The Crucial Role of Land Surveyors in Shaping Our World


This week, we celebrate National Land Surveyors Week. We want to highlight the integral role surveyors play in engineering, construction, and urban planning by showcasing the impact they have on communities.

The primary objective of a land surveyor is to gather accurate and reliable data to support land development, construction projects, and establish and maintain boundaries based upon record and practice standards. Their expertise in boundary surveys, topographic surveys, construction staking, and land development ensures accurate data and precise measurements for legal, engineering, and construction purposes.

Land surveyors undertake a multifaceted array of tasks crucial to the smooth functioning of land development and legal processes. They meticulously measure angles and distances between points, whether below, on, or above Earth’s surface, utilizing sophisticated tools and techniques to ensure accuracy.

In addition to fieldwork, they delve into the depths of survey records, land titles, and historical data, conducting thorough research to inform their assessments. Often traversing diverse terrains, they travel to different locations to identify key features that shape the landscape, all while keeping an eye out for signs of previous boundaries to ascertain their current placement.

Back in their offices, they dedicate themselves to preparing detailed maps, reports, and plots, each element carefully crafted to convey essential information to engineers, developers, and legal professionals. Their attention to detail extends to recording survey results, verifying data accuracy to uphold the integrity of their findings.

When the time comes to present their conclusions, land surveyors adeptly communicate their findings to government agencies and clients, providing clarity and insight into complex land matters. Furthermore, they play a pivotal role in officially establishing water and land boundaries for leases and deeds, lending authority to legal agreements and property rights. In essence, land surveyors are the backbones of land development and legal processes, their expertise shaping the landscapes we inhabit and the boundaries that define them.

Project Spotlight: North Dakota Lead Service Line Inventory


Project Importance

Lead, once common in pipes delivering drinking water into homes, was banned for this purpose by Congress in 1986. Despite the prohibition, the legacy of lead service lines remains a significant public health concern, particularly for children. Recognizing the urgency, the federal government took substantial steps in 2021, introducing the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) to the Safe Water Drinking Act. A key element of The Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan, the LCRR mandates that all public water systems create, submit, and maintain an inventory of lead service lines, playing a crucial role in replacement plans and securing potential funding for initiatives.

B&A’s Role

Burian & Associates is leading North Dakota communities in this crucial initiative to remove lead from drinking water. We provide guidance on the associated issues and are actively involved in developing compliant lead service line inventories for 34 public water systems across the state. Our LCRR compliance approach aims to assist communities in conducting precise inventories using methods that are not only cost-effective and minimally intrusive, but also community centric.

Our approach commences with city staff meetings and a thorough examination of accessible historical records. Following this, we actively involve the public, encouraging their participation in identifying their respective service lines. Our dedicated team employs a user-friendly approach by disseminating educational “do-it-yourself” customized notices, aiding individuals in determining whether lead is a concern in their homes or businesses. This step-by-step method facilitates the collection of critical information and establishes an efficient process for sharing it, which enables our team to confidently assess the accuracy of self-performed analyses and ensure the creation of a comprehensive and precise inventory.

Beyond saving utility operators and managers time, our strategy builds trust between the public and the water utility, raising awareness of a complex and nationwide public health concern. Ultimately, this lays the foundation for ongoing and effective lead service line removal initiatives.

What You Can Do

Interested in your own service line? Use the following link to assist in identifying your service line material: Find the lead pipes in your home (

Burian & Associates New Hire Spotlight: Lower

Burian & Associates welcomes Matt Lower as the Director of Planning and Client Development, working in Fargo, North Dakota. Matt is a seasoned consultant with expertise in organizational strategy, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, economic development, and public-private partnerships. As the Director of Planning and Client Development, Matt collaborates with clients to formulate strategies that propel their objectives and yield successful outcomes. With extensive experience, he has provided valuable counsel to communities in the upper Midwest and throughout the nation on their planning, engineering, and construction projects.

Matt has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the University at Buffalo, a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Eastern Washington University and attended archaeological field school at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the United States.

Before becoming a part of the B&A team, Matt spearheaded consulting projects for telecommunications infrastructure across six states at CTC Technology and Energy. Notably, he played a key role in the $6 billion California Middle Mile Broadband Initiative. Matt also served as an advisor to the Newsom Administration and the California Government Operations Agency, contributing to permitting reform and the facilitation of streamlined infrastructure deployment. His prior experience includes managing a public sector consulting practice at a regional A/E/C firm and holding senior economic and community development positions within municipal and tribal governments.

Matt enjoys working with remote and emerging communities and fostering public-private partnerships. He is also passionate about placemaking, walkability, and transportation choice.

“Burian & Associates represents a unique and exceptional opportunity, seamlessly blending decades of industry leadership with the nimbleness of a startup. I am thrilled to be part of a team that delivers world-class service tailored to each customer’s specific needs,” expressed Matt.

Steve Burian, President and CEO of Burian & Associates, noted, “We are excited to add new leadership and expertise for the planning services provided by Burian & Associates. Matt’s vision, passion, energy, and experience will greatly benefit our clients.”

Outside of the work environment, Matt is a proud two-time winner of the Eastern Washington University Urban and Regional Planning Chili Cook-off, a husband, and a father of an infant son.

Veteran’s Day

In the US, November 11 (Veterans Day) is a designated day in which we remember and thank those that served or serve in the armed forces and worked or work to protect our freedom. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight one of our employees and thank him for his service. Troy Kostek served in the military for a total of 15 years.

At Burian and Associates, we are proud to have people with a variety of experiences and backgrounds. These different characteristics make our company stronger. They also make it so we can provide better and more well-rounded solutions to our clients. Our work is enhanced when we can relate to our clients in different ways.

While Veterans Day is important to all of us and we should each take time to remember and give thanks, we also think it is important to hear the voices of those who have served. With this in mind, we asked Troy to tell us more about what Veteran’s Day means to him.

In what branch(es) of the military did you serve and for how many years?

United States Air Force (USAF) – 4yrs

US Army – 3 yrs

USAF – 8yrs (Embedded Contractor)

What does Veteran’s Day mean to you?

Veteran’s Day is to honor all those who served and sacrificed in the defense of our country. All gave some and some gave all. Without all those who have served, yesterday and today, we would be without the freedom and liberty we all enjoy.

For me, as a Veteran, it is an honor being part of a family of brothers and sisters through history that have come from all walks of life, races, and religions to stand together and defend the USA, our Constitution, our families, and our way of life. I am proud to have been a part of that family and I am thankful for all those who also serve, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

What would you like people to celebrate/remember on November 11?

Remember and thank those who served. I know I will.

How do you feel being a Veteran has impacted you as a person?

Beyond the education and training that serving in the US Military provided me, the leadership skills and dedication it instilled in me, and the great friendships forged, it has also taught me that as a society we can celebrate our differences, stand together with pride as a nation and accomplish great things.

Thank you Troy!

We are proud to work beside people that have served our country with honor. Thank you to all those who have served.

Burian & Associates New Hire Spotlight: Stauss

Burian & Associates is excited to welcome Jenny Stauss to its Grand Forks Office as a Senior Project Manager. Jenny brings unique and extensive project management experience, and passion for attention to detail, problem solving, research, and data analysis to her position at Burian & Associates.

Jenny’s background includes an undergraduate degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Management Information Systems. Her work experience includes being a Technical Support Engineer for Great Plains Software (now Microsoft), the Customer Service Team Lead for Amazon, and most recently working for Ideal Aerosmith in a variety of positions – Purchasing, Materials Manager, Production Planning, and Project Management.

In her 22.5 years at Ideal Aerosmith, Jenny worked with mechanical and electrical engineers and production project teams to plan projects, identify resources, and drive schedules to meet commitments to customers. Her emphasis was project management of the contract manufacturing services Ideal Aerosmith provided to the aerospace industry.

“I am excited to be joining a new and growing company that will challenge me every day,” expressed Jenny.

Sarah Sesselman, Director of Development at Burian & Associates, noted “We’re fortunate to have Jenny join our Team! We are really looking forward to the wide-ranging project management experience and fresh perspective she will be able to share with our Team and our Clients!”

Jenny has hit the ground running in Grand Forks by assisting in User Outreach on the RRVWSP. Jenny is also assisting on the ND DEQ Lead Service Line projects and is currently managing seven of the cities we have been awarded with more to come.

Jenny is a very detail-oriented person and enjoys projects that require extensive research, information management, and planning upfront. Jenny is an amazing addition to the Burian and Associates team and she will, and already has started to, make an impact on our work going forward.

Project Spotlight-Memorial Village ll

Written by: Katie Mowat, EIT, MS
Date: 9/19/23

Burian and Associates is excited to be part of the Memorial Village II (The Fieldhouse at Memorial Village) project at the University of North Dakota. This is a $49 million combined project that is being made possible through a public/private partnership between the City of Grand Forks, UND Athletics, the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, the Memorial Village Development Group, and donors Dave and Alexa Albrecht. This project includes a mixed-use building (commercial and apartments) and a new 500-seat softball field.















Figure 1-Rendering of Memorial Village II provided by Rise Design Group.

The five story, mixed-use building will have commercial space on parts of the first and second floors as well as residential on the other parts of those floors and on the three additional floors. There will be diverse living arrangements with 1, 2, 3, and 4 beds, studios, and ADA studios located throughout the different floors. The tenants will also have access to multiple amenities, lounges, and patios. The Hawk’s Perch (observation deck) is positioned to overlook the new softball field and there will also be a roof top deck.















Figure 2- Rendering of Albrecht Field provided by ICON.

Articles by UND Today and Campus Renewal noted that site clearing is already underway (Criswell, 2023; Murphy, 2023). As of the third week of September concrete pouring for the project foundations has also started (Burian, 2023). The groundbreaking was celebrated on October 3, 2023.

Community Contractors has been contacted to build both Memorial Village II and the Softball Field. TL Stroh out of Fargo and Rise Design group are doing the architectural design for the multi-use building and ICON Architectural Group is doing the design for the Softball Field. Burian and Associates is doing the civil engineering for the whole project. This includes the designs for the water service, wastewater service, egress, ingress, stormwater management, parking, and site grading (Burian, 2023).

As an extension of the civil engineering work for the project, Burian and Associates is designing a new regional stormwater pond. This pond will collect all the stormwater for east campus to improve downstream water quality and quantity. Burian and Associates has also designed a new sanitary sewer extension for the City of Grand Forks. This extension was needed since the old line was built at the same time as the old stadium in 1918, was not able to handle the compacity that is needed now, was located in an undesirable spot with all the new projects going on, and was made of old clay material that is no longer used for sanitary sewer lines.

Steve Burian (President and CEO of Burian and Associates) through a sister company of Burian and Associates, Kevin Ritterman through a sister company of Dakota Commercial, and Greg Tweten of Community Contractors are, among other investors, the ones developing and owning the multi-use building (Burian, 2023). All three of the above mentioned are alumni of the University of North Dakota making this project and the ability to provide their skills back to their university unique and special.

UND’s Softball team agrees with how special this project is as stated in the article by UND Today, they “are ‘extremely excited’ and ‘thankful’ to everyone who helped make their new field possible” (Criswell, 2023). Furthermore, in the UND Today article, “UND Athletics director Bill Chaves referred to” the field “as ‘yet another piece of an amazing facilities upgrade for intercollegiate athletics,’” and the field “promises to be a game-changer for the team.”

In a conversation with Steve Burian, he said that he is excited to see Memorial Village ll as an extension of Memorial Village l and that both projects are moving the University of North Dakota to another level (Burian, 2023). He pointed out that the multi-use building will provide some really nice commercial amenities and high-end living spaces on campus. The building will also be located on one of the most prominent corners in Grand Forks.

Memorial Village ll will seamlessly connect to Memorial Village I and the rest of campus. Memorial Village ll will be connected via the Columbia Road skywalk to the UND parking structure on the other side of Columbia Road that is then connected to the University Student Union (Murphy, 2023). Thus, Memorial Village ll will be intimately connected to the UND Campus.

Burian and Associates is thrilled to be part of the Memorial Village ll project. We are already in the middle of working on the civil engineering design. It is exciting to be able to work on a project that will have such an impact on the UND community and landscape.



Burian, S. (2023, September 18). Personal Conversation.

Criswell, W. (2023, September 12). New diamond in crown of UND Athletics. UND Today.

Murphy, C. (2023, September 12). Memorial Village II. Campus Renewal.

Burian & Associates New Hire Spotlight: Mowat

Burian & Associates welcomes Katie Mowat as an engineering assistant working from Lincoln, Nebraska. Katie is passionate about people, enjoys expanding her knowledge, and is excited to be working as a civil engineer after being in higher education for nine years. She brings a unique outlook to Burian & Associates due to her educational background and experiences working in multiple areas of engineering.

Katie has an undergraduate degree in civil engineering, a master’s degree in environmental engineering, and is working towards a doctorate in engineering education research. She is also an engineer-in-training and is working towards becoming a professional engineer.

Over the last nine years, while working on her education, Katie has worked for a city, a run-of-the river hydroelectric project, an educational furniture manufacturer, a concrete and sand quality control lab, and has helped design septic fields in remote areas.

During her graduate education, Katie has studied treatment of hazardous air pollutants from ethanol plants using bio-trickling filters. She has researched self-efficacy of K-12 teachers teaching engineering and looked at faculty emotions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her dissertation focusses on perceptions of skills needed for engineers to work in the agricultural technology start-up field.

Sarah Sesselman, Director of Development at B & A observed, “To have Katie join our team is very exciting! She brings a unique set of high caliber skills gained from her tireless commitment to her engineering education. We look forward to having the opportunity to work with and support Katie as she finishes up her doctorate degree and transitions to the consulting engineering world.”

“I am excited to work for a company that values commitment, quality, innovation, improvement, and accountability. It is great to be working with fellow employees from all different backgrounds that are all focused on how to best serve our clients,” expressed Katie. She is a great addition to the Burian and Associates team and will make an impact on our work going forward and the world around her.


100-Year Flood or Drought: Why Do We Care?


About a month ago, Southern California was hit by Tropical Storm Hilary, the first tropical storm to land in California in 84 years. On August 20, 2023, San Diego had its wettest day on record and Palm Springs set a new record for most rain in a single day. The rain from the storm resulted in flooding, mudflows, sinkholes, and power outages across southern California.

Flooding is a natural disaster that can result in loss of life or property, damage infrastructure, facilities, and agriculture, and affect water and wastewater supply and treatment.  When California was hit back in 1939 by a tropical storm, North Dakota was still experiencing a very different type of extreme weather: drought.  All through the 1930s, North Dakota (and the rest of the Midwest) experienced drought with 1934 and 1936 both setting records for the driest year on record.

One of the ways extreme weather can be categorized is through frequency analysis. The term 100-year flood or 500-year flood might come to mind. This does not mean that an event like the one that just happened in California will only occur once every 10 or 500 years, but rather that the recurrence interval, or chance of it happening in a given year, is 1 in 100 (1%) or 1 in 500 (0.2%). This same idea can also be used to define droughts (chances of it occurring in a certain time frame); however, droughts tend to happen over longer periods when compared to floods. The amount (or lack) of water making up a 100-year flood (or drought) are what engineers use in their planning considerations and design calculations.

Engineers use these extreme weather events, such as the flood in California and the 1930’s drought in North Dakota, when they design flood mitigation or drought resiliency projects. Currently, the Burian and Associates team is part of the consulting team for the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRVWSP). When fully constructed, this project will deliver water from the Missouri River in the McClusky Canal via pipeline to the Sheyenne River for communities and rural water districts in central and eastern North Dakota to combat drought and support economic development. Through modeling efforts for the project, our team is using historical information across several climate indicators (including drought and flood years) to analyze water availability leading up to, during, and following drought years.

The RRVWSP is currently under construction and received generous funding support from the North Dakota Legislature in 2023. When completed, the RRVWSP will provide drought resiliency and support economic development for nearly half of the residents in North Dakota. The Burian and Associates Team is excited to be part of and lend their expertise to this very impactful project.








Flood. (2023).; California Department of Water Resources.

Hilary live updates: Storm slams California with flash floods. (2023, August 21). NBC News.

Jones, D. (2023, August 18). Hilary could be the first tropical storm to hit California in more than 80 years. NPR.

Petri, A., Toohey, G., & Zahniser, D. (2023, August 21). Hilary leaves massive flooding, mudslides, upheaval across Southern California. Los Angeles Times.

Robinson, E. (2017). Chapter 18. In History of North Dakota (pp. 396–416). Open Educational Resources.

Water Science School. (2018). The 100-Year Flood. USGS.

My Summer Experience at Burian & Associates

Written By: Angelica Beto / Engineering Assistant II

This past summer, I had the opportunity to work for Burian & Associates as an Engineering Assistant II in Grand Forks, ND. It was an exciting time to join the company, as Burian & Associates was in the process of expanding their team and moving from a coworking space to a new private office space in the Gate City Bank building.

Even with the quick growth and fast-paced work environment, Burian & Associates made time to make me feel welcome and gave me opportunities to meet and work with the entire team, including those from different locations. The company also had a retreat in Minnesota lake country at the end of July which allowed all the employees to socialize and team build while focusing on company goals and future plans.

In my position, I got to explore research projects, write technical memoranda, and create professional presentations.  I had an amazing opportunity to work on a large-scale intern project where I, along with the other interns, was able to practice being a consultant. We were introduced to all parts of a project including initial client meetings, research, development of project plans and task creation, client relations, and presentation of findings.

For college students, I believe Burian & Associates offers an excellent intern experience that can link classroom studies to real world situations. I would encourage any students thinking about applying for internships to get involved because there are plenty of opportunities available that will give you a great head start into the world of civil engineering, especially at Burian & Associates.


The B&A Team Continues to Grow

Burian & Associates welcomes Sarah Sesselman to its Grand Forks office as its Director of Development.

Sarah has an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and is a registered professional engineer in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Sarah has a background as a project engineer, project manager, and client manager with an emphasis in rural and regional water system development, planning, design, bidding, construction, and financial planning.

Sarah’s passion is tackling big initiatives and making a difference in life. Her favorite projects are those that don’t have a play book, where there is no choice but to work closely with stakeholders to develop solutions. She loves working with people who embrace challenges and find effective ways to solve all magnitudes of them.

“I chose to join the B&A team because I am excited to use my relationships, project management, and technical skills in a new, fast-paced, and energetic environment. I want to lean into every opportunity that comes my way to learn new things in the engineering consulting world.” Sarah said.

Outside of work, Sarah has numerous hobbies and interests. On an off day, Sarah enjoys spending time at the lake for relaxation. She’s also a big music fan and her current favorite song is One Republic’s “I Ain’t Worried”. Nevertheless, Sarah’s most unique interest is her dream of traveling to space. One day, she hopes to be able to experience a zero-gravity vacation on a tour with friends and family.

As the Director of Development, Sarah will be focusing on sector, client, project, and staff development. We are extremely excited to have her join the team and know she will have a significant impact on our future.