Monday, October 29, 2018

TKDA names Andy Wagstrom vice president of its Rail Division


TKDA, an employee-owned provider of engineering, architecture, and planning services, has named Andy Wagstrom, PE, as vice president of the firm’s Rail Division. A TKDA employee for several years, he has extensive experience serving the rail industry across the United States and Canada.

Wagstrom has worked on a wide variety of projects, including mainline, bridge, automotive, yard and industrial track. He has experience with the design and construction of fueling facilities, bulk storage containment, yard air, industrial waste systems, and other railroad support facilities. He also has been involved with intermodal and automotive facility expansion projects, helping railroads increase capacity to meet growing business needs.

“Andy has a strong background of rail projects that have spanned the country, and that experience will serve him well as he heads up our growing and diverse Rail Division,” says Tom Stoneburner, TKDA president and CEO. “He is a natural leader, and he knows the rail industry and our clients well.”

Wagstrom has a civil and environmental engineering degree from South Dakota State University at Brookings. He is a member of American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association and is registered in several states and Canadian provinces.

TKDA serves the rail industry from offices in St. Paul and Duluth, MN and Chicago, Los Angeles, and Seattle. “TKDA has been serving rail clients for our entire 108-year history. I am honored to have this opportunity,” Wagstrom says.

Headquartered in St. Paul, TKDA serves a broad range of public and private markets. For more information, visit tkda.com.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Matt Cole starts new electrical engineering firm in Chattanooga, TN


Matt Cole, an electrical engineer with nearly 23 years of engineering experience, has turned entrepreneur by launching 3 Phase Associates, a new electrical engineering consulting firm in Chattanooga, TN. Cole finally said “life was too short” in leaving a high-salary gig and starting his own consulting business.
  
Cole has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University and an M.S. degree in engineering management from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is a licensed engineer in eight states in the Southeast. Cole’s background in the utility industry includes design, engineering, construction, and implementation of electric power and telecommunications systems.


Cole’s new electrical engineering consulting business serves utilities in substation modifications or architecture-engineering firms for electric facility modifications. The company offers substation design, construction, testing, commissioning, and project management. They focus on turnkey projects for power utilities serving the world of transmission and distribution.

3 Phase’s areas of expertise include power substation modifications for protection and controls, relaying, SCADA, telecommunications, cybersecurity, and more. The firm is licensed to perform services in multiple states across the Southeast. 3 Phase also performs professional engineering services for commercial and industrial electrical facilities.


Cole says, “It’s more than just another engineering and design company. 3 Phase focuses on performing the design and engineering drawing packages required for construction and then helps with the install, implementation and commissioning.” It has always been a dream of Cole’s to own his own firm. 

“I am very proud and excited to be using my engineering background along with my 22-plus years of experience to grow 3 Phase Associates into a solid, reputable, and sustainable company while striving to keep engineering consultant rates low and competitive," Cole says.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

GAI Consultants tells how green infrastructure meets Pittsburgh stormwater challenges

Green infrastructure solutions are both functional and attractive and are coming into use more and more in Pittsburgh, PA and beyond. The water staff at GAI Consultants describe how these innovative strategies work to manage stormwater—naturally. GAI Consultants is an engineering firm headquarterd in Pittsburgh with offices throughout the mid-Atlantic, midwestern, and southern regions of the United States.

Green Infrastructure solutions are providing an effective first line of defense for meeting the substantial stormwater management challenges of the Pittsburgh, PA area. Surrounded and crisscrossed by rivers and streams, peppered with former industrial sites, and currently experiencing some of the heaviest rainfall on record, much of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region is serviced by aging stormwater-management infrastructure.

Slowing the flow
“The Pittsburgh area has a very old combined sewer system that has to convey stormwater in addition to wastewater from homes and businesses,” says GAI’s Patrick Gallagher, MBA, vice president, NE Community Development. “The system is not truly adequate for today’s demands, and as little as a tenth of an inch of rain can overload some systems with stormwater.”

North Shore Riverfront Park incorporates bioswales, reductions in impervious pavements, and vegetative water quality improvements.
Much of the quick overload of Pittsburgh’s combined sewer is due to the city’s high prevalence of impervious surfaces like concrete, which swiftly channel stormwater into the over-taxed sewers. This is where Green Infrastructure comes in.

Green Infrastructure solutions help slow the flow of stormwater by offering permeable surfaces that allow water to move below ground level, and they often provide temporary on-site storage for stormwater rather than allowing water to flow freely to the sewers. Working as a complement to traditional “gray” infrastructure—sewer pipes, tunnels, etc.—Green Infrastructure acts to ease the burden on the combined sewer, help mitigate overflow, and provide initial stormwater infiltration and filtration of sediments and contaminants.

Beauty above, business below
Green Infrastructure mimics natural processes that capture and slow stormwater. Many are marked by vegetation and other landscaping features that make them attractive to look at while they perform a valuable water-management function. A bioswale is a natural-looking Green Infrastructure solution that one might walk right by without even noticing.


 UPMC East incorporates bioswales, rain gardens, and stormwater detention ponds.
“Bioswales are engineered trenches filled with layers of soil and rock and topped by grasses or native plants—they’re often used in parking lots, public spaces, or positioned to catch roof and sidewalk runoff in housing developments,” said GAI Engineering Director David Troianos, PE. Bioswales have sloped sides that channel water downward—while the bioswale slows water flow, the plant roots and soil help filter out pollutants. “The gravel, sand, or stones at the bottom of the bioswale provide more filtration and temporary storage for the water, which can then slowly drain into the aquifer or be conveyed to local waterways through an installed drainage system,” Troianos explains.

Other Green Infrastructure solutions like rain gardens, permeable concrete and pavers, bioretention facilities, and more help reduce, slow, and filter stormwater, while solutions like green roofs—which top buildings with vegetation and other natural elements—have the added benefit of helping reduce power consumption by keeping rooftops cool.

Maintenance challenges
While effective and pleasing to eye, Green Infrastructure’s relative newness may present challenges to owners who are not staffed or skilled to perform the maintenance necessary to ensure that the solutions function properly.

“Green Infrastructure is quite different from installing a pipe in the ground, which may need only minimal attention for the next several years,” says GAI Assistant Engineering Manager Shannon Killion, PE, ENV SP. “There are landscaping considerations in many cases, and even small trash like candy wrappers can affect the functionality of Green Infrastructure. So site owners may need to assess and retool their maintenance programs to properly provide the service and attention that Green Infrastructure requires.”

Combined expertise creates effective Green Infrastructure
Effective Green Infrastructure solutions represent the collaboration of a range of disciplines. “We have hydrogeologists, civil engineers, landscape architects, GIS mapping technicians, biologists, and others working together for the various projects large and small that we work on at GAI,” says Gallagher. “We draw on more than 500 local specialists, and each Green Infrastructure collaboration is focused on creating solutions that meet PA DEP requirements, yet are also cost effective and minimize maintenance for our clients while working to provide clean water and sustainable stormwater management well into the future.”


Patrick Gallagher, MBA, specializes in residential, commercial, healthcare, institutional, industrial, and brownfield infrastructure projects including designing roadways, earthworks, sanitary and storm sewers, waterlines, and utilities, public presentations, and local, state, and federal permits.

David Troianos, PE has extensive experience in all phases of project management, construction management, and design engineering-related responsibilities for a wide range of civil engineering projects. His primary experience is in managing water, wastewater, and sewer system investigations, studies, designs, and capital improvement projects.

Shannon Killion, PE, ENV SP has wide experience in wastewater collection systems, wastewater treatment plant design, and combined sewer overflow (CSO) mitigation. She focuses on how each project fits into the client’s long-term goals, and takes projects from design conception and alternative analysis to permitting and through construction.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Chemical engineer documents drop in plastics recycling

According to a post in WasteAdvantage magazine, the Plastic Pollution Coalition has published a new engineering estimate showing plummeting recycling rates for plastic in United States. Author Jan Dell, a consulting chemical engineer, used U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data and industry data to estimate the U.S. plastic recycling rate will sink from 9.1% in 2015 to 4.4% in 2018. Dell estimated the recycling rate could drop as low as 2.9% in 2019 if plastic waste import bans are adopted by more countries in Asia.
The engineering estimate shows four factors contributing to the drop in recycling rates: 1. Plastic waste generation is increasing in the U.S. 2. Exports counted as recycled have cratered due to China’s ban. 3. Costs of recycling are increasing since many trucks are needed to collect the widely dispersed waste. 4. Plastic production expansion is keeping the prices of new plastics comparatively low. These factors work against the key premise that waste plastic will someday have sufficient value to drive reclaiming it rather than disposing of it.
“Einstein famously said that a definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome,” says Dell. “We’ve seen promises, goals, ambitions, and aims from companies for nearly 30 years to increase recycled content and reduce the number of plastic bags they hand out. During that time, plastic use and pollution has increased as well-documented by Jenna Jambeck, Roland Geyer, and other researchers. The projected less-than-5% U.S. plastic recycling rate in 2018 should be a wake-up call to the false promise that the existing voluntary, economic-driven U.S. recycling system is a credible solution to plastic pollution.”
The United States ranks 20th on the list of countries contributing to plastic pollution in the ocean with an estimated 88 to 242 million pounds/year of plastic marine debris. The annual International Coastal Cleanup confirmed the evidence of plastic pollution on U.S. coasts in 2017 when more than 3.7 million pounds of trash, the majority of it plastic, was collected by 209,643 people on a single day. The global movement Break Free From Plastic provides aBrand Audit Toolkit for people participating in cleanups to audit and identify the brands and corporations responsible for plastic pollution.
“Recycling as the solution to plastic pollution is a myth,” said Dianna Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Plastic Pollution Coalition. “Recycling is the end point of the production chain, and it does not work without infrastructure and operational systems, which many places in the U.S. and world, simply do not have. In the U.S., industry looks to recycling as a catch-all, when really we must stop using plastic as a material for single-use. Corporations must step up to change their packaging because they are responsible for 100 percent of the damage it does. It’s time for all of us to work together and demand a systems shift away from ‘disposable’ toward nontoxic reusables.”
For more information, visit www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org.
Jan Dell, PE,  is a registered chemical engineer and author of The Last Beach Cleanup (to be published in 2019). She has worked with companies in diverse industries to implement sustainable business and climate resiliency practices in their operations, communities, and supply chains in more than 40 countries. Appointed by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, she was a member of the U.S. Federal Committee that led the 3rd National Climate Assessment from 2010 to 2014 and the Vice Chair of the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee on the Sustained National Climate Assessment in 2016-2017.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Searching for new bridge forms that can span further


Newly identified bridge forms could enable significantly longer bridge spans to be achieved in the future, potentially making a crossing over the Strait of Gibraltar, from the Iberian Peninsula to Morocco, feasible. The new bridge forms – identified by a team of researchers from the University of Sheffield and Brunel University London, working with long-span bridge expert Ian Firth of engineering consultants COWI – use a new mathematical modeling technique to identify optimal forms for very long-span bridges. The research was published recently in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

A bridge’s span is the distance of suspended roadway between towers, with the current world record standing at just under 2km. The most popular form for long spans is the suspension bridge form, as used for the Humber Bridge, though the cable-stayed bridge form, where cables directly connect the tower to the roadway – such as used in the recently constructed Queensferry Crossing in Scotland – is becoming increasingly popular.

As bridge spans become longer, a rapidly growing proportion of the structure is needed just to carry the bridge’s own weight, rather than the traffic crossing it. This can create a vicious cycle: a relatively small increase in span requires significantly more material, leading to a heavier structure that requires yet more material to support it. This also sets a limit on how long a bridge span can be; beyond this limit a bridge simply cannot carry its own weight.

One option is to use stronger, lighter materials. However, steel remains the preferred choice because it is tough, readily available, and relatively cheap. So the only other way to increase span is change the bridge’s design.

Professor Matthew Gilbert from the University of Sheffield, who led the research, says, “The suspension bridge has been around for hundreds of years and while we’ve been able to build longer spans through incremental improvements, we’ve never stopped to lsee if it’s actually the best form to use. Our research has shown that more structurally efficient forms do exist, which might open the door to significantly longer bridge spans in the future.”

The technique devised by the team draws on theory developed by Professor Gilbert’s namesake, Davies Gilbert, who in the early 19th Century used mathematical theory to persuade Thomas Telford that the suspension cables in his original design for the Menai Strait bridge in North Wales followed too shallow a curve. He also proposed a "catenary of equal stress" showing the optimal shape of a cable accounting for the presence of gravity loads.

By incorporating this early 19th century theory into a modern mathematical optimization model, the team has identified bridge concepts that require the minimum possible volume of material, potentially making significantly longer spans feasible. The mathematically optimal designs contain regions which resemble a bicycle wheel, with multiple "spokes" in place of a single tower. But these would be very difficult to build in practice at large scale. The team therefore replaced these with split towers consisting of just two or three "spokes" as a compromise that retains most of the benefit of the optimal designs,while being a little easier to construct.


For a 5km span, which is likely to be required to build the 14km Strait of Gibraltar crossing, a traditional suspension bridge design would require far more material, making it at least 73 percent heavier than the optimal design. In contrast, the proposed two- and three-spoke designs would be just 12 and 6 percent heavier, making them potentially much more economical to build.

The new bridge forms require less material principally because the forces from the deck are transmitted more efficiently through the bridge superstructure to the foundations. This is achieved by keeping the load paths short and avoiding sharp corners between tensile and compressive elements.

The team emphasises that their research is just the first step and that the ideas cannot be developed immediately for construction of a mega-span bridge. The current model considers only gravity loads and does not yet consider dynamic forces arising from traffic or wind loading. Further work is also required to address construction and maintenance issues.

Co-author Ian Firth from COWI says, "This is an interesting development in the search for greater material efficiency in the design of super-long span bridges. There is much more work to do, notably in devising effective and economic construction methods, but maybe one day we will see these new forms taking shape across some wide estuary or sea crossing."

The research, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), was also presented at "Tomorrow’s Megastructures," a symposium organized by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Water and wastewater experts Nogaj and Kabouris join Cardno’s Clearwater office

Cardno has announced that Thomas Nogaj, PhD, PE and John Kabouris, PhD, PE have joined the firm as water and wastewater infrastructure practice group manager and wastewater technology specialist respectively.



Nogaj brings more than 30 years of experience in the civil and environmental engineering fields. He provides consulting and project management on a broad range of water/wastewater treatment and conveyance projects for facilities of all sizes. He holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Central Florida and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida and Illinois.


Kabouris has more than 30 years of experience in environmental engineering, offering expertise in modeling, plant controls, and optimization of nutrient removal, sidestream and mainstream anammox process development and optimization, and advanced digestion and biogas utilization. He holds a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida. He is actively involved at the national level with the Water Environment Federation and is Associate Editor of the environmental journal Water Environment Research.

“Thomas and John have provided their wealth of expertise and research to numerous water and sewer departments in the United States and abroad, and that knowledge has resulted in significant financial savings and more effective systems for clients,” says Doug Stoker, Cardno Southeast Business Unit manager. “We are excited to have them on our team.”

Headquartered in Australia, Cardno is an international professional infrastructure and environmental services company with specialist expertise in the development and improvement of physical and social infrastructure for communities around the world. Cardno’s team includes professionals who plan, design, manage and deliver sustainable projects and community programs. For more information, visit www.cardno.com.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

StormwateRx introduces Purus Nitrate for stormwater treatment


StormwateRx, a stormwater treatment and filtration company based in Portland, Oregon, has announced the development and release of a new product in its line of Purus advanced polishers, Purus Nitrate targets soluble nitrate in industrial stormwater runoff. This system is ideal for industries where nitrogen compounds or petroleum products are used or where organic materials are processed, including fabricated metal products, food processing, and chemical manufacturing.

Purus Nitrate is normally installed and flow-matched in a "treatment train" configuration with StormwateRx's Aquip stormwater filtration technology, an upstream pre-filtration system. The typical removal efficiency of this technology falls in the range of 80 to 90 percent, usually to below the required numeric action levels (NALs) or benchmarks.

Purus Nitrate has a dissolved nitrate capacity exceeding 40 pounds (as nitrogen) for a typical 100 to 300 gallon-per-minute treatment flow rate. Slipstream treatment configurations are available to extend run-time when less nitrate needs to be removed from the stormwater.

StormwateRx designs, manufactures, installs, and maintains stormwater treatment systems for industrial customers throughout North America. For more information, visit https://stormwaterx.com.

Note: Progressive Engineer ran a company profile on StormwateRx in 2010. See it at http://www.progressiveengineer.com/company_profiles/stormWateRx.htm.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Nancy Lyon-Stadler to lead WSP Cleveland office



Nancy Lyon-Stadler has been appointed by WSP USA, an engineering and professional services consultancy, to lead its Cleveland, Ohio office. In her new position, Lyon-Stadler will be responsible for office management and expansion, product delivery, client engagement, and new business development.
Since Lyon-Stadler joined WSP as a senior principal engineer in 2015, she has been part of several transformational projects in northeast Ohio, including traffic-related aspects of the reconstruction of the George V. Voinovich Bridge, which opened in September 2016 and greatly improved traffic in downtown Cleveland. She also conducted traffic analysis and developed congestion mitigation strategies for the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, supporting the event organizers, the U.S. Secret Service, and the Cleveland Police. “Nancy has led multiple projects to improve livability in northeast Ohio communities through the integration of bicycle and pedestrian facilities and transit enhancements within the transportation network, including developing the design concept and implementation plan for Cleveland’s innovative Midway Cycle Track Plan,” says Jerry Jannetti, senior vice president and northeast regional manager at WSP.
Lyon-Stadler has over 30 years of engineering experience in the private and public sector with expertise in planning, design, and construction. She has been employed as a consulting engineer for more than 20 years and prior to that, she served as a civil engineering officer in the U.S. Air Force.
Lyon-Stadler has a B.S. in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an M.S. in civil engineering from The Ohio State University. She is a registered professional engineer in Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina, as well as a licensed professional traffic operations engineer
            WSP USA, formerly WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, is the U.S. operating company of the engineering and professional services firms WSP. Dedicated to serving local communities, the firm consists of engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors, and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water, and environment sectors. With more than 7,000 people in 100 offices across the United States, they partner with clients to help communities prosper. For more information, visit www.wsp.com.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

New ASTM International standard helps in construction of geosynthetic clay liners

A new ASTM International standard will help those who construct and install geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs), which are used to help with containment for landfills, coal combustion residual storage cells,
mining operations, and remediation and environmental protection projects. The new standard (D8204) focuses on evaluating both best practices as well as possible negative impacts of installing and constructing GCLs. ASTM’s committee on geosynthetics developed the standard.

According to ASTM International member Kent von Maubeuge, the new standard is meant to be used with full-scale GCL installation test pads, not laboratory evaluations. “The practices outlined in the standard provide for project-specific parameters and thus can provide real project insight into how GCL materials should be installed on a specific site to achieve optimal engineered barrier performance,” says von Maubeuge, director, corporate identity and corporate communication and senior product manager, NAUE GmbH & Co. KG.

According to von Maubeuge, who chairs the GCL subcommittee, insights from using the new standard will help design engineers, facility and project owners, specification writers, certified quality auditors, and geosynthetic installers. Also, manufacturers will benefit from the variations in data from different test pads, which may support the development of future GCL products.

To purchase standards, contact ASTM International customer relations at 877-909-ASTM or sales@astm.org.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

ACAA selects architectural and engineering firms to design new terminal at Pittsburgh International Airport

Following months of research, technical and creative presentations, interviews and evaluations, the Allegheny County Airport Authority recently announced the architectural and engineering firms selected to design a new terminal that will transform Pittsburgh International Airport for a modern travel experience. Gensler, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, and HDR, headquartered in Omaha, NE, have entered into a joint-venture agreement to design and deliver the Terminal Modernization Program.

The joint venture team has formed an association with luis vidal + architects, headquartered in Madrid, Spain, to develop the architectural design vision for the new terminal that consolidates check-in, ticketing, security and baggage operations into one connected facility. HDR will handle engineering implementation of the design.

Airport Authority Board members approved a $15 million contract with the joint venture team for initial design concepts to be drafted over the next few months, as the Authority also works to engage key stakeholders and gather input into final design of the new terminal. The initial design concept is expected to be unveiled early next year.

“We are confident that we have assembled a world-class team with the vision, knowledge and experience necessary to work with all of our partners in building Pittsburgh’s airport – an airport that will transform the travel experience now and into the future and continue advancing our region,” says Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis. “Our selection team has carefully researched best airport design and modernization practices and worked to review qualifications of the firms, their proposals and references.”

Eleven firms responded to the initial request for qualifications in January. Of those, four were invited to submit full proposals, make creative and technical presentations and be interviewed by a selection committee. The firms were evaluated on criteria including experience, team composition and responsibilities, design and management approach, quality assurance and cost control, and DBE/local participation.

Gensler, which has offices in 46 cities around the world including in Pennsylvania, designed the 32-story Tower at PNC Plaza in Downtown Pittsburgh, along with Incheon International Airport in Korea. From facilities serving executive or regional aircraft to those at the largest, most prestigious international hubs, Gensler provides experience-focused design. “Gensler is thrilled to be part of this transformational project,” says Ty Osbaugh, Aviation Leader and Principal at Gensler. “At our core, we seek to enhance the passenger experience through design. Meshing our team with the ambition of the ACAA, we look forward to jointly creating a world-class experience for Western Pennsylvania.”

The portfolio of HDR, which has 10,000 employees and more than 200 offices worldwide, including an office on Stanwix Street downtown, includes universities, hospitals, modernization of the Honolulu International Airport, and locally, the Greenfield Bridge replacement project. The firm is also noted for innovations in green building design and sustainability. “HDR is committed to leveraging our technical, multidisciplinary expertise to help create Pittsburgh’s next world class airport,” says Bill Peduzzi, HDR Aviation Director. “As a lifelong resident, I am thrilled to apply what I have learned from a career spent in airport development and hope to inspire the next generation of aviation leaders to continue to innovate and enhance the role great airports can play in a community.”

luis vidal + architects, which has offices across Spain, the UK, Dominican Republic, Chile, and the United States, cites Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport among its impressive list of projects. In the United States, the practice is currently working at the international airports of Denver, Boston Logan and Dallas Fort Worth. Vidal himself also was a leader of the design team of the Terminal 4 project at Madrid-Barajas Airport in Spain. “The Pittsburgh International Airport project will reflect its community; a design that is bold, unique and competitive and that will provide the first and last impression that people will carry with them of the Pittsburgh region,” Luis Vidal remarks.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Uplift Data Partners integrates with PlanGrid to give builders immediate access to drone imagery

Uplift Data Partners, the data capture pilot platform for enterprise businesses, recently announced it has integrated with PlanGrid, which specializes in construction productivity software. Uplift's 2D and 3D aerial drone imagery is now accessible directly into PlanGrid, giving construction teams a real-time view of job sites and improving their ability to detect costly errors and reduce rework.

Previously, Uplift's drone-captured images were housed within its portal and PlanGrid users had to log in to both platforms to access these images. Now, project team members in the field, trailer, and office can easily access drone imagery directly from PlanGrid, improving team communications, reducing change orders, and providing real-time updates to current project status.

Since 2015, Uplift Data Partners has delivered aerial insights for the AEC industry. Uplift's solution combines an extensive network of skilled and highly trained pilots, broad knowledge of FAA airspace rules, and a proactive approach to compliance and regulatory guidelines. Using Uplift's drone service, builders can accurately survey a project and detect mistakes by overlaying site designs and line work onto the drone imagery.

"The integration of drone imagery into PlanGrid is a huge accomplishment for us," says Suzanne El-Moursi, president of Uplift Data Partners. "Uplift Data Partners provides drone service for the AEC industry. We are passionate about enabling the free flow of drone data to further augment and support other data sources, increasing the value of the overall insight to the end user, in this case, the project engineer."

"Our goal at PlanGrid is to increase productivity through innovative and impactful technology," says James Cook, head of strategic alliances and partnerships at PlanGrid. "Drone technology provides immeasurable insights into the progress and accuracy of a construction site, and Uplift Data Partners has established itself as a cutting-edge platform with its expertise of compliance and airspace regulations. The integration of Uplift's drone imagery into PlanGrid will give our customers a real-time view of jobsites and further improve their productivity."

The integration of two companies will benefit enterprise customers who use both PlanGrid and Uplift, as seen recently with Clayco, a full-service real estate, architecture, engineering, design-build and construction firm. For the past three years, Clayco has used Uplift Data Partners as their drone provider, leveraging the company's drone expertise across their portfolio of projects. Now, Clayco will migrate all their projects onto PlanGrid's platform, using both companies' capabilities and taking advantage of a seamless experience.

Uplift Data Partners was founded in 2015 in Chicago. Its network covers the United States, and its network-wide night waiver allows for completing night missions. For more information, visit www.plangrid.com and www.upliftdatapartners.com.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The world has embraced robots; should the U.S. should follow suit?


America has long been a forerunner in other revolutions — industrial, technological and digital. But, is the United States prepared for the robotic revolution? As other countries embark on initiatives to encourage the adoption of automated technologies, Ryan Gutherie, executive vice president of six-axis and SCARA robot supplier TM Robotics, investigates America’s relationship with robots.

According to the World Robot Statistics, 74 robots per 10,000 employees is the world’s average robot density. The United States sits comfortably above this, at 189 robots per 10,000 employees. However, despite welcoming robotics to automotive production lines as early as the 1960s, the nation is still perceived as keeping automation at arm’s length.

In 2016, the country began to climb the robot density ranks and today, the United States ranks seventh in the world, behind South Korea, Singapore, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Denmark. This figure has been significantly boosted by the necessary modernization of U.S. production facilities as well as a growing demand for products made in the United States. What’s more, robot sales in the country are expected to increase by at least 15 per cent per year between now and 2020. Put simply, the market is showing no signs of slowing down.

Despite the rapid uptake in automation, though, more than 70 per cent of American’s still express wariness and concern about the rise of robots in our workplaces, according to Pew Research. Perhaps they read the report by the McKinsey Global Institute stating that 73 million U.S. jobs could be under threat of automation by 2030. This sounds threatening, but is the robot revolution really such a bad thing?

Arguably not. Consider this as an example. A manufacturer that saves money on labor by using automation has two options. Lower product prices or generate more profit. Both outcomes can result in increased investment, higher demand and, in turn, more opportunity for employment.

This isn’t just theoretical. Across the pond in Europe, the SPARC research project is a partnership scheme set to increase Europe’s robotics adoptions. It’s estimated to create 240,000 new jobs on the continent as a result of implementing and maintaining automated processes.


Amazon also provides a U.S. example of this phenomenon — albeit in warehousing, rather than manufacturing. Over a three-year period, the company increased the number of robots in its storerooms from 1,400 to a colossal 45,000. During the same period, the rate at which the company hires workers did not slow down or reduce, as the company’s capacity has also increased due to automation.

Increased deployment of robotics forces a shift from manually intensive labor to jobs that require human skills that robots cannot replicate. Rather than overseeing repetitive manufacturing tasks, like the pick-and-place and assembly processes usually associated with SCARA robots, increased automation can enable workers to manage more complex roles.

America didn’t shy away from spearheading the industrial, technological, and digital revolutions. As a nation, we cannot ignore the growing implications of failing to adopt today’s robotics and automated technologies.

As a distributor of six-axis, Cartesian and SCARA robots from Toshiba Machine, TM Robotics has a vested interest in improving America’s perception of automation. Regardless, rather than fearing the rise of the robot, the United States needs to further embrace the technology or risk getting left behind in the global manufacturing race.

TM Robotics has installed thousands of robots in factories throughout the world, including North and South America, India, Russia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. In partnership with Toshiba Machine, TM Robotics is the only company that offers a comprehensive range of all three categories of robots; 6-axis, SCARA, and Cartesian. These are designed and built in-house. TM Robotics delivers solutions, training, and support services for industrial and commercial applications. For further information please visit www.tmrobotics.com

Friday, July 20, 2018

Merritt Engineering Consultants publishes its Summer eNews

Established in 1986, Merritt Engineering Consultants specializes in building restoration and structural design and has experience in fa├žade restorations, roofing and waterproofing, historic/landmark preservation, design/rehabilitations, and construction administration. Based in Bayside, NY, they handle properties throughout the United States including commercial, residential, healthcare, government, and educational facilities.

Below are two articles from their latest newsletter, which they dub the Latest News in Building Restoration.




Getting the biggest bang for your buck
              
When it comes to restoring your building, the road to cost savings may be different than you think. 
            
Building Owners and Property Managers have one thing in common with all consumers – when purchasing a product or service, they want to get the most value out of their investment. For this reason, it’s important to strategically plan when necessary repair work on your building is conducted. Say for example, you are resorting your building’s facade. To save on costs, you may opt to only do the bare minimum, patching over cracks or addressing only those items listed in your Facade Inspection & Safety Program (FISP) report.

While this approach may seem most economical, an important factor often overlooked is the fact that the cost for things like scaffolds and sidewalk bridges must be absorbed by the building owner and shareholders, regardless of how much work they opt to do. Therefore, when a board or owner tries to save money by spreading necessary repair work over several years or stages, the costs of reinstalling scaffolds, sidewalk bridges, and filing for permits year after year can really add up – making it much more costly in the end. For that reason, it is best to conduct as much of the necessary maintenance work as possible while the scaffolds and sidewalk sheds are already in place.

   
Florida 40-Year Recertification - Structural & Electrical Elements
     
In a previous issue, we touched upon the importance of completing your building's 40-Year Recertification inspection, and now we’re back to address specific filing questions.

Q: Who can perform the mandatory inspection and then file the form?
A: A Florida Registered Architect or Engineer.

Q: Which building components are the qualified professionals looking at?
A: Building Envelope and Structural elements as well electrical building systems.

Q: What are the possible classifications?
A: Either "Repairs Required", or "Safe, if no deficiencies are found.

Q: How often does an Owner have to file?
A: You have 180 days to address the deficiencies noted or, if classified as "Safe", the next inspection is due in 10 years.
 
If you would like to request a proposal, please contact the Florida team at (954) 961-0009.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

DENSO awards nearly $1 Million in STEM education grants to colleges

 DENSO, a large automotive supplier of technology and components, constantly searches for ways to increase young people’s access to technical education and help develop tomorrow’s workforce. Aiding this effort, the company’s philanthropic arm – DENSO North America Foundation (DNAF) – has announced it will donate nearly $1 million in overall funding to 25 institutions of higher learning across North America to support science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educational programming. These grants help achieve DENSO’s goal of exposing students to the rewarding careers available in manufacturing and advance the industry forward by enhancing programs that will produce the next wave of highly-skilled problemsolvers.

DNAF funds will be delivered to programs focused on design, materials management, mechanical and electrical engineering principles, thermodynamics, robotics and more – all intended to help cultivate and encourage a new generation of engineers and skilled workers. “As a global technology and automotive leader, it’s vital for DENSO to advance young people’s education in engineering, technology and other related programs,” says Doug Patton, president of the DENSO North America Foundation and executive vice president of engineering at DENSO International America. “To remain competitive in this ever-evolving, hi-tech landscape calls for a workforce that is skilled, well-trained and able to adapt quickly. We feel great responsibility to prepare students for what’s next – for the health of our industry and their future careers.”

“Manufacturing and automotive companies need technically-minded associates now more than ever,” says David Cole, DENSO North American Foundation board member. “By supporting programs that emphasize STEM learning experiences in real-world settings, we hope to help students explore their passions, find a worthwhile and fulfilling career path, and help our communities prosper.”

DNAF has supported STEM education through grants at colleges and universities since 2001, enabling students to access tools, technology, and experiences that better prepare them for technical careers after graduation. DENSO education grant proposals are invite only and evaluated based on technical merit, student experience, and alignment with industry needs.

This year’s grant recipientsinclude:

Arkansas State University – Jonesboro
California State University Long Beach
California State Polytechnic - Pomona
Cleveland State Community College
CONALEP; Technician National Education
Conestoga College
East Tennessee State University
FIME; Mechanical and Electrical Engineer College
Kettering University
Lawrence Tech University
Michigan State University
Michigan Tech University
North Carolina State
Northeast State Community College
Oakland University
Ohio State University
Pellissippi State Community College
Tennessee Tech University
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa
University of Guelph
University of Michigan Dearborn
University of Tennessee Chattanooga
University of Tennessee Knoxville
West Virginia University
Western Michigan University

DENSO is looking to hire new talent across North America as it continues its pursuit to shape and improve future mobility solutions for all. Positions are available in a variety of roles, business units and locations. Those interested can apply at www.densocareers.com.

DENSO is a global supplier of advanced technology, systems, and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information, and safety. With its North American headquarters located in Southfield, Michigan, DENSO employs more than 23,000 people at 28 consolidated subsidiaries and 4 affiliates across North American. Of these, 25 are manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs more than 17,000 people in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, DENSO Corp., has more than 220 subsidiaries in 35 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs approximately 170,000 people worldwide. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 8.8 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development. For more information, go to www.denso.com or connect with DENSO on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DENSOinNorthAmerica.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tata & Howard wins Silver Engineering Excellence Award


The American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) has named engineering firm Tata & Howard as a winner of a 2018 Silver Engineering Excellence Awards for its engineering services on the Long Pond Water Treatment Plant in Falmouth, MA.

Headquartered in Marlborough, MA, Tata & Howard also has offices in Lakeville, MA; Concord, NH; Portland, ME; St. Johnsbury, VT; and Flagstaff, AZ and specializes in water, wastewater, stormwater, and environmental services. The firm was retained by the Town of Falmouth to provide lead engineering services for the design and construction administration of the new 8.4 million gallon per day Long Pond Water Treatment Plant (WTP) in Falmouth.  The new WTP, which replaces an 1890s-era facility that operated under a filtration waiver, provides the town with the ability to meet current regulatory requirements and remove pathogens, taste, odor, organic matter, and algae/algal toxins; produce stable water quality; and provide flexibility to meet uncertain future regulatory and water quality challenges.

“The awards honor this year’s most outstanding engineering accomplishments in Massachusetts,” said ACEC/MA President Michael Scipione, PE president and CEO of Weston & Sampson Engineering. “They are excellent examples of how engineers create projects that improve our lives and communities. Professional engineers are dedicated to providing quality infrastructure, providing safe and reliable water and energy, and making our buildings safe and energy efficient. We congratulate our winners on their exceptional achievements.”

ACEC/MA is the business association of the Massachusetts engineering industry, representing over 120 independent engineering companies engaged in the development of transportation, environmental, industrial, and other infrastructure. Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Boston, MA, ACEC/MA is a member organization of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) based in Washington, DC. ACEC is a national federation of 51 state and regional organizations. For more information on ACEC/MA, visit their website at www.acecma.org. ACEC/MA is undertaking an awareness campaign to educate the public on the many contributions engineers make in everyday life through their hash tag #EngineeringGoFigure. To Follow us on Twitter:  @ACECMA

Monday, June 25, 2018

Cearns to direct alternative delivery for WSP’s northeast and central regions

 
Denny Cearns has been named director of alternative delivery for the northeast and central regions of WSP USA, formerly WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, an engineering and professional services consultancy. Based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office, Cearns will manage the pursuit and execution of projects using alternative delivery methods covering various markets, including highways, transit and rail, and aviation, drawing on the firm’s extensive experience in alternative project delivery, including design-build and public-private partnerships (P3). Cearns will focus on identifying and applying best practices to improve efficiency, identify and mitigate project risks, and meet cost and schedule objectives.
“Having Denny Cearns join us as part of our alternate delivery team strengthens our focus on delivery and relationships with contractors. We are pleased to have him on our team,” says Fred Tallarico, the firm’s national director of alternative delivery. “Denny’s strong leadership skills are a welcome addition to supplement our efforts and acumen in alternate delivery service with contractors and concessionaires,” adds Bernie McNeilly, chief operating officer of WSP’s U.S. transportation and infrastructure business.
Prior to joining WSP, Cearns served as alternative delivery director for a major professional services firm, responsible for strategic planning and business development, contract development and negotiation, and supervision of project operations. His experience includes managing the firm’s work on one of the largest public works projects in Nevada, which involved improvements to I-15 along the Las Vegas strip. He also served as the design director for the Purple Line Transit P3 Project in Maryland.
A licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Washington, Cearns holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. He is affiliated with the Design-Build Institute of America.
WSP helps cities, transit authorities, redevelopment agencies, and developers structure alternative delivery transactions, secure federal, state and local public finance resources, and integrate private investment into public infrastructure projects. The firm’s alternative delivery practice provides public sector planning, procurement advisory and contract administration, and private investor advisory services to advance infrastructure development. With its knowledge of the P3 market and the operation and management of infrastructure assets, WSP also provides investor advisory services to buyers or sellers seeking to maximize value with acceptable risk.
WSP USA, formerly WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, is the U.S. operating company of WSP, an engineering and professional services firms. Dedicated to serving local communities, we are engineers, planners, technical experts, strategic advisors and construction management professionals. WSP USA designs solutions in the buildings, transportation, energy, water and environment sectors. With more than 7,000 people in 100 offices across the U.S., we partner with our clients to help communities prosper. For more information, visit www.wsp.com

Sunday, June 10, 2018

NCSU researchers improve food bank effectiveness and equity


Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed new computer models to improve the ability of food banks to feed as many people as possible, as equitably as possible, while reducing food waste. Food banks serve as networks, collecting food from many different sources and distributing it to local agencies that then share it with people in need. The researchers, who launched this project eight years ago, quickly realized that there is a great deal of uncertainty in food bank operations. Supply and demand both fluctuate, which researchers anticipated.
“But we found that capacity – the ability of local agencies to collect, transport, store and distribute food – was also variable,” says Julie Ivy, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. “These agencies are often small and rely heavily on volunteers. “Our goal was to develop models that account for uncertainty in a food bank network’s capacity and can help food banks distribute food efficiently and equitably – ensuring all of the regions served by the food bank are treated fairly – while minimizing food waste.”
“Our work here was conducted with the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, but these are challenges that are common to most, if not all, food banks, as well as for national food collection and distribution networks, such as Feeding America,” says Irem Sengul Orgut, a former Ph.D. student at NC State and lead author of the paper. Orgut now works for Lenovo.
For this project, the researchers developed two models, which can be used in conjunction with each other. The first model uses historical data to establish ranges of how much capacity each county has. The model then uses those ranges, in conjunction with each county’s needs, to determine how food supplies should be distributed. The second model takes into account each county’s need and capacity – or ability to distribute food in a timely way – to try to feed as many people as possible, as equitably as possible, across counties before the food goes bad.
“Some counties have agencies with more volunteers, more refrigerated storage, or better transportation resources, allowing them to distribute more food before it goes bad,” says Reha Uzsoy, a co-author of the paper and Clifton A. Anderson Distinguished Professor in NC State’s Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering. “But if those counties get all the food, it wouldn’t be equitable – other counties would suffer. The second model aims to find the best possible balance of those two factors.”
“We now have these two models, which are pretty complex,” Ivy says. “We’re currently working with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to find ways to implement the models that are user friendly for food bank staff and volunteers.”
Specifically, the researchers are working with North Carolina A&T University and a company called Performigence to develop software that can be used to expand these models and put them into use. That work is being done with support from the National Science Foundation, under a grant titled PFI:BIC – Flexible, Equitable, Efficient, and Effective Distribution (FEEED).
“This work is relevant to food banks, broadly, but the fundamental issues are also relevant to disaster relief efforts,” Ivy says. “Really, any situation in which there is a scarce resource, a need for equity, and a robust suite of challenges in distributing the resource. As a result, this may also be of interest to disaster relief researchers.”

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Nine GAI Consultants employees graduate from Point Park University MBA program

In partnership with Point Park University in Pittsburgh, GAI Consultants (GAI) recently graduated its fourth on-site Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree class. The University’s corporate MBA was launched in the fall of 2009, with GAI among the first businesses in the Pittsburgh region to take advantage of the program.
        
GAI’s degree program was designed with employee needs in mind, with course topics and projects related to the firm’s business and industry. The accelerated, fully accredited MBA program is a cornerstone of GAI’s in-house leadership development initiative and is open to all GAI employees who meet the minimum requirements. Point Park University professors teach classes exclusively to GAI employees at the firm’s Pittsburgh office once a week, with telecasting via Skype for Business available for employees at other locations.


The current MBA class includes nine employees from four of the firm’s 25 offices:
o    Pittsburgh-based Todd Wilson, PE, senior project engineer
o    Indianapolis-based Michael Wenning, PE, transportation services director
o    Murrysville-based Alexandria Brunstad, project technical specialist; David Bevilacqua, assistant vice president; and Tim Lonas, project EIT
o    Orlando-based Peter Sechler, PLA, AICP, assistant vice president; Abner Serrano, senior EI; Aimee Shields, PE, senior engineering manager; and Jeffrey Tuell, PE,  engineering manager

Gary DeJidas, PE, MBA, CEO and board chairman, GAI Consultants remarks: “It gives me great pride to celebrate the successful graduation of GAI’s fourth MBA class. This unique partnership with Point Park University affords GAI staff a tremendous opportunity for career growth and personal achievement. Congratulations to each and every graduate for achieving this milestone.”

With offices throughout the eastern and midwestern United States, 60-year-old, GAI Consultants is an employee-owned company that delivers engineering, planning, and environmental expertise to energy, transportation, development, government, and industrial clients worldwide. For more information, visit www.gaiconsultants.com

Friday, May 25, 2018

Identified Technologies releases new drone mapping analytics capabilities

Pittburgh, PA-based Identified Technologies has announced a suite of new drone mapping features and services for its customers in the engineering, construction, energy, and mining sectors. The new features, which will be launched throughout 2018, include:

Haul Road Analysis - Allows the user to incorporate mapped haul roads into the orthomosaic they receive when flying their site by drone. This analysis will cover the slope and width of the road. 

Slope Maps - Enables a user to move a cursor over any point to see the exact slope for that location. It will show slopes by both degree and percent grade.

Plan IQ Camera View - Provides a livestream of what the camera sees when the drone is flying.  This is particularly valuable for maintaining continuous line of sight on the drone as it flies, as required by the FAA regulations.

Change Detection Tool Color Coding - Empowers users to change the colors in this tool so they can color code piles of different things and measure change accordingly.

Enterprise Site Permissions - Gives users more control over shared data, so they can customize the level of access and control they want to grant individual customers, contractors, and stakeholders.

DJI Inspire 2 Drone - Customers will receive upgrades to the new DJI Inspire 2 with their Identified Technologies subscription. The Inspire 2 has enhanced accuracy, robustness and obstacle sense and avoid (SAA) capabilities.




The most dramatic changes to Identified Technologies’ Site IQ software capabilities are the Haul Road Analysis and Slope Map features. For these quickly constructed and heavily trafficked dirt roads, steep slopes result in dramatic increases in gas consumption and costs, accelerated wear and tear on vehicles, or exacerbated hazards from ice and inclement weather.

Going from .02 % to .01% slope doubles the fuel efficiency of the vehicle traveling on it, as it is documented that a 10% change in slope can affect the fuel efficiency by 10%. Given this fuel efficiency, a single large piece of equipment on a less steep slope could save a company $400,000 in fuel over a three-year project.

Identified empowers companies with the ability to track progress on highways, well pads, mines, and landfills in near real-time. Identified’s integrated software and services takes care of everything from FAA compliance and flight planning to advanced analytics. Learn more at www.identifiedtech.com.


Friday, May 11, 2018

RETTEW purchases geophysics company Enviroscan

RETTEW has purchased Enviroscan based in Lancaster, PA. The transaction joins the specialized geophysics services of Enviroscan with RETTEW’s engineering, surveying, and environmental consulting business. Geophysics is the science of detecting and mapping underground or underwater hidden objects and features. Enviroscan specializes in non-destructive, non-intrusive investigations to make digging, drilling, or earthmoving faster, safer, easier, and less expensive. The geophysics services will integrate directly into RETTEW’s existing earth sciences services, which include geotechnical, environmental, water resources, and subsurface utility engineering investigations.

Formed in 1992, Enviroscan is a certified women-owned business enterprise. All employees, including principals and corporate owners, will work from RETTEW’s offices in Manor Township, Lancaster County, PA. Enviroscan will operate as the geophysics service area under the RETTEW brand name.


“This purchase aligns perfectly with RETTEW’s strategic plan and complements our niche technical expertise,” says Mark Lauriello, president and CEO of RETTEW. “The high quality of work and people at Enviroscan are also a good fit with RETTEW’s culture – we’re known for working hard and playing hard, and caring about our communities.”

RETTEW began providing civil engineering and surveying services in 1969. Today the firm has more than 350 employees and 11 offices in Allentown, Conshohocken, Lancaster, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, State College and Williamsport, PA; St. Clairsville and Uniontown, Ohio; Bridgeport, WV; and Denver, CO. For more information, visit www.rettew.com.