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|December 20, 2017 ||
Vol. 48 No. 17
The GBA Staff would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy, healthy, and relaxing holiday season. Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to serving you in 2018 and beyond. Joel, Barb, Phil, and Sara
This is the last issue of GBA NEWSlog in 2017. It has been a fantastic year for GBA, in part because our NEWSlog was restructured to include GBA NEWS, MEMBER NEWS, and INDUSTRY NEWS. We also added a GBA POLL to help drive new and updated member benefits. Most importantly, our readership continues to increase.
As we wind up another year of publication, I would like to thank all of those that make GBA NEWSlog valuable for our readers. I would like especially to thank Kurt Fraese, L.G., F.GBA (Fraese and Associates), Sara Menase (GBA Staff), and our business partner MultiBriefs. I would also like to thank all our members who send interesting articles and updates to us so we can continue to deliver valuable news to all our readers.
Those that attended GBA's 2017 Fall Conference in Phoenix agreed that the speakers were awesome. Now you can watch, listen to, and learn from these speakers, too, on your own schedule, and without leaving your office or easy chair. Just some of the presentations include:
All videos from GBA's Fall 2017 Conference are available on-demand to members.
- The Top 5 Warning Signs of a Claim and Frequent Sources of Claims
- Deposition Dos and Don’ts for the Geoprofessional
- Engineer of Record: Retooling the Basic & Resolute Principle for Tailings Dams
- Toll of Litigation
- Risk Management Best Practices and Case Studies
- The Leadership Challenge
- Great by Choice: The Keys to Building a Dynamic and Sustainable Company
- Leading through Change in a New Age: When Every Day Is a New Age
| TOP GBA NEWS ARTICLES FROM 2017|
From July 5: Lawsuit. Interrogation. Sworn testimony. All intimidating words that most people don't like to hear. But as a geoprofessional, it's possible that at some point in your career you will be asked to testify in a lawsuit as a fact witness. Typically, this will include a deposition, and it can be helpful (and far less intimidating) to know what to expect when you're walking through the legal process. Enter the latest GBA Best Practices monograph, Deposition Do's and Don'ts for Fact Witnesses.
Developed by GBA's Legal Affairs Committee, the publication gives a brief overview of the deposition and its role/function in a lawsuit, a description of your job as a fact witness, and offers helpful tips like what to expect during your deposition, how to prepare beforehand, and what to do (and not do) during questioning.
While there is no substitute for extensive discussion with your lawyer about how to approach your deposition, the concepts discussed in the newest GBA Best Practices can be used as a guide for both understanding the legal process and your role in it, as well as providing a brief overview of what to expect during your deposition.
From Aug. 16: GBA has been documenting the Standard of Care for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) since 1987. While the process has evolved, the purpose of these studies overall remains the same, to document a "national standard of care" for Phase I ESAs, a useful tool for managing the risks associated with environmental conditions on or near a property where a project is taking place.
This newly-released study, performed by GBA's Environmental Business Council (EBC), includes the review of 197 reports from 2007-2010, gathered from all over the country from various sources such as corporate archives, GBA member firms, and other consultants.
The EBC thanks all those who participated in this study and those that compiled the data to prepare this valuable report. This is another example of GBA helping our members to manage business risk by collaborating on common issues. GBA helps members to be smarter, stronger and more successful in business.
From Aug. 2: GBA reminds us regularly, words and phrases are critical to the success of geoprofessional consultants. It is important that we are aware some words and phrases have troublesome meanings and can create costly problems. The following list comprises a few of these words and phrases. Some you should not use at all; others you should use only with deliberate care. Keep in mind, that the best evidence is what's in writing and the final arbiter of what words mean usually is a jury of one's peers.
For more taboo words and reference material addressing "Risky Language", "Taboo Words" and "Dirty Words":
- All/every/full/complete (these absolutes bar the exceptions that usually exist)
- Certify/warrant/guarantee/ensure/assure/insure (guarantee-liability is not covered by PLI)
- Client (seldom is the client representative the client, too)
- Defend (not in contracts)
- Product (geoprofessionals do not produce products unless they welcome product-liability claims)
- Represent (can create a fiduciary-responsibility liability)
From April 12: Possibly the most important of all GBA loss-prevention/risk-confrontation resources is its unique series of case histories; 101 examples of how projects begun with optimism can unexpectedly end in dispute. Each provides details of the project, its background, the role of the GBA-Member Firm, the problems encountered, and lessons learned. They're sometimes painful lessons, but better to learn from others' lessons than your own.
BIG NEWS! GBA Executive Director Joel Carson has announced that GBA is committed to update and expand the Case History Series. The original cases all will be refreshed, with new graphics and keywords. There will be continuous additions to the library. According to Joel, “The first five are done and they look fantastic!”
Check them out for yourself. Download refreshed Case History #1 through #5 here:
GBA Case History #1 — Perform a preliminary geotechnical-engineering study to estimate foundation construction costs.
GBA Case History #2 — Perform subsurface exploration, provide foundation recommendations, and identify features, such as potential groundwater problems, that the client should consider during design and construction.
GBA Case History #3 — Conduct a subsurface exploration at the direction of the client and provide engineering consultation when requested.
GBA Case History #4 — Perform subsurface exploration, prepare a geotechnical-engineering report with foundation-design recommendations and observed drilled-shaft construction.
GBA Case History #5 — Perform a limited-scope geotechnical-engineering study to advance borings and then provide boring logs and a brief letter report to the structural engineer.
From Sept. 13: Refreshed GBA Case Histories have been downloaded almost 1,000 times since May 1, 2017 and they are being used by GBA members for loss prevention discussions in support of professional development and mentoring. Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are condemned to repeating mistakes of the past which is why GBA case histories are so valuable, and why GBA is updating them all, while adding new ones, too. Five more case histories have been reissued.
Case History 16: The GBA-Member Firm completed about 150 exploratory borings, excavated test pits, and conducted seismic surveys in support of design and construction of a new building and campus for a state-owned college.
Lessons Learned Include:
Case History 17: The Member Firm performed a geotechnical-engineering study and submitted a report of findings, including foundation-design recommendations, for an oil-sands-processing plant to be built upon oil sands.
- Take an Active Interest in the Project
- Bedrock Contour Maps Should Include Important Advisories
- Advise the Owner about the Importance of Construction Observation
Lessons Learned Include:
Case History 18: A GBA Member-Firm conducted a geotechnical-engineering study, provided foundation recommendations, and performed related geotechnical-engineering services, for a small flood-control pump station to be built on reclaimed marshland.
- Establish Relationships.
- Don't Guess
- Learn About Construction Observation Up-Front
- Be Wary of Settlement Estimates
Lessons Learned Include:
Case History 19: Perform a geotechnical-engineering study and observe foundation installation at a multifamily-residential, rental-housing project to be constructed in four phases on the site of an abandoned, suburban railroad yard.
- Prepare a Complete Proposal
- Recognize That If It Isn’t in Writing, It Didn't Happen
- Educate Clients About Project Risks
- Be Wary of Project Delays.
Lessons Learned Include:
Case History 20: GBA Member performed a geotechnical-engineering study, developed foundation-design recommendations, and provided construction-materials engineering and testing (CoMET) services at a marine chemical terminal
- Be Wary of Residential Projects
- Take Aim at Shoddy Experts
- Recessionary Periods Increase Risk
Lessons Learned Include:
- Experience Counts
- Be Clear about Risks
- If It Isn’t in Writing, It Didn’t Happen
- Cutting Corners Leads to Problems
- Don’t Accept Foolishness.
| TOP INDUSTRY NEWS ARTICLES FROM 2017|
From Jan. 18: We're all tempted to use words that we're not too familiar with. We throw them around in meetings, emails and important documents (such as resumes and client proposals), and they land, like fingernails across a chalkboard, on everyone who has to hear or read them. No matter how talented you are or what you've accomplished, using words incorrectly can change the way people see you and forever cast you in a negative light.
U.S. News & World Report
From July 19: Many people entering today's workplace have precious little understanding of what's permissible and what is not. They rely on hearsay. Your goal: Determine which of the following statements are true and which are false…and why.
- When resigning a position, it's better to tell your boss face-to-face than to submit a letter of resignation.
- Hostile workplace laws prevent you from having to deal with hostile behavior in the workplace.
- Human-resources offices nationwide are required to keep your comments confidential, unless you permit otherwise, in writing.
- Eighty percent of job openings are never advertised.
- Companies that give bad references are often sued because of doing so.
- Employers that require employees to do things not in their job descriptions violate federal law when they do so.
- Employers have a right to prohibit you from discussing your salary with your co-workers.
From Jan. 4: Time to do different things to get better results. Heading into 2017, leaders who intentionally invest in their own leadership development and the growth of their teams will see a measurable return.
As you look over the possibilities to increase your capacity, consider adding these items to your year-end checklist.
✔ Checklist Item No. 1: Shine the spotlight on your employees.
Leaders whose brains have been trained to make decisions in top-down, command-and-control fashion may have an allergic reaction here. The essence of great leadership is this: It's not about you, it's about your employees.
Too many leaders hunger for the spotlight and forget to shine it on others closer to the frontlines.
✔ Checklist Item No. 2: Give direct and actionable feedback.
Strong leaders always let people know where they stand. They often respond to problems quickly and directly, and deal with problems head-on, even in uncomfortable situations.
Giving positive and consistent feedback weighs even heavier and is one of the most powerful ways to inspire and motivate people. When leaders clarify goals and expectations, and keep people abreast of those goals over time, it leads to great performance and happier employees.
To see the rest of the checklist, please click here.
From Aug. 2:
I was posting up with a friend back in my hometown over the holidays when the subject of his line of work came up. My compadre works as a geotechnical engineer for a Midwest-based engineering and consulting concern. He noted that the shortage of experienced professionals in his field is so acute that one no longer needed a master's in geotechnical engineering to procure employment.
From Aug. 16: Bob Kelleher, an expert in employee engagement and a long-time supporter of GBA identifies 5 types of bad bosses. Are you one?
Mark your calendar for these outstanding GBA get-togethers, and be on the lookout for announcements about others being finalized.
January 26-28, 2018
GBA Winter Leadership Conference
April 5-7, 2018
GBA Spring Conference
Westin Chicago River North Hotel
October 18-20, 2018
GBA Fall Conference
Omni Houston Hotel
Future Events Supported by GBA
IFCEE 2018 — March 5-10, 2018 in Orlando, FL
GBA EVENTS CALENDAR
President: Charles L. Head, P.E., P.G., (Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc. / Concord, NH), 603/229-1900|
President-Elect: Woodward L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F.ACI, F.ASCE, F.ASTM, (Paradigm Consultants, Inc. / Houston, TX), 713/686-6771|
Secretary/Treasurer: Kimberly F. Morrison, P.E., R.G., (Morrison Solutions, Inc. / Denver, CO), 303/588-8289|
Saiid Behboodi, P.E., G.E., (PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc. / Portland, OR), 503/248-1939
Thomas W. Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F.ASCE, (Blackburn Consulting / Auburn, CA)
Arthur G. Hoffmann, P.E., D.GE, (Gannett Fleming, Inc. / Harrisburg, PA)
Kenneth R. Johnston, (GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. / Norwood, MA), 781/278-3700
Leo J. Titus, Jr. P.E., (ECS, Ltd. / Chantilly, VA), 703/471-8400
Words of Wisdom
"If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to
any patient who considered his work important."
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Joel G. Carson, Executive Director, 301-565-2733 (office) | 402-517-1819 (cell)
Sara Menase, Program Manager, 301-565-2733
Phillip D. Pettway, Controller, 301-565-2733
Barbara A. Nappy, Program Director, 301-565-2733 (office) | 727-457-2272 (cell)
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The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) helps its members and their clients confront risk and optimize business performance by delivering unique professional resources, programs, and services that make them stronger, smarter and more successful.
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