While Nick Bresser was in high school, a bridge down the street from where he lived abruptly closed when it was found to be structurally deficient. It took about a year for the bridge to be rehabilitated and reopened – a lifetime when the bridge is a part of your everyday travels! During that same period, Nick was trying to figure out what he wanted to study in college and realized that civil engineering was a career path that could have a lot of impact, especially when there is a lot of older and failing infrastructure across the country. As he pursued his degree at Drexel University, Nick found a passion for design in aviation and site development during his co-op with Urban, and joined the firm full time upon his graduation. (Learn more about our intern success stories here)
As a part of Urban’s aviation and site development group, Nick has had the luxury of working on many kinds of projects. On the aviation side, he designs the taxiways and aprons where airplanes maneuver outside of airport terminals. On the site development side, Nick works on designs for park trails and other new developments like housing and stores. A common thread of his work is to design underground utility connections to make sure new buildings have connections to public utilities like water and electricity. He also designs stormwater features to ensure that the rainwater that falls within the project site is captured and diverted to the proper places so that no flooding occurs. An important part of his job is making sure new facilities are accessible to people with any level of mobility.
In addition to his work with the firm, Nick has been assisting in the research for the ASCE Report Card in Pennsylvania. His work has been evaluating parks in the state. “It’s been very interesting to learn new things about certain parts of the state that I’ve never been to before or didn’t know much about,” Nick says. “ASCE’s Report Cards are important because once we have finished all our research, we will give a score on the state of the parks and comment on things that can be improved on, like accessibility, connectivity, equity, and future environmental needs.”
Nick’s design work extends beyond plans for airports and developments. At the beginning of the pandemic, Nick decided to get into sewing. Because Philadelphia has a ban on plastic bags, he designed and sewed his own bags to carry groceries. He has since expanded into clothing, hemming his own wears and making alternations to thrifted clothes to make them fit and be something he wants to wear.