solutions for problems and not what is just the most expedient way to get the work done. Wood Rodgers also has a great reputation in their field which is important.”

As for anyone interested in pursuing a career in aviation, Dean advises to “Absolutely do it.” He continued, “The aviation industry is large enough to be relevant in any conversation and it is important to everyone in the world, but not so large that you can’t have an influence on it. Also, I would say not to worry too much about where you start in the industry, because once you are in many opportunities will open up for you as you continue your career.”

In addition, Dean recommends two key values which led him to success in his career. “First, work hard – give everything you do your absolute best effort, and second, teams can accomplish more than individuals, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or offer help,” he said.

As a planner, pilot and airport operator, Dean’s skill set will enhance our existing airport experience making the Wood Rodgers Aviation team more well-rounded. We look forward to working with Dean to expand our aviation services offered to clients.

 

For more information on aviation services at Wood Rodgers, contact us at info@woodrodgers.com or visit the Aviation page on our website here.

San Diego, California – December 11, 2020 – Wood Rodgers is pleased to announce the addition of Glen Parker, PE, as a Principal Engineer in the Transportation Department. Glen specializes in planning, design, and construction support associated with civil engineering projects involving public agencies. He has experience in project management, roadway design, and the Caltrans approval process.

A welcome banner for Glen Parker
Glen Parker, PE, has over 20 years of experience in the San Diego Transportation market.

In over 20 years of working in San Diego, Glen has managed as-needed services contracts for the City of San Diego, El Cajon, La Mesa, County of San Diego, Caltrans, SANDAG, and Port of San Diego. Glen has served as the Engineer of Record or Project Manager on more than 100 capital improvement projects throughout California. At Wood Rodgers, Glen will grow our Transportation services in the San Diego region.

Glen Parker, Principal Engineer at Wood Rodgers

Glen’s father was a drywaller, so as a teenager, Glen would assist with hanging sheet rock in residential houses. This experience is what first intrigued Glen about the building and the construction process. After gravitating towards science and math in high school, he studied Civil Engineering at Gonzaga University. While studying engineering, Glen was introduced to the Transportation specialty through college internships. Following internships, Glen pursued Transportation design because he was interested in the variety of work and how the project develops with each subsequent phase.

While reflecting on projects throughout his career, two came to mind. The first is Centennial Corridor with the City of Bakersfield, which was a multi-mile freeway extension. In addition, Glen is proud of the San Marcos Creek District Development Project for the City of San Marcos. That was a multidisciplinary job to support the preparation of a new downtown area in San Marcos.

“My job is rewarding because I’m seeing projects built and working with a successful team,” said Glen. “The best part is seeing growth as team members learn new things, accomplish new things, and fill bigger shoes. I love getting jobs built.”

Growing Transportation Services in the San Diego Market

In the more recent years, Glen started focusing on business development, tracking and winning project pursuits, and project management for multidisciplinary teams. Before joining Wood Rodgers, Glen helped build a transportation department of over 60 people at his previous company. From this experience, Glen feels it’s important to build a company’s brand with integrity, especially in a new region. In addition, he finds it imperative to be team-based, and to put people in positions to succeed.

“There were lessons learned, absolutely. It’s important to have a strong foundation. The initial folks you begin the team with need to be good leaders and serve as a good building block for future growth. It also takes patience, because for public works and transportation, it takes a long time to break into a new market,” explained Glen.

After 20 years of success in the San Diego transportation market, Glen is looking forward to pursuing a new career opportunity at Wood Rodgers. Our San Diego office opened almost two years ago in January 2019, and is rapidly expanding services in water, wastewater and transportation sectors. In both of Glen’s previous companies, Glen helped develop successful multidisciplinary teams, and enjoyed building opportunities for team members that resonated with their personalities and their strengths.

Glen Parker Wood Rodgers Inc
Glen specializes in planning, design, and construction support associated with civil engineering projects involving public agencies.

“My new role here is about growing a team. I like working with people, and at our San Diego office, that’s what’s needed to start a new group and continue our growth,” said Glen. “It’s about putting people in the best positions to maximize opportunities. A strong work ethic is very important. You have to work and hustle, you have to be hungry.”

Company Size and Work Culture at Wood Rodgers

Another factor that weighed into Glen’s career move was the culture and size of Wood Rodgers. Glen was looking for a company focused on the people and the projects.

“The focus should be about our service and our people. It’s not about the stock price, and it’s not about self-promoting. Wood Rodgers offers an excellent variety of services, with a focus on employees and doing the best for clients that they can,” reflected Glen.

Company Culture Wood Rodgers
Great Fit with our Wood Rodgers Culture! Looks like Glen took no time in jumping right into one of our company events!

In addition, Glen looks forward to extending his new career opportunity to positively impact clients. Our Transportation department in San Diego will be a full service operation that will serve a wide base of customers and clients. The department is open to pursuing new types of projects and developing new areas of expertise.

“Our clients will receive the attention they need, and they know that their project is going to be a priority, especially for San Diego area,” said Glen. “It’s not just another drop in the bucket, it’s a very important building block for us. We place a lot of emphasis on providing the best possible service we can without being distracted by corporate metrics that you might have in a larger scale company.”

Please join Wood Rodgers on congratulating and welcoming Glen Parker to the firm.

 

Follow Wood Rodgers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for similar updates. Connect with Glen on LinkedIn here.

Article written by Lexi Robertson and edited by Tina Cooper.