To my Friends and Neighbors in Arkansas,
In the mid-ninties I was approaching 30, had a baby on the way, and was running a successful construction company in Central Arkansas. I had done well; I started the company with a 1966 Chevy truck, a couple of step ladders, and a few hand tools. Daily as I read through plans an specifications the world of engineering fascinated me. I took a couple of tests and soon found myself in the engineering program and University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. When I started, my daughter was about 6 months old. While still in the program I was blessed with a son as well. In May of 2000 I graduated and moved back to Little Rock with my family.
Upon entering the workforce, I soon found out that there are three areas within Civil engineering that interact with each other. Although they are compelled to work together, many times they have opposing views or at least different motivations and goals. These three areas are the Public sector, the Private sector and the Regulatory Sector. I have worked in all three areas.
When I was employed with the Pine Bluff Arsenal and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department I learned the importance of good infrastructure. The experience of working at the state and especially the federal level gave me a great appreciation for all that goes into planning, designing, constructing and managing the transportation, communication, energy and water systems we depend on everyday.
While with a local consulting firm I gained a deep understanding of design and construction. Perhaps the best example is the largest project I ever designed, the rehabilitation and repaving of an entire southern Arkansas town.Whether a Phase 1 ESA, a hydraulic analysis, or a project as large as a 250,000 gallon water tank, I had the rare opportunity to be both the student and the teacher. I was a student in terms of the tremendous education I received through this experience. I was a teacher in terms of getting to speak with the citizens of various municipalities at action meetings, town halls, and city council meetings to explain to them what we were building for their community, why we were building it for them and how it was about to get done.
My last position before going independent was with the engineering section of Arkansas Health Department. I was charged with assuring that several hundred non-community water systems met the EPA requirements for safe drinking water. Non Community systems are typically small systems that are not directly connected with a town or county. This was no easy task. There were at that time around 450 systems and each needed to be inspected for compliance every few years. Moreover, these systems were not large municipalities, they were much smaller; typically a mom and pops grocery store, or a recreational RV park, or perhaps a campground or resort that was far enough away from a town that they had have their own water source. The folks running these systems are not engineers; they are small business men and women. Most of these folks had little or no money to spend for engineering services. Balancing the federal and state requirements with the needs of regular people who are simply trying to make a living was both daunting and highly rewarding.
I took some time off from engineering a few years back in order to pursue some other goals. Though I really enjoyed that time, I missed engineering. I missed the challenges of the jig saw puzzle that is design. I missed being able to partake in cutting edge technology. Mostly I missed getting to travel to towns throughout Arkansas and visit with small business people. I missed helping folks do what they do by doing what I know best, Water Resource Engineering.
Based on the positions I have held, and the designs I have created, I have a unique blend of engineering experience. As an advocate for locally owned and operated businesses in the state, these experiences maximize the impact I can make. I think local businesses run by local businessmen and women is the backbone of this state and those are the folks I primarily want to work with. To me, this is work that matters. At the end of the day we all want to feel like we matter.
I look forward to meeting you!
Allan Susoeff, Jr., P.E.