Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Husson University holds its first Green Jobs Fair

Husson University held its inaugural Green Jobs Fair recently on its Bangor, Maine campus. Organized by AmeriCorps, the job fair provided students and other individuals interested in internships or employment the opportunity to meet with representatives from a variety of environmentally friendly organizations. 

Events like the Green Jobs Fair not only promote the sustainability industry, they also increase awareness of high paying, fulfilling jobs,” says Johanna Holman with AmeriCorps. “Like the Green New Deal, we’re hoping to help people become employed and combat climate change at the same time.”

This was the first time Husson University hosted a Green Jobs Fair. All of its students, regardless of major, were encouraged to participate. A variety of business and volunteer organizations had booths at the event. Representatives from renewable energy, farming, government, environmental monitoring, engineering, management, and other environmental and sustainability-related organizations were present. There was no cost to attend and no need to register in advance, and the event was open to students, veterans, and members of the public.

According to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupations related to helping the environment or conserving natural resources will experience some of the strongest job growth over the next decade. Two occupations that the BLS believes will have the fastest employment growth from 2016 to 2026 are solar photovoltaic installers (105-percent increase) and wind turbine service technicians (96-percent increase).
“Companies that incorporate environmental stewardship into their business model need to find qualified job applicants, just like other companies," says Dr. Tom Stone, an associate professor who co-directs the Environmental Science program at Husson. “Our Green Jobs Fair was focused on connecting these companies with job applicants who share the same environmental values." 

For more than 120 years, Husson University has offered undergraduate and graduate degrees with a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online, and experiential learning opportunities, Husson's Bangor campus and off-campus satellite education centers in Southern Maine, Wells, and Northern Maine, provide programs in business, health and education, pharmacy studies, science humanities, and communication. In addition, the university has an adult learning program. For more information, visit Husson.edu.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Brown & Caldwell begins environmental work at Iron Creek cobalt mine

First Cobalt Corporation has announced that it has engaged Brown and Caldwell at the Iron Creek Project in Idaho to provide guidance on permitting and to develop an environmental baseline study strategy. Trent Mell, First Cobalt President and Chief Executive Officer, comments: “Our strategy in 2019 is to advance and de-risk our two key assets: the Iron Creek Project and the First Cobalt Refinery in Ontario, Canada. Environmental and permitting work are critical next steps to progressing Iron Creek towards development. We are pleased to have the experience of Brown and Caldwell as we drive the project forward. On the heels of the maiden resource estimate announced in the fall, this is one of a series of technical programs initiated to help us determine the optimal mining and mineral processing design at Iron Creek. Baseline environmental data is critical to advancing the timeline toward production as we work towards developing an environmentally responsible source of cobalt in North America.”

Mell goes on to say, “Cobalt is essential for the growing electric vehicle market as it is used in lithium-ion batteries, and cobalt assets outside China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain exceedingly rare. There is no primary cobalt mining or refining in North America today, and the potential for First Cobalt to produce ethical cobalt in a safe jurisdiction allows us to stand apart.”

Brown and Caldwell's services will be provided from its Boise, Idaho office, which has extensive experience in project permitting, water management, environmental monitoring, and reclamation. The firm will provide permitting guidance and oversee the collection of environmental baseline data at the Iron Creek Project. Water quality data collection commenced in 2017 and is ongoing.

Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, the employee-owned Brown and Caldwell is a full-service environmental engineering and construction firm with over 55 offices and 1,600-plus professionals across North America. For more than 70 years, the firm has helped scores of municipal, federal, and private agencies overcome water and environmental issues. For more information, visit www.brownandcaldwell.com

Monday, February 25, 2019

HNTB adds a new region, an operating division, and four presidents

Keith Hinkebei
Jim Thomson
Michael Inabinet
John Friel
Responding to ongoing growth and a robust U.S. transportation market, HNTB Corporation added a new region and operating division and named these presidents to its leadership structure: 
  • Michael Inabinet, PE, Central Region, United States, a newly created region 
  • John Friel, PE, Western Region, United States 
  • James Thomson, PE, Northwest Division, a newly created division 
  • Keith Hinkebein, PE, Design Build, providing alternative delivery services nationally
"To respond to rapid growth and expanding market opportunities, we have prepared organizationally for an exciting future. These leadership moves help us open new opportunities to better serve our clients, grow office locations, and increase opportunities for our existing employees while continuing to add many new employees," says Rob Slimp, PE, HNTB chairman and CEO. "It also allows us to better leverage our leadership capacity to focus on the most critical geographies and opportunities."
As an engineering consultant to departments of transportation, transit agencies, airports and tolling authorities, and other public- and private-sector owners, HNTB is advancing on a strong growth trajectory. The firm currently is No. 16 on "The Top 500 Design Firms" list as ranked by revenue in Engineering News-Record, up three spots from last year.
Inabinet leads the Central Region, which encompasses the firm's Great Lakes and Central Divisions. Most recently serving as HNTB's Western Region president, Inabinet began his career with HNTB in 2005 in Austin, Texas, as a project manager. Inabinet has progressed through a number of leadership and operational roles in the firm's Austin, San Antonio and Arlington, Virginia, offices, as well as the Western Region. 
Friel leads the Western Region, which includes the firm's Northwest and West Divisions. Friel has served in many significant roles of responsibility in his 25 years with HNTB. During the last five years, he successfully led the firm's Design Build unit, coordinating with offices and project teams throughout the firm, establishing strong relationships with contractor clients, and establishing firmwide processes while successfully delivering over $9 billion in constructed design-build and public-private partnership projects.
As president of HNTB's new Northwest Division, Thomson oversees Washington, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and Alaska. Leader of the Northwest District since 2011, Thomson is credited for serving key clients, and offering expertise and guidance on large-scale programs to enhance and modernize multimodal transportation networks
Hinkebein leads the firm's Design Build national practice where he is responsible for the delivery of design-build projects on behalf of public sector owners or private sector contractors/concessionaires. He has served as president of two divisions, chief operating officer, chief sales officer, and chief delivery officer, among several other leadership roles at HNTB. Hinkebein works closely with regional and division presidents and office leaders to continue to elevate design-build so that it becomes an even larger contributor to HNTB's success.

HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure firm serving public and private owners and contractors. Professionals nationwide deliver a full range of infrastructure-related services, including planning, design, and program and construction management. For more information, visit www.hntb.com.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Chris Ferguson named central region transit and rail market lead at WSP

Chris Ferguson has been appointed central region transit and rail market lead for WSP USA, an engineering and professional services consultancy. In his new role, Ferguson, based in the firm’s Chicago office, will drive business development and pursuits and strategy, synchronize teaming relationships, lead coordination and communications with clients and partners, and support technical projects.

With a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama, Ferguson has more than a decade of transit and rail industry expertise, including with Class One freight railroads and projects for transportation agencies such as Metra (Chicago), the Chicago Transit Authority, SunRail (Florida), the Utah Transit Authority, and Rio Metro (New Mexico). He continues to work with various agencies on positive train control implementation as they strive to meet regulatory deadlines. 

“Chris is a strong rail systems manager with a successful track record defining and executing strategy, managing programs and projects, improving process, and engaging stakeholders,” says Julie D’Orazio, senior vice president and WSP’s national market leader for transit and rail. “Chris has exceptional skills in cultivating solutions to highly technical challenges. He does this by proactively seeking the perspectives of stakeholders with widely differing goals and crafting win-win scenarios,” adds Phil Pasterak, vice president and director of WSP’s transit and rail group.

WSP has extensive experience with all forms of mass transit—heavy and light rail, streetcars and people movers, and bus rapid transit. The firm combines knowledge in engineering design and construction-phase services with strategic consulting, land use planning, and program management to provide clients with comprehensive support from inception through operations, with a strong emphasis on making transportation infrastructure truly sustainable. The firm’s experience in transit-oriented development aids clients in fostering the creation of vibrant, livable communities centered on transit. The firm is rail delivery partner to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for a statewide high-speed rail system and is providing engineering support for the Texas Bullet Train between Houston and Dallas. The firm is also contributing to the advancement of rail systems in Seattle; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Salt Lake City; San Francisco; Chicago; Durham, North Carolina; and Buffalo, New York.

WSP USA is the U.S. operating company of WSP, a global engineering and professional services firms consisting of engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors, and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment markets, with more than 7,000 people in 100 offices across the United States. For more information, visit www.wsp.com.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Parfait Masungi escapes the Congo to find opportunity

By Milady Nazir

Parfait Masungi is one of the lucky ones. At the age of 15, he won a green card lottery visa  and with it, a ticket to leave the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This was his chance to escape the country embroiled in “Africa’s World War,” the Rwandan Genocide civil war where more than six million people were killed. His home is the same place that became synonymous for the use of children as soldiers and where thousands of kids work deep in the mines with bare hands to dig for cobalt, the mineral that makes mobile phones possible.

“The future is death,” says Masungi about what youth in the DRC feel. “I couldn’t let that happen to me. I had an opportunity to do something better.”
The road that led out of the DRC for Masungi started with walking seven miles each day just to get to school. And on Saturdays, when kids usually play, he went back to school to learn English instead. His daily life was made even more dangerous as he had to be wary of guerrilla violence from the encroaching war into the capital Kinshasa, where he lived. Many times, curfews were the norm.

Then in November 2010, after a year of going through extensive interviews with the American consulate, Masungi, with the rest of his family, landed in Dallas, Texas. He knew his parents didn’t have the means to pay for a higher education. Athletics became the path to excel and get into college as he played football and track and field; however, he was diagnosed with a heart condition that required emergency open heart surgery, cutting short any hopes of athletic stardom.

Masungi leads middle school students on a tour of UTSA's downtown campus

Masungi learned about the University of Texas at San Antonio's engineering program and applied to it. Four years later, he walked the commencement stage with cum laude distinction in civil engineering. This year, he won “best presenter in civil engineering” at the SACNAS (Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) convention and competed against students from the nation’s most competitive schools including MIT and UC Berkeley.

During his time at UTSA, Masungi worked on testing high-strength reinforcement steel bars, a building component that promises to save energy and money in new construction.
The 80-ksi bars are designed with spiral patterns that focus on flexure and anchorage behavior. They are fabricated by cold working, long a method of producing high-strength reinforcement below the recrystallization temperature.

“In our study, we investigated the mechanical properties and performance of the spiral steel in concrete slabs by conducting monotonic tension tests. Current building codes in the United States limit the use of high-strength reinforcing steel,” Masungi explains. “These limitations are mainly due to a lack of profound research and understanding and limited test data on the performance and effects of high-strength steel in concrete structures.”

The use of high-strength steel bars in reinforced concrete has the potential to improve design methods in concrete members and significantly reduce the quantity of steel used in construction. This would reduce energy consumption related to fabricating, manufacturing, and transporting the steel.

Masungi recently graduated from the University of Texas San Antonio with a B.S. in Civil Engineering

Upon graduation, Masungi has an offer to start a PhD program at the University of Florida, where he previously interned and assisted in the development of a pilot program to work on algorithms that guide driverless buses. Right now, he’s hoping to win a fellowship from the National Science Foundation and perhaps pursue more training at UTSA so he can be close to his sister, who currently attends the institution.

As Masungi relates, “If I receive the NSF Fellowship, I would like to pursue more training in structural and transportation engineering. This would focus on high-strength materials and sustainable design of reinforced concrete and structural steel members and frames.” The top schools where he would like to pursue his advanced graduate studies include Stanford, UTSA, Princeton, University of Florida, or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Although he’s only 22 years old, Masungi is mature beyond his age. Yes, he has some unpleasant memories of the Congo, but he also feels a responsibility to give back to other Congolese youth so they no longer envision a bleak future. He wants to have his own engineering firm, set up educational exchange programs, and export infrastructure technologies back home.

“I want to give Congo students the opportunity to come to the U.S. and get that education. I don’t take being here for granted,” Masungi says.

Milady Nazir is a public affairs specialist at the University of Texas at San Antonio Office of University Communications and Marketing

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Wave energy converter successfully tested for powering oceanographic instrumentation

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (EXWC) has announced the most recent round of wave energy converter (WEC) testing at the U.S. Navy's Wave Energy Test Site (WETS) off Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), Kaneohe, Hawaii, on the Island of Oahu.   

In October 2018, the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at the University of Hawaii, with funding from NAVFAC, and in partnership with the University of Washington, Fred. Olsen, Ltd., and Sea Engineering, Inc., began the second round of testing of the Fred. Olsen (of Norway) BOLT Lifesaver WEC device. The device uses three power take-off (PTO) units that convert the motion of passing waves to electrical power by way of rotary electrical generators. Control and health-monitoring of these on-board systems is housed in the control center. The WEC is not connected to shore, and the power generated is stored in a battery bank.

This phase of Lifesaver testing at WETS has two primary aims: first, to improve device reliability and power performance, through alterations to the device mooring strategy, and second, to demonstrate an alternative means of powering oceanographic instrumentation without using utility-supplied electrical grid power or single-use batteries. The instrumentation, known as the Wave-powered Adaptable Monitoring Package (WAMP), is being tested on BOLT Lifesaver and was designed, assembled, and integrated with the WEC by the Pacific Marine Energy Center (PMEC), University of Washington, leveraging the capabilities of the Applied Physics Laboratory (a U.S. Navy University Affiliated Research Center) and the department of Mechanical Engineering. Receiving its power from the Lifesaver, the WAMP provides persistent underwater sensing, and supports unmanned, undersea vehicle (UUV) re-charge using a wireless power transfer system developed by Seattle startup Wibotic, Inc. The WAMP is the latest in a series of demonstrations of the core AMP technology and is being used in this application to better understand the marine environment around an operational WEC buoy.

The joint Lifesaver-WAMP test is funded by NAVFAC, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Science Foundation. The overall effort is part of a larger joint U.S. Navy, DOE, academic (University of Hawaii, Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, and University of Washington PMEC), and industry research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) project. This is the world's first demonstration of the potentially transformative capability for WECs to enable persistent oceanographic observation and UUV re-charge without a cable to shore.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Daikin announces first U.S. supermarket retrofit of R-22 to Creard R-407H refrigerant

Daikin America has partnered with TOPS Friendly Markets to complete the first refrigeration conversion of a U.S. supermarket from R-22 to Creard R-407H refrigerant. At the TOPS store in Alden, NY, 1200 pounds of Creard R-407H has been used to provide more than 25 cooling tons in medium-temperature refrigerated cases and displays

Daikin's new Creard R-407H refrigerant is a low global-warming-potential (GWP) blend designed for new refrigeration systems and as a replacement for R-22, R-404A and R-507 in existing systems. Creard R-407H has a GWP of 1380, one of the lowest GWP options for refrigeration systems, providing a combination of performance while being economical relative to the products it is replacing. This comes in response to regulations to phase out ozone-depleting substances resulting from the Montreal Protocol.

Daikin engineers worked closely with TOPS to address key requirements:
  • A GWP of less than 1500 to position TOPS with a sustainable solution for the useful life of the equipment in the event of any future climate related regulatory policies.
  • Equivalent or better energy efficiency and refrigeration capacity across the entire operating range.
  • A close match in temperature, pressure, and volumetric flow rate properties to R-22, to use the same expansion devices, distribution system, and piping.
  • Traditional chemistry, with proven material compatibility with legacy R-22 equipment.
  • Cost-effectiveness in long-term operation.
After the conversion from R-22 to Creard R-407H, the system was monitored for three months. Throughout the test, data was collected on operating pressures, temperatures, and energy consumption of the system. The power consumption during the test months when compared to R-22 was 2 percent higher after the first fill and system shakedown and then improved to 0.5 percent lower after the controller was tuned. The cooling capacity remained the same between R-22 and R-407H.

Tim Bowen, TOPS Markets maintenance manager, states, "Creard R-407H is a great help to TOPS Markets' bottom line due to its energy efficiency, cost, and requiring minimal changes to our equipment. Since Creard R-407H has demonstrated to be a low-GWP match with R-22, this really becomes a great solution for TOPS Markets as we move forward with our conversion program this year."

Daikin America provides refrigerant gases, fluoroplastic and fluoroelastomer polymers, and coating materials designed to support a diverse set of industries. It is a subsidiary of Daikin Industries of Osaka, Japan, a manufacturer of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment and fluorochemical products.