A Day in the Life
“What is a typical day at Maul Foster & Alongi like?”
We often get this question during interviews. It’s not a bad question, but we often don’t have a good answer because there isn’t a typical day for MFA employees. A day will vary for staff depending on the location, time of year, and position, among other things. To help provide a glimpse into what any given “typical day” might look like, several staff members have provided snapshots of life at MFA from their perspective:
- Staff Geologist
- Staff Engineer
- GIS Technician
- Staff Health and Safety Specialist
Carolyn Wise, Staff Geologist, Bellingham, Washington
8:00 AM—Arrive to work. Finish up time sheet and review e-mails received.
8:30 AM—Attend weekly Puget Sound operations meeting with Bellingham and Seattle staff.
9:15 AM—Meet with Heather Good, geologist, to discuss work plan development strategy for the Northern State Hospital project, a 200-acre historical site currently in the process of remediation.
10:15 AM—Work on developing the conceptual site model for a focused site assessment report.
11:00 AM—Discuss peer review comments from Heather Good on a quarterly groundwater monitoring report I had previously drafted. Set up a senior review of the report with Justin Clary, principal engineer.
12:30 PM—Grab lunch in downtown Bellingham and enjoy the sunshine and view of Mt. Baker.
1:00 PM—Prepare cost estimate for upcoming field activities (reconnaissance soil and groundwater collection and monitoring well installation) at the North Cascade Ford property.
2:00 PM—Begin drafting work plan and sampling and analysis plan for the Northern State Hospital property.
5:30 PM—Leave for the day.
7:30 AM—Arrive at work. Check out the local newspaper for community happenings while sipping on some black tea. I’m always surprised at how much I learn in the local paper.
7:45 AM—Fire up the computer, prepare the day’s to-do list, and catch up on e-mails.
8:00 AM—Prepare preliminary landscape plans for homeowners in Ridgefield, WA, as a part of a large-scale environmental cleanup with Curtis Riley, landscape architect.
8:15 AM—Refill that tea and grab an orange while I’m at it.
10:45 AM—Receive geo-located imagery and parcel information from our GIS group. Plug that information into Civil 3D as a base map for an environmental cleanup in Marysville, WA.
11:10 AM—There are cookies in the kitchen today…I take only two.
11:15 AM—Get up to date and print off a full-size plan set in preparation for an internal design progress meeting scheduled for 1:00.
12:30 PM—Head to the office kitchen to grab lunch and lounge on the couch. Catch up with coworkers Emily Hess and Kaitlyn Bruno.
1:00 PM—Meet with Kristi Boon, project engineer, and Stacy Frost, senior engineer, to discuss design progress and a plan of attack for a site development project here in town. We tackled everything from road alignment adjustments to stormwater modeling in this meeting.
2:30 PM—It’s 60 degrees and sunny today, so I decide seize the moment and go for a run. I have to get ready for MFA’s summer relay race season, after all. Must Finish Alive!
3:30 PM—Prepare a Master Plan Development plan set for Seth Otto, senior planner. High-level projects like this are fun because of the fast-paced nature and opportunities for alternative designs.
5:15 PM—Coworkers stationed nearby have left the office for the day, so I decide to crank up the tunes to get me through the final half hour of the day. Today’s special happens to be Mat Kearney.
5:45 PM—Close up shop, turn off the lights, and hop on my bike to catch the last call for Happy Hour with my wife at our favorite downtown Vancouver brewery.
8:00 AM—Arrive to work after a short bicycle commute.
8:01 AM—Search for coffee. Find coffee. Pour coffee. Hug coffeepot.
8:05 AM—Check e-mail.
8:30 AM—Start a site location analysis for a local water district.
9:30 AM—Create Phase I site location and feature figures for Carolyn Wise.
10:00 AM—Data wrangle.
10:30 AM—Map the location of a client’s 20,000+ customer database.
11:30 AM—Run to the local food cart pod. Consider branching out, then order the same chicken yellow curry I always do.
12:00 PM—Post-lunch bouldering session with Tyler Vick, director of GIS and Data Management Services, at the nearby climbing gym.
12:45 PM—Finalize a Web map designed to help a local land trust prioritize land conservation.
3:00 PM—Plan a terrain survey mission for our research and development technology with Josh Schane.
4:00 PM—Create a Web map application meant to assist MFA employees in preparing boring locations.
6:00 PM—Bike home.
Staff Health and Safety Specialist
Emily Curtis, Staff Health and Safety Specialist, Portland Office
8:00 AM—Arrive at work and check e-mails while enjoying the view of the Fremont Bridge.
8:30 AM—Unpack sampling equipment from the lab subcontractor.
9:00 AM—Prepare field forms and sampling equipment for an occupational exposure assessment to be conducted at a roofing manufacturing facility tomorrow.
10:00 AM—Begin drafting a health and safety plan for upcoming fieldwork at a former manufactured gas plant in Oregon.
12:00 PM—Walk to the newly built New Seasons market with environmental scientist April Johnson. We promise not to let each other spend all of our money. Proceed to spend all of my money.
12:45 PM—Prepare appendices for a remedial investigation report for a portion of a former wood-treating facility.
2:15 PM—Prepare safety data sheets consistent with the United Nations Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals for a manufacturer of industrial tire products.
3:15 PM—Organize maintenance manuals for a mechanical integrity spreadsheet as part of a process safety management development project. Check in with environmental scientist Thomas Ashton to see if the client has sent any more manuals our way. Contact client in order to keep the ball rolling.
4:00 PM—Call the lab and UPS to arrange an overnight shipment of samples.
4:15 PM—Check in with Bill Beadie, principal industrial hygienist, about tomorrow’s sampling and other upcoming project work.
4:30 PM—Continue work on the health and safety plan that I started earlier in the day.
5:15 PM—Load up sampling equipment to prep for tomorrow.
5:30 PM—Go for a run around industrial Northwest Portland before commuting home.