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Terra-Petra Spotlight…Richard McClanahan

April 11, 2014

Richard PhotoSenior CAD Engineer, Richard McClanahan, started working with Terra-Petra in September of 2001. He’s been with our company longer than any other member of our ever-growing team of experts.

Richard holds a degree in drafting and design from ITT Technical Institute. He is certified for inspection of all approved membrane systems including CETCO’s Liquid Boot and Tremco’s Paraseal, and now in the process of renewing his Deputy Methane Barrier Inspector (DMBI) License and 40 Hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (40 HAZWOPER) certification. Over the years, Richard has obtained every certification available with respect to methane and waterproofing installation inspection.

As our Senior CAD Engineer, all design projects begin on Richard’s desk before being filtered through to the rest of the design team. On occasions when Terra-Petra’s Field Director Dan Valdez needs the help of an extra inspector, Richard can also be found in the field. Richard appreciates the fact that his position allows him to be continually immersed and involved in the design and construction processes.

Prior to beginning his career with Terra-Petra and helping the company get its start, Richard worked for a firm also involved in methane mitigation. Some noticeable differences between Terra-Petra and his previous employer are the level of honesty and integrity within the work environment and the work itself. Richard notes Terra-Petra’s willingness to work and communicate with the client to find the quickest, most efficient design solution. This is a valuable company asset which sets Terra-Petra apart from others in the industry.

Richard resides in Channel Island Harbor in Oxnard, California. He’s a single man with no children, and a very eligible bachelor. Beyond the technicalities of work, Richard has an artistic side and spends his free time drawing and painting as well as socializing with friends. One of his most memorable experiences with Terra-Petra was being present for the excavation of a fossilized saber tooth tiger on a job site in Los Angeles. He took the opportunity to get within feet of the fossils and see them firsthand. Richard credits Terra-Petra for providing him with this unique experience, one which few people ever get to witness.

In the not-so-distant future, Mr. McClanahan aspires to become a homeowner while advancing his position within Terra-Petra. He’d like to explore the possibility of advancing to the position of Project Manager, and is well aware of the extra responsibility that this would need. Throughout his years in the industry, Richard’s learned the importance of working well with others and maintaining professionalism in all communication and coordination efforts. He believes Terra-Petra benefits from continually implementing more and more efficient communication procedures between specific team members on projects. As Terra-Petra continues to grow and expand nationally, Richard’s dedicated drafting services will be a key factor for maintaining the output of quality designs for our clients.  He’s been such an important member of the Terra-Petra team since day one; no one can overlook his contributions to our company and what he’s done to help us to become a major force within the methane industry.

California-based earthquake + structural engineering company Miyamoto International wins “Global Best Projects” award from engineering publication ENR

April 9, 2014

FIRM LED REBUILDING EFFORT OF 10,000+ HOMES IN HAITI AFTER EARTHQUAKE

“It is our responsibility as engineers to do the right thing. We know how to mitigate risk and save lives.” – Dr. Kit Miyamoto, Miyamoto International.

California-based earthquake + structural engineering company Miyamoto International won a “Global Best Projects” award from the prestigious engineering publication, ENR, it was announced last week.  Miyamoto International took top honors in the Renovation/Repair category. The winning entry was for the repair of 10,000+ earthquake-damaged homes in Haiti, a major initiative led by the Government of Haiti, USAID, the World Bank, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and Miyamoto. The program helped Haitians return to homes repaired to withstand future earthquakes after a 7.0-magnitude quake devastated the country in 2010.

After initially traveling to the stricken country to help assess the damage and finding many homes not reinforced to withstand earthquakes, Miyamoto partnered with PADF and other local organizations to train Haitian masons, engineers and contractors on modern building techniques that meet international seismic standards. While most other relief efforts focused on temporary tent camps after the disaster, Miyamoto and its partners spearheaded a plan that was more cost-effective and long-lasting: fix people’s homes and rebuild them to last.

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The initial 500-house pilot program was so successful, Miyamoto and its partners expanded the pilot and repaired 10,000+ houses in Port-au-Prince and nearby Leogane.

“Earthquakes don’t kill people; buildings kill people,” said Miyamoto International CEO Dr. H. Kit Miyamoto. “It’s is our responsibility as engineers to do the right thing. We know how to mitigate risk and save lives. We know how to prevent these disasters.”  The award will be presented to the winners in New York City May 13.

Part of his team in Haiti also focuses on repairing schools. Since his first visit to Haiti, he has started a nonprofit, Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief, to respond to disasters worldwide.

Terra-Petra Spotlight… Daniel Valdez

March 21, 2014

ImageDaniel Valdez is Terra-Petra’s Director of Field Operations. Dan has worked for Terra-Petra since September of 2005. In charge of our Inspection Division, he’s responsible for all construction administration activities reporting to Justin Conaway, General Manager on the status and growth of projects.  Dan also organizes and coordinates Terra-Petra’s inspectors, and distributes and oversees jobs accordingly in order to keep Terra-Petra’s inspection team working and responding efficiently to all client requests.

Dan holds the highest number of construction-related certifications at Terra-Petra. He is a registered Deputy Methane Barrier Inspector (DMBI) and is certified for inspection of all approved methane and waterproofing barrier installations. He’s also completed the Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) Confined Space and 40 HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) training courses as well as the Refinery Safety Overview (RSO) training by the Occupational Safety Councils of America.  Dan holds site-specific orientation certifications for multiple oil refineries in Southern California and in addition to these trainings and certifications in Los Angeles County, he’s certified for inspections on behalf of the Huntington Beach Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority.

Starting his days with a morning coordination of all inspection projects, Dan communicates with all of Terra-Petra’s inspectors to check the status of membrane installations to oversee the workload.  Along with conducting inspections himself, Dan also attends site conference meetings, meets with superintendents, and responds to all installation questions from contractors and installers. Of course, he occasionally checks in at the office to provide feedback on designs and responding to requests for information.

Prior to Terra-Petra, Dan, like multiple members of Terra Petra team, worked in the pizza industry. He was the owner of a pizza business and worked day and night as well as weekends. He notes the biggest differences between his career with Terra-Petra and that in the pizza business is that he does not own the company, and Justin Conaway (Terra Petra’s General Manager) no longer deliver pizzas for him. These huge differences have made Dan appreciate his position at Terra-Petra. He now works a standard work week and finds himself working at many locations throughout the week. Although the constant commuting into and around L.A. would be hardly enjoyable to anyone, Dan appreciates that his position keeps him active and mobile!

Terra-Petra has given Dan the opportunity to spend the majority of his time working outdoors, which is the aspectImage of his job that he enjoys the most. Dan appreciates the construction environment in general as well as the relationships he has established over the years. He finds it very rewarding to have been a part of the construction process once a building has been completed.

Dan also notes the inherent danger of working in a construction environment. He recalls witnessing a crane tipping over and causing a worker to be impaled through the leg by rebar. From that experience, Dan knows the importance of being alert and respectful of heavy machinery, as well as to report unsafe working conditions as soon as possible to avoid injuries. He’s also learned to avoid certain areas of a construction site as much as possible–“Port-o-Potties” and outhouses in particular!

Dan spends his personal time playing softball, exercising, enjoying the outdoors, watching sports and finding good places to eat. He lives in Ventura County and as a single dad of two daughters, ages 16 and 12, he enjoys spending as much time with them as possible. He also hopes to one day be the proud owner of a canine friend.

In the next five to ten years, Dan sees himself helping to expand Terra-Petra’s inspection field. He plans to help Terra-Petra cover more ground in the construction industry beyond methane and waterproofing. Specifically, he sees the field of concrete as a viable route for the inspection division to explore. According to Dan, the single most important lesson he has learned while in his position is that more communication leads to better preparation and work progress. He hopes that Terra-Petra will continue to benefit from further implementation of this principle in exchanging information between design and inspection divisions. Over his nine-year tenure at Terra-Petra, Dan’s role and input have been and will continue to be crucial to our company’s growth and expansion.

Terra-Petra Spotlight… Justin Conaway

February 25, 2014
Justin Conaway - Terra-Petra GM/Vice President

Justin Conaway
Terra-Petra GM/Vice President

Justin Conaway is Terra-Petra’s Vice President and General Manager. He began his career with Terra-Petra on June 28th, 2004 after earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Cal State University Northridge. Justin has worked his way up through the ranks at Terra-Petra to the reach the position he is at today. Justin was one of the first Deputy Methane Barrier Inspectors in the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) having performed thousands of hours of inspection in the field. Along with this he’s also certified by the Los Angeles Refinery Safety Overview (RSO) and is 40 Hour HAZWOPER (Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response) trained. As such he has also conducted hundreds of methane soil gas investigations and soil vapor surveys. Justin is a qualified inspector for all major methane membrane/barriers and is recognized as an approved designer by numerous gas detection manufacturers. Though he doesn’t perform much of the field work anymore, this experience has provided him with a tremendous foundation in which he is able to carry-out his VP and GM duties.

A typical day on the job for Justin involves a lot of time spent in the office. As the company’s General Manager, Justin keeps busy answering phone calls, reviewing and responding to clients’ emails, and corresponding with project managers and inspection supervisors on the current state of affairs. Justin is responsible for responding to all requests for proposals and for preparing bids on projects. As such, he maintains a steady inflow of work about which the company revolves.

Justin enjoys the dynamic aspect of his job. No two project requirements are ever the same, and Justin appreciates this ever-challenging aspect. He believes that there is always something new to learn and enjoys tackling challenges with the camaraderie of Terra-Petra’s team. To improve the functionality within Terra-Petra and help with its expansion, Justin envisions dividing the company into different service providers and electing a manager for each division. He thinks these managers should each be provided a separate office and offered incentives to work on growing their division. Justin looks forward to Terra-Petra’s business model continuing to grow on a national level.  In order to get to this level,  he will make sure that the Terra-Petra team incorporates even higher levels of efficiency i.e. writing reports, processing plans, meeting deadlines, and eliminating “busy work.”

Through his years of experience, Justin’s learned some worthwhile lessons. One of these is that invoicing clients is rarely an enjoyable process. On a more serious note, he’s learned to be cautious with what is said to people and with who to confide in. He’s also realized the tremendous value of maintaining accurate records and documentation of events. Two lessons particularly valuable within Terra-Petra’s industry are those of the significance of basing designs on prescribed codes, and being honest and loyal with every client. As the company does business within a small industry segment, Justin realizes that it is crucial to build and maintain trust with all parties that you come in contact with.

Justin notes some of his most memorable moments with Terra-Petra as experiences during which he spent much more time in the field. He’s seen workers in the field solving problems creatively (using belts as construction tools), and witnessed heated discussions both on the field and at LADBS. He attributes Hugh Avery, Terra-Petra’s founder and former owner, with coaching him on how to carry himself in such situations. Yelling very rarely helps to resolve anything. The key to success essentially is to stay calm, not get caught up in the emotions of the situation and just address resolving the problem in a professional manner.

Justin Conaway, Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering with Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

Justin with Kobe Bryant

Nonetheless, as a sports fan, Justin recalls his encounters with athletes as his most memorable moments. Justin met Kobe Bryant outside of Starbucks, and had the opportunity to greet Kareem Abdul-Jabar.  Also, while inspecting the gas detection system at the Toyota Sports Center, he had the opportunity to meet Anze Kopitar, the alternate captain and center for the LA Kings, during a practice session. He credits all these experiences to his involvement with Terra-Petra.

During his time away from work, Justin’s family keeps him occupied.  He’s been married to Robin Conaway since 2007, and together they have a young family. Calvin, his son is a toddler at 2 ½ years old, and his daughter Emma is just 6 months old. Their two dogs and one cat can also not be forgotten. Justin keeps himself and his family active by exercising, hiking, traveling, and fishing when the opportunities present themselves. He particularly enjoys rough-housing and watching baseball with Calvin. Additionally, Justin has included his family in his constant search for the best pizza place in the world. The current leader is the margarita pizza from L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Naples Italy. Closer to home he can’t resist a Sausage and Garlic pizza from Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock.

In the not-so-distant future, Justin aspires to become as knowledgeable as possible in the Environmental Engineering field by learning from other professionals around to be able to provide the best service imaginable. He is excited to see his efforts to promote Terra-Petra’s expansion into several national branches.

It seems inevitable that with Justin’s leadership and dedication that Terra-Petra has a bright future ahead of it.

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