Why I’m passionate about my job | Meet Jim Pence

A new member of the CBBEL team, Jim brings nearly 30 years of experience in civil engineering and also land surveying. As a project manager with CBBEL’s engineering department, Jim leads project design and manages staffing to bring projects in on time and within budget. His background is rich in roadway and utility design for both public and private development projects, as well as in coordinating with multiple agencies to meet local ordinance requirements. Jim has also prepared various stormwater pollution prevention plans, utility plans, conceptual plans, and maintenance of traffic plans for a wide range of projects. Read on to find out what he loves about his job and why his desire to be a meandering stream might make you want to steer clear after a massive downpour!

1. What are you most passionate about in this job?

Finding a design that fits both the site we are working on and one that fits into the clients needs and budget. During the initial phase of design there are many avenues we can take but finding the one that is right for the client and that fits the requirements we are held to can sometimes be tricky. From creating a new subdivision with 250 lots on 80 acres with the required detention, to siting a new commercial facility on a site that meets parking, emergency access and green space requirements, to relocating a half-mile of stream channel to save the largest number of existing trees. Being passionate about finding the right answer is what I strive to do every day.

2. Other people don’t find this exciting, so why do you?

Every project is different. A new site, a new city, a new county and sometimes even a new state. Each project needs the same base knowledge but the change in location can bring its own special requirements. Some areas are more stringent than others but most all have some sort of minimum specifications. Understanding and adapting to these changes keeps my mind working.

3. Why is working for Burke different than anywhere else?

The people. We work as a team and everyone is willing to assist if asked. Being able to discuss simple projects as well as ones that are more intricate with my director or even a director from another division is great. Having only been around a short time, the acceptance of me into the team has made my transition seamless.

4. How long have you been doing your thing?

I started my thing in the field as a survey rodman in 1992 and from there moved inside to draft boundaries, topographic surveys and plats. I moved into the engineering side of things in 1995 and have been involved in all aspects of residential, commercial and industrial development since. As part of these developments I got a chance to work with cities, counties and private utility companies to plan/design new utility infrastructure extensions to these projects.

5. What would be your one piece of advice for clients?

I would suggest to any client, whether a new one or a repeat client, to make sure you know what you are getting from your consultant. Be specific in your request for services and when comparing pricing from multiple consultants make sure you are comparing apples to apples. I have seen where other consultants will win a job based on price alone yet when all is said and done only part of the work expected is complete. Change orders are difficult for both the owner and consultant so defining your needs and expectations up front will go a long way in selecting the right consultant.

6. If you could be any natural feature, what would you be and why?

I would be a meandering stream. Something that’s pretty set in its ways in that it’s pretty calm and non-intrusive under normal conditions but can get pretty riled up every now and then when things get a bit overtaxed.