Saturday, December 24, 2016

Virginia Tech names Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in recognition of $15 million gift

Virginia Tech has named its Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering in honor of alumnus Kevin Crofton (left above), president and chief executive officer of SPTS Technologies, in recognition of his philanthropy. Crofton, a native of Fincastle, Virginia, has committed $14 million to the department that will bear his name and $1 million to the university’s Division of Student Affairs. “Kevin’s generosity is both humbling and inspiring,” says Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “It opens up tremendous new possibilities for one of our academic departments and will benefit all our students by funding experiential learning programs.”

Crofton aspired to be an astronaut — following in the footsteps of his heroes, Neil Armstrong, Chuck Yeager, and Chris Kraft, who is also a Hokie — leading him to study to become an aerospace engineer. He earned his bachelor’s in aerospace and ocean engineering in 1982, holds an MBA in international business from American University, and heads a global semiconductor and microelectronic device manufacturing company headquartered in the United Kingdom. “I chose Virginia Tech because it has one of the best aerospace programs in the country,” says Crofton, reflecting on his decision to attend the university. “The education I received is one that taught me to be inquisitive, data-driven, and respectful of science. The social environment exposed me to different people, cultures, and views of life.”

The 55-year-old aerospace engineer further describes his collegiate experience at Virginia Tech as providing him with the foundation to have a successful professional and personal life, in addition to a platform from which to make a positive impact on the world. During the first decade of his career, Crofton worked on U.S. Department of Defense and commercial programs in propulsion for United Technologies, including Boeing’s Inertial Upper Stage Program, which positioned satellites in geosynchronous orbit from the space shuttle.

“Kevin’s gift will heighten the aerospace and ocean engineering department’s role at the university,” says Don Taylor, interim dean of the College of Engineering. “With a gift of this size, we can enhance learning for our engineering students and allow faculty, students, and staff to collaborate on cross-cutting, complex research projects.” The Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Marine Propulsion and Department Head Eric Paterson added that “to be one of the few named aerospace and ocean engineering departments will increase our stature on a national and global level.”

The Kevin Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering has more than 550 undergraduate students and 160 graduate students enrolled. Its faculty and students are engaged in numerous areas of research, with annual expenditures of more than $8 million. Departmental facilities include wind tunnels, a flight-test runway and hangar, and an advanced power and propulsion laboratory.

The $1 million Crofton directed to Student Affairs is the largest cash gift ever made to that division and will benefit initiatives through VT Engage, Virginia Tech’s service-learning and civic-engagement center.

“Kevin is an extraordinary leader, alumnus, and human being, with a profound commitment to and modeling of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve),” Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo said, referring to the Virginia Tech motto. “His gift will make an extraordinary difference, allowing more students to serve and understand what it means to serve.”

“In many ways Ut Prosim is an extension of the values I live by and a humble expression of my desire to make a difference," Crofton remarks. “I have always wanted to give back to Virginia Tech in a meaningful way – one that makes a significant contribution and will impact future generations.”

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Dan Parent, P.E. joins Cold Craft's HVACR engineering and design team

Dan Parent, P.E. and Cold Craft have similar philosophies regarding the design, planning, and installation of HVACR equipment; they keep many factors in mind to create a building environment that is comfortable, practical, and as energy efficient as the customer desires. Cold Craft, a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration firm in the San Francisco Bay area, sought an engineer to add to the team to hit specific targets such as improving the customer experience. They would do this by bridging the engineering and fulfillment experience to achieve even more predictable project's timelines, increased budgetary control, and clarity on the project.

While most engineers lack field experience and field professionals often lack the engineering component, it is unusual to find an individual such as Dan Parent experience in both. Cold Craft sought individuals that share their firm belief that control during the design process can eliminate cost over-runs that sometimes develop as a project moves from conception to design. Parent has worked with firms such as H-Square Mechanical, Therma, and Polyaire Mechanical. Coupled with his education from California Polytechnic University, this makes him a great fit for Cold Craft.

Customers opting for the design-build concept benefit from knowing that the complete responsibility for the entire system rests solely with one company. Susan Nichol, CEO of Cold Craft, adds, "Dan joining our firm can only be good for our clients, as they will get the whole package with just one responsible party. Dan's project management, engineering, and field fulfillment knowledge means that he has the knowledge of several positions.  This means one party - no finger pointing at other parties like you see with the splintered engineering and mechanical contractor jobs."  In the past, Cold Craft, hired outside talent for the engineering, and that worked well, but the firm is looking for a more seamless process for the clients.

Cold Craft specializes in green build construction, focusing on geothermal, for example, and grocery store construction and renovation. So whether the application is design or design-build, Cold Craft is positioned to assist the client with its experienced Engineering and Design Department. With Parent on board, Cold Craft says it can provide even better all-in-one services for prompt, precise, and well-defined proposals for negotiated projects in the initial stages of planning and development. The firm realizes the significance and importance of being able to provide true scopes and dependable pricing for these projects, and Parent's experience will help them meet those customer care goals.

Established in 1991, Cold Craft, based in Campbell, CA has established itself as an HVACR subcontractor in the Northern California area. The firm offers a diverse portfolio in both commercial and residential sectors. For more information, visit

Monday, December 5, 2016

Society of Plastics Engineers Foundation awards 42 scholarships

The Society of Plastics Engineers has named the winners of the 2016 scholarships administered by the SPE Foundation. The list includes 42 scholarships totaling over $110,000. The foundation supports the development of plastics professionals by funding and supporting quality educational programs, scholarships, and student experiences. Scholarship applicants must be majoring in or taking courses that would be beneficial to a career in the plastics industry. All applicants must be in good standing with their colleges.
The 2017 Scholarship Application process opens Dec. 1. For more information on SPE scholarship opportunities please go to
This year’s winners include:
Art Haas Scholarship: $3,000: Jason Sutter, a junior at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, who is working toward getting his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
Automotive & Composites divisions: Jackie Rehkopf Memorial Scholarship: $5,000:Robert Hart, a Ph.D. candidate in the college of engineering at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
Automotive & Composites divisions: Jackie Rehkopf Memorial Scholarship: $5,000 / Injection Molding division Scholarship: $3,000: Sebastian Goris, a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Automotive and Composites Conference & Exhibition Scholarship: $2,000: Mariana DesireĆ© Reale Batista, a Ph.D. student in materials science and engineering at Michigan State University in East Lansing.
Automotive and Composites Conference & Exhibition Scholarship: $2,000: Lu Wang, a Ph.D. candidate at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center in the University of Maine in Orono.
Automotive and Composites Conference & Exhibition Scholarship: $2,000 / Thermoset division Scholarship: $2,500: Srikanth Raviprasad, a graduate student of aerospace engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Bill Benjamin Scholarship: $1,500: Logan Tate, a sophomore studying plastics and polymers engineering technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.
Blow Molding division: Carrie Fox Solin Scholarship : $3,000: Seth Cook, a senior in the plastics & polymers engineering technology major at Pennsylvania College of Technology, Williamsport.
Carl Haas Scholarship: $3,000 / Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000 / Thermoplastic Materials & Foams division Scholarship: $2,500 / Thermoset division Scholarship: $2,500: Josey Hrbek, a senior studying chemical engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.
Composites division Scholarship: Harold Giles: $2,500: Emily Anne Vargas, an industrial and manufacturing engineering senior at Florida State University in Tallahassee.
Composites division Scholarship: Harold Giles: $2,500: Siddhartha Brahma, who is pursuing a PhD in materials science and engineering from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Detroit Section: Robert G. Dailey Scholarship: $3,000: Andrew Puck, a senior studying chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Detroit Section: Thomas E. Powers Scholarship, $3,000/Product Design and Development division/Mid, Michigan Section: Robert E. Cramer Scholarship: $1,000: Christina Sheng, a fifth-year honors student studying materials science & engineering at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Extrusion division Scholarship : Ed Steward: $2,500: Troy Metz, a sophomore at Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio.
Extrusion division: Lew Erwin Scholarship: $5,000: Barbara Calderon, a second-year Ph.D. student in plastics engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Extrusion: Russell Gould Scholarship: $2,500: Alison Davidson, a junior studying at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., seeking a bachelor’s in plastics engineering technology.
Fleming/Blaszcak Scholarship: $2,000: Miguel Sifuentes, a junior at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Gail Bristol Scholarship: $3,000 & Ruth Neward Scholarship: $3,000: Kathleen Nicosia, a senior undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Gulf Coast Hurricane Scholarship: $6,000: Emma Adams, a senior at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, pursuing a dual degree in chemical engineering and polymer and fiber engineering.
Jade Molds Scholarship: $1,000: Nicholas Moore, a sophomore at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology.
K. K. Wang Scholarship: $2,000: Cody Langlois, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in plastics engineering from UMass Lowell in 2016 as a Commonwealth Honors Scholar.
Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000: Glenn Spiering, a junior majoring in plastics engineering technology at Penn State Behrend in Erie.
Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000: Stephanie Ternullo, a senior majoring in plastics engineering at UMass Lowell.
Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000 / Detroit Section: Kakarala Scholarship: $3,000: William Miller, a senior in the plastics engineering program at the University of Wisconsin Stout in Menomonie.
Ted & Ruth Neward Scholarship: $3,000: Casey Baran a senior at Penn State Behrend studying plastics engineering technology.
Ted Neward Scholarship: $3,000/Polymer Modifiers and Additives division Scholarship: $2,000: Patrick Facendola, who graduated from the honors college of UMass Lowell with a bachelor’s degree in plastics engineering.
Ted Neward Scholarship: $3,000: Blake Heller, a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Thermoforming division Memorial Scholarship: $2,500: Austin Howard, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at Kettering University in Flint, Michigan.
Thermoforming division Scholarship: $2,500: Vincent Chee, a senior at Rutgers University, scheduled to graduate in December with a bachelor’s in packaging engineering.
Western Plastics Pioneers Scholarship: $2,000: Alec Jobbins, a freshman in UC Berkeley’s college of engineering with a major in mechanical engineering.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Process Engineering opens regional office in Salt Lake City

Process Engineering Associates has announced the official opening of its new Mountain West Regional Branch office in Salt Lake City, UT. This is to better serve clients in the region in markets such as minerals processing and refining. Mike Sessions, P.E. will manage the office.

Process Engineering Associates is a chemical engineering company providing process design, applied chemical engineering, and process safety services to the petroleum refining, chemical production, alternative fuels, food grade products, and nuclear materials processing sectors and all other process industries.

Headquartered in Oak Ridge, TN, the firm has other regional branch offices in Gilbertsville, PA; Daphne, AL; and Richland, WA.

For more information visit

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Lancaster County wastewater authority honored for using recycled glass

The Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center (PRMC) recently honored the Northern Lancaster County Authority (NLCA) of Denver, PA with the 2016 William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award for its commitment to creation of new markets for recycled color-mixed glass. PRMC recognized the use of recycled glass as a growing medium for the reed bed filtration system at the Authority's Beam Road Wastewater Treatment Plant. To RMC's knowledge, the plant is the first location to use sharp-free, manufactured recycled glass aggregate for this purpose in the United States.

A reed bed or constructed wetland is essentially a type of water filtration system that mirrors the way natural wetlands break down waste in water and filter impurities. Wetland reeds, specifically Phragmites austalis, are cultivated in a recycled glass aggregate filter bed where the plant roots and natural microbial processes turn wastewater solids into treated water and benign solids. Free of chemicals and odors, these beds have proven cost-effective and energy-efficient, and they significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for disposal of the solids. Reed bed systems have been shown to reduce the volume of solids by as much as 90 percent.

"Typically, the growing media for reed bed wastewater filtration is a very porous, fine aggregate such as sand," explains Jason Coyle, plant superintendent for NLCA. "Our sand was 20 years old and had broken down over time. As a planting bed, recycled glass aggregate manufactured to a uniform, sharp-free specification has been demonstrated in other countries. With technical input from the RMC, we were interested in bringing it to Pennsylvania."

Originally developed by the Max-Planck Institute of West Germany and the Netherlands approximately 30 years ago, the recycled glass process has been approved by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection and has been used in on-lot sand mound septic systems for about a decade. NLCA is currently using 800 tons of processed, crushed, size-graded and color-mixed container glass obtained from Cougle's Recycling of Hamburg, PA, an amount roughly equivalent to what a rural Pennsylvania county may collect in 2.5 years. "No one has put this into an application of this size," adds Coyle.

The NLCA wastewater treatment plant was constructed in 1979 and upgraded in 2013 in compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy. To comply with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy, the plant diverts significantly more solids to the reed beds than in previous years. This, along with competitive pricing for the sharp-free, recycled glass aggregate, made the decision to use it realistic.

"Proper processing of solids is a major issue faced by wastewater treatment plants such as NLCA's plant, especially those who require compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy" says Robert Bylone, PRMC president and executive director. "They've taken an existing treatment method and built on its sustainability by using a recycled-content product. For these reasons, and for the courage of the Northern Lancaster County Authority to pioneer recycled glass aggregate for this use, we are proud to recognize them with the William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award."

The 2016 Reed Bed Upgrade was a win-win for all parties involved. Fred Ebert, president, Ebert Engineering, NLCA's consulting engineer; Jason Coyle, NLCA superintendent; Scott Davis, president, Constructed Wetlands Group; and Wayne Bowen, recycling program manager, PRMC, combined technical knowledge and research to bring the successful project together. Using Cougle's Recycling's manufactured recycled glass aggregate saved thousands of dollars of freight expense compared to hauling the nearest available sand from Delaware or Maryland. Donald Kellenberger, of Kellenberger Excavating in Spring Township, said final grading of the recycled glass aggregate was easier than sand.  Don observed that the manufactured recycled glass aggregate held its shape and position better than the sand. This ease of installation resulted in significantly less time to complete installation, reducing total install time to less than two (2) weeks.

The Northern Lancaster County Authority was the first reed bed biosolids treatment system in Pennsylvania. With over 80 reed bed systems treating biosolids in Pennsylvania, the authority has opened a door for using recycled glass both here and across the nation. "PRMC will continue to expand this use across Pennsylvania and potentially the nation," adds Bylone. "A win for the environment while simultaneously reducing construction costs for the residents of Brecknock Township and excelling treatment output made receiving the 2016 Heenan Award very rewarding," says Jason Coyle.

The William M. Heenan, Jr. Recycling Markets Development Award is the only award if its type given annually in Pennsylvania and is named in memory of William M. "Bill" Heenan, Jr. Heenan was a lifelong international ambassador of the recycling industry who was instrumental in supporting the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to initially vision and fund inception of the PRMC.

Organized as a non-profit corporation, PRMC develops and expands the use of recycled materials and recycled content product markets in Pennsylvania. PRMC is the keystone of economic development through recycling and to manufacturing resources for support of recycled content product development. With refined expertise in assistance for markets development, materials use, applied research, business assistance, and technical training, PRMC is headquartered at Penn State Harrisburg with satellite offices near Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The center is funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. For more information, visit

Monday, October 31, 2016

Howard Stein Hudson selected as 2016 Employer of the Year by WTS-Boston

Howard Stein Hudson (HSH), a firm delivering engineering and transportation planning solutions for clients in Boston and throughout the region, has been selected by the Boston Chapter of Advancing Women in Transportation (WTS) as the 2016 Employer of the Year.

The firm was founded in 1987 by Jane Howard and Kathy Stein, colleagues from their work together at the City of Boston. They crafted HSH’s core mission – to create the best solutions for complex challenges in all transportation modes. From its inception, HSH has valued the enthusiasm and drive of young female engineers, allowing them the resources and tools to enhance their career while promoting and advocating for a healthy work/life balance.

HSH is now a multidisciplinary engineering and planning firm with offices in Boston and Chelmsford, MA. Currently, 42 percent of its 60 professionals are women. They provide civil engineering, transportation planning, traffic engineering, and public involvement services to public and private clients.

HSH was selected for the 2016 Employer of the Year award based on their commitment to attracting, retaining, and supporting a diverse workforce including nine women in leadership roles such as WTS member Keri Pyke, P.E., PTOE, principal of planning and public involvement; Katie Enright P.E., associate, project manager, senior civil engineer, manager of Chelmsford office; WTS member Bridget Myers, P.E., associate, project manager, senior civil engineer; and WTS member and Professional Development Co-Chair, Jackie Carver, project manager, transportation engineer. 

HSH supports all staff to continue education with professional education, tuition reimbursement, and involvement in professional organizations. Employees are encouraged to volunteer in the community and are given eight hours of volunteer time off each year. The company also encourages women students to enter the transportation field by providing internship opportunities.

The Boston Chapter of WTS was formed in 1980 by a group of 20 women working in the transportation industry. Recognizing the need for women to communicate and establish networks to gain respect within the field, they established the Greater Boston Women's Transportation Group. Their goals included creating a presence, meeting with other women professionals, networking for jobs, holding workshops, giving mutual support, and exchanging information.

“We are honored to have received this prestigious industry award and to provide a positive work environment,” says Thomas Stokes, chief executive officer at HSH.  “HSH strives to continue and strengthen its relationship with WTS.”

For more information, visit

Friday, October 21, 2016

ASCE names new president-elect and others to leadership positions

For the first time in its history, two women will serve in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) highest leadership roles. ASCE members have elected Kristina Swallow, P.E., ENV SP, F.ASCE, as the society’s newest president-elect. She is the fourth woman to serve in this prestigious office, serving alongside current ASCE president Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE.

“Kristina is a dedicated civil engineer and an ardent public policy advocate who possesses a wide breadth of expertise,” says Mattei. “As president-elect, she will bring enthusiasm and passion to the position and a clear focus of what is needed to make ASCE the best it can be.” An active member of ASCE for more than two decades, Swallow is a program manager for the city of Las Vegas, leading a team of engineers responsible for delivering public works projects and planning the sanitary sewer collection system.

In addition to her role as ASCE president-elect, Swallow serves as the first board-appointed governor of ASCE’s new Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute and is a member of the society’s Transportation Policy Committee, which develops and maintains ASCE’s official public policies related to transportation. Among many past roles, she served ASCE’s Region 8, which represents members from Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona, most recently as director from 2012-2015 and as governor from 2005-2008. She served as president of ASCE’s Southern Nevada Younger Member Forum, Las Vegas Branch, and Nevada Section and chaired the Nevada State Infrastructure Report Card Committee. In 2009-2010, Swallow was an ASCE Congressional Fellow, working in the office of Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), for whom she went on to become legislative assistant managing transportation policy.

She earned the ASCE Edmund Friedman Young Engineer Award for Professional Achievement in 2008, the ASCE Young Engineer of the Year Award for the Western Region in 2000, and the ASCE Young Engineer of the Year for Southern Nevada in 1998.

In addition to the president-elect, elections were held for several other ASCE national offices:

Region technical director -- Carol Haddock, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 1 governors – John Folts, P.E., M.ASCE and Theodore Green, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 2 director—John Casana, P.E., D.WRE, LEED AP, M.ASCE
Region 2 governors —William Brittle. P.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE and Jack Raudenbush, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 3 governors —Darren Olsen, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE and Erin Woodson, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 4 governors —William Dubois, P.E., M.ASCE; John Fleming, P.E., M.ASCE; and Carol Stevens, P.E., F.ASCE
Region 5 governors —Jeffrey Earhart, P.E., F.ASCE and Katherine Gurd, P.E., F.ASCE
Region 6 director—Nancy Cline, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 7 director—Marsia Geldert-Murphey, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 7 governors —Scott Asher, P.E., M.ASCE and Erin Steever, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 8 governors —Brent Borchers, P.E., M.ASCE and Lawrence Magura, P.E., D.WRE, M.ASCE
Region 9 governors —Matthew Kennedy, P.E., T.E., ENV SP, M.ASCE and Thor Larsen, P.E., M.ASCE
Region 10 director—Brett Phillips, Ph.D., M.ASCE

The officers elected were installed during ASCE’s Annual Convention, September 28-October 1, in Portland, Oregon.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Tippmann Innovation breaks ground for refrigerated facility near Seattle

When Bridge Development of Chicago, IL planned to build an advanced, state-of-the-art, convertible refrigerated/freezer building near Seattle's Sea-Tac Airport, they turned to refrigerated facility construction specialists Tippmann Innovation (TI). Ground breaking on the ambitious 241,140 square-foot building took place in August at the facility's location in Burien, Washington. Western Distribution Services (WDS) of Renton, WA will operate the facility.

"We leveraged Tippmann Innovation's distinctive knowledge base in developing this building. They helped us with all the design details optimized for the scale of what we wanted. Their experience with cold storage is beyond that of a regular contractor. They are a high-touch company that facilitates every aspect of a project," says Steve Poulos, president of Bridge Development.

WDS searched for four years, finally securing the 14-acre site to accommodate the scale of the facility they planned to build. The building is unique on multiple levels and presents several design and engineering challenges. WDS wanted a versatile building that is fully convertible and can be used as a freezer or cooler. The building will be able to manage a range of temperatures, from 40 degrees F to -10 degrees F, accommodating everything from meat and produce to frozen foods.

"We're honored to have the opportunity to help companies like Bridge Development and Western Distribution Services meet their unique challenges. Every project is different; there is no standard playbook or template that can be used to develop cold storage buildings. We like to feel that each project builds on the last and helps us push the envelope of what's possible just a little further," says Rob Adams, Principal, Tippmann Innovation.

"This is a high-profile, precedent-setting project. The building will become an anchor for Burien and the greater Seattle market, and it marks a big step in growing the food business and jobs in this part of Washington," says John Naylor of Western Distribution.

Tippmann Innovation is a specialty commercial and industrial cold storage contractor that develops buildings around a business plan, ensuring that an investment becomes a profit center. TI uses time-honed expertise and advanced technology solutions to create efficient buildings that scale with a business and are designed to maximize profitability through fully integrating operations and supply chain. TI provides a full suite of cold storage construction services, including quick freeze, blast freezing, master site planning, and operations and maintenance guidance. TI's innovations include the patented QuickFreeze in-rack freezing system for blast freezing, QuickTemper in-rack tempering system, and T2 spacer system. TI has offices in Indiana, Illinois and Florida and operates internationally. For more information, visit

Sunday, October 9, 2016

AECOM unveils target for reducing carbon footprint

AECOM, an integrated global engineering and infrastructure firm, has announced a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent, normalized by revenue, across its global operations by 2020, starting from a baseline year in 2015. To achieve this goal, the company will focus on its largest sources of emissions: fleet vehicle fuel, purchased electricity, and heating/cooling for offices.

The established target follows AECOM's commitment along with other industry leaders at a White House roundtable in 2015 to collectively reduce GHG emissions by 5 million metric tons between 2008 and 2020. The transition to less-carbon intensive operations is consistent with the company's commitment to transform communities, improve lives, and build a better world.

"Our company is built around the power of connected expertise and collaboration to reimagine and create new potential for built and natural environments," says Michael Burke, AECOM's chairman and chief executive officer. "Together, we strive to make a lasting and positive impact on society and the environment that will make a difference for future generations."

The effort to better manage the company's carbon footprint is one of the key highlights detailed in AECOM's recently released 2015 Sustainability Report. Featured projects that represent AECOM's work with clients and partners from the around the world and are delivering transformative and sustainable outcomes, include:

Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA, which aims to be the world's most sustainable arena by achieving a net-zero energy goal through using solar energy for 100 percent of its electricity, saving 700,000 gallons (2.6 million liters) of water annually.

Gateway WA, a highway and interchange upgrade project in Perth, Australia, the first road project in the country to earn an excellent rating from the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia for its achievement of being designed, delivered, and operated in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

The Kuala Lumpur Centre for Sustainable Innovation is a joint venture between AECOM and the Malaysian government that focuses on public and private sector engagement to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for improving the city's livability.

"This target helps AECOM measure our progress managing our carbon footprint. Together with other leading companies, we recognize the business opportunity connected with this global effort," says Josh Sawislak, AECOM's global director of resilience. "This is more than just being a good corporate citizen. It's smart business to reduce our costs and position us for a sustainable future environmentally and financially."

AECOM designs, builds, finances, and operates infrastructure assets for governments, businesses, and organizations in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit or @AECOM.

Friday, September 30, 2016

McMillen Jacobs Associates promotes three associates to principal

McMillen Jacobs Associates recently announced the promotions of these three engineers to the position of Principal: 
Mark Lawrence, PE specializes in the design of permanent and temporary excavation support systems. With over 35 years of experience, he leads the excavation support design group in the San Francisco office. In 2011, Mark was the first recipient of the James Wilton award, an employee award honoring the memory of James Wilton, former principal and president of Jacobs Associates. Mark’s experience spans a multitude of projects. Notably, he provided design of slurry wall shaft excavation support systems for the Nicolai, pump station shafts for the Willamette River CSO Project, and the pump station shaft for the Brightwater Conveyance System. The Willamette Pump Station is still the largest-diameter slurry wall shaft constructed in soft ground in North America. Mark’s more recent work includes a dual-cell slurry wall shaft for the Watercare project’s Mangere Pump Station, a 110-foot-diameter by 94-foot-deep CSM shaft for the Humboldt Bay Power Plant decommissioning, several deep excavations in San Francisco for new underground space, and assistance with the declines in Sydney.
Jan Van Greunen, PhD, PE, has more than 40 years of  experience in conceiving, planning, managing, and coordinating analysis, design, and construction of civil engineering works and complex steel and concrete structures and is based out of the San Francisco office. Jan has provided structural design expertise and leadership on some of the firm’s largest and most complicated projects, from a structural perspective. This includes the Rondout-West Branch Bypass Tunnel, where the lining must resist an external water head ranging from 600 to 900 feet; the Caldecott Fourth Bore, which is close to the Hayward Fault, resulting in high seismic demands; the Claremont Bypass Tunnel, which crosses the Hayward Fault and includes a vault to accommodate the anticipated 8 feet of fault offset; and the Airport Link Caverns, which required span widths of up to 85 feet in plain concrete
John Waggoner, PG, CEG, has over 35 years of experience in the application of engineering geology to a diverse array of public and private sector civil engineering projects, including underground construction projects, dams and reservoirs, pipelines, highways and bridges, dewatering systems, and hazardous waste sites. Based in the Pasadena office, he applies geologic factors to the permitting, design, and construction process and has used this expertise to avoid or minimize complications during construction on many signature California projects. These include the San Jose to Merced leg of the California High Speed Rail Project, the Arrowhead Tunnels, and numerous assignments for LA Metro and MWD. John’s work on the Newhope-Placentia Truck Sewer Replacement design project in Orange County and the Chevy Chase Sewer construction management project in Glendale helps maintain his market understanding across Southern California.
Based in San Francisco, McMillen Jacobs Associates is an employee-owned environmental, engineering, and construction company providing a comprehensive array of technical services to the heavy civil, underground, and water resources markets. For more information, visit

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fireaway is building a full-scale fire research and test facility

Fireaway, the manufacturer of Stat-X condensed aerosol fire suppression generators, is constructing a new fire research and test facility at its agent manufacturing plant in Minden, Louisiana. This facility will be capable of full-scale testing of fire extinguishing systems in a volume exceeding 500 cubic meters. The capability will include data acquisition, video, IR imaging, and gas analysis. It will be the only facility of this size and capability in North America.

Once completed, this new facility will be used for testing to confirm the suitability of Stat-X aerosol systems to meet customers’ requirements, further development of Stat-X aerosol extinguishing systems, testing for new applications, and obtaining additional international approvals. 

Stat-X First Responders and Stat-X fixed systems are highly-advanced automatic condensed aerosol fire-suppression solutions used to save lives and protect assets. These units are deployed in tough conditions worldwide, including surface and underground mines, military vehicles, long haul buses, rolling stock, remote telecom sites, wind turbines, power substations, electrical cabinets, and various marine and off-shore settings. They are capable of being manually, thermally, or electrically activated by control panels.

Fireaway is an ISO 9001-2008 certified company with production facilities in Minnetonka, Minnesota and Minden, Louisiana. For more information, visit

Saturday, September 10, 2016

New science building at UNSW Australia showcases best practices in laboratory design

The new building for the School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at UNSW Australia (University of New South Wales) officially opened this past July with a ribbon-cutting ceremony presided over by top officials from UNSW and the state of New South Wales. The MSE building, also known as the Hilmer Building, houses Australia’s highest ranked materials and physical science research institute.

HDR, the lead laboratory architects and engineers, were selected with Grimshaw, head design consultant,  and TTW and Steensen Varming, principal consultants, based on the team’s design competition proposal, which married the precise functional and servicing requirements of physical and chemical science laboratories with the need for enhanced interaction between researchers, academics, and faculty members. 

“The MSE building includes laboratories that require the critical isolation of vibration, acoustics, electromagnetic and radio frequency interferences as well as accurate control of temperature and humidity in the laboratory environments,” states HDR Principal and Senior Vice President Ahmad Soueid. “Our comprehensive design team worked closely with UNSW as we applied the best design, planning, and engineering practices of relevant projects from across the globe. The result is a fully integrated design that provides many features for future flexibility and an adaptable laboratory scheme that will accommodate the dynamic changes in material sciences research and applications of materials technologies.”

The MSE building has also been designed to celebrate “science on display” with abundant research and collaboration space. The laboratory spaces make up the core of the facility and are transparent wherever possible, revealing the work of the researchers within. Surrounding the labs is a habitable skin consisting of meeting rooms, offices, and breakout spaces designed to encourage knowledge sharing. 

“We have created the new planning typology to evoke the best work from inspired individuals. The architecture’s primary purpose is to enable innovation and insight in research that sets new precedents globally. Invention and creativity arises through the intersection of many people,” shared Grimshaw Partner Andrew Cortese. “The porosity of the planning approach for the laboratory environment allows for activities to occur in connected research neighborhoods and academic forums, stacked both horizontally and vertically across the building, allowing interaction across all levels, departments, and research programs.”

HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities since 1917, specializing in engineering, architecture, environmental, and construction services. The firm has nearly 10,000 employees in more than 225 locations around the world. For more information, visit

Monday, September 5, 2016

Merritt Engineering celebratres 30 years of restoring New York City's skyline

Merritt Engineering, a New York-based veteran-owned small business (VOSB) firm specializing in building envelope restoration and structural design, celebrates 30 years of business. Founded by Charles Merritt, P.E. in 1986, after serving as JC Penny’s chief construction engineer and having gained over 30 years of structural design experience, Merritt set out to provide a quality engineering consulting service to building owners and managers throughout New York City.

The firm quickly built a reputation, as Mr. Merritt and his team assisted numerous facility owners and managers in restoring and maintaining their buildings’ exteriors. Over the last three decades, the firm has performed thousands of building inspections, condition surveys, and exterior rehabilitation projects throughout the NYC Metro Area as well as the entire United States.

Today, the company has 30 employees and offices in New York and Florida, working on highly visible, multi-million dollar restoration projects for commercial, residential, healthcare, and educational properties. Merritt continues to expand its services and markets while staying on the forefront of ever-changing technology and industry standards.

For more information, visit

Saturday, August 27, 2016

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff to add over 100 technical staff in NYC

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global engineering and professional services consulting organization, is looking to add 120 technical professionals to its New York City staff. The firm’s New York City office provides a wide range of services in such areas as transportation design and construction, structural and mechanical/electrical/plumbing engineering for buildings, and environmental and energy services.

“Our firm’s continued growth across several markets has necessitated an expansion of the professional staff in our New York City office,” says Gregory Kelly, president and CEO of the U.S., Central and South America region of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff. “We expect to expand our technical staff considerably over the next few months to be able to meet project demands.”
Among the technical specialties sought are civil engineering, construction inspection, transportation planning, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and surveying. “We are experiencing organic growth in all our service areas but especially in transportation as well as comprehensive buildings services,” Kelly adds.

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff provides services designed to transform the built environment and restore the natural one. The firm’s expertise ranges from environmental remediation and urban planning, to engineering iconic buildings and designing sustainable transport networks, to developing the energy sources of the future and enabling new ways of extracting essential resources. Approximately 34,000 employees, including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors, program and construction management professionals, and various environmental experts, work for the organization in more than 500 offices across 40 countries worldwide. For more information, visit

Friday, August 19, 2016

Thomson Industries provides motion control products for student tractor design competition

Thomson Industries, a manufacturer of mechanical motion control solutions, served as a silver sponsor of this year’s International Quarter Scale (IQS) tractor design competition of the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers (ASABE). In this annual event, engineering students design and build garden-sized tractors and then compete in a variety of performance events. Thomson provided students with motion control technology such as actuators as well as financial support for the competition.

“The ASABE tractor competition is unique in that it fosters leadership, management, and marketing skills as well as engineering design innovation,” says Sheena Byrnes, sales director, global key accounts at Thomson. “This is a great opportunity to showcase the performance and versatility of electromechanical motion control solutions to enhance the design and performance of the tractors. We made our full catalog of motion control products available at no cost to the students’ teams, so there was no limit on their creativity."

Each competing team was given a 31-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, a set of Titan tires and the knowledge that industry experts would judge them based on innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level, and ergonomics. Each team submitted a written design report in advance and sold their design at the competition in a formal presentation to industry experts playing the role of a corporate product evaluation team. Lastly, they put their entry to the test in three tractor pulls and a durability course.

The following are among the Thomson products that students incorporated in their designs:
·  Thomson Elektrak throttle actuators are used in throttle control, steering, ergonomic steering wheel, adjustments, mirror adjustments, etc.
·  The Thomson Max Jac linear actuator is built to perform in harsh environments and materials such as fertilizers, mud, sand, high pressure water, slush, salt water, snow, heat, or heavy vibrations and requires little or no maintenance and service.
·  The Electrak 10 actuators incorporate a screw drive system for applications requiring maximum load capacity.
·  The Electrak HD actuator, built with an integrated control system that includes J1939 bus communication, allows for enhanced controllability, condition monitoring, and advanced diagnostics.

“Motion control opens many avenues for design innovation, and we are pleased to have a company of Thomson’s stature participating in the competition,” says Kent Thoreson, IQS vice chair II. “I am sure we will see innovations that are new to the competition and the industry.”

This year’s competition took place on June 2-5, 2016 at the Expo Gardens Fairgrounds in Peoria, Illinois and saw the University of Nebraska claim victory. More information on the event can be found at

With more than 70 years of motion control innovation and quality, Thomson produces linear ball bushing bearings and profile rail bearings, 60 case shafting, ground and rolled ball screws, linear actuators, gearheads, clutches, brakes, linear systems, and related accessories. Thomson invented the linear ball bushing bearing in 1945. Serving global commercial and aerospace and defense markets, the firm is based in Radford, Virginia and has other facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia with over 2000 distributor locations around the world. For more information, visit

Saturday, August 13, 2016

POWER Engineers helps AEP win top industry honor

POWER Engineers (POWER) helped American Electric Power (AEP) successfully complete the longest replacement of energized conductor in the United States and bring more reliable power to the residents of South Texas. The project has earned AEP the electric power industry’s most prestigious honor, the Edison Award. The Edison Electric Institute award recognizes AEP’s leadership and innovation in replacing conductor on two 345 kV transmission lines. The lines begin in Corpus Christi and supply the majority of power to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, 120 miles to the south.

“Completion of the project helps guarantee reliable electricity in South Texas for years to come,” says Erik Ruggeri, senior project engineer with POWER. As the engineer of record, POWER worked closely with AEP’s contractor to design a temporary single-phase line that allowed the entire 240 circuit-miles to be replaced with aluminum conductor composite core while energized. It involved installing more than 1,440 miles of advanced conductor on the 240 circuit-miles.

Keeping the line energized meant that AEP’s customers could run their air conditioners, charge their cell phones, or watch TV without interruption while AEP improved the reliability of the electric grid to meet a huge growth in demand. Lower Rio Grande Valley population has grown about 30 percent since 2000 and continues to expand.

“Because the lines were being replaced while energized, substation construction became the determining factor in terms of outage duration,” reports Joel Lankutis, the substation project engineer for POWER.” Coming up with a design that could actually be constructed under these outage constraints was the biggest challenge.”

POWER’s services included outage planning as well as scheduling and coordinating work on the stations and replacing the conductor. Engineering and construction had to be carefully placed in sequence and coordinated to make the most of the limited planned outages. POWER also expedited the protection and control center design to meet the construction schedule for a prefabricated control building. AEP focused on the transmission system upgrade after extremely cold temperatures in February 2011 in the Lower Rio Grande Valley triggered record peak electricity demand. POWER also provided engineering design services for the complete overhaul of the Lon Hill substation at Corpus Christi, where both 345 kV lines originate, and for work at four other 345 kV substations south of the city.

POWER Engineers is a global consulting engineering firm specializing in the delivery of integrated solutions for energy, food and beverage, facilities, communications, environmental, and federal markets. POWER offers multidiscipline engineering, architectural, and program management services. Founded in 1976, it is an employee-owned company with more than 2,100 employees and 45 offices throughout the United States and abroad. For more information, visit

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Virginia Tech faculty awarded $2.5 million from NSF to advance future wireless technologies

The White House recently announced its Advanced Wireless Research Initiative to be led by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to pursue innovative spectrum policy and research efforts that will accelerate the deployment of a new generation of wireless networks up to 100 times faster than today.

NSF has awarded Wireless @ Virginia Tech, a cognition and communication center funded by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS), several research projects in support of the initiative. The funding, totaling more than $2.5 million, will seek to address critical issues concerning emerging wireless communication networks and technology, which are vital to economic growth and development in the United States.

"The five research projects awarded to Virginia Tech are intended to propel the technological revolution of wireless for decades ahead, from spectrum management to the Internet of Things,” says NSF program director Thyaga Nandagopal. “The White House initiative aims to deploy and use four city-scale testing platforms for advanced wireless research over the next decade with Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research, a program designed to develop wireless research platforms conceived by the U.S. academic and industrial wireless research community."

Multiple faculty members from the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering and Wireless @ Virginia Tech will serve as academic research partners to create solutions fundamental to the nation's progress. “Virginia Tech is a world leader in radio spectrum and cognitive radio research, “says Michael Buehrer, professor of electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and director of Wireless @ Virginia Tech. “We are pleased NSF has invested in our efforts to drive research to the next level in support of the White House’s initiative.”

The first and the largest of the five awards, totaling $830,356, “Implications of Receiver Front End Nonlinearity on Network Performance: Fundamentals, Limitations, and Management Strategies,” focuses on overcoming limitations of low-quality radio receivers that cause interference or are susceptible to interference. The principal investigator on this project is Jeffrey Reed, the Willis G. Professor of ECE, and co-principal investigators are Allan MacKenzie, associate director of Wireless @ Virginia Tech and associate professor of ECE, and Vuk Marojevic, research associate of ECE.

The second award, for $600,000, will fund an upgrade to Virginia Tech’s Cognitive Radio Network Testbed (CORNET), a collection of 48 software-defined radio nodes deployed within Kelly Hall, a four-story building on Virginia Tech's main campus. This facility will be used to test new concepts in wireless access, including techniques that will use artificial intelligence to control the radios. The grant will also support educational and outreach efforts to reach students and STEM professionals through demonstrations, conferences, and an annual international student design contest. The principal investigator on this award is Carl Dietrich, associate research professor of ECE, and co-principal investigators are Jerry Park, professor of ECE; Vuk Marojevic, research associate of ECE; and Reed.

The third award, for $400,000, will fund research for “Joint Backhaul and Radio Access Design for Heterogeneous Wireless Networks,” specifically working to enable tomorrow’s cellular systems to support bandwidth-intensive wireless applications, such as mobile high-definition video streaming, though modeling based on microeconomic principles and geometric-based coverage estimates. The NSF award will also support educational activities for underrepresented student groups in research via hands-on projects and outreach events. Harpreet Dhillon, assistant professor of ECE, will lead the research with co-principal investigator Walid Saad, assistant professor of ECE.

The fourth award, for $400,000, for “Smart Interference Management for Wireless Internet of Things,” will study how to cope with the potential interference in the coming Wireless Internet-of-Things (W-IoT), consisting of billions of wireless devices creating enormous amounts of data traffic over the airwaves. Tom Hou, the Bradley Distinguished Professor of ECE and principal investigator, will work to create and demonstrate a new approach for W-IoT devices to automatically invoke and configure interference management techniques to ensure smooth wireless communications.

The fifth award, totaling approximately $1 million, with Virginia Tech’s share coming to $375,000, is a collaborative project with Temple University and the University of Arizona called “Coexistence of Heterogeneous Wireless Access Technologies in the 5 GHz Band.” It seeks to create solutions for enabling the harmonious coexistence between unlicensed-LTE, Wi-Fi, and Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) operating in the same band. Jerry Park, professor of ECE and principal investigator, will work to develop solutions for new emerging technologies beyond today’s LTE, Wi-Fi, and DSRC systems.

Monday, August 1, 2016

FAA grants RETTEW exemption for drones

Engineering firm RETTEW has announced that the FAA has granted an exemption for the use of the firm’s drone (unmanned aircraft system) for surveying and mapping purposes. Although RETTEW has owned a drone for about a year, the firm was not authorized to use the system commercially until the FAA granted the exemption.

Drones have been hotly debated over the last few years. Those against drones see them as a violation of their privacy, while those in favor feel their rights are jeopardized by the government restricting their use. The U.S. government is selective when it comes to who it allows to use drones for commercial and recreational purposes. One must register with the FAA to get an exemption for commercial use, like in RETTEW’s case. The FAA has granted only 5,114 UAS exemptions to date.

With the FAA exemption, RETTEW can now use the drone for rooftop surveys, mapping of land areas, and inspections of bridges and pipelines. Safety is a priority at RETTEW, and using drones will allow the firm to provide reliable data to clients while keeping employees out of harm’s way. “Keeping up with the latest surveying technology allows RETTEW to build on the services we offer and pass further cost savings onto our clients,” says Mark Lauriello, RETTEW’s president and CEO.

RETTEW began providing civil engineering and surveying services in 1969, and today it has more than 350 employees at nine offices in Lancaster, Lehigh Valley, Mechanicsburg, and Pittsburgh, PA; Canton, OH; Delhi, NY; Bridgeport, WV, and Denver, CO. For more information, visit

Sunday, July 24, 2016

UMass partners with Mass Energy Lab Insulation to test job-site spray foam insulation safety

Researchers at University of Massachusetts Lowell are conducting a study to evaluate exposures associated with the use of products that contain reacting chemicals (such as isocyanates and epoxies) and controls that reduce exposures to these chemicals in construction during the installation of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation in homes across Massachusetts.

Anila Bello, ScD, MSc, a research occupational and environmental health scientist at UMass Lowell's College of Health Sciences says, "We are looking forward to the partnership with Mass Energy Lab Insulation as they are a widely regarded insulation company here in Massachusetts and have given us unprecedented access to numerous job sites and insulation personnel, to assess exposures to and develop recommendations for safer work practices for installers, bystanders, and occupants."

This unique study is headed by principal investigators Dhimiter Bello, ScD and Susan Woskie, PhD. "SPF is an excellent insulating material. The chemistry and technology of spray foams has improved considerably over the years and so have industry best practices, adherence to which enable safe foam applications," Dhimiter says. "Field exposure data and field observations to date are limited. Good data will allow us to make informed decisions on best work practices and controls, so we can reap the benefits of the technology while keeping everyone - the installer, helpers, and homeowners - safe. This partnership with Mass Energy Lab is an important mechanism towards reaching these goals, and we value their pro-safety culture."

"The study is federally funded and we do not analyze anything else not related to the work, including drugs or drug by-products. We're researching so that we can better understand where and how exposures occur and how controls can be engineered so these tools and equipment can be made safer for health. Having a forward thinking insulation company like Mass Energy Lab as our partner has been very beneficial. Our collaboration is built on trust and a mutual long-term vision to make a positive impact on the spray foam industry as a whole," Dhimiter added.

"The two most important stakeholders in any company are their clients and employees. Knowing that we can give our customers and installers a validation that when we install spray foam insulation in their homes, we're bringing a valid, science-backed paradigm is our top priority with this partnership," states Edward Liu, Mass Energy Lab's operations engineer. "We strive to be the expert on insulation, and it's a privilege to work with the UMass team that has long been the authority on studies like this." 

Mass Energy Lab Chief Field Engineer Josue Valdez says, "The insulation industry is one of the most scrutinized and regulated industries, and the SPF insulation market is growing by 7.6 percent annually. So being able to have UMass come to our job sites, build such great trust with our install team, observe our installers as they work, and test samples of spray foam insulation in our client's homes is unbelievable because insulation workers come to work everyday and get exposed to various chemicals and resins and use a variety of equipment to protect themselves from it. We all want to know that are we in a safe workplace, and this is part of Mass Energy Lab's commitment to working together to create a safer work environment for our spray foam installers. It's about working together to create a seamless, safe insulation install."

Mass Energy Lab Insulation is a Boston-based insulation company that designs and installs insulation solutions in homes. For more information,