Meet the BSK Staff: Darlene West, OD Coordinator

For this week’s Meet the Staff segment, we’re delighted to introduce Darlene, a dedicated and long-serving member of the BSK Associates team. With roots in Colorado Springs and a diverse background that spans the globe thanks to her father’s Air Force career, Darlene has called Battle Ground, WA, her home for the past 28 years. She brings a wealth of experience and a passion for employee engagement to her role as OD Coordinator, where she excels in fostering a supportive and connected workplace. Join us as we learn more about Darlene’s journey, her contributions to BSK, and some fun personal anecdotes that highlight her vibrant personality.

Interviewer: Hi Darlene! Can you tell me a little about where you are from. Where is your hometown and where did you go to school?

Darlene: I was born in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy. My father was in the Air Force, and I have lived all over the world. For the last 28 years I have called Battle Ground, WA my hometown. I graduated in 1981 from Burkburnett High School in Wichita Falls, TX and then went on to get my Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University.

Interviewer: How long have you worked for BSK and what do you do for the organization?

Darlene: I have worked for BSK for almost 10 years in January of 2025. I started out in 2015 as a log in Technician in VAL, got promoted to Log in Tech II, and then in 2019 I started working half time between the analytical division and HR as the Wellness Coordinator. In 2021 I took on the full-time role of OD Coordinator and now work remotely from home. As the OD Coordinator I am responsible for everything from Wellness to OD administrative work, committees and councils, employee engagement and employee coaching and training.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Darlene: I enjoy engaging with our employees on many different issues and levels. We have great employees that work at BSK and I love making sure our employees feel a part of the company. I also enjoy seeing the growth in individuals within the company.

Interviewer: Can you tell us about your favorite on the job story?

Darlene: I have many favorite on the job stories, but I guess my favorite was when I was still in the lab and a customer sent me flowers and candy for helping her with a time sensitive issue. It made me feel good to know there are still people out there who value good customer service and professionalism and validated my work ethic which I have strived my whole career to achieve.

Interviewer: Thank you for answering all these questions today. Can we leave off by you relaying some fun facts about yourself?

Darlene: I am a mother and grandmother and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren who only live a mile from me. My husband and I also enjoy taking our camper out on getaways. We recently drove it down to Texas for the Solar Eclipse in April and were in the path of totality which was an amazing experience.

Meet the Staff

Like us on Facebook. Also, follow us on LinkedIn. Explore our other projects here! Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.

UCMR5 Testing

UCMR5 Testing

 

What is UCMR5?

The Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) represents a significant step by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in safeguarding our drinking water. This initiative involves monitoring a set of contaminants that, while not currently regulated, could pose potential health risks. The data collected through UCMR5 helps to maintain the integrity of our water supply and ensures that we’re proactive in addressing any emerging threats to public health.

Why UCMR5 Matters

UCMR5 is more than just a regulatory measure; it’s a crucial tool in the ongoing battle to protect our most vital resource—water. By identifying and understanding the presence of emerging contaminants, we can take informed steps to mitigate their impact and preserve the health of our communities.

Key Insights into UCMR5

Publication Date: The EPA released UCMR5 on December 27, 2021.

Contaminants: The rule mandates sampling for 30 chemical contaminants, with a focus on PFAS and lithium, from 2023 to 2025.

Health Impact: The collected data will inform future regulations to protect public health.

Environmental Justice: The rule assesses the impact of contaminants on vulnerable communities.

Current Findings: As of January 11, 2024, the EPA has published data on 29 PFAS and lithium, representing about 24% of the expected results by 2026.

Research and Development: Efforts are ongoing to refine measurement techniques for these contaminants. For a deeper dive into UCMR5, refer to the EPA’s comprehensive UCMR 5 Program Overview Fact Sheet and the Technical Fact Sheet: Lithium in Drinking Water for insights into the results and associated health risks.

Addition of Lithium

Lithium, a naturally occurring metal in the Earth’s crust, is often found at higher concentrations in groundwater sources in arid regions of the Western U.S. This versatile element is used in various commercial applications, including pharmaceuticals, industrial chemical catalysts, and as a sanitizing agent. Additionally, lithium is increasingly used in batteries. While it may be present in foods like cereal grains, leafy vegetables, and root crops, the significance of these dietary sources is not yet clear, and there is no recommended dietary allowance for lithium in the U.S.

In the context of the EPA’s Fifth Contaminant Candidate List (CCL 5), which identifies contaminants that may require future regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), lithium was selected for inclusion in the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 5 (UCMR 5). This decision was based on its expected or known occurrence in drinking water and the need for more health effects information. The monitoring data from UCMR 5 will help determine if lithium in drinking water poses health risks and inform future regulatory decisions.

It’s important to note that the EPA currently does not have a health advisory specifically for lithium in drinking water. However, a health reference level (HRL) has been derived for screening purposes based on available toxicity data. This level is not a final determination of the safe level of lithium in drinking water but is used to guide further research and assessment.

For more information on lithium in drinking water, including the EPA’s provisional peer-reviewed toxicity value (PPRTV) assessment and treatment information, refer to the Technical Fact Sheet: Lithium in Drinking Water and the UCMR 5 Data Summary provided by the EPA. The science on lithium’s health effects and safe levels in drinking water is still evolving, highlighting the importance of continued monitoring and research in this area.

UCMR5 Monitoring Requirements

UCMR 5 mandates monitoring by specific public water systems (PWSs) for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium in drinking water between 2023 and 2025.

Here’s how it applies to different community water systems:

  • More than 10,000 people: Must monitor during a single 12-month timeframe within the three years of monitoring.
  • Between 3,300 and 10,000 people: Subject to availability of appropriations and sufficient laboratory capacity.
  • Fewer than 3,300 people: A representative sample is required for monitoring.

Choosing BSK Associates for UCMR5 Testing

BSK Associates stands at the forefront of UCMR5 testing. Our state-of-the-art services are tailored to deliver precise and dependable results, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards and the safety of your water supply.

BSK Associates was one of the first labs to become certified for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, (PFAS). PFAS testing in the state of California. As a leader in PFAS testing our technical experts are here to assist you with your PFAS projects. We follow strict Quality Assurance / Quality Control guidelines. We are accredited by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, (NELAP) and the California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program, (CA ELAP) for all PFAS compounds in drinking water by EPA’s 533 and 537.1 methodologies.

Our laboratory has performed PFAS analyses for more than 10 years now. During that time, our laboratory has analyzed thousands of EPA method 537 samples while participating in EPA’s UCMR3 monitoring program as well as drinking water by EPA method 537.1.

BSK’s Commitment to Customer Service

At BSK Associates, we’re not just about testing; we’re about people. Our dedicated team is here to support you through every step of the UCMR5 testing process, providing expert guidance and personalized care. Providing you with accurate and defensible results is our top priority, and we’re committed to excellence in service.

Stay Updated

UCMR 5 Data Finder:  UCMR 5 Data Finder is an invaluable resource that allows users to:

  • Search: Access and summarize analytical results from UCMR 5.
  • Filter: Refine results using various criteria, such as Public Water System (PWS), state, contaminant, source water type, and detection levels.
  • Health Risk Identification: Highlight results that exceed health-based reference concentrations.

The EPA will regularly update the UCMR 5 Data Finder quarterly until 2026. The next data release, addressing results received as of April 2024, is anticipated by early May 2024. Keep an eye on this tool for the latest information on unregulated contaminants in your area.

The data represented in the UCMR 5 Data Finder is up to date as of January 11, 2024, and will continue to be updated until the completion of data reporting in 2026.

Resources:

EPA News Release: 

UCMR5 Rules and Regulations:

The Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) Data Summary: January 2024 (epa.gov)

 

Michael Brechmann’s 100th Blood Donation!

Celebrating a Hero Among Us: Michael Brechmann’s 100th Blood Donation!

Join us in celebrating a remarkable milestone! Michael Brechman, a valued member of our BSK team, recently completed his 100th blood donation at the Central Valley Blood Center.

Michael’s dedication to saving lives is truly inspiring. His milestone reminds us of the critical need for blood donations, especially during these challenging times. Every donation makes a difference and has the power to save lives.

How You Can Help

  • Donate Blood: Visit American Red Cross to find upcoming blood drives.
  • Spread the Word: Share Michael’s story and encourage your friends and family to donate.
  • Make an Impact: Your donation can make a real difference in someone’s life.

Let’s follow Michael’s lead and make a difference together. Thank you, Michael, for your selfless dedication to helping others. You are a true hero!

 

How BSK is helping the Central Valley's Agricultural Industry with Dairy Digesters

BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve; because, in the end it’s all about community.

Like us on Facebook. Also, follow us on LinkedIn.

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.

Meet the BSK Staff: Omar Khan, Project Professional II

Get ready to meet Omar, a multi-talented member of the BSK Associates team with a fascinating background! Omar’s journey is as diverse as it is impressive. Join us as we uncover Omar’s story, from his early days in Lodi, California, to his adventures in geology and project management. Discover Omar’s favorite on-the-job moments and learn about his passions outside of work. Join us in celebrating Omar’s unique perspective and invaluable contributions to our team!

Interviewer: Hi Omar! Can you tell me a little about where you are from. Where is your hometown and where did you go to school?

Omar: I was born in a somewhat small village – Barazai – in the northern part of Punjab Province, Pakistan, prior to moving to Lodi, California in 1985 or 1986 (cannot recall exact year as I was less than 10). My mom was born in Lodi before she went overseas to spend some time in Pakistan, where her father was originally from, while her mom was originally from New York with roots going back to Italy. My extended family has roots in Barazai and Lodi (working in agriculture back in the day).

Very few relatives are left over there.  I have been in Lodi since moving to California. With little English that I knew, I was thrown into the lion’s den in elementary school, which was 3rd grade. Probably because I was in that age range. Just imagine someone my age in 1st or 2nd grade 😝. I did have the privilege of leaving class from time to time to attend ESL program, which was fun. After graduating Tokay High School, attended University of the Pacific in Stockton, graduating in 2004 with two BS degrees (one was geology). Mind you, I did not think too much about college after high school nor did I know which direction to go once I got accepted.

Interviewer: How long have you worked for BSK and what do you do for the organization?

Omar: I have been with BSK since the end of September 2018. I started in this industry back in 2005 (feel like an old timer) doing various task. Currently, I consider myself a project manager/proposal gunslinger (as recently titled and probably trademarked)/geologist/ARSO/etc.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Omar: Definitely do not enjoy the stress that usually comes with this job. Some clients can be very difficult to deal with/demanding, but the feeling of completing a project is a great feeling/sigh of relief. The most joy comes from the everyday interaction with my colleagues (not always about work work work) and perhaps traveling between Tracy, Livermore, and Sacramento offices. It’s a livelier crowd than my previous work environment.

Interviewer: Can you tell us your favorite on the job story?

Omar: A favorite story would be difficult to select since I started working in 2005. I know I can recall plenty of negative stories and the times I have encountered underground utilities. Never fun encountering any utilities, especially pressurized sewer lines. I suppose as a geologist, it was very exciting to finally get to see an actual, active fault zone in an excavation some years ago. I had seen various landslide planes, but never a fault zone. I have been involved in various fault trenches near or along the Hayward Fault (always a grueling task), but never found a fault (great for the Client). I was working on a project just west of Fairfield among the hills. A landslide had occurred, encroaching on a major gas line that ran parallel with Interstate 680 along the hills. Also parallel along this ridge is the active Green Valley Fault Zone. Besides investigating the landslide via continuous borings and trenching for relocating the gas line within the landslide zone, the Client wanted to investigate the overall impact the fault would have on the line. Who would install a major pipeline parallel with and crossing a major fault? After excavating a few trenches at various locations, we got lucky with one that indicated a clear and present danger. It left me amazed and speechless. Only a fellow geologist would understand.

There was another time in San Pablo where we were investigating why the floor was buckling inside a supermarket along San Pablo Dam Road. We ended up excavating a trench behind the store along the toe of the slope. The area originally was hilly and underwent mass grading to create the shopping center and the residential unit atop the slope. The original consultant had mapped a massive slide in the area and during grading had assumed they had repaired the slide, including removing the slide plane. Unfortunately, that was not the case. We found the old slide plane just beneath their drain blanket. They had missed it by a foot or so. As we were pulling out the hydraulic shores, majority of the trench immediately collapsed creating this BOOM sound effect. Left one in shock with increase heartbeat. We backfilled the trench and informed the Client that here are our findings. Good luck going after the previous consultant/contractor. Not much we can do. The liability is too great for such a massive landslide.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for answering all these questions today. Can we leave off by you relaying some fun facts about yourself?

Omar: I tend to not talk too much about myself. People say I’m too humble at times. Perhaps because I’m usually quiet and calm. I enjoy hanging out with friends, dealing with my crazy nieces and nephews (not easy being the only favorite uncle), I’m probably considered a nerd since I love Star Trek (TNG and DS9 over the rest for my fellow Trekkie), go on hikes when possible, keeping up with my landscaping (plenty of roses) and gardening.

Meet the Staff

Meet the BSK Staff: Andy Neufeld, Project Manager

Meet Andy, a seasoned professional with a passion for all things mechanical and a career spanning 25 years at BSK Associates. From his early days on a family farm in Oklahoma to overseeing projects as a Project Manager for our Fresno office, Andy’s journey is a testament to his dedication and expertise. Join us as we uncover Andy’s story, showcasing his unwavering commitment to his work and his clients.

Meet the BSK Staff: Andy Neufeld, Project ManagerInterviewer: Hi Andy! Can you tell me a little about where you are from. Where is your hometown and where did you go to school?

Andy: I was born in Fresno, but my family moved back to the family farm in Oklahoma shortly after I was born. We moved back to Fresno just before I started school and went through elementary school there. We then moved to Delano and I went to junior high and high school there, graduating in 1980.

Interviewer: How long have you worked for BSK and what do you do for the organization?

Andy: I just celebrated my 25-year anniversary with BSK on April 7. I started as a part-time lab tech in Fresno while I was going back to Fresno State to finish my degree. I started doing some field work and eventually moved into the office as an Assistant Project Manager, then Project Manager.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Andy: I enjoy interacting with the clients, learning what it is that they need from us and providing it. When the project wraps up and the client is happy and appreciative, that’s a great feeling for me.

Interviewer: Can you tell us your favorite on the job story?

Andy: After 25 years, you have a lot of on-the-job stories, but, in general, walking a jobsite when it’s nearing completion is always a satisfying thing to do. I think the most memorable was at the Save Mart Center at Fresno State, walking the cat walks near the ceiling looking down at the interior of the theater was amazing.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for answering all these questions today. Can we leave off by you relaying some fun facts about yourself?

Andy: I’ve always been interested in just about anything mechanical. I got my pilot’s license in 1988 and my aircraft mechanic’s license in 1994. I’ve restored two old airplanes (a 1959 Cessna 150 and a 1966 Piper Cherokee). I love old cars, original or custom, and have restored several over the years. I currently have a 1967 Chevelle SS that is semi-stock and have done all the restoration work myself.

Meet the BSK Staff

EPA Will Take New Action Against PFAS

The administration has launched a plan to combat PFAS pollution. This plan includes new regulatory actions and commitments from federal agencies to address PFAS contamination in water, soil, and air. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a PFAS Roadmap comprehensive strategy that outlines the strategy for the next three years to controlling PFAS at its sources, hold polluters accountable, ensure science-based decision making, and address the impacts on disadvantaged communities. The administration aims to limit PFAS discharges into the environment, protect public health, and ensure clean water for communities across the United States. Click here for more information on regulation changes.

 

 

Meet the BSK Staff: Jessica Madrigal, Client Services Tech II

Get ready to meet Jessica Madrigal, a valued member of our team at BSK Associates! Jessica brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to her role in Client Services, where she plays a pivotal role in our day-to-day operations. Follow us as we uncover Jessica’s journey from her beginnings as a courier to her current role as Client Services Tech II, showcasing her dedication and hard work. Jessica’s story is a testament to the opportunities for growth and development here at BSK Associates. Stay tuned as we explore Jessica’s favorite on-the-job moments and learn more about her interests outside of work. Join us in celebrating Jessica’s contributions to our team and the positive impact she makes every day!

Meet the BSK Staff: Jessica Madrigal, Client Services Tech IIInterviewer: Hi Jessica! Can you tell me a little about where you are from. Where is your hometown and where did you go to school?

Jessica: Yes of course, I am born in Vancouver Washington.  My family moved out into a town called Battle ground Washington when I was four years old. My beginning of my school began at maple grove primary and then I graduated from battle ground high school in 2012.

Interviewer: How long have you worked for BSK and what do you do for the organization?

Jessica: I have worked at BSK for Two years and this year 2024 will be my Three years of working here. How I got to BSK, is my brother (Amador Madrigal) at the time worked at VAL location as a glass cleaner. He knew I was looking for a job and so I applied at BSK to start as a courier in 2021. Then the position became available for login tech, and I took the opportunity to step up for the company. A couple of months went by I got promoted to Client Services I. Now I am Client Services Tech II.

Interviewer: Can you tell us about your favorite on the job story?

Jessica: Yes, I can tell what was one of my favorites on the job story was about a client who brings in samples once in a while, and he was saying that he was grateful for our work that we do. Then he said he would bring pizzas and we were expecting small pizzas. Once he came back, he brought in 4 big boxes of pizzas and sodas to appreciate our hard work.

Interviewer: Thank you so much for answering all these questions today. Can we leave off by you relaying some fun facts about yourself?

Jessica: I spend time with my three pets, I have one dog, her name is Kira. I like to take her out on hikes. I also own two cats, name puma and riskers! I recently travel new places and it started with my trip to Australia in 2023 with my best friend. One of my future goals is to travel to Japan in 2025.

Meet the BSK Staff

Like us on Facebook. Also, follow us on LinkedIn. Explore our other projects here! Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.

Meet The BSK Staff: Damian Montoya, IT Analyst

Get ready to meet Damian Montoya, our skilled IT Analyst at BSK Associates! Damian plays a crucial role in ensuring our technology runs smoothly, supporting our team in delivering top-notch services. Join us as we delve into Damian’s journey at BSK Associates, showcasing the diverse talents that drive our success. Stay tuned for more insider glimpses into the incredible individuals shaping our work!

 

Interviewer: Hi Damian! Can you tell me a little about where you are from. Where is your hometown and where did you go to school?

Damian: Hello! I was born in Fontana, California and grew up all over San Bernardino County – living in Upland, Ontario, and Chino, to name a few, finally settling in Fontana, where I was the second graduating class from the then brand-new Jurupa Hills High School. After that, I ventured up to Monterey to attend California State University, Monterey Bay to pursue a degree in Computer Science. I attended CSUMB for a year before those hefty Bay area prices caught up to me, to which I then moved to Fresno and attended Fresno City College. It was there that I fell in love with Mathematics, earning my AA in Mathematics. I transferred to CSU Fresno shortly before the COVID pandemic (which made for some interesting and difficult times for my upper divisional classes for both students and professors alike) and ultimately graduated with my bachelor’s in Pure Mathematics.

Interviewer: How long have you worked for BSK and what do you do for the organization?

Damian: I first started with BSK part-time back in 2017 for a year while I was at Fresno City College. Shortly after earning my Bachelor’s, I started working with BSK at the tail-end of 2022. I have now been officially with BSK for over a year as an IT Analyst, where I provide technical support for all our locations and staff, manage systems, and develop automations that run behind the scenes of our operations such as automated notifications, project folder creations, data syncs between our systems. I’m also learning more about LIMS administration side – it’s got me really fascinated with managing databases and queries!

Interviewer: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Damian: There’s always something new to learn – we use many robust and complex systems so it’s always fascinating to me when I learn about them as I am the type who loves even reading the instruction/user manual for my tech purchases at home! I love when a good challenge comes my way because those ‘ah-ha!’ moments after solving a particularly frustrating issue are like a +1 on my personal scoreboard. The automation development part of my job is also such a fun time for me because I get to programmatically define the logical steps and control statements of a workflow using a low-code platform. It makes it all the sweeter to watch the jobs run as expected. As a bonus, when planning for some automations, I get to learn more about the processes of other departments. All this to say I enjoy everything about my job as it combines my love for programming, technology, math, teaching, and systematic problem-solving.

Interviewer: Can you tell us your favorite on the job story?

Damian: My favorite story is when I had the pleasure of representing BSK at last year’s Deltek ProjectCon in Orlando. We were chosen to give a presentation on how we used their low-code integration platform to improve efficiency for BSK. I was nervous and kept stumbling on my words during the practice presentations, but when it was our time to present, all the nerves just went away, and the presentation went flawlessly! We were complimented on how well and natural it was presented, keeping it fun and engaging with small quips and banter. After the presentation, I got to network with other attendees who saw the presentation, recognized me, and wanted to discuss the automations and all its possibilities – I really got to nerd out! It was a great opportunity and a new experience for me that I will always look back on fondly.

Back at our home office, celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries or holidays are a great time – playing guitar, laughing, shooting the breeze, and eating delicious food with everyone brings us all together. I love when I hear music in the air when I go into some of the labs, particularly when I go to the Micro department to work on their printers or computers, they have a great playlist that gets me moving with some nice 90s and 00s R&B!

Interviewer: Thank you so much for answering all these questions today. Can we leave off by you relaying some fun facts about yourself?

Damian: Of course! I used to compete in many MMA tournaments in California and Nevada when I was younger. During one of the tournaments, Tapout’s Skyscrape presented me with my medal – I didn’t know who he was until my sensei and parents excitedly told me. I had thought he was just some random tall guy giving me a medal. On a parallel note, my spouse and I were extras in a small independent movie shot in Fresno’s Rainbow Ballroom called Victory by Submission cheering in a crowd of an octagon fight – I didn’t see myself in the final cut, but my spouse can be seen cheering front row of the crowd.

I have my own home recording studio that I like to experiment with. I play the guitar, bass, drums, kalimba, and a mean triangle. I also have a didgeridoo that I got from Australia but still don’t know how to play it correctly (I’ve tried many times). I’m a big fan of classic rock and metal – been so since I was a kid. Aerosmith is one of my favorites. Fast forward to high school, I was at CSU San Bernadino leaving a class when I couldn’t get a ride back immediately, so I chose to walk back home to Fontana. By the time I should have been home had I gotten a ride, I get a picture from my mother of herself with none other than the lead singer of Aerosmith, Steven Tyler, in the random Fontana gas station down the block from where I had lived. I still don’t let her live it down to this day.

Interviewer: Thank you, Damian, for your time in this interview, and being a part of this effort to introduce the amazing BSK staff!

Meet the BSK Staff

Like us on Facebook. Also, follow us on LinkedIn. Explore our other projects here! Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.

How BSK is helping the Central Valley’s Agricultural Industry with Dairy Digesters

How BSK is helping the Central Valley’s Agricultural Industry with Dairy Digesters

BSK has been part of the effort the agricultural industry in the greater Fresno area has made towards sustainability with the construction of new dairy digesters. BSK has provided environmental, geotechnical, special inspection and materials testing support to many dairy digester projects in the Central Valley. These innovative systems are not just a win for our local farmers but a huge benefit for our community and the environment. Here’s why:
How BSK is helping the Central Valley's Agricultural Industry with Dairy Digesters
1. Green Energy Production:  Dairy digesters convert cow manure into clean, renewable energy. This means fewer greenhouse gases and more power for our homes and businesses – all from a source we have plenty of!
2. Reduced Environmental Impact:  By capturing methane, a potent greenhouse gas, dairy digesters help combat climate change. This process significantly lowers the carbon footprint of our dairy farms, making our milk, cheese, and butter more eco-friendly.
3. Boost for Local Economy: This project creates jobs and provides new revenue streams for our farmers. Investing in green technology keeps Fresno at the forefront of agricultural innovation and sustainability.
4. Healthier Communities: Cleaner air and a reduced carbon footprint mean a healthier environment for us all. By supporting projects like these, we’re investing in our community’s well-being for generations to come.
5. Sustainable Farming Practices: Dairy digesters are a step towards more sustainable farming, enabling farmers to manage waste more effectively and use resources more efficiently.

How BSK is helping the Central Valley's Agricultural Industry with Dairy Digesters

BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we work. We make sure our community involvement goals have a positive impact on the communities which we serve; because, in the end it’s all about community.

Like us on Facebook. Also, follow us on LinkedIn. Explore our other projects here!

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage @bskassociates.com.

Meet The BSK Staff: Amy Blazer, Project Professional I

Meet the BSK Staff

We’re excited to kick off this series by introducing you to Amy Blazer, one of our talented female engineers at BSK Associates! Amy brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our team. Get to know Amy and her journey with BSK Associates as we highlight our amazing staff every other week! Stay tuned for more introductions and behind-the-scenes looks at the faces behind our work.

Amy Blazer, female engineer for BSK Associates

Interviewer: Hi Amy! Can you tell me a little about where you are from. Where is your hometown and where did you go to school?

Amy: Yes. I was born in in Jiangmen, Guangdong, which is the southern part of China. My family moved to America in 2000 when I was about 3½ years old in hopes for a better future and achieving the American dream. Although I was born in China, I was raised in Bakersfield, and I have not moved anywhere since except for college. I went to Bakersfield high school for my high school years, and I graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2018 with my bachelor’s in civil engineering. Then, I was able to get my master’s in geotechnical engineering in 2020 before COVID shut down the college campus.

Interviewer: Wow, it sounds like you’re on your way to achieving that American dream! How long have you worked for BSK and what do you do for the organization?

Amy: I interned with BSK for 3 summers, and then I began officially working in 2019 while I was still finishing up my master’s degree. As of now, I have been with BSK for almost 5 years. I am currently a Project Professional I, and I handle majority of the report prepping and analysis at our branch. I still occasionally go out to mark sites or go drill to get samples, but lately I have been coordinating, directing, and training our staff more to be out in the field instead. I also help prepare proposals and oversee more projects from start to finish. I also occasionally help with Construction Services Division and Environmental when they need assistance and vice versa. I also assist with projects from other branches like Fresno or Livermore from time to time.

Interviewer: What do you enjoy the most about your job?

Amy: I love being able to be able to switch between working in the office and going out into the field to visit many different sites across California. This gives me the opportunity to visit cities I would have rarely thought to travel to or to access sites I would normally not be allowed on such as going in naval bases or on the runways of an airport. I also love that although our work typically covers the preconstruction portion of the projects, I still enjoy being able to recognize the projects I was a part of when I see them around town.

Within the company, I love having the opportunity to meet and connect with all the different people on the job and in the office. I enjoy various activities with coworkers like Christmas parties, bingo, trivia, and volunteering. Additionally, I was able to join IGE (Introduce a Girl to Engineering), the Bakersfield College board, and APWA (American Public Works Association) through BSK to help and inspire future engineers in the community.

Interviewer: That all sounds really fun! Can you tell us more about your favorite on the job story?

Amy: I experienced many different things on the job in the past 5 years at BSK, so I have some difficulty pinpointing a favorite story. Recently, I never thought I would have been excited to see a sinkhole in the middle of a road in Bakersfield. For one of our projects, we needed traffic control to close a lane on SR 204 to access a vibrating wire piezometer to collect groundwater data. However, due to the extended time needed to grant approval for our subcontracted traffic control company to be on site, we were quickly approaching the deadline for the quarterly sampling at that location. At the end of January, a sinkhole appeared on SR204 due to the recent rains, so Caltrans closed down access on the northbound lanes between F Street and the entrance to the 99 North. Coincidentally, the sinkhole appeared near the piezometer location, and we realized that we could technically access the piezometer without traffic control since Caltrans already closed the needed lanes. Luckily, I had already met with Caltrans to go over the permit prior; therefore, I was able to make a quick phone call with the Caltrans inspector to allow us onsite the same day we initially heard about the sinkhole. We were in and out before the sinkhole was fixed, and that allowed us to stay on track despite some initial setbacks.

 

Interviewer: Thank you so much for answering all these questions today. Can we leave off by you relaying some fun facts about yourself?

Amy: Sure. I am currently married to my high school sweetheart for about 2 years, but we have already been together for almost 10 years now. I enjoy drawing and creating art like the big chalk arts at Via Arte in the Marketplace or making Christmas cards in the past. Although I was raised in Bakersfield, my parents did make sure I could still converse in Chinese (specifically Cantonese) with them and educated me about my Chinese heritage and customs. In my down time, I enjoy reading webnovels/webtoons and reading/watching anime. I also like to bake occasionally and go all out during the holidays or for birthdays. Although I don’t travel much, I had the opportunity to visit Japan for week as my college graduation trip and got to swim with dolphins in Cancun on a different trip.

Interviewer: Thank you, Amy, for your time in this interview, and kicking off this effort to introduce the BSK team!

 

Meet the BSK Staff

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