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FOPP, One Year Later
"The program was a significant and positive reminder of the importance of participating in pursuits outside of work that add value to the community. To date, I have been involved with a few specific purposeful activities but have not established regular participation in any one cause. The program provided great reinforcement of just how valuable small purposeful efforts can be in helping others, paying forward one’s time, interest, and expertise."
That's just one of the responses from alumni of Fundamentals of Professional Practice Class No. 22, surveyed one year after their "graduation." What do other FOPP 22 alumni have to say? Just read more!
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Get Ready for Wage Inflation?
The Wall Street Journal
One-third of 848 small-business owners and CEOs surveyed by The Wall Street Journal and Vistage International believe that their inability to fill jobs is restricting their companies' growth. Why are the jobs going unfilled? Some of the reasons include a tightening labor market (unemployment in June 2012 was 8.2%; 6.1% in June 2014); a shortage of workers with the skills and experience needed (35% of 270 service-business leaders said they couldn't find qualified candidates); a perception that small businesses are less-reliable employers; and small businesses' limited infrastructure for reaching out to potential applicants.
Sandy Money Starts To Flow. Geoprofessional Projects Targeted
The U.S. Department of the Interior's Hurricane Sandy Coastal Resilience Grant Program has awarded grants worth $102.7 million to 11 eastern U.S. states for projects to protect communities at risk from future "superstorms." In making the announcement, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that climate change will make "weather events" more frequent and more severe. She added the best protection will take the form of natural infrastructure like wetlands and dunes; i.e., the best protection comes from geoprofessional services. The Interior department said the projects will restore an estimated 6,634 acres of wetlands and marshes; 225 acres of beach; 364 acres of tidal buffers; and 16 miles of streams. The efforts will also open 287 miles of streams to fish passage, and restore 147 acres of flood plains.
Wind Farms Rise in Colorado
Colorado Springs Gazette
Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc., the nation's largest producer of renewable energy, is planning a $400 million, 153-turbine wind farm on 25,000 acres south of U.S. Highway 24 between Calhan and Ramah, CO. Included: A 25-mile transmission line to connect the wind farm with the power grid. NextEra, which also owns Florida Power & Light, operates five other wind farms in Colorado, has another in construction, and one more planned. Is your firm into sustainable energy yet? Should it be?
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No problem. We offer the webinars on-demand so you can watch them at your convenience. See all of our recent webinars and take advantage of this great GBA member benefit today.
FROM THE BENCH: Texas Upholds Economic-Loss Doctrine
The economic-loss doctrine (ELD) exists to separate damage claims for torts (like professional negligence or negligent misrepresentation) from those filed for contract breach. As such, in construction, when a constructor sues a design professional to recover losses that are purely monetary (e.g., project-delay claims), the ELD ensures that the suit goes nowhere: It holds that design professionals may be sued only for contract breach; i.e., only those that have a direct contract with the design professional may sue to recover their purely monetary losses.
Webcast: Creating Value, Managing Risk, and Leveraging Growth Through Information Technology
"Should have a place in every meeting for the foreseeable future. This is a hot and quickly evolving topic."
This outstanding and highly-rated panel session from GBA's 2013 Spring Conference, now available on-demand, comprises IT professionals of various-sized member firms and helps us consider how to get the most out of our ever-increasing investment in technology. The panel explores such topics as leveraging IT for growth and profit; cloud computing and mobile strategy; IT as a key risk area; and IT governance. Panelists help us form a vision for what is in store for us in the future. Emerging Issues and Trends Committee Vice Chair Charles L. "Charlie" Head, P.E., P.G. moderates.
You can earn a professional-development hour (PDH), too! Now FREE for all members! Watch it today!
BUSINESS 101: Should Your Firm Become a Benefit Corporation?
The New York Times
You've probably heard about the triple bottom line that includes people (charity) and planet (sustainability) in addition to profit. It's the kind of thing that continually more clients and prospective employees look for, and it's something you really ought to consider. And now there's a pretty easy way to do just that, by looking into becoming a "benefit corporation," a business concept developed in 2006 and taken forward by B Lab, a not-for-profit group that issues the "Certified B Corp" designation. In fact, the concept has spread so quickly, 24 states now issue a B Corp designation and another ten are considering it.
42 Organizations Now Endorse Recommended Practices
Forty-two organizations now endorse Recommended Practices for Design Professionals Engaged as Experts in the Resolution of Construction Industry Disputes, an annotated list of 13 "shoulds and should-nots" originally developed by the Interprofessional Council on Environmental Design (ICED), a now-dormant, high-level "umbrella organization" in which GBA was active. GBA recognized the need for the document and spearheaded its development through ICED, then accepted responsibility for the document’s publication and long-term management, as well as gathering additional endorsers. The 42 endorsers comprise a "who's-who" of construction-industry organizations. Because the document has been used extensively to impeach the testimony of "hired-gun experts," GBA advises that leaders of "every engineering, environmental, and architectural firm in the nation should be familiar with Recommended Practices. Their lawyers and insurance agents need to be aware of it, too."
Make Full Use of Your Firm's Benefits
Did you know that every single employee of your firm is considered a member of GBA? Why not encourage them to visit GBA's website and sign up for a password to unlock the full value of your firm's membership in GBA? Send them to http://www.asfe.org/index.cfm?pid=12065 to get started.
21 New Water-Testing Methods OK'd by EPA
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authorizes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve alternative testing methods for measuring contaminant levels in drinking water. Using that authority, EPA has just approved 21 additional methods to give public-water systems, laboratories, and primacy agencies more timely access to new measurement techniques and greater flexibility in the selection of analytical methods.
Business Practices Round Table Notes
The Business Practices Committee sponsors the Business Round Tables at GBA Fall Conferences. Each session features 6-10 topics for attendees to discuss. Participants consistently rate these sessions highly for both the breadth and depth of discussion. See notes from past conferences and get ideas to make your business better!
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
Can You Really Afford Mediocre Employees?
Hundreds of research studies have quantified the difference between an "A player" versus a "C player." Every one of them concludes that the difference in productivity and the impact on the bottom line is anywhere from 20 percent to over 1,000 percent greater return when you compare the best, most productive employees to those who are "average." While I've never met anyone who disagrees with this data, most managers and organizations continue to keep C players on the payroll.
DR. ENGLISH: A Period Piece
When using the expression "also known as" in abbreviated form, should you show it as aka or a.k.a.? To some extent, either is acceptable, because the self-appointed guardian of our language — the Associated Press, via its AP Stylebook — says it's aka, not a.k.a. Not!
YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING: Safety Is Job One, Ha Ha
New York Post
New York City has some pretty tight rules about construction safety. That's why a Department of Buildings inspector became concerned when he noticed that a safety inspection had been conducted by a well-known inspector who had died before the review report was conducted. True Blood come to life? Nope, say city authorities: Scam. In fact, court documents allege, Richard Marini and Richard Sfraga of Avanti Building Consultants, and Kishowar "Kris" Pervez of NYCB Engineering Group, used Craigslist to hire hairdressers, bellhops, window-treatment specialists, short-order cooks, musicians, eBay vendors, and others to impersonate licensed safety managers at dozens of high-rise construction projects throughout Manhattan. Prosecutor Diana Florence said in court that Marini has two prior felony convictions, including one for fleecing two victims out of $100,000 by selling phony life insurance.
2014-2015 ASFE/GBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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 / Concord, NH)
Kimberly F. Morrison, P.E., R.G.
(Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc. / Denver, CO)
Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(TTL, Inc. / 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)
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063