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Vol. 45 No. 21

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Moist-Curing Room Design, Construction, and Maintenance
Moist-Curing Room Design, Construction, and Maintenance is the title of a comprehensive new guide published by GBA's Construction-Materials Engineering and Testing Business Council (CoMETBC). GBA Director Woodward L. "Woody" Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE, F.ACI, CEO of Paradigm Consultants, Inc., authored the new work based on his own extensive experience and the experience of a panel of experts he assembled when planning his firm's newest moist-curing room. As he wrote in the guide's preface, "As I began planning to build a new moist-curing room for the fourth time in my career, I first and foremost wanted to avoid the unfortunate outcomes of my own past mistakes: mold, rust, leaks, mold, slippery floors, damaged walls, mold, poor lighting, maintenance headaches, and — did I mention it? — mold." Illustrated with 30 figures, the guide's contents cover just about every moist-curing room issue that needs consideration. Publication of the new work was made possible by the generous contributions of several Business Council members and three principal sponsors: Agile Frameworks, Elm Tree System, and Bachner Communications, Inc.
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Lead Smart; Spring Conference Early-Bird Registration Ending Soon
Have you noticed that most of the folks who write about how to be a leader have never been leaders themselves? Well, Jason Young has been a leader, formerly serving as a senior-level manager at Southwest Airlines. During his ten years there, Jason was a key driver in creating and developing the company's innovative training programs that led to its world-renowned leadership and customer service culture. He shares his philosophy for creating high-performance cultures in his book Culturetopia: The Ultimate High-Performance Workplace. And it's a philosophy that works, which you'll experience immediately when you hear him speak at the upcoming GBA 2015 Spring (Annual) Conference, in Miami, FL, April 16-18. It's going to be another GREAT GBA event. You'll learn, share, and take home some true geoprofessional-business gems! And don't forget the outstanding food and drink that are perennially GBA, and all included in the registration fee. Don't wait to register — February 28 is your last day to save via the early-bird registration fee. Also just around the corner, March 20 is the deadline to make your room reservations. Plan to attend!
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HR DEPARTMENT: 15 Perks Employees Love
Just about all GBA-Member Firms are busybusybusy, and no slow-down is in sight, especially when it comes to public works. Even the stingiest federal, state, or local legislators have to admit that our infrastructure is in decay. While constituents may be displeased about paying more taxes to offset the impacts of deferred maintenance, they understand the situation and would be far more displeased were roads to get even worse, were the water to run out, and so on. Geoprofessionals are needed to help create fixes, explaining why geoprofessional-firm-personnel poaching is on the rise and will get worse. If you do not start investing in keeping your employees happy, you'll have to invest far more in finding replacements to whom you'll have to pay higher salaries (in addition to signing bonuses), provide training, and so on.
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  A2LA: Your partner in accreditation

Accreditation available for all testing, calibration, proficiency testing, reference materials production, inspection and product certification. A2LA also offers training to help prepare for accreditation.

Geotechnical Engineering: Where the Big Bucks Are
"Geotechnical Engineering: The In-Demand, High-Pay, Easy-Entry Job You've Likely Never Heard of" is the title of an article in the January 15, 2015 edition of none other than Forbes magazine. The author — James Crotty — has a friend who "works as a geotechnical engineer for a Midwest-based engineering and consulting concern." Crotty notes, "According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average median salary for a civil engineer with a bachelor's degree is $79,340 a year… [If] you also have a one-year master's in geotechnical engineering, your salary will be at least 20% higher. With geotech salaries going up around 4% a year, plus profit-sharing, 'you are making six figures in no time.'… [If] New York-based Millennium Partners’ Millennium Hollywood two-tower development is ever going to be built — let alone withstand a 7.0 earthquake along the intermittently active Hollywood fault — a geotech is going to be intimately involved."
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Virginia Tech Offers New Water Degree
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) is offering a new BS degree program called "Water: Resources, Policy, and Management." The first of its kind nationwide, the program blends water-science courses with others in water policy, law, economics, management, and related social sciences. The program addresses an expected 19% job growth in positions requiring a comprehensive understanding of water issues. Students in the water major will select one area of focused study from a choice of water-science specializations (aquatic ecosystems, hydrology, water quality, or water treatment and public health) and one area of focused study from a choice of water-policy specializations (water, climate, energy, and global issues; watershed management; international water management; or water policy, planning, and economics).
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New from GBA: Client-Satisfaction Survey Tool
The Construction-Materials Engineering and Testing (CoMET) Business Council has published a new Client-Satisfaction Survey Tool for Firms Providing CoMET Services. The CoMET Business Council developed the new tool to help CoMET practices gauge their clients' satisfaction by conducting a survey to elicit client representatives' opinions about the service they received and their suggestions for improvement. The new tool's principal element is a model questionnaire presented in MSWord (.docx) format so CoMET professionals can easily customize the questions and then copy and paste the final text into an online survey service. The tool also includes: guidance on conducting the survey and distributing the questionnaire to client representatives; suggestions for creating and testing the questionnaire; sample correspondence (pre-letter, letter of transmittal, follow-up letter); information about online-survey tools; and recommendations for following up on responses and findings. The survey tool is free to all GBA members.
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  Past Conferences on Demand

Bring home the best of GBA conferences with content on demand — online and on DVD.

Fracking Exacerbating Texas Water Problems
The Takeaway
Oil- and gas-production growth in south Texas' massive Eagle Ford Shale play shows no signs of slowing. More than 200 fracking operators are active there, using about 5 million gallons of water per well. At the same time, Texas' population continues its record-setting growth; an 82% increase (to 46.3 million) is projected by 2060. That's not good news for a state already dealing with a severe, prolonged drought. In 2013, Texas voters approved a plan to invest $2 billion in the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas. But is that enough? The state's 2012 water plan estimated that Texas could face a shortfall of 2.7 trillion gallons of water a year by 2060, a gap that would require $53 billion worth of new infrastructure to close. And it's just not fracking that's the issue. More than half the water used in the area is for irrigation. Texas A&M has developed some public-policy recommendations to ease the problem, but public policy can’t do what geoprofessionals can. How can your firm help?
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Geoprofessionals write more than most other professionals; perhaps more than all other professionals. And because what they write is so important, geoprofessionals need to get it right the first time. Can you? Spend no more than one minute taking this sample quiz. For answers, read more.
  1. May I tell him (who or whom) is calling?
  2. Between you and (I or me), this column is insulting.
  3. A pound of feathers and a pound of rocks (weighs or weigh) the same.
  4. To (affect or effect) the change you seek, you will have to achieve the (affect or effect) that will (affect or effect) the process.
  5. In the following sentence, what part of speech is "not"? Noun? Verb? Pronoun? Adjective? Adverb? Preposition? Interjection? Expletive? I am not answering these questions quickly.
  6. Shouldn't good writing be a (complement or compliment) to professionalism?
  7. A variety of options (make or makes) deciding difficult.
  8. Doug graduated with a (Bachelor's Degree in Civil Engineering, or Bachelor's Degree in civil engineering, or bachelor's degree in civil engineering).
  9. The dog's bark was worse than (its, it's, or its') bite.
  10. Our field personnel (inspect, monitor, monitor or observe, observe) earthwork.

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Call for Abstracts: Fall Conference in Southern California
Have a creative idea for a presentation at the GBA Fall Conference in Dana Point, CA, October 8-10, 2015? Here's your chance to share it with us: Just download the submission form, complete it, and send it in. The GBA Conference Committee will review all submissions. The theme of the conference is "Confronting Risk for Our Firms and Our Clients: The ROI of Engagement."
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Date Event Location
April 16-18, 2015 GBA Spring (Annual) Conference J. W. Marriott Marquis
Miami, Florida
Oct. 8-10, 2015 GBA Fall Conference St. Regis Monarch Beach
Dana Point, California

  For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.

Can You Help Design a Complete Street?
Smart Growth America
A "Complete Street" does far more than accommodate vehicular traffic. It's a street that: is safer for people walking and bicycling, fits the local neighborhood, reflects resident cultures, and attracts people to local shops and restaurants. Complete Streets just don't happen, however: Citizens and government have to plan them and adopt policies to move from plan to reality. In 2014, more than 70 jurisdictions adopted Complete Streets policies, bringing to 712 the number of U.S. jurisdictions that have developed the laws, resolutions, agency policies, and planning and design documents needed to establish a process for selecting, funding, planning, designing, and building transportation projects that allow safe access for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel. Eleven agencies led the nation in creating and adopting comprehensive Complete Streets policies in 2014. If you're involved in transportation, you should be familiar with what they've done.
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Value: The A/E/C Industry's Biggest Blind Spot?
Far too many firms struggle with identifying and articulating their differentiators, benefits (not features!), and value. All too often, expensive off-site and other meetings are held where principals, marketing staff, and others pontificate about these topics without the benefit of external data points. If one of our primary challenges is establishing our value to command the fees we warrant (plus avoiding commoditization in some markets), then we must understand what our clients' value and how they measure it. In this presentation, Richard S. "Rich" Friedman shares tools and methods for gathering critical feedback from your clients and prospects, and for applying the feedback to effect organizational change across many areas — including strategic planning, marketing and business development, and project management/delivery. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $149 for everyone else.
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Do you really love your dog? Prove it!
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Urban Agriculture Practice Guides
Is your community thinking about urban agriculture? The University of Louisville's Center for Environmental Policy and Management has developed two practice guides to help get you started; both are available from GBA's website. They cover safe soils and urban gardens and apply to brownfield reuse and redevelopment. Check out Practice Guide 25: Urban Agriculture and Soil Contamination: An Introduction to Urban Gardening, and Practice Guide 27: Establishing Urban Agriculture in Your Community: What You Need to Know Before You Get Your Hands Dirty today!
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EPA Launches Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched the Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center to help communities build resilient wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater systems, particularly through innovative financing. The Center will function as a resource for communities, municipal utilities, and private entities that are trying to address water-infrastructure needs with limited budgets. More than $600 billion will be needed to maintain and improve the nation's water infrastructure during the next 20 years. "Water infrastructure" includes the pipes, drains, and concrete that carry drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater; industrial wastewater pretreatment facilities; wastewater-treatment plants; municipal separate storm-sewer systems; decentralized, on-site, and septic systems; public drinking-water systems; and private wells. It also includes green infrastructure that uses natural land cover to capture rain where it falls, allowing it to filter through the ground. Are you prepared to serve this growing market? If so, EPA has a state-by-state needs breakdown you should look at. And make sure your local water authorities are aware of this opportunity, too.
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Skillful Discussions: Crucial Conversations
Dealing with conflict and handling difficult conversations are challenges many leaders face. Leaders who develop the ability to conduct difficult conversations also develop the ability to show respect for the other person and assert their own needs. The techniques Joseph D. "Joe" Rei, Ph.D. believes in can be particularly helpful when entering a negotiation or a conversation about matters that create an adversarial situation. Learn how to: develop the art of skillful communication, balance inquiry with advocacy, negotiate impasses, and disagree while maintaining an open dialogue. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $149 for everyone else.
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Construction Apps Can Boost Productivity
Construction Data Building Blocks Blog
Few, if any, "construction apps" are generally applicable, but you should be aware of what's "out there" so you have the latest tools available. Here are five new apps you may want to check out. Safety Meeting App covers more than 950 safety topics and allows you to conduct safety meetings anywhere. It permits unlimited users and provides storage for recording incidents and accidents. ClockShark is a mobile app that firms can use to schedule employees by jobsite and that employees can use to clock in and out. Procore is a cloud-based app that gives you the ability to manage virtually every aspect of a construction project, from budgeting and bidding to drawing management, RFIs, and even creating final punch lists. PlanGrid is a free, mobile blueprint-viewing app that gives you access to your plans, specs, and photos whenever you want them. The SmartReality app lets you view and interact with a 3D BIM model of your 2D physical drawings using a camera-enabled mobile device with augmented reality.
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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, Inc. / Concord, NH)

Kimberly F. Morrison, P.E., R.G.
(Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc. / Denver, CO)

Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(Reinbold & Associates / 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)


Phone: 301/565-2733

Executive Vice President
John P. Bachner
Ext. 223 /

Operations Director
Sarah P. Lanning, PMP
Ext. 231 /

Program Director
Barbara A. Nappy
Ext. 222 /

Program Manager
Sara Menase
Ext. 232 /

Associate Program Manager
Melody A. Patrick
Ext. 225 /

Membership Manager
Susan A. Ford
Ext. 227 /

Phillip D. Pettway
Ext. 233 /


John P. Bachner, NewsLog Editor-in-Chief, 301.565.2733 ext. 223   
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