First Triathlon Experience

First Triathlon Experience

First Triathlon Experience By: BSK Associates, South Valley Regional Manager, On Man Lau, PE, GE.

First Triathlon Experience written by BSK, South Valley Regional Manager, On Man Lau, PE, GE. featuring Malibu Triathlon experience.


Conquering the Triathlon Fear

This past September 26th, 2021, I had my first triathlon experience in Malibu, CA. The race included 0.5 mile of open water swimming in the Ocean, 17 miles of cycling, and 4 miles of running. The idea of entering a triathlon has always been on my bucket list. However, I am not a strong swimmer, and had never swam in open water. As with many of my excursions, this experience was the result of a challenge from my brother.

Once I decided to enter, I knew I had to focus my training on my weakest element. My goal is to overcome my fear of swimming, and build my endurance for the other portions of the race. In order to accomplish swimming a half mile distance in open water, I needed to focus on proper technique. I was lucky to connect with several experienced swimmers at the gym, and they all gave me valuable pointers and feedback. Even though I was only able to swim a couple of laps at the time, the swimmers I met during my daily training encouraged and energized me to push through and persist. In addition, YouTube also provided me with valuable tips from professional triathletes and swimming enthusiasts. Within three months, I was able to complete thirty laps at the gym without stopping!

Gradually, I began to believe that I could complete the triathlon. This race was an opportunity to face my lifelong fear of water, and for the first time, I felt confident that I could overcome!

The Triathlon Experience

On the long awaited day of the triathlon, the excitement and overall exuberant energy at the event was palpable. The thrill and anticipation of it all was made more meaningful by the attendance of all the families and supporters of the participants. There seemed to be endless poster signs from loved ones. I would soon realize how important these shows of affections were, as I would look for, and locate my family throughout the race.

The first leg of the triathlon requires the athletes to swim past the waves before moving on to the half mile required distance. It was definitely discouraging to see many young athletic swimmers struggling to get through the waves before our turn to start. As luck would have it, just prior to my group’s start to go into the water, the DJ played the theme song from Rocky, as I had requested earlier. The lively music was just what I needed to propel myself into the task at hand.

The Triathlon Struggle

As I fought with the waves to begin swimming, the reality of the open water was a shock to my system. Due to my inexperience, I inadvertently swallowed excessive amounts of salt water, and the view of the vast ocean was overwhelming. As I began to panic, a nearby lifeguard, Joe, came to my rescue. While I took respite on his floater, Joe offered some reassurance, “On Man, you still have a long way to swim…there’s no shame in quitting this part of the race…”.

My mind absorbed Joe’s advice. for a split second, I contemplated quitting while starring at the distance still to swim. However, I envisioned the looks of support and pride in my family’s eyes as they waited with excitement for me. Just as I can always count on their support in everything I do, I knew without a doubt that they have confidence in my ability to overcome my fears and conquer the quest that awaits me.

The Triathlon Reward

In an instant, I was able to renew my determination, and pushed forward to continue on. Just as the experts predicted, swimming proved to be the most difficult portion of the triathlon. Once completed, the burst of endorphins enabled me to maintain a study pace during the cycling and running components. Each time I caught a glimpse of my cheering family throughout the race, the love I felt from them provided wind on my back to carry me through.

What did I learn from participating my first triathlon experience at the 2021 Malibu Triathlon?

I learned the importance of consistent training to prepare for physical challenges. On the other hand, mental challenges are harder to overcome. For me, the defining factor to prevail over my mental obstacles were the support of my family. This experience has provided me the life lessons of importance of unconditional love and support. It has also taught me to be courageous to face our fears for the benefit of personal growth.

Want to have your own first triathlon experience? Click here for upcoming triathlons in California.

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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.

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Celebrating 55 Years

Appointment of Sandy Hakala as CFO

BSK Associates is pleased to announce the appointment of Sandy Hakala as Chief Financial Officer. Sandy is responsible for the overall financial leadership of the company and augment our Leadership Team in our pursuit of operational excellence. As a senior member of the executive team Sandy reports directly to CEO Richard Johnson.
Sandy is a results-driven business and financial executive with over 30 years of progressive experience in operations management and finance within start-up and global multi-million-dollar organizations. She has successfully demonstrated the ability to streamline business operations to drive growth, efficiency, and profitability. Her work experience includes Holdrege & Kull/NV5, Terzo Power Systems, LLC and as the Owner/Consultant of C-Suite Professionals Inc.

Welcome to the BSK Family!

Welcome to the BSK Family!

Welcome Tina Green! BSK’s Newest Business Development Associate

BSK is excited to welcome our newest Business Development Associate, Tina Green, to the BSK Family!  Tina has over 27 years of environmental laboratory experience  in Project Management with DOD and CLP type drinking water, wastewater and groundwater testing projects.  Her experience also includes extensive courier management overseeing sampling and pickup schedules in the Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Central Coast and Northern California areas for her former employer, BC Labs.  Tina will be working out of BSK’s Bakersfield branch as she looks to build our laboratory business in the Central Valley and beyond.  If you need to reach Tina directly her BSK cell phone number is:  559-262-7036.  Or by email at:  Congratulations Tina on your new role with BSK!  We look forward to working with you!

“I’m excited to be part of the BSK team and look forward to developing relationships with our customers to ensure they receive the best service possible.” 

Tina Green

Want to be in the “know” on upcoming BSK events, community service, and projects?

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage

Looking for a Great Places to Work? You’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Check out our job opportunities page for more details.

UCMR5 is Coming!

UCMR5 is Coming!

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the reproposed Revisions to the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) for Public Water Systems. This action fulfills a key commitment in EPA’s PFAS Action Plan by proposing monitoring for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water. The action also proposes monitoring for lithium. The UCMR5 proposal includes monitoring for six PFAS that were part of UCMR3, now using new analytical methods that support lower reporting levels. The proposal would require pre-sampling preparations in 2022, sample collection from 2023-2025, and reporting of final results through 2026. The proposed rule reflects a significant increase in the number of participating small systems, from the typical 800 to approximately 6,000 small systems, dependent on appropriations.


EPA will host two identical virtual meetings (via webinar) on April 6 and 7, 2021, to discuss the proposed UCMR 5. The meeting scope will include proposed monitoring requirements, analyte selection, analytical methods, laboratory approval process, and ground water representative monitoring plans (GWRMPs). EPA will provide additional information once the proposal is published in the Federal Register.


BSK has notified the EPA of our intent to participate in the UCMR 5 study.

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

BSK proudly performed the geotechnical engineering and provided construction materials testing and special inspection for the newly remodeled Cuyama Buckhorn hotel and restaurant. BSK’s services during construction included soil compaction testing, concrete sampling testing and special inspection services for the new pool, and spa and new lobby.

The newly remodeled Cuyama Buckhorn hotel has been featured in several prestigious media outlets including Forbes, Hospitality Design, and Aprils issue of the Food & Home Magazine. Just to name a few. For more information about the Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel remodel please follow the link!

Press Room — Cuyama Buckhorn

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

BSK Assists in Cuyama Buckhorn Hotel Remodel

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK Laboratories can now meet all California PFAS analysis and monitoring requirements with our recent DoD ELAP Accreditation.

Our laboratories have performed PFAS analyses for over 8 years.  During that time, the laboratory completed thousands of EPA Method 537 analyses while participating in the EPA’s UCMR3 monitoring program as well as Drinking Water analysis by EPA 537.1.

BSK is well versed in reporting and regulatory quality requirements needed for these analytes and we are now ready to accept your groundwater and soil samples.

BSK Certified PFAS compounds

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method


CA Accreditations:

  • Drinking Water – EPA 537.1
  • Non-potable Water – DoD QSM v. 5.1
  • Soils/Solids/Haz Waste – DoD QSM v. 5.1

Additional capabilities:

Drinking water by EPA 533

For more information please contact: 

Stephane Maupas (Fresno) – 559-497-2888 x212 or

Cyndi Moore (Southern California) – 951-295-6123 or

Renea Rangell (Pacific Northwest) – 360-750-0055 x405 or

Brenda Hamilton (Sacramento) – 916-853-9293 x306 or

Not only is BSK’s analytical laboratory certified for PFAS testing, but BSK’s engineering division also has experience in PFAS sampling, investigations, agency negotiations and mitigation.  If there are any questions or if our engineering division can be of further assistance please contact Robert “Tony” Martin, PG (CA) at or (916) 853-9293 x.338


Additional PFAS Information Can Also Be Found at:

CA Water Board PFAS FAQs

Sampling Guidelines

US EPA PFAS Information

 BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method

BSK CA ELAP Certified for DoD PFAS Method


What Are PFAS?

PFAS are man-made chemicals that include Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), GenX, and several additional chemicals. In fact, PFAS are made up of more than 3,000 man-made chemicals that are largely unregulated.

The U.S. began manufacturing these chemicals during the 1940’s. In 2006, the EPA launched the PFOA Stewardship Program which eliminated the use of several PFAS chemicals. Unfortunately, the U.S. still receives these PFAS compounds from imported goods from around the world.

PFAS are a concern because they do not break down and therefore bio accumulate over time. Furthermore, food, household products, animals, drinking water, and humans have all tested positive for PFAS. In fact, research has indicated that most people have detectable amounts of PFAS in their blood. Additionally, it is believed that everyone, even those who have not consumed drinking water that has been contaminated, will have some exposure to PFAS during their lifetime.

PFAS exposure can lead to many adverse health effects in humans including (but not limited to) thyroid hormone disruption, liver and kidney toxicity,  reproductive system and developmental damage, low infant birth weights, harmful effects on the immune system, and several different forms of cancer.

Click here for more information on PFAS and how BSK Associates can help!

Are you aware of the California SWRCB’s PFAS orders for:

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BSK strongly believes in giving back to the communities in which we live and work.  Above all, our goal is to have a positive impact on the people we serve.

Want to be in the “know” on upcoming BSK events, and community service projects?

Have a question about the services we offer? Check out our webpage

Looking for a Great Place to Work? You’ve found it! We are proud to be Great Place to Work certified. Check out our job opportunities page for more details.


BSK is certified for California Small Business for Public Works projects. 

BSK Associates Laboratory

BSK Associates’ Laboratory was recently tapped by Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle) to perform analytical testing for the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow, California. Services include testing and reporting of numerous analytical constituents in drinking water and groundwater matrices to support the installation’s compliance programs. The contract is in place through October 2022. We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to working with Battelle on this project.

BSK Provides Testing Support After Fire Devastation

Metals analysis determines extent of soil contamination after fires.

Fires of recent magnitude have caused a danger to the environment that could potentially take years to clean up. Any building that has burned to a non-salvageable degree has the potential to cause toxic pollution. Immediate concerns include materials and finishes that were used in the construction of these buildings. Most paints used until 1978 contained lead, and from the 1940s to the 1970s, PCB’s were widely added as preservatives. And, until 1990, they also contained mercury. These heavy metals were used to improve flow, durability, flexibility and ironically, to increase resistance to fire damage and moisture. When plastic is burned it also releases toxic chemical fumes (like dioxins, furans and styrene gas) into the air that is harmful for humans and the environment. Many destroyed structures had roofs that may have been shingled in asbestos and filled with treated wood that can release arsenic and chromium when burned. An incinerated television can expose heavy metals such as cadmium and lead. Even seemingly innocuous items, such as collectible antique Fiesta ware crockery, may contain radioactive uranium. Mercury can leak from old thermometers and there may be radioactive isotopes from burned-up antique crock ware, cupboards of incinerated household cleaners, and asbestos from old siding.
Cleanup crews will be looking for things like burned bottles of bleach, melted cans of paint, and corroded car batteries, which will then be tagged and removed. Samples of the surrounding soil are collected for testing, and if needed, will scrape away layers to get to clean earth, free from oil and gasoline. Heavy metals, chemicals and biological contaminants left behind demand a cleanup of extraordinary scale, before any permanent return is safe. It is only after the properties have received certification that they have been remediated that residents can begin rebuilding.
BSK Analytical has vast experience testing soil samples after devastating fires. Our laboratory routinely analyzes soils for metals on a rush basis at very low detection levels. We have automated sample digestion and preparation equipment to achieve higher throughput of samples for this purpose. Our 6 automated systems can prepare over 400 samples overnight for analysis the next morning. In addition, our state-of-the-art autosampler provides for sample introduction that greatly optimizes fast analysis on the ICP/MS without sacrificing low reporting sensitivity.
BSK’s expertise includes the ability to analyze Mercury by ICP/MS rather than the more traditional Cold Vapor Atomic Absorption (CVAA) method. We have perfected ICP/MS mercury analysis allowing for only one digestion and one analysis for the CAM 17 metals, rather than having to perform them separately. ICP/MS is a preferred method for mercury when analyzing samples from a fire site because of the potential for the presence of volatile organics such as benzene generated by melted piping. Some volatile organics can cause positive interference for mercury when analyzed by CVAA.
We are deeply saddened by the devastation felt by those in the communities that fell victim to the fires, but we are excited for the opportunity to be part of the effort to help these communities recover and rebuild.
For more information on wildfires and resulting impacts on water bodies and drinking water please click here to watch this free webinar featured in the EPA ‘s September webinar series.

Support for American Red Cross

Support for American Red Cross

Support for American Red Cross

Photo curtsey of Solano Irrigation District.


BSK is proud to give support for the American Red Cross Western Wildfire Relief Fund, where fire has ravished  entire towns, people, animals, and homes.
From California to Washington, over five million acres, have been decimated by fire. Additionally, thousands of people have been displaced, communities have been severely damaged, and people have lost their lives. The devastation continues to wreck havoc long after the fire have been put out. People can visually witness the after effects, with air quality being some of  poorest on the planet. In fact, there is a layer of smoke from the west coast has reached as far as New York and the Midwest.
Air quality isn’t the only significant after effect.  There is a blanket of ash covering our cities and towns.  Residence all along the west coast walk out of their homes to find ash piled up on their cars and homes. However, it is what has landed on the soil and ground water that is truly devastating. Our soil, lakes, and  reservoirs have been coated in layers upon layers of toxic ash. Much of this ash consists of toxic materials that make the drinking water hazardous.  Essentially, the damage done from these fires will affect the people from the west coast for years to come.

Your donations to the American Red Cross will go to provide relief for those affected, from California to Washington.

BSK would like to give a big thanks to those who have already donated towards this fundraiser. We are very close to reaching our final goal. In addition, we’d love to not only reach our goal but surpass it!
At BSK we strongly believe in giving back to our communities.  Furthermore, we believe the well-being of our communities has a direct effect on the success of  BSK and our employees.