A Word With Boise Civil Engineer Corinne Graham

Corinne Graham is a Boise-based civil engineer and Owner/Principal Engineer at Civil Site Works. Civil Site works is a boutique civil engineering firm based in Boise focused on providing personalized service, streamlined production and precise design. Corinne has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Boise State University and years of experience designing commercial, residential and public projects.

Q. How did you get into civil engineering?

I actually started out in secondary education to become a high school math teacher. After completing my semester of student teaching I decided it wasn’t the right fit for me. I took some introductory engineering classes at Boise State that following summer and loved them. Now I’m a licensed civil engineer!

Q. What do you like about civil engineering?

There are two things that speak to me personally about civil engineering. First, I like that the work I do impacts the lives of the general public in a very meaningful way. Our public infrastructure systems and networks (roadways, sewer, water, etc.) are utilized by practically everyone. Second, I love how broad the field is. No two projects are ever the same because there are always site specific conditions to take into account. The field of civil engineering covers infrastructure, transportation, hydraulics and hydrology, site design, and many other areas.

Q. What is your favorite project you’ve engineered?

A few years back I worked on the site design of the Marty Holly Athletic Center at the College of Idaho that opened in July 2014. It’s a huge building that sits on a sloped hill. The bottom story daylights out the back of the building towards the soccer field but isn’t visible from the street frontage. This project had everything: stairs, ADA ramps, retaining walls; the way the building sits on the site really allows the architecture of the building to shine. It was a really fun and challenging project to engineer.

Q. What is your favorite type of project to engineer?

Stemming from my background in land development, my favorite projects to engineer are commercial sites and hillside residences. The entire design centers around a unique building and the placement and grading around the building on a project site can greatly influence how it appears from all angles.

Q. A lot of your clients are repeat clients. Why do your clients keep coming back to you?

Clients are looking for someone that will take their projects as seriously as they do. Whether it’s helping a group develop an investment property, adding a new building space to a project site, or helping someone design their personal residence, clients elicit the help of an engineer to help make a dream of theirs a reality. The work I do influences the lives of my clients and that’s not something to be taken lightly.

Q. Why should a new client you’ve never worked with before give you a shot?

If a client is looking for individualized, dedicated attention to their development project I think it is worth giving Civil Site Works a shot. My goal is to make communication as easy as possible and to make sure clients are comfortable with and understand each project phase as the project progresses.

Q. How is Civil Site Works different from other civil engineering firms?

I think an important difference between Civil Site Works and other civil engineering firms is the individual attention that each client receives. As opposed to being bounced around to different points of contact in a larger firm, clients know they can always reach out to me and get their questions and concerns addressed quickly and accurately.

Q. What technology do you use?

The advance of technology has really streamlined the design and production process for engineers. A lot of design elements can be completed within the AutoCAD platform but I also use programs such as Bentley Flowmaster and WaterCAD for storm drain modeling, and water and pressure irrigation system analysis and design. However, sometimes even the most advanced technology can’t replace some quick hand calculations and sketches.

Q. What other design software do you use?

I use AutoCAD Civil3D 2017 as my design platform. This program is truly designed for engineers to design and draft documents within the same program. It creates a fluid workflow whether working on a project alone or with a team.

Most of the capabilities in Civil3D are specifically targeted to the design tasks of civil engineers. It has the ability to model roadways, pipe networks, grading surfaces, advanced survey capabilities, and much more.

Interested in learning more about Civil Site Works?
Contact Corinne:

Corinne Graham, PE
Civil Site Works LLC
333 W. Rossi Street, Suite 300
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 946-3874
cgraham@cswengineering.com

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