Meet the Team: Welcome Brian Zable!

October 31, 2020

We're very excited to be growing our team at Forerunner. As the newest addition to our team, Brian Zable is joining us as a Senior Software Engineer from Brodhead, Wisconsin.

Hi Brian, Tell us a little bit about yourself!

My name is Brian Zable and I've been a Software Engineer for a little over 6 years now. I spent ~4 years at Braintree/PayPal in a predominantly back-end development role doing Ruby on Rails and Java development. After that I went on to spend ~2 years in a more full-stack role over at Kenna Security. At Kenna I continued to work in Ruby on Rails but also got to dabble in Go and React development.

What brought you to Forerunner?

I came to Forerunner for a couple reasons. First, I wanted to tackle a problem that hit closer to home, something in the realm of climate change. The first two years I spent in Wisconsin I witnessed significant flood events: roads being washed out, mosquitos so bad you couldn't go outside, trees falling over from the ground being oversaturated. These seemed like direct results of climate change that I don't think we can simply reverse our trajectory. Forerunner helps the world adapt to climate change and I love that.

I also wanted to explore a new tech stack. Forerunner uses a lot of newer tech that I wasn't getting exposure to in my previous jobs: mainly Node, React, and GraphQL. Being able to work with these on a daily basis makes work more like an education and has me excited to get on the computer everyday.

What are you looking forward to learning at Forerunner?

Aside from adding some new tech to my skill set, I'm excited to learn more about how communities manage these flood disasters. I'm very interested in the engineering issues at the home level and from an urban planning perspective.

What do you do in your spare time?

I live in Brodhead, WI where my wife and I are trying to build up a small homestead/market garden. When I'm not working, I love to be outside gardening or identifying plants growing around our area. We are also big fans of Madison, WI and the surrounding area. On weekend's you'll often find us exploring the city or antiquing/auctioning/thrifting around many of the small towns surrounding it.

Tell us something about flooding that you think our community should know.

There are very few studies of surface water flooding and the impacts on groundwater (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.01.104). According to the USGS, 15% of the US relies on private, unregulated wells and 35% relies on municipal wells. I live in an area with very porous ground and part of my property is in the floodplain. When we have a major flooding event, I worry deeply about what's happening to my drinking water but can't find a lot of research on the topic. I have seen neighbors nitrate/nitrite levels rise as we deal with more flooding. Running these well water tests is very expensive and I don't think people (including myself) do them as often as they should, so what risk are we putting ourselves at?

What are you reading right now?

I'm currently starting to work through the Malazan Book of the Fallen. I'm on the second book (Deadhouse Gates) and it's been a fun but challenging read so far.

Ready to use Forerunner in your community?

Get access to actionable, property-level flood risk information to streamline floodplain management, compliance, and outreach.