Reflections From a TREKK Intern

    Isabelle Frankel, a rising junior at Kansas State University, was one of two TREKK interns this summer. Here, Isabelle reflects on her internship and the skills she’s gained over the past three months.  After three months of interning at TREKK’s Kansas City office, I can now look back at how I spent my summer and reflect on the many valuable skills I’ve gained. I’m about to start my junior year at K-State, studying civil engineering. At the beginning of the summer I joined the transportation team, looking to learn about roadway design and how business operates at an engineering firm. Along with this knowledge, I also found great mentors and role models. When I started here, I was welcomed and began learning design skills on MicroStation. I remember being shocked at how much I was able to learn so quickly. This was largely due to the helpful guidance from others. The people here focused on giving me work that would challenge me and give me insight that will be important in my future. I’m also glad I was thrown right into the work and, therefore, was able to figure things out through trial and error. I found the best way to complete tasks and explore different possible solutions. I was able to learn things more deeply and retain the information. TREKK also did multiple learning seminars for our team that showed me how much this company cares about expanding their employee’s knowledge. Something that is difficult to teach in a lecture hall is the inner workings of a design team. While I was here, I felt very...

Stories from the Sewer

Stories from the Sewer TREKK Design Group provides many different services such as transportation design, construction inspection, survey, asset management, and GIS.  Another large segment of our services falls within the corner that I work within: TREKK’s water and wastewater department. Over the years, a number of off the cuff stories have been shared about the sewer business. Here’s a compilation of a few memorable ones that individuals at TREKK have experienced.  Enjoy! _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “Fun things happen to us all the time, man.  The stories, they come from all over the place.” -Robby Hartpence, Field Manager   Ballpark Village – Meet This Community St. Louis, Missouri is known for having a growing large sewer system.  TREKK has inspected some very large sewers in many different cities, but never one quite as inviting as in St. Louis, MO: “We did a sewer walk a few years ago downtown.  It was this real large underground tunnel, almost felt like a subway system or something.  We were taking some measurements and doing a general assessment of what all was down there, where the sewer was located, and came across a portion where the street was starting to cave-in.  Well, we also came across some kind of homeless village.  Sofas and tents all over the place, there were little huts burrowed in the walls with plywood, tarps, and all.  There were a couple hundred people – it was like a community down there.” -Ron Thomann, Project Manager   “That was a crazy experience.  Seeing all of those people come out of nowhere.  There were tents and tarps and they had a seating area...

TREKK Design Group acquires mobile LiDAR firm Terrametrix, Inc.

TREKK Design Group acquires mobile LiDAR firm Terrametrix, Inc.   KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City-based civil engineering firm, TREKK Design Group, LLC, (TREKK) has acquired Terrametrix, Inc., a mobile LiDAR provider based in Omaha, Nebraska. Founded in 2008, Terrametrix provides mobile LiDAR survey technology to clients across the country. LiDAR, which stands for light detection and ranging, uses laser scanning and navigation to provide safe and efficient survey-grade data acquisition and processing. “Adding Terrametrix’s expertise strengthens TREKK’s commitment to providing holistic, common sense solutions through the use of technology and innovation, while helping us to improve lives in the communities we serve,” said TREKK Managing Partner, Kimberly Robinett. “This is an exciting time for mobile LiDAR, and this merger will intensify and strengthen our ability to serve our clients.” Terrametrix’s five person staff will join TREKK’s survey practice, which provides traditional land surveying on a variety of transportation, wastewater, water and stormwater projects. “TREKK’s experience in civil engineering design and its commitment to safety makes mobile LiDAR technology the perfect tool to expand TREKK’s services and provide added value to its clients. It’s no surprise the Terrametrix team has landed at TREKK.” said Terrametrix CEO Michael Frecks, PLS, who will now serve as TREKK’s LiDAR Survey Manager. Terrametrix will operate as “Terrametrix, a TREKK company” for a six-month transitional period. It will assume the TREKK Design Group name later this summer. Terms of the acquisition will not be released. About TREKK Design Group. TREKK Design Group is a multi-disciplined, women-owned civil engineering firm, committed to helping municipal, state and Federal agencies and private developers across Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska...

Misconceptions of the 100-year Flood

  The recent flooding of Indian Creek that led to the damage and closing of Coach’s Bar and Grill has brought much attention from local papers and news stations. Several local media outlets have presented the flood as a “100 year flood event.” But what makes a flood a “100 year flood”? Due to the nomenclature of the 100-year flood, many are often confused as to the likelihood of such an event happening, and, as a consequence, may under prepare or under insure with the illusion that a flood of this magnitude is a once-in-a-lifetime event. A 100-year flood event should statistically happen once every 100 years over a long time period, or have just a 1 percent chance of occurring within any given year. When people hear that a 100-year flood has occurred on a particular river, they may incorrectly assume that a flood of that magnitude should not happen again for roughly another 100 years. This is the same logical fallacy that would lead one to believe that flipping a coin and it coming up heads four times in a row is far more unlikely that flipping alternating heads and tails four times (statistically speaking, each are equally likely). Probabilities of this time scale should only be applied over long time horizons and cannot be accurately applied to short time periods. Therefore, back-to-back rare events may be more common than one would originally believe. In addition to misinterpreting the definition a 100-year flood, there are a few other issues that can lead to error in attempting to predict such an event. First, there is a common misconception...

Keeping the Flood Waters Away

The recent flash flooding of Indian Creek in South Kansas City resulted in major repercussions for homes and businesses near the creek. Storm watch rain gauges located near Holmes Road and 103rd Street in Kansas City  indicated an average of 4.69 inches of rain over a 24 hour period. The highest intensity of rainfall fell between 2AM and 5AM on July 27, 2017, totaling 3.8 inches in just that narrow three-hour window. Several of the restaurants and businesses that run the span of 103rd Street between State Line and Wornall roads were inundated with water. We at TREKK are saddened by the damages and losses to businesses along 103rd Street, including Coach’s Bar & Grill, which has been in business for more than 34 years. As a GIS specialist at TREKK, my focus is primarily on water and wastewater data collection and management. Events like this flood remind me why I, along with my team of amazing field personnel and fellow office staff members, work every day to help manage these problems. Why am I so passionate about this issue? Storm water is the leading cause of pollution to our communities. While this may seem like a significant problem only when the wet weather event is actively creating chaos, the damage will far out-live the receding waters. When flooding occurs, pollutants like the oil from vehicles, chemicals and solid deposits gather and get distributed into the waterways. These events are devastating to the aquatic life and animals that rely on these waterways. A wet weather event like this and even those with far less intensity can cause problems, such as sanitary sewer...
Delving Into Data Delivery

Delving Into Data Delivery

For our Springfield Office, 2017 is easily our biggest year for flow monitoring to date. Across seven projects, we have upwards of 70 meters in the ground and more than 20 rain gauges across southwest Missouri. TREKK’s field crews work diligently to interrogate and maintain our monitoring equipment and bring in large volumes of data. Our technicians, project managers, and clients are excited to see the data and the story that it tells. We are often so focused on the final product, however, that we forget the journey the data goes through to be presentable to our clients. During our first week of flow monitoring, I asked a coworker if I could help with some of the flow monitoring data. I was tasked with formatting data that would be imported into our analyzing software. We could easily spend two or three minutes formatting each file, and I realized we could save time and frustration by automating this process. This led me to start exploring Microsoft Excel macros and I was quickly able to reduce the formatting step to the click of a button. This first step grew into developing three new tools that automate, process and detect errors in the data that we collect. Upon reflection, I realized that our motto of IMPROVING LIVES has many different applications. By working together with my coworkers, we were able to refine our process and make the job easier by eliminating some of the tedious time spent formatting and processing data. This allows for our technicians to streamline data processing and deliver quality information quickly and accurately to our project managers and...