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Kim Rochester - "Lumina"

posted Apr 17, 2020, 9:58 AM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Apr 17, 2020, 10:05 AM ]

Some heroes still shine bright, even if they are no longer with us. A musician, engineer, and mother, Kim Rochester was truly skilled in many things. She worked as an employee and a consultant with Rodriguez for a number of years before passing away in 2018.  She was a transportation lighting engineer by day, but by night, she became an amazing force for good, Lumina. With her knowledge of light and energy, she helped design street and building lighting systems to brighten to keep roads and neighborhoods safe.  Her hometown of Philadelphia was her favorite place to apply these skills.

One day, while working on a design at her computer, there was an electrical surge that shocked Kim! She was unharmed, but was told by her supervisor to go home for the rest of the day. Kim heeded her manager’s concern and went home to rest in her bedroom for the rest of the day. When she got home to relax and walked into her bedroom, she was surprised to see that the light wouldn’t turn on. Thinking that the bulb had simply gone out, Kim went into the room to change it. When she pulled the broken bulb out of the lamp, she gasped because the bulb glowed right there in her hands! 

What could’ve caused this? Kim quickly put down the light bulb, and it stopped emitting a soft glow. She thought back to when she was shocked at work, and realized that the incident must’ve been the cause of her new power! When she got back to work, Kim realized that her knowledge of light and energy, combined with this new physical gift, gave her the ability to help power lighting infrastructure in Philadelphia and other parts of the world. She knew this was going to be a big job, so she enlisted the help of her family to keep her new powers a secret, and thus, Lumina was born! Whenever a big storm hit or there was an accident that knocked out the power, Lumina was there to help bring the power back to the families and businesses that needed it most. 
Kim Rochester was a bright light in the darkness, and demonstrated to all of us at Rodriguez that real people can be superheroes. Although Kim may no longer be with us physically, her energy and spirit lives on and that character called Lumina lives on to battle darkness in cities all over the world. She will always be our teammate, partner, mentor, and friend and we continue Kim’s mission to help rebuild the infrastructure that serves the good people of Philadelphia.


In this age of “Superheroes,” it can be easy to disregard the many heroes that we cross paths with on a daily basis, nurses, teachers, police officers, construction workers, and engineers. Civil engineers and land surveyors play a vital role in managing the infrastructure (e.g. buildings, roads, water systems, utilities) that our society needs in order to function.  We can easily take for granted the roles that engineers play in society every time we swim in the ocean or drink a glass of water. 

At Rodriguez, our engineers, surveyors, and construction inspectors play a vital role in managing the infrastructure that operates in the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding region.  We specialize in collecting data and applying specialized knowledge to make the best-informed decisions to manage infrastructure and creating sustainable communities.

Ode to Kim Rochester

posted Apr 17, 2020, 9:42 AM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Apr 17, 2020, 10:07 AM ]

Social distancing and being "locked up" at home has given many of us a lot more time to do things or reflect on things that you just never seem to have time to focus on. Today I decided to focus on something or "someone" to help shine a bit of light on an otherwise dark time.


In 1988 Kevin Costner made a movie called Field of dreams where he described  what it was like the first time that he heard "the voice". Well in 2006 I first heard the voice when I was working for an engineering company and was assigned to manage a transportation planning project. My company partnered with another engineering firm to perform the study and one of the first things I had to do was call the project manager at that firm, Kim Rochester.


When I called the office I was immediately put through to a voicemail system as Kim was not at her desk that day. Like most of us I was initially annoyed at having to leave a message but then I heard this voice over the phone. It was the most amazing voice message I ever heard. My mind thought wow, who is this person?


I remember when Kim called me back that I said to her "Did you have an amazing voice? You should be a singer." To which she laughed and  replied " I am a singer ".  


Kim and I worked on this project for a number of years yet somehow we never met face-to-face. However,  I always enjoyed speaking with her on the phone and listening to that voice.


Fast forward to 2012 and the after effects of the recession had both of us out on our own. The company I formed, Rodriguez Consulting, was awarded the contract to perform this particular transportation study and I instantly hired Kim as a consultant to work with me. This was the first time I finally got to meet her face-to-face. 


What I remember about our first encounter was not necessarily her voice, it was her eyes. She had these amazing, bright eyes that when combined with her smile generated a tremendous amount of energy and  light. The engineer in me says that our eyes are able to interpret colors...red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. However, when I first met Kim all I saw was this light shining from her eyes. It is said that the eyes are the gateway to the soul. I knew when I met her that this was an amazingly special person.


Kim and I tried to find the number of ways to work together but the struggling economy always seemed to get in the way. It was at this time she took a position that would send her overseas to develop a lighting plan for the country of Qatar. I was disappointed that I couldn't hire her but was amazed at her courage to take on such a challenge.


When Kim returned from Qatar we continued to try to find ways to work together but something new started getting in the way...this thing called myeloma. I had never heard of myeloma before and Kim spoke about it nonchalantly, as if all she had was the flu.  Unfortunately, this annoying “flu” just never seemed to want to go away.


In January of 2018 Kim sent me a lengthy email to my personal account for the first time. It was at this time she informed me that it was unlikely she would work again. It was an extremely difficult email to read but, with the pressure of business out of the way, Kim and I would communicate and meet in person a number of times over the last year of her life.  Our conversations would now focus more on life, than the boring topic of engineering.


I last saw Kim in December of 2018, shortly before Christmas when she was in University of Pennsylvania hospital. I am not one that likes to go to a hospital mainly because of the emotional drain.  As I walked towards the door to Kim’s room I was nervous and asked God for help because I did not know what to say. I felt this overwhelming feeling come over me as if He said "Don't worry about what to say Lou.  I just need you to move your legs and  get inside the room. I'll take over from there."


When I entered the room I could tell that Kim was very tired as it was the end of a very long day of medical tests and procedures. The light that typically glimmered from her eyes was not as bright that evening.  However, being the amazing person she is, she stayed up for an hour and we had a beautiful conversation that focused on nothing more than family and faith...and the Philadelphia Eagles. 


As I walked out of the hospital that evening I remember thinking that there was a chance I would never see Kim again. I thank God for the opportunity to meet such a beautiful soul. All I can say is that, although I cannot see her right now, I can still hear "the voice". 


God bless you Kim. Thank you.


Lou




In this age of “Superheroes,” it can be easy to disregard the many heroes that we cross paths with on a daily basis, nurses, teachers, police officers, construction workers, and engineers. Civil engineers and land surveyors play a vital role in managing the infrastructure (e.g. buildings, roads, water systems, utilities) that our society needs in order to function.  We can easily take for granted the roles that engineers play in society every time we swim in the ocean or drink a glass of water. 

At Rodriguez, our engineers, surveyors, and construction inspectors play a vital role in managing the infrastructure that operates in the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding region.  We specialize in collecting data and applying specialized knowledge to make the best-informed decisions to manage infrastructure and creating sustainable communities.


The Moment I Wanted to be an Engineer

posted Nov 20, 2019, 4:01 AM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Nov 20, 2019, 4:02 AM ]

Yesterday, Lou Rodriguez addressed a group of students at the LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden, New Jersey in support of their Sustainability Initiative Kick-Off Event. He discussed careers in engineering and presented his story of how he became a civil engineer. 


There is a great misconception that people know what they want to do in life at en early.  Well, I absolutely, positively, had no idea what I wanted to be at your age.

It’s the summer of 1987 and I'm 19 years old. I had just completed my freshman year at Millersville University where I was studying computer science.  My freshman year was a mess...I was on academic (GPA 1.69) and social conduct (party in my dorm room) probation for most of my tenure at Millersville.  I had no idea what I wanted to do in life besides have fun.

That summer my mom got me a job working for a construction company that cleared land for housing developments.  My job as a laborer paid $6/hr under the table which seemed great at the time.  Every morning,  I met up with a crew of guys and our objective was to knock down as many trees as possible, not very sustainable.  Our crew was typically one guy in a front-end loader, a few guys with chainsaws, and a few laborers like me.  The trees we took down were always marked with pink ribbons that were set by individuals I usually didn't see.

One day our objective was something a little different, we were to build septic systems for the new homes.  Each septic system involved digging a hole about 10-feet by 20-feet by 5-feet deep.  My job was to rake the stone that was dumped in the hole and make sure it was level. Pretty exciting.

On this particularly hot July day, I happened to see some guys chopping their way through the woods with machetes and placing pink ribbons on the trees in the distance.  The guys were wearing khaki shorts, boots, and safety vests.  I asked my coworker that was driving the front end loader, “who are those guys?”  He replied, “those are the civil engineers!” In actuality they were land surveyors but close enough.

As I stood in the trench covered with dirt and sweat, I looked at those men and pondered the answer again, “Civil engineers, huh? That’s what I want to be.”

That night I sat out on my back deck pondering my future.  I was pretty sure I was not going back to Millersville.  My mom came outside and asked what I was thinking about.  I told her that I was thinking of leaving Millersville and that I wanted to be a civil engineer.  My mom replied, “That’s what you are going to be, a civil engineer.”  I committed to attending Widener University's School of Engineering the next day and the rest is history.


Lairon Lawrence - Inspired by His Father to be an Engineer

posted Jul 2, 2019, 3:32 PM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Sep 16, 2019, 5:06 AM ]

Lairon Lawrence grew up in Edenton, North Carolina, a historic colonial town situated along the Albemarle Sound.   His father worked as a mechanical drafter and welder and always inspired to help Lairon understand how the world worked.  This curiosity led Lairon to study civil engineering at Widener University in Chester, PA where he also grew to love the Philadelphia sports scene.  His engineering career has been heavily committed to helping rebuild Philadelphia's aging infrastructure. Here is his story…

Lairon's Take on the Phillies' Manager



Joanna Sajewska Supinska - Polish Farm Girl to USA Geospatial Leader

posted Jul 2, 2019, 3:32 PM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Oct 29, 2019, 1:57 PM ]

Joanna Sajewska Supinska grew up in a village named Siemiatkowo which is located in a rural section of east-central Polandabout 62 miles northwest of Warsaw.  Her father owns a farm in the village and when she was young he “planted a seed” in her mind that one day she would become a land surveyor.  On that day her father took her onto the farm and showed her a survey monument that marked the corner of his property.  He was looking to delineate the property lines of his farm and he taught Joanna why these markers were set in the ground and their importance when it came to property ownership.  She was very interested in learning more and he suggested that she pursue a career in geodesy.  Who knew that that seed which took root on a farm in Poland would someday grow roots that would spread all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States where fields of opportunities would await her? Here is her story…
Joanna attended college at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn where she studied in the Department of Geodesy, Spatial Engineering & Construction.  She obtained a Bachelor's Degree with an emphasis in geodesy and real estate appraisal and a Master's Degree with an emphasis in geodesy and satellite navigation.   While in college she worked as an intern at several land surveying companies but after graduation, she found that there were not a lot of career opportunities in her field in Poland. 


Although English is not her first language, Joanna quickly learned how to apply the geodesy skills she learned in Poland to her new company. Joanna was also not afraid to throw on a pair of boots and work with a variety of different equipment in the field.  Her skills went far beyond a traditional land surveying total stations as she was able to utilize global positioning systems (GPS) and 3D laser scanners on projects in an urban or rural environment.  She was also able to translate land surveying data using a variety of computer software into property plans or engineering drawings.   



Although she did not find a lot of opportunities in geodesy in Poland after graduation, Joanna did not lose faith in her career.  One of her aunts had recently moved to the United States and told Joanna she felt there were plenty of opportunities for her in New Jersey. Joanna has an adventurous spirit and she felt she was ready for whatever challenges may come her way in the USA.  In 2013 she applied for a Geospatial Specialist position at Rodriguez in Philadelphia.  She was quickly hired and was amazed to find out she wasn't the only female Polish land surveyor working at the firm (more on that story in a future episode).
Over the past six years, Joanna's skills and attention to detail have been an invaluable asset to facility managers, property owners, and utility companies here in the USA. In 2016 Joanna worked on a project at Jefferson Hospital that involved scanning a piece of public artwork and her skills were noticed by the director of a new program at Jefferson University called Geospatial Technology for Geodesign. She was asked to develop and teach a graduate course called GeoDesign Explorations for their College of Architecture and the Built Environment.  The young girl from a village in Poland is now a mentor to many in the USA.  
Oh yes, that same year Joanna became a U.S. Citizen.

Engineers & Surveyors, Real-Life Superheroes

posted Jun 16, 2019, 1:20 PM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Jun 16, 2019, 1:27 PM ]

In this age of “Superheroes,” it can be easy to disregard the many heroes that we cross paths with on a daily basis, nurses, teachers, police officers, construction workers, and engineers. Civil engineers and land surveyors play a vital role in managing the infrastructure (e.g. buildings, roads, water systems, utilities) that our society needs in order to function.  We can easily take for granted the roles that engineers play in society every time we swim in the ocean or drink a glass of water.


Katie Gipson Ware - Country Girl to City Engineer
At Rodriguez, our engineers, surveyors, and construction inspectors play a vital role in managing the infrastructure that operates in the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding region.  We specialize in collecting data and applying specialized knowledge to make the best-informed decisions to manage infrastructure and creating sustainable communities.

Engineers and surveyors may do amazing things but we are typically challenged to illustrate these things in a way that the general public can easily understand and appreciate.  To help overcome this challenge we have partnered with Dylan Bolden, a talented comic artist and illustrator that recently graduated from the Moore College of Art & Design.  Over the course of the summer we will launch a series of infographics that will tell the story of our team and the important work we do.

Enjoy our first story on Katie Gipson Ware, a Country Girl Turned City Engineer.


Enjoy,


Lou


“It's hard for many people to believe that there are extraordinary things inside themselves, as well as others.” - Elijah Price Unbreakable (2000)

Katie Gipson Ware - Country Girl to City Engineer

posted Jun 16, 2019, 1:10 PM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Jun 19, 2019, 3:11 PM ]

Growing up in rural Tennessee, Katie Gipson Ware has always been fascinated with the environment. Prior to fully realizing her passion, Katie was interested in pursuing a career in medicine at the University of Tennessee. However, she quickly realized her interests were more directed toward climate change. After one semester, Katie changed her major to pursue a career in Civil Engineering. One of the aspects of civil engineering that appealed the most to Katie was stormwater management. After beginning her career in Tennessee, Katie decided she wanted to learn more about engineering in an urban environment. Upon moving to Philadelphia, Katie came across an opening at Rodriguez Consulting that had a focus on green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). Katie is now able to experience urban engineering along with working on projects that deal with her interests.
 

Spending a lot of time at her grandfather’s farm in Tennessee, Katie became fascinated with nature at a young age. As she continued to grow up, her love for the outdoors continued to flourish. Katie became very interested in climate change and other environmental issues.




While continuing her college career in engineering, she became interested in stormwater. Katie became very knowledgeable on the topic of stormwater through various jobs and opportunities. She worked at a stream restoration company which only further her interest in the topic.

 

Despite her passion for the environment, she decided to pursue a medical degree at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. During her first semester, Katie read a book about climate change that made her realize that she wanted to make a positive impact on the environment. Katie began researching jobs that focus on the environment. After one semester, Katie decided the medical path was not for her. She changed her major to engineering.


After a few years, Katie decided to move to Philadelphia to learn about urban stormwater infrastructure. When she moved to Philadelphia, she applied at Rodriguez where she now handles many of the water sewer and stormwater projects.

Rodriguez Welcomes Rex Clark to Our Team!

posted Apr 24, 2019, 2:10 PM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Apr 24, 2019, 2:18 PM ]

Rodriguez Consulting is excited to announce a new addition to our team, Rex Clark, PLS.  Rex Clark is a Professional Land Surveyor with over 25 years of experience in land surveying, construction, and project management.  As Rodriguez's Survey Manager, Rex now leads and directly manages all aspects of the work of survey crews involved with boundary and topographic surveys, ALTA surveys, construction stakeout, 3D scanning, and as-built surveys. 

Rex has a degree in Landscape Architecture and offers a unique perspective on land planning and land development strategies.  Prior to joining Rodriguez, Rex operated his own land surveying firm which was based in Everett, PA.  Rex has served 27 years in the United State Air Force and Reserve.  He is also an active member of the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors and a Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 415 Cornwall, PA.

“Rex's knowledge of geospatial technology, such as 3D laser scanning, coupled with a landscape architecture background has made an immediate impact with our staff and clients," explained Lou Rodriguez, CEO of Rodriguez, “We look forward to Rex leading our geospatial operations moving forward .”

Welcome aboard Rex!

Rodriguez Welcomes Lairon Lawrence to Our Team!

posted Mar 25, 2019, 1:06 PM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Mar 26, 2019, 2:36 AM ]


Rodriguez Consulting is excited to announce a new addition to our team, Lairon Lawrence.  Lairon is a civil engineer with 15 years of experience in urban land development projects involving site/civil engineering design, PWD infrastructure and stormwater design and construction administration.  He is also experienced with obtaining pre-requisite approvals from local and state agencies.  Lairon is originally from Edenton, North Carolina, a historic colonial town situated along the Albemarle Sound.  Lairon completed his college education at Widener University and obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering.

Lairon is passionate about playing sports, fishing, kayaking and enjoying outdoor activities with family and friends during the summer. He is also a sports fanatic who is an avid North Carolina Tarheels and Dallas Cowboys fan who looks forward to the NFC East rivalries each year.

“Lairon brings a wide range of skills and a wealth of Philadelphia infrastructure knowledge to our firm,” explained Lou Rodriguez, CEO of Rodriguez, “It's also great to add another Widener alumni to our team.”

Welcome aboard Lairon!


Rodriguez Unveils New Jeep Wranglers for Inspectors

posted Feb 13, 2019, 3:10 AM by Louis Rodriguez   [ updated Feb 13, 2019, 3:18 AM ]

Rodriguez is excited to announce a new addition of some newly branded Jeep Wranglers that will be used by our stormwater inspection team to support our work with the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD).  Rodriguez stormwater construction inspectors work under the direction of Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) to supplement construction oversight provided by property owners and designers.  The team inspects both Erosion and Sediment Control (E&S) measures and stormwater management practice (SMP)  installation to verify that private development sites are maintained properly and correct installation practices are used.

These new Jeep Wranglers are just one of the tools used by Rodriguez field staff to perform their duties.  The Jeep's rugged, yet nimble design, will allow our inspectors to efficiently and safely navigate the streets of Philadelphia in all weather conditions and potential go off road when necessary.  
https://sites.google.com/a/rodriguezconsulting.biz/rodriguez_new/careers/community/_draft_post-9/Rodriguez%20Consulting%20Jeep%20Wrangler%20Partial%201-7-19.jpg








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