Sean Burns

Sean Burns – Working at Isett

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Sean’s Experience Working at Isett

After graduating from Kutztown University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, Sean Burns did not have a job lined up or much direction. One of his professors recommended he connect with Brandon Trate, who headed up the Construction Materials Testing department at the time and had gone through the same program at Kutztown years earlier. 

Sean interviewed and immediately liked the vibe, how everyone seemed down-to-earth, and the work was hands on and in the field – checking a lot of his requirements. He also found that Construction Materials Testing was a great way to enter the geology field, where he gained experience in concrete testing, soil inspections, subgrade inspections, and field testing. As Sean’s department head, Brandon coached him through the steps required to move up in the department, such as showing initiative and  pursuing the right certifications to advance his knowledge base. He received his Geologist in Training (GIT) license in 2016 and eventually went on to earn his Professional Geologist (PG) license in 2021.  

When Isett developed a Geotechnical Engineering department under the leadership of Candace Hickey, it piqued Sean’s interest. Sean started learning everything he could about Geotech, and he found Candace to be the type of person who wants to teach possible as much as she can about it. He started out in the field, working with the drill rig to collect samples, log borings, etc., while Candace handled the technical reporting and calculations until he got up to speed on that aspect. 

He loved the work and decided that his way to keep growing and solidify himself in the department was to earn his Masters of Science degree in Applied Geosciences from the University of Pennsylvania. Isett supported Sean through that pursuit, with encouragement from leadership; tuition reimbursement; and job duty-related support to accommodate his classes – even rearranging assignments for site work twice a week to cover him when he needed to be in class.  

“It could have been much harder to get it done, but there was a lot of support from the team at Isett.”