Feb. 5, 2014

Crystal Ball Workshop findings now available in Practice Alert 58
Technology growth, quality vs. quantity, climate change, and talent shortage are the four key trends that ASFE/GBA-Member Firms need to be considering right now, along with a "wildcard trend." So advises ASFE/GBA's Emerging Issues and Trends Committee, summarizing key findings of its annual Crystal Ball Workshop, now available exclusively to ASFE/GBA-Member Firms in the all-new ASFE Practice Alert No. 58: The Crystal Ball Workshop: Four Trends To Consider Now.More

Columbia River Crossing: Poised to move forward?
The Oregonian
A 152-page investment-grade analysis of the Columbia River Crossing tolling plan indicates that the project should generate about $80 million a year, more than enough, sponsors say, to finance the $1.35 billion in loans Oregon will have to arrange to make the $2.8 billion project happen. Oregon DOT (ODOT) officials said the financial projections are based on conservative estimates and relatively low tolls. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber resurrected the Crossing as an Oregon-only project after the state of Washington backed out a year ago.More

Does your CoMET operation offer job cams yet?
Engineering News-Record
What would jobsite cameras — job cams — allow you to do remotely that you now have to do on site or, perhaps more to the point, what would job cams allow you to do remotely that you now don't do at all? You might want to think about that, given that job cams are becoming a somewhat common construction element, written into specs from the start, for varied purposes. Manhattan Construction, Inc. Senior Vice President Mark Penny, located in Dallas, says job cams can be used to verify that activities like concrete placement are performed on schedule, and they can also be applied to improve security. More

Not your daddy's LiDAR
National Geographic
"With [the new] LiDAR [light detection and ranging] we can actually do area surveys that show comprehensively what was once there, not just what has turned up randomly over time. A lot of people don't realize that there has been a lost cultural frontier in New England that we are only discovering now." So said Katherine Johnson, co-author of a Journal of Archaeological Science study, about her research. She used the newest form of LiDAR to reveal "numerous archaeological sites" in three areas of Connecticut and Massachusetts.More

Tunnel inspector: More CoMET robotics
Robinspect, a tunnel-inspecting robot, is slated for pilot testing at the end of 2014, in London Underground tunnels, underground portions of Greece's Egnatia Highway, and some test tunnels in Switzerland. Developed by a collaboration of European infrastructure engineers, the robot sits at the end of a truck-mounted crane and searches for cracks, gaps, and fissures, allowing crews to use it for drive-through inspections, making it unnecessary to shut tunnels down. Time savings are not the only benefit, its proponents say, noting that robot eyes see everything as opposed to human eyes that don't. Robinspect should be able to analyze surface defects, measure defects and the distance between cracks, and detect open joints.More

Webinar — "Clients for Life: Their Worth; Creating Them, and Keeping Them"
Clients for life can easily be worth $5 to $25 million, says Bachner Communications CEO John Bachner, and he'll explain why. He’ll also explain what you can do to make one and what you can do to keep them all. Attend this important webinar. This on-demand webinar may qualify for one professional-development hour (PDH).More

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Put all you need to know about ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) in the palm of your hand. See news, coming events, the member list, NewsLog, and more.More

More Fall Conference Sessions on Demand — FREE to Members!
Earn PDHs for free while you enjoy great sessions such as these:

Think Globally, Act Locally: Enterprise Risk Management; Communicating Project Risk: Proving Your Value by Consulting in Practice: After years of considering risk from a traditional perspective, looking only at their own claims, the leadership of Vanasse Hagen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), a Watertown, MA-based civil-engineering firm, set out on a journey to learn what larger risks could interfere with VHB's business. Bob Dubinsky and Maureen P. Hogan, Esq. describe the program as well as the gaps that remain and the firm's plan for addressing them. Next, Terracon's Michael J. "Mike" Yost, Esq. shows how educating client representatives about project risk can quickly underscore a geoprofessional firm's value while simultaneously reducing the risk for the benefit of the entire project team, including the client.

Business Basics, Reinvented for the Fast Future: The "Fast Future" isn't coming; it's here. Over the next 20 years, large-scale transformation of our world will profoundly change almost everything, including many aspects of geoprofessional practice. John Doehring explains how this change will bring amazing opportunities for those who act, but also considerable threats for those who don't.More

Why would a company try to sell perfume via a TV ad, seeing that the product's only attribute is scent? Because there's more to a scent than scent. There's the celebrity affiliation part ("I smell just like JayLo!") or the potential for being "involved" with a perfume that's simply iconic (e.g., Marilyn Monroe and Chanel No. 5). The goal in all of this? To get someone to try the product once, for tangential reasons far less important than the one key reason that, it just so happens, the medium is incapable of portraying. If they like the product for its true raison d'etre, they'll buy it again. And if they don't like it…well, you tried.More

Geoprofessional business opportunity: Desalination plants
San Diego Union-Tribune
Is your geoprofessional firm "into" desalination plants yet? Someone's is, we suppose, given that the $1 billion Carlsbad (CA) Desalination Project is set to start producing 50 million gallons of "drought-proof" drinking water per day when it opens in 2016, serving 300,000 San Diego residents. Located next to the Encina Power Station, the plant will ultimately reach nine stories below ground; ten miles of thick pipe (also being installed) will connect it to the San Diego County Water Authority's San Marcos aqueduct. More

HUMAN-RESOURCES DEPARTMENT: Enjoyable work is professional priority
Almost 45% of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center say having enjoyable work is their greatest professional priority. About one-third rated job security, work-life balance, and good benefits equally valuable. Opportunities for advancement, a job that helps society, and high pay rank lower on their list of priorities. Although men and women seem to value the same job characteristics equally, generations differ significantly, principally due to family and work circumstances related to age.More

Know an environmental firm that should be a member?
ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) has made a commitment to bring its 45 years of business excellence and risk-confrontation know-how to a wider section of the environmental community. Do you know of a firm we should be talking to about membership? If so, please contact John Bachner at If you can help us with a personal introduction, that's even better, but if not, we'd still love to get your recommendations. More

Are you hunting where the ducks are? All 890 billion?
St. Paul Pioneer Press
The U.S. oil and gas industry is projected to make an $890-billion investment in midstream and downstream infrastructure over the next 12 years, according to a study by IHS Global Inc., based on information sourced from producers, directly and indirectly. Developing shale-formation areas, like the Bakken in North Dakota and Eagle Ford in Texas, will need more extensive investments in gathering and support facilities because, historically, they are not production regions.More

USGS Geomagnetism Program boosts productivity
Oil and gas producers can access multiple reservoirs from a single platform by drilling vertically and then horizontally. Drill operators need to know which way their drill bits are going to maximize oil production and avoid collisions with other wells. They can derive that knowledge by installing a magnetometer in a drill-string instrument package that follows the bit. Then, through a process called geomagnetic referencing, measurements of the magnetic field in the drill hole are simultaneously combined with those from magnetic observatories at Earth’s surface to produce a highly accurate estimate of the drill-bit position and direction. More

Call for Abstracts: Fall Conference in San Francisco
Have a creative idea for a presentation at the ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) Fall Conference in San Francisco, October 23-25, 2014? Here is your chance to share it with us. Download and send us the submission form. The submissions will be reviewed by the ASFE/GBA Conference Committee. The theme of the conference is "Confronting Risk: Leading in an Era of Rapid Change."More

Red tape not endangered
The New York Times
America is widening and deepening its navigable waterways to accommodate the new giant cargo vessels that will begin passing through the Panama Canal in 2015. Bridges need changing, too, which is why people hailed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for its innovative proposal to raise the height of the Bayonne Bridge (for $1.3 billion) vs. building a new bridge ($4 billion). The "fast-track" project is expected to take less than ten years, with the environmental review accounting for nearly half that time.More

Los Angeles Times
According to a study in the British Medical Journal, based on an analysis of Ian Fleming's twelve novels and two short-story collections, James Bond — Agent 007 — was a raging alcoholic in a category of drinkers at highest risk of developing malignancies, depression, hypertension, and cirrhosis. Fact: He probably liked his vodka martinis shaken because that’s what happened when he held the glass; stirring would have been beyond his capability. And as for James being a womanizer, fuhgeddaboutit! He likely would have suffered from sexual dysfunction, the researchers wrote.More

1,500 older concrete buildings in LA need review
Los Angeles Times
Your NewsLog editorial staff is confused. Consider these facts:

Finally, the researchers have agreed to make the publically paid-for list public — potentially saving thousands of lives — but they noted that it would be wrong to assume the buildings they identified are dangerous. They just need to be looked at is all. Just sayin'. More

Digital trenchless-technology reference room opens at Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech University
Louisiana Tech University's Trenchless Technology Center (TTC) has launched a digital trenchless-technology reference room with some 28,000 citations and technical materials about trenchless construction and engineering methods. The TTC is uploading its own publications and is negotiating with several copyright owners for access to full-length manuscripts. The TTC is recognized as a research facility that has developed technologies that influence almost every aspect of trenchless construction.More

Webcast: "Phase I AAIs and Due Diligence: Where Are We Now?"
Environmental due diligence underwent a major transition in 2002 with passage of the CERCLA brownfields amendments. The amendments defined all appropriate inquiry (AAI) and the three limitations to CERCLA liability: innocent purchaser, bona fide prospective purchaser (BFPP), and contiguous property owner. In this session from GBA's 2013 Spring Conference, now available on-demand, learn how changes to ASTM E1527 will affect "Phase I" environmental site assessments and about the business opportunities presented by the continuing-obligations requirements for BFPPs. Environmental Committee Chair James Harless, Ph.D., vice president and principal of Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc., moderates the program and describes BFPP continuing obligations and related business opportunities. Environmental Committee Vice Chair Mike Covert, Terracon's national director of environmental services, updates us on the changes to ASTM Standard E1527.

You can earn a professional-development hour (PDH), too! Now FREE for members. Watch it today!More