Summer is coming – highlights of our local office happenings

Winter has come to Westeros, but in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is approaching and warmer temperatures can be felt already. In the United States, daylight saving time started in March. Leaving the office at the end of a workday when the sun is still out translates to a great work-life balance to enjoy. It is invigorating how good weather can bring more joy to our days.

For the past months and for the next summer months, the Virginia Beach office has been preparing for several events and having valuable additions to our team. From conferences, sports events to new hires, our office has been going through exciting moments.

Almost a month after I joined Arcadis last July, the office layout was transformed from traditional cubicles to activity-based workspace. The general characteristics of ABW applicable for our office are 1. Universal and no assigned workstations – it gives you more flexibility to sit next to peers in a project to work together at any given day; 2. More efficient decision-making – approaching someone to talk becomes quicker and easier; 3. Facilitates communication and promotes integration among us all. It was my first time in an ABW office, and I personally enjoyed the flexibility and the dynamics this layout provides for the workflow. We have all gotten more used to it overtime and learned how to manage the main downside of it – noise and distraction.

ABW was one of the motivating factors for the establishment of the Young Professional BrownBags. These brownbags have been a great career development tool in our office and it was worth sharing with the industry in a conference presentation.

In mid-May, Arcadians from several offices presented at the American Public Works Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference on a variety of topics from stormwater best management practices and resilience to career development. Almost 30% of the conference presentations were made by Arcadians, including young professionals. Along with some very talented YP’s, I made two presentations that had amazing feedback and have the chance to open new horizons for our careers and Arcadis. In one presentation, we described the community of YP’s we built in our office through the brownbags, the activities we develop and the benefits we gain; in another, with a more technical tone, we spoke on lessons learned by comparing two similar projects on stormwater management systems. In addition to the large exposure we got as Arcadians, I realized how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to represent Arcadis at conference presentations at early stages in our careers.

APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference – Dave Gong and I during our presentation on stormwater management systems

While we prepared for the conference in the past months, some very talented staff joined our office. We welcomed a new GIS specialist, a new senior modeler, a new entry-level water engineer and some business intelligence professionals focused on enhancing the client experience with large efforts on our digital side. The diversity of skills and capabilities in our office is a win for us, for our clients and our projects. Starting in the summer, our office will also count with an intern for a few weeks, who will have the chance to get valuable insight from our local digital innovation team and hands-on experience on plenty of water and stormwater projects happening across our region, from modeling to design, from field work to regulatory and compliance assessment.

On the social and service side of events, our office engaged in the March Madness Bracket Challenge in which we also raised funds for Water for People. March Madness is the annual single-elimination basketball tournament under the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and is a famous sport event in the United States. The Virginia Cavaliers from the University of Virginia was the champion this year and cheering and commenting the outcomes of the brackets around the office was another way to integrate our staff. Upcoming in the summer, we will join a volleyball league that plays during the summer at the beach, with teams made up of clients and other engineering firms. Go Sally!

Last but not least, our office staff is participating once again at the Clean the Bay Day. This is an initiative promoted at the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in which litter and debris are collected from rivers, streams, and beaches, preventing them to reach the Bay and contributing to environmental stewardship. This is a volunteering event open to children and adults. We plan to do a cookout afterwards, and I’m sure it will be a great time.

I have been an Arcadian for almost a year now and it is very exciting to participate and join all the events, gathering and interactions we have going on. These are all relevant to improve our relationships as a group, with clients, with the community and within the industry.

By Giovana Batista

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