My name is Phil Borycens, and I am excited to have joined Autodesk this year (2011) as a consultant in March, as a permanent employee in September, and now as an author for Being Civil! I have worked in the Civil & Environmental field since 2008.
As an Environmental Engineer at TriMet, the public transportation agency for the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, I coordinated stormwater system maintenance, supervised worker health & safety, inspected industrial facilities for DEQ compliance, and spoke to audiences of bus, rail, and plant mechanics. I really enjoyed that position – it was fascinating to see how a public transportation system works behind the scenes, and it’s always nice to do work that has a positive impact on people and the environment.
Before that I worked as an Engineering Intern for 6 months at the water resource utility Clean Water Services (CWS). Often I was tasked with making GIS maps for field inspectors, engineers, and property owners. I assisted with the delineation of watershed boundaries as part of a stormwater basin master plan. I used “plain” AutoCAD to draft several stormwater details that were included in CWS’ Low Impact Development Handbook. I learned a lot about erosion and sediment control by spending time on construction sites with CWS’ seasoned inspectors.
The most interesting part of that job was working with the USDA on a watershed research project. We hired the USDA to help our engineers understand the behavior of soils in our district boundary. This was necessary due to the predominance of cohesive soil particles (silt and clay). Unlike the larger soil particles (sand and cobble), whose erodibility can be predicted with a simple algebraic equation, cohesive soils must be tested in-situ. So for several weeks, I worked with USDA geologists in the field (wearing chest waders to navigate the deeper streams) to test and sample soils.
My other roles on this project were GIS data management and property owner communication. I created and maintained a dataset in ArcGIS to show which sites had been evaluated for testing, and where each site was in the permitting process. Weekly I would print a new Arch D sized map to show the project’s current status. I worked individually with property owners to explain the project’s purpose and to convince them to sign a permit-of-entry, granting us legal access to their site. I really enjoyed the one-on-one contact with these property owners. I also really enjoyed my long days in the field with the USDA. Best of all, I knew I was helping contribute to the scientific body of knowledge. Two new devices that scientists had developed were used in our testing, which helped the inventors to calibrate and improve these devices. The watershed data will help future engineers and developers to comply with DEQ and EPA regulations.
I really enjoy working with the Autodesk Infrastructure Modeling products and with the people who use them. I hope that you find my blog posts to be helpful!