HAVE YOU HEARD?

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.   

 

Sacramento, CA — December 2, 2020 —Wood Rodgers, Inc. is excited to announce the addition of Tim Chamberlain as a Senior Environmental Planner in Sacramento, CA. For 17 years, Leslie Burnside has been leading Wood Rodgers’ successful Environmental Planning, Permitting and Compliance program, from Reno, NV. With that continued success, Wood Rodgers is expanding our comprehensive Environmental Services throughout Nevada and California.

Leslie Burnside has 30 years of experience in the fields of environmental planning, permitting, resource, and project management, primarily in the Great Basin and Northern California. She has managed the development of environmental documents in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, California Environmental Quality Act, and other environmental compliance documents pursuant to state and local level requirements, such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Leslie’s specialized experience includes agency and stakeholder liaison for consensus building and successful permitting with Federal, State and local agencies; natural resources baseline assessment for opportunities and constraints analyses; terrestrial and aquatic revegetation design, monitoring and reporting for habitat enhancement; erosion control and water quality improvement; Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act field surveys; and compliance planning and implementation.

“In project planning, my goal is to not only be an advocate for the project, but also be an advocate for the resources. Permitting, whether at the local, state, or federal level, coupled with project implementation as designed, ensures the project is developed in compliance with environmental regulations. Finally, post-project monitoring evaluates the success of construction design features and any mitigation required to make the project the best that it can be – for both the client and the environment,” said Leslie.

Tim Chamberlain graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, but quickly pivoted his career into the Environmental Planning field. Tim’s long-term interest in legal theory applies to the understanding and interpretation of environmental regulations and protections, especially in regards to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Tim has 16 years of experience in Environmental Planning, and has delivered over 100 projects throughout California. He is an experienced manager, specializing in project delivery in all aspects of the environmental process including technical study preparation, environmental documentation, environmental permitting, and environmental construction support.

“It’s the environmental planning team’s responsibility to provide input to guide the engineering process towards the best solution for the community, the environment, and the client,” said Tim. “We find the balance between meeting the goals of clients, while also ensuring that adequate measures are included to protect the environment without jeopardizing a project’s success.”

Environmental Planning throughout California and Nevada

Two of Tim’s recent notable projects include the environmental management of the SR-132 West Freeway/Expressway Project (City of Modesto) and environmental lead on the award- winning 5th Street Bridge Replacement Project (City of Yuba City). In addition, Leslie has contributed to a multitude of successful projects over the years, notably for the award-winning North Elko Pipeline Project for Prospector Pipeline Company. For the past 13 years, Leslie has worked on the “Life of Mine” riparian and valley spring annual monitoring for Round Mountain Gold Corporation.

An environmental planner points to the ground during a site visit.
Leslie Burnside completes riparian valley spring annual monitoring for Round Mountain Gold Corporation.

Currently, Leslie is working with Nevada Gold Energy LLC (NGE), an exclusively-owned subsidiary of Nevada Gold Mines LLC (NGM), on the TS Solar Project at NGM’s TS Ranch property in Eureka County, Nevada. The TS Solar Project will add a clean, renewable, economical generation resource to NGE’s electricity generation fleet at the TS Power Plant and contribute to NGM’s compliance with Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard requirements.  In conjunction, on behalf of Prospector Pipeline Company, Wood Rodgers is planning, designing, permitting and processing BLM environmental compliance for a 22-mile natural gas pipeline that will also contribute to a clean, economical power generation resource to NGE’s electricity generation fleet at the TS Power Plant.

Tim and Leslie are looking forward to expanding environmental planning services into new high-growth sectors of the market. Both have distinct interests in the field, complementing each other in building a very strong and diverse environmental planning presence for Wood Rodgers. In addition, Tim hopes to grow our in-house environmental planning team to further elevate project delivery.

Tim elaborated, “There is a synergy between the environmental planning team working together with an engineering team. It is so much easier to have the open lines of communication when both sides are in-house, and when we’re back in the office, we’ll be just down the hall.”

Ensuring Client Success and Protecting Environmental Resources

As Environmental Planners, Tim and Leslie begin many projects by evaluating the environmental study area and then working alongside project team members and the client to avoid, minimize, and mitigate any environmental impacts. Another important part of the process is disclosing the environmental analysis of projects to other agencies and to the public, so they can provide feedback and comments for consideration.

Leslie finds it important to take the time to explain the intricacies of environmental policies to other design team members and clients, which helps the project in the long term. “It’s very enlightening to me to be able to articulate why we have these laws and regulations, and why when you are in the design phase, it is prudent to take them into consideration,” said Leslie. “Then, the project can comply and include those in the design phase, rather than having to mitigate for design that impacts sensitive resources.”

For Tim, one of the most rewarding aspects of his job is seeing a long-term project in construction and later, the benefit it provides when complete. “Community support and pride in the finished project is really special in this line of work, especially for projects where you’ve been involved since the beginning concept,” Tim explained.

An environmental planner uses a measuring tape to survey a project site.
Tim Chamberlain, Senior Environmental Planner at Wood Rodgers, performs a field survey on a project site.

Leslie added, “With every project, I feel that I make a real difference. My involvement is meaningful, it’s never ‘cookbook’ or fill out a form and submit. Even if two projects may look the same, the nuances will be different because you’re dealing with natural resources. From one side to the other side of a street, there is potential for project sites to be different.”

Leslie and Tim are committed to ensuring client success while maintaining and protecting the key environmental resources that make Nevada and California an amazing place to live. Please join Wood Rodgers in welcoming Tim to the company, and in sharing appreciation to Leslie for a continued job well done.

 

Tim Chamberlain recently provided an in-house presentation with an overview of the full environmental process from project concept through construction for transportation and other public agency projects. The main topics covered included CEQA and NEPA, the Environmental Process, Environmental Permitting, and Environmental Construction Support. For a highlight, head to our Wood Rodgers Youtube page here.

Interested in learning more? Connect with Tim Chamberlain and Leslie Burnside on LinkedIn.

Article written by Lexi Robertson, and edited by Tina Cooper.

Sacramento, CA —November 20, 2020 — Wood Rodgers is excited to announce that the Mather Heritage Trail (“Project”) was recognized in the Parks/Open Space category for the ASLA California Sierra Chapter’s 2020 Design Awards. The Project is owned by the City of Rancho Cordova (“the City”), and was designed in collaboration by the landscape architecture, transportation and structural departments at Wood Rodgers. Project credits also go to Michael Baker/Pacific Municipal Consultants, Bender Rosenthal, Inc., Salaber Associates, Inc., and Pacific Excavation Construction, LLC.

The Project converted an unused rail corridor to an ADA compliant, Class 1 trail spanning a freeway and linking two disparate neighborhoods in an aging mid-century suburban setting.  The trail instantly transformed the blighted corridor into a community asset and open space, providing connectivity to many vital commercial and institutional destinations.

Mather Heritage Trail in Rancho Cordova
A trail portal for Mather Heritage Trail.

The Project was consistent with an adopted regional transportation plan and increases active modes of transportation by providing a safe, off-street route between a large number of destinations. Direct connections to regional commercial, institutional, and residential land uses were not available prior to project construction.

Positive Impacts of Mather Heritage Trail for Rancho Cordova Community

Corey Kazinec, Associate Landscape Architect, helped grow the Landscape Architecture department at Wood Rodgers after joining the firm in 2004. Corey is a registered Landscape Architect in both California and Nevada, a member of ASLA, and a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor (CLIA), which provides him the authority to evaluate an existing irrigation system for efficiency. Corey was the Landscape Design Lead for the Project after it was awarded to Wood Rodgers in 2015.  

Key to the Project’s success was the preparation of an Active Transportation Program (ATP) grant application. The $2.2 million grant was awarded, and plans for 8,400 linear feet of Class 1 pedestrian and bicycle trail were prepared. The Project included coordination with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and required numerous permits for modifications to existing at-grade rail crossings.  A portion of the path flies over US Highway 50.

Upon news of the recognition by the ASLA California Sierra Chapter, Corey reflected, “I lived in the area where this project is located, and have enjoyed using the trail with my wife and daughters. I feel good about providing a project that both the City and community can be proud of. The Project had to clear a few hurdles, and had to be approved by a lot of jurisdictions. But it was well worth it!”

Custom Shade Structure for Mather Heritage Trail
Through improved access, sheltered rest areas, bike fix-it stations, and wayfinding signs, trail users can easily navigate to amenities the community offers. These include the Mather-Mills light rail station, VA Hospital, local businesses, employment centers and regional trail connections.

Trail Design Honors Industrial Railroad Past

The Project amenities include trail monument signs, seating nodes with custom shade structures, water-wise landscaping for privacy and security, striping and signage, lighting, a pedestrian traffic signal, ADA curb ramps and traffic signal modifications, as well as myriad utility coordination.

While planning the design, Corey and the team added historical components to pay tribute to area’s past. The team selected special materials to give the project an industrial character, such as metal, rock, and rustic shapes.

“The City gave us freedom to create a trail theme, which allowed us to give homage to the Project’s site history as an industrial rail-line,” said Corey. “For example, we created a sign that’s a wire basket around rocks, called a gabion, and used recycled old rails as sign posts. For the shade structure elements, we worked with the manufacturer to create a custom look for Mather Heritage Trail using metal ‘I-beams’ for the posts and barrel shaped corrugated metal roofs.”

Trail signage for Mather Heritage Trail
The site’s industrial heritage as a cargo train rail spur corridor was the inspiration for many of the construction materials within the hardscape elements for the trail.

The trail provides multiple community benefits, particularly pertaining to the overall livability and connectivity of surrounding neighborhoods. Additional benefits contribute to reducing traffic and improving health and air quality. The Heritage Trail leads south from a light rail station to a regional business hub at a Mather Commerce Center, providing a direct, comfortable, car-free means to reach a regional sports complex, a veteran’s hospital and various government offices.

Albert Stricker, P.E., is the Public Works Director at the City of Rancho Cordova. Albert commented, “The Mather Heritage Trail connects transit, neighborhoods, medical care, business centers, and recreation. Wood Rodgers collaborated with the City to design a trail that is both functional and a beautiful amenity to our City.”

Wood Rodgers thanks the City of Rancho Cordova and the partnering agencies who participated in bringing the Project to completion. We are honored to be recognized for Mather Heritage Trail by the California Sierra Chapter ASLA this year.

 

Project Credits:

  • Linda Budge, Council Member (City of Rancho Cordova)
  • Cyrus Abhar, City Manager (City of Rancho Cordova)
  • Albert Stricker, Public Works Director (City of Rancho Cordova)
  • Michael Baker/Pacific Municipal Consultants (Environmental Firm)
  • Bender Rosenthal, Inc. (Right of Way Firm)
  • Salaber Associates, Inc. (Construction Management)
  • Pacific Excavation Construction, LLC (Primary Contractor)
  • Corey Kazinec, Lead Landscape Architect (Wood Rodgers)
  • Kathryn Kim, Landscape Designer (Wood Rodgers)
  • Mark Rayback, Principal Engineer (Wood Rodgers)
  • Luke Fuson, Associate Engineer (Wood Rodgers)
  • Jerry Fitch, Associate Engineer (Wood Rodgers)
  • Dwayne Slavin, Associate Structural Engineer (Wood Rodgers)
  • Jeremy Fitch and Steven Leung for Electrical/Lighting (Wood Rodgers)
  • Gary Kimbrough (Park Planet representing Icon Shade Structures)

Photo Credits:

If your project is in the vicinity of the federal flood control project, you probably need a Section 408 Permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). It can be a daunting task to secure a Section 408 Permission within your project’s construction schedule due to extensive requirements. If your project is in the Central Valley Flood Protection Board’s (CVFPB) jurisdiction, then you will also be required to obtain a permit from the CVFPB with the USACE Permission.  Wood Rodgers Inc. (Wood Rodgers) has assisted several clients with obtaining the USACE Section 408 Permission and the CVFPB permit, and can work with you to ensure it is a smooth and painless process.

A professional headshot of Jay S. Punia, PE, MS,

Section 408 Program – What is Section 408 Permission?

In order to obtain a Section 408 Permission with the least amount of difficulty, it is very helpful to have a good understanding of Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, as amended and codified in 33 U.S.C. § 408.  A portion of the code is summarized below:

“…Section 14 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899, as amended and codified in 33 USC 408 (Section 408) provides that the Secretary of the Army may, upon the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers, grant permission to other entities for the permanent or temporary alteration or use of any U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works project. An alteration refers to any action by any entity other than the Corps that builds upon, alters, improves, moves, occupies, or otherwise affects the usefulness, or the structural or ecological integrity of a USACE project. Section 408 permission requires a determination that the requested alteration is not injurious to the public interest and will not impair the usefulness of the project. This means USACE has the authority to review, evaluate, and approve all alterations to federally authorized civil works projects to make sure they are not harmful to the public and still meet the project’s intended purposes mandated by congressional authorization. Routine operations and maintenance does not require 408 permissions…”

Applying for Section 408 Permission from USACE and CVFBP Permits

The Wood Rodgers team has unique expertise in helping its clients to develop and complete application packages based on the Section 408 requirements and the expectations of the USACE and CVFPB staffs. We have a thorough understanding of the USACE policy and procedural guidelines (Engineering Circular 1165-2-220) for processing Section 408 requests and their Safety Assurance Review (Engineering Circular 1165-2-217) requirements. We are also familiar with the recently enacted Categorical Permission process to expedite and streamline review of requests for Section 408 Permissions for projects that may have similar impacts to USACE projects and the environment.  According to USACE, the following are the key steps for each Section 408 permit action:

Section 408 Permit Request Step‐by‐Step Procedures

Requestors are responsible for preparing and submitting a completed Section 408 Permit request accompanied by the required technical and environmental documents. The request should: (1) confirm the technical soundness of the proposed alteration/modification; (2) provide a basis for environmental acceptability; and (3) formally request that a Section 408 Permit be granted for the proposed alteration or modification.

Step 1:  Pre‐Coordination

Early coordination between USACE, the requester, and/or a non‐federal sponsor (if applicable) may aid in identifying potential issues, focusing efforts, minimizing costs, and protecting sensitive information.  Requestors should review the information and requirements shown on the USACE website for incorporation into the proposed request. Pre‐application conferences are encouraged for projects of a unique nature or those that involve extensive or critical modifications.

Step 2:  Written Request

The initiation of the permitting process begins with a written request. The written request is submitted to the District Commander of the appropriate USACE district office having jurisdiction over the USACE project that would be impacted by the alteration. The written request must include the following five components:

Item 1: A complete description of the proposed alteration including necessary drawings, sketches, maps and plans that are sufficient for the district to make a preliminary determination as to the location, purpose and need, anticipated construction schedule, and level of technical documentation required to inform its evaluation.

Item 2: A written statement regarding whether the requester is also pursuing authorization pursuant to Sections 10/404/103 and, if so, the date or anticipated date of application/pre‐construction notification submittal;

Item 3:  Information regarding whether credit is being or will be sought under Section 221 (or other law), or whether approval under Section 204(f) is being or will be sought;

Item 4:  A written statement of whether the requester will require the use of either federally‐owned real property or property owned by the non‐federal sponsor; and,

Item 5:  A written statement from the non‐federal sponsor endorsing the proposed alteration, if applicable.

Step 3: Required Documentation

Requestors are responsible for preparing and submitting the required technical and environmental documentation need by the district to determine whether the proposed alteration would impair the usefulness of the project or be injurious to the public interest.

-Technical Analysis and Design

-Environmental Compliance

-Real Estate Requirements

-Discussion of Executive Order 11988 considerations

-Requester Review Plan Requirement

-Operations and Maintenance

Quality Control (QC) is the responsibility of the requester, and all submitted documents (including supporting data, analyses, environmental compliance documents, etc.) should have undergone a QC review prior to submittal.

Step 4: Decision‐Making Process

The District evaluates each request for an alteration on a case‐by‐case basis.  The technical staff will evaluate proposed alterations against Corps standards (using current USACE guidance, criteria, and staff experience).  Additionally, the technical staff will ensure that the proposed alteration will not be injurious to the public, will not impair the usefulness of the project, and is not in conflict with any known laws and/or regulations, as set forth by the policies and procedures in EC 1165‐2‐ 220. Upon completion of the review, notification is provided with one of the following:  (1) the issuance of the Section 408 Permission for the proposed action; (2) a denial of the request; or (3) an order requesting additional information or revisions to the proposal.

Final Step: Post‐Permission Oversight

Once the District approves the proposed alterations and issues the Section 408 Permission, the permittee is then responsible for the Post‐Permission oversight, which includes the following:

-Construction Oversight: The Section 408 permittee shall oversee the conduct of the work and ensure that construction is in accordance with the issued Section 408 permit and the approved plans and

-As‐Builts: Drawings showing alterations as finally constructed shall be furnished to the district by the Section 408 permittee after completion of the work. As‐builts must be provided within 180 days of construction

-Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Manual Updates: The Section 408 permittee and/or non‐federal sponsor is required to provide an update/supplemental appendix for the O&M Manual. At a minimum, the update should include a description of the new features, a reference to the Section 408 approvals, as‐builts, and instructions regarding O&M of any new features not included in the existing

-Post-Construction Closeout: Upon construction completion, the Requester shall notify the USACE in writing that all construction is complete. The Requester shall also provide electronic copies of the as‐built plans to the USACE, as well as any other documents as required by the Section 408

The following flow chart by the USACE shows the various steps involved in obtaining the Section 408 permission.

Section 408 Decision Process Flow Chart

Source: USACE Website

Hydraulic and geotechnical analyses are the key components of the application submittal package. These analyses must demonstrate that the proposed project will not be injurious to the federal flood control project.  Wood Rodgers’ technical experts can assist with the performance of these analyses and present the information to the CVFPB and USACE.  Wood Rodgers has mastered these techniques and can help you to secure the USACE Section 408 Permission and CVFPB Permit in a timely fashion so you can start construction of your project as soon as possible.

Wood Rodgers also has an excellent staff and employs sub-consultants, all of whom are highly qualified to support you in meeting other requirements needed to obtain the Section 408 Permission as set forth by the following:

-California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA);

-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA);

-Endangered Species Act: Section 7 consultations;

-National Historic Preservation Act: Section 106;

-Clean Water Act – Section 401: State Certification of Water Quality; and

-California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lake and Streambed Alteration Program.

Examples of Current Projects for Obtaining Section 408 Permission and CVFPB Permits

Below are a few examples of current projects for which Wood Rodgers is assisting clients in obtaining the Section 408 Permission and the CVFPB permits. Most of these projects are ongoing, but we have already obtained USACE permission and CVFPB permit for the Simmerly Slough Project and it is now under construction.

Public Sector:

-Simmerly Slough Bridge Replacement Project (Caltrans)

-Reclamation District 1001 Auxiliary Pump Station

-Butte City Bridge Replacement Project (Caltrans)

-Reclamation District 10 Pump Station Relocation Project

-Honcut Creek Bridge Replacement Project (Caltrans)

-Caltrans Levee Setback Project in Marysville for Expanding State Route 70 (Caltrans)

Private Sector:

-Lookout Slough Tidal Habitat Restoration and Flood Improvement Project (Ecosystem Investment Partners)

-River One Project in West Sacramento (Fulcrum Property)

-Bank Protection Project in Fair Oaks, CA (Private Property Owners along American River)

If your project needs a Section 408 Permission or is in the vicinity of the federal flood control project, please contact me, Jay Punia, of Wood Rodgers, to discuss your options.

About the Author

Jay Punia, MS, PE, has close to 40 years of diversified experience in water resources development and management for local and state agencies. Jay can be reached at (916) 870-0770 or via jpunia@woodrodgers.com.

Wood Rodgers Celebrates Water Professionals Week

Water Professionals Week | October 3rd – 11th

This year, Wood Rodgers celebrated California’s Water Professionals Appreciation Week from October 3rd-11th, 2020. The week recognized the essential role of water professionals and water providers for our communities. Wood Rodgers professionals have a broad range of expertise in water resources planning, analysis, and design. From source generation, treatment, conveyance, and distribution, to drainage analyses and flood control design, our engineers, geologists, hydrogeologists, and floodplain managers are equipped to bring innovative solutions to complex water resources problems.

To show appreciation for our water professionals here at Wood Rodgers, we highlighted 21 professionals from our 8 different office locations. As a multidisciplinary firm, employees at Wood Rodgers work on a variety of projects across disciplines. Whether an engineer, GIS analyst, planner, surveyor, hydrogeologist, or landscape architect, water is an important design component to consider for any project. Listed alphabetically by first name, read below to learn about the expertise that our professionals bring to water related projects.

Andrew Augustine, PE

Andrew Augustine
Andrew Augustine

Andrew Augustine has over 11 years of experience in engineering industry, and worked at Wood Rodgers for 5 years as a Water Resources Engineer. Currently, Andrew works on stormwater master plans and FEMA CTP projects. Andrew primarily uses InfoWorks ICM (1D and 2D) to model floodplains for FEMA CTP projects, analyze historical flooding, and perform stormwater master plans. In addition, Andrew provides InfoWorks ICM technical training to clients for constructing, analyzing, and stabilizing models. Andrew says the most rewarding part of a career in Water Resources is identifying deficiencies in stormwater infrastructure and developing cost-effective solutions.

Azin Sharaf

Azin Sharaf

Azin Sharaf works as a GIS Analyst at Wood Rodgers with over 14 years of industry experience. Azin specializes in the ESRI ArcGIS stack, which includes design, implementation and administration of Enterprise GIS, data management, data analysis and solution design. At Wood Rodgers, Azin provides GIS support for Storm Drain Master Plan projects. Azin says it is rewarding to bring new and advanced GIS solutions to storm drain master plan projects.

Brian Carver

Brian Carver

Brian Carver has been with Wood Rodgers for 7 years, and brings valued expertise to our Survey department on a wide variety of projects. Brian has over 22 years of industry experience, helps on SBFCA projects, and enjoys the steady workload at Wood Rodgers.

Camila Correa

Camila Correa

Camila Correa has worked as an engineer in our Water Resources department at Wood Rodgers for 2 years. While completing a Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering, Camila focused her studies on fluid mechanics and hydrology. Currently, Camila works on drainage master plans, channel/slope stability, and trash capture. Camila says the most rewarding part of a career as an engineer is “working to help cities grow and evolve to environmental changes, and ensuring safety for the people in those cities.”

Corey Kazinec

Corey Kazinec

Corey Kazinec is a Landscape Architect registered in both California and Nevada, and a CLIA (Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor), with two decades of experience. At Wood Rodgers, Corey specializes in water efficient landscapes, irrigation design and irrigation auditing, and storm water capture and filtration through soils and plant media. For Corey, the most rewarding part of a career in Landscape Architecture is reducing water use and water waste by implementing highly efficient irrigation systems, low impact development (LID), and other sustainable site design practices.

Darius Dastoum

Darius Dastoum

Darius Dastoum has over 6 years of experience and has been working as an engineer at Wood Rodgers for the last 2 years. Currently, Darius contributes to projects for water distribution system improvements, including pipeline design and meter retrofits, civil site design of pump stations, pump and motor sizing, and treatment of groundwater. Darius says, “Water is an essential part of human life and I get to be a part of a great team of professionals whose purpose is to design infrastructure to provide reliable and safe water to people.”

Doug Del Porto

Doug Del Porto

Doug Del Porto specializes in Public Works and Transportation projects, and has been an engineer at Wood Rodgers for 5 years. Recently, Doug helped with the design for an Inverted Siphon for the Orr Ditch located in Northern Nevada. At project completion, Doug felt that it was rewarding to see the team’s plans and design go from graph paper and hand calculations to water flowing on the downhill side of the inverted siphon’s outlet structure.

Jay Punia, PE

Jay Punia

Jay Punia has 40 years of diversified experience in water resources development and management, as well as State government operations. Presently, Jay is working with Wood Rodgers as a Senior Water Resources Project Manager. Jay’s education and experience have prepared him to take the lead role in water resources management, habitat restoration, and flood control projects.

Jay says, “Flood management work is rewarding because our efforts protect lives and properties from the peril of flooding. Our work is particularly important locally here in Sacramento because two big rivers pass through our beautiful city. We came very close to being flooded in 1986, but luckily we dodged it! Since then, a lot of work has been done on levees along Sacramento metropolitan area, Yuba City and Marysville area. Wood Rodgers staff has worked with local, state and federal agencies to make these areas safe and better places to live and raise families.”

Jeff Lodge, PE

Jeff Lodge

Jeff Lodge is a Project Manager and Principal at Wood Rodgers with 30 years of experience. Jeff’s experience on a variety of public works and capital improvement projects includes pipeline and pump station design, solid waste management and facility design, water and wastewater treatment and conveyance system design, sewer design, and construction management. His areas of specialization include design, inspection and field support services and contract administration for a variety of civil infrastructure projects including pump stations, water treatment plants and conveyance systems. Throughout his career, Jeff has found it rewarding to provide a safe and reliable drinking water supply to the public.

Jenny Priest, GISP

Jenny Priest

Jenny Priest is a certified Geographic Information Systems Professional with over 25 years’ experience in the industry and over 17 years at Wood Rodgers. As a GIS Specialist and Senior CAD Technician, Jenny utilizes both GIS and Civil3D for Floodplain Delineations and Mapping, Levee Improvement projects, Feasibility Studies, Drainage Studies, Drain analyses, Drain pipe design, and Developing Improvement plans.

Jenny says, “Aside from working with extremely talented engineers and the experiences I’ve gained from the various projects I’ve worked on, the most rewarding part is seeing a project come to fruition and knowing that I was a part of the team that made it happen!”

Jesse Meza

Jesse Meza

Jesse Meza joined Wood Rodgers a few months ago, and has 4 years of engineering experience as well as a Masters degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering. Jesse specializes in drainage system design, levee construction management, flood control, and channel improvements. “Applying my technical expertise to manage the planet’s most critical natural resource is the most rewarding part of the job,” said Jesse.

Jesse Patchett, PE, CFM

Jesse Patchett, PE, CFM

As a Senior Project Manager at Wood Rodgers, Jesse Patchett enjoys working on the planning, design, and construction management phases of some of the largest and most exciting projects in southern Nevada and northern California. With 17 years of experience, Jesse currently works on a Regional Flood Control Planning and Infrastructure Project, Levee Projects, and Urban Drainage Design Projects. Jesse says, “I truly enjoy the opportunity to be part of projects that reduce flood risk, and reduce the cost of flood insurance, to people in my community.”

Jim Fletter, PE

Jim Fletter

Jim Fletter has over 27 years of experience, and works on planning, design and construction for sewer pump stations, water well pump stations, sewer & water supply infrastructure (both new and rehabilitation). Most of Jim’s utility projects involve some form of pipe rehabilitation through pipe bursting, pipe lining, or complete replacement. Jim has been involved in and responsible for all aspects of public works project delivery from planning and programming through design and construction. At Wood Rodgers, Jim says he enjoys working with and solving problems for clients, as well as, working with great people.

Josh Sobolew, PG

Josh Sobolew

Josh Sobolew has 9 years of experience in the Hydrogeology field, with project expertise in groundwater supply, which includes well rehabilitations, municipal well, basin evaluations, permitting, and reporting. Josh’s approach to providing the highest quality work product involves hard work, dedication, knowledge, and communication. For Josh, it is rewarding to provide clients with highly efficient wells that meet state drinking water standards while overcoming challenging site conditions.

Julie Garofalo, PG, CHG

Julie Garofalo

Julie Garofalo is a California registered Professional Geologist and Certified Hydrogeologist experienced in regional and localized hydrogeologic investigations. Julie’s hydrogeologic work primarily focuses on siting, design and construction oversight during well rehabilitation or drilling of new wells to provide safe drinking water supply to municipalities and sustainable irrigation water supply to agricultural groups. Julie also conducts hydrogeologic assessments of properties for acquisition, to evaluate if the underlying groundwater system can not only meet the client’s water capacity and quality objectives, but also maintain sustainability for the long-term.

Julie says, “Designing groundwater wells is so much more than simply drilling a deep hole in the ground and dropping a pump in it… well design and construction truly is an art. Since soil conditions and groundwater quality vary significantly across area and depth, and because you cannot physically see the conditions several hundred feet beneath your feet, you have to rely on touching the soil that is brought up to the ground surface with your hands, your existing knowledge of the geology in the area or communication with the local old-time drillers, and the basic hydrogeology principles to guide you through the well design process. After the well is drilled and constructed, you hope and pray that water not only comes out of the well when the pump switch is turned on, but that the quantity AND quality of the water are good and meet the project objectives. There is something so satisfying about watching sparkling clean water discharging from a well, whether it’s water for a farmer to grow crops, or for a municipality to provide drinking water to the public. It is truly rewarding to be able to supply safe, reliable and sustainable drinking water to a disadvantaged community, or to entities that face water shortages and/or water quality challenges throughout the state of California. With the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), we are excited to embark on the journey of supporting our clients to advance sustainable management practices for their groundwater well systems.”

Karl Meier, PE

Karl Meier

Karl Meier has over 17 years of experience working on Water Resources Engineering, and specializes in the planning, design and construction management of water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure projects spanning from San Diego to Santa Barbara County. Karl currently helps manage the Wood Rodgers San Diego office, which opened in January 2019. For Karl, the most rewarding part of a career in Water Resources is solving a problem for public sector clients that results in a positive outcome and real benefit for the community it serves.

Luke Philbert

Luke Philbert

Luke Philbert has over 8 years of experience, and currently works on planning and design for water distribution and wastewater collection. Luke is an experienced Civil Engineer, skilled in ArcGIS, Hydraulic and Hydrologic models, AutoCAD, and fundamental engineering applications. Luke finds it rewarding to provide an essential and important resource to a City or Agency, and using amazing technology for analysis and design.

Megan Kurtz

Megan Kurtz

Megan Kurtz is a Water Resources Engineer at Wood Rodgers, and currently works on sewer modeling, waterline design, and water/wastewater planning services.  Megan says, “The most rewarding part about being a water professional is knowing that your projects increase the quality of life for so many people. Whether it be modeling, planning, or design, our projects ensure safe drinking water availability and wastewater disposal for the immediate and distant future. Water is such a vital part of life and it is humbling to be entrusted with its management.”

Satish Kumar, PE

Satish Kumar

Satish Kumar has 11 years of industry experience, and specializes in all things Flood Control – from Drainage Master Plans, to Land Development (Drainage design and C3), and Pump Stations. Satish says, “For me, working for a great company that has afforded me so many opportunities to explore my interest, grow professionally and develop lasting relationships with staff and clients has been very rewarding. Public speaking and mentoring staff have also been very satisfying. Ultimately, having happy clients and project team is my desire, and our exciting and challenging projects keep me driven to achieve that.”

Sean Spaeth, PG, CHG

Sean Spaeth

Sean Spaeth is the Hydrogeology Group Manager at Wood Rodgers, and has been growing our hydrogeology services in Northern and Southern California for the last 15 years. Currently, Sean helps clients to develop an understanding of groundwater, and evaluates and provides proactive management solutions not only for groundwater sustainability, but managing existing assets. Sean specializes in Municipal Well Design and Well Construction, Well Assessment, Well Rehabilitation, and Groundwater Quality Investigation. Throughout his career, Sean has enjoyed helping communities identify and utilize the highest quality groundwater.

Shawn Katebian

Shawn Katebian

Shawn Katebian has 4.5 years of experience in engineering industry, and currently works as an engineer on Water Resources projects such as Levee/ Floodwall Design, Stormwater Channel/ Drop Structure Rehabilitation, Stormwater Trash Capture, and FEMA Levee Certification Reports. Shawn stated, “The most rewarding part of my career as a water professional is seeing the designs that I have worked on come to life. It is really cool to know that your work is directly serving the people in the communities involved.”

 


 

And that’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed learning more about our water professionals at Wood Rodgers, and their dedication to clients, projects, and the community. We are proud to celebrate the achievements of our staff every day, but especially during Water Professionals Appreciation Week.

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Wood Rodgers, Inc. is excited to announce the transition of our leadership to continue the firm’s legacy and history of quality professional consulting services.

Mark Rayback, currently serving as Vice President and Corporate Secretary, has been selected unanimously by the Board of Directors to serve as the next President. Mr. Rayback will assume his new role starting on January 1, 2021.

Mark Rayback will assume his new role as President of Wood Rodgers, Inc. starting on January 1, 2021.

Mark Rodgers, co-founder and current President, will transition to Chief Executive Officer and remain active with his Clients and on the Board of Directors.

Mark Rodgers, co-founder and current president of Wood Rodgers.
Mark Rodgers, co-founder and current President, will transition to Chief Executive Officer and remain active with his Clients and on the Board of Directors.

“It’s always such a difficult and unique decision to find the right person who understands the vision that both Rich Wood and I started. We founded this firm on the notion that when you hire the best people, give them the tools they need and then get out of the way, everyone is successful. It’s also hard to find someone who you can trust to carry on the legacy that makes Wood Rodgers such a special firm – the best place to work for, and the best people to work with. I am confident that Mr. Rayback will be able to continue the legacy and vision with just as much passion as Rich and I began the company with, if not more.”, stated Mark Rodgers.

Mr. Rayback has a long history of engineering excellence having spent the last 15-years with Wood Rodgers, 10 years of which serving on the Board of Directors.  Mr. Rayback’s “can-do” attitude, coupled with his energy and professionalism is a perfect candidate to guide Wood Rodgers’ continued success in the years to come.

“I am so fortunate to be named President of this incredible company.  I look forward to this new challenge and know that I am surrounded by an incredible team.  I am focused on ensuring that Wood Rodgers will remain the special place it is and continue to provide our Clients the exceptional service that they have come to expect.”, stated Mark Rayback

Please join us to usher in a new and exciting phase in the history of Wood Rodgers.

Kevin Gustorf, PE, authored an article about continuing growth in a changing world.
Keven Gustorf, PE, describes how Wood Rodgers is adapting and continuing to grow in spite of current challenges.

Whenever Wood Rodgers opens a new office, we work to establish our company’s presence in the unfamiliar market. Typically, that entails assertive marketing: introducing ourselves to potential clients through in-person meetings and presentations, hosting events, joining regional organizations, and becoming involved in the local engineering industry. In our first year as a new office in San Diego, we proudly expanded our presence in the Southern California region with new clients, projects and staff through these traditional methods.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to adapt and implement different practices to continue developing as an emerging business in a new market. Here are a few ways that we’ve been successful with managing client relationships, new key staff, and collaborations as a team during ‘the new normal.’

3 Ways to Maintain Client Relationships Remotely

As we all adapt, we’ve had to rethink how we maintain our client relationships. Normally, we meet with clients in-person consistently throughout the life of a project. Even after projects are complete, we have the opportunity to reconnect at other industry events, such as conferences, luncheons and organization meetings. Without these in-person interactions, here are 3 ways to make an extra effort to keep projects moving forward and continue client interactions.

Regular Contact. Find a reason to communicate with your clients about current projects in some fashion. A quick email, phone call, or text all work great – it doesn’t have to be a major topic of discussion item or a presentation. A successful approach is to initiate regular, informal, and quick communication just to touch base and keep them informed.

Non-Project Related Check-ins. Celebrate your client’s successes, and extend offers to help out when they have an issue. For example, if I hear of a client who has been promoted, I like to drop a quick congratulatory note. Or if I hear that there has been an emergency or disaster in their area, I will check-in to see how they are doing.  It’s important to check-in in good times and bad and see how are things going. We want our clients to know that we are here for them, no matter what.

Be Responsive. Be available to help clients with any issue, no matter how big or how small. These are weird times and we understand that our clients are also adapting. Some tasks can be more challenging for our clients to take on or implement during these times. We are here to provide extra support as everyone struggles to readjust their ways of operating. We pride ourselves on responding to clients quickly, no matter the nature of the topic, and doing whatever we can to support them (even if it means directing them to a competitor).

3 Ways to Help New Hires Get Acclimated

As a growing office, it’s important that we do everything we can to help new hires feel welcomed and get set up with all the tools and training to do their job effectively. To adapt to COVID-19, our Information Technology Group has been diligently improving our virtual practices and implementing new tools.

New technology is already a learning curve for our current employees. That being said, imagine joining in a new company in the face of so much change. Normally, the on-boarding process focuses on introducing new hires to the company, providing them with access to resources, teaching our processes, ingraining them into our unique employee-focused culture and involving them in our projects. Now, on top of that, we are introducing new hires to newly-implemented technologies for operation in a remote-work environment, where it easy for them to feel like they are on an island. As a manager, here are 3 ways to think ahead about challenges a new hire may face in this virtual environment.

Two-way Communication. The virtual workflow requires more communication and check-ins than many people are used to. We must be diligent about communication in both directions. Managers need to know what challenges are happening, so we can remedy those quickly. Previously, I mentioned being responsive to our clients, it is equally important that we are responsive to our employees.

Detailed New Hire Plan. I would certainly recommend a detailed plan for new hires before they start. Prior to their first day, managers should be evaluating what training new hires need and which projects will be best for them to get involved in. Especially in the beginning, it helps to have a daily “start your day” check-in to review what lies ahead for the day and/or the week. It also provides an opportunity for the new hire to communicate any challenges or issues they are having so they can be addressed quickly, and to provide them with access to the necessary resources to be successful.

Account for the Lost Interactions. It’s easy to take for granted responding to the quick questions in an office setting, such as: who do I ask about this, where are the supplies, etc. Those informal, casual interactions are vital when an employee is new to the company. It helps the new employee to become acclimated, meet their co-workers, and develop a connection to the company. We need to put in extra effort to include new hires as the team works virtually. On top of one-on-one correspondence, we set up regular weekly meetings for business development, marketing, and tackling issues as they arise.

With everybody collaborating virtually, it’s easy to lose some of the energy that comes with being in the office environment and feeding off each other. Recognizing that everyone’s office environment and circumstances are different now (i.e. newborns, kids in school, roommates, dual-working parents, etc.), we must be sensitive to each individual’s situation, while also being productive and delivering for our clients.  We do that by communicating, being flexible, adaptive and responsive. Despite all the challenges, Wood Rodgers is continuing to support our clients and our employees move projects forward and better our communities. Even virtually, we remember to enjoy those team-building moments of celebrating milestones, each other, or just talking together about life in general. This is a bump in the road, but we view it as an opportunity to differentiate ourselves, and we’ve adapted and keep on in our mission of providing great service for our clients and opportunities for growth for our employees and company.

 

About Kevin Gustorf, PE

A professional headshot of Kevin Gustorf, PE.Kevin Gustorf leads and manages the Wood Rodgers San Diego office. Kevin joined Wood Rodgers as a Principal in 2018, and has over 22 years of water and wastewater consulting experience throughout California. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn here.

DBE | SBE | DBE Outreach

Teaming Opportunities for Small Business Enterprises (SBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), or Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises (DVBE)

Wood Rodgers, Inc. is ALWAYS looking for great teaming partners for various project pursuits. We are especially interested in looking for opportunities to team with disadvantaged business enterprises for ongoing and future projects throughout California and Nevada.

Wood Rodgers manages a number of statewide projects where specialty and subspecialty disciplines are needed to help supplement our team. However, it is not limited to just disciplines that we do not have in-house. There are also opportunities where we share work that with our existing disciplines to create opportunities to build relationships with subconsultants.

We are currently active in Caltrans District 3 – Calmentor Program and have met a number of great teaming partners that have developed into long-term working relationships for various projects. We honor our commitments to our subconsultants and have had an impeccable history of sharing our work and ensuring payment to subconsultants.

We understand that projects have peaks and pauses. It’s not just about our subcontracting opportunities but also includes instances where Wood Rodgers can also supplement your teams during your peak times. Our goal is to create and build relationships where there is mutual and on-going support.

If you are a disadvantaged business enterprise and are interested in helping us build sustainable communities, work on exciting infrastructure projects, or simply looking to expand your own work portfolio, please send a Statement of Qualifications to Tina Cooper, Corporate Communications Director at tcooper@woodrodgers.com.

We would love to connect with consultants who share our passion with supporting our communities, providing our clients with unparalleled level of services, and elevating the field of engineering!