Inside engineering, untold stories and fascinating people from the world of civil engineering. This is Episode 19, recorded in January 2020 Asset Management of Structures with J.J. Farley and Brian Hepting. Inside Engineering is an RK&K podcast. Learn more at rkk.com/podcast. And welcome back to another episode of Inside Engineering. In the studio with me today are to two wonderful people, really high high quality individuals. Two of our directors, both based in our Baltimore office. To my left here, Mr. J.J. Farley. J.J. Greetings. Thanks, Thanks for taking time out of your immensely busy schedule. Pleasure to be here. Big fan of the show. Thank you. Have you subscribed? I've subscribed multiple platforms. That's man. What a guy. Exactly. Thank you so much. And then on the other end over here is Brian Hepting. Brian is also a director in our Structures Group. Both your and our structures group. Brian, thanks for also taking the time out to coming in today. My pleasure. Good morning. Also, a fan of the show. Love the energy you That is well the kindest thing a guest has bring. ever said to me. Not that any guests have ever said anything unkind to me. We're looking out for you. Thank you. You guys are great. Well, you guys are in our structures group, so you deal with things that are structural. I make that joke. I can't. I try every time. It is not funny anymore. No, but you guys, a lot of what you do has to do with things like bridges and and stuff. So today we really want to talk about what you do. We're going to get into asset management and sort of that the whole life cycle of of that world. We're gonna get into a specific project. Brian's gonna walk us through that. That's gonna be exciting. A really, really cool bridge project over a big old river in Delaware. And we'll talk about some career stuff, too, as well. Right. Why don't we start with you guys talking about what you each do here and sort of the overlap between it? Okay, I'll jump in. This is J.J.. So I've been here for, what, twenty six years? So I've done a lot of things over the course of that time. As you said, structures does kind of encompass a lot of things. Bridges is what pops in anybody's mind originally, but there's a lot of other stuff retaining walls, culverts, small drainage structures. We've done a lot of work for metro systems and we've done some actual building designs for them and for other clients. And we get into just kind of all sorts of facilities related structures as well. A big portion of our work is water/wastewater. A lot of concrete structures underground and above ground, all the big tanks and that type of thing at treatment plants. So we we kind of cover the whole range of things, science structures. Don't forget those that we do, a lot of those, actually. We had D.J. Wacker and my attacking blow on a couple weeks ago talking about wastewater facilities. So. So it's in Baltimore. There's a couple of big wastewater treatment plants. You're saying that structures
would play a big role in the development of a facility like that? For sure, the city owns two big water treatment plants. And we've recently finished up the construction on a major expansion of the Patapsco wastewater treatment plant. Major tanks and buildings just I mean, thousands and thousands of cubic yards of concrete, hundreds of piles buried into the ground. Big, big project structurally. Not to mention all the systems and processes that go into that. Nice. And the spin off kind of word to what JJ described as our scope of work, so to speak. All of this infrastructure is aging and needs to be inspected, conditions evaluated. A lot of what I manage is condition inspections of these very same assets. So getting out in the field, evaluating their condition, reporting that condition back to the owner so they can be maintained, preserved, replaced, whatever the condition might be. So that's that's a lot of what we do as well in structures. And we're going to get into more of that in a minute. What you're describing right now, where you're reporting back to the owner, I mean, that sounds like that's a big benefit to them to have someone out there sort of evaluating the stuff in a big picture, what do you guys do that helps our clients or how do you help your clients with help our clients with what you do. I think from an inspection standpoint, we we we maintain a staff that is certified in what they do, they have training and expertise as well as the field experience and doing that work so that we can provide clear recommendations, wise recommendations to the owners on how to maintain their assets to really get the most life out of these assets that are very expensive. They were expensive when they were built. They're expensive to maintain. So you really need to have a good eye for what needs to be done to them. And we provide that service to the owner, which is which is much appreciated. If someone's looking to get into the structures field, let's just say beginning of career there, they're in school now, getting ready, finished up so soon. What would you be looking for in terms of that kind of staff? I mean, from a from a sort of college, university training sort of aspect, we've got to look more closely at some of the design side things that they would be taking as class work in a concrete design, structural steel design, the structural analysis classes, foundations design is certainly a big benefit. So those sorts of things are what we look for in a in a new hire coming out of school and then beyond that. A lot of this stuff for inspections kind of builds on that basic knowledge that you you've kind of picked up and that you can really you can glean a lot of kind of experience, if you will, in sort of the inspection side by doing the design. So you put the stuff down on paper. You've thought about it sort of in a theoretical way, and then you get out in the field and that's when you kind of understand what you put down on paper and what it looks like. an Brain. Yeah It's a combination of book smarts, the curriculum you take. Of course, we were first and foremost looking for Johns Hopkins graduates. When you can't get a Delaware graduate. Everyone fills in after that. But then the from the field perspective, your, it's all a lot of it is based upon getting out in the field and getting that hands on experience. But you have to understand how Bridges instruction structures function before you can go out and determine their condition and report back on that. Yeah, I mean, a lot of it Brian touched on a little bit. There's a lot of sort of certifications and training, but that happens kind of once you're here at RK&K. Now, there's certain federally mandated classes that an inspector ought to have to be called an inspector or a team leader. So we you know, we make sure that the people get that. A new hire, you know, we sign them up as soon as we can, the most proximate class or that kind of thing. Get them in there and get that done. So it's on their resume. And Brian's right. You know, if
you have a good handle on how it's designed, what when you start seeing the defects in the field, you kind of know what they're caused by. You get a better sense of, oh, this is a this is a sheer problem. This is a this is due to water infiltration, that kind of thing. You get a better sense of why it's something's going wrong, not just looking and saying, oh, there's a crack that's bad. You both have mentioned inspections several times in sort of evaluating the condition of existing infrastructure, so let's let's talk about that that lifecycle of asset management from the beginning and work our way through. What do you want to start it off? Well, I'll give my my best understanding of the overview of asset management. You're your top level expert. Top level expert. Exactly. So, I mean, asset management, it does really basically discuss the whole lifecycle of a of an asset, whether that's a roadway or a bridge or a building or whatever. It's it's something in the built environment. You know, initially it's conceived and planned and you kind of come up with. OK, what's this thing going to cost? What's it going to look like? What are we needed to do? Then you design it and you start to refine all those costs that will go into the construction. And meanwhile, you should be considering what's it going to take to maintain this? You want to put out a building, a bridge, a roadway that's got the best possible details for sort of long life and minimal maintenance to serve the client well so that they aren't going to be out there every two or three years filling potholes or repairing bridge deck joints or replacing bearings on a bridge that this has got some kind of service life to it. That's that's going to last. And then you get into the ongoing monitoring of that structure or or asset after construction and then the periodic maintenance. And then you get into the repairs when things start to go to get old and fail or something has gone wrong. But all of that is part of that, that whole lifecycle of a project. Yeah, I think often it's easy to think that. When something is built a road or a bridge or whatever that it's built, there it is. Enjoy it, everybody. But there is a plan that goes with that for how do you maximize the that asset so that it lasts as long as possible. Right. And I think one thing that is, is a challenge for owners these days is. The the asset management and life cycle is an easier thing to evaluate for a new structure. But they've got billions of dollars worth of existing structures that have actually probably already reached their life that they need to figure out how that fits into their asset management program. What am I gonna do with my bridge is 50 years old or my one bridge is 50 years old is in a lot better condition than another bridge that's 50 years old. So that really, really becomes a complicated analysis to develop all that into a plan that's going to help them maintain their facilities. And funding of courses is a major issue. There's always the temptation to fund the new stuff, the shiny stuff, the stuff where people get to go cut ribbons and be all excited about new services. But frankly, there's a lot more built stuff, as Brian has kind of alluded to, than there than there is new stuff that shiny. And it is making the case for funding the maintenance for that stuff ongoing for 50 to 75 years of the life of a structure, for instance. That's a hard sell to people who who want the glitz and the bang. It's not real glamorous to say, well, we've you know, we build potholes on 15 miles of roadway. So your commute is better.
So your car isn't ruined. Yeah, we've seen recently. So a local roadway had some serious pothole problems and that became a major issue. But that's that's the exception rather than the rule. Most times the maintenance is not glamorous. It's just a nuisance because you see all the orange cones and your traffic is slowed down, but you don't really feel like, oh, thank goodness they replaced that joint or those bearings look way better. Now, it's not it's not flashy. So it doesn't get the attention, but it needs to. What? So, Brian, you mentioned to a bridge that's 50 years old that that needs some work. What? That's a specific challenge that you face. How? Thinking of maybe an example project, how would you go about fixing that specific problem in a way that kept the bridge serviceable, even though it may be near very near to the end of its service life? How do you address that problem?
Generally, it all starts with a with a hands on inspection getting out there, really, really getting to know the structure, figuring out what's wrong with it, not just figuring out what the deterioration is, but what the cause of the deterioration may be. And you need to address kind of both of those issues. A lot of what we see with bridges has to do with deterioration of the bridge bearings in the ends of the beams, which is a result of the joint up in the roadway. So you can't just go in and fix the beam without addressing the joint as well. So it all starts with a hands on investigation and a review of the structure itself. And then we rely on our experience with how to address these different situations. A lot of state owners have standard, standard ways that they deal with again in that circumstance. Fixing the joints and the bearings. Then we rely on our experience so we can go back to the owner with with fixes that again, we'll extend that service life. So they're not looking at having to replace the structure. They've just bought another 40 years of service life. Is it it sounds like there is the potential there for some creative solutions to those problems that still conform with what they're looking for. But maybe thinking outside of the box, am I right there? Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I for sure. I mean, you know, the bridges all look generally the same, but each one of them is in a unique circumstance, whether it's the roadway profile and condition, you know, is it is it down in the bottom of a hill or is that the top of the hill? Is it right next to a river? So each of those environments presents certain challenges both to the structures life, but also to how you go about fixing it. Know just from an access standpoint or the materials that were used. There's just a lot of different ways that you can approach those. And of course, you know, technology continues to advance. There are lots of new materials that do things better and different. There are opportunities, the like on a concrete girder. You might decide to wrap that with a carbon fiber wrap to give it additional strength without, you know, having to rip the beam out or without sacrificing vertical clearance underneath the bridge because you had to build something heavier and larger. So there's a lot of ways to innovate. And we're constantly having to stay alert to what are the new technologies that the scientists,for lack of a better word, are coming up with to us to help us to do things a little better and smarter. You've both. We've talked about inspection already a lot here. And Brian, you said it all starts with getting a hands on look at inspecting it. What are some different methods of inspection or ways that access is that inspectors have to use to get to different kinds of bridge profiles? I mean, a bridge could be like you said it over a big valley. It could be over water. I mean, for sure. Yeah, there's a lot of variability and how we access the structures. We we could be inspecting bridges out in the county environment, rural roads that you can access by foot with a ladder. You may not even need a ladder there so close to the ground, but for the higher bridges or locations where there's a lot of traffic, we're we're setting up maintenance of traffic, protect our workers using shutting down a lane, shutting down lane with the TMA vehicle to, you know, to protect everyone on the site. And then we use snoopers or under bridge inspection vehicles, which is basically a tenauting arm that's a truck with sticks under the bridge and then can can swing around underneath there to get us access to everything. If it's something that is above you on a roadway, we could use a bucket truck. And really, lately, I know you've had Tom Earp on your show as well. And we're kind of just starting to scratch the surface and implementing drones into field work. As I mentioned, all that all that equipment to access the bridge. It adds up quickly to to be able to access a bridge, cost a significant amount of money. And if there's a way you could use the drone technology to provide the eyes without all the need for that equipment, that's a benefit to the to the owner from a cost standpoint. But you need to have the the the the ability to still evaluate the structure as you're not going to be hitting it with a hammer, with a drone, at least not at this point. With a drone. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Hey, Tom. Yeah, yeah. So we've been working with Tom. We've done we've done a couple of drone inspection inspections with him. And that's we've had some success there. So I'm expecting that technology is going to continue to advance. So we keep talking about inspections. I think it's important to note for those who maybe aren't familiar with that whole world is that those inspections are federally mandated. So every two years, the owners are required to have their bridges inspected. OK. So there's there are there guidelines? There's all sorts of data that we are required to collect and, you know, try and unify all the information so that you can understand each bridge on sort of an apples to apples basis. Even if there are different bridges, at least you get gathering the same types of information. And I guess the maybe the biggest challenge to the drones is to kind of have the feds catch up. I know that they're you know, they're certainly looking at it. They're aware of it. But, you know, their requirements need to catch up to the fact that we have these sort of non hands on, but really close visual inspections with the drones. So there's the you've got to balance the the drones, which, you know, make it easier to see things with the hands on, which makes it actually possible to really diagnose what the defects are sometimes that a drone may or may not be able to do just yet. Right. And it's I mean, it sounds like at least right now, it's it's a bit of a hybrid approach. I mean, the drone can capture really high resolution imagery with some special cameras. But then it's still you need a person to look at and really determine what what the best remedy is. Yeah, just thinking of an example of some structures that we've we've done repeatedly over the years. You can get right up on those structures, you know, as a person with a ladder or a snooper and look at it and you might see what looks like cracks, but then you rub it in. It turns out it's like spider webs or dust and accumulation. So, you know, till until the drone can help you that you're you might be either overestimating the damage or underestimating a bit about how you kind of interpret it. So it's just interesting. You know, your eye can fool you even when you're that close. Yet another tool in the toolbox, to be cliche. Yes, absolutely. Well, the the I was out with Tom at one of the sites we went to. And yeah, I mean, it was a bridge over a huge valley a couple hundred feet. And I mean, the method that the sort of the manual method of somebody inspecting it was to to rope down in a sort of a chair that was on a winch and sort of hang a couple hundred feet in the air and and just look at this giant these giant piers. And so that the drone was able to kind of evaluate that really quickly. And it was it was interesting to see the two different methods at work. And there was a snooper truck up above us and a lane shut down. It's like you're right. I mean, there's a lot that goes into shutting down those lanes. Our inspectors are bold lets just put it that way. We have an amazing inspection team. We're gonna get them on on soon. Good. They've got some they've got some great knowledge to share. Well, it's speaking of bridges. Brian, you've got a bridge that you want to talk about, the Christina River Bridge in Delaware. I guess from from a we talked a lot about inspections, but I think I think the heart of our staff would say the the the design experience. Right. Designing something on paper and seeing it come to life and be able to go out, see it in the field one day and actually use it is is something we all kind of aspire to do. A particular bridge up and up in Delaware. It was just recently open to traffic. I can remember it's probably 2004. Being in meetings with with Bill Hellman and kind of selling this bridge up in the Wilmington riverfront to the to the governor at the time. And it's just been opened. So there's a long road. Patience is something you need. It is a virtue. Absolutely. Yes. And it was it was a variety of reasons with funding and your change in leadership. Things like that. But it has made it right now it's open. And it's it's a it's an aesthetic structure over the Christina River connecting kind of a developed area to an undeveloped area that is intended to spark development and really help help the city of Wilmington grow and and continue to prosper. And the type of construction is is not a completely common type pre stress, post tension, concrete girders. I don't know what any of that means. Yes, I have to explain it. It is not it's not totally uncommon, but it's not it's not your everyday bridge. Put it that way. And big, massive foundations in the river case on supported it. It's just a nice feather in our cap, so to speak. I think the point to note is that knowing where they the pre stress post tension, but the post engineer was splicing different segments of these concrete girders together, which is not a not a usual way of doing it. Typically you would put these concrete girders up across each span and if you wanted to make it quote unquote continuous for live load, which is a structural term for just making a little more efficient, you would do that with just a concrete pour between the ends of the girders at the pier. So what they did was actually have three segments of girder across two spans, making a lot more like a steel girder bridge where you see those splices, all those bolts over the middle of the roadway. If you look up, this is the same idea, but it was done with with with heavy wire strands, kind of tying those three segments of the girder together. So it's it's an unusual method. It's been used a few times, but this was certainly the first time in Delaware, first time, I think that our engineers did that. And I don't know that there's a whole lot really in the area that uses that method. It's kind of a neat project. What were the what were the specific challenges with that bridge that led to that design decision? The span lengths in general, the span lengths, kind of the longer a bridge span gets, the deeper the structure needs to be. So to to try to tackle that river with steel girders was getting too deep. How wide is the river are we? Three hundred feet, probably bank to bank. So this type of construction allow you to kind of shallow that that up. And there were some of some efficiency in that material. And those were the major reasons. And, you know, if you're again, if you're talking about a conventional concrete girder operates like I was mentioning, you would span all the way to that pier. So you'd have a 150 foot long plus girder, which really is sort of hard to ship. I think the longest one I've seen shipped and I'm no expert across the country, but it's a hundred and thirty five feet. So you're talking way longer. Very heavy, challenging to get the road permit by the hauler to get it from the plant to the site to by doing it this way, you had shorter pieces which were more conventionally shipable. More it was a lot of logistical. In part it was. Interesting. Well, what else about this project stands out to you guys. Not to repeat, but I think just the the time that it took. Start to finish. To reach this product. And for it to be a success is definitely
something to be proud of. And again, just just for the engineers that worked on it, to be able to go out there and say, hey, I designed that. It's being used and there's future development. Right. This could be a benefit to a lot of people up in that area. It's not just a bridge. It's a it's connected to a whole passing trail. Truly a civil engineering product in that it's developing a lot more than just just one item. I think that's probably the biggest thing is just like you said, the patience and kind of waiting to see it all come together. And it was it was a success. I think it's another good example of just sort of the company wide collaboration as well. Of course, the civil roadway folks had a lot to do with it for sure. We had significant geotechnical hurdles to get over, not only by having a build a pier in the in the river. And it's a it's a fast flowing, relatively deep river. So it's a challenge. But then there were also some really kind of questionable river soils on either side that we had to do some innovative building techniques to get the grade up to the bridge elevation without having it settle in for forever. So that was that was a neat challenge. And then, of course, environmental permitting and the whole planning process. So it's just the whole the whole team came together and I think came out with a really nice product. And it is a really nice looking bridge and really just continues to enhance that waterfront that RK&K has been involved with for 25 years. That's really cool. Speaking of success, Brian, that you you mentioned, when you're looking at the let's just say, a project like this that does span over such a long period of time, so many people have worked on it. I mean, the project being finished and making it through all that and being open is a success in and of itself. But how are you measuring the success not just of the project, but of all those people that that work on it? And this is sort of a bigger picture. You know, we can even get into mentoring and stuff here. But how do you measure the success, success of what you're doing? Yeah, I think I think, Tim, just this past week, I was in a review meeting for a different project and probably 20, 25 people. There was a bridge project and it was reviewing our drawings and receiving comments and kind of looked around the room and realized that it might be the oldest guy in the room. Right. I wasn't close to it, though, and it kind of just made me reflect a little bit on. The other folks from RK&K that were with me were not leading this meeting. The younger engineers and they handled the meeting perfectly. Really? So I kind of see that as a measure of success. When you start. Start to see your staff replacing you essentially. Right. Like, I didn't really even have to say a word in this meeting. They had everything covered. Meeting went great. And I think even, you know, again, on the Christina River Bridge, to have these younger engineers being the ones that say, hey, that's my design. That's that's that's I was a big part of that project. That's that's a great measure of success. When you start to see that transition. Sure. Yeah. I think similarly,
when you see these engineers, you know, they've gone through the process. They started out, you know, maybe as an engineer, associate engineer, in RK&K parlance, they're running the numbers, doing that, doing a churn and through the design, you know, creating binder upon binder of hand calcs and computer output, everything else, and working with our with our CAD staff to create the drawings. And by the end of that project, it's probably been a couple of years. And now when that next one, that next project comes along, they know what they want to do and they run with it and they come to you with the salute, the suggestions, the solution. So it is that sort of growth of everybody on the staff who is who's gleaned something from from those experiences and is using it and carrying it forward and just kind of upping the game for everybody, which is great.
So speaking of young engineers, the two of you. Where are they each? We're each both. Many not so many years. Yeah, he's up. Were both young engineers at some point there. Can you each talk about how you've gotten to where you are in your careers? You've both been with RK&K for a long time, Brian. You left for a short period. Yeah. Won't give you too much of a hard time about that. You came back to tell us about sort of your career trajectory and then think also about maybe something you wish you had known earlier on. Yeah, sure. As you mentioned, I did leave and come back. I was here for about five years right out of school. I felt like I wanted to to experience something different. Pretty pretty quickly realized that I did not want to. the grass is not greener. And didn't burn my bridges, so to speak at RK&K. Excellent career tip. Yes, it is a good career tip. and they had a spot for me and came back. And that's now been 20 years ago. I guess so. I've been in the business for 28 years, 26 of which have been here at RK&K. I just said to JJ this morning, I think our our department and RK&K in general, like JJ and I are probably gonna sit across from each other for 40 years when all is said and done, 40 years plus. However, you know, assuming everything goes well. Yeah, but that's that's I think that's something to be proud of. Right. And that's really cool. He's not the only one in the group that I can say that about. And I think we we would like to think that the younger staff in our group are seeing that as well. And they have some sort of vision that they're gonna be. You know, Courtney is gonna be sitting there saying Travis remember 30 years ago when we were designing this or doing that or whatever like that. That's our goal, I think, is to maintain that. And JJ and I came. Came up in an era where we had that before us, the Chuck Easters and the Stuart Montgomerys, John van Slykes. There was there were staff that were that tenured that we learned under. So there's there's there's a lot to be said about that and that history. And we hope we're mentoring our staff that they're gonna kind of continue that tradition, if you will. Yeah, absolutely. That's great. Yeah, it's pretty neat to think about like Chuck Easter started here, I think in 1969. He's passed on, unfortunately. But, you know, so we we worked with him for a good 15, almost 20 years, probably before he retired. And, you know, to think that we had access to experienced that extended back to 1969. It's kind of neat, too. So we've got sort of that chain of experience and sort of that ancestry of the structures group is kind of kind of cool to to think that we we've touched that and hopefully we can pass that kind of thing along. I mean, I've. I think nothing but the best of RK&K. I've been here my entire career almost 27 years. It's it's just a different place. I've been on some big projects where I've worked with people from other firms. So you get a little bit of a sense of other firms cultures. When you're in that kind of setting, because you've been co-located with them, you're kind of living the life together with them. But the way they do it is it's just that it's a little different. And I just find the way that RK&K approaches things. The culture that we've established here and continue to foster, I think is is just really something special and unique. And I appreciate the Partners are aware of that and that all the people who are kind of coming up through it get the benefit from that and are carrying it on themselves. Yeah, because I think it's if you're if you're coming up early in your career, I think it's easy to be terrified of staying somewhere for your entire career. Sure. And think that I mean, this is this is it. This is where I'm staying. But I think everything you guys just laid out makes a very compelling case for why. That's also like a really amazing thing. You get to spend your career working with people that, you know, are really enjoyable to work with. Working on a really amazing projects. I mean, what are some of the make those make up projects that you've got to work? Oh, I'm currently working on the Purple Line, which is a huge public private partnership. New light rail transit line outside of DC, just a massive undertaking, a big project. And it's it's very interesting to see how all that gets put together. Before that, I was working on the Inter County Connector, which is Maryland 200, which is an east west highway again in the D.C. suburbs. A lot of a lot of work down there because there's a lot of people decades in the work, decade, decades and decades. You ask Melinda Peters, you know, it preceded her career at the State Highway Administration and she finally got to see it through. There's a 30 year project in the prep in the making, but it was an amazing project to work on just to see how everybody came together and made it work. But that's the kind of stuff that you'll get to, you know, you get to work on and with people that are. I don't think you guys are pretty cool. appriciate that. I mean, there's you know, I've heard some rumors from other you know, but let's not talk about this. I think you're right. Tim, real quick. It is. I think the projects are a big part of it. But I do think the people making you gotta you gotta be going somewhere that you are happy with the people that you're sitting with every day. JJ actually just sent me an e-mail a couple of days ago with a quote. It was a quote we used we used to exchange regularly when we were when we were much younger. And he just jokingly put it in an email. And he asked, who used to say that when in fact it was me. They used to say it right. And so that's how long it's been. It's been a long, long, long time together. So what it is, it is the people really that keep me engaged, seeing seeing those folks grow and then seeing the new folks come in and and no one kind of what they have in store for him. It's a it's what has kept me engaged here at RK&K in a major way. And indeed, each of you think back real quick earlier into your career again. And what's something that you really wish you had known earlier on in your career? I love this question because we get some great answers. So if you're if you're listening or watching out there, pay attention here. This is here's the great wisdom, right? Gosh. Well, one thing I guess I would I would say is don't sweat the small stuff. You know, Christina River Bridge might be a great example of that project. It just requires patience. It requires wisdom. But you will you will look back, I think, at some situations that you thought were much worse than they really were. And to be in the moment and be under kind of stress and pressure may not have been. Worth it, kind of. So. Similar vein. Everybody has grand plans that the design is going to be fabulous and the project is going to be amazing. But, you know, their projects have problems. I'm not sure that's a secret. I don't think it is shocking, shocking news, everybody. Newsflash that problem problems do occur on projects and kind of what Brian was saying don't sweat the small stuff. But but know that, you know, we're all here to work through those problems. We're going to we're going to find the solutions. We're going to fix whatever the issue is. The question is we're going to help the contractor work through whatever he's run into. But just know that it will end. Sometimes it feels like it will never end. Right. And you're stuck in this problem. It's like, why can't we get past this? You will get past it. It will be better and you will be better for it because you will have learned one or more things out of the whole process of trying to work through issues. Absolutely. It's so easy to get wrapped up in that moment. And, you know, especially that moment extends on for days and weeks. And it gets better. It does. It's better and, like you say, coming out of that, having learned something valuable. Is invaluable. Yeah. absolutely. Gentlemen, what have we not talked about that you are keen to talk about?
I feel like we've covered a whole lot. We have. We have. I just wanna make sure that that we've covered everything right. We're hoping and dreaming to cover. I mean, I think we've we've had a lot of good stuff. I just want to sell structural engineering and design to to those out in the world who haven't made a decision yet. Give your pitch. It's a you know, it is it is challenging. And every every discipline is problem solving. But I think, you know, if you're particularly if you're a real math head and you like to dig into that kind of stuff, I really think that structures might be the right place for you. You get to and frankly, getting to see that bridge as sort of our iconic result of our work. You know, obviously we do a lot of things. But to see that bridge is pretty cool. I mean, I live not too far from York Road at the Beltway. And that bridge crossing is one I designed. So I'm really I get to drive over it like every time and drop a couple of times a week. It's kind of cool. And my kids go "Is that your bridge, Dad?" Yes. That's the one. And you think they know by now they're all, you know, very old. But anyway. tell the truth what it really is as you drive over and you tell the kids, hey, kids, did you know this is the dad we know. Let's just say occasionally I remind them.
To tack on that, I would say that there is opportunity at RK&K even
beyond structures, right? If you're a structural person and a great math mind and everything, there are opportunities to manage projects and big projects at that right. Or be out in the field. Or be out in the field. So there are many different ways you can go. But I would I would I would say. Get into engineering and you'll. Your eyes will open up to all the opportunities out there.
You guys have been good. It's been fun. Thank you. It has been fun. We're not quite done yet, though, because now it's time for your picks of the week. All right. I'll jump first. So just jump in both feet. Give us your recommendation for something you think that we're going to like or enjoy. So, you know, we can talk about how old Brian and I are. So I really hate you this at that way. Thank you for continuing to hit that. But I'm going to go. I'm going to go old school because I think that there's a large segment of certainly the RK&K population and maybe the listener population in general who needs a little bit of cinematic education. Oh. Yeah. So my recommendation is Fletch, the movie starring Chevy Chase Chase 1985, huh? Classic movie. A little bit mystery. Lot of comedy. And Chevy Chase is on fire. My my all time favorite movie got me through high school. My buddies and I would quote that movie back and forth, left and right. So just wanna throw that out there. And for up Brian is pretty good at. Yes. Well, you know, we have actually challenged J.J. to see if he can get through an entire day just off the movie quotes. Oh And not just Fletch,. But I assume he's attempted to accept that challenge. He's he did pretty well. I may have deferred, but ya know. He's he's a movie buff. Yeah. All right. I mean, best your favorite movie of all time. I know that's not a fair question. But I would say Fletch is up there and perhaps perhaps, you know, the original Star Wars trilogy if you're ever going to lump those together. OK, well, we'll allow it. Thanks. OK. All right. My pick is a plug for local sports. I'm a sports guy, I grew up. We are purple right now. It's sad that we're purple. I did this I was like, yes, the Ravens Super Bowl run. Here it comes. Alright. Oh, well said week, sad week, sadly,. But anyway local sports. I'm going to go a little deeper than the than the big time sports. I'm a Hopkins grad and plug the division three level sports. Hopkins has had several outstanding programs and they're not the only one in the area, say Townson University's got good stuff. Morgan State, Coppin State, Stevenson University. And then even down to the high school level, just with my kids having come up through it, seeing a lot of talented sports teams, best teams in the country and several sports. So it's all out there. It's very affordable. You don't have to pay a hundred twenty dollars to go see a football game, pick a team, pick him up, follow him, get to know the players and the coaches and whatnot. It's a joy, enjoyable experience for sure. Nice local local talent wherever you are. Although the Baltimore ones are the best. Alright guys, well, thank you so much for taking time out to come in here today. This was a lot of fun, hopefully. I'm pretty sure our listeners and viewers learned a bunch of stuff today. I hope so. Talk about some some technical stuff and got into a project and career. So I think it's pretty, pretty good, wide ranging set of topics. So thanks again. Thank you all for listening and watching. Inside Engineering comes out with a new episode every Tuesday. You can check us out on our home at rkk.com/podcast. We love your feedback. So we've got a feedback form on there. We're always looking for topic suggestions and different kind of questions that we can ask to our guests. So please take a moment to rate the episodes if you're checking this out or any of the podcasting platforms. Maybe Apple podcasts or Spotify or anything. Take a minute to to rate the episode, leave a review that helps us out a lot. And thanks again for tuning in. Thank you both for joining us. We'll see you all next week on another episode of Inside Engineering.