Trends Winter 2015 - Page 13

“Ayres Associates did a really good job of compiling all the data from the master drainage study into one concise document,” Tompkins said. Greg Caldwell, capital improvement program manager at St. Johns County, agrees that innovative solutions are the foundation of a solid working relationship. He worked with Ayres Associates engineer Daryl Myers on the Kings Estate and Old Moultrie Road Intersection project. N estled between the beautiful St. Johns River and the scenic Florida Atlantic coast is St. Johns County. An area rich in history and charm, where you can celebrate the 450th birthday of the oldest city in America – St. Augustine – or simply enjoy a quiet picnic along the river, St. Johns County is spectacular. Working hard to keep it that way is Press Tompkins, county engineer at St. Johns County Public Works Department, and his staff. Tompkins said they don’t do it alone; they hire consulting engineering firms for much of the work. Ayres Associates has been working with the County since the late 1990s. According to Tompkins, this long and successful relationship comes down to expertise, responsiveness, and a genuine investment in the community. One of the first major projects Tompkins took on with Ayres Associates was a Stormwater Master Plan Update. Before the master plan, there was no comprehensive stormwater plan. Several smaller studies and projects had been conducted, and often the results were never implemented. Essentially, the County had snapshots of problems but no big picture – no starting point. Ayres Associates evaluated information from all sources and developed a report with improvement recommendations. With this study, the County had a prioritized plan to solve drainage issues throughout the County. The intersection was in dire need of improvement because of increasing traffic volume, but with limited rightof-way, there wasn’t much room for expansion. “Daryl had a great solution,” Caldwell said. Rather than buy another parcel of land and build a stormwater treatment pond, Myers proposed using infiltration pipes to treat the stormwater, which would save space, cost, and move the project through permitting more easily. Nick Perpich, project engineer at St. Johns County, also values Ayres Associates’ knowledge of government regulations, processes, and funding requirements. First, know your stuff: Expertise Tompkins, who oversees engineering consulting work in the Public Works Department, said his most fundamental factor in choosing an engineering consultant is expertise. “We look for consultants who have the knowledge and experience to match our needs,” Tompkins said. TRENDS │13