A Day in the Life of an MFA Staff Engineer

Author: Garrick Kalmeta, PE Published: February 21, 2022

Engineers Week 2022 has officially begun! MFA is excited to recognize and celebrate the hardworking engineers who have dedicated their careers to making a difference in our natural and built worlds.

Our daily lives are impacted by the contributions of engineers. Today, we are going to follow Garrick Kalmeta, EIT, to see what a staff engineer’s day is like.


A staff engineer’s day


Garrick Kalmeta, EIT, staff engineer

8:30 a.m. Arrive at work. Some days I work from my office at home, but today the workload takes me to the Portland office. I get started by checking emails and preparing the day’s to-do list.

9:00 a.m. Review as-built survey data for a remediation project MFA recently completed at a boat repair facility in Astoria.

9:30 a.m. Attend a virtual meeting for a development project in The Dalles. The meeting’s all-star cast includes senior environmental scientist Caitlin Bryan, senior engineers Cem Gokcora and Ellery Howard, project administrator Pam Thweatt and fellow staff engineer Brooke James. Today’s agenda is to discuss design progress for the second phase of the project and review the required permit applications.

10:30 a.m. After a successful meeting, it’s time to switch gears and get going on a plan set for a community project in Tualatin but not before stopping by the MFA kitchen to fuel up on delicious snacks.

10:35 a.m. Back to the plan set. I quickly discuss tasks with the project manager, Chad Darby before putting together a base map and site map for the project.

12:00 p.m. The base map and site map are looking good, so I decide to take my lunch break. I usually bring my own lunch, but today’s weather is perfect, so I walk over to the local food cart, Sawasdee Thai (shout out to Morgan Josef and Curtis Riley for the great recommendation).

1:00 p.m. Back to work on the plan set. It’s time to complete the details such as the exterior design, site access, and notes.

3:00 p.m. I finish up the plan set just in time to make my three o’clock meeting with principal engineer Stacy Frost and project engineer Deniz Varcin to discuss wastewater improvement designs for a project in Bay City, Oregon.

4:00 p.m. After the Bay City meeting, I am assigned the task of researching local development permitting requirements based on zoning restrictions for a project in The Dalles. This type of work requires some music, so I put on my headphones and crank up some Taylor Swift.

5:30 p.m. The office is beginning to thin out as more of my coworkers head home. I finish up the remaining tasks on my to-do list and head back home to enjoy the rest of the evening with family and friends.

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