Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Human Side of OCC

With the Holiday Season upon us, I am very happy to post this guest blog by one of OCC's most dedicated employees.  Below was written by Alyson Witkowski, feel free to contact her at

OCC, bolstered by the support of COWI Denmark, is steadily proving itself to be a foremost authority in coastal and waterfront engineering, while building a strong name for itself in wind energy. 

The driving force behind OCC’s successes, however, is its employees.  These employees, who work everyday in a mutually-beneficial synergy with COWI and our clients, have made a lasting impression on countless people.  They work diligently to provide the best services possible, while continuously learning and innovating in their chosen field.
Aftermath of the fire - interior

Beyond our employees' many contributions to the business world, they should also be recognized for the inter-personal relationships that have been forged, not only with clients, but with co-workers as well.  

One personal example of the bonds that tie us is the loss of my home in January 2010 to a building fire.  In the wake of losing everything right after the holiday season, OCC and its employees sprang into action.  In the first two days of the fire's aftermath, OCC generously donated a large gift card to my family to help provide us with immediate necessities including warm clothing, food, toiletries, etc.  One week later, OCC employees took it upon themselves to collect money and items, and were able to gift us with enough money to afford me the opportunity to buy a new bedroom for my young children, ready for when we were able to find a new home.  During that time and for months afterwards, OCC employees and clients showed their concern, their caring spirit and their grace with countless phone calls, emails, cards and donations that helped my family rebuild the life that we had known before the fire.

Aftermath of the fire - exterior

At this time of the year, during this season, I am reminded not of things lost or hardships overcome, but of spirit.  The spirit of generosity and selflessness at OCC is second to none.  For that, I am eternally thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving… and the warmest holiday wishes this season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

OCC Conducts Diving Observations of Historic USS Becuna

On October 27 and 28, 2010, Ocean and Coastal Consultants, Inc. (OCC) performed a survey of the USS Becuna's hull and adjacent port side timber dolphins at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, PA. The USS Becuna (SS/AGSS-319), a 66 year old BALAO-class submarine, is also a National Historic Landmark.  Launched on January 30, 1944, the USS Becuna currently measures 307.6 feet long by 27.3 feet beam and draws a 17 feet draft with 1,830 tons displaced when surfaced.  The USS Becuna was decommissioned on November 7, 1969 and has since had through-hull blanking plates installed upon all flooding and utility holes located throughout the hull.  The dive planes and rudder have been permanently fixed in position, and the forward and aft torpedo doors have all been permanently shut.

OCC performed an underwater video survey of the submarine dive plane, rudder and hull with representative ultrasonic thicknesses (UT) measurements of the blanking plates.  A survey was also completed of the two adjacent timber pile dolphins.  Inspection diving operations were conducted using a 3-man crew of engineer-divers with surface-supplied air diving equipment and continuous communications and video staged from a large van located on the adjacent relieving platform.

OCC continues to use its expertise in surveys and underwater inspections to prove itself as a valuable resource in the maritime industry.  OCC is looking forward to being a part of many new and exciting underwater projects coming up in 2011!

For more information, please contact Ronnie Munoz, EIT at

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Travel Update - Doug in Guyana!

When you think of business travel, you often think of flying business class, arriving in a glamorous city, sitting in meetings with a glass boardroom table and eating gourmet food.  The reality is flying economy and sitting in airports, arriving in a developing country on your own, trying to figure out where you are and how to get where you're going, struggling with inconsistent Internet and eating food that you know will make you sick!

So why do I do it? Why do I love to travel and experience new places?  First of all, the work is really interesting.  You are often faced with complex problems that your fresh perspective can solve, or maybe it's a new problem for the locals that you have solved before.  For example, Guyana's shoreline has very little sand.  It's mostly mud from the Amazon that flows in waves from east to west.  All of our numerical models and coastal engineering equations are based on sand.  So you really have to dig deep and understand the system from a whole new perspective.

The second reason I love to travel is meeting new people.  People are the same everywhere, with the same dreams and aspirations.  Some people work hard, others are lazy, and government employees have the same complaints whether it's the U.S. or a third world country.  Meeting people and seeing their living conditions renew my appreciation for life in the U.S., if not a little guilty for our excessive consumption and materialism.  I've met people who are very happy with a simpler life and find joy in sharing what they have.

It's surprising to me that we in the U.S. know very little about Guyana.  It is the only English speaking country in South America, and they have the lowest per capita income.  When I ask my taxi driver in the morning how he is, his answer is always "tryin'" It's a beautiful country once you're outside of the capital city Georgetown.  Just a few miles up the Essequibo River life is still wild.  The houses are elevated to keep snakes and jaguars out.  People beat the river water with sticks before swimming to chase the stingrays away.  Keiteur Falls is one of those Amazonian waterfalls that you only see in movies with a 714 foot drop.  And there is a tiny, poisonous, golden yellow frog that only lives at Keiteur in the leaves of a specific giant bromyliade.

So that's why I accept the hardships of business travel, and, every now and then I do get to go to paradise!