SSCI Environmental

Founded in 1986, SSCI specializes in enhancing the environment through its sound solutions approach. “Getting the job done is priority number one, not prolonging our participation,” says Helen I. Hodges, President and CEO.

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SSCI News

SSCI supports El Lago Coffee Co.

El Lago Coffee Company

    

Joe and Terry Butcher are the proprietors of local coffee roastery El Lago Coffee located in Seabrook, Texas. In an effort to reduce the impact of shipping coffee across the planet and pursue their love of sailing the pair took their sailboat’s maiden voyage to South America to pick up their first load of green, or raw, coffee beans for roasting back in the States.  However, on their return journey the pair encountered a storm, forcing the proprietors to call the Coast Guard for rescue.  The sailboat, and their caffeine-laden bounty, was lost to the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.

Today the Butchers are roasting coffee that they import in a traditional manner, it comes in 100 kilo packages and is transported by a cargo barge. The goal of El Lago Coffee Co. is to use the proceeds from roasting specialty beans to fund another sailboat with a much larger hull allowing the dream of EcoSail-transport to live on.

El Lago Coffee Company states that the El Lago Coffee Schooner will be a zero emissions “Ecosail” ship and carry a standard 20’ shipping container. The maximum load will be 47,500 pounds of green coffee beans. The duo say that they can begin construction of the Schooner when they reach their goal of selling 100,000 pounds of coffee annually.  In support of local business and eco-friendly initiatives, SSCI has started sourcing office coffee from El Lago Coffee Co. in an effort to help fund the Butcher’s dream of eco-sailing.

 

 

Three questions for . . . Dr. William Hodges, TAMU ’14

Three Questions for . . . Dr. William Hodges, TAMU ’14
Dr. William Hodges, (Texas A&M, 2014; VMBA roles: president of TAMU’s VBMA chapter for 2012 and 2013. National Marketing Chair for 2013). He currently resides in Raleigh, N.C.

How did your participation in the VBMA at the leadership level change your perspectives while you were a veterinary student?

Cognizance of need. Prior to veterinary school, I had limited experience in the veterinary business environment. I am fortunate to have two entrepreneurs as parents, so I understood the value of business, but never connected business and veterinary medicine. VBMA was unique among the organizations in its union of the two. Joining the leadership team gave me perspective of scale and just how much need there is at and beyond the student level. VBMA was created by students who recognized a gap and put forth incredible effort to fill it at both the business education and the interpersonal skills levels —  key components of business management. I wanted in on that!

This profession and a DVM degree changed drastically for me because I started to see the limitless opportunities I would have. It was like growing up on an island then discovering the airport.

In retrospect, what was the highlight of your VBMA experience?

The networking opportunities. While this is not an experience, in and of itself, this network has allowed for countless growth experiences. VBMA will provide a variety of opportunities to people, but the uniform value is the network you will build. I will admit that networking should be the goal of any organization, but VBMA does it better.

What are you doing now, and how do you think that relates to your VBMA experience?

I currently work full-time as a relief vet, specializing in Emergency and Critical Care (ECC) relief work. Positioning, marketing and selling to my client clinics is challenging. Success requires confidence in myself and skills to be effective in a wide variety of businesses with staff that doesn’t know me and resources that change frequently. My time with VBMA has a lot to do with why I am effective.

Most importantly for me, though, is that I am a better teacher. Every day I work is an opportunity to teach. Ultimately it was VBMA that gave me the experience to round out my knowledge and interpersonal skills.

 

SSCI Job Timeline: Culvert Construction

SSCI provided maintenance activities to a damaged culvert owned by an HOA located in Dickinson, Texas (Site) where existing articulated concrete blocks (ACBs) were uplifted and separated during a Hurricane Harvey.  This caused the subgrade to be eroded and a large hole to form at the base of the culvert. SSCI was able to mobilize quickly and efficiently to solve the problem.  The work involved designing a new, more effective culvert layout that would significantly reduce erosion during large rain events.

The following construction services were also completed during the remediation:

  • Pumping of standing water in the washout area;
  • Replacement of soil and re-grading of subgrade slope;
  • Salvage and placement of ACBs onto subgrade;
  • Placement of inlet and piping;
  • Paving of high-flow areas in the culvert to reduce erosion.

A final post-repair visit to the Site was conducted to ensure the satisfaction of the HOA and replace ACBs in an aesthetically pleasing pattern. The HOA continues to work with SSCI on other detention pond, erosion, and maintenance activities.  SSCI finished the work ahead of schedule even after being impacted by weather-related delays.

SSCI supports Armand Bayou Nature Center

Martyn Farm Harvest Festival

 

Saturday & Sunday

November 10-11,2018 ~ 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

LIVE DEMOS ~ FOOD ~ FUN ~ WAGON RIDES

Step into the past and join SSCI at the Armand Bayou Nature Center’s 38th Annual Martyn Farm Harvest Festival!

Learn about life on the Texas Gulf Coast Prairie and have some old-fashioned fun, including children’s games and crafts, a general store with homemade goodies, live demonstrations, handmade toys and crafts, wagon rides, music and dancers, butter-making with homemade biscuits, a pie-eating contest, food and drinks, baked goods, a raffle, and more!

38th Annual Martyn Farm Harvest Festival Flyer

Admission:

  • NON-MEMBER PRICES $12 for adults, $8 for kids (4-12) and seniors (60+)
  • MEMBER PRICES $10 for adults and $5 for kids (4-12) and seniors (60+).

On-site parking is $3. Free parking is available at UHCL lot D with a shuttle provided.
Purchase tickets at the gate or reserve your tickets online.

Baytown Wetland Delineation

As an Environmental Scientist at Separation Systems Consultants, Inc. (SSCI), Allyson Graziano performed a wetland delineation.  For two weeks, Allyson walked approximately 400 acres of land in Baytown, Texas near Cedar Bayou to locate and map out the wetlands in the area.  She saw many snakes, spiders, skinks, deer, frogs, cattle, horses and a large variety of plant species during their field work.  Together, they located eight wetlands, five tributary streams, two gullies and one bayou.  This was a large wetland delineation and one of the toughest Sites performed by SSCI.  The vegetation was thick, the streams were wide and deep, and the wildlife was abundant.
Allyson graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a concentration in Resource Biology and Biodiversity.  She is in training to become a Wetland Project Manager at SSCI.  While performing the field work, she learned more about what a complex wetland delineation entailed and broadened her knowledge of options a Client has if a wetland is found in terms of permitting and mitigation.  SSCI regularly works with Clients to help with their natural resource needs and to resolve complex environmental, remediation and engineering issues.

 

 

 

 

 

League City Historical Society Dinner-2018

SSCI was in attendance at the annual League City Historical Living History Society’s Dinner;  this year’s theme was “The Great War” (World War I). The Society is a non-profit organization that promotes and preserves the history of League City, Texas. It’s annual Living History Dinner is a fundraiser SSCI has supported for over a decade; proceeds benefit historical society projects like the “One-Room School House” and the West Bay Area Common School Children’s Museum. This year, the Silent Auction featured fine art by local artists, basket prizes and vintage architecture items; I won a special pet gift basket that included grooming services, shampoo and pet treats.
It was a sight to behold at Butler’s Courtyard as Historical Society members dressed in period costume, and the historical guest speaker Jeffery Hunt spoke as a soldier of the 36th Infantry Division (Texas National Guard). Mr. Hunt reminded us of the values created in the past, and what Americans have overcome as a state and as a country to get where we are today. The guest speaker closed thoughtfully from a WWI soldier’s point of view by asking the audience to remember what a great tragedy The Great War was, and his hopes that the devastation caused in its wake would not be repeated in the future. The audience was left to reflect on the fact that World War II would begin just 21 years later. For more information please visit the LCHS website:http://leaguecityhistory.org/

2018 SSCI Company Picnic

 

SSCI’s Annual Company Picnic was good, clean fun for our employees, their families, and friends. Every year the SSCI team gathers like family at Hodges’ Ranches for home-cooking and camaraderie. The occasion also gave the SSCI team a chance to get to know our newest team members on a more personal level. Office interactions become easier when employees find something in common with one another, and working relationships benefit by the acceptance of employees and their respective families It humanize those we see around the office and pays tribute to a more traditional form of social networking.The SSCI team and their respective families all came together in the relaxing environment, and the favorite activities among the kids included swimming and feeding horses.  Today, companies that organize family events are more likely to retain employees by investing in time spent with them outside of work to cultivate loyalty to the organization. In other words, the atmosphere creates a feeling of recognition and appreciation for employees and unites people with the company brand instead of chaining them to it. Like other contemporary businesses, SSCI  embraces this tradition, and the future remains bright.

SSCI in Support of Armand Bayou EcoCamp

Educating the public on the importance of conservation efforts is key, and what better place to start than with our community youth. As a parent, I learned that teaching kids starts at home, and environmental awareness is very important as Earth’s population continues to grow and spread. I chose to enlighten my two children at Armand Bayou Nature Center’s Summer EcoCamp. They loved it so much last year that they wanted to participate again this year.  Armand Bayou Nature center provides for children ages 4-13 programs that encourage observation, problem-solving and creativeness in the natural setting of the wetlands. ABNC EcoCamp gets kids outdoors to demonstrate how wetlands affect humans and animals by featuring hands-on activities like seining at the bayou, pond dipping, and scat identification, which is very entertaining to school-age groups. My kids enjoyed the seining most of all because they caught a snail and made it their group mascot for the day.

Wetlands along coastlands, like here in the Galveston area, are one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth because it provides a wide variety of food, nutrients, and shelter to a wide variety of indigenous plants and animals, as well as migratory birds, but public knowledge needs to be increased. Wetlands function as a giant water filter, extracting harmful pollutants from the water that flows through them.  When it rains, wetlands help prevent flooding of rivers by holding onto excess water like a sponge; during a drought, wetlands provide water to surrounding areas to keep the trees and animals alive. Wetlands are also “Biological Supermarkets” because they support so much animal and plant life that are unique to this ecosystem. Humans are impacted by wetland functions in many ways; for example, they recharge underwater aquifers, a large source of the potable water we use and drink daily.

Environmental programs, such as those at ANBC, provide a fun and educational foundation to act locally, and think globally. If you are interested in sending your child to EcoCamp or would like more information,

please visit their website:http://www.abnc.org/education/summer-ecocamp.html

SSCI Will be Celebrating Earth Day, April 21, 2018

SSCI will be celebrating Earth Day on, April 21, 2018 at the Party for the Planet  at Armand Bayou Nature Center.  Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about the environment.  The day, marked on April 22, is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects. The first Earth Day was in 1970.  For more information about the history of Earth Day, visit Live Science.

Party for the Planet is being hosted by Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) Board of Trustees.  ABNC stands out as one of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the United States, providing the community with exceptional educational, recreational, and health benefits of nearby nature. ABNC is planning for the future to ensure ecosystem preservation and to educate our community about preservation and the benefits of nature.  The Party for the Planet is on Saturday evening, April 21st with live music by Andy and the Dreamsicles.  The evening will be topped off with a catered dinner, dancing, charitable auctions, and games.