Dog Days

After a day of back-to-back-to-back planning meetings, 12 hours of checking monitoring wells in pouring rain, driving 200 miles to and from a project site, or cranking out the last section of a 100-page report, Aspect staffers are often in need of a friendly face. Luckily, we are backed by a devoted group of canine consultants that advise us on all things comforting, charming, and cute. Our four-legged friends are fuzzy therapy in the field, office, and at home. Below are stories of some of the dogs, both living and living on in our memories, who never fail to put a smile on our faces.


There is hardly a day you will find me at the office without Frodo, who has been coming with me to work since we rescued him at five weeks old in January 2015, and essentially grew up in the Bainbridge office. On the rare occasion that I walk into the office without him, I often get bombarded with concerned people wondering what’s wrong, where he is, and why he’s not with me. Thanks to Frodo, my office is often a pit stop for people on their way to get lunch, grab a piece of candy, or simply when they need a little stress reliever or a smile. Even when things get a little stressful in my corner of the office, it’s nothing a short walk or potty break outside with him can’t fix. In addition to that he has helped me form relationships with a lot of Aspect employees I am now lucky enough to call my friends. Maybe I’m biased, but Frodo feels like such a part of the Bainbridge office I honestly can’t imagine the day without him!

- Meghan Lawson Project Assistant


Stella is a good companion and always enjoys keeping me company. When I see her lying about, she always reminds me to stay relaxed.

- Eric Marhofer, Senior Remediation Engineer


Carbon doesn’t spend much time in the Wenatchee office – mostly because she’s a fieldwork dog! The Wenatchee office typically has to cover a lot of ground every week so Carbon and I do a lot of traveling together to serve the greater Central and Eastern Washington areas. Sometimes, Carbon just comes along to keep me company during overnight sampling adventures or on routine maintenance trips to far reaching weather stations. Other times, she bounces along in the pickup bed and waits patiently as I inspect various bits of infrastructure on a local farm or orchard. Wenatchee is a small town and Carbon has been my most surprising means to building strong client relationships. I’ve accidentally been introduced to more than one client through Carbon befriending their dogs at the dog park or through a local sheep herding event. Now I just have to teach her to start writing reports!

-  Taylor Dayton, Staff Water Resources Engineer


Banjoboy isn’t a big fan of the office. Too much work and not enough cuddles. He’s much happier out in Horse Heaven Hills. He likes guarding the driver’s seat while I run a pumping test. It’s an exhausting job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

- Aaron Pruitt, Project Hydrogeologist


My first baby, Kassi dog passed away recently at 14 ½ years old.  My husband, JB, and I picked her up from an animal shelter in Shelton, WA in April 2002.  As the runt of her litter, she had escaped and was picked up wondering the streets.  Kassi was a tough little runt, but had separation anxiety.  We learned pretty quickly that we could not leave her at home as she destroyed everything: crates, carpet, flooring, and walls.  She was trying to get out and be with her pack, not destroy just because she was mad.  So began the take your dog everywhere routine.  Luckily, she enjoyed being in the car and never damaged it.  Kassi enjoyed going to construction sites with me and Neah Bay with JB (photos attached).  She was very smart and brought us loads of happiness.  Seeing a dog with their owner, always brings a smile to my face. 

- Ali Dennison, Senior Project Geologist


This is my dog Augie. He is a Corgi and Aussie Shepherd mix, known as an “Augi” mix. He runs a hard bargain negotiating for food from my daughter at her play table. Like most corgis he sleeps on his back like a human. He lives by the corgi mantra “I don’t always bark, but when I do its usually at nothing”. For that reason, he doesn’t come to the office.

- Nick Szot, Senior Project Geotechnical Engineer


In loving memory of Hunter, who we lost recently. This picture was taken just after a snuggle session with my youngest daughter. 

- Eric Knoedler, Staff Hydrogeologist


I've only brought Cosmo to work a couple of times maybe 7 or 8 years ago due to the travel logistics but it was really fun when I did because I could show him off. After all, he is the best dog in the world! Cosmo lives to go on adventures.  We run in the Vashon forest every Saturday, whenever I can. He trained with me for a marathon and many other endurance events including distance swims. These days as he is slowing down, he likes to go fishing with me as shown on the attached pictures.

- Henry Haselton, Principal Geotechnical Engineer


Bamboo, best supporting actor (faux service dog category). He hovers close to Lori just in case she might benefit from giving him a few pets.

- Doug Hillman, Principal Hydrogeologist


I love bringing Cooper to work!  Plus, Cooper loves coming to work as some of his favorite people work at Aspect…not to mention his fondness for cleaning up the crumbs from under people’s desks.  Having a dog in the work place tends to bring down stress levels and gives you a great excuse to get up from your desk and take a walk outside.

- Kirsi Longley, Senior Project Environmental Scientist


Office dogs help to provide a connection with my colleagues. My dogs encourage me to get up and walk away from my desk to get more face-to-face time with coworkers. Their silly antics also give a refreshing perspective (as you can see in the picture of Myka taking a crazy nap!) for not only me but my fellow coworkers. This has proven crucial on many occasions, most importantly when we have stressful and busy deadlines! Time with my dogs helps me keep perspective on work-life balance. I’m ever grateful for the opportunities that sharing my dogs with my colleagues has opened up for me. They’ve helped me find myself in conversations that lead to especially interesting and challenging project work, and keep folks coming back to me for collaboration.   

- Robyn Pepin, GIS Analyst


Tesla has only come in with me once so far, but I think she had a good time.  She loves people and attention, and is the best lap warmer ever.

- Lea Beard, Senior Staff Data Scientist


Hank is the strangest and most loyal dog I’ve known. He’s somehow both fearless and completely neurotic, and an escape artist who is too smart for his own good. His favorite activities are clearly snuggling and tug of war, but he’s also been known to enjoy rock climbing, jumping fences, standing completely still and staring at the wall for long periods of time, and impersonating Chewbacca. All around, he’s a pretty awesome mutt!  

-  Seann McClure, Project Hydrogeologist


He's a sweetheart to a fault.  He's the only dog I know who shares his toys, treats, and even his food.

- Michael Totin, Network/Systems Administrator


Piper is a 9-year-old German Wirehaired Pointer.  She loves tennis balls, chasing squirrels, swimming, and being pet on the head. Sometimes she is lucky enough to come to the office with me, which is great for her because there are a lot of people who will pet her cute, shaggy head. I like having her in the office because she reminds me to get up from my desk every once in a while and take a walk. And because I get a lot more visitors to my office when she is here…everyone loves Piper!

- Carla Brock, Associate Geologist


Miles is part lab/part horse making him a tough fit for the office life. Combine that with the fact that my colleague always whips him into a frenzy and he doesn’t get to visit the office very much…but that’s okay, he has some fun two-legged buddies at home to keep him busy.

- Andrew Holmson, Senior Geotechnical Engineer


Artie is a yellow lab with a characteristically friendly disposition.  He loves going outside and is a great rock climbing partner with his impressive ability to scale steep surfaces.  Although he generally wants to be friends with everyone, he has a hilarious fear of small dogs andcats. 

- Bracken Capen, Senior Staff Engineer

Get to Know Dave Cook

Aspect is excited to welcome Principal Geologist Dave Cook, a seasoned environmental leader with focused expertise in urban brownfields redevelopment, site acquisition, remedial cost estimation, cleanup, and environmental strategy. Here are five questions we asked to get to know him better. 

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?   I grew up in Wooster, Ohio.  Wooster is a small 20,000-person town (near Akron) between the urban diversity of Cleveland and very rural Amish farming country.  Growing up I had the benefit of a tight, small-town community, playing soccer against eastern European clubs in Cleveland, or experiencing Amish horse and buggies rolling through our town.  I went to undergrad at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, received a degree in geology and played collegiate soccer.  I then went to Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona where I received a M.S. in geology.  Growing up I had visited about 40 States.  The only states I hadn’t been too after grad school were the Pacific NW, so I had to come.  Obviously, I couldn’t (and can’t) leave.   
  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it?  Three things:  My dad sold trucks to oil field services and drilling companies that happened to make Wooster a home base for Appalachian basin oil exploration/development.  We had a family friend who was a geology professor at the local college (The College of Wooster).  And my dad and I did a Grand Canyon raft trip after my freshman year in college.  That sealed the deal (it also got me to NAU for grad school where I ended up completing my masters research in the Canyon; studying the 800-milion-year-old Walcott Member of the Chuar Group – about 60 miles down-river from Lee’s Ferry).
  3.  What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?  Meeting and solving client problems in innovative/creative ways.  Applying new solutions and technologies to old problems.  I believe that an earth scientist has much to offer the world.  We are unique, and although we’ve always been needed, today, with climate change and extreme “earth events” society needs us to be confident, direct, factual and simple in how we describe complex three dimensional systems.
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?  Playing pickup soccer, following the Seattle Sounders, hiking, running, bike riding, traveling, volunteering with Engineers Without Borders-USA (  EWB-USA is a 15,000-person volunteer organization composed on engineers, scientists, health professionals, and educators.  I’ve served in many roles in the organization from Seattle Professional Chapter President, to UW-EWB professional mentor for water projects in Bolivia, to Board of Directors, to 2016 national Board President.  It’s an honor to serve with my EWB-USA colleagues.  Come see me if you are interested in getting involved.
  5. What five people would be your dream dinner party guests?
  • Elon Musk – for his innovative, break the norm – won’t-take-no entrepreneurial attitude
  • John Wesley Powell – my geology hero.  Explorer/discoverer of the Colorado River system and the Grand Canyon (he did this research with one arm – a civil war musket ball took one of his arms).
  • Richard Branson – Another entrepreneur with vision, branding and marketing chops; plus he seems to have a good heart and soul.
  • Bonnie Dunbar – Space shuttle astronaut.  I got to meet and work with her when she was the Executive Director of the Museum of Flight.  Amazing scientist/engineer who grew up on a ranch in Eastern Washington.  She’s got the small town roots with a whole-earth perspective.
  • Barack Obama – I campaigned for him in Ohio in 2008.  He’s cool under pressure, smart, sophisticated, and takes a long view of success.

Landmark Hirst Water Rights Decision Increases Burden on Counties to Evaluate Exempt Well Impacts

In a landmark decision on the use of exempt wells and county responsibility for evaluating impacts from the wells on instream flows, the Washington Supreme Court (Court) recently overturned a lower court decision in the Whatcom County v. Hirst case.  The lower court decision appealed in this case essentially directed local governments to follow the Washington Department of Ecology’s (Ecology) interpretation of instream flow rules in determining water availability. This Court decision rescinds that direction, noting that the Growth Management Act (GMA) places an independent responsibility to ensure water availability on counties, not on Ecology.  The decision also noted that the fact that county provisions are wholly consistent with Ecology’s regulations does not, by itself, render them consistent with GMA requirements.

The Ruling Constrains Exempt Well Use in Washington

Under existing law (RCW 90.44.050), the groundwater permit exemption allows, for a limited number of purposes, water users to construct and develop groundwater wells for small quantities of groundwater without obtaining a permit.  According to the new ruling, there is no question that a permit-exempt well may not infringe on an earlier established right to water, including instream flow rules, under the doctrine of prior appropriation.  The Court also found it contradictory that Ecology must consider the effect of groundwater appropriations on minimum flows when issuing water right permits, while counties did not consider these same impacts when issuing building permits with exempt wells.  This means that in a basin with adopted minimum instream flows, any new exempt well or exempt well drilled after adoption of flows may be subject to interruption when flows are not met, rendering these wells legally unreliable as a continuous domestic water source.

The Ruling Increases County Responsibility for Water Availability Determinations under GMA

In addition, this ruling imposes a strict standard for county review of cumulative impairment from exempt wells due to rural development.  Aspect has been working with Spokane, Stevens, and Pend Oreille Counties to establish a water bank for the Little Spokane River watershed.  A water bank is a mechanism that facilitates transfer of water rights between sellers and buyers through use of the state’s trust water right program, using banked water as mitigation for new water uses. The three counties anticipated that use of unmitigated exempt wells would continue to be more restricted in the state and proceeded with water bank development to proactively address this concern, along with addressing other future water needs in the basin. The recent ruling in Whatcom County v. Hirst only increases the need for local jurisdictions to be directly involved with proactive water resource management.

Dave Cook Speaks and Moderates at GBA, Urban Land Institute, and IEEE Humanitarian Events

Aspect’s principal geologist, Dave Cook, is participating in several urban energy and humanitarian events this week in Seattle.

On Wednesday October 12th in Seattle, Dave moderates a panel of local experts discussing sharing energy sources between facilities and throughout communities. The discussion is sponsored by the Urban Land Institute of which Dave is a member.  The panel discussion is titled, “District Energy, What’s stopping us from sharing in the sharing economy?” will seek to answer the questions, “What is keeping us from sharing and conserving energy, reducing carbon footprints, and revolutionizing how we pay to heat, cool, and power our downtown core and neighborhoods?” Learn more about the presentation HERE.

On Saturday October 15th in Seattle, Dave will be at the Geoprofessional Business Associations’ Fall Conference in Seattle. As the 2016 Board President of the 15,000-person volunteer organization Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA), he will discuss how EWB-USA responded to recovery efforts after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, and how geoprofessionals can contribute their skills at EWB-USA. Learn more HERE.

Later on that Saturday, Dave will be the Keynote Speaker at IEEE Global Humanitrain Tehcnology Conference in Seattle again discussing the importance of EWB-USA’s work and how professionals can engage in the humanitarian world. Learn more HERE.

Aspect's Andrew Holmson Presenting at APWA's Fall Conference

Aspect’s Andrew Holmson will be presenting at the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) fall conference in Spokane on Thursday, October 6. He and City of Port Angeles Engineering Manager Kathryn Neal will present Protect and Innovate: Port Angeles Landfill Stabilization – the story of how the City and a large, multidisciplinary team relocated 400,000 cubic yards of refuse away from a 140-foot bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca while building Washington’s tallest reinforced soil slope.

Aspect has provided geotechnical engineering, hydrogeology, and environmental support to the City’s closed landfill facility since 2007. We led the engineering geology team in determining long-term and short-term shoreline and bluff retreat rates, evaluating options for removal of existing shoreline protection structures, extending or modifying the structures, evaluating bluff slope failure mechanisms and slope stabilization options, landfill cell relocation, and fill slope stabilization and design. Work on the slope was completed ealier this year. Aspect continues to support the City with operation and maintenance of the landfill gas system and have provided environmental monitoring and support to meet regulatory reporting requirements.

Learn more about the APWA’s fall conference here and read more on Aspect’s efforts on the landfill here.

Meet Jessica Smith!

Aspect is excited to welcome Jessica Smith, LG to our team. Jessica is a Senior Geologist supporting Aspect’s Environmental group out of our Seattle office. She is a proven environmental project manager with experience leading complex, high-profile, multi-disciplined projects for both private and public sector clients including the Amazon Headquarters Multi-City Block Redevelopment and the Washington State Convention Center Addition. Jessica has developed an expertise in due diligence, site assessment, and remediation of upland urban brownfield redevelopment sites. Here are five questions we asked to get to know her better:

1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I was born in Littleton, Colorado and moved to the Pacific Northwest when I was 8. I grew up in Bellingham but also lived near Salt Lake City for a few years in junior high and high school. After college my husband and I moved to the Redmond area and have been here ever since. I have lived in the PNW for the majority of my life and consider it home!

2. What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it? I started college as an English major with an emphasis on technical and creative writing. Spring quarter of my sophomore year I took a Geology 101 course for a general science credit and really enjoyed it.  My professor talked me into taking a Geology field course that summer in California, which I absolutely loved. When I got back from the trip I immediately changed my major, signed up for all the math and science I hadn’t taken, enrolled in summer school to not fall behind and graduated (on time!) with a Geology degree!

3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? I enjoy working on challenging, fast paced and team-focused projects. I love the satisfaction that comes from working with my colleagues, clients, contractors, regulators and other consultants to solve problems and reach our end goals. I am also a visual person and get satisfaction from presenting technical data in a graphic way that is easy to understand.

4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? When I’m not working I’m usually hanging out with my husband, our two kids, Caden (7) and Clara (4) and our black lab, Porter (9).  We love to travel, hike, camp, and on sunny PNW days you can almost always find us boating on Lake Sammamish.

5. Where in the world would you like to travel next? I love to travel and, since my husband is a pilot, get to do it quite a bit! I’m looking forward to someday exploring Italy and Greece, relaxing on the beaches in Thailand and heading back to Ireland and Scotland!

Prominent Environmental Leader Dave Cook Joins Aspect Consulting in Seattle

Principal Geologist Dave Cook, LG, CPG joins Aspect’s Seattle Office, providing clients an established, innovative, and creative earth science advisor. Dave’s 25-year track record of applying new solutions and technologies to old problems is highly regarded by business clients, the community, and fellow environmental firms and regulators.

Principal Geologist Dave Cook joins Aspect Consulting, LLC in Seattle, adding strength and depth of experience to Aspect’s urban development capabilities. As a leader in the Puget Sound community, Dave’s 25-year career has included high-profile and complex projects for the region’s most prominent businesses. He thrives in unique situations where there are multiple stakeholders and when clearly communicating complex technical issues to business leaders, legal experts, regulators, and the public is critical to successful outcomes. He is sought after for his combination of technical acumen and innovative application of financing and risk management tactics to help business owners and communities develop cost effective solutions that put distressed sites back to productive use.

“Working with Dave as a regional colleague has always been a pleasure, and I’m excited to have him join forces with us at Aspect. Collaboration and strategic thinking come naturally to Dave as he integrates environmental, geotechnical, and construction know-how with great skill. Daily interaction with a professional of his caliber makes us all stronger,” says Doug Hillman, Aspect’s Environmental Practice Lead.

Deep down, Dave’s heart and soul is founded in bettering the communities for which he and his clients embed themselves. In addition to being at forefront of his earth science and environmental practice, he’s been a leader with Engineers Without Borders-USA ( for over 10 years. As the 2016 Board President of this 15,000-person volunteer organization, Dave helps lead the organization and facilitate partnerships with industry partners. He’s also traveled to Bolivia and Peru to support water supply projects and been a mentor to the University of Washington EWB chapter. Recently, he coordinated EWB-USA’s response to a unique geohazard assessment after the devastating earthquake in Nepal.

“I’m excited to join the Aspect team. It’s a firm composed of very skilled practitioners that I’ve admired through interactions on various projects. I get energized collaborating with clients and bringing a team of experts to the table to solve tough problems. The Aspect team gives me an opportunity to do more of that. I’ll also be focused on introducing clients to a more creative set of solutions through my established environmental practice while branching out into water and geohazard skills that I developed early in my career and have blossomed again through my volunteer work with EWB-USA,” Dave said.

Formerly a Principal Geologist with GeoEngineers, Dave has over 25 years of environmental consulting experience, with focused expertise in urban brownfields redevelopment, site acquisition, remedial cost estimation, cleanup, environmental strategy and regulatory liaison. Dave has led many large, complex environmental projects in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, including Amazon’s revitalization of South Lake Union and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Headquarters, which received a 2014 American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) national engineering award.

Aspect President, Tim Flynn, to Guest Lecture at Seattle University Law School

Aspect President, Tim Flynn, has been invited by Michael O’Connell, former partner at Stoel Rives LLP and Adjunct Professor at Seattle University, to guest lecture at Seattle University’s Water Law course this November. Tim is excited to share what he’s learned in the decades of providing water rights and aquifer storage and recovery services to clients throughout Washington’s diverse landscapes.

Aspect Presenting on Topics Ranging from Hydrology and Water Rights to Water Supply and Demand Projections at Water Rights Transfers Seminar

Aspect’s Dan Haller and Tyson Carlson will be presenting at The Seminar Group’s 9th annual Water Rights Transfers seminar. On November 9th, Tyson will be presenting during the Hydrology And Water Rights portion of the seminar. He will be discussing approaches used to determine same body of public groundwater; groundwater – surface water continuity; potential impairment and water availability; and mitigation suitability.

The next day, Dan will join a panel to discuss the 2016 Water Supply and Demand Forecast. The group will present on the new supply/demand projections through 2035; water banking inventory; and economic evaluation on how the cost of water is affecting water supply development.

Learn more about the seminar HERE.

Aspect’s Dan Haller to Talk Water Rights at the 2016 Grape and Wine Issues Caucus

Continuing Aspect’s long tradition of supporting wine grape growers in Eastern Washington, on November 9th, Aspect’s Dan Haller will explain what you need to know to navigate water policy – acquiring, changing, and protecting water rights. This 2016 Grape and Wine Issues Caucus is coordinated in partnership with the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and the Washington Wine Institute and will be held at the Yakima Convention Center in Yakima, WA.  Dan's discussion will include:

  • Water rights 101:  how they are created and who has them
  • How to acquire new rights or change existing rights
  • Changing crops and spreading to add new acres
  • Adding wells via changes or Showings of Compliance
  • Protecting water rights from relinquishment
  • How state and local water banking works

Learn more about the caucus HERE. View Full Agenda. 

Join Aspect at the NEBC 2016 Northwest Remediation Conference

Aspect is once again a proud sponsor and participant in this year’s Northwest Remediation Conference held October 4th in Seattle, WA. For session 2A, “Implementing Combined Remedies,” Senior Remediation Engineer, Adam Griffin, will discuss how, why, and with what results remediation technologies have been deployed at complex sites.  Later in the day, join Carla Brock, Aspect’s Associate Geologist, as she moderates a panel of remediation professionals and regulators on the challenges they face when mitigating surface water contamination.

The conference is presented by the Northwest Environmental Business Council, “a regional trade association representing leading service and technology firms who are working to protect, restore, and sustain the natural and built environment.”

Learn more about the conference HERE

Tim Flynn talks Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) at the NGWA Conference in Portland

This September 8-9 the National Groundwater Association will host the “Connecting the Dots…Groundwater, Surface Water, and Climate Connections” conference in Portland, Oregon.  This 2-day conference will focus on the connections between groundwater, surface water, and climate in the area encompassing Washington, Idaho, Oregon, northern California, and British Columbia.

Aspect’s president and principal hydrogeologist Tim Flynn will present on day two of the conference in the Drought Resilience/Water Availability/Scarcity portion of the conference. He will be presenting on Aquifer Storage and Recovery and will examine the challenges and opportunities of ASR. Learn more about the conference HERE.

Aspect Tours the Entiat National Fish Hatchery

It’s early August in central Washington. Three blocks from Aspect’s Wenatchee office, the Columbia River rolls downstream on its way to the Pacific Ocean. Beneath the surface, adult Chinook salmon swim upstream, returning from the sea to the rivers where they were born. Some of these fish are destined for the Entiat River and may eventually find themselves climbing the ladder to the Entiat National Fish Hatchery (ENFH).

Although all salmon hatcheries share a similar goal of producing fish, they each have unique characteristics that influence the way in which they operate. Aspect’s Wenatchee team is visiting ENFH today to learn about the specific challenges that Craig Chisam and Jason Reeves of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) face at their facility, and what they have done to solve them. Meeting with the operators directly, seeing systems in action, and asking questions helps Aspect build a collective understanding for problem solving that can be applied to help other hatchery facilities throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This isn’t the first time Aspect has been to ENFH. In 2014, hydrogeologists Joe Morrice and Tim Flynn performed an assessment of the hatchery’s existing water supplies and rights, and the condition of water-source infrastructure. Their recommendations for improving the hatchery’s access to a reliable supply of cold, clean water are being pursued by the USFWS. More water for the tanks and raceways means better rearing conditions for the 400,000 juvenile Chinook ENFH releases each year.

Following the tour, the group makes a stop along the Entiat to look for adult salmon moving upstream. Engineers Nick Szot and Ryan Brownlee, both avid fishermen, point at pools that hold fish and talk strategy. Some early morning soon, they will return to the river with rods and tackle. With some luck, they may head home with a fish that Craig and Jason helped raise.

The Aspect Team Turns Out for Another Great Ride to Defeat ALS

Over the past several years, Aspect has proudly sponsored the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association’s fight to end ALS. Every summer, the Evergreen Chapter of ALS puts on the Ride to Defeat ALS -- a one-day team bike challenge to support this worthy cause. The Aspect team rode as part of "Lori's Crew"-- in support of Aspect alumni Lori Herman. Over 40 Aspect employees, family, and friends biked down the Snohomish County Centennial Trial to raise an eye-popping $25,000.

Learn more about the ALS Association.

Meet our Portland Staff!

Aspect is not only launching a new Portland office, we're also welcoming new staff with expert knowledge of the region. Peter Stroud joins us as a Senior Associate Engineering Geologist with over 30 years of experience on engineering, engineering geologic, geotechnical, and environmental projects. Mark Swank joins us as a Senior Engineering Geologist with over 14 years of experience performing engineering and geologic analysis for schools, dams, and infrastructure projects in the greater Portland area. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better. 

Pete Stroud

Pete Stroud

1.       Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I was born in a small town north of San Francisco and grew up in Sacramento. After going to college and working in northern California for several years, my wife and I took a 10-month trip to explore Alaska, Canada, and travel around the US. At the end of the trip, we thought we’d settle in the Pacific Northwest. We both had good college friends who lived in Portland. We stopped to visit and never left—we’ve lived here now for 29 years!

2.       What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it? From an early age, I enjoyed backpacking—particularly the above-timberline, glaciated, granitic Sierra Nevada mountains. I loved the out-of-doors and for college I applied to be a forestry major. It was so popular at my chosen college that there were no spots available! I took advantage that the college had openings for the “undeclared” major.  I took Intro to Geology my first term and really enjoyed it. The Department Chair encouraged me to declare being a geology major.  I never regretted the decision, and I realized it wasn’t the forest that turned me on, it was those rocky mountains!

3.       What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? Geology has so many applications, and as a result I’ve been a geologist in so many types of projects: mineral exploration, watershed restoration, groundwater supply, fluvial geomorphology, landslide mapping and mitigation, geotechnical engineering, environmental assessments and cleanup, and dam removals. The variety of projects keeps work interesting and there’s always more to learn. Also in my personal time, it’s great to look around at the landscape, evaluate the geomorphology, and try to figure out what geologic processes shaped the land.

4.       What do you do like to do when you aren’t working? I enjoy photography, reading about the early exploration of America, sea kayaking, biking, backpacking, white water rafting, cooking, eating Cajun foods, watching Blazer games and college football, and sampling microbrews.

5.       Where in the world would you like to travel next? For the longest time I’ve wanted to go to Africa and finally did so this year. For the next foreign trip, I’d like to go to Costa Rica and /or Peru. 

Mark Swank

Mark Swank

1.       Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I was born and raised in the South Bay Area (San Francisco Bay Area), and my wife and I moved to Portland about 10 years ago. The housing market was a little crazy in Silicon Valley in 2006, and we were looking for a place to locate that was affordable and fit our lifestyle. My wife worked for Intel so we looked for locations where we could both transfer with our jobs, which narrowed the possibilities to Scottsdale, Folsom, and Hillsboro – Hillsboro being the easy choice.

2.       What inspired you to pursue engineering geology? What made you curious about it?After graduating with my bachelor’s degree in Soil Science/Env. Management in 1999, my first job was working on a NavyCLEAN project with IT in the Central Valley on the closed Crows Landing Naval Air Base as an environmental scientist. I worked a lot with the lead geologist and what he was doing seemed far more interesting than what I was doing. I had always intended to get a Master’s degree in something – just wasn’t 100 percent what at the time I graduated. After my first engineering geology class in my Master’s program, I knew landslides and faults were for me. California has lots of regulations when it comes to faults that require a CEG stamp and I worked for a guy during my graduate studies that specialized in fault and geohazard studies for residential properties. Moving to Oregon put an end to the fault investigations, but landslides and the Northwest go together quite well.

3.       What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? What I like best is that my work is something new all the time and no project is the same. I’ve always had a hard time explaining to people what I do for a living because it is so many different things, and I like that. I’m motivated and excited to always be learning something new. I would have left this field a long time ago if I had to do the same thing every day.

4.       What do you like to do when you aren’t working? I like to hang out with my family and vacation in warm, preferably tropical locations. For hobbies, I swim regularly, ski in the winter, play in a couple of soccer leagues, and hike.

5.       What five people would be your dream dinner party guests? Albert Einstein, Jon Stewart, Hemingway, Picasso, and Maria Theresa.

Announcing Aspect Portland

Aspect Consulting is crossing the Columbia, opening up shop in downtown Portland.

Aspect Portland is a reality made possible by two extraordinary additions to our team: engineering geologists Pete Stroud and Mark Swank. Pete and Mark are both Portland locals, with decades of combined consulting experience between them. Our Portland team increases the breadth of technical talent available to our existing clients, as well as offering Oregon clients access to our 70+ person team of geotechnical, water resources, remediation engineers, hydrogeologists, and geologists.

 “Mark and I are excited to join Aspect and launch the Portland office. With Portland’s infrastructure market growing, many ongoing environmental cleanup projects throughout the region, and the challenge of managing limited water supply across the state, we really feel Aspect’s proven experience in those areas and deep roster of high-performing technical advisors is a great fit to help our Oregon clients succeed.” said Pete Stroud.

Pete Stroud

Pete Stroud

Pete joins Aspect as a Senior Associate Engineering Geologist, with over 30 years of professional experience leading engineering, engineering geologic, geotechnical, and environmental projects.

Mark Swank

Mark Swank

Mark joins Aspect as a Senior Engineering Geologist with over 14 years of experience performing engineering and geologic analysis for schools, dams, and infrastructure projects. Mark and Pete were colleagues for over 10 years at Kleinfelder’s Portland office and bring their strong partnership to Aspect.

“This is a great time and a great team to bring Aspect’s extensive project experience to the greater Portland/Vancouver area and up the Columbia Gorge,” said Tim Flynn, President and Principal Hydrogeologist at Aspect. “Mark and Pete’s 40 years of combined consulting experience in the Portland area gives us immediate credibility with local clients and sets Aspect up for long-term success in the region.”

Highlights of their Portland and Pacific Northwest projects include the I-5 Willamette River Crossing in Eugene, Lake Oswego-Tigard Water Partnership (LOTWP) pipeline project, Condit Dam Decommissioning, Scoggins Dam Raise, Oregon Convention Center, Hoyt Street Properties Redevelopment and a tradition of working and managing a variety of on-call professional services contracts throughout the state.

Aspect’s new Portland office is located at 522 SW Fifth Avenue, Suite 1300, in the historic Yeon Building on the Portland Transit Mall in the heart of downtown. Keeping with Aspect’s commitment to sustainability, it’s a convenient, accessible location, close to our clients and teaming partners. 

What it Takes to Become Nation’s First “Salmon Safe” Airport

In the Pacific Northwest, we take our salmon very seriously--it is an important species in measuring the health of our watersheds,  a key link in our food supply, a cultural touchstone for many Tribes, and a symbol of the ocean, rivers, and streams that define our beautiful region.

So it’s only appropriate that, if any airport in the country is going to be “Salmon Safe”, Sea-Tac International (Sea-Tac) does it first. The Salmon-Safe label comes from a group called Stewardship Partners, which started the certification program about 15 years ago with wineries and small farms.  

Now, they've expanded their certification program and given Sea-Tac the "Salmon Safe" designation to recognize the airport's work to improve water quality standards well beyond the federal requirements. Learn more about how the airport did it in this KPLU article. 

Aspect is proud to supply environmental and water resource project support to promote this important certification. We’ve partnered directly with Airport water resource staff for over a decade as well as working on projects that benefit the habitat surrounding Sea-Tac. Our work has included on-call surface water monitoring, improving water quality from the Des Moines Creek stormwater detention facility, installing groundwater mitigation wells to maintain baseflows in the Des Moines and Miller/Walker Creek basins, to providing remedial action support to clean up distressed areas around Lora Lake and return them to productive use and improved habitat. Aspect also conducted an airport-wide stormwater infiltration feasibility assessment that helped satisfy the Salmon-Safe criteria associated with low impact development (LID) planning.

Given that Sea-Tac is also America’s fastest growing airport, it's no small feat to keep clean water for healthy fish habitat when you have 42 million+ passengers passing through the gates every year.

We look forward to help continue Sea-Tac's fish-friendly aspirations.

Enloe Dam Water Rights Case Upheld—Permitting Path Stays More Certain for Applicants

The Washington State Court of Appeals ruled last week that the Department of Ecology appropriately conditioned the approval of a water right permit for the Public Utility District No. 1 of Okanogan County's (PUD) hydroelectric project on Enloe Dam. 

The case revolved around the public interest test in RCW 90.03.290, and the application of the protection of aesthetics of public waters in RCW 90.54.020, as well as a previously-issued 401 Certification under the Clean Water Act.  The Court of Appeals upheld the conditioned approval of the water right permit with a 5-year adaptive monitoring plan to evaluate the aesthetics of different flow levels over the dam and falls.  Because the final flow levels necessary to protect aesthetics were not known at the time of permit issuance, the appellants (Center for Environmental Law and Policy, American Whitewater, and North Cascades Conservation Council) argued that Ecology did not have authority to approve the permit.  The Court of Appeals disagreed.  “We conclude that Ecology had authority to issue a ROE, and water permit, which was subject to a condition to ascertain information that was not available prior to proceeding with the Project. Ecology did not abuse its discretion in determining that the PUD's water permit should issue subject to the stated conditions.” 

This is an important finding in water right permitting because not all conditions of a project can be known with clarity at the time of applying for a water right permit.  Ecology’s ability to approve a permit, subject to verification of conditions or adaptation-provisions for changing conditions, is important authority to retain.  A copy of the decision can be viewed at: Contact Dan Haller (509.895.5462) at Aspect Consulting with any questions. 

Meet Ali Dennison

Aspect welcomes Ali Dennison, LG to our team! She is a Senior Project Geologist supporting residential, commercial, transportation, and industrial projects. Ali is currently working from our Seattle office and will be moving across the Sound to Bainbridge Island in the coming months. Here are five questions we asked to get to know her better:

Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I was born in Breckenridge, Colorado, lived there for four years, then moved to New Jersey, which is where I consider I am “from.” However, I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than half my life now! I moved to Tacoma for college and convinced my mom to come with me and work for her brother in Seattle.

What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it? I started out in computer science, but quickly learned I was no good at it. I enjoyed the geology classes and love the field trips looking at rock outcrops and camping! I love the outdoors, so it just worked. I never really thought that I would have a career where I actually used my degree, but here I am 14 years later and still “playing with soil and rock.”

What do you like best about your area of expertise? What about your work excites you and keeps you motivated? I love being outside exploring project sites both above and below the ground. It is amazing what we can build. I enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge with junior staff so that they can grow. I enjoy being with people and helping clients solve challenges.

What do you do like to do when you aren’t working? You can find me swimming, biking, running, triathlon-ing, and skiing with my two kids, Cooper (5) and Ruby (3). I am currently training for Ironman Whistler on July 24 which includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, ending with a 26.2-mile run. If you want to hear more about why:

Where in the world would you like to travel next?  I would love to take a safari in Africa, tour Italy, sail the Caribbean, and see Machu Picchu.