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
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

Friday, June 9, 2017 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

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.