Stroll a clean beach.
Stride a new sidewalk.
Help a homeless veteran.
You can enjoy all three – and so much more – in one of the United States’ most populous areas. It’s Southern California, where our 300 employees are improving the lives of the 30 million who live there.
“Whether it’s a Green Team project to clean up a park or a transit project that improves our public transportation, you see our footprint everywhere,” says Kip Field, Southern California Area Manager. “From the moment I started here, I could see that community involvement and leadership was something we value. We have employees who are champions for many kinds of efforts in all of our offices. We’re always looking for ways to be involved.”
From Riverside to San Diego, Irvine to Los Angeles, and Claremont to Long Beach, Kip sees the effects of those efforts not only in his travels, but also in town hall meetings with employees in each office. “We meet regularly to go over our initiatives, and very high on our list is community outreach and the meaningful experiences we are bringing to those around us,” says Kip. “We have passionate employees who are making sure we’re involved.”
Our groups leading many of the activities are appropriately named: they’re called Total Service Organization committees, or TSOs. In addition, our Green Teams focus on sustainability efforts. And still other employees champion unique civic, charitable and educational events. We’re:
- • Leading ongoing beach cleanup events in Orange County
- • Stocking local food banks in several cities through food drives and donations
- • Raising money for diseases like cerebral palsy by participating in walks and bowling events
- • Providing food and shelter for homeless veterans in Los Angeles by supporting and participating in the mayor’s Homes for Heroes campaign
- • Helping disadvantaged youths in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas get encouragement and support to pursue education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields
- • Advancing the careers of future engineers with an active intern program, hiring up to 20 in the area each year
- • Practicing sustainability with well-planned recycling efforts and other “green” activities and programs to help protect the environment
- • Honoring fallen heroes by placing and picking up flags at graves of military veterans every May and November at Riverside National Cemetery
- • Picking up litter, clearing storm drains and removing graffiti in local cleanup efforts
- • Raising money for the San Diego animal shelter
For the SoCal team, the efforts are a perfect combination of doing the right thing and having fun.
“For us, participating in the community is part of doing the right thing as a business: you don’t last as a company if you aren’t doing something right, and these activities show we’re doing just that – they make us sustainable, stable members of the cities where we live and work,” Kip said.
The activities also provide a perfect opportunity to bond with each other as well as those served by charitable groups.
“Our team is so good about showing up on weekends to participate in the events and activities, and I bring my family when I can,” Kip said. “We have a great time, and I enjoy doing these things with my co-workers; they’re full of life, and we make the events fun and, sometimes, even competitive to see who can do the most. I just enjoy giving back and want to do it.”
Kip has seen the impact of simply having a presence in multiple cities.
“In Long Beach, for example, there is such an appreciation for our office and employees: We’re seen as a business partner by the community and they recognize the fact that we have a home there as a company,” he said. “We could do much of our work from another office, but being there makes a big difference.”
Improving lives also is at the heart of our project work for clients in many business areas, mainly transportation but also resources (environmental), water, architecture and construction management. Los Angeles is our largest area of operation, and we’re transforming the metro area with projects large and small.
“Los Angeles is a naturally constrained area but has become very popular, so in many respects it’s an engineer’s dream,” Kip said. “We want to provide water, improve mobility, conserve resources and more. The work we do has a direct and immediate impact on the quality of life for Southern Californians.”
The weather in L.A. is great for walking, no doubt, and we’re improving that experience by serving as program manager for the City of L.A. Sidewalk Repair Program, a multi-year, $1.3 billion effort to fix sidewalks throughout the city. We’re helping with field assessments, surveys, design, construction bidding, mapping and construction management. We’re working with the mayor’s office and multiple city departments to enhance the paths for pedestrians.
Walk around the area and you’ll see we’re also improving mobility and rail service capacity for residents on the $2.75 billion Metrolink Union Station project. We’re providing engineering, architecture, environmental and community outreach services on this project, which will enhance connectivity to the L.A. River and surrounding neighborhoods, improve the passenger experience with a new concourse, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the number of idling trains. The project also will stimulate the economy and support the Los Angeles bid for the 2024 Olympics. We also helped lead Metrolink’s Perris Valley Line extension, which provides another commuter rail option in the Riverside area.
“The sidewalk program shows we’re right there on the streets making the improvements people need in their daily lives, and something as large as the Metrolink projects have sweeping economic and environmental impacts,” Kip said. “When you travel L.A., you’re going to see our footprint.”
Other major projects include:
- • The $1.2 billion I-605/SR-60 Interchange Improvement, which will reduce congestion, improve freeway operations and enhance safety
- • The Emergency Security Operations Center, where we are leading design of a critical hub where Metro security will provide 24/7 oversight of the bus and rail system, protecting riders
- • The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Facility (LADWP), a joint architecture-engineering project to consolidate services and incorporate sustainability strategies to make the campus “net zero” energy and water
- • Water Main Condition Assessment Technologies, where we are working with LADWP sustain service levels while avoiding rate spikes, saving customers money through technology
“We’re doing much more than designing new roadways and structures – we’re transforming L.A. and helping increase jobs, fuel the economy and create a promising future for residents and visitors,” Kip said. “We live here, too, so the changes we make affect our families as well as our friends, neighbors and loved ones. We enjoy making an impact, and that’s the beauty of civil engineering and architecture. We want to take care of the city because we believe in L.A.”