Sidney Green, PE, ENV SP
When Sidney Green, PE, ENV SP, set up a table tennis tournament for Freese and Nichols’ Fort Worth office, it was the first time he’d played the game. No matter. He was up for the challenge, both as an organizer and a rookie competitor. The event was a hit with the participants – and even though he lost early, he was inspired to improve.
It was typical of Sidney’s mindset: He likes to solve problems and try new adventures. He brings that to his role as a transportation project manager, where he helps design residential roads, sidewalk improvements, roundabouts and even paths for cyclists, pedestrians and trail walkers.
Sidney’s aptitude for math and science found direction when he was in middle school and got invited to apply for a specialized high school (in Missouri City, Texas, his hometown) with a curriculum geared toward engineering. That opportunity meshed with his innate curiosity about how to make things work.
“My Dad has always been my hero. He works with his hands, working with cars, trying to solve problems,” Sidney said.
At Texas Tech University, he landed on transportation as a focus area. “Transportation is harmonizing,” he said. A transportation project can involve straightforward structural or repair work, or it might require roadway and drainage improvements. A more elaborate project like a roundabout could require collaboration with multiple technical groups, from landscape architects to lighting experts.
“There easily could be six different groups working on a project,” he said.
Sidney credits his military experience for helping him develop teamwork and leadership skills. He joined the Army National Guard while attending Texas Tech and remained in the active reserves for several years into his Freese and Nichols career.
In 2017, two years after he started as an engineer-in-training, he was called into active National Guard service for two months when Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf Coast. He helped set up his unit’s headquarters in Katy, Texas, near Houston, and was responsible for keeping vehicles available, helping get troops where they were needed and training younger soldiers. If that wasn’t demanding enough, he was studying for the professional engineer exam at the time – and passed it shortly after his deployment ended. He’s also certified as an Envision Sustainability Professional by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.
What does your job involve?
I started out designing residential roads, road reconstructions, sidewalk improvements and drainage. Now, I work on miles-long bypass loops, some trail projects and roundabouts.
Transportation involves a lot of elements that could include where to locate utilities, environmental considerations, improvement of sightlines at intersections, parking and pedestrian lighting. We have to think about safety measures, such as the proper location of landscaping so it doesn’t block drivers’ sight. We look at traffic analysis, safe traffic speeds and where to locate stop signs. With a roundabout, you look at speed, sight distances and landscaping. If a lot of trucks will be using it, you have to plan for their turning movement. We also consider drainage improvements on and around roads.
For a project that mainly involves transportation, I’ll have a large role. If it’s a roundabout, the team could include a stormwater engineer, landscape architect, and specialists in environmental, lighting and irrigation.
At one point, I was a lead designer, then I transitioned from the Fort Worth office to the Dallas office to take on the role as a project manager and the additional responsibilities tied into that.
What do you find rewarding about your work?
I get to see — and use – the projects I help design. I’m able to see how my designs have directly impacted the community.
I like dealing with clients that are as excited as I am about the proposed improvements. They have a good grasp of the benefits that come along with the improvements and how they’re helping their community.
My girlfriend and I will walk on a trail, and I’ll know I helped make it possible. We’ll also go out and walk and think about alternative design considerations to consider for future projects. We’re a couple of nerds for sure.
What’s your favorite part about working at Freese and Nichols?
I like the culture here. It’s easy to talk to people. You also can get different experiences. We all have the same goal of helping our communities and being involved. It’s very reminiscent of my time in the military where we all have similar goals but come from different backgrounds.
I work with good managers. You can come to them with professional and personal stuff. We get good work, too, and we’re very attentive to clients.
We also have a lot of activities where people can come together, such as costume contests and an annual chili cookoff. Then there are plenty of volunteer opportunities, like Canstruction, Habitat for Humanity, Trash Bash and Operation Christmas Child.
What’s your advice to young professionals?
Try to improve your golf game before playing in the golf tournament. Embarrassing yourself (myself) at the golf tournament is my thing.
On a more serious note, my advice is to be curious and try to get involved. Freese and Nichols has a lot of opportunities available internally, but there’s also a slew of opportunities elsewhere. I’ve made great connections with others through a dodgeball league. Kind of joined on a whim, but we assembled a team consisting mostly of FNI employees and had a blast.
What do you do for fun?
I play video games — probably too much — like The Binding of Isaac.
I also do indoor rock climbing; I have strength but not the technique so much, but I’m working on improving that. In addition to the Fort Worth office table tennis competition, I helped fuel the sports rivalry between the Fort Worth and Dallas offices. I occasionally play kickball in a league or get picked up for a kickball tournament. I’ve also bowled somewhat regularly since I was 19. I’ve never bowled a perfect game, but I’ve had a few good runs.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m really into bowling and have my own bowling ball and shoes. Both my parents bowled in league when I was a kid. Though my mom has retired from the game (for the most part), my dad still challenges me whenever we’re in town together. I don’t think either of us has ever turned down an offer to go bowling. He still beats me the majority of the time, but every now and then I’ll secure a win.