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  • Writer's pictureNadean Carson

The Lightbulb Moment: How it all started

It was an unusually quiet day on the jobsite. The construction had moved mainly inside the hotel, so the exterior was vacant of most of the workers. I conducted my stormwater inspection in relative quiet, walking around the outside of the building, looking at all the sediment control measures that had been called out on the plans. I walked up to a curb inlet protection, one I had looked at and remarked on for the past four weeks. It was painfully obvious that someone had attempted to put stone up to protect the storm lines that had already been installed, but the intention did not equal the ability. The stone was piled in random groupings, with no wire installed to keep it out of the inlet. I knew that once again my report would reflect this deficiency, and once again, nothing would be done about it.

The general contractor wanted to be in compliance, and everyone wanted the brand new storm lines to be clean and in working order when the site was complete, but there was simply no one on the site to fix this curb inlet.

The grading contractor who was tasked with the installation and maintenance of these items had left the site, and the majority of their contract was fulfilled. If push came to shove, they would begrudgingly send a laborer back to the site to fix the item, but they truly didn’t have the labor to spare. To compound the issue, the guy sent to the site would likely not know how to fix the inlet protection and not be able to do it correctly.

It wasn’t enough to want to be in compliance, they needed to have the means to do it.

It was the definition of a lightbulb moment. I realized that there needed to be “someone” to not only identify the issues that needed to be fixed but to also fix it!! Someone that had the knowledge and labor to correct stormwater deficiencies. It isn’t enough to say “things need to be fixed”, they needed someone to correct them. I knew at that moment, staring at that janky inlet protection that I needed to create a stormwater contractor company, focusing on the correct installation and maintenance of these features. Not only would it keep the sites in compliance, but it would also protect the stormwater lines that had already been installed, as well as our local waterways.

Complying with the stormwater regulations is not a sexy part of the job, and it sure doesn’t help the grading contractor make any money, so it is generally seen as a nuisance. Why not specialize in doing the thing no one wanted to do, taking that burden off of them, doing it the right way, using state-of-the-art resources, and keeping the storm systems functioning as designed? That was the day that the seed for Oya Construction was planted, and I went to work creating the career of a lifetime.

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