Meet Carly Schaeffer!

Carly Schaeffer recently joined Aspect as a Project Geotechnical Engineer. 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 grew up mostly in a small beach town in central California and then moved to the Bay Area for college. I came to the PNW to experience something new, and love it up here!

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

    Geotech was an easy choice for me. I’ve always been fascinated with earthquakes, and I like practical applications (rather than theory). Being a geotech meant I could study the things I was interested in, but also get to build things and see tangible results.

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

    My favorite part about Geotech is how much it is dependent on judgement. I enjoy the challenge of having to solve problems with limited information and having to consider a wide variety of factors. Geotech always keeps me engaged because every project is truly unique. Thanks to unpredictable site conditions, I’m constantly learning and being challenged as an engineer.

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

    I try to spend as much time outdoors as I can, although that’s tough in the winter for this Californian. I’m happiest in the water—I love to swim, kayak, and raft. I also really enjoy taking in all of the scenic hikes throughout Washington. I’m a big baker as well, and always looking for new recipes!

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

    My sister is moving to Belgium soon, so I’m hoping to use that as an opportunity to explore the parts of Europe I haven’t seen—and of course, eat waffles! I’d love to go to Greece, Budapest, and Switzerland, and venture up to see the Northern Lights.

Carly out hiking at Mt. St. Helens

Carly out hiking at Mt. St. Helens

Meet Chip Barnett and Peter Price!

Senior Engineering Geologist Chip Barnett and Staff Scientist Peter Price recently joined Aspect—Chip in our Seattle office, and Peter in our Yakima office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Chip Barnett - Senior Engineering Geologist

Chip_B-14.jpg
  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?

    I lived in Central and Northern California (stuck in Lodi for most of it) before I pursued a master’s degree at Portland State University. I’ve lived in the Puget Sound area with my family since 2002 and have worked in consulting in the Pacific Northwest since 1998. I think the climate really agrees with me and I like the people. My family has deep roots in Washington and Oregon, so living here just feels right.

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

    I was fortunate to take engineering geology courses at Portland State University with Professor Scott Burns. One class had a series of case histories presented by different visiting geologists, including Jon Koloski and Richard Galster, who enjoyed long careers in our region. The variety of challenging projects and solutions they presented was a great introduction to the field of engineering geology and geotechnical engineering.

    My master’s thesis included evaluating potential flooding impacts relative to regional subsidence following a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake in a number of coastal communities in Washington and Oregon. Speaking with some of the local city engineers about an approximate amount of anticipated subsidence and impacts was interesting. It helped me see how these hazards impact infrastructure and public safety.

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

    I enjoy finding opportunities when we can provide an innovative solution that a client really appreciates. I’m excited when I get to work in an area where I may not have worked before and get a chance to read literature or review geologic mapping to think about how that affects our project. Being licensed in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California has given me many opportunities to work in different areas.

    I’ve also worked on a number of corridor studies (pipelines and transmission lines) where the geology and subsurface conditions can vary widely. Those projects are always really interesting, and I enjoy discussing the layout and details of figures with GIS Analysts to meet a client’s needs.

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

    We take our youngest son to a lot of swim meets and an occasional jazz band performance. I enjoy yardwork, hiking, camping, volunteering in the community (professional and local), and attending concerts—and I like to sing really loud at home, annoying everyone except our dog, Cosmo. Yes, I have done karaoke.

  5. Where in the world would your dream home be located?

    My dream house would be located on the Washington coast, preferably above elevation ~400 feet to reduce the risk of potential tsunami impacts. The house itself would be a seismically retrofitted Victorian home with solar panels, a small wind turbine, and an on-site well system that could also be used to provide passive heating.

Peter Price - Staff Scientist

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

    I was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I moved to the Portland, Oregon, area after high school to be closer to my extended family. I have numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins living all over the west side of Oregon.

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

    I have had a zeal for hydrogeology ever since I took a course at Oregon State University. Water is a valuable resource, and the more I can understand the intricacies of our impacts and ever-growing need for this resource, the more I feel prepared to inform the next generation’s understanding and encourage a respect for and preservation of water.

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

    I would say it is the combination of mental and physical exertion. Collecting field data can be wonderfully refreshing, and physically difficult. When exhausted physically, you can sit down and turn your hard work into other people’s understanding via maps, data table, graphs, reports, etc.

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

    I enjoy going on adventures with my family. My wife, Amanda and our 3-year-old daughter, Aubrey, are usually reluctant towards my overly enthusiastic plan to drive next to some river and “adventure” along the way. After they get out of the car at the first of many stops and witness the natural beauty that surrounds them, they thank me for getting them out of the house, usually.

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

    I would like to travel to Antarctica, briefly. Maybe check out the Ross Island Ice Shelf, briefly.

Meet Daniel Babcock!

Staff Scientist Daniel Babcock recently joined Aspect’s Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know him better.

Daniel Babcock - Staff Scientist

Daniel Babcock in Farmington, New Mexico

Daniel Babcock in Farmington, New Mexico

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

    I was born in Wichita, Kansas and had lived there my whole life up until now. After living in a place with no trees or mountains for 26 years, my wife and I decided it was time for a change of scenery! Western Washington satisfied everything we were looking for in a new home i.e., opportunities, mountains, trees, and multiple Chipotle locations.

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

    My background is in Geology and I fell in love with learning about the natural word—I also knew I didn’t want to work behind a computer 24/7. It seems to have worked out perfectly that I was able to find a career that allows me to combine my love for science while allowing me to work both in and outdoors.

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

    At the end of the day, it is rewarding work. There is a sense of pride that goes along with being part of a team that remediates sites and knowing that you contributed to that. It is work that feels bigger than yourself.

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

    I enjoy most things outdoors—hiking, backpacking, mountain climbing, camping, kayaking, downhill mountain Elk riding…well maybe one of those isn’t a real activity… yet. But, I also enjoy playing a few instruments like the guitar, bass, and ukulele.

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

    It may not sound as cool as saying Paris or Australia but, I have always wanted to visit the New England area of the United States. I love history, and as far as the USA goes, there is a lot of history out there and I have never been out east before. So, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts are high on my list.

Meet Nick Iapalucci and Henry N. Haselton!

Technical Support Specialist Nick Iapalucci and Staff Engineer Henry N. Haselton (definitely a relation to his uncle, Aspect’s Principal Geotechnical Engineer Henry Haselton) recently joined Aspect’s Seattle office.Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Nick Iapalucci - Technical Support Specialist

Nick Iapalucci, Technical Support Specialist

Nick Iapalucci, Technical Support Specialist

  1. Where are you from?

    I grew up in Carrollton, Texas and went to college in Santa Fe, New Mexico. My wife and I were ready to expand our careers and our son was starting middle school, so after finding work in Seattle we decided to make the move!

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

    I have been in a support role in wide variety of fields: outdoor recreation, film, theater, radio, social work, childcare, and information technology. I enjoy helping people and solving problems.

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

    I think this is a very exciting time to be working with information technology! With our advances in virtualization and connectivity, I think possibilities have expanded farther than we can imagine at this point.

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

    I have family in California, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts so traveling is a popular activity. On the weekends we camp, hike, bike, paddle, or whatever else we can come up with outside.

  5. Where would your dream house be located?

    Nowhere permanent! Our dream house will probably be an RV someday.

Henry N. Haselton - Staff Engineer

Henry N. Haselton rating the Grand Canyon.

Henry N. Haselton rating the Grand Canyon.

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

    I grew up on the coast of Maine in a small town called Rockport. I spent the last 7 years in Bozeman, Montana, before coming to Washington. I came to the Northwest because I love the combination of the big mountains and the ocean.

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

    I was initially drawn to civil engineering because of my interest in math and science and a desire to apply these fields to real-world problems. I have always enjoyed problem solving, so civil engineering made sense as a field to pursue. Within civil engineering, I was attracted to geotechnical engineering because of the highly variable nature of soil and rock between different locations. I have always been drawn to the outdoors, so working in an engineering field that involves site-specific field investigations and learning about varying ground conditions is a great fit for me.

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

    I like that geotechnical engineering requires lots of field work and site investigations to determine the specific conditions in a given area. I enjoy learning about the natural world surrounding us and how to allow humans to inhabit places safely and sustainably. The spatially variable soil conditions and hands-on investigation keep me motivated and interested. I am excited to learn more about the geology of the Pacific Northwest and be able to apply it to geotechnical engineering.

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

    I enjoy a wide variety of outdoor recreation, including skiing, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, and fishing. I am trying to spend more time learning some water sports such as white water rafting and surfing. I am excited to live in the Pacific Northwest so I can explore new areas for skiing and other activities.

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

    There are lots of new places I would like to visit and many I want to revisit as well. Near the top of my list for new places to travel would be doing a ski trip to Chile and Argentina in our summer (winter in the southern hemisphere).

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.

Ingrid Ekstrom.jpg

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.

David Unruh.jpg

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.

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.

Bill Grimm.jpg

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. 

Meet Hannah McDonough and Taylor Rulien

Staff Geologist Hannah McDonough and GIS Analyst Taylor Rulien recently joined our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Hannah McDonough - Staff Geologist

Hannah sailing in the Puget Sound

Hannah sailing in the Puget Sound

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I grew up in a log cabin on a dirt road in Vermont. As a kid, I cross-country skied, hiked, and tapped maple trees right outside my front door. I gained an appreciation for the natural world, which led me to study geology at the University of Rochester in New York. During field camp in Wyoming, I realized that I needed to be in the west to get a better sense of active geology. I went on to study at Utah State University and eventually found work in environmental consulting. I’ve stayed for the sushi, mountains, and water.
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? 
    On a field trip in high school, we visited a local mountain and observed glacial striations in the large granitic bedrock. I was so taken by the power of earth’s movements around me, that I had to figure out how this happened and what other wonders are out there to explore. I felt right at home in the geology department since we got to dig up fossils and hike out to coal mines in Pennsylvania.
     
  3.  What do you like best about your area of expertise? 
    I am drawn to the results of environmental consulting. It is very rewarding to work on projects across the state and a few years later point out, “that’s a place where I made a small improvement in this corner of the world.” I also enjoy the travel. I’ve seen more of Washington State during site visits than some locals see in a lifetime. It’s a great way to learn more about this dynamic state.
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
    I took a year off from consulting and delved into the sailing world. I enjoy harnessing the power of the wind to explore new places and familiar places from a new perspective. I am also an amateur violinist, and love to jam with friends and family.
     
  5. If you could be onstage with any musical artist living or dead, who would it be?
    Andrew Bird is my musical hero. It’d be a dream to be on stage fiddling and whistling with him.

Taylor Rulien - GIS Analyst

Taylor lounging on the north ridge of Mt. Stuart in Washington's central Cascades

Taylor lounging on the north ridge of Mt. Stuart in Washington's central Cascades

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I was born and raised in Alaska, this gave me a love for the outdoors but also a need to explore different states due to the isolation. I’ve since lived across the West from Oregon, California, Colorado, and now Washington. Washington has hit a good balance for me between the excitement of having a large city to the vast mountainous wilderness – I plan on calling this place home for a long time.
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue GIS? 
    I’ve always been fascinated by maps and GIS is a great way to keep that alive. With the large amount of spatial data available through our smartphones and other devices, there is a growing need and ability for exciting spatial analysis.
     
  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    GIS is such a broad discipline, this allows me to continue to learn different skillsets from automation through programming, cartography, application development, and more complicated analysis.
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    I like doing anything in the outdoors. You’ll find me either climbing rocks, ice, or trail running in the mountains and enjoying a post IPA and burger at the closest brewery. Let me know if you are ever interested in an outdoor activity!
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
    There are dozens of places that I would love to travel to in the world but going back to Spain might be the most realistic and exciting for me. There are numerous world class climbing destinations!

Meet Jon Turk and James Bush!

Associate Hydrogeologist Jon Turk, LHG and Project Hydrogeologist James Bush, LHG recently joined Aspect's Water Resources practice supporting our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Jon Turk - Associate Hydrogeologist

Jon and family kayaking near Elephant Island at the Bai Tu Long Bay World Heritage Site in Vietnam.

Jon and family kayaking near Elephant Island at the Bai Tu Long Bay World Heritage Site in Vietnam.

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I was born, raised, and educated in Ohio. I worked in Ohio for a few years, then transferred down to Florida for a previous firm. A few years in Florida was enough for the cravings of mountains and snow to take over. I’ve been in Olympia for about 9 years and consider it home. 
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue hydrogeology? What made you curious about it?
    My early childhood was spent on the Chagrin River, near Cleveland, with a short walk to shale and cliffs and fossils to collect. It was in the same valley that my grandparents homesteaded, and where my mother grew up…so maybe you could say I was born into it. Some of my earliest childhood memories are rock collecting along the river and sliding down the waterfalls. I started rock climbing as a teenager, and yet somehow started college as a pre-law student. After my first year, I switched majors and haven’t given anything else a second thought.
     
  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?
    It is not so much my area of expertise (quantitative hydrogeology), but consulting in general, that gets me excited. The creative and technical problem solving, rewards of a successful project and happy client, providing value to the communities I work in, are really the most rewarding parts of it for me.
     
  4.  What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
    Any sort of family adventure is at the top of the list. We try to raise our kids in a way that keeps them engaged with us, and consequently have dragged them through some incredible places way off the beaten path. We enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, climbing, cycling, kayaking, fishing, and traveling the world experiencing new cultures. I do some volunteer work with the WaYa Outdoor Institute, a non-profit summer day camp founded by my wife and friends, that combines STEM curriculum with outdoor adventure. I’m also an avid DIYer and roughly half way through a 5-year plan of complete home renovations.
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next?
    The next “big” trip we are planning will be in summer of 2019 to Nepal, Tibet, and Sri Lanka. However, my dream trip would be to spend some time down in Patagonia, then hop on a cruise to Antarctica. I hope to see a narwhal at some point in my life—they really are the closest living thing to a unicorn you know.

James Bush - Project Hydrogeologist

james3.jpg
  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area. It’s a place I really love, and one where I felt like I had a lot of opportunities. I moved to Washington seven years ago for the opportunity to practice hydrogeology with some talented folks, and it’s worked out really well.
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue hydrogeology? What made you curious about it?
    My hometown (Eagle, Idaho) is fairly arid and very dependent on groundwater, so folks started to worry about water when the area began to undergo a population boom. I knew that I wanted to be a scientist who did work that had a direct impact on the community around me. Water is a resource for which there are no substitutes, so hydrogeology was a great fit for me.
     
  3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?
    The wide range in scale on which my work has an impact. Water is so connected across space and time, and it touches everyone’s lives in so many places. It’s invigorating and daunting when I think about how my work today will affect folks potentially many miles downstream and many years into the future.

    Day-to-day, I love the investigative nature of hydrogeology. Working out how to evaluate a resource that is mostly hidden in an efficient manner makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes on a case. Bringing together sparse information to make deductions and piece together an accurate picture gets me out of bed in the morning.
     
  4.  What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
    My nights are usually taken up by rec league softball or volleyball. I’ve played baseball and softball since I was small, and being out on the diamond with friends on a summer night can’t be beat. I just got into volleyball last year, and learning an entirely new sport has been the best sort of challenge. I’ve also rediscovered my love of skiing the past few winters, and can’t wait until next season!
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next?
    In all seriousness I’m hoping that commercial spaceflight takes off in my lifetime. Seeing the Earth from space, experiencing microgravity, and seeing the stars without the atmosphere are things I couldn’t pass up if the opportunity every comes!

Strengthening our Water Resources Services with Jon Turk and James Bush

Aspect strengthens its water resources practice with the addition of Associate Hydrogeologist Jon Turk, LHG and Project Hydrogeologist James Bush, LHG. Jon is a hydrogeologist with over 16 years of experience focused on quantitative hydrogeology for water, wastewater, and industrial markets for public agencies and private industry. He will work out of Olympia, supporting Aspect’s Seattle office as well as expanding Aspect’s capabilities for clients in the south Puget Sound area. James brings over seven years of hydrogeologic and numerical modeling experience for groundwater projects.

Jon Turk

Jon Turk

James Bush

James Bush

“Jon’s background and expertise are a seamless match with Aspect’s water resources client base,” says Tim Flynn, Aspect’s President. “We’re also excited to continue to introduce Aspect to all the south Puget Sound and western Washington clients that Jon has built strong relationships with.”

While at his previous firm, Brown and Caldwell, Jon led an integrated water resources management team providing regional leadership and national consulting for complex and integrated surface water and groundwater systems. He brings recognized skill in groundwater recharge, water supply management, wastewater reuse, and numerical modeling for clean water projects as well as site remediation support for Brownfields and Superfund projects. James also comes from Brown and Caldwell, where he was a primary technical contributor to groundwater projects, environmental site characterization, and numerical modeling projects throughout Washington, Oregon, and the western United States.

“I’m excited to join the Aspect team and proud to join such a talented group of consultants,” says Jon.  “I’ve always considered Aspect as one of the premier hydrogeologic consultancies in the region, with a strong brand that truly values both innovative and practical approaches to solving complex water resource challenges.”

Meet Mike Mills

Mike Mills recently joined Aspect's Portland, Oregon office.  Here are five questions we asked to get to know him better.

Mike Mills, Project Software Developer

mikemillsphoto.jpg

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

I was born in Portland Oregon, but grew up in Sisters, Oregon (just north of Bend).  

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

I learned how to code my freshman year of high school and from then on knew exactly what I wanted to do with my professional life. 

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

I really enjoy solving complex problems, which coding allows me to do with ease. The thing that excites me the most is to finish a project and have a client be completely satisfied with the work that’s been done. 

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

When I‘m not working, I enjoy running around the Portland waterfront and reading with my wife. I also enjoy salmon fishing every season with my Dad and Mom in Newport, Oregon. 

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

After visiting Italy this last October, I would love to go back to Europe and visit either France or Spain. My wife speaks French, so that would be a bonus having a translator. 
 

Meet Aaron Fitts and Jasmin Jamal!

Aaron Fitts recently joined Aspect's Bellingham office and Jasmin Jamal recently joined Aspect's Portland office.  Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

Aaron Fitts, LG, Staff Geologist

Aaron and 2 1/2-year-old son Arthur.

Aaron and 2 1/2-year-old son Arthur.

  1.  Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
    I grew up in central Maine. The landscape in Maine and New England is a lot like the Pacific Northwest (PNW), except the mountains are smaller and the winters are colder. I spent all my time growing up in the woods or on the coast; I spent the summers racing bikes, surfing, and whitewater guiding, and in the winter I’d be climbing mountains, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. It turned out that you could do all these things in the PNW too, but it’s also way more fun here!
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue geology? 
    At the end of my Junior year of college, I had completed most of the requirements for a degree in physics and found myself with just electives left for my senior year. I was a bit sick of being stuck in physics laboratories all the time and saw geology as an opportunity to spend some time outside. I took eight geology courses in one year and was able to get a dual-degree. Ironically, I ended up spending most of my time in a basement geochemistry laboratory, though, I got out enough to make it worth it. I decided that I wanted to go to grad school where I could be in landscapes a bit more exciting than the Northeast. My undergraduate advisor recommended that I contact his colleague at Western Washington University in Bellingham, telling me that it was near the coast but surrounded by mountains. That was literally all I knew about the area when I drove across the country to get here. It ended up being a good decision.
     
  3. What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    Troubleshooting and problem-solving while working with clients, contractors, and co-workers is my favorite thing about working in this field. There’s something very satisfying about getting something complicated to work out in the end. Getting to do the type of science that I enjoy and seeing cool places at the same time is just a great bonus on top of it all.
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    Lately, my favorite activity has been reexperiencing childhood activities with my two boys (11-months and 2.5-years old). My toddler is obsessed with riding his bike and running on the trails and my infant is obsessed with anything his big brother is doing. My wife and I do our best to keep up with them, but they’re a handful. When we do find time for ourselves, we usually end up riding our bikes anyway.
     
  5. Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
    There are a lot of places around the world I’d like to visit; generally, any place with mountains, probably Chile or Argentina. Honestly though, even given the choice, I’d probably most like to just go to the Methow Valley. I really like it there.

Jasmin Jamal, EIT, Staff Engineer

Jasmin at the Trillium Falls near the Redwood National and State Parks in Humboldt County

Jasmin at the Trillium Falls near the Redwood National and State Parks in Humboldt County

  1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I am from a city called Orange, in a county called Orange, in a state called California. My life-partner Jonathon and I visited Portland a few years back and immediately agreed that this was where we needed to be. Last summer, I finished grad school, he requested a job transfer, and before we knew it, we landed in Portland!
     
  2. What inspired you to pursue environmental engineering? What made you curious about it?
    Growing up, my mom frequently took my sisters and me on camping, hiking, and biking adventures. I loved the outdoors as a kid but never imagined pursuing an environmental job as a career--I always wanted to be a teacher. During college, I stumbled upon the earth science program and fell in love. Around the time that I finished my undergrad, environmental engineering was introduced as a master’s program at my university. The variety of topics covered in the program were intriguing, so I went for it and fell in love for the second time! My interest in teaching hasn’t ceased but I envision myself now as more of a grey-haired professor.
     
  3. What excites you and keeps you motivated?
    I like the diversity behind environmental engineering and am motivated by the fact that the environment is ever changing. I hope to work in multiple areas of interest including wastewater and surface water treatment, solid waste management and design, fate and transport of chemicals, and soil and groundwater remediation.
     
  4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
    I enjoy hiking, biking, and camping, but I probably like all of that as much as I like being horizontal with my cat Carrie.
     
  5. What five people would be your dream party guests?
    I’m going to pick a mixture of living and dead:
    1. My Uncle Tom (deceased)
    2. Barack Obama (living)
    3. Carrie Brownstein (living)
    4. 011 from “Stranger Things” (fictional)
    5. John Muir (deceased)

Meet Jackson Lundgren!

Jackson Lundgren recently joined Aspect’s Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know him better.   

Jackson Lundgren - Field Technician

Jackson in the Rainbow Basin in Southern California

Jackson in the Rainbow Basin in Southern California

1. Where are you from?  

I’m from just north of San Francisco, a friendly suburb called Mill Valley tucked away in the fog and Redwood trees of Mt. Tamalpais. I came to Washington for school in Bellingham where I wanted to study Automotive Engineering at Western Washington University. I wound up getting my Bachelor of Science in Geology instead.

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

I grew up along the San Andreas Fault and was fascinated by the idea of a force slowly tearing California apart. I was also impressed by the dynamic nature of the California coastline where mudslides often destroyed local homes and infrastructure. That background curiosity combined with vacations in Yosemite and the Mt. Shasta area led to a lifelong love for geology and the environment that eventually eclipsed my interest in engineering.

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

Helping keep people and property safe from hazardous conditions in the environment. The idea of working as part of a team to solve complex and often very different issues helps keep me motivated.

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

I like to fish, hike, cook (especially jambalaya!), read, road trip, and see live music.  

5.    Where would your dream house be located? 

One house on Bainbridge Island (right on the point by the ferry, you know the spot). Another house in Morro Beach, California, looking out at Morro Rock. I’d spend April through October on Bainbridge, then spend the winter on the central California coast.
 

Meet Amelia Oates!

Amelia Oates recently joined Aspect’s Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know her better.

Amelia Oates, GIT - Staff Geologist

Amelia Pic.jpg

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

I grew up in the town of Canandaigua, New York, more specifically, a delightful hamlet named Cheshire. I grew up at the end of a dead-end road, spending my time playing in my parents’ garden and pond. After my undergraduate studies at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, I decided I needed a change of scenery. Along with some dear college friends, I hatched a plan about five years ago to move to Seattle, looking for opportunities in outdoor adventure and possible careers. After a few years of hiking and biking my way around western Washington, I entered graduate school at UW for applied geology. After graduating I started work as a staff geologist in Seattle and hope to take advantage of all the opportunities this industry has to offer.

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

Growing up as an only child in western New York, I found peace and comfort in spending endless days playing outside, where my imagination was seemingly infinite.  My favorite place to pass the time was in the ravine behind my parents’ home, where Ordovician and Devonian shales layered stories of former environments and long-lost critters. Those adventures and findings of corals and concretions informed hours of intrigue for my curious brain. It wasn’t until my freshman introduction to geology course at St. Lawrence University, when we would spend five hours each week exploring the variety of terranes in the North Country, that I realized I had accidentally stumbled on a discipline that brought me back to my peaceful place and fed my curiosity for existential truth, problem solving, and dreaming of what once was. My curiosity was piqued after several field trips abroad showed me that geology is everywhere, and to be a great geologist, one needed to see as much as possible.

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

It’s the idea that there are multiple solutions to the complex problems we discover in geology. It requires diversity of expertise, interest, and constant learning to continue to produce the best science in this field. I am continually excited to learn new techniques, use innovative technology, and apply those techniques to real examples. The prospect of staying current and using my knowledge to adapt to the environment around me is inspiring and keeps me motivated.

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

I love to spend time with friends, and adventure to new places, via planes, trains, automobiles, boat, bike, or my own two feet. One of my favorite parts of traveling abroad is to indulge in the local cuisine. When I’m at home, I like to experiment with those culinary experiences and create delicious food to share with friends and family. When I’m not being active or travelling about, I love to curl up next to the fire, with a cup of tea, and a good book.   

5. What five people would be your dream dinner party guests?

I’d love to dine and discuss politics, music, culture, philosophy, and the environment with: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Prince, Malcolm X, Marie Curie, and Vandana Shiva. 

Announcing John Warinner and Expanded Services for Oregon Clients

Strengthening Aspect's water resources services for Oregon clients, John Warinner, PE, CWRE joins Aspect as Associate Water Resources Engineer in Bend, Oregon.  John is a water resources engineer and certified water rights examiner with over 30 years of experience in water supply, water rights, and geographic information system (GIS) projects for irrigators, public agencies, and private industry.

John Warinner - Headshot 2.jpg

John has applied his engineering and client-service skills to monitoring, assessing, design, and permitting for a variety of water system projects, including watershed; groundwater aquifers; irrigation systems; wastewater and nutrient recovery systems; and water rights. He also brings keen insight into GIS and data management.

“I’m excited to join the Aspect team and to broaden their services to Oregon clients," says John, "Aspect is an excellent earth science engineering firm that values the same innovative and practical approach to solving water resource problems that I do.” 

John will work out of Bend, supporting Aspect’s Portland office and clients as well as expanding Aspect’s capabilities for clients in central and eastern Oregon. 

As he joins Aspect, we asked John to share some thoughts on his work and consulting career:

1.    Where are you from? 
My father was an Air Force fighter pilot, so my family moved around a lot when I was young.  I was born in Charleston, SC, and we moved to Oscoda, MI when I was 10 days old.  After several more stops in California and Florida, our family first moved to the Pacific Northwest in about 1968.  We lived in Medford, OR while my father was serving in Vietnam.  When my father returned from overseas, we moved to Klamath Falls, OR.  We moved a few more times to North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Texas, before ultimately settling back in Klamath Falls for my high school and college years.  After attending college in Oregon and Texas, I returned to Portland, OR for several years, then moved to Walla Walla, WA for over two decades.  In 2013, my wife, Amy, and I moved our family to Bend, OR.  So we are approaching five years now in Bend. 

2.    What inspired/led you to pursue work in water resources? 
My interest in water resources started during high school, living on an irrigated hay-grain farm in the Klamath Basin.  My jobs on the farm included irrigation and hay harvest.  I was initially intrigued by the idea of equipping hay balers to moisten hay as it was baled, rather than having to bale the hay during the middle of the night when the dew was on it.  I also recall rafting with a friend on the Lost River and being surprised and intrigued by the geothermal springs emerging into the stream.  During my study of agricultural engineering at Oregon State University and civil (water resources) engineering at Texas A&M University, I gained a broader perspective of hydrology, hydrogeology, hydraulics, irrigation, drainage, and the more physical aspects of water systems.  During that time, my uncle, who was a physics professor at the University of Michigan, introduced me to the Environmental Defense Fund and increased my awareness of watershed ecology, water quality, water rights and allocation, and the challenges of understanding and managing water systems in various settings and at various scales.

3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
The deeper you wade into it, the more you realize that water resources is a very broad and dynamic field.  In some respects, the fundamentals seem simple and straightforward.  But there are many nuances to it.  Water systems and the associated challenges vary greatly with both place and time.  There are differences in spatial and temporal patterns from one place to another.  As they say, you never step twice into the same stream.  When you consider the human elements--population, values, interests, knowledge and awareness, expectations, laws, and policies…which also continually evolve and change--it all combines into very intriguing dynamics and associated challenges.  Each situation has its own unique fact pattern.  

4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
I most enjoy getting outdoors, including hiking, mountain climbing, fishing, boating, and mountain biking.  I am a pretty big sports fan; mostly basketball. Our youngest son, Brian, is currently a Junior in High School playing on the basketball team. We enjoy watching Brian and his teammates, as well as college and professional basketball.  I also enjoy writing poetry and making music.  As our kids grow up and move out of the house, I am interested to spend more time doing that.

5.    Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
I am pretty happy exploring the Pacific Northwest with the wilderness areas in the Cascades, the Oregon Coast, the San Juan Islands.  Most of my travel outside of the Northwest is geared toward visiting my parents and other family members in Ohio and Texas.  I would love to go back to Bowron Lakes up in British Columbia.  Perhaps South America and Machu Picchu.  Some day, I would love to spend some extended time visiting Europe.
 

Meet Mari Otto and Meilani Lanier-Kamaha'o

Mari Otto and Meilani Lanier-Kamaha'o recently joined Aspect's Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

    Mari Otto, Staff Geotechnical Engineer

    mari and friend.jpg

    1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
    I am from a little tiny archipelago in the Pacific called Palau. Not a lot of people have heard of it, so if you want to learn about it come find me – I love talking about home. It’s a great place to grow up – lots of great diving spots and pretty scenery. I spent almost my entire childhood running around (or more often than not, swimming around) having a blast. 

    I came to the US to study civil engineering at UH Manoa in Hawaii and I worked in New Zealand before deciding to come to Seattle for grad school at UW. Then I decided I like the Pacific Northwest so much, I might as well stay here for a few more years! 

    2.    What inspired you to pursue geotechnical engineering? What made you curious about it?
    My geotech professor in undergrad was a great teacher and he had a lot of cool stories about working as a consultant on the Boston Big Dig. Taking my geotech courses from him made me want to learn more about working in this field. 

    3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    My favorite part about geotech is that it involves a lot of hands-on work and going out in the field. Don’t get me wrong, I like being nice and comfy in the office - but if I was inside all the time, I would probably go a little stir-crazy.

    4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    I’m still a total Seattle/WA noob, so I’m trying to spend more time exploring the area, hiking, and looking for my future favorite food spots. On lazy days, I like to hang out and read, play guitar (badly), and watch sci-fi/horror movies.

    5.    Where would your dream house be located?
    I’ve actually put a lot of thought into my dream house. It’ll be in Palau, at a nice spot not too far from the beach. It’ll be timber-framed, with an awesome deck for BBQs and viewing the ocean. Ideally, it’ll have a good surf/paddling spot nearby so I could go out on the water every morning.
     

    Meilani Lanier-Kamaha'o, Project Geologist

    Utah's Arches National Park

    Utah's Arches National Park

    1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
    I grew up between Santa Cruz and Valley Center, California – i.e., a proud-to-be-tree-huggers bubble on the Monterey Bay where the Redwoods meet the Pacific Ocean versus the granite hills covered in avocado and citrus groves in the northeast corner of San Diego. In the past dozen years, I’ve lived in Los Angeles, Ellensburg, north county San Diego, and Orange County. The Cascades stole my heart when I flew over them on my way to Missoula in 2010 and after marrying a local – and living throughout the southern California megalopolis – it only made sense to come back to the mountains!

    2.    What inspired you to pursue geology? What made you curious about it?
    Like knowing an older sibling, I do not remember I time when I was not interested in the earth and sky. As a child, I was transfixed by characters that made mountains, chased stars, sent storms around the earth with a breath, or pierced into the core of the earth or sea to find whole new worlds. I also had the benefit of living in spectacular parts of California and was surrounded by an environmentally conscious community. By the time geology entered my life academically it just made sense to me. Genie Elliott introduced me to plate tectonics and Dr. Ann Blythe introduced me to research and career opportunities. So, I pursued a career that was intuitive, generally involved being outdoors, and helped preserved the natural resources I love.

    3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    Geology is pretty unique in its physicality compared to other sciences. Our laboratory is everywhere around us, even if covered by concrete and maybe especially in those instances where we manipulate and apply our knowledge of geology. I love that geology exists on so many scales from mountain building and planetary evolution to fractional crystallization and microns. For me environmental consulting is like conducting many little research projects; predicting what’s in the subsurface then finding out. I love when everything I’ve learned is true but also when something different is going on.  Our work directly relates to society and I love working in teams of multidisciplinary professionals. 

    4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    Generally being outdoors is what I love, be that hiking, cycling, running, swimming, or sitting with a tasty beer. When there isn’t time for an outing I end up doing miscellaneous projects including building shelves, bedframes, crocheting, sewing, or dabbling in painting and drawing. When I’m not talking with my husband about social justice, the state of education, implicit bias, or all the possibilities of our future, I try to sit down with an instrument and fumble through the process of learning or re-learning how to play it. All that aside, most days my happy place is cooking up delicious food in the kitchen. Vegetables are my thing and trying different spices, sauces, and new ways to prepare could-get-boring-ingredients is fun, calming, and I get to enjoy (EAT) my hard work! 

    5.    Where would your dream house be located? 
    I am a soul divided: 

    1. My dream house would certainly be located in the sky. I’m not yet sure of the logistics, either a semi-permanent cloud city (semi-permanent because I’d still want other clouds, the ones not supporting my house, to be floating by from time to time) or suspended mountains with little root cities on their undersides.
    2. My dream house would certainly be located in the Shire. Beautiful round doorway leading into a cozy home INSIDE A HILL or MOUNTAIN. Gardens, mead, and mountains!
       

    Meet Breeyn Greer

    Breeyn Greer recently joined Aspect's Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know her better.

    Breeyn Greer, Staff Environmental Engineer

    Breeyn Greer, Staff Environmental Engineer

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

    I was born and raised in Minneapolis. However, I haven’t lived there for a decade, so while I am proud of my roots I can’t really hold a conversation about the city. Since then, I’ve lived in Madison and Milwaukee Wisconsin, Blacksburg Virginia, and my car. I had a summer job in Seattle in 2015 and fell in love with the area. I can’t wait to explore it more. 

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

    I have an affinity towards complex problems. After a couple of years working for a traditional Civil firm, I realized that the repetitive process of grading and utilities would not keep me inspired for a career-length amount of time. In the case of Environmental Engineering, there is also the added element of human impact and chemistry.

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

    I like soil and water, that’s been a lifelong commitment. What excites me and keeps me going is the multitude of applications of this passion. Here at Aspect alone, one could look at a site from pre-construction (Geotech) to a decade post-contamination (Remediation), and to me that’s more interesting than development. I am continually amazed by the ways in which humanity leaves its footprints on the earth, and looking forward learning more about the ways in which we try to remove them.

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

    When I am not at work I can be found running, hiking, camping, yoga-ing, or eating. My passions outside of work can generally be summed up as: being outdoors, moving my body, or enjoying consumables. I spent a lot of my young-adult life bartending and have since translated that interest into wine-tasting and coffee cupping. 

    5.    Things I don’t like:

    • Kitchen appliances that are redundant or have just one function. Seriously, why have a coffee maker, French press, Chemex, and an espresso maker? Electronic vegetable choppers? Automated wine openers? Please, bartenders open 50 bottles a night and they aren’t even using electronic ones. 
    • Magazine subscription inserts in the magazine you already subscribe to. These obviously have two fates: 1) on the floor, which you then have to clean up or 2) stuffed back into the magazine until they eventually fall out and end up on the floor. 

    Point being, I have a dry sense of humor. 
     

    Meet Chris Augustine and Kaitlin Schrup

    Chris Augustine and Kaitlin Schrup recently joined Aspect -- Chris in our Portland office and Kaitlin in our Seattle office.  Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

    Chris Augustine, Senior Hydrogeologist

    Chris_A2.jpg

    1.  Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. After grad school, I decided that I wanted to live someplace where I could enjoy the same outdoor adventures as North Carolina and set my sights on the Cascades and moved across country to Ashland, Oregon. I eventually moved to the other end of I-5 to Portland, Oregon and have lived here over 16 years now.

    2.  What inspired you to pursue hydrogeology? What made you curious about it? I started off as a chemical engineering major but switched focus after my first geology class. It was a science that played to my strengths and interests and seemed to require a lot of time outdoors doing “field work” – code for hiking around mountains and banging on rocks, which was more exciting than Chemistry Lab. Once I entered grad school I got “red rock” fever and began studying volcanic processes of the volcanic front in southwestern Guatemala for my thesis. I spent most of my class time studying environmental-focused courses like hydrogeology, geochemistry, and shallow subsurface and borehole geophysics.

    3.  What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? My favorite types of projects are ones that require looking at problems in a unique way or require integrating many different solutions. Coming up with value-added or innovative solutions to these sometimes complex technical or regulatory challenges for my clients keeps my interests piqued.

    4.  What do you like to do when you aren’t working? At the moment, my focus is on keeping up with my 4-year-old son and his fixation on everything Legos. I look forward to getting back in the routine of camping, cycling, mountain biking, snowboarding and whitewater kayaking as he grows and can explore the Cascades and the Pacific Northwest outdoors with his Dad, the weekend warrior.

    5.  Where in the world would you like to travel next? I am hoping to visit South America again. I really want to see parts of the Andes in Chile and Argentina. There are also a lot of classic whitewater destinations in Chile like the Futaleufu and phenomenal national parks that draw me to there. Closer to home I would like to get out to the Steens Mountains -  even though it seems a world away! 

    Kaitlin Schrup, GIS Analyst

    1.  Where are you from? In my formative years, I grew up in Central Eastern Washington on the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. My family has a long tradition in serving Native American tribes. This tradition engraved the importance of preserving natural resources, tribal culture, and sovereignty at an early age. In middle school, I moved to Western Washington on the Enumclaw plateau. In college, I lived near the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, and studied abroad in the Middle East, which profoundly changed my life. I can still speak a little broken Arabic and Swahili. After college, I moved back home to the beautiful Pacific Northwest to work in the non-profit sector.

    2.  What inspired you to pursue Geographical Information Systems (GIS)? My first love was computerized drafting and design. However, I felt at the time policy was more of an effective method to make a difference in the world, so I graduated with my undergrad in political science with a focus on environmental politics. I wanted a method to combine my love of design and policy, and I found that with GIS and cartography. The study and practice of GIS focuses on holistic thinking to tell a story through visualizations. Maps are amazing at telling stories and influencing policy.

    3.  What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? My passion and commitment are to serve my community through developing meaningful GIS solutions and geospatial technology to assist people to solve their problems and discover insightful information to accomplish their goals. I strive and love to continuously learn in general. The GIS and geospatial technology sector are continuously being innovated with new ideas and technological application. My Master’s program was focused on the development of geospatial technology, so I am always trying to learn more about online map application programming. One of my favorite topics to ponder is “Big Data” and the implications that technology place upon our society.

    4.  What do you like to do when you aren’t working? When I am not working, I constantly seek out my next adventure or working on my passion project. I love to travel and learn about new cultures and customs.  I am a retired competitive swimmer and enjoy snorkeling/scuba diving in warm waters. I enjoy exploring the Pacific Northwest with loved ones. During the warmer months, I enjoy camping and hiking. During the colder months, I head up to the mountains for snowboarding or snowshoeing. I also love to run and hanging out with my two little beautiful nieces. I am also a huge animal lover, so I am always seeking out someone to talk with about his or her pets.

     5.  Where in the world would you like to travel next?  This is a hard question. I would like to travel to either the Serengeti or Chile.  One of my dreams would be to see the great migration along the Serengeti. Hiking within the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia region has been on my bucket list. Also, I have been fascinated with Easter Island since I was a little girl. Plus Chile has great food and beverages.

    Meet Fasih Khan and Lindsay Pearsall

    Fasih Khan and Lindsay Pearsall are two recent additions to Aspect's Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

    Fasih Khan, Project Environmental Engineer

    Fasih Khan

    Fasih Khan

    1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? Born and raised in Hyderabad, India. Came to the US (Texas) to do my graduate degree (M.S) in 2003. I completed my studies and then worked for some time in Houston and then found a job with GeoEngineers in 2008 that made me move to the Pacific Northwest and I could not have been happier with my decision. I absolutely love the region.

    2.       What inspired you to pursue environmental engineering? What made you curious about it? I did my undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering but after coming to the US and during discussions with my Dean, I realized that no other field touched every aspect of human life as much as environmental field and it also gave me the opportunity to work outdoors which I love.

    3.       What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? It gives me immense satisfaction to know that I am contributing in my own way towards helping nature and doing something good for humanity. The projects are always unique and pose a different challenge depending on the end objective and stakeholders. It requires lots of communication and organization to accomplish projects and these skills are part of my expertise.

    4.       What do you like to do when you aren’t working? I watch movies, listen to music, and I am very good player of a video game called Need for Speed Hot Pursuit on Sony Playstation. I have friends all over the world that come together on weekends and we have gaming fun online on the weekends. I like sports and play tennis.

    5.       Where in the world would you like to travel next?  China – I want to see the Great Wall and learn about their culture and customs.

    Lindsay Pearsall, Director of Human Resources

    Lindsay Pearsall

    Lindsay Pearsall

    1.       Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? I grew up in Montana splitting my time between the capital and the eastern farmland. I spent endless hours camping, attending rodeos, fishing, hunting, and farming. I moved to Seattle to experience true city life, experience professional sports, and get away from the miserably cold, brutal winters. I love Seattle, but I would be happy just about anywhere if the ocean is nearby.

    2.       What inspired/led you to pursue work in human resources? What made you curious about it? It happened organically, but ultimately started when I found myself in a training role and could help people quickly grow in their careers and ultimately gain promotions. It was incredibly full-filling and my career path just evolved from there into recruiting and now here at Aspect.

    3.       What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? I believe I offer a unique perspective coming from managing a recruiting agency. That role provided me the perspective of what it takes to run a successful business while leading and developing teams within a highly competitive market, both internally and with a client base. Hiring will always be exciting for me, but also working on programming that maximizes an individual’s potential to grow professionally is a lot of fun and rewarding. Simply stated, I’m motivated by connecting people, and seeing them succeed together.  

    4.       What do you like to do when you aren’t working? When we are not planning our lives around my teenager’s soccer schedule, we spend any free minute possible in Long Beach, Washington. We love the area, the people, and the history. This year will be our 17th consecutive year visiting the Washington State Kite Festival there. I also have an affinity for colored vintage Pyrex and can’t pass up a thrift store or garage sale just in case there may be a treasure awaiting.

    5.       Where in the world would you like to travel next? I think it will be Italy, but maybe Germany or Ireland. We traveled last year to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris and it’s very tempting to go back to any of those areas. Really, I’m just happy to explore any place new, nationally or internationally, it’s a full bucket list; seeing at least one new place a year is the goal. 

    Meet Bryan Berkompas and Rebecca Powell

    Bryan Berkompas and Rebecca Powell are two recent additions to Aspect's stormwater team in our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.    

    Bryan Berkompas, Senior Hydrologist

    Bryan Berkompas

    Bryan Berkompas

    1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
      I was born in New Mexico and I still love the 4-Corners area, but I was raised in the Yakima Valley surrounded by orchards and vineyards. I moved to the Seattle area for graduate school. I thought the rain might drive me crazy but I have found I enjoy it.
       
    2. What inspired you to pursue hyrdology? What made you curious about it?
      I grew up hiking and fishing the rivers and creeks around Mt. Rainier and White Pass, but I didn’t really consider hydrology until college. In the fall of my junior year I did a suspended sediment study in a small urban creek in Michigan as part of fluvial geomorphology course I was taking. One frosty morning I was standing in the creek about an inch from topping my waders holding my arms at a crazy angle to collect my sample but not get my coat wet and it occurred to me that I was truly enjoying myself and maybe hydrology would be a good fit for me.
       
    3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?
      I still love the sound of water splashing and falling over itself as it flows down a channel. Still brings me peace. I enjoy the challenge of working at a site with unique or challenging hydraulic conditions and designing and implementing a monitoring approach that succeeds in meeting the project needs.
       
    4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
      I enjoy exploring the outdoors under my own power: backpacking with my kids, cycling, etc. I lead a kids’ program at my church and love hanging out with elementary school age kids for a few hours each week. I also enjoy the process of pulling and drinking a good shot of espresso.
       
    5. Where in the world would you like to travel next?
      I would love to visit Italy, see the Giro de Italia, relax in the Cinque Terre, eat lots of food, burn it off riding my bike in the Dolomites, and drink espresso. 

    Rebecca Powell, Staff Water Resources Specialist

    Rebecca Powell

    Rebecca Powell

    1. Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
      I am from Salt Lake City, Utah; my husband is from the Pacific Northwest. One day he said “I want to go home.” I have been in the Pacific Northwest since then (1997).
       
    2. What inspired you to pursue water resources? What made you curious about it?
      My great grandfather was a Forest Ranger and always took us (my grandparents, parents, me, and my siblings) to the fire lookouts. My grandparents managed a farm and were always worrying about water resources and how to manage natural resources. My mother is a retired biologist and science teacher (she hates picking peaches, I loved that). 
       
    3. What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?
      I am walking (slightly aside) in the footsteps of my mother, grandfather, and great grandfather.
       
    4. What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
      I like to work in my garden, work on my truck, sewing, cooking.
       
    5. Anything else we should know?
      Just became a grandma!

     

    Meet Heidi Wachter and Brian Hite

    Heidi Wachter and Brian Hite are two recent additions to Aspect's stormwater team in our Seattle office. Here are five questions we asked to get to know them better.

    Heidi Wachter
    Associate Water Resources Scientist

    Heidi and Family

    Heidi and Family

    1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here?
    I was born in Seattle and lived here through fifth grade, until my German parents’ desire for mountains and country-living took us to the foothills east of Enumclaw, Washington. There, with my five brothers and one sister (yes, seven kids!), we spent non-school hours playing sports, riding horses, exploring Newaukum Creek’s headwaters, skiing Crystal Mountain, and hiking the central Cascades. Post high school, I packed my bags for LA (USC) and after one year of study (with some beach time), I realized the PNW is where I belong. Thus, I packed my books and came back to complete my academic career as a UW Husky. 

    2.    What inspired you to pursue water resources?
    I started college as a Biomedical Engineering major with the desire to design prosthetic limbs for athletes. After taking time off from college to ski, live, and work in Ketchum, Idaho, it became very clear I needed an active job allowing for human collaboration and plenty of outside work hours. After moving back from the Sawtooth Mountains, I started working in the nonprofit sector on resource conservation. This led to a Conservation Biology course with Estella Leopold, and Ms. Leopold sealed the deal. She encouraged me to keep an engineering focus, but also increase my understanding of biological conservation within engineering solutions. Thus, I made the shift to Water Resources/Environmental Sciences within Civil Engineering. 

    3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated?
    Quite simply, I enjoy working with people and through working with people, solving problems. What really keeps me motivated is when those solutions lead to environmental stewardship and resource conservation. 

    4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
    Usually playing or hanging out with my husband Brent, son Griffin (11), friends, or traveling across the PNW and beyond to visit family—I think Griffin now has 20+ cousins across the US, Netherlands, and Germany. We can often be found on local soccer fields and baseball parks when we are not doing the usual PNW stuff—skiing, sailing, hiking, or taking road trips in Ruby-J, our Westy camper van (inspired by Aunt Ruby and Grandma Jeanette).

    5. What five people would be your dream dinner party guests? 
    My maternal grandmother, Maria Neller and my mother, Franziska (Neller) Wachter. My grandmother died during WWII when my mother was nine years old. My dream is a dinner conversation with both as adults; to have them converse, laugh, and tell stories of their life in Bayern, Germany prior to WWII. I would also include:

    • Estella Leopold—Because the Leopold family’s teachings and dedication to conservation have had an impact on many, including me.
    • Rosi Mittermaier—The first strong female skier I remember watching in the Olympics (Innsbruck 1976; 2 golds, 1 silver). 
    • Nina Simone—Her voice, her passion, and her work as a civil rights activist inspire me. Plus, my husband Brent (who would cook the amazing meal), would like to meet her. 

    Brian Hite
    Staff Water Resources Engineer

    Brian Hite

    Brian Hite

    1.    Where are you from? If you’re not from the Pacific Northwest, what brought you here? 
    I was born, raised and still live in the small town of Puyallup, Washington, an hour south of Seattle. I love this area. It is near my family and friends, and I plan to retire here one day. I have decided to stay here because of the small-town feel and its proximity to the big cities.

    2.    What inspired you to pursue water resources? What made you curious about it?
    I decided to pursue a career in water resources later in my life. I was injured in my previous construction career and was free to pursue any job out there. I was drawn to water resources and the stormwater field because I could see the effects of massive non-point pollution and I didn’t see a good solution on the horizon. I joined the fight against water pollution to ensure my kids and future generations will be able to enjoy clean surface water.

    3.    What do you like best about your area of expertise? What excites you and keeps you motivated? 
    I love this field of work because it gives me the opportunity to help our neighborhood in a meaningful way. This work is also a lot of fun, allowing me to both work outside and in a nice office with great people.

    4.    What do you like to do when you aren’t working? 
    When I’m not at work, I am a family man who enjoys spending time at home. I am dangerous at video games like Madden, but I also like many outdoor activities. I love to bike, swim, and go camping with my family. Next year, my 10-year-old and I plan on attempting a Seattle-to-Portland bike ride. 

    5.    Where in the world would you like to travel next? 
    For me, I would love to travel to New Orleans. I love the food and I am intrigued by the culture. The music from the area is one of a kind. The idea of spending my morning exploring the mouth of the Mississippi, jambalaya for lunch, and dinner spent on a ghost tour would be great.