Haley Cook, an Engineering Project Coordinator for Charlotte Water, spent the day with Steve Roosen, Construction Inspector, to learn more about the work that he does each day.
Engineering Week often leads us to think about Senior Project Managers and Professional Engineers designing crucial services for our community. As a Project Coordinator, I create plan sheets and gather permits before construction begins. Project Managers are responsible for project feasibility, customer coordination, approving plan sheets, etc. But what happens after all those plans are signed, sealed, and approved? The project is handed to Construction Inspectors, who help turn the engineer’s pipe dreams into a functioning reality. Projects are constructed by a reputable private construction company approved by the City and supervised by a designated Construction Inspector. Inspectors are responsible for verifying the project is completed according to the plans and relaying that information to the engineer.
Steve Roosen has been with Charlotte Water for nearly 35 years as a Construction Inspector. He has overseen all kinds of water and sewer projects in all corners of the service area. Steve has most of the Charlotte Water details and specifications memorized (although he always has a copy on-site) and is confident he can tackle any problem. When asked how he navigates difficulties in the field, Steve notes, “We don’t have a problem, we never have a problem, we have a challenge.”
Challenges are few and far between for a man that has almost seen it all. The main challenge he’ll face is keeping open communication between contractors and engineers since field changes are almost inevitable. Project coordinators organize utility locates and incorporate survey data into the utility’s design. It’s our goal to make plans as realistic as possible and think of any potential issues a contractor may face. Surveys for engineering plans, however, can end up being completed up to a year before construction. Topography, underground utilities, and clients can drastically shift the construction plans before the project is complete. Steve is always happy to answer any questions about construction during the design process and lend his advice when these difficulties arise.
The Charlotte Water Standards are continuously improving, which results in changes to how utilities are installed and documented. Steve shares that over his years at Charlotte Water he has “seen a lot of changes, good or bad, but never been discouraged or had to carry out something [he] disagreed with. I’ve worked with great engineers and supervisors… couldn’t ask for any better. Love Charlotte Water.” His favorite part of the job is being on-site with the people he has known for many years.
Steve is usually out in the field but is always willing to lend a hand to his fellow Design and Construction team members. When Steve is not at work, you can find him on a body of water in his bass fishing boat or competing in national BASS championships.