Gareth Becker has been interested in Engineers Without Borders (EWB) for nearly his entire career. EWB is a nonprofit organization that coordinates volunteers who work on engineering projects that meet communities’ basic needs all over the world. When Gareth learned that Barr not only donates to EWB but also contributes to employees’ travel expenses, he was all in.
Gareth, a senior civil design technician, joined four other American EWB volunteers for a week in June 2023 in Chuchurras, Peru, to help build and power a safe drinking-water system for a Yanesha community (an indigenous Peruvian ethnic group) in the Amazon rainforest. Locals were hauling their water from a failing well or the nearby river.
“What the Yanesha people were currently doing for drinking water was not adequate," Gareth said. “People were getting sick. It was getting worse, and it would dry up in the summer.”
Gareth’s main role was to use drones to create an elevation map to aid in future system expansion, but he also did construction management, oversight, and whatever else was needed. He worked alongside EWB volunteers, community leaders, a local contractor, and more than 100 residents to build a pump house and design and install a solar-powered pumping system that transports water 1.2 kilometers across a river and up 230 feet into a water tank storage system.
Gareth enjoyed the community camaraderie, as well as the daily commute through the jungle—“toucans and parrots everywhere”—in four-by-fours. But the highlight, he said, was “flipping the switch at the end and hearing the pump whir to life and seeing water spray out, like, ‘OK, this system is capable of pushing water up this hill with the power of the sun.’
“After all this work, all these meetings, all the travel, all the heat, all the humidity … they're going to have water. And it's not going to make them sick.”
Learn more about Barr's commitment to giving back to communities in need.
About Gareth Becker
Gareth Becker, senior civil design technician, has more than 10 years of experience in three-dimensional civil design, primarily using AutoCAD Civil 3D, Cyclone, Pix4D, and 3DReshaper to visualize designs, prepare construction plans, process laser scan and drone data, and build three-dimensional models. He also manages and inspects construction sites and conducts high-density laser scan and drone surveys, infiltration tests, aquatic macrophyte surveys, and a variety of other field tasks.