Sunday, June 25, 2017

TradeMachines examines the lack of women in engineering

TradeMachines is a search engine for used industrial machinery. Although we personally never see or have contact with the machines listed on our website, machines of all sorts define our everyday tasks. We talk about, look at, and think about machines every single day.

Given our company profile, our international customer base consists of professionals working with heavy equipment, countless of them being engineers just like one of our company founders. It makes sense: who would build a business model around industrial machines if not someone who has a deep knowledge of them? The longer we have been in business, though, the more we see that we work with a large number of engineers and, interestingly, our clients are mostly men. And looking at the statistics, our observation was valid: within the United States, only 13 percent of engineers are women, while in Germany it's 17 percent and France 21 percent, as just a few examples.

Our company is keen on equality, as our  people come from all over the world. Some of our colleagues are German, some are from the United States, and others are from Poland or Uzbekistan, and the ratio of men to women is currently about 60:40. For us, being given the same chance no matter your background is a main value. Considering that engineering has great prospects and guarantees a stable income almost anywhere in the world, we became curious why women are so severely under-represented in this field. Are they just not interested in what engineering has to offer?

We started researching and realized that the answer is a definite “no” and found the reasoning very intriguing and concerning. We decided that the least we can do as a company is summarize our findings in an infographic to underline the difficulties women face when entering the male-dominated field of engineering, hoping we can also trigger further support from others.

Take a look at our infographic yourself, you might be surprised...



Friday, June 16, 2017

Merrick & Company recognized for hydrothermal processing pilot system

Merrick & Company was recognized at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) gala in Washington, D.C., which honors the year's most outstanding engineering accomplishments. Merrick received a National Honor Award in the energy category for its hydrothermal processing pilot system (HPPS) project, Oil in Hours, Not Millions of Years.

Genifuel Corporation obtained the license from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for its technology to transform a mixture of 20 percent algae and 80 percent water into bio-crude oil and natural gas. PNNL had proven their process at a lab scale, but Genifuel wanted to build a significantly larger (20 times the previous size) pilot system. Merrick provided lump sum turnkey services for this first-of-its-kind application that included engineering, hazard assessment, cost estimating, procurement, fabrication/assembly oversight, and commissioning.

The HPPS is an innovation that converts something as common as algae into transportation fuel. The system was designed using algae as the biomass feedstock, but almost any biosolid mixed in a slurry can be used. This opens the possibility to take hydrocarbon rich waste from other processes such as agricultural, food processing, or wastewater systems and turn that waste into a usable fuel. Since no solvents or chemicals are used, there is no need to then sequester the solvent or chemical at the end of the process. The use of biomass-produced fuel causes no net increase in greenhouse gases and produces clear, sterile water as a byproduct.

Project winners at the state level EEA competitions were eligible for ACEC’s national EEA competition. A panel of judges representing industry, government, academia, and media rated winning work on the following criteria:
Uniqueness and innovative applications
Future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public
Social, economic, and sustainable development considerations
Complexity
Successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs

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

Friday, June 9, 2017

CollegeChoice.net ranks the 20 Most Affordable Online Bachelors in Engineering Degrees

College Choice, an authority in college and university rankings and resources, has published its ranking of the 20 Most Affordable Online Bachelors in Engineering Degrees for 2017.
You can see it at http://www.collegechoice.net/rankings/cheapest-online-engineering-degrees/

The United States' transition to a knowledge-based economy and its increased emphasis on STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) means lots of opportunities for engineers. As a result, many engineering programs are impacted, and online engineering programs are seen as offering a valuable path to students interested in the field.

"The days when an online degree meant dubious respectability are well in the past, and an online degree can provide a path to a high quality, affordable education that will be taken seriously by employers," Christian Amondson, managing editor of College Choice, says of the ranking. "Nevertheless, because it is difficult to over-emphasize the importance of proper accreditation, we have made sure that all the schools on this list have regional accreditation, and many programs have further accreditation from some of the main STEM accreditation bodies."

The College Choice ranking is based on out-of-state per-credit tuition. Schools may charge additional fees not taken into consideration in this ranking. There may also be face-to-face or lab requirements that necessitate travel.

The ranking for the 20 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Engineering for 2017 finds the American Public University System in the top spot. Kennesaw State University is in second, and University of Southern Mississippi rounds out the top three. The entire ranking in alphabetical order:

American Public University
Bemidji State University
Brigham Young University - Idaho
Daytona State College
Eastern Kentucky University
Eastern New Mexico University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Excelsior College
Indiana State University
Kennesaw State University
Morgan State University
National University
Old Dominion University
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
Thomas Edison State University
Trine University
University of Alabama
University of Massachusetts Lowell
University of Southern Mississippi
Western Carolina University

College Choice is an online publication dedicated to helping students and their families find the right college. The site publishes rankings and reviews that make finding the best colleges for different interests easier and more fun. They also publish resources to help students get into, pay for, and thrive at the college of their choice.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

John Pfisterer named senior VP at M&J Engineering


John Pfisterer has been named a senior vice president at M&J Engineering, PC (M&J). He comes to M&J following a distinguished career of over 20 years with MTA Bridges and Tunnels (MTAB&T), culminating as the deputy director of electrical, mechanical, and commissioning groups at the agency’s headquarters. During his tenure at MTAB&T, he also served as the facility engineer at the Queens Midtown Tunnel, where he oversaw both the capital and major maintenance programs.
Pfisterer directed efforts on groundbreaking new technologies including the introduction of EZ Pass, LED lighting, fiber optics, and in-tunnel wireless communications. He also was involved in the agency’s recovery efforts after the 9/11 attack and Superstorm Sandy.

As part of the restoration efforts after Superstorm Sandy, Pfisterer managed the $270 million rehabilitation of the tunnel walls, roadways, and Manhattan Exit Plaza. Other complex assignments under his management at the Queens Midtown Tunnel included the comprehensive facility-wide electrical upgrade and ventilation buildings switchgear and motor control center replacement and the exhaust fan replacement.

Prior to his MTAB&T career, Pfisterer was employed at Burns and Roe Enterprises, where he worked on a wide range or projects including weapons decommissioning and satellite transmission systems (STS) as a systems engineer. Pfisterer holds a bachelor of engineering degree from Pratt Institute as well as a bachelor of science degree from St. John’s University.

“We are thrilled to have John as part of our team” said Maqsood Malik, M&J’s President and CEO. “His extensive knowledge of tunnel systems and project management will contribute greatly to M&J’s continued growth and capabilities in these vital areas, particularly throughout the New York metropolitan area.”

M&J Engineering is a certified minority (MBE), disadvantaged (DBE), and small business (SBE) enterprise as well as a multi-disciplinary consulting engineering firm with over 100 employees.  Since its founding in 2004, M&J has grown into a provider of design, environmental, construction management/inspection, naval architecture, aerospace engineering, and technology services to a range of clients including federal, state, city/local agencies, private owners, architects, other engineers, and contractors. With offices in NY; NJ; CT; PA; FL; VA; and Washington, DC, the firm currently is the prime contractor for the $236 million Construction Management and Resident Engineering/Inspection of the MTA’s Queens Midtown Tunnel.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

FSU’s High-Performance Materials Institute to play major role in deep space exploration

Florida State University’s High-Performance Materials Institute (HPMI) and the Florida A&M University–Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) College of Engineering are joining a major multi-university project funded by NASA that will focus on developing technologies crucial to human exploration in deep space.

“We are really happy to participate in a project that supports NASA and its future work,” HPMI Director Richard Liang says. Vice President for Research Gary Ostrander adds, “This is a wonderful opportunity for our faculty researchers and students to participate in a project that pushes the boundaries of science and will have a major impact on space travel and exploration. FSU’s High-Performance Materials Institute was designed to explore the possibilities and uses of next-generation materials, and this project will allow them to apply their expertise in an exciting way.”

The work is part of an overall initiative from NASA to create the first-ever Space Technology Research Institutes (STRI), including one on biological engineering in space and one on next-generational materials. Each institute will receive $15 million over a five-year period that will be distributed among the partner universities.

HPMI is a multidisciplinary research institute at Florida State University largely staffed by faculty from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Both FSU and FAMU will receive funding from the STRI focusing on next-generation materials and manufacturing. The money will help fund multiple graduate students at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and one postdoctoral researcher.

“The High-Performance Materials Institute is a leader in developing advanced nanocomposites and additive manufacturing that will be critical for man’s extended presence in deep space,” FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Dean J. Murray Gibson says. “Because of this grant, our students will have unique opportunities to participate in an exciting future major space program.”

Also a professor at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, Liang will serve as principle investigator at the college and an area leader for the STRI. Six faculty from the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering will participate in the project. The STRI will be led by Professor Gregory Odegard at Michigan Technological University.

At HPMI and the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, scientists will specifically work on the development of carbon nanotube-based structural materials that can help create next-generation space vehicles, power systems, and potentially even habitats. “It’s exciting to know that I could have a student who could get experience here on this project and then potentially work on the mission to Mars in the future,” says Tarik Dickens, an assistant professor at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering who is also working on the project.

HPMI’s mission is to develop next-generation materials that can be used in a variety of technologies and industries. It has been designated as an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center by the National Science Foundation and as a Center of Excellence by Florida’s public university governing body, the Florida Board of Governors.

The other universities participating in the project are the University of Utah, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota, Pennsylvania State University, University of Colorado, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Industrial partners include Nanocomp Technologies and Solvay, with the U.S. Air Force Research Lab as a collaborator.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

McMillen Jacobs Associates names regional manager and construction management practice lead



J
ohn Kaplin, CCM, has stepped into the position of California regional manager. The region includes offices in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Pasadena, and San Diego. Kaplin has been with McMillen Jacobs for three years, most recently serving as the firm’s construction management (CM) practice lead. He has 30 years of experience in geotechnical investigations, design management, and construction management of underground and heavy civil projects. He has worked in leadership positions on projects with a wide variety of delivery methods including design-build and CM at Risk. Kaplin holds an M.S. in Engineering Geology and a B.S. in Geology from Colorado State University.
Sarah Wilson, PE, CCM has assumed the construction management practice lead position. She currently serves as resident engineer on the Central Subway project in San Francisco. Wilson is a senior associate and has been with McMillen Jacobs Associates for 17 years. She has served in project management roles on a wide variety of underground construction projects from planning through design and construction. She has focused on construction management roles for the last 12 years. In her new role, she will provide day-to-day support for CM staff, overall leadership to the CM practice on operational matters for existing projects, and collaboration with senior management on development of new business and talent for our construction management projects. Wilson received an M.S. in Geotechnical Engineering from UC Berkeley and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Drexel University.
Based in Seattle, WA, McMillen Jacobs Associates is an employee-owned environmental, engineering, and construction company providing an array of technical services to the heavy civil, underground, and water resources markets. The firm has offices on the U.S. west and east coasts as well as in New Zealand, Australia, and British Columbia, Canada. For more information, visit www.mcmjac.com.


Friday, April 28, 2017

NC State and UNC biomedical engineers develop paper pumps

A hydraulic battery pumping fluid through a simple microchannel

Biomedical engineering researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed inexpensive paper pumps that use capillary action to power portable microfluidic devices, opening the door to a range of biomedical tools. Microfluidic devices manipulate fluids that have a volume of one microliter or less – substantially smaller than a single teardrop. These devices hold promise for use in applications ranging from biomedical diagnostic tools to drug testing technologies.
“One longstanding challenge to the development of portable, real-world microfluidic device technologies has been the need to find a cost-effective way to pump fluids through the device when outside the lab,” says Glenn Walker, co-corresponding author of a journal article on the work and an associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC State and UNC. “Portability is important because it makes new applications possible, such as diagnostic tools that can be used in the field. Electric pumps, and tubing to connect them, are fine for a laboratory environment, but those aren’t easy to take with you.”
Now Walker and his collaborators have developed a new way to not only pump fluids through microfluidic devices, but to exert substantial control over that flow. They can stop and re-start the flow, control the rate of the flow, and control how long the flow lasts. “And, because our approach is a new twist on an age-old technology, our pumps are extremely cost effective,” Walker says.
The age-old technology he’s referring to is paper. The researchers call their pumping system a hydraulic battery, but it doesn’t involve electricity in any way. Instead, the battery draws its pumping power from capillary action.
If you’ve ever seen a paper towel soak up a spill, you’ve seen capillary action at work. Broadly speaking, capillary action is the tendency of liquids to be drawn into small spaces by surface tension. In the context of the hydraulic battery, it is the tendency of water – and aqueous liquids, such as blood – to be drawn into the pores found in a piece of paper.
“Our system uses pieces of paper 125 microns thick, little more than the width of a single hair,” Walker says. “Capillary action pulls a liquid into the paper. And by changing the shape of the paper, we are able to control how much liquid is pulled through an attached device – and how quickly that happens.” The shape can be changed in two dimensions by simply cutting out the paper. But it can also be manipulated in three dimensions by stacking multiple pumps on top of each other. “By stacking the paper we are able to create more complex flow profiles, depending on the needs for any given application,” Walker says. “And any one of these hydraulic battery pumps costs less than a dime.”
There are other portable means for pumping liquid through a microfluidic device, but Walker feels that the paper pumps his team has developed hold several significant advantages. “Our hydraulic battery is small, lightweight, very inexpensive, easy to connect to a device and disposable,” Walker says. “In addition, our paper pumps could be saved for later evaluation, such as to run secondary, lab-based tests to confirm on-site diagnoses.”
The researchers have filed a patent application on the paper pump technology and are currently looking for industry partners to help bring it to the marketplace. “We’re optimistic that it could make a difference in both public health and advancing fundamental research,” Walker says.
The paper, “Modular pumps as programmable hydraulic batteries for microfluidic devices,” is published in the journal Technology. Lead author of the paper is Brian Cummins, a former postdoctoral researcher in the joint biomedical engineering program. Co-corresponding author of the paper is Frances Ligler, Lampe Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and UNC. The paper was co-authored by Rukesh Chinthapatla and Balaji Lenin, both of whom are undergraduates at NC State. The work was done with support from the NC State University Chancellor’s Innovation Fund.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

POWER Engineers works to bring more reliable power to southern Kansas

Construction of new transmission lines and substations by Wheatland Electric Cooperative will allow the delivery of more reliable power to southern Kansas homes and businesses. POWER Engineers (POWER) is providing Wheatland Electric the engineering design and other services to seamlessly coordinate work on two transmission and four substation projects needed to significantly improve system reliability.

The work at Wheatland Electric is being done in conjunction with major transmission upgrades by Mid-Kansas Electric Company in the same area and includes new 138-kilovolt (kV) lines in the areas of Caldwell and Conway Springs. It also includes construction of new substations at Caldwell, Conway Springs, and Rago. A fourth substation at Bluff City will get upgrades to accommodate the new 138-kV line.

“The new 138-kV lines will provide a much more reliable source than the existing lines and will better support present and future power demands,” says Brian Tomlinson, POWER’s project manager for the work at Wheatland Electric. “The new lines, along with Mid-Kansas transmission additions, will give local distribution substations two paths to deliver electricity, providing Wheatland Electric more flexibility for restoring power during an outage, such as during a storm, thereby improving reliability.” The higher voltage lines also allow industry to consider building in areas that previously could not support their needs for electricity.

Besides engineering design, POWER’s services for the projects include support for procuring materials, putting together construction contracts, issuing construction documents to contractors, evaluating bids, recommending contract awards, holding pre-construction meetings, and more. The majority of the power projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

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 Engineers offers complete multidisciplinary engineering and program management services. Founded in 1976, it is an employee-owned company with more than 2,100 employees and over 45 offices throughout the United States and abroad.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Missouri S&T researchers develop ways to improve machining processes


Fixing flaws introduced during the machining of large components used in the aircraft and heavy equipment industries can be time-consuming for manufacturers and costly if they must scrap the flawed parts after they’ve been fabricated. A new approach developed by researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology is helping manufacturers eliminate those flaws before the parts are created.

Writing in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering (JSME), the Missouri S&T researchers describe an approach that can greatly improve the accuracy of five-axis machine tools used to fabricate large parts. Five-axis machine tools are computer-numerically controlled (CNC) machines that can move, cut, or mill a part on five different axes at the same time. This allows manufacturers to create complex contours or curves when creating a large part such as an aircraft wing.

“Five-axis machine tools are known to have 41 basic geometric errors,” says Jennifer Creamer, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Missouri S&T and the lead author of the JMSE paper. As Dr. Robert Landers, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and a co-author of the paper, puts it, “The way you want the machine to move when making a large part is different than the way it actually moves due to inherent geometric errors.” Because of these errors, manufacturers must make adjustments in calibrating their CNC machines.

Several different approaches exist to help compensate for those errors, but none of them provides a complete picture, Creamer says. Manufacturers must combine various methods to get the best sense of a milling problem. The result, she says, is “a piecemeal approach that makes calibration a time-consuming and expensive process." In her research, Creamer set out to find a way to eliminate that piecemeal approach and develop a new model for capturing complicated geometric errors while also automatically generating compensation tables for those errors. A compensation table is a kind of map of errors that can be programmed into a CNC machine to reduce errors.

Flaws in the fabrication of large parts may seem insignificant given the large size of the parts, but they can cause problems. Parts for airplanes, for example, can be 120 feet long, and their size can make holding tight tolerances problematic, Landers says. In Creamer’s research on five-axis machine tools, “She’s trying to hold errors to five thousandths of an inch over 120 feet,” he says.

In collaboration with colleagues at Boeing Research and Technology in St. Louis, where she works as an engineer, Creamer used a laser tracker to quickly measure the motion of all axes over the entire workspace of an industrial five-axis machine. Based on these measurements, she generated a set of compensating tables that could be used to improve the accuracy on a variety of machine tools and related platforms.

Creamer’s paper, titled “Table-Based Volumetric Error Compensation of Large Five-Axis Machine Tools," was originally published online in September 2016 (https://manufacturingscience.asmedigitalcollection.asme.org/article.aspx?articleID=2543543). Co-authors with Creamer are Landers; Dr. Patrick Sammons, who earned his Ph.D. from Missouri S&T in 2016 and is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan; Dr. Douglas Bristow, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T; Dr. Philip Freeman, senior technical fellow at Boeing; and Samuel Easley, an engineer at Boeing. The research is supported by Missouri S&T, the Boeing Company, and Missouri S&T’s Center for Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies.

Creamer is also supported through a GAANN Fellowship at Missouri S&T. GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) is a U.S. Department of Education program designed to encourage more graduate-level education in areas of national need.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Thornton Tomasetti acquires Swallow Acoustic Consultants

Thornton Tomasetti, an international engineering firm, has acquired Swallow Acoustic Consultants Limited (SACL), a specialist in acoustics, noise, and vibration control engineering based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The addition of Swallow bolsters Thornton Tomasetti's Structural Engineering and Forensics practices as well as its Canadian presence.

Founded in the early 1990s by John Swallow, SACL offers a broad range of services in acoustics design and forensics and noise and vibration analysis and control. These include architectural acoustics; environmental, industrial and mechanical noise control; acoustic and vibration testing; expert witness testimony; technical writing and standards; construction vibration assessment; and vibration control.

In addition to its Mississauga headquarters, the 13-person firm has an office in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. John Swallow will become a principal at Thornton Tomasetti, while Ramin Behboudi and Michael Wesolowsky will join as associate principals.

SACL is one of a small number of firms worldwide that designs tuned mass dampers (TMD), a device used to help stabilize buildings against wind sway and other kinds of motion. Its TMD work includes tall buildings and long-span structures such as sports facilities and bridges. SACL's TMD capabilities will dovetail with Thornton Tomasetti's efforts in the field, which includes the development of a fluid harmonic disruptor based on NASA technology.

Starting with Manhattan's LaGuardia School for the Arts in 1988, Thornton Tomasetti has collaborated on many projects with SACL as well as strategic partner Tacet Engineering, whose staff SACL acquired in 2012. These include Chifley Tower in Sydney, Australia; Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois; Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha; and most recently, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, which opened last April. SACL has worked in some 20 countries and has a considerable presence in central and eastern Canada. This will give Thornton Tomasetti a larger footprint in Canada, having opened its first office in the country in Toronto earlier this year.

According to Thomas Scarangello, chairman and CEO of Thornton Tomasetti, "For nearly 30 years, Swallow has been our go-to partner for vibration issues. Through our close collaboration on many diverse projects, we have built a strong working relationship." John Swallow, president and founder of Swallow Acoustic Consultants, adds, "Teaming with Thornton Tomasetti will allow us to serve current and future clients in new and innovative ways. We look forward to sharing our considerable experience in the acoustics, noise, and vibration control fields with Thornton Tomasetti's professionals."

Thornton Tomasetti is involved in engineering design, investigation, and analysis, serving clients worldwide on projects of all sizes and complexity. Through its 10 complementary practices, Thornton Tomasetti addresses the full life cycle of a structure. They have supported clients working in more than 50 countries, with projects that include the tallest buildings and longest spans to the restoration of prized historic properties. Thornton Tomasetti consists of more than 1,200 engineering, architecture, sustainability, and support professionals that collaborate from offices across North America, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Katharine Morgan becomes president of ASTM International

Katharine “Kathie” Morgan recently began serving as president of ASTM International, one of the world’s largest standards development organizations. Morgan will lead a team that supports thousands of members, customers, partners, and other stakeholders worldwide. She succeeds James Thomas, who served in the role for 25 years.

“I am thrilled and humbled to serve as president of an organization that has played such a foundational role in meeting societal needs for over a century,” Morgan said at the organization’s first major meeting of 2017 in Norfolk, VA.  “We will build on the legacy of Jim Thomas, attracting even more of the world’s top technical experts to our committees while also serving people and organizations that rely on our standards and services.”

Morgan was joined at the event by Thomas Marsh, CEO of Centrotrade and ASTM International’s 2017 chairman of the board. “Kathie brings proven leadership skills, a deep understanding of the global standards community, a passion for ASTM International’s mission, and much more,” Marsh said. “ASTM International will continue to grow and thrive under her leadership.”

Also, Morgan visited the Virginia Beach Fire Department Training Facility to see demonstrations of emergency response robots and drones.  Manufacturers, first responders, and others tested robot capabilities and operator proficiency using 50 test methods, many of which have been developed through ASTM International’s Committee on Homeland Security Applications (E54).

Morgan is a 33-year veteran of ASTM International. She served as executive vice president for the past two years. Prior to that, she was vice president of Technical Committee Operations, leading a 50-member team that supports the volunteer work of ASTM International’s 30,000 members worldwide.

Morgan is one of the world’s most prominent voices on standardization-related issues. She is a board member of the American National Standards Institute’s Board of Directors, the Council of Engineering and Scientific Executives, the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization, the Society for Standards Professionals (SES), the American Society of Association Executives, and a former member of the Standards Council of Canada’s Standards Development Organization Advisory Committee.

Morgan holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Lafayette College in Easton, PA and a master’s degree in business administration from Widener University in Chester, PA. Follow her on Twitter at @ASTMpres.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Daniel DePra, PE, BCEE joins GAI Consultants as project management director


GAI Consultants (GAI) welcomes Daniel DePra, PE, BCEE as the firm’s director of project management. DePra comes to GAI with more than 23 years of diverse experience managing large civil and environmental projects and leading companywide initiatives to improve project delivery and empower project managers.

As director of project management, Dan will lead the ongoing development, implementation, and execution of GAI’s Project Management Excellence program. He is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) and a registered Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. DePra holds a master’s degree in civil engineering and bachelor’s degrees in both mechanical engineering and chemistry, all from the University of Pittsburgh. Dan will lead GAI’s project management initiatives from the firm’s Pittsburgh office.

Jeffrey Hill, vice president and chief administrative officer at GAI, says, “As a client-focused, project-based company, GAI puts significant emphasis and importance on sustaining the skills and capabilities of our project managers. The addition of Dan as GAI’s director of project management consolidates the leadership of our Project Management Excellence Program with a professional who has abundant experience and a passion for augmenting the skills and capabilities of project managers.”

In operation since 1958, GAI Consultants is an employee-owned engineering, planning, and environmental consulting firm providing local expertise to worldwide clients in the energy, transportation, development, government, and industrial markets. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, the firm has 800 employees in offices throughout the southern and midwestern United States.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

AT&T endows virtualization research center at SMU

Communications company AT&T and Southern Methodist University (SMU) are collaborating in a unique new research center that will deliver solutions to critical industry needs, educate the next generation of virtualized network technology experts, and support Dallas’ emergence as a global information technology hub. A $2.5-million contribution from AT&T will endow the AT&T Center for Virtualization at SMU and fund its research to support the fast, reliable, cloud-based telecommunications necessary for global connectivity.

Virtualization is a concept most people are familiar with, even if they don’t realize it.  Through virtualization, functions that once required specialized hardware devices are now performed with software running on general purpose hardware. Streaming music and video as well as communicating via social media depend on virtualization. The world is making the transition from hardware to software for connections that enable things like telemedicine and even autonomous cars, and that requires reliable transmission of huge amounts of data through virtualization.

“SMU students will see tremendous advantage from participating in the interdisciplinary research of the AT&T Center for Virtualization at SMU,” says SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Employers are looking for graduates who understand the technical, business, and consumer environment.  We are very pleased that this Dallas-based, global company has chosen SMU as its partner to advance research on cutting edge technology.”

The telecommunications industry is racing to prepare for a connected future, but industry experts know that cranking up connection speeds isn’t enough if the underlying network isn’t flexible, responsive, and resilient enough to handle the traffic. In the old days, telecommunications companies built networks by sending out trucks every few months or years loaded with new switches, routers, and other gear. It was cumbersome and slow but reliable.

“We don’t have that luxury anymore,” says Andre Fuetsch, president and chief technology officer, AT&T Labs. “We’re virtualizing those specialized network appliances and turning them into software running on servers and other standard hardware. You can add, shift, and upgrade capabilities at Internet speed. It’s the future, and this new AT&T Center for Virtualization at SMU will help us get there faster.”

The Center also offers an opportunity to draw and encourage more women to engage in technology.  While women’s participation in STEM fields continues to decline nationally, SMU has been a leader in successfully enrolling women in engineering studies. Within the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering, women have averaged more than 30 percent of incoming undergraduates since 2005, exceeding the national average of about 20 percent.

“We believe innovation increases when there is diversity in the workforce. This new research center not only helps advance the latest technology solutions, but it also presents a way to tap a critical segment of tech leaders: women,” says Brooks McCorcle, president, AT&T Partner Exchange. “Like AT&T, SMU is committed to building and expanding the base of technology talent. AT&T’s endowment is a call to mobilize and activate the next generation of female technology leaders through educational opportunities, innovative research and mentorship.”

“The AT&T Center for Virtualization at SMU will take on interdisciplinary topics related to scalability, security, performance and reliability, so that the virtualization infrastructure can enable everything from big-data analytics to the network connectivity of everyday objects ranging from cell phones to coffeemakers,” says Steven Currall, SMU provost and vice president for academic affairs. “The center will engage academic disciplines across SMU to address social, educational, and scientific issues associated with virtualization.”

The AT&T Center for Virtualization at SMU will be directed by longtime SMU faculty member Suku Nair, professor of computer science and engineering in the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering. Nair is an internationally recognized authority on cyber security and reliable computing and communication and founding director of the HACNet (High Assurance Computing and Networking) Lab at SMU.

“AT&T is a leader in providing connectivity for a wide variety of resources, both on and off the cloud, requiring deployment of hundreds of thousands of complex, expensive routers,” Nair says. “The cost comes down and the system becomes more agile and efficient if the routers can be simplified by putting the intelligence that makes them work on the cloud.”

Monday, January 16, 2017

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff designing framework for connected and automated vehicle test facility

The American Center for Mobility (ACM) has awarded a contract to WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff to develop a concept of operations, system requirements, and procurement strategy for the technology elements of a major new connected and automated vehicle test site facility planned at a state-owned site in southeast Michigan.

The ACM will be built on more than 335 acres adjacent to Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, where B-24 bombers were made during World War II in a factory built by Henry Ford. It will become a national-scale advanced automotive testing and product development center that can accommodate the broad needs of industry and government, test various weather conditions including ice and snow, and provide room to grow and adapt as technology dictates. The testing, education, and product development center will serve as a site for precautionary testing before vehicles are deployed on the road and a proving ground for collaborative safety technology demonstrations. The ACM will also serve as a convening center to accelerate the development of voluntary standards.

The concept of operations will define requirements for the test facility, including connected vehicle infrastructure, traditional intelligent transportation systems (ITS) technologies, data collection, monitoring, and test simulation needs associated with the site. The final document will include a user-oriented system description, definition of operational needs, and system overview. It will also establish a proposed operational and support environment for the facility as well as potential operational scenarios. The report will establish high-level system requirements and lay out a phased procurement strategy.

As the prime consultant, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff will coordinate with staff and contractors to develop a complete baseline understanding of the project, identify all user needs, establish a proposed phasing for the site development, and coordinate all third party agreements that could impact the design concept. The firm will conduct outreach meetings in Southeast Michigan with key stakeholders and customers to identify system needs. Completion of the concept of operations is expected in early 2017.

As an engineering and professional services consulting firm, 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 36,500 employees, including engineers, technicians, scientists, planners, surveyors, program and construction management professionals, and various environmental experts work in more than 500 offices across 40 countries worldwide. For more information, visit wsp-pb.com/usa.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Manufacturers highlight engineering careers to support student STEM education


Across the nation, we see concerning statistics regarding the number of students interested in science-, technology-, engineering-, and mathematics-related (STEM) careers. This growing shortage of science-based talent will present a serious problem in our workplaces and universities, as STEM-based expertise forms the heart of our high-technology society and economy.

By understanding the science and math behind various life situations, students gain an appreciation for engineering and become more invested in their classroom lessons. Applying engineering, science, math, and technology knowledge and skills to solve complex open-ended problems in a real-world context is the goal of Saucon Valley High School's (SVHS) Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering program in Pennsylvania. Recently, 50 SVHS students enrolled in this curriculum will visit three Easton manufacturers – Victaulic, Crayola, and Follett – to see engineers in action.

"The fastest growing careers require science, technology, engineering and math knowledge at the core," says Eric Luftig, Victaulic vice president. "Together with our colleagues at Crayola and Follett, we are committed to inspiring young people to consider STEM disciplines and help prepare them for the future." Monica McHale-Small, Saucon Valley School District superintendent, adds, "A critical step in making science and math engaging and relevant to students is providing them with authentic, real-life experiences."

All three manufacturers are no stranger to promoting their science, technology, engineering and mathematics opportunities, with involvement in the Dream It. Do It. PA's "What's So Cool About Manufacturing?" video contest. They join 27 other regional manufacturers in the 2017 initiative, which invites students inside manufacturing facilities to discover STEM jobs and help change perceptions and attitudes in the Keystone State about advanced manufacturing careers.

Recently, Victaulic, Crayola and Follett also partnered for "Stuff the Bus," a community initiative to collect school supplies for students at Cheston Elementary in Easton. A total of 600 backpacks were assembled and distributed during the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley's annual Day of Caring event.

Since 1919, Victaulic has designed and produced mechanical pipe-joining solutions. The company has 13 manufacturing facilities and 30 branches worldwide with 3,600 employees. With over 1900 patents, Victaulic solutions are at work in more than 120 countries across diverse business lines including oil, gas and chemical, mining, power generation, water and wastewater treatment, military and marine, as well as commercial building and fire protection. For more information visit www.victaulic.com.

Crayola, based in Easton since 1903 and a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, manufactures children's creative expression products such as Crayons.

Founded in 1948, Follett designs and manufactures equipment for the foodservice and healthcare markets, including ice machines, ice and water dispensers, ice storage and transport equipment, and medical-grade refrigerators and freezers.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Baxter & Woodman staff member earns Certified Energy Manager designation


Baxter & Woodman Consulting Engineers announces Kenneth Koch, P.E. has attained the status of Certified Energy Manager (CEM). Koch lives in DeKalb, IL and works out of the firm’s DeKalb office.
The accreditation recognizes individuals who have demonstrated high levels of experience, competence, proficiency, and ethical fitness in the energy management profession. Administered by the Association of Energy Engineers, the CEM certification program is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) based on the International Standard ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024.
Koch is a recognized technical leader in water system modeling, energy improvements, and sustainability research. In his current role as energy management coordinator, Koch provides technical guidance and promotes innovative approaches for managing and reducing energy consumption. Working collaboratively with Baxter & Woodman engineers and technology specialists, Koch identifies forward-thinking, sustainable energy management solutions that minimize energy costs and mitigate environmental effects for clients.

“Ken’s enthusiasm for efficient energy management and his ongoing research and development of new technologies make him the perfect champion to promote smart energy management practices to the communities and government entities we serve,” says Lou Haussmann, executive vice president/chief operations officer of Baxter & Woodman. 
Baxter & Woodman is an employee-owned design firm that provides planning, design, construction, and technology services for water, wastewater, stormwater, and transportation facilities. Environmental, geographic information systems (GIS), water and wastewater operations, and advanced technology needs complement the firm’s civil engineering expertise. Municipalities, county and state agencies are served from six regional offices in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Baxter & Woodman is dedicated to identifying sustainable solutions for clients, including energy efficiency incentives, loan programs, and grant funding by using the expertise of on-staff LEED-accredited and Envision Sustainability professionals.