Monday, February 22, 2016

Steven Blake, former Arcadis North America CEO, dies at 59

Steve Blake, a member of the Arcadis executive board from 1999 through 2003 and again between 2010 and 2013 and CEO for Arcadis-U.S. for more than 15 years before retiring in 2013, died on January 16 at his home in Hayden, Colorado after a brief fight with cancer. He was 59.

Prior to joining Arcadis, an engineering firm, Blake held management roles at Geraghty & Miller. Within months of the 1993 merger between Geraghty & Miller and Arcadis, Blake was appointed CEO for the Dutch firm’s U.S. business. During Blake’s tenure with Arcadis, the firm grew organically and through strategic mergers and acquisitions to rank No.12 on ENR’s list of the Top 500 Design Firms at the time of his retirement.

According to Neil McArthur, global chief executive officer for Arcadis: “All of us at Arcadis are deeply saddened to hear of Steve’s death and offer our support and thoughts to his wife and family. Steve had a huge impact on everything and everyone he touched during his life and career. He was able to see the bigger strategic picture but also understood the operational details to make it happen. His plan for Arcadis North America was hugely successful, growing our business five times and profitability 10 times over a 10-year period. He was also a hands-on leader, leading from the front, and incredibly hard working. Steve was a passionate and inspirational leader and fully embodied our passion to improve quality of life and be recognized as the best. He was larger than life, and he will be sorely missed - his legacy will endure.”

Blake was a member of the Society of American Military Engineers, the Construction Industry Roundtable, the National Ground Water Association and the U.S. National Water Well Associates. A registered professional engineer in Oklahoma and a registered geologist in Arkansas, he held a bachelor’s degree in watershed sciences from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in hydrology and water resources science from the University of Arizona.

John Jastrem, CEO of Arcadis’ North America region commented, “Although I wasn’t fortunate enough to work with Steve, I know he was a very successful businessman and a highly respected leader, and I see evidence of this in the company he led for so many years. Steve recognized talent and team spirit, and he empowered the team to 'go make something happen!,' and Steve appreciated every employee and celebrated their accomplishments.  Each of us at Arcadis are part of Steve’s legacy.  He will be missed, but not forgotten.”

Arcadis offers design, consulting, engineering, and project management services through 28,000 people in over 70 countries. The firm supports UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world.  For more information, visit

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Merrick's Jennifer Speers leads rocket test stand design effort

Merrick & Company was contracted by NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, AL for the architectural and engineering design of the liquid hydrogen fuel tank (LH2) test stand for the new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. Leading the design and overseeing project construction is Merrick structural engineer Jennifer Speers, PE, SE. MSFC recently hosted a media day to showcase the rising construction of the two-tower test stand, which included attendance by NASA’s director Charles Bolden and astronaut Butch Wilmore.

“Jen has been tireless in her devotion and technical attention to all phases of this project. The fact that she is the only woman on the technical or construction team is overshadowed by the fact that she is simply one heck of an engineer. Designing a structure of this magnitude that can withstand the forces the SLS rocket fuel tanks will experience during launch is a monumental technical feat,” according to Chris Sherry, PE, Merrick senior vice president and COO.

The 215-foot test stand will be completed by 2016 to allow for testing to begin in 2017. The first launch is set for 2018 and will include an asteroid landing, a manned Mars mission, and an unmanned mission beyond Mars. For additional coverage and an interview with Speers, visit

Merrick & Company , an engineering, architecture, design-build, surveying, planning, and geospatial solutions firm, serves domestic and international clients in the energy, national security, life sciences, and sustainable infrastructure markets. The employee-owned company maintains offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit