Article By: Vasilios Pantazis, PE
Since 2006, we’ve had an engineering services agreement with Williams, under which the New York City office completed many different bridge projects. Williams is one of the largest natural gas distributors in the country and operates in all 50 states. In 2019, Williams reached out to us regarding the rehabilitation of one of their gas metering and distribution stations, located right in our backyard, on a pier off Manhattan in the Hudson River.
The work included replacing all steel bracing between piles as well as encasing the existing piles with a new marine concrete form to protect them from further corrosion due to exposure to the Hudson River brackish waters. We were also required to design collars to hold a security fence around the perimeter of the structure, which prevents access by unauthorized personnel to the vicinity of the gas pipeline.
As a young engineer, this was an incredible project to work on—an opportunity to become more self-sufficient and to hone more than just my technical skills. This marked the first time I was able to see a project through from the beginning of the conceptual design, to the agency permitting process, to the end of construction. Working with a small team, I prepared calculations, contract plans, specifications, and as-builts for the entirety of the design, which included learning about flood and wave loading.
Once construction began, I was the main point of contact between Williams, the hired contractor, and others at Parsons. I attended weekly meetings as the project engineer, communicated our concerns and vision for implementing the design, and reviewed all incoming submittals to ensure the work adhered to the contract set.
Throughout the project, my ability to communicate effectively with outside clients grew exponentially. I’ve developed a new appreciation for all the additional skills needed to be a manager in our profession, as I was expected to keep the project on schedule and ensure that we continued to meet the client’s needs. As a result of this unforgettable opportunity, I plan to take everything I learned and continue my journey toward becoming a project manager.