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Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

  • 1.  Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-01-2017 11:04 AM
    I would love to chat to someone who has found a way to work part time from home in the field of Water Resources. I am thinking of returning to work after a two year break staying home with kids. I would like to have a flexible part time schedule to spend more time with them. Did it work for you? How did you do it?

    I do have P.E. and M.S. in Environmental Engineering, plus six years of full time experience. However, my experience is mostly in the field of remediation, and involved a fare share of field work and dealing with bids and subcontractors. I would like to shift to a more analytical/modeling/programming area, but am not sure where to start. While at home, I am taking some classes on Coursera in GIS, Python, optimization and statistics/data analysis. It would be nice to find a way for all this to lead to something. I was thinking to start learning some specific software: either HEC suit, or WaterGems (expensive for individual user) but would like to get some picture of the career outlook first.

    I would very much appreciate any advice, or just to hear about your experience!

    Thank you!

    Natalya Sokolovskaya A.M.ASCE
    Wynnewood PA

  • 2.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-02-2017 06:57 PM
    I would suggest try the voluntary consensus updating of the ASCE/EWRI standards.
    I tried this a few years ago, and is rewarded with the development of a new model for temperature correction. This will be published as a Paper soon.
    With this credential, it may open new doors in the field of environmental engineering modelling.
    And then u can build ur career from there.
    Hope this helps!

    Johnny Lee P.Eng, CP, M.ASCE
    1519 8948591

  • 3.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-03-2017 08:40 AM

    Hi Natalya, 

    I know that we have a couple of employees with very flexible schedules. I think working from home depends more on the individual. However, if you can take open courseware classes, then I think the transition to employment would not be an issue. The harder part may be finding a team that supports your terms (Good luck!!). 

    As far as the skills you're currently developing, I think that the HEC products are well worth your time- plus, there is a new HEC-RAS. I also wanted to mention that there is a Bentley Student package that provides a sample of many programs for a much lower cost. Since you are studying and your intention is to practice, I think that is well within their terms. 

    Link to a sample book: https://store.bentley.com/en/products/books/9781934493168--Computer-Applications-in-Hydraulic-Engineering#/?price=0ba55fe078e743c08c71f1ad27327c88

    Best of luck, 

    Jessica C
    Water Resources Engineer
    Jacksonville, FL

  • 4.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-04-2017 09:14 AM
    Thank you, Jessica, for this update and help, I'm looking forward to some research in this field, but being a student and keeping a track with the studies limits my option to do so. Any suggestion with this?

    Kumari Kaushiki S.M.ASCE

  • 5.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-04-2017 11:05 AM
    Hi Natalya,

    Yes, I have been working at home for the past five years as a consulting environmental engineer and water chemist. I was working for a large regional consulting engineering firm. I went to a flexible schedule five years before and just changed office locations within the company building; ten miles from my home. I started my separate company in 2006, raised my billing rate to cover my professional liability insurance, health benefits and other expenses for running a business. I continued from 2006 - 2012 as a team member on large water and water treatment projects as well as hazardous waste remediation projects. In 2012, I moved into my home office. I continued to take assignments from my previous employer, signed a non-compete agreement for on-going clients and started working for industrial companies and legal firms as an expert witness and on environmental issues relating to business transactions. I am very happy with working at home when I want to work. It is a win-win for all parties. Good luck!
    Dayton Carpenter, PE
    Board Certified Environmental Engineer
    Licensed Remediation Specialist
    Consulting Water Chemist
    Carpenter Treatment Solutions, PLLC

    Sent from my iPad

  • 6.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-02-2017 06:57 PM

    My company has allowed me to work part time (32 hrs) for several years, though I prefer to work in the office. I find it easier to focus in the office, collaborate with colleagues, and work on CAD/GIS files. The company allows employees to work from home on occasion with company laptops. I have found the company supportive of employees seeking flexibility and I think this is becoming more of the norm. I found it helpful to have a developed idea of goals and to be honest with my employer about what I am seeking in a work-life balance. Best wishes!

    Rose Horton P.E., M.ASCE
    Water Resources Engineer
    Otak, Inc.
    Portland OR


  • 7.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-02-2017 06:58 PM
    Dear Natalya,

    My experience was similar. Like you, I had a P.E. and an M.S. (in Civil Engineering), worked professionally for eight years, then left the field to stay home with kids. After a five year break, I returned to part time employment with the Black & Veatch Water Resources Department, my previous employer, in the early 2000’s. When the Department’s resource allocation was stretched, they contacted me to help with the overflow. I worked exclusively from home (using a company-issued PC), on average 10 hours per week, primarily performing computer modeling but also some report writing, engineering analyses, and peer technical reviews. I came into the office occasionally to pick up and drop off work or, rarely, to attend a meeting. I made time in the evenings to complete the assignments, so the kids were not aware they had a working mom. It was a perfect arrangement for me and I believe it was mutually beneficial!

    Feel free to contact me directly for any further questions.



    Jeanne L. Finger, P.E. | Senior Engineer | City of Spokane | Water Department

    914 E. North Foothills Drive

    Spokane, Washington 99207-2794

    509.625.7811 | fax 509.625.7816 | mailto:jfinger@... | spokanecity.org<http://www.spokanecity.org/>

  • 8.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-02-2017 06:59 PM
    I did find a small engineering office that was willing to train me, and allow me to work part time from the office and part time from home. I had to use my own equipment and some of my own software, but I think it just depends on the company. If you network at some of your local watershed meetings and local networking meetings, you might be able to find an employer who can work with you.

    Engineers are in demand right now, it's a great time to be a part-time engineer. I have been working part time for 6 years now, mostly in the office and some from home, but feel so blessed to be there for my school age kids. I do find that deadlines require occasional late nights and early mornings at home.

    If you have the software required for the work, you can work anywhere!

    Best wishes on finding a good fit for you!

    Sonya Webb P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer
    Jensen Design & Survey, Inc.
    Ventura CA
    (805) 650-8276

  • 9.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-02-2017 06:59 PM
    Hi Natalya,
    I feel your pain and frustration in wanting to work part-time and still be "mom".  I have been in the CE profession 11 years and have 2 small boys.  I have found that many civil engineering firms are surprisingly flexible in working with women that dont want full time positions.  The benefit to them is they don't have to pay our healthcare when we are less than 32 or 30 hours per week, and they get (hopefully) good quality work from us, so it is a win/win.  Im not sure how to go about negotiating when you apply for jobs, but the best bet is to be clear up front about the amount of hours you want to work.  I went a different approach and started a PhD program when the market crashed and they shut down my office in 2010.  I just finished it up in August, and have been happy with the schedule flexibility of being a professor, but the hours are more than 30 per week and I do have to work some nights and nap times on the weekends.  But the other benefit is having the same holidays off and part of the summer off with the kids.

    Good luck!  We are helping pave the way for the women CEs that come after us. 


    Natalie Martinkus P.E.,PhD, M.ASCE
    Yakima WA


  • 10.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-06-2017 09:46 AM

    I know several women at the company I work for have gone to part-time working from home after becoming mothers, however they were already full-time employees beforehand. I think it is possible to do but will be a bit trickier to find an employer to hire you (if that is what you are looking for as opposed to self-employment) as a part-time employee. I think establishing your capabilities and work ethic prior to working from home may be necessary so that the potential employer feels confident that you can handle the position. As a single parent who works from home 1 or 2 days a week I can tell you that it is usually much easier to work in the office because the connection speeds can be very slow from home and the distractions at home are generally much greater.

    Daniel R P.E., M.ASCE


  • 11.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-08-2017 09:43 AM
    Perhaps one thing to consider is marketing yourself as a independent contractor, depending on your ability to self-manage and complete projects independantly.  

    I own and run a small engineering firm and I'm always looking for people like this.  The great thing about today's technology is that we don't have to be in the same office.  The downside is you have to carry your own hardware, software, among other terms, which can be an investment.  

    If you are interested in something like this, I know I would be interested in hearing more about your experience and qualifications.  Send me an email or call.  


    Ryan Cardinal P.E., M.ASCE
    Cardinal Engineering LLC
    Elkhorn WI

  • 12.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-22-2017 09:29 PM
    I am a retired water resources engineer having worked for the Bureau of Reclamation, a consulting firm and an irrigation district. For the past 18 years I have worked as a sole proprietor (LLC) out of a bedroom in my home. I string for my prior consulting firm and also work for other clients in the southwest.

    Doing my own bookkeeping / billing, handling insurance and preparing reports and memoranda on my computer are the hard part -- I miss having a staff to support the work. I use design engineers in my prior consulting firm to flesh out designs and cost estimates from sketches I prepare.

    Don't do any advertising as work comes from friends I worked with in my prior lives

    I find that this situation allows me to provide clients with creative solutions to meet their needs.

    Michael Clinton P.E., F.ASCE
    Las Vegas NV
    (702) 255-1536

  • 13.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-21-2017 04:07 PM


    As I believe one of the most recent posts suggested, part-time engineers - especially younger water resources engineers that are GIS and CADD savvy - are extremely valuable as part-time employees. Several regional and national engineering firms in the Chicago area figured that out several years ago.  In fact, right now we are looking for someone on are part-time basis with GIS and HEC RAS experience and I am meeting with a woman later this week with young children who may fill this role with us.

    From an employer's perspective, as a part-time employee you probably will not be eligible for many of the full-time employee benefits, so you will not cost the employer as much as a full time person. That is a big advantage to the employer! Also, they may ask you to be more flexible in your hours (some weeks you may work fewer hours or not at all when compared to other weeks). You may also have to be willing to take calls on your days off from the company - however, they have to understand that you may have a crying baby or demanding toddler in the background and will need to call back. This is all part of dealing with a part time employee who has other obligations outside of the office.

    One person responding suggested you set yourself up as an independent contractor or as your own business. That means you are liable for all your taxes and insurance, including professional insurance.  I have done it both ways, but generally I prefer to have part-time employees covered by my business and professional insurance. That way I know if there is a problem the necessary insurance is in place.

    If we cover all the insurance, we usually pay the part-timer an hourly rate that would be about what they would be making as a full-time employee. However, if you are an independent contractor paying your own insurance and taxes, you would expect to get paid significantly more, perhaps half of your typical billing rate (the rate that a company charges their client for your work which is usually 2.5 to 3 times your hourly pay).

    Perhaps ASCE should consider setting up a job board for folks like you, looking for part-time work. In my experience, it is usually word of mouth. Folks show up at local ASCE meetings or other professional society events and put out the word that they are looking. Or just call up local firms that you may want to work with and see if they are interested in a part-time employee. As an employer, I call up one of my friends ask if they know if anyone is available on a part-time basis.  In regards to the value of ASCE, you may also be able to get HEC programs training through ASCE courses.

    One last word, we once had a young father as a part-time employee and he constantly had to change when he was going to be in the office due to children's illnesses and other family related issues. We all have family emergencies, but as a part-time employee you need to figure out a back up system that will allow you to meet your obligations to the employer without having to make constant changes as to when your employer is expecting you in the office.

    Good luck!

    Karen Kabbes P.E., D.WRE, ENV SP, F.ASCE
    Kabbes Engineering, Inc.
    Barrington IL

  • 14.  RE: Anyone successfully working part time from home in the field of Water Resources?

    Posted 02-24-2017 02:01 PM
    Your comments were outstanding Karren. Thanks for sharing very cogent advise and your outstanding leadership of EWRI.

    Steven McCutcheon Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE(Ret.), F.EWRI, F.ASCE
    Nat Expert, Sr Envir Engr Retired
    Athens GA
    (706) 543-6972