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|November 11, 2015 ||
Vol. 46 No. 14
"Few firms take the time to analyze how much money and billable time they spend on associations and societies and how much they receive in return." That's the underlying theme of Strategic Association Involvement, the most recent addition to GBA's series of GBA Best Practices monographs. The new publication advises geoprofessionals to adopt the fundamental rule of strategic association involvement: "Only staff members who participate actively in strategically important associations and societies will receive the financial support and paid time off that active involvement requires. The firm will not support casual involvement."
According to GBA Executive Director Joel G. Carson, "Strategic association involvement, or SAI, does not mean that firms should focus only on monetary issues when selecting organizations to support. Instead, they should start by identifying organizations worthy of support and then, from that group, identify those that promise the best return on investment….
That type of active involvement is also what's best for the organization being supported," Mr. Carson observed, including in those instances where a younger member of a firm's staff becomes involved in an association or society to expand leadership skills. It’s also important for those who work in a firm's "C suite" to be involved, preferably in organizations where C-level personnel of client and prospective-client organizations also are engaged.
Recorded sessions from GBA's 2015 Fall Conference in Dana Point, California are now online and available for free to members or for purchase by nonmembers ($999 for all, or individual sessions for less). Get the code for free access by members (member login required). Download the handouts for all presentations.
GBA helps you and your clients confront risk and optimize performance, and you'll get tons of great tips to do just that from these presentations (and speakers):
- Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (Greg Bustin)
- Unearthing the Leader's Code: Ancient Secrets from Strategic Domination — Part 1 (Don Schmincke)
- Unearthing the Leader's Code: Ancient Secrets from Strategic Domination — Part 2 (Don Schmincke)
- Determination of the Standard of Care for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, 2007-2010 (W. Jerrold "Jerry" Samford, P.G.)
- Safety Is Good Business! The ROI of Safety Engagement (Randall A. "Randy" Neuhaus, P.E.)
- Is Your Firm Lucky or Good? The Importance of Engagement and Culture in Business Conduct and Ethics (Michael J. "Mike" Yost, Esq.)
- The Third Dimension of Value: Community Engagement (Kurt R. Fraese, L.G. and David R. Gaboury, P.E.)
- How To Hold Employees Accountable To Increase Profitability (June R. Jewell, CPA)
- Emotional Intelligence 101: How Our Reactions Impact Engagement (Valentina H. "Val" Ries, RN, MBA)
- Characteristics of Highly Effective Boards of Directors (Gerald J. "Gerry" Salontai, P.E.)
- Disseminating GBA Materials and Information within Your Firm — Talk about ROI and Engagement! (Matthew R. "Matt" Poirier, P.E., Michael E. "Mike" Covert, P.G., Thomas J. "Tom" Fennick, P.E., L.S.P., and Daniel L. "Dan" Harpstead, P.E.)
- Six Pressure Points: Emerging People Challenges That Will Drive Your Firm's Growth...or Its Decline (Richard "Dick" Orton)
The new GBA Resource Catalog makes for some pretty impressive reading; 217 pages of it, with each page bearing descriptions of the materials available to members, almost all at no charge. Categories of materials include: client education (including the "Important Information about…" and "message flyers" series of publications; environment/brownfields (including some 30 practice guides); management education (GBA Best Practices, GBA Business Briefs, EBC Phase I and Phase II standard-of-care survey reports, Practice Alerts, an array of stand-alone documents (many of them new), white papers, and model documents); staff education (101 case histories, CoMET Tales, Fundamentals of Field Representation, legacy materials, Lunch and Learns, Project Management Fundamentals, trench safety, and magazine columns and articles); on-demand video content (this new section comprises more than 60 video presentations for members' in-house use!); the eBrownbag series of videos; and more than 20 webinars.
Turnover is costly. In fact, a rule of thumb has it that the cost of filling a vacancy is about double the salary the position pays. So why does turnover happen? More often because of dissatisfaction with one's supervisor than dissatisfaction with one's company. Why the dissatisfaction? In many cases, it stems from a supervisor's lack of supervisorial training and the poor communications techniques that result or continue unchanged from a time/position when communications shortfalls didn't matter all that much. What types of communications guidance does your firm provide? Chances are you have room for improvement, and here's guidance about the seven deadly communications habits supervisors can change to function better in that role and, possibly, help reduce turnover and so boost margins. If you have a say-so, encourage your firm to focus on the seven deadly habits and implement an effective cure for all the criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and bribing or rewarding that goes on, often out of control.
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
Women earn more than 57% of all bachelor's degrees awarded in the United States each year, but only 19% of undergraduate-engineering degrees are conferred on women. That's not at all the case at Dartmouth College's Thayer School of Engineering, however. There, women comprise almost half the junior and senior classes. How'd they do it? According to Thayer's dean, Joseph Helble, "The things that work are things that many people talk about: group work, project work, creative work, and giving students many different ways to contribute. There are many, many studies that show that hands-on, project-based learning is more appealing, particularly to women, but also to a greater number of students, than being given a textbook, sitting in a lecture hall, and then being asked to solve 11 problems at the back of Chapter Three…. We want our students to see the design elements, the creative elements, of engineering: coming up with ideas, building something, and testing those ideas, with all of it focused on benefitting the world in a positive way, and solving real, tangible problems. We're showing everybody that engineers create."
Asbury Park Press
If you're looking for single-family-residential-service opportunities, be advised that hundreds of Jersey Shore home owners will have to spend $30,000-$150,000 each to comply with regulations requiring them to elevate their homes with pilings or helical piles. The requirement applies to homes in the "Coastal A" zone defined in the state's new building code. Department of Community Affairs spokesperson Lisa Ryan noted that Coastal A zone requirements "are based upon the best available data on the type of foundation required to protect the structure given the soil types" in the area. She also noted that homeowners have a bit of breathing room: The new building code is undergoing a six-month phase-in.
New Zealand's Unitec Institute of Technology has established the Centre of Computational Intelligence for Environmental Engineering (CIEE) to improve environmental engineering by developing new computing technologies. First up: Creation of a 3D digital model of Auckland. The model will include infrastructure — e.g., power lines, water pipes, and sewage lines — as well as the city's topography. The map can be overlaid with real-time environmental data, enabling government agencies to monitor water and air quality, among other environmental factors. Chinese interests are investors.
People indicate ranges in a variety of ways, many of which are incorrect. Here's an example:
Between $10 and $20." What's wrong with it? On its face, the brief statement indicates that the dollars involved range from $10.01 to $19.99; $10 and $20 are ruled out, because the writer said that the number is between them. (Individuals writing in their professional capacity are unable to get away with, "But you know what I meant.") I suppose you could say, "Between $9.99 and $20.01," but that would be silly, because the problem word is "between." "From $10.00 to $20.00" is the way to write it. And please note that "From $10.00-$20.00" is incorrect; it mixes two methods. If you want to use a dash, try "$10.00-$20.00." The "From" is understood.
The winter approaches, creating a great time to enjoy big, rich, warm Syrahs. (Kind of like the beginning of spring, summer, and fall.) And, as it so happens, some true bargains are available, like these four:
Rutherford Ranch Rhiannon Proprietary Red 2013: Says Parker, "Displays a dense ruby/purple color and an attractive nose of blackberries, licorice, tar and a touch of subtle smoke. It is medium-bodied and has surprising density as well as intensity for a wine at this price range." $9
Andrew Murray "Tous les Jours" Syrah 2013: A truly delightful, big Syrah, with scents of cherries and berries. Taste the fruit as you drink. This is amazing stuff. $12.50
Falernia 2010 Reserva Elqui Valley Syrah: Big nose, with violets and dark fruit — cherries and blackberries. Tastes like a Northern Rhone (they're all Syrahs and they're all expensive) with a long finish. In a different bottle with a different label, it sells for $75. In this bottle and label, $11.50
Vignerons De L'ile De Beaute Corse Aleria Xx 270 2013: How good is this Syrah? Robert Parker gave it 93 points, and noted "its liquid rock, blackberry, raspberry, floral and peppery bouquet. Medium to full-bodied, with incredible purity, this is a seriously elegant, classically styled Syrah to drink over the coming decade." $75? $80? It should be, but… $16
| || 2015-2016 GBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS|
Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G., D.GE
(Schnabel Engineering, Inc. / Glen Allen, VA)
Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(Terracon / Nashville, TN)
Charles L. Head, P.E., P.G.
(Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc. / Concord, NH)
Kenneth R. Johnston
(GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. / Norwood, MA)
Kimberly F. Morrison, P.E., R.G.
(Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc. / Denver, CO)
Alex Sy, Ph.D., P. Eng.
(Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. / Vancouver, BC)
Woodward L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F.ACI, F.ASCE, F.ASTM
(Paradigm Consultants, Inc. / Houston, TX)
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063