ISG Civil Engineer Mark Origer

With a special focus on water quality, Civil Engineer Mark Origer PE crafts designs that positively impact people and the environment. An avid problem solver, Mark collaborates with multiple disciplines across ISG, building off of years of technical fieldwork in water resources management.

Mark’s love for the water is reflected in his personal and professional life, whether it be through volunteering with the Adaptive Water Ski Program or identifying best management practices for clients. Let’s get to know Mark.

What aspect of being a civil engineer do you find the most fascinating?

It would have to be the overall coordination and collaboration projects require. There are a lot of great connections between civil engineers, clients, outside agencies, and coworkers. These interactions involve different situations and locations. There’s a good mix of desk and field work involved. We travel often to look at sites, observe construction, or attend meetings, and these visits ultimately help us gain more knowledge on the project.

Who has been a professional role model to you, and why?

My colleague Chuck Brandel PE, who is a Principal + Senior Civil Engineer at ISG. We have worked together for four years, and I admire his positive way of approaching projects, clients, and coworkers. He has been a great mentor to me.

How do you approach the beginning of a project?

I like to start by identifying the purpose of the project, as well as what the client’s goals are. From there, it’s a matter of figuring out what potential solutions are available to address those needs. That triggers the rest of the project and guides all of the design components. Throughout the process, it is important to stay on the same page as the client. When you ask what is reasonable, what will fix the issues, and what the process is going to be, you come up with the best results for each situation.

What ISG project required you to provide an out-of-the-box solution?

While all of our projects require creative and ingenius solutions, Faribault County Ditch 62 in Blue Earth, Minnesota, comes to mind. This project started as a multipurpose drainage management project, and provided a big opportunity to improve water quality in the region. We were given a small piece of land and were responsible for creating a design to address the Ditch’s failing tile. A lot of analysis went into exploring different scenarios on what solutions would best improve drainage and water quality.

While there was a limited budget, it was supplemented with the successful application for a Clean Water Grant. The Grant was supported by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources because solutions incorporated best management practices such as woodchip bioreactors and water quality surface inlets. County Ditch 62 ultimately developed into one of the nation’s largest bioreactor projects.

You spend a lot of time outside for work – do the outdoors play a big role in your personal life too?

Yes! My perfect day would be where I spend all of my time out on the lake barefooting it and water-skiing on my boat.

man water-skiing

Water-skiing is a passion of mine, but I enjoy teaching others how to ski even more than skiing myself. I volunteer for the Adaptive Water Ski Program during the summer, teaching people with disabilities how to water-ski. We have a range of participants with physical disabilities including vision impairments, spina bifida, paraplegia, quadriplegia, and several others. It is very rewarding, and puts a whole new perspective on water-skiing.

man teaching water skiing

Mark leads and coordinates projects in ISG’s Mankato, Minnesota office, helping manage water quality throughout the region.

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