SK geologist rocks freelance world
June 12, 2008 · Updated 1:17 PM
"As long as I have a computer and a phone line, it really doesn't matter where or how I do my work, says Bill Haneberg, which sums up pretty succinctly the rules of the game for freelancers.Haneberg, a consulting geologist, plays the game exceptionally well. So well, in fact, the South Kitsap man was honored last month by Guru.com, a San Francisco-based website that connects freelance professionals with contract jobs, as its Renaissance Guru of the Year award. The award recognizes the freelancer who most elegantly juggles work, family and free time. Haneberg was selected from among thousands of other entries nationwide for the distinction.By honoring winners from a variety of professions in unique categories, we can call attention to the remarkable achievements of independent professionals nationwide, said Jon Slavet, co-CEO and co-founder of Guru.com. The Guru Awards is the perfect way to salute people who are devoted to the feelance lifestyle, and it's a great reminder of how fast this sector of the workforce is growing.Haneberg, from his waterfront home in Southworth, serves a diverse clientele, including a mining company in New Mexico, a law firm in Ohio and a publisher in Boston. His particular field of expertise is landslides and the geologicial factors that cause them, and he is also currently working with another client to assess the effects of blasting on triggering landslides.I do travel around to various jobsites, said Haneberg, whose work has him in Japan this week. But mostly I deal with more theoretical things, like developing computer models. There's no reason why I can't do that from anywhere in the world, so I choose to do it here.Haneberg earned his bachelors degree from Bowling Green University and his masters and docorate degrees from the University of Cincinnati before starting his career as a teacher and researcher at New Mexico Tech in 1989.About the same time, he discovered the Pacific Northwest.I've been coming up here on vacations and to seminars and things like that for about 15 years now, he said. One day about a year ago my wife asked me what my perfect job and lifestyle would be. I told her I'd love to move to a small town somewhere along Puget Sound and start a consulting practice. One thing led to another, and here I am.Haneberg and his wife, who works in Seattle, have no chiildren, But they share their Southworth home with four dogs and two cats.In addition his thriving consulting practice, Haneberg has edited several books, does geological research and authors academic papers, and still advises graduate students at New Mexico Tech. He will also be teaching a class two days a week this coming fall at Portland State University.His interests aren't limited to work, however. Haneberg is also an avid fly fisherman and backpacker. He tends a vegetable garden, is an enthusiastic cook, and is building his own boat. And last year, he and his wife vacationed by riding their bikes through the Italian countryside.I have lot of interests, Haneberg said. If I had to work at a traditional nine-to-five job, I wouldn't be able to do anywhere near as many things as I like to do. And I wouldn't be anywhere near as happy as I am."