By Margie M. Palmer
Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how water gets to their home, but thanks to the engineers at Mission Valley-based Richard Brady & Associates, they don’t have to.
“We do design and construction management for water and wastewater-type projects,” said company founder Richard Brady. “When you turn on the tap and water comes out, or when you flush water and it goes away, we make sure those things happen efficiently with the least disruption as possible.”
Engineers don’t often get a lot of recognition, he said, which is why having his company be named as Firm of the Year at Construction Management Association of America’s (CMAA) San Diego Chapter’s Annual Awards Banquet on April 18 was such an honor.
“The award hit us out of the blue because there is a lot of competition; we’re one of about a dozen local firms that could win on an annual basis. The award isn’t related to any specific project, it’s about doing things successfully, on time and on budget, because the city has defined money to spend on these things and no one likes their costs going up,” he said. “[The award is] also a nice validation to have for our clients when we submit proposals. Getting this award is like getting a gold medal sticker on your homework when you were a kid.”
The 19-year-old firm may not be well known to those outside of the field, but they have been involved with a myriad of well-known projects throughout the county, including the Padre Dam Project.
One of the most intricate parts of that project, Brady said, involved the construction of a pipeline that needed to go underneath Interstate 8.
“As the construction manager, we needed to watch the contractor and make sure they’re constructing the project as it’s designed. They have to do it exactly the way they see it and they can’t make changes in the field. They need to have qualified people there who know what they’re looking at,” he said.
Yet that’s not to say that managing these types of projects doesn’t come with a certain amount of stress.
When news of a partial I-8 freeway collapse hit the airways, Brady admits his stomach tightened quickly.
“The collapse happened down by Hotel Circle, but when I first heard about it I thought it was our job, Fortunately, it wasn’t,” he said. “It can be stressful, because this is the last type of thing you want to have happen.”
People often have a tendency to take the engineering profession for granted, he continued, adding that what they don’t realize is that these men and women, who are lumped in with all the chaos that comes with construction, are the ones who are ensuring projects, including ones that involve reliable water being delivered to your home for the next 50 years, are executed properly.
“We’re all silently doing our jobs without a lot of recognition, which is why receiving this award is quite significant,” he said. “It’s a validation that we’ve done our job. Engineers don’t often get a lot of credit but I would encourage more people to get into the profession. There is great satisfaction in what you do, even if people don’t appreciate or understand it. Either way, you still know you’ve done something that will last long after you’re alive.”
— Margie M. Palmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.