Michelle Franke is a geotechnical engineer in Colorado and has been with Tetra Tech since 2018. She received a degree in geological engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Her love of collecting rocks led her to an independent study geology class in high school. After that class, she decided to pursue geology in college and found the engineering aspect interesting, resulting in her geological engineering degree. Michelle loves new challenges and problem solving and believes geotechnical engineering provides a great mix of problem solving and geologic considerations. We spoke with Michelle as part of our #TtInspires campaign celebrating the passion of Tetra Tech employees. Follow #TtInspires on social media for more stories.

What originally attracted you to Tetra Tech?

I had a friend who worked for Tetra Tech, and she had great things to say about the people she worked with and the projects she worked on. I saw an ad on LinkedIn and decided to apply. I really wanted to jump in and learn and work with a great team. I definitely have experienced the environment I hoped for! I have learned so much in my time at Tetra Tech. Every project is a little different, so there is something new to learn on each one. I work with a great team who have helped me to learn and grow as an engineer.

Tell us about some of the projects you have worked on at Tetra Tech that have been the most inspirational to you.

I do a good deal of field work, and I really enjoy it. I mostly perform geotechnical drilling and construction observation. I also had the opportunity to conduct a geological characterization of a dam in Colorado.

One of the projects that is inspirational is the Sylvan Lake Dam project. It is a rehabilitation project where we breached the dam; removed all the outlet works; replaced the outlet works, outlet pipe, intake structure, and outlet structure; and constructed a roller-compacted concrete face on the downstream side. I got the opportunity to be part of the construction observation team on that project. It was extremely interesting to see the mechanics of a dam firsthand and to witness the dam being put back together, and we all learned a lot by watching the work in action.

What do you do outside of work that makes a difference for the environment?

I ride the bus to save on gas and reduce carbon emissions, and I recycle. In my opinion, we can all make small changes every day that help improve the quality of our life. The environment we live in has a large impact on our quality of life, so it is important to me to protect it.