Employee Focus: Brian Mischel

Brian Mischel is Riverside’s program manager supporting on-site National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) projects for their National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS). He is a Project Management Institute-certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a 25+ year veteran of the space industry. He also served as a space systems officer in the U.S. Air Force, leaving the service as a Captain.

From chicken farmer to wine maker to Riverside program manager, Brian Mischel has done it all!

But Brian’s favorite thing to do is tend to his half-acre vineyard, Eartham House Vineyard, situated on the southern slopes of the Bull Run Mountains in northern Virginia, about 30 miles west of Washington, D.C. near the site of the Civil War Bull Run battlefields. He grows Vidal Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes, selling most to local Virginia wineries, but keeping enough to produce under his own label.

This year, Brian harvested 3,000 pounds of Vidal Blanc for Quattro Gumba Winery in Aldie, Virginia.  The resulting 220 gallons of wine are being aged in stainless steel and will be bottled as a single varietal sometime in the spring.  Brian also harvested an additional 250 pounds of his reds that are currently undergoing malolactic fermentation in his own production facilities. These will age in oak for a year before being blended and bottled under Brian’s label. If you find yourself in Haymarket, VA, stop by for a tasting!

  1. What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at work?

Reading history, working in the vineyard, and travelling.

  1. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

I was once a chicken farmer. I’ve been working non-stop since 7th grade, and this was my first job. I made $1/hour picking up eggs, feeding, cleaning pens, discarding carcasses, etc. at a hatchery in Wisconsin. After that job, I could not eat chicken for years. Now I have two dozen pecking around the yard at home.

  1. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I’d be a college professor in ancient and European history.

  1. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I’ve lived in Australia and Canada as well as in England twice.

  1. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list?

Napoleon, Julius Caesar, Hannibal, and Alexander the Great.  It would be fascinating to watch the strategic competitiveness among the world’s greatest generals.

  1. What was your favorite subject in school and why?

History, and it’s still a passion unblemished by not having to make a living by it.

  1. If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

The Battle of Austerlitz, seated next to the Emperor Napoleon.

  1. Tell us about your most unique travel experience.

I traveled to French Guiana as part of the launch campaign for the Astra 1D spacecraft.  While there, I went on a jungle trip, fished for piranha, and visited the French Foreign Legion base (and they let me out again!).

  1. What’s your #1 item on your bucket list?

To walk the full 80-mile length of Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.

  1. What’s on or in your nightstand?

Heart of Europe, The Holy Roman Empire by Peter H. Wilson.  It’s the antithesis of exciting reading –  only 686 pages!

  1. Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Liver and onions.  I still have nightmares of returning from grade school and smelling it from a block away.

  1. What are you most proud of?

Having cleared, installed, and planted my vineyard without killing myself.  You could usually tell where I was on the property from the buzzards circling overhead.

  1. What’s an ability you wish you had?

I would love the ability to speak foreign languages, but I seem to have no ability to retain the vocabulary or hear the words.

Riverside Awarded World Bank-funded Project for the Brahmaputra River

Riverside Technology, inc., a recognized industry leader in river basin planning, modeling and management, and institutional development supporting climate, weather, and water programs, was recently awarded a contract with the World Bank’s South Asia Water Initiative. SAWI is a five-year multi-donor trust fund that aims to increase regional cooperation in the management of the major Himalayan river systems in South Asia.

Riverside’s contract will improve shared understanding and management of the Brahmaputra River basin. The Brahmaputra River is nearly 2,000 miles long and flows through China, India, and Bangladesh. This project will develop know

Riverside’s latest project in Bangladesh aims to increase the region’s understanding and management of the Brahmaputra River basin in the face of population growth and climate change.

ledge and modeling tools for use in Bangladesh, specifically assessing the potential impacts of upstream dams, river diversions, climate change, and other natural and human impacts in the basin. Bangladesh is a rapidly growing country dealing with complex problems associated with food security, population pressure, and natural disasters, including floods and droughts. Through gaining a better understanding of the dynamics of the Brahmaputra river basin and prioritizing development issues though a stakeholder consultation process, Riverside will be able to advise SAWI and the Government of Bangladesh on how best to model and manage basin water resources r to identify and satisfy social, economic, and environmental priorities.

Riverside has partnered with Bangladesh-based company EIMS, who will provide experts in economic policy and development, transboundary water resources management, fisheries, and environmental flows.

Our team of experts, which includes EIMS as well as additional consultants and researchers, provides the appropriate balance of international expertise and local knowledge.

“We’ve assembled a great team of Bangladesh and U.S. researchers and analysts for this project,” said Tim Martin, Riverside’s Vice President of International Programs. “The Brahmaptura River basin faces enormous challenges with changes in climate, population growth, and development pressures. A model of the basin will be an important tool for analyzing impacts and planning for long-term water security.”

Work on this project has already begun and is scheduled to run through March 2017.

Travel and conferences on the agenda for Riverside this week

A couple members of Riverside’s leadership team are on the road this week, presenting our project experience as well as gathering more knowledge to boost future work. Riverside’s Director of Business Development, Brian Ashe, is attending the 15th Annual Energy Conference, hosted by MDA Information Systems, in Las Vegas on Thursday, October 13, where he’ll be leading a discussion on our work on a water supply forecast system for the Columbia River. The three-day conference features industry-leading experts discussing events and topics currently impacting the energy markets, including MDA Weather’s own seasonal outlook for the upcoming heating season.

Meanwhile, also on Thursday, our VP of International Affairs, Tim Martin, will take the short drive across town in our headquarters of Fort Collins, Colorado for the 9th Annual International Conference on Irrigation and Drainage, which is taking place at Colorado State University all this week. The conference, put on by the U.S. Society for Irrigation and Draining Professionals, is focused on “Improving Irrigation Water Management – Latest Methods in Evapotranspiration and Supporting Technologies.”

Riverside studies butterflies

Keith Hamilton began working as a Riverside contract employee to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2015. He normally works out of the office in Fort Collins, Colorado, but he recently spent two weeks at the Washita National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma to help monitor the area’s monarch butterflies, milkweed, and blooming nectar plants. During this time, Keith also evaluated the data collection methods being used by field technicians during this pilot year of data collection.

Riverside’s Keith Hamilton spent two weeks in Oklahoma as part of the Monarch Monitoring Trial.

Keith’s work is a part of the Monarch Monitoring Trial, which is being conducted this year through a partnership between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and multiple citizen science groups. The initiating force behind these efforts is the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, released by the White House in May 2015. The steps happening now will form the basis of a long-term, widespread monitoring effort of monarch butterflies. Keith’s findings will be shared among the program heads and guidance-document authors at the Monarch Monitoring Trial Workshop at the University of Minnesota later this month.  We’re proud that Keith is representing Riverside in this important effort!

Employee Focus: Jessica McLeod

Jessica McLeod came on board at Riverside earlier this year as our Accounts Payable Specialist. She wasn’t just new to Riverside, though; she was new to the home state of our headquarters, Colorado. Jessica moved with her fiancé and two children from Wichita, Kansas to Fort Collins to pursue careers. Jessica maintains a connection to Kansas, however, by continuing her education through online classes with Fort Hays State University, where she is working toward her degree in Accounting.

Kansas girl Jessica McLeod takes on accounting for Riverside, college, and motherhood — all at the same time! Now who’s the “Supergirl?”

1. What three traits describe you?

I’m grateful, opinionated (at times), and persistent.

2. What are your favorite things to do when you’re not at work?

Spend time with family and friends, hike in the mountains, and binge-watch anything on Netflix. Right now, I am watching “Supergirl” and “American Horror Story.”

3. Tell us your guilty pleasure.

My guilty pleasures are Candy Crush Soda Saga, Trolli Sour Gummi Worms, and Netflix.

4. What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

For a short period of time before I started college, I used to work for a couple of individuals who owned different types of birds. They owned over a hundred of them. My job responsibility was to clean the bird poop out of the cages.

5. Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

I don’t like birds or spiders.

6. What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?

I would love to just live on the beach, read as many books as I could, and take as many naps as I wanted.  

7. Who lives in your house?

My fiancé and I live with our two children, Weston (age 6) and Ayla (age 4), and our 2-year-old male German Shepherd named Talon.

8. If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, dead or alive, who makes the guest list? 

I would have to invite Melissa McCarthy, Jimmy Fallon, Leslie Jones, and Amy Poehler. It would be a funny dinner for sure.

9. What was your favorite subject in school and why?

I hated writing papers so English wasn’t a favorite at all, but I loved algebra.

10. What kind of music do you listen to?

I like to listen to a variety of music, but my favorite at this moment is Halsey.

11. What is the greatest achievement you’ve accomplished in your life so far? 

Completing college, working full-time, and becoming a parent to two beautiful children, all at the same time.

12. You can only eat the same three foods for the rest of your life. What are they?

I would be able to eat chicken, pizza, and sour gummi worms for the rest of my life.

13. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?

To be able to mentally communicate with people.

14. What’s on your nightstand?

A bunch of hair ties. I don’t like going to bed knowing that I could potentially slobber in my own hair.

15. Name a food item you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole.

Anything that has to do with eating bugs. No way.

16. What are you most proud of?

Being able to keep a fish alive for more than two years.

17. What’s an ability you wish you had?

I would like to have the ability to know the past of everything and everyone I come in contact with.

18. If you could choose one amenity to add to the workplace, what would it be?

An on-site coffee shop or café. This would be a time-saving incentive for everyone involved.