Richie Stahl (BS Geology, 2004)

Engineering Technician in Kirkland, Washington

I work for Terra Associates Inc. in Kirkland, we are a geotechnical and environmental consulting firm. My job title is engineering technician, in reality this is a flashy title for field consultant. I usually have multiple job sites throughout western Washington from residential platts to commercial sites. I observe and make recommendations on just about every aspect of construction regarding the ground. I do density testing with a nuclear density gauge on any fill that is placed on a site. I often do the temporary erosion and sediment control plans, where we cooridinate with the D.O.E. to ensure the construction site is not harming the surrounding areas. As a company we also do preliminary reports including the surrounding water table, seismic hazards, existing geology of the site and any landslide possibilities.

I have been with this company since 2007 and absolutely love it. It is a great mix between field work, lab work and unfortunately office work. My degree definitely helped a great deal. My studies help me to identify the soils on site and how they were deposited, their different properties and what might be expected around these soils. I wish I would have had the chance to take more than one hydrology course. I use the information from that course regularly. The field courses we took are critical for my job. I am not exactly using a brunton compass everyday, but I do have to make and understand geologic maps, cross sections and columns. The map work helps me in the field for everything from finding my location to actually reading site plans. The math and physics classes come in handy quite a bit. Most of all - it got my foot in the door!

I bought a house in Everett with my wife. We were married in September, 2007. I am on my fifth season as a Seahawks season ticket holder, so when I am not working or with my wife, I am waiting for a home game.

I greatly enjoyed my experiance at CWU, the staff is wonderful. The amount of care and personal attention you recieve as a geology major makes it almost impossible to not walk away with a invaluable education.

UPDATE: My wife and I welcomed my son - Richard Arthur Stahl IV or "Little Richie" - into the world on 9/29/08.

It has been a rough year for the geotechnical consulting industry, but I am still hanging in at Terra Associates. We are about half the size we were in summer '08. I went from working 5-6 jobs at a time in July '08 to having the time to sit in my office and write this update. Hopefully the building will pick back up and maybe people will be smart with their money this time.

We are in Kirkland and do a lot of work in Bellevue where one of the guys from my office came back one day and asked me if I knew some "quirky" guy named Aaron Roden (CWU '04) from the City of Bellevue office they were working with. It is a small world.

Other than that, I am hoping not much is going to change soon, other than I get busy again - office time is killing me.

Information last updated on Jul 14, 2009