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Get inspired with ASFE/GBA Oct. 12-13 in Boston
Fall in New England is so sensational, it inspired Robert Frost (except he didn't earn any PDHs). Let a magnificent New England autumn inspire you and yours at the ASFE/GBA Fall Conference, Oct. 10-12 in Boston, one of America's most historic cities. Great programs (confront risk and kick it to the curb!). Great social events. Great networking. (Can't be there in person? No problem! Attend virtually.) Get all the details here, now!
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One year later: FOPP grads speak up
Each year we survey Fundamentals of Professional Practice alumni who graduated 12 or more months earlier, to gain more insight into the long-term effects of the course. Here's just a little of the feedback we received from graduates of FOPP 21, which concluded in March 2011.
• My experiences through the FOPP program have helped me realize that I am ultimately responsible for my projects. By communicating with the owner and my team, I can alleviate a lot of the headaches that can come with project management.
• The program has made me a better professional all around. I have a strong understanding of contractual issues. The program definitely improved my writing and communication skills. I did very well in the program and that has increased the attention I have received from senior staff.
• I use what I learned in FOPP every day. The way I write emails and interact with clients has changed. I think I act more professionally overall. I also try to demand more respect for our profession and I try to get my coworkers to do the same.
• "More aware of liability issues, better relations with other engineers who are struggling through similar issues and challenges, better documentation and professional communication."
• I have a much better professional sense about how I approach not only my workday, but my career.
FOPP 23 is now under way, BUT we may be able to sneak in a couple of last-minute sign-ups. Speak with Sara Menase, Suzy Ford, or John Bachner.
ASFE/GBA launches new CoMET Tales series
CoMET Tales is the title of a new series of practice briefings launched by the ASFE/GBA Construction Materials Engineering and Testing Committee. CoMET Tale No. 1 focuses on initial curing of concrete cylinders in the field, with emphasis on the American Concrete Institute's updated standard "Specification for Structural Concrete ACI301," why it can create confusion and what you can do about it in order to confront the risk.
"Our goal is to establish a communications network for all firms with concerned construction materials engineering and testing divisions; not just those that are members of GBA," said CoMET committee chair Saad M. Hineidi, P.E. (Fugro Consultants, Inc.). "Frankly, we believe that all too many firms and CoMET leaders are unaware of the tremendous amount of work our committee has done over the years, and the significant amount of ASFE/GBA materials available for CoMET providers, designed to help them confront risk and optimize performance, for themselves as well as their clients. We hope this will be an eye-opener."
CoMET Tale No. 1: Initial Curing of Concrete Cylinders in the Field is available for free download. Dozens of other CoMET resource materials can be found simply by initiating a GBA website search with the acronym CoMET.
Register today for the GBA Fall Conference! Join us in Boston - in-person or online - for two days of outstanding education, networking, and experience-sharing October 10-12, 2013.
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
Email webinar slated for 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, Sept. 19 - new time! New low cost for nonmembers!
If you haven't experienced this webinar before, you need to make it a MUST viewing at 2 p.m. EDT/11 a.m. PDT Thursday, Sept. 19. It doesn't go that deep into writing style — that's a topic for other strong ASFE/GBA webinars – so much as it focuses on the mechanics of email:
• what to do first when initiating or responding to an email
• what to do next
• all the way to the very last thing you do before clicking SEND.
If within the past six months you have sent an email:
• without the promised attachments or with the wrong attachments,
• to people who shouldn't have received it or
• with threads you wish you had deleted,
we have good news and bad news.
The bad news: Chances are you've done all those things more than once in the past six months along with other things you wish you hadn't if only you had been aware of them (ignorance is most definitely not bliss). The good news: Our presenter — John Bachner — will give you a variety of tips you and everyone else on staff can apply NOW to make your email far better and far less problem-prone.
Opt-in to focused messages from GBA committees
GBA has opt-in, focused message lists. Receive subject-specific, targeted information from our Construction Materials Engineering and Testing, Education, Environmental and Geotechnical Committees. Sign up for the news that fits your interests today!
From the Bench: Third-party liability to condo purchaser
By Kent Holland
A design professional has been held to owe a third-party condominium-unit purchaser a duty of care in the performance of its professional services for the developer, despite language in the design-professional contract stating otherwise. The court relied on common law and California Civil Code section 1368.3 (a) for the proposition that, if a design professional performs its services negligently, it will be liable for damages to the ultimate purchasers of residential property. In reaching its decision, the court acknowledged that the "rule of liability may negatively impact the cost of housing" and that "liability concerns may also limit the willingness of design professionals to undertake large residential construction projects at all."
A few phone calls would have prevented Bay Bridge bolt failure
Contra Costa Times
Taxpayers looking to place blame for the missteps behind the catastrophic failure of steel bolts on the new Bay Bridge will find plenty of targets in a blistering 102-page report. "It is an impressive confession of fault, especially considering that one of the three authors is the director of Caltrans," said University of Pennsylvania materials-science professor Charles McMahon Jr. "The knowledge that could have prevented this screw-up has been available in the literature for decades. All it would have taken is a couple of phone calls. Unfortunately, you have to understand that a problem exists before you can set out to avoid it."
Lunch & Learn: Risky Language
Words can kill, especially when a professional uses the wrong words. This well-crafted Lunch & Learn seminar focuses on a variety of taboo and other words and phrases that geoprofessionals should avoid or use with utmost care, for their own sakes and the sakes of their firms.
Know a firm that needs to be a member?
You know the value of GBA; help us spread the word! Send us the name of firms that you know could benefit from GBA membership. It's even better if you can give us a personal introduction, but if you at least send us their name and a key contact, we'll reach out them.
Patent trolls legislation introduced
A push for legislation cracking down on so-called "patent trolls" is gathering steam on Capitol Hill, potentially spelling relief for many businesses. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) has introduced the "Patent Litigation and Innovation Act of 2013" (H.R. 2639) in the House, which is related to the "Patent Abuse Reduction Act of 2013" (S. 1013) introduced by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) in May.
This brief Q&A may be instructive. An ASFE/GBA member wrote, "I had a former boss who would say, if you do not have one you cannot have more than one; e.g., ‘No sign of rot was observed.’ instead of ‘No signs of rot were observed.’ An opinion?”
New Kleinfelder Library at Boston's Aldrich Center
Kleinfelder CEO William C. "Bill" Siegel, P.E. was on hand to cut the ribbon for the new Kleinfelder Library at The Engineering Center in Boston. The new library is one of three meeting rooms in The Aldrich Center, the first floor of The Engineering Center that in 1998 was named to honor Harl P. Aldrich, Jr., Ph.D., P.E., a founder of the ASFE/GBA-founding firm Haley & Aldrich. Overlooking the Boston Common, The Engineering Center was designed by Charles Bulfinch in 1804, architect of the Massachusetts State House and U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Consider visiting while you're in Boston for the ASFE/GBA Fall Conference Oct. 10-12.
John Bachner's top 10 list
Recently we asked John Bachner to list his Top 10 favorite resources that ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association has ever offered its members. See which ones he picked and order them today!
Learn how to track financial performance data for your firm
Watch a recording of the highly-acclaimed "Benchmarking Your Firm's Financial Performance" webinar by Lee James — it's free! (Member login required.) Then apply what you learn to develop these metrics for your own firm. Finally, submit your numbers for the annual Financial Performance Survey in confidence to help us develop an overall picture of GBA member firms' financial performance.
Business 101: Branding by logo
Does a logo really matter? Of course it does; witness its ability to identify the company that owns it and the faith people put in it (because of the company it symbolizes) and the reassurance it can provide. Think about Nike, Sony, Google, GE and so many others. True: You don't have the advertising dollars those companies have, nor do you have the longevity. Then again, each of those companies wants to reach "general publics" around the world. The publics you want to reach are far, far smaller; tiny by comparison, so a logo can matter, especially when it's distinctive and used the same way on everything: letterhead (virtual and real), envelopes, business cards, invoices, vehicles, uniforms of field personnel, signage and more. How many colors should you use? Which one or one(s)? Should it be just a symbol (Target stores), or just a name (Sony) or a combination of the two? Take a look at these samples. They can help push you toward an effective decision.
Menhaden Associates eliminated in bizarre M&A activity
The Big Blue
University of Delaware researchers studying piscatorial merger-and-acquisition procedures were stunned when thy uncovered bizarre behavior involving Menhaden Associates, a small coastal-engineering firm that was recently acquired by Dogfish Inc. in a hostile takeover. Almost immediately after Dogfish acquired Menhaden, a far larger firm (specializing in sand, of all things) swallowed up Dogfish, also in a hostile takeover. "It’s tough out there," one of the bewildered researchers was heard to say.
Survey: Businesses benefit from being social media savvy
Small Business Trends
Activity on Facebook, Twitter and other social media is good for your business. At least that's the opinion of many of your peers. The BRANDfog 2012 CEO, Social Media and Leadership Survey report reveals that business leaders who use social media increase their brand's profile and instill confidence in their leadership.
Get LinkedIn with ASFE/GBA
Have you joined one of ASFE/GBA's LinkedIn groups yet? If not, you're missing out on easy access to hundreds of colleagues who could help you solve your latest business problem. Check out our main LinkedIn group and our environmental group! We've even got a group for FOPP survivors!
• Main group
• Environmental group
• FOPP alumni group
2013-2014 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kurt R. Fraese, L.G.
(GeoEngineers, Inc., Seattle, WA)
Steven D. Thorne, P.E., D.GE
(Birdsall Services Group, Cranford, NJ)
Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G.
(Schnabel Engineering, Inc., Glen Allen, VA)
Joel G. Carson
(Kleinfelder Group, Omaha, NE)
Stewart G. Osgood, P.E.
(DOWL HKM, Anchorage, AK)
Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(TTL, Inc., Nashville, TN)
Woodward L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE
(Paradigm Consultants, Inc., Houston, TX)
John P. Bachner, NewsLog Editor-in-Chief, 301.565.2733 ext. 223
Contact ASFE: The Geoprofessional Busines Association
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
View media kit
Caitlin Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657
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