We sat down with Senior Engineer John Holman, who works out of our La Porte, Texas office and specializes in deep foundations engineering to ask him a few questions on his background, expertise, and his time at Braun Intertec. Here’s what he had to say:
What is your role at Braun Intertec and what do you specialize in? I am a Senior Engineer and I specialize in deep foundations engineering, construction materials testing, and structures evaluation. When I’m sent out on projects I verify that what is being built (buildings, bridges, oil and gas facilities, etc.) meets the geotechnical and in-situ designs, confirm whether foundations are stable and that the owner is essentially getting what they paid for.
What industries do you serve and what sort of clients do you work with? Our Gulf Coast operations primarily serve heavy industrial, marine/port construction, oil and gas, and also large heavy highway/bridge projects.
What made you want to become an engineer? What do you enjoy most about your profession? My dad definitely had an impact on me wanting to become a civil engineer. He would take me to job sites and show me plan sets in his office. When I went to college I realized I was interested in engineering but really only enjoyed coursework related to classical mechanics. I liked being outside and on construction sites so civil engineering seemed like a good fit.
I personally enjoy the problem-solving aspect and bearing civil engineering has to the ‘built world’. Whether people realize it or not, everyone is impacted by civil engineering throughout their daily lives.
What attracted you to join Braun Intertec? I really liked the fact that it was employee-owned and that there was a deep body of knowledge of over 100 licensed professionals available to us. Since I’ve started, it’s been really rewarding to watch our operations in the Gulf Coast grow and to further develop our strong culture.
What do you think is unique about working at Braun Intertec, and our approach to projects? The full-service nature of our firm is very important because we can address a wide variety of challenges in the civil engineering world, starting at the beginning with geotechnical investigations, to the design phase and actually becoming the engineer on record, to then doing the construction related services. One of my favorite things we do is structures evaluations work involving in-depth structural engineering/investigations. We offer a lot more than typical geotechnical and materials testing firms, since we also have nondestructive examinations and environmental consulting (and many other) capabilities as well, which all ties in to being the consultant of choice for our clients.
How do you help clients identify and solve problems especially if there is an unidentified problem? A lot of times we work to fill project specifications and work through challenges with clients because of site variability or constructability/installation methods. One aspect I really enjoy is sharing some of the unique methods and investigative work we can do with our client-base and then being asked to stay on throughout the project lifecycle to work on several other tasks. Being able to help our clients with what I know best and then, as other issues/needs arise, continue to work on behalf of them with all our different service lines is very rewarding.
What has been your favorite project thus far since starting work here? Working at NASA performing ground penetrating radar, which really isn’t my specialty, but it was the coolest job. The Total Port Arthur Refinery is another standout project, as well as doing structures evaluation work for the Johnson Space Center in their space vehicle mock-up lab.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your career? To keep a log of all the projects I’ve worked on, big or small.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Seeing the green Braun Intertec trucks on project sites! I like to know that our employee-owners are providing a valuable service to our clients and in turn, we are able to provide our employee-owners with real careers and safe working environments. I am fortunate to have been able to work on some of the most challenging and impactful projects throughout the world. Those experiences have rewarded me with a client base of hardworking and safety-minded professionals I can rely on, so that we can, in turn, perform the best engineering services and have our people go home safe.