employees, families and friends participate in Duluth’s dragon boat race each summer
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Sarah Stratton

Vice President, Senior Water Resources Scientist

Bicycling up Mount Ventoux in France
Snowshoeing with her husband in Colorado
Sarah with her husband and daughter
Although Sarah Stratton started college as a computer science major, she decided to switch to biology with an environmental studies minor by the end of her first year. But it was a water resources course during senior year that set the stage for her future.

“For the course, we performed a floodplain analysis for a homeowner in the role of a consultant,” said Sarah. “I loved it, and it was a big factor in my decision to pursue a graduate degree in water resources.”

After an internship for aquatic plant sampling with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, she did just that, taking a number of graduate engineering and aquatic science courses along the way.

All those experiences came in handy during a recent Barr project involving a fast-track alignment study and preliminary engineering design of a flood protection system for the Mouse River in North Dakota.

“I got to see the impact of the flooding first hand and meet with homeowners,” said Sarah. “Seeing an entire house moved off its foundation by floodwaters or the high-water lines above living room windows really sets the stage for what’s driving the project: people, their homes, and their livelihood.”

Not one to shy away from new pursuits, Sarah has taken on a role in the business side of Barr as well.

“I was surprised at how much I enjoy participating in the inner workings of the company,” said Sarah. “Non-project work—hiring, staffing, internal company initiatives—lets me work with people from across the company. I really enjoy it and like that, at Barr, I can work on variety of projects, both internal and external.”

She also enjoys traveling—particularly to Central America—as well as spending time camping and hiking. Sarah also used to be a competitive cyclist.

“I picked up competitive bicycling a few years after I started at Barr and had gone to a few races and met some competitive cyclists,” said Sarah. “I was fascinated, and the timing was perfect because I was looking for a low-impact sport to help recover from major leg surgery. I participated in different types of racing including velodrome racing, which uses a banked track, and off-road cyclocross where you carry your bike over barriers.”

These days, Sarah has shifted her focus to spending time with her husband and her young daughter, although she still finds a time to go for an occasional bike ride.