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Vol. 45 No. 23

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Confronting Workplace Bullying: A New GBA Best Practices Monograph Just Released
Confronting Workplace Bullying is the title of the newest GBA Best Practices monograph. The GBA Business Practices Committee prepared the monograph in response to a Workplace Bullying Institute survey indicating that 35% of the U.S. workforce — 53.5 million people — say they've been bullied on the job; another 15% say they've witnessed it. While the United States is the only industrialized Western democracy without a federal or state statute prohibiting workplace bullying, the problem can still create severe liability risks for some employers. Nonetheless, the Committee states, the principal reason for developing and enforcing a rigorous anti-bullying policy is not to confront liability risk; it's to create and maintain "a positive work environment where the entire workforce is engaged, united in its commitment to the firm's success." The new monograph provides some background information about workplace bullying, identifies sources of additional information, and presents a comprehensive model workplace-bullying policy for GBA-Member Firms' reference in developing a policy of their own.
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FROM THE BENCH: On-the-Job Injury Not Covered by Workers' Comp
Minnesota Supreme Court
Carol Kainz, LPN was walking down an interior stairway to a supply closet in the basement of the Arrowhead Senior Living Community in Virginia, Minnesota, when, on Sept. 17, 2011, she twisted and fractured her ankle. She missed some 40 days of work and, when she returned, she sought workers' compensation benefits. Arrowhead denied her claim, contending that her injury didn't arise within the course and scope of her employment. A compensation judge disagreed and awarded benefits. Arrowhead appealed the decision, but lost when the Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals affirmed. Arrowhead appealed again, this time to the Minnesota Supreme Court, where the benefits award was overturned. The Court ruled that Ms. Kainz failed to meet the "increased risk test" because the stairway did not present a special hazard that she wouldn't face in everyday life.
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GBC Tunneling Committee to Kick-Start at Miami Conference
A new opportunity for GBA-Member Firms: The Geotechnical Business Council, in collaboration with tunneling legend (and GBA member) Dr. Gary Brierley, is hosting an exploratory meeting to assess Member Firms' interest in establishing a Tunneling Committee or Tunneling Business Council. Hosted by GBA's Geotechnical Business Council, the meeting will take place at GBA's 2015 Spring (Annual) Conference in Miami, on April 16, beginning at 9:30 AM. Participants will explore common interests and needs, establish a mission for the group, and set some near-term objectives. Interested? If so, e-mail our Geotechnical Business Council chair Rick Heckel at to let him know. If you are interested but are unable to attend the initial meeting in person, let him know that, too, so you can get plugged in. AND, if needed, sign up for the Miami GBA spring Conference, April 17-18.

If you have any questions, please contact Rick at 615/962-5314 or Gary Brierley at 303/797-1728 (

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  A2LA: Your partner in accreditation

Accreditation available for all testing, calibration, proficiency testing, reference materials production, inspection and product certification. A2LA also offers training to help prepare for accreditation.

Having Fun in Miami; Hotel Deadline Friday
Don't delay — March 20 is the last day to make your hotel reservation at the GBA rate. While you're planning your conference attendance in Miami, consider enjoying these great activities:
  • See Miami's spectacular coastal sites including the beautiful downtown Miami skyline, the Port of Miami, Fisher Island, Miami Beach, and Millionaire's Row as you relax aboard an Island Queen Cruise during the Local Color Night tour, "Boat Cruise Tour of Miami." sponsored by GBA-Member Firm Faulkner Engineering Services, Inc.
  • Explore the Everglades: Spouse and guest registrants may embark on a scenic 45-minute airboat ride through the Florida Everglades. Learn about the conservation and preservation of one of the world's most delicate and vital ecological systems and its inhabitants. More details about this tour will be sent directly to spouse/guest registrants.
  • Once again, our host city offers a wide selection of dining options. Here are recommendations from the JW Marriott Marquis Miami Hotel.

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HR DEPT.: Can Smaller Firms Compete for Top Talent?
As the demand for renewed/upgraded/expanded/new infrastructure and commercial/industrial/institutional construction ramps up, recruitment of good young talent will also intensify. How will your small firm compete? What can you offer that the "big boys" cannot? The benefits of small size! As examples, you can promote the facts that, compared to big firms, your firm can offer: leadership opportunities; the chance to make a difference; a close-knit community of fellow employees; input direct to the CEO; creative freedom; and flexibility, thanks to the absence of oppressive policies and procedures that larger firms are forced to rely on, simply because of their size. And not only all of that, but you can make it happen far faster than a larger firm can.
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Big Data. Big Impact.
MSW Management Editor's Blog
700,000 Facebook status updates. 168 million e-mails sent. 700,000 Google searches. More than 600 new videos uploaded to YouTube. More than 13,000 iPhone applications uploaded. That's what happens every 60 seconds, thus explaining the term "big data." Could you find it worthwhile? Well, if your work involves municipal solid waste, you’d be able to predict the amount of waste each household would generate for the week, month, and year ahead. Using that prediction, you could plan the best collection routes, the size of collection vehicles you'd need, the most effective landfill sizes and locations, and how much methane you’d be able to extract in 2035 from a landfill you open tomorrow. Bottom line: Yes. You could find it worthwhile.
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  Past Conferences on Demand

Bring home the best of GBA conferences with content on demand — online and on DVD.

Terra Sets More New Records in 2014
Terra Insurance Company
Terra Insurance Company, the highest-rated professional-liability insurer in the United States, set more new annual records in 2014; the 27th consecutive time it has done so despite the sometimes-wild economic fluctuations that have affected the insurance industry during that span and eliminated dozens of Terra’s competitors. In a letter to Terra insureds – all of whom are also Terra shareholders and GBA-Member Firms — Terra CEO David L. Coduto announced, "Terra had another great year in 2014. Book value per share (BVPS) rose to an all-time high of $360.65. Earnings per share (EPS) equaled $22.51; the highest EPS in Terra's history." He went on to note, "Since inception, Terra's stock performance has exceeded the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the NASDAQ Composite, the S&P 500, and all other major stock indices. Terra’s stock value has appreciated 3,500% since its formation in 1988. A $28,000 investment in Terra then is now valued at over $1,000,000."
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Thought for the Issue
Your firm strives to achieve success in a highly competitive environment. With few exceptions, there's not one service your firm provides that a competitor cannot provide as well or better. The client representatives you deal with have selected your firm to provide services. You should not only appreciate that business, you should make sure client representatives know you appreciate their business and them. Providing your deliverables on time and on budget is not an act of appreciation; it's what client representatives are paying you to do. Thus this question: What have you done in the last three months to let your most important clients' representatives know you appreciate them and the business they provide?
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ROAD WARRIOR: Six Long-Haul Necessities
USA Today
Long-haul airline trips can be painful, with the amount of pain being directly proportional to the length of the trip. Then there's the number of teething babies, snorers, lean-way-backers, and other annoying denizens of the sky. So, what do the long-haul gurus recommend to ease the pain? Six essentials: noise-canceling headphones (you'll be surprised by the ones recommended highest); a portable USB charger; hydrators (e.g., skin moisturizers, eye drops, nasal sprays, lip balm); neck support (the newest models are way ahead of what people used to use); good socks (compression socks are most effective, although wool socks still have their place); and a laptop stand (in case you're not going to use a knee defender).
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Call for Abstracts: Fall Conference in Southern California
Have a creative idea for a presentation at the GBA Fall Conference in Dana Point, CA, October 8-10, 2015? Here's your chance to share it with us: Just download the submission form, complete it, and send it in. The GBA Conference Committee will review all submissions. The theme of the conference is "Confronting Risk for Our Firms and Our Clients: The ROI of Engagement."
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Date Event Location
April 16-18, 2015 GBA Spring (Annual) Conference J. W. Marriott Marquis
Miami, Florida
Oct. 8-10, 2015 GBA Fall Conference St. Regis Monarch Beach
Dana Point, California

  For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.

Water Scarcity: Where Do We Go from Here?
Climate change is wreaking havoc on our planet. Floods, temperature extremes, and erratic and powerful weather events have become almost-everyday events, with droughts being particularly problematic. In fact, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions reports that, in 2012, drought affected more than 81% of the continental U.S., causing some $30 billion in damages. Now, the Western U.S., and California in particular, is undergoing its worst drought in more than 40 years. What does that mean for geoprofessionals? Learn from the experts who work with California and Nevada agencies that are trying to combat water scarcity. Panelists at our 2014 Fall Conference provided insight, set expectations, and discussed what some are doing right now to prepare for and react to water scarcity, using the Western U.S. as the latest example of what could continue to be an ongoing, broad-scale, climate-driven environmental challenge for us all. Watch this great presentation on video, free to members who use the member-discount code; just $199 for others.
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iWatch Me Now
The Wall Street Journal
The new Apple iWatch will undoubtedly bring wearable devices into the business mainstream, making them the "must-have" devices of the year…or month…or moment. All reports indicate that they can improve efficiency and productivity; they may also become important tools for purposes of employee attraction and retention, as well as business-brand imaging when company representatives use the new devices. Apple is known for its consumer electronics, which actually created a problem when it introduced its iPhone, because the company more or less overlooked business applications. This time, Apple is taking a different tack, by emphasizing business applications from the get-go, especially given the new apps available for the product. Should your firm be investing in iWatches? Find out what the new devices can do (remember, it’s more than just technology), then decide.
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Navigating Risk with Less Stress and More Success
Most of us are burning the candle at both ends trying to keep up with the ever-changing demands of society. We feel the pressure of client concerns, technology advances, family commitments, and health changes. We may feel guilty about putting our own needs first, leading to tiredness, worry, and stress. Looking for some guidance? Watch what Valentina H. "Val" Ries, RN, MBA, ACC had to say during her well-received presentation at GBA's 2014 Fall Conference in San Francisco. Learn empowering techniques to navigate the demands; techniques to increase your resiliency in times of change in order to deepen your bottom-line results, relationships, and work/life success. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $99 for everyone else.
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Steven D. Thorne, P.E., D.GE
(Terracon / Somerset, NJ)

Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G.
(Schnabel Engineering, Inc. / Glen Allen, VA)

Joel G. Carson
(Kleinfelder / Omaha, NE)

Charles L. Head, P.E., P.G.
(Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc. / Concord, NH)

Kimberly F. Morrison, P.E., R.G.
(Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc. / Denver, CO)

Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(Terracon / Nashville, TN)

Alex Sy, Ph.D., P. Eng.
(Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. / Vancouver, BC)

Woodward L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE
(Paradigm Consultants, Inc. / Houston, TX)


Phone: 301/565-2733

Executive Vice President
John P. Bachner
Ext. 223 /

Operations Director
Sarah P. Lanning, PMP
Ext. 231 /

Program Director
Barbara A. Nappy
Ext. 222 /

Program Manager
Sara Menase
Ext. 232 /

Associate Program Manager
Melody A. Patrick
Ext. 225 /

Membership Manager
Susan A. Ford
Ext. 227 /

Phillip D. Pettway
Ext. 233 /


John P. Bachner, NewsLog Editor-in-Chief, 301.565.2733 ext. 223   
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Cait Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657   
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