Siavash is CBBEL’s principal engineer, meaning that, in addition to managing complex water resources projects, he also provides technical advice and guidance for other project managers. Over his nearly 40-year career, his work has spanned projects including federal, state, and local master planning, flood control, flood mitigation, stormwater and drainage projects, and dam and levee safety projects. He also has been the principal editor, author or co-author of many technical guidebooks, including the Indiana Drainage Handbook, Indiana Dam Safety Inspection Manual, and hydrologic/hydraulic modeling guidelines. When he isn’t diving into the intricacies of civil engineering, he is daydreaming about being a lake. Find out why below!
1. What are you most passionate about in this job?
I think I have the best job in the world! I am most passionate about helping communities understand and appreciate their flooding and streambank erosion risks, and then working with them to manage and mitigate these risks through adopting and implementing state-of-the-art resilience measures. My mission number one is to reduce the unnecessary suffering of people from natural disasters by providing them with accurate and reliable information on the risks involved and how they can predict and manage them before a disaster strikes.
2. Other people don’t find this exciting, so why do you?
I am not sure about other people, but I get the highest degree of satisfaction and fulfillment when, for example, I can help save even one life through reducing risk or help make other people’s lives better and safer through improving the community’s stormwater infrastructure. What can be more exciting than getting paid for what I love to do anyway?!
3. Why is working for Burke different than anywhere else?
In my opinion, the attitude and drive in pursuit of excellence by the employees of a firm starts with the owner and leader of a firm. Our leader, Dr. Christopher Burke, leads us by example. While we are a for profit firm, we are always reminded of and have never forgotten our prime directive and main ultimate purpose of improving the public health and safety. As such, we are given a lot of latitude at Burke in how we interact with the public and give back to our profession and to our country while fulfilling our specific project-related duties.
4. How long have you been doing your thing?
I have been working in this field for almost 40 years, starting with my work as a research assistant while I was pursuing my Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree. I have been with Burke for about 25 years and prior to that with Indiana Department of Natural resources for about eight years.
5. What, in your opinion, is the most important take away for your clients?
We at Burke not only think it is our duty to help our clients with their risk-reduction projects the best we can, but we also get a lot of internal enjoyment doing it in a way that would have the most public benefit. This translates to a more enjoyable and fulfilling teamwork atmosphere and brings in the needed synergy for a win-win outcome.
6. If you could be any natural feature, what would you be and why?
Perhaps a lake. I like the beauty, depth and tranquility of it.