If you ask Brad Parish, P.G., Senior Hydrogeologist with Apex Companies LLC, an award-winning water environmental services firm, what he enjoys most about his work, you’ll likely hear it’s the opportunity to distill his nearly 30 years of experience in groundwater hydraulics and contaminant plume movement into simplified solutions for his clients. He begins, “The best part of my job is that I have the opportunity to assist clients with sound science. Most of our clients are focused on their day-to-day business and they don’t have time to truly understand everything we do. Therefore, we must instill trust in our clients that we have provided the most technically feasible solution to their needs at the most effective long-term cost scenario.” Providing not only tech-based, feasible solutions, but also successful outcomes has been a hallmark of Parish’s work throughout his 19 years with Apex, a valued REGENESIS® and Land Science® client. In his current role, he manages projects involving subsurface characterization, contaminant transport and occurrence, development of site conceptual models, and development of plume remedies. He continues, “Essentially, I enjoy the science of geology and its application to groundwater hydraulics and contaminant plume movement.” Hired initially as a Senior Project Manager in 2002, Parish managed large-scale technical projects, before expanding his role into other related areas. “On many projects,” he says, “I am essentially a technical resource as a Senior Hydrogeologist, and I have also acted as an office manager for Geoscience Groups.”
Prior to joining Apex, Parish held Hydrogeologist positions at several other firms, after earning his BS in Geology from Tarleton State University and Master of Science degree in Geology, from Baylor University in 1992. It was during his master’s program at Baylor that he became interested in a career in hydrogeology. He continues, “At Baylor, I became drawn to the various geomorphic processes and how those processes were affected by subsurface geologic structure and surface lithology. Advanced level courses in hydrogeology really lifted my interest in subsurface fluid dynamics. The next step involved learning geochemistry and how chemicals in groundwater affect or are affected by groundwater flow.” The selection of Baylor for his graduate studies proved invaluable, since at the time, the program provided its own drilling rig. “This afforded me the opportunity to learn well installation, soil and groundwater sampling, and logging techniques while in graduate school- an experience few other programs could match. Overall, my graduate studies really helped solidify my future career path because, in my opinion, understanding subsurface geology and developing an accurate conceptual site model are the most critical in the development of a successful remedy for any site with groundwater contamination.” To stay abreast of trends in his field and new technology, Parish spends 2-4 hours a month in continuing education. In addition, he participates in several ITRC training modules and webinars that focus on enhanced MNA topics, and studies current vapor intrusion trends and the ever-changing regulatory framework.
When it comes to working with Land Science, Parish is most impressed with the company’s involvement on product selection based on an array of project needs and budget parameters. He shares an example, “On a recent project, I asked Land Science to develop a repair sequence for a large vapor barrier and passive venting system that was fairly unique. Not only did they provide recommendations for a proper repair sequence, they actually developed the sequence for inclusion in our design for permitting by the local authority. This solution presented significant savings to our client, and we were able to receive approval for the repairs and keep the project on schedule.” In terms of Land Science product usage, Parish states that Apex mainly uses the company’s various vapor barrier products on pre-construction projects, but have also used Retro-Coat® on projects with indoor air quality issues in existing buildings. He shares, “In comparison with other vapor barrier products, Land Science’s suite of vapor barrier systems are typically a less expensive and more technically feasible product. It is also helpful that Land Science provides a list of certified installers for their products, and my experience with their installers has been very positive.”
When asked about Apex’s future goals, Parish is quick to respond by emphasizing the company’s commitment to innovation and client service. “At Apex, our goal is to consistently team with clients to assist them through their environmental challenges. We also strive to provide feasible strategies and to keep safety at the forefront of our business. We have distinct future growth strategies that we believe enhance our core business offerings. My personal goal is to always listen to a client first; they will always give subtle clues as to how much they understand about what technical scenario or proposal is being provided, along with the financial reserve they have allotted for environmental issues. I always strive to ensure that they understand where their reserve is being spent and the technical reasons why. Only then can we move forward as a team and make strategic decisions that keeps the project on the right path. ”
Residing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with his wife of 30 years, Parish has developed a keen awareness and fondness for Texas, since nearly all of his project work over the years has been located within the Lone Star state. He also enjoys a variety of hobbies outside of his work responsibilities. He shares, “Fortunately for me and my wife, who is also a geologist, most of our vacations center around some geologic concept or area. We’ve spent a lot of time in the Big Bend and Hill Country areas of Texas, the coastal regions of North Carolina, and the various Rocky Mountain states. Golf is also a favorite hobby for me and my family.” As one might expect from someone who has worked in the same industry for nearly three decades, Parish has observed an array of changes, although as he points out, some aspects of his work haven’t changed much. He continues, “I believe industry services have changed based on culture. Today, there is a lot more focus on Industrial Hygiene and Safety Compliance. For me, I am still looking at grain size analysis of soil cores- just like I did back in the early 1990’s!” And the most demanding part of his job? “Juggling the amount of time available to assist all clients, regardless of the size or budget of the project.” When it comes to encouraging others to join his field of study, he suggests that one should start with the basics. He concludes, “I would challenge every college student to take a Physical Geology freshman class. I was an engineering student as a freshman and decided to take Physical Geology as a science credit…and I’ve been hooked ever since!”
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