Blog – From Canada to Germany

My Quest Experience

Ingo Lambrecht from Victoria, BC, Canada went on a Quest to the Arcadis office in Darmstadt, Germany. Read here his experience.

Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016

I arrived at my destination in Darmstadt, Germany to start my Quest. I have a day to get acclimatized and to overcome a 9 hour jet lag. Fortunately, I have time to visit the state museum, which has a great collection of history, art, art history and off course science and natural history.  I spent several hours in various collection, until it was closing time.

Monday, Oct. 17, 2016

hessenI was introduced with my colleagues in Darmstadt and my local host provided me with an explanation on the structure of Arcadis Germany and the integration into Arcadis Europe. To no surprise, Arcadis Germany has similar challenges in balancing corporate goals, market trends and client expectations.

In regards to emerging contaminants, Germany and a few neighbouring countries are working on PFAS contamination, interestingly, other EU counties do not have the same emphasis and PFAS is only of minor interest there. Obviously, the federal system in Europe is still working and national as well as provincial or state difference still prevail.

darmstadt-officeI had a skype meeting with a hydrogeologist in the Karlsruhe office that is working on developing the groundwater modelling portfolio in Europe. The challenges are rather comparable to our challenges in Canada, that is to develop a market that is relatively saturated.   I was vert interested to see that he is working together with modelers in Arcadis offices worldwide, including Arcadis US.  Upon my return to Canada, I will sure follow up on these contact to explore our cooperation with the colleagues in the US on an upcoming modeling project on a drycleaner site.

Discussions also covered the assessment and remediation of PFAS contaminated sites. I provided a bit of a background on our types of PFAS sites and our approaches in field screening, regulatory framework.

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016

In the morning, I gave a presentation to the colleagues in Darmstadt about my career history, and my technical expertise. I illustrated the specific challenges that we come across in our assessment and remediation work in BC, which solutions we developed to overcome the challenges and turn them into solutions for our clients.  The presentation was sweetened by a serving of maple sugar treats and accompanied by a tasting of Canadian smoked salmon that I had brought for this opportunity.

I used case studies to illustrate our field methods and provided some insight into drilling technologies that were also commonly used in Germany, or relatively specific to our area of work. The colleagues showed some interested in specifics on ODEX and SONIC drilling, for which I will provide additional information.

I believe I illustrated how our work in British Columbia is very varied and how important practical solutions are to overcome the climatic differences between coastal, interior and subalpine site settings. The challenges to meet provincial and regulatory requirements and the practical solutions that we have to adopt in order to be competitive in our market.

lean-cuisine-germanyOn Tuesday afternoon, I took the train across the republic to visit our office in Freiberg, Sachsen, an old mining town with a long history of academic research and teaching. After a six hour train ride, I arrived in Freiberg in the evening and walked from the railway station into the historic city centre, where I took quarter in a 500 year old building. Dinner consisted of a bohemian dish of Czech Goulash with dumplings and fresh bohemian beer in a very original setting.

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2017

I visited the Freiberg office and met with a few colleagues there. We had an exchange about or work experiences and challenges and I was provided with additional information of the Arcadis Germany and Arcadis Europe structure.  About 55 colleagues work in the Freiberg office, and most work in site assessment, remediation, hydrogeology, site closure and project management.  The projects are very interesting and I was intrigued by the depth of research that goes into development of conceptual site models, the understanding of the geochemistry and the use of visual tools to illustrate the findings.

I was fortunate to have a host in Freiberg that was also very knowledgeable about the history of the City, its buildings, the regional mining and mineralogy and we had an opportunity to have a short City tour on our way to and from lunch.

I received a great deal of information of technical background and tools that I plan to explore further once I am back. I believe there will be opportunities to apply the approaches to our work in BC and add value to the projects that will result in better, submissions, regulatory reviews and site closures.

Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016

I was lucky today to attend a client event on PFAS sites in our Stuttgart office. The event is attended by various potential clients and regulators.  Our experts provide a few great talks on PFAS chemistry, production, use, transport and fate as well as treatment options.  The most surprising fact is that they had already produced a handbook on the topic, which is on The Source.  The Source is obviously a great resource for us, and my colleagues agree with me on the fact that the resource is exceled, but probably underutilized because it is difficult

Friday, Oct. 21, 2015

Unfortunately, already the last day of my Quest. I have more exchange on project specifics with the colleagues in the host office. Unfortunately, the time is too short to get really into some of the technical issues and project details.  I would really encourage to reinstate the currently suspended super quest program to facilitate the exchange of knowledge on a more technical level.

Back In Victoria, BC, Canada

I shared and keep sharing my Quest experience with my colleagues in the office and in the other office, as well as clients. They are very impressed that Arcadis is hosting such a well thought through program and the learning opportunities that it offers. The lessons learned on the Quest are already useful to provide Arcadis a cutting edge over the competitors, I have included some of the information gathered on the Quest into an abstract for a client presentation.

Quest is an international transfer program which connects Arcadians from all over the world. Quest is sponsored by the Lovinklaan Foundation

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