Giving Thanks in 2017

Giving Thanks in 2017

Ideally, we should give thanks every day for the people, things and circumstances that make our lives better. But life and responsibilities get in the way most of the time. When the month of November rolls around, it forces us to consider the blessings we so often ignore during the rest of the year. Here is what we are grateful for at CivilGEO:

Customers that Stick with Us

A few weeks ago, we released the 2D version of GeoHECRAS. Up to the date of release, we were scrambling to test features and run the software through a variety of engineering scenarios to gauge its durability. Because final code had just been written a few days earlier, a few kinks still hadn’t been figured out. Sometimes the program hiccupped during a client demonstration. Some people would head for the hills at the sight of a few bugs. But, I am grateful to say that even under these circumstances CivilGEO customers still believed in our product and knew it was premature to dismiss our software. So, we are giving thanks to our loyal customers, the ones who stick with us no matter what. We thank you and we promise not to let you down.

Employees with Grit

Over the summer and early fall, as we struggled to get the 2D version of GeoHECRAS out, I saw something remarkable in our workforce. We were deep in testing mode, subjecting our software to all manner of tests to see if it would perform to expectation. Our sales staff, marketing and technical people were gearing up as well with all kinds of preparatory work. It was a grueling time and staff were worn out and drained. But the group came together despite stressful circumstances and worked as if each had a personal stake in making our new HEC-RAS product succeed. This is my team and I am proud of them.

Disaster Brings out the Best in People

This was a bad year for storms. Coming out of the summer of 2017, we witnessed a definite upsurge in severe natural disasters. It was difficult to watch the crisis unfold as a series of hurricanes swept through the southern US and Caribbean causing flooding, property damage and loss of life. Image after image showed communities decimated by extreme winds, massive storm surges and flooding: structures reduced to heaps of boards, shadows of cars submerged under rising water, thousands of people without access to the bare necessities.

But there was something else going on here as well. Help came from the expected places, but the unexpected as well. Assistance came from surrounding regions and from across state lines. Jet ski owners rescued people trapped in flooded homes, athletic coaches from local schools drove buses to evacuate people from areas with rising water; trailers were brought in to move stranded ranch animals and local businesses opened their doors to provide shelter. Even in the middle of a disaster of major proportions, it always amazes me how generous people are. There is a remarkable human spirit out there and it comes out in full force when there is a need.

The Opportunities Ahead

There is always plenty in the news to keep us up at night. Whether it is the threat posed by nuclear weapons, destructive weather, political upheaval or the risks of artificial intelligence unleashed, we as a human race always have our work cut out for us. We need to rise above the “noise” presented by daily setbacks and consider how we can make life better. Take a look at the “Best Tech of 2017” issue of Popular Science magazine and your faith in what we can do will be restored. Although I have my moments of cynicism, I am also encouraged by the drive and ingenuity people are capable of. Whatever happens, we will survive and for this I am grateful.

About the Author Chris Maeder

Chris Maeder

Chris is an experienced civil engineering and software technology leader, with over 30 years industry experience. With proven expertise in global software development, he has built engineering teams that adapt quickly, focus on what’s important and, most importantly, deliver. He is a licensed professional civil engineer with extensive experience in water resource engineering. He has performed and supervised engineering projects in urban stormwater drainage, transportation and roadway drainage, storm sewer design, detention pond design, stormwater quality, green infrastructure, watershed management planning, wastewater sewers, water distribution networks, pump stations, FEMA flood studies, bridge and culvert design, bridge scour and armoring, dam failure analysis, seepage and groundwater modeling, and environmental permits.