James Packman Talks Interdisciplinary Skills and Water’s Role in Urban Environmental Planning to UW Class

Senior Hydrologist James Packman recently presented to “Planning as a Profession,” a senior-level urban planning class in the College of the Built Environment at the University of Washington. The nearly 30 students come from different majors and career trajectories—among them are future architects, landscape architects, city planners, urban designers, real estate professionals, construction managers, engineers, environmental scientists, and more.

 James Packman, Senior Hydrologist

James Packman, Senior Hydrologist

James’ presentation, entitled “Environmental Skills, Water Resources, and Urban Planning,” gave a holistic view of environmental considerations in urban planning—from the skills and interests that lead a person to the profession and the different disciplines working in the industry to the laws and regulations that drive project design, permitting, and building and examples of water-focused planning. His overarching message focused on interdisciplinary skills, and he gave examples of Aspect projects where collaboration between disciplines was vital to address the environmental elements.

For example, the Waypoint Park project along Bellingham’s shoreline incorporated coastal geology, hydrogeology, stormwater management, civil and geotechnical engineering, landscape architecture, habitat restoration ecology, and more to reclaim a contaminated former industrial site to an urban waterfront park.

Waypoint Park Before and After Construction
City of Bellingham’s Waypoint Park incorporated many environmental planning steps to turn a former industrial site into an urban waterfront park.

James also introduced the practical side of business consulting, or how people and firms pursue and win public work, and walked students through the Request for Qualifications / Request for Proposals process. His key message for being on winning teams is that it requires networking in and outside of one’s discipline and forging relationships with public agency staff to learn their needs.

He ended by going over a homework assignment about the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) checklist process and its key role in urban planning projects. The homework reinforced the variety of environmental disciplines—geology, hydrology, archeology, botany, wildlife biology, engineering, and more—along with professional skills—technical reading comprehension, writing, project management, public speaking, quantitative analysis, and more—that are needed to complete the checklist.

James will present to a new set of students when he returns to the class in Spring Quarter 2019.

Dan Haller Presents to the Water Mitigation Task Force

Aspect is routinely involved in helping inform State policy makers on implications of existing and proposed legislation. Our staff track and comment on existing legislation, help our clients propose new legislation, and interact with State agencies as they propose and shape new water policy. Aspect’s Dan Haller was asked in the summer of 2018 to provide a presentation on mitigation projects and mitigation sequencing to the Washington State Joint Legislative “Water Mitigation Task Force”. This Task Force is charged with evaluating how the law could be changed to adopt mitigation standards for water projects where water-for-water cannot be supplied for a project in-time and in-place. Often the “in-time” component of mitigation is the most challenging element as supply and demand are hard to match perfectly.

Dan speaks about several mitigation projects Aspect staff have worked on in recent years, including:

  • Town of Twisp / Methow Valley Irrigation District, which paired an irrigation project rehabilitation with water banking to offset growth in the Town for the next 20 years.

  • Lake Roosevelt Drawdown, which re-operates Grand Coulee Dam by 1 foot making that supply available for agricultural reliability, instream flow, and municipal use.

  • Kittitas County Consumptive Use Pilot, which seeks to clarify the exact nature and magnitude of indoor domestic use.

  • Chelan County Alluvial Storage Pilot, which seeks to engineer natural storage log jams to retime water from spring to summer.

Check out the video of Dan’s presentation below.

Innovative Affordable Housing Solutions Continue in South Seattle

The Seattle City Council recently approved the 2nd Redevelopment Opportunity Zone (ROZ) in Seattle’s history for the 700-unit Grand Street Commons housing development near the future Judkins Park light-rail station. The ROZ designation means that this innovative $20 Million private/non-profit partnership (Lake Union Partners and Mt. Baker Housing, respectively) now has direct access to state funds to build a 700-unit development—with about half of those units earmarked for affordable housing. These 350 future units, together with the 160 units planned at The Maddux (the City’s first ROZ zone near the Mt. Baker light-rail station), brings 500+ ROZ-designated affordable housing units coming online in the next five years in South Seattle.

The 700-unit Grand Street Commons is a unique private/public partnership, where approximately half the units will be affordable housing. The cleanup for this brownfield site is being led by Aspect and funded by a new approach to access money specifically for affordable housing projects.

Aspect, with law firm Perkins Coie, has helped Mt. Baker Housing pioneer this ROZ model to unlock state-backed grant funding in a first-of-its-kind model. Recognizing this success, the state introduced the Healthy Housing Program this fall– earmarked specifically for affordable housing developers looking at restoring land at brownfield sites.

Learn more about new approaches to restore land and find solutions for our affordable housing crisis here: www.aspectconsulting.com/affordablehousing.

What to Do When Your Office Moves: Plant 900 Trees

Taking advantage of a day out of the office during our Seattle office move, the Aspect Community Team (ACT) partnered with Stewardship Partners and Carnation Farms to help with their ongoing riparian restoration efforts along the Snoqualmie River. It was a sunny, beautiful October day, and the fall colors were rich throughout the valley. Eleven employees make the trek to Carnation and spent a few hours planting shrubs and trees including western red cedar, snowberry, salmonberry, and cottonwoods. We had help from four stewardship partner field crew who also placed cottonwood stakes among the trees and shrubs.

Aspect’s volunteer staff donated their day to plant over 900 trees along the Snoqualmie River to help Stewardship Partners and Carnation Farms.

Why Carnation Farms? A brief history:

In 1908, the first 360 acres of farmland were purchased, and Carnation Farms was created. Now the farm totals 818 acres and includes an 8-acre organic garden, educational programs, event space, hiking trails, and is bordered by a stretch of the Snoqualmie River. A byproduct of the agricultural growth in the region was the destruction of the natural riparian ecosystems along the river throughout the valley. Stewardship Partners has been working with Carnation Farms to restore the habitat along the Snoqualmie River as a component to their adopt-a-buffer program.

Why is riparian habitat restoration important?

Planting native trees and shrubs is the primary component of restoration and maintenance of healthy riparian ecosystems. As Stewardship Partners explains, the strips of native trees and shrubs provide cooling shade, control erosion and provide habitat for hundreds of fish and wildlife species. Trees and shrubs actively absorb air pollution throughout their lifetime, storing carbon and fighting climate change.

What is the impact of a half-day of service?

In about 3-4 hours of diligent work we planted 960 shrubs, trees, and stakes across approximately 0.5 acres of riparian habitat along the Snoqualmie River. This effort would have taken at least a week without the ACT volunteers. Stewardship Partners will do some maintenance the area and in about a year we should be able to see if our efforts truly take root.

Previous and ongoing ACTivities and service projects:

Aspect has partnered with Stewardship Partners previously for the design and installation of the Carnation Elementary School raingarden. The raingarden installation is part of a greater 12,000 Rain Gardens effort, and Aspect is also in coordination for another volunteer raingarden project! Stewardship Partners has been a great organization to work with and Aspect is a proud supporter-- pro-bono technical design, education and consulting services, volunteer labor, and funding.

November 1 at NWGIS 2018: The Art of the Helpful GIS Presentation

Associate Data Scientist Parker Wittman and Senior Geospatial Data Scientist Blair Deaver will be on a panel — “The Art of the Helpful GIS Presentation” — this Thursday at NWGIS 2018 in Bremerton. The four-person panel presents on tips and techniques to deliver a GIS presentation at a conference or at the office.  Parker will discuss ways to improve the delivery of a presentation and Blair will present on tips to master a successful technical demonstration.

ESRI President Jack Dangermond is giving the highly anticipated keynote speech at this year’s conference on the future of GIS.

Reducing Risk and Uncertainty: A PCE Site, a Model Remedy, and an NFA

No Further Action (NFA) determinations are Washington state’s sought-after finish line for regulatory closure of contaminated sites. An NFA is often the stepping stone for a property owner to secure financing for development of their property and alleviate concerns that their property won’t be put to productive use. NFAs are not easy to get—particularly for former dry cleaner sites, where perchloroethylene (PCE; a dry-cleaning solvent) is a common culprit that can keep a property in regulatory limbo and cause cleanup timelines to be counted in years.

Not a Typical Cleanup: Applying a Model Remedy at a Chlorinated Solvent Site

Aspect had a recent success story where we helped a client achieve an NFA by pursuing site closure through Ecology’s Initial Investigations program using a Model Remedy approach. The premise of this approach is that if you can completely address or clean up a release upon discovery, then you may be able to request an NFA at the initial investigation/reporting stage, thereby circumventing the Voluntary Cleanup Program process.

 Identifying and excavating the contaminated soil from inside the store led to a successful No Further Action determination for the Site.

Identifying and excavating the contaminated soil from inside the store led to a successful No Further Action determination for the Site.

The project site, located in Kent, was a former dry cleaner with PCE impacts limited to shallow soil around the dry-cleaning machine. Following Aspect’s Phase I/II ESA investigation as part of a pending property transaction, we implemented a cleanup action after our client purchased the property. The space inside the store was limited, and the excavation was surgical. Confirmation soil sample results following the excavation were below Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) Method A cleanup levels. Instead of entering the VCP and facing delays with Ecology’s backlog of VCP sites, we instead reported the release to Ecology within the framework of a Remedial Investigation and Cleanup Action Report, with the completed excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil presented as a model remedy.

Reducing Risk and Uncertainty

After follow up discussion and negotiation with Ecology’s Initial Investigations coordinator, the site recently received an NFA. Though there may not be many PCE-impacted sites where the contamination is limited to shallow soil, it pays to know the options if this is the case. Model remedies are more commonly applied to petroleum-impacted sites. However, because Aspect was on the lookout and understood the regulatory framework for achieving closure, we were able to help our client significantly reduce risk and uncertainty when weighing prospective property purchases.

The Model Remedy approach is a strategy that Aspect has used on several sites with success and, under the right set of circumstances, can be an efficient regulatory pathway for property owners seeking an NFA.

Contact Eric Marhofer or Doug Hillman to learn more.

New Seattle Address. Same Focus on Earth Science and Engineering.

As we near 20 years in business, Aspect has moved its Seattle office to a new address and bigger space in Seattle’s iconic Dexter Horton building. Our expanding client base and growing staff—now over 100 strong across seven offices in Washington and Oregon—is driving the move.

“The Pacific Northwest is thriving and so is the demand for our earth and water services,” says Tim Flynn, Aspect’s President. “This move represents the culmination of almost two decades of upward growth driven by clients in the Seattle market and throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

The Dexter Horton building—located in the heart of Seattle—has a combination of grand architectural aesthetic with innovative modern features. The 1926 building is a historical landmark as well as LEED Gold-certified. Aspect’s office on the 5th floor was designed intentionally to provide clients and staff with a variety of ways to collaborate, including open layout areas and comfortable meeting spaces.

Come visit us at 710 Second Ave, Suite 550, Seattle, WA 98104!

Learn how to get here/where to park/what to eat.

Meet Ingrid Ekstrom and David Unruh!

Project Hydrogeologist Ingrid Ekstrom and Staff Scientist David Unruh recently joined Aspect — Ingrid in our Yakima office and David in our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

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Ingrid Ekstrom, Project Hydrogeologist

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I am originally from Memphis, Tennessee, but have lived in Ellensburg for the past 13 or so years. I spent a couple years in Wisconsin before moving to Washington with my husband, and we have really enjoyed living in central Washington ever since.

  2. What inspired you to pursue water resources? What made you curious about it?

    My background is first in geology. After college, I worked with the US Geological Survey on a couple projects assisting with landslide hazard mapping in Nicaragua and river recognizance work in the southern US looking for liquefaction features from past earthquakes in the area. Both projects had water components that I found very interesting, and I decided to study hydrogeology in graduate school. I was really drawn to the practical side of the field. Moving to the western US in an arid area made me interested in water supply and water rights management. Then, working at the Washington State Department of Ecology and later at the Department of Natural Resources, I had a chance to learn and work with water rights and was enjoyed being able to rely on my hydrogeology background for a variety of projects.

  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?

    I enjoy water resources and hydrogeology because there are always unique challenges to figure out and problems to solve that allow me to constantly learn. I also appreciate that water resources involves a variety of disciplines that keep changing over time. Past experiences working with water rights have given me a chance to see things from different perspectives, and I really enjoy working with and learning from other people active in or reliant on the field.

  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

    When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family. I like traveling, hiking, going to the park with my kids, or just relaxing in the backyard. We started a small garden and are working on expanding it this next year. The kids’ activities keep me busy. And, as they have gotten old enough to stand upright on skis, we are all learning cross-country skiing (and falling) together, and we are excited for the snow this year. We live a distance away from family and enjoy traveling for visits to the Midwest and Argentina.

  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next?

    I would like to take a family car trip camping and traveling through National Parks in the western US. I would also love to go to southern Argentina to visit the glaciers and then travel back to Costa Rica and check out the animals and volcanos with the kids. In the near and more practical future, I would like to visit the north Cascades and northeastern Washington.

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David Unruh, Staff Scientist

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?

    I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and moved to the mountains in Flagstaff, Arizona, as soon as I finished high school. I moved to Pullman, Washington, in 2016 to complete my MS at Washington State. While in Pullman, I made frequent trips to Seattle to visit my sister, and quickly resolved to move as soon as I finished my degree. I really enjoy spending time in the mountains as well as having easy access to music and art, and Seattle has all that in spades.

  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it?

    Geology was a bit of a shot in the dark for me. I had a great environmental science teacher in high school who got me started on the natural sciences, but I really was just guessing when I enrolled in the geology program at Northern Arizona University. I knew I wanted to do something in the sciences that would allow me to be outside a lot, and geology seemed like a great discipline for me. My guess turned out to be astute, and I have continued to pursue my interest in geology and environmental science ever since!

  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?

    The thing I enjoy most about geology is the ability to infer large-scale processes from basic data points, like interpreting complex folding and faulting relationships at depth exclusively from surface strike and dip data. It’s really interesting to me to be able to apply these principles to the interactions people have with the earth.

  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

    I’m a big outdoors person, so I try to get out to the mountains as frequently as possible. My sport of choice is mountain biking, but I’ve been doing more rock climbing and backpacking since moving to Seattle. When I’m not outside, I like to fix bikes and find good concerts to attend.

  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next?

    I took a trip to Seoul, South Korea, in the summer of 2017 that made me really interested in visiting more of Asia. I hope to make it out to Osaka, Japan, or do a road trip on mopeds through Vietnam sometime soon.

Aspect's Henry Haselton and Dave McCormack to Co-Chair Upcoming Landslide Seminar

Principal Geotechnical Engineer Henry Haselton, PE, PMP, and Principal Engineering Geologist Dave McCormack, LEG, LHG, will serve as co-chairs on the upcoming Landslides program for The Seminar Group on Thursday, October 25, 2018, at 9 am the Washington Athletic Club. This seminar covers the science behind slope movement and landslides in Washington and discusses the liability concerns for a wide audience of attorneys, claims professionals, and real estate experts. Henry and Dave’s presentation will focus on the science of landslides, including the different types, their causes, and methods for stabilization.

Register to attend today.

Aspect’s Tom Atkins Presenting at ECOSS’s 201X: Stormwater Management Workshop

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On October 18th and 19th, ECOSS will be hosting 201X: Advanced Stormwater Management, a two-day workshop that looks at Industrial Stormwater General Permit (ISGP) requirements and compliance. This event is geared toward helping permittees, consultants, and engineers gain a deeper understanding of the permit by presenting several case studies and touring industrial sites with installed treatment technologies.

Aspect’s Tom Atkins will present the case study, “Alternative Pathways to Achieving Level 3 Corrective Action Requirements.” His presentation will include 3 case studies featuring roof downspout filters, pressurized filtration, adsorptive media, and discharge to publicly owned treatment works (POTW).

Learn more about the workshop HERE.

Aspect Joins The Nature Conservancy and Microsoft to Hack for Good

Aspect’s Curtis Nickerson and Bryan Berkompas recently participated in a Hackathon with The Nature Conservancy and Microsoft employees. The Hack for Good event focused on developing low-cost stormwater monitoring solutions that could identify pollutants and collect data in real time.

Read more about this event on the Nature Conservancy's website.

Henry Haselton named President-Elect of ASCE Seattle Section

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Seattle Section has a new President-Elect: Aspect’s Principal Engineer Henry Haselton.

Henry was voted in by the Seattle Section in June. He will serve as President-Elect under incoming President Eset Alemu this year, and then transition to President in October 2019. Henry has been a member of the ASCE since joining the student chapter 26 years ago and has served on several committees, most recently as Program Co-Chair, where he was tasked with brainstorming meeting topics and recruiting speakers for the section’s monthly dinner meetings.

As part of his transition to President-Elect, Henry attended the ASCE Region 8 Fall Assembly Meeting in Spokane, where he met leadership from all the western states and ASCE National President Kristina Swallow. Attendees were treated to an “engineers tour” of the Grand Coulee dam, where they learned about the inner workings of the dam from an experienced operator at the facility.

Henry also recently attended the ASCE President and Governors Forum (PGF) Event in Washington D.C., where he participated in trainings with ASCE leaders from around the world. The PGF training provides best practices to effectively lead a Section/Branch.

Henry is joined by other Aspect colleagues in the ASCE Seattle Section. Project Geotechnical Engineer Spencer Ambauen, EIT, is taking over Henry’s position as Program Co-Chair. Staff Engineer Mari Otto, EIT, is in her second term as Host and Hospitality Co-Chair, where she coordinates with the host venue and oversees meeting registration.

Aspect’s ASCE team kicked off the 2018-2019 season earlier in September with presentations on the upcoming demolition of the SR99 Viaduct and the Pier 62 Replacement, a project where Aspect is the geotechnical engineer-of-record. The ASCE Seattle Section Geotechnical Group’s first dinner meeting of the season was on Thursday, September 27 in Seattle. Professor Russell A. Green, PhD, a Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech, spoke on region-specific probabilistic liquefaction hazard analyses through a pilot study done in the Netherlands due to induced seismicity from natural gas production. Learn about upcoming events here.

Washington State Helps Turn Brownfields into Affordable Housing

See Washington State Department of Ecology’s new article covering the state’s new Healthy Housing Remediation Program for restoring contaminated land to promote affordable housing. Mt. Baker Housing’s 160-unit project in South Seattle — which Aspect is leading the cleanup for — was the inspiration for this program.

Read more here.

Learn more here: https://www.aspectconsulting.com/affordablehousing

Visualizing Stormwater Infiltration + Visualizing the Story

Aspect recently led a first-of-its-kind approach to help the City of SeaTac (City) understand water quality requirements at the land use planning stage. Aspect, along with Robin Kirschbaum, developed publicly-available webmaps that visualize stormwater infiltration potential at a parcel level across the City’s 10 square miles. These maps will help both City planners as well as developers screen development options with infiltration requirements and make this step of the land use planning process much more efficient.

Take a look at the interactive Story Map for this exciting new tool here: https://maps.aspectconsulting.com/lidmapjournal/index.html.

Read Emelie’s article in the Daily Journal of Commerce about this pioneering project.

Dave Cook to Discuss Reclaiming Brownfields for Affordable Housing at Housing Development Consortium Event

On September 18, join Aspect’s Dave Cook and Perkins Coie’s Mike Dunning as they share their experience developing innovative ways to reclaim brownfields for affordable housing. Dave and Mike will be joined by representatives from project partner agencies Mt. Baker Housing Association and the Washington State Department of Ecology in discussing Mt Baker Housing’s The Maddux – a two-building development with 144 apartments affordable to people earning up to 60 percent of the area median income. This project was made possible by implementing innovative cleanup solutions and identifying creative funding mechanisms. Learn More Here.

Meet Bill Grimm and Isabellah von Trapp

Staff Scientist Bill Grimm and Staff Scientist Isabellah von Trapp recently joined Aspect -- Bill in our Bainbridge office and Isabellah in our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

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Bill Grimm, Staff Scientist

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
    I’m from the suburbs of Chicago originally. I came to Seattle a little over a year after graduating from college to do a master’s program in applied geosciences at the University of Washington. My master’s program was a great fit for me, because it combined two of my passions: earth science, and giving back to the communities in which I live. Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest in general, are incredibly interesting geologically, and the program presented a great opportunity to study real earth science-related issues happening in our own backyards.
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it?
    I really fell in love with geology when I was on a family vacation to the Grand Canyon when I was about 10 years old. I had always loved maps and cross sections since I was a kid, and seeing the Grand Canyon in real life made me absolutely fascinated with the Earth and its natural processes.
     
  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    My favorite part of geology is that it’s like a big puzzle. You start with what you know, and you try to fit the pieces together to make the problem make sense. Along the way, you discover new pieces of the puzzle that fit in to the whole, and the more you discover (generally), the clearer the bigger picture becomes.
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    I like to hang out with my wife, hike, play guitar, ski, and read. I’m also planning to start brewing my own beer sometime soon.
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
    I would love to do a trek from northern India through Nepal to the Mt. Everest base camp. I love knowing where I am in the world geologically and geographically and being able to picture myself on a map, and I think it would be awesome to walk from the flats in India across the plate boundary and all the way to the base of the highest mountain above sea level.

Isabellah von Trapp, Staff Scientist

 Isabellah enjoying Death Valley geology.

Isabellah enjoying Death Valley geology.

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
    I grew up in Salem, Oregon but I always knew I wanted to live in the Puget Sound-area. I attended college in Tacoma at PLU then set out for grad school in Missoula, Montana. But, after a couple years of cold-ish winters, I was ready to head back to my beloved, rainy PNW where I could easily access the mountains, ocean, and my family within a short arm’s reach. 
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue water resources? What made you curious about it?
    For most of my growing up years, I strongly believed I wanted to be a dentist…but after about 1 semester in college, I quickly realized that was not the life for me. After floundering around in some general education classes the following semester, I decided to take an introductory-level geoscience class and my mind was blown.

    Soon thereafter, I declared myself as a geoscience major. I took a wide array of geology classes but out of all of them, I loved hydrogeology and geochemistry the most.  After that, it only seemed natural to seek out a master’s thesis project where I could combine both of those things! Fortunately, I’ve been able to pursue a career that allows me to use those skills and develop new ones. 
     
  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    Everybody needs water. Working in water resources is not only interesting but it allows me to solve real world problems that affect a lot of people. Any job that allows you to simultaneously do science and help people is a cool one in my book. 
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    Most of the time, I’m daydreaming about what I’m going to eat next. So, in my free time I enjoy perusing every item at Trader Joe’s, cooking, and baking. Aside from that – I  also love to camp, hike, swim, knit, try out new beers, and travel just about anywhere! 
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
    Iceland, Ireland, and Israel – apparently I have a thing for countries starting with the letter I. 

Tyson Carlson and Dan Haller Leading Discussions on Water Law in Central Washington - August 16-17

Program Co-Chair Tyson Carlson will be leading the upcoming Water Law in Central Washington Seminar on August 16-17 in Ellensburg, WA. The conference includes a comprehensive introduction and update on water rights law, updates from regulators, and an inside look of some of the most recent trends and practices. Aspect’s Dan Haller will be joining the outstanding faculty and presenting on the Foster Pilot Project as a part of day two’s Senate Bill 6091 discussion. Learn more about the seminar here.

Meet Chad Hearn and Jason Yabandeh

Project Engineer Chad Hearn and Staff Data Scientist/Chemist Jason Yabandeh both recently joined Aspect's Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Chad Hearn - Project Engineer

 Chad and baby llama in Colca Canyon, Peru.

Chad and baby llama in Colca Canyon, Peru.

  1.  Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
    I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. It was such a beautiful and fun place to grow up, and a great place to visit if you get a chance. After school, I lived in North Carolina before venturing this way. There’s so much that drew me here!  If I had to pinpoint a few things it would be the climate, the Puget Sound, and the energy around outdoor activities like biking, skiing, and just getting out in the mountains. And I’m pretty sure we have the best summer weather in the country!
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue environmental consulting and remediation?
    I think it was a pretty natural fit with my desire to have a hand in improving where we live and being motivated by helping others succeed. Remediation projects have tended to provide a lot of variety in the work side of the balance. Every site has its unique challenges and keeps you on your toes. There’s always a good learning experience to be had.
     
  3. What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    It’s quite rewarding at the end of the day when you can say you’ve helped keep someone’s water supply clean, or maybe you just helped a client find a way to tackle a problem. I get really excited when I can help someone else look good. Environmental regulations, just like everything else around us, are constantly evolving. It’s exciting to have a hand in finding new ways to achieve outcomes that are better for everyone. 
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    Shocker alert; when I’m not working I’m doing my best to explore the PNW and enjoy the outdoors. These days it’s mostly weekend camping trips with the pup, biking, skiing, reading, occasionally squeezing in a round of golf, and if I’m lucky catching a surf session along the frigid Pacific coast. And when I’m able to find some extended time off, travelling somewhere new is always a priority.
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next? Where would your dream house be located? 
    Perhaps this is one of the reasons I like to travel to new places. How do you pick a place for a dream house when you’ve only caught a glimpse of the possibilities?  Hopefully one day I find one. Until then…the criteria would have to be somewhere with a breeze, perhaps on a cliff overlooking an ocean (one that I can somewhat manageably get down to beach from), with mountains nearby, decent surf to keep me active and in the water, and maybe even have space for an organic farm and garden so I don’t have to sit in a car that will then be driving me to a grocery store on its own.

Jason Yabandeh - Staff Data Scientist/Chemist

 At a Darrington, Washington farm with Bob (grey) and Howard (orange).

At a Darrington, Washington farm with Bob (grey) and Howard (orange).

 

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I’ve lived in the Puget Sound area for my whole life, which is great because I love this little corner of the world.
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue data management? What made you curious about it?While my background is in chemistry, I was drawn to data management by an appreciation of its power. Everything we do in work and life involves data and having good control and understanding of that data is key in making accurate conclusions.
     
  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? Working in data allows me to get involved with many different interesting projects. It’s fun to learn about a site and then play with the data and see trends in contaminant concentrations -- which are hopefully on the decline! It’s also a great excuse to practice programming. 
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? I’ll take any chance I can get to go running, biking, hiking, or swimming with my two dogs. They are great training buddies for the Spartan races that I like to run every year. Besides the outdoorsy stuff, I really enjoy getting a few friends together for some games of the video or board variety. The current favourites are Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Word Slam.
     
  5. If you could be with any musical artist living or dead, who would it be?
    Definitely Queen. Not even necessarily to perform with them, as it would be an obvious understatement to say that my musical abilities pale in comparison, but just so I could bask in their glory.

Aspect’s Henry Haselton and Dave McCormack Join October Landslide Seminar

Aspect’s Principal Geotechnical Engineer Henry Haselton and Principal Engineering Geologist Dave McCormack will participate as faculty at The Seminar Group's Landslides program on October 25, 2018 at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle. This seminar covers the science behind slope movement and landslides in Washington and discusses the liability concerns for a wide audience of attorneys, claims professionals, and real estate experts.

Register to attend today.

Aspect's Tom Atkins Presenting at ECOSS Stormwater Workshop

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On October 18th and 19th in Renton, ECOSS will be hosting 201X: Advanced Stormwater Management. This two-day Industrial Stormwater Workshop, with an emphasis on case studies, provides ideas and solutions for stormwater treatment BMPs and sampling techniques to help those struggling to meet their benchmarks. The workshop includes visits to industrial sites with installed treatment technology. Participants can ask tough questions in a confidential setting.

Aspect is proud to sponsor this workshop, and Aspect’s Senior Associate Water Resources Engineer Tom Atkins will also be presenting a case study that highlights successful alternative pathways for industrial facilities to achieve ISGP compliance after trigging a Level 3 Corrective Action.

Learn more about the workshop HERE.