Staffing a new firm (well any firm I’m sure) is vital to the company’s success and future growth; I find it to be one of the most challenging tasks as an owner. Not only is it important to us, but the decisions we make have such an impact over some else’s livelihood, and we do not take that lightly. Since inception, the staff we have hired and are still with us to date include one senior scientist, four engineers, one marketing/admin and one intern. A firm of eleven may not sound like a lot, but providing careers for our full time staff and the opportunities we create for our interns (which is how two of our current engineers were originally brought on board) feels like a pretty big deal to me. It has been exciting to see how each new staff member creates a role for themselves; filling voids we didn’t even know we had. Right now I would like to take this opportunity to introduce two of our very recent new hires.
After our last student intern graduated and came on full time, we had a need to fill that role. During our interview process it was very easy to identify our next hire, Connor Kelley. Connor is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, though he is taking all of his classes at the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha. Connor moved to Omaha in pursuit of his degree after growing up in Lenexa, Kansas. To Connor, Omaha is a place he became familiar with during holidays and reunions with his extended family, and the closeness of family and awarded scholarships influenced his decision to come to Omaha for his education.
In the classroom, Connor makes every effort to be a top student. He is completing two additional minors in Mathematics and Business, and he is using the opportunity of the Walter Scott Jr. Scholarship to make his college experience a reputable one. On campus he is involved in organizations that sponsor campus activities for residents, and is part of a national organization recognizing student leaders. He has worked for the Peter Kiewit Institute through recruitment programs and engineering summer camps, and balancing his time appropriately allows him to split a full-time work schedule with FYRA Engineering and his weekend job.
Another very strategic hire that we made was Brian Henkel. Brian is a licensed Professional Engineer with a specialty in groundwater and surface water hydrology. FYRA had the pleasure of working with Brian as a client during his career at the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, and when his personal circumstances required a change in professional path, we jumped at the opportunity to make his expertise and familiarity with Nebraska’s groundwater part of our own.
Brian’s interest in hydrology began with his early observations of spring runoff conditions and his family’s domestic well. Graduation from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2002 was Mr. Henkel’s the first step in his career in water resources engineering. While at the UTSA, he focused his studies on water resources and hydrology including a research assistant position at The Center for Water Resources. Research efforts at the CWR focused primarily on the acquisition and integration of Nexrad stage II radar data with surface water and groundwater models. Brian entered the consulting world in 2003 and contributed to surface water and groundwater hydrology projects which included water rights evaluations, well field design, pumping test analysis, groundwater flow modeling, surface water modeling, geophysical log interpretation, stream flow analysis, reservoir operation analysis, water quality analysis, water quality modeling and estimation, and coupled surface water/groundwater flow modeling.
The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District in 2008 presented the next challenge for Brian as he accepted the position of Groundwater Management Engineer. His responsibilities included managing the Districts programs related to groundwater quantity and quality. He implemented the District’s Groundwater Management Plan, developed the District’s Integrated Management Plan for adaptive management of the interconnected surface water and groundwater, managed the contract for the reaccreditation of the District’s federal levees, developed and maintained GIS and relational databases of groundwater availability and demand, updated the groundwater sampling plan, managed the contract for groundwater sampling, implemented and updated the groundwater level monitoring program, provided technical assistance on numerous planning efforts, and participated in numerous scientific investigations of the regions hydrogeology.
Brian now embarks on the next stage in his career as Groundwater Engineer with FYRA Engineering. He brings tremendous experience in groundwater and surface water hydrology as well as in depth knowledge of Nebraska’s water resources to the FYRA team.
We at FYRA are excited to work with both Connor and Brian and watch them bring new perspectives and use their skills sets to improve the great firm we already have. And at the rate we are going, don’t be surprised if we have another new hire post shortly. I suppose being busy is a good problem to have!