Meet Bailey Rockwell and Rory Kilkenny!

Bailey Rockwell and Rory Kilkenny recently joined Aspect’s Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better…

Bailey Rockwell, Staff Scientist

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

    I’m from Dousman, a small town in southeastern Wisconsin. I knew I wanted to get out of the Midwest, so after graduating from the University of Minnesota, I took a job at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California. I fell in love with the mountains and lived in a town in the San Bernardino National Forest for the last two years. Unfortunately, the career opportunities in the mountain towns are fairly limited to tourism, so I had a crazy commute—1 hour up and down mountain roads each way. Despite loving the location, it started getting old, and after visiting friends in Seattle I knew it was a place I could see myself. Seattle really is the best of both worlds, in that there is a great economy but also proximity to mountains and outdoor recreation. I found my job with Aspect and things just fell into place.

  2. What inspired you to pursue stormwater and surface water monitoring? What made you curious about it?

    I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone who has known me long that I chose water resources as my career. As a kid I was always fishing, swimming, or kayaking around lakes and streams. We started noticing bad algae problems in local lakes and I found myself wanting to learn more and more about what was causing it. In college I knew I was interested in environmental monitoring, but it wasn’t until I took a class called “Assessment and Diagnosis of Impaired Waters” that I really knew it was something I wanted a career in. I learned how interconnected every living system is to water and how surface waters can tell a story of what is going on in the area. Soon after, I found the opportunity to work as an intern for the Minnesota DNR in their Stream Monitoring and Surveys Unit and that solidified my path.

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

    I love having a deeper understanding of what is going on in a stream or stormwater system. It’s like a puzzle trying to figure out why parameters look the way they do and where pollutants may be coming from. In stormwater you are often just looking at water quality samples, but with natural environments there are so many different “puzzle pieces” of stream health: macroinvertebrates, water quantity, sediments, banks, water quality, plants, and wildlife. It’s so rewarding to me to really understand what is going on for the betterment of an area.

    What excites and motivates me right now is learning about riparian/stormwater trends in the PNW because my knowledge base is from the Midwest and Southern California.

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

    I spend a lot of my free time trail running, backpacking, and climbing. I’m really excited to see more of the PNW so if you have any recommendations or want a running buddy let me know!

  5. Where would your dream house be located?

    My dream retirement/vacation home would be in Bishop, California, a small town on the east side of the Sierra Nevada, between Yosemite and Kings Canyon. It’s stunningly beautiful and could not be in a better spot for outdoor recreation. There are 14ers, hot springs, world class bouldering, bristlecone pine forests, skiing, and close access to three national parks. It’s a special place, and I would highly recommend it if you haven’t been.

Rory Kilkenny, Project Geotechnical Engineer

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

    I grew up in the high desert of eastern Oregon on a cattle ranch. The first time I came to Seattle was after college nine years ago for a job interview and I haven’t looked back. I love Seattle during both seasons (summer and rain).

  2. What inspired you to pursue geotechnical/remediation engineering? What made you curious about it?

    I think I gravitated towards consulting in civil engineering because it requires many of the same personality traits and analytical skills that were mandatory when growing up working on a cattle ranch. Both careers require a person have enough observational skills to comprehend a problem and enough analytical tools to solve that problem.

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

    I love the creative thinking and real-world problem solving required to advance a design from concept to completion. Bridging the gap between remediation and geotechnical engineering has given me the opportunity to build and work with large multidisciplinary teams where we can all learn from each other. I get pumped about coming to work when I’m on a team that combines the expertise of geologists, scientists, engineers, and construction experts to deliver creative and effective solutions to a client.

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

    Sara (my wife) and I enjoy the normal Seattle extracurriculars like hiking, snowboarding, and going to music shows. We are also always on the hunt for the next great hazy IPA, so you can frequently find us at Ruben’s, Cloudburst, Urban Family, or Chuck’s Hop Shop. We’re avid Seahawks fans and are looking forward to Seattle getting a hockey team. We love meeting new people and getting dragged into new hobbies.

  5. Where would you like to travel next?

    Sara and I have a goal of summiting Mount Rainier next year, though that seems like a lofty goal right now.