Spotlight – René Franks
René Franks is a Senior Associate and Team Leader of the Stormwater Team. She worked for the City of Midland for almost 20 years and reached the position of City Engineer. In 2010, she brought her expertise to Parkhill. She is an expert in floodplain management, floodplain hydrology and hydraulics, infrastructure design, and subdivision development. René has received an award for Young Engineer of the Year – Permian Basin Chapter of TSPE for her excellence in the field. Her work displays her passion, dedication, perseverance, and willingness to continue learning and growing in her profession.
Q. Why did you choose Parkhill?
RF: In my prior position with the City of Midland, I interacted with Parkhill frequently and was impressed by the firm’s technical capabilities and successful commitment to represent each client with integrity, even when clients’ interests might be at odds with one another.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job?
RF: I like to solve problems, and with my job it’s never the same one. Sometimes it’s a geometry problem (civil design layout). Sometimes it’s a technical issue such as researching the best product or installation method. Sometimes it is assisting a client with the best project strategy. I never run out of new things to learn.
Q. What is one of your greatest accomplishments in the time you’ve been at Parkhill?
RF: I’m not finished accomplishing this task, but I took over as leader of Parkhill’s Stormwater Team in 2015. In a few years I want to say that since then, our team has completed a number of projects that highlight our team’s broad range of technical abilities, and that our team is recognized as a go-to source for stormwater expertise in West Texas.
Q. Describe a time you were challenged during a project. How did you overcome that challenge?
RF: Just one challenge? Every project has them – design issues, budget limits, construction problems, documentation. I overcome challenges with careful attention to detail every step of the way by listening and communicating effectively with clients, outside agencies, Parkhill team members and contractors, applying my knowledge that comes from a highly varied career of over three decades, calling on internal Parkhill expertise to bring lots of ideas into each challenge and study to stay abreast with technological changes.
Q. What is one of your favorite projects? Why is that project one of your favorites?
RF: Lubbock Northwest Drainage Improvements Phase 2; This is a two-mile storm sewer project forming a final link from Maxey Park to Yellow House Draw, which will greatly reduce flooding potential for a hospital and neighborhoods. The pipe is 96” and 90” in diameter, placed as much as 45-feet deep, and it includes four tunnels. This project is impressive in size and difficulty because it has to run through a narrow street in an established neighborhood. It’s been a privilege to work on this one.