Michael Thiemann has been at Riverside for 17 years and is a Senior Water Resources Engineer and Group Leader. He specializes in forecast and decision support system implementation, integration and administration, and hydrologic model development and calibration, as well as software design and maintenance. You’ll get on his good side if you bring him German candy while playing techo music.
- What three traits describe you?
Driven. Reliable. Impatient.
- What motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about in your career?
I like to solve problems and make things better within the current constraints. Doing it without constraints is too easy. And I like working with people who do not take life too seriously.
- Tell us your guilty pleasure.
A Manhattan in the evening, ideally with some good German candy.
- What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
Weirdest: Weighting trucks full of fertilizer, not understanding the weird dialect of the local Bavarian farmers who drove them.
Grossest: Doing elder care and not having gloves around when big things happen (no pun intended)
- Who lives in your house (people, pets, etc.)?
Wife Gretchen, Hannah (14), and Lukas (12). All our pets have died of age or various sorts of neglect by the kids.
- Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I lived in South Africa for almost five years as a kid.
- If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?
I’m not big into dead people so:
- Nelson Mandela – looked forward instead of backward, forgiveness instead of retaliation
- Mikhail Gorbachev – ditto (at least for the first part)
- Elon Musk – great visionary who actually does stuff (and has a weird name)
- Angela Merkel – shows compassion against all odds
- What kind of music do you listen to?
What I grew up with as a teenager/young adult was techno, trance, industrial. It’s a good thing most lyrics are in German otherwise you would think I am disturbed. But I also love classical music.
- What is the greatest achievement you’ve accomplished in your life so far?
Raising my kids with them turning to be very good with music instead of becoming drug addicts (knock on wood!)
- You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they?
Soft pretzels. Cheese. Tomatoes. Or beer if that is a food???
- If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
- If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
Patience, but right now, I don’t have time to wait for it.
- Tell us about your most unique travel experience.
Being stranded on a tiny Caribbean Island with little water and much alcohol, which the teenage me and my friends though was a good idea. Not so much after two days in the sun…
- Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
Anchovies. No anchovies, please!
- Tell me about your best friend.
He’s a great guy from Iowa, a dentist in town. He’s the best skier I know and as a true Midwesterner, he’s super nice and reliable.
16. Tell us about your best live performance experience.
Seeing the Rolling Stones in a 100,000-person stadium in Munich. The stage was several floors high, and the music was so loud that we could hear it from a few miles away, when we had to park on the interstate since everything else was full. We hooked up with a gang of Scotts, who we could not understand at all. It was lots of fun.
17. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?
Maybe Manhattans after 5pm? Or pretzels? Or cheese? Or beer? But, no anchovies, please!