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,

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Volkert announces the formation of Volkert Global

Volkert, a full-service, multi-discipline engineering services firm with a long history of providing support for public and private infrastructure clients in the United States, recently announced that it has formed a new entity, Volkert Global. Volkert Global will serve as an independent international affiliate for Volkert and will further extend the firm's ability to reach and serve their growing international client base.

Volkert Global has named Jerry Stump, current COO for Volkert, as its president and chief executive officer to lead the organization from its new headquarters in the Metro Nashville, Tennessee area. Perry Hand, Volkert president and CEO, stated, "Jerry will continue in the COO role as well as lead this exciting new venture of Volkert Global. We are very excited for the future of Volkert and Volkert Global."

Volkert's most recent global activity has been working with one of its strategic design partners on a critical infrastructure development in Panama. A new Metro Link Transit System will serve Panama City as well as growing areas throughout the region.

Volkert is an employee-owned engineering firm serving state and federal agencies, local and municipal governments, private industry, and select international clients. A 91-year-old company, Volkert is headquartered in Mobile, AL and has 35 offices in 14 states and the District of Columbia. To learn more about Volkert, visit

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Director selected to lead new engineering programs at UIndy

An expert in electrical and computer engineering has been chosen to lead the newly created programs in engineering at the University of Indianapolis. José Sánchez brings substantial research and teaching experience from his work at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, where he began teaching in 2002. He has served most recently as associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Bradley. His specialties and research interests include biomedical imaging and devices, discrete-time signal processing, embedded systems, engineering education, robotics, real-time implementation of digital signal processing and image, and multidimensional, multirate, and adaptive signal processing.

“The needs of engineering have changed over the last few decades,” Sánchez says. “Most problems that society faces today require complex multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary solutions. My goal is to collaborate with the industry to create real-world problems for our students to solve. UIndy’s strong core, along with the emphasis on communication, problem-solving, design, testing and teamwork, will uniquely position our engineering students as strong contributors to society.”

Sánchez is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a member of a number of IEEE societies (Education; Engineering in Medicine and Biology; Signal Processing; and Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control) as well as the Acoustical Society of America and the American Society for Engineering Education. He holds a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

UIndy now offers two new degrees in the fast-growing fields of software engineering and industrial and systems engineering. The university is one of few Indiana institutions to offer these engineering programs, which provide students with authentic design opportunities invigorated by a general education core that seeks to develop well-rounded professionals. “These programs build on UIndy’s strengths in the sciences and mathematics,” says Jennifer Drake, dean of the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences. “Students choosing to study engineering at UIndy will benefit from small class sizes, strong relationships with faculty, and unique opportunities to engage in undergraduate research and project-based learning.” UIndy’s engineering programs emphasize creativity, critical thinking, social responsibility, and problem solving.

More information about the engineering programs at UIndy is available at