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HUMAN-RESOURCES DEPARTMENT: The only interview question that matters
Lou Adler knows what he's talking about. CEO of The Adler Group, a consulting firm that helps companies implement performance-based hiring, his latest book is The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired. So, what's the only interview question worth asking? "It took 10 years of trial and error, but I eventually found it," Lou wrote in this Inc. article. And here it is: "What single project or task would you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career to date?"
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A message from Uncle Sam
I want to thank you for working so hard these past five years, paying your fair share of taxes. And to show you how much I appreciate that, I want you to attend a tax-deductible business conference on The Big Island of Hawaii. It's not only for R&R. ASFE/GBA's Conference Committee has put together a spectacular program; great topics addressed by great speakers. Combine the knowledge you'll acquire with some rest, relaxation and those drinks with the little umbrellas and you'll be paying more taxes than ever in no time.
CERCLA + AAI + ASTM = ?
2002 amendments of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, limited the CERCLA liability of bona fide prospective purchasers and contiguous property owners, and clarified CERCLA's innocent-landowner defense. The All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) Rule of 2005 established standard practices that qualified for CERCLA-liability protections. At the time, the AAI Rule referenced ASTM standard E1527-05 — "Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process" — and authorized its use for AAI compliance.
So much fun for the whole family in Hawaii!
While you're planning your conference attendance in Hawaii, don't forget about these great activities:
Golf: Interested in playing golf? If so, please e-mail Barb Nappy at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, cellphone number and dates available to play April 9-15. She will put you in touch with others interested in playing so arrangements can be made for tee times.
Spouse/guest activities on Friday, April 11:
Hawaiian floral lei making class: Learn the art of stringing a traditional Hawaiian floral lei. The lei is a symbol of welcoming and a congratulatory offering for occasions like weddings, graduations, and birthdays. Enjoy your time with your dedicated lei instructor and create a Hawaiian floral lei of your own for yourself or a loved one. $30 per person. E-mail Barb@asfe.org to sign up before April 1 (sorry — no late registration for this activity due to materials that we must order).
Hula lesson/demonstration: Hula is the heartbeat Hawaii, continuing the perpetuation of Hawaii's history, myths, love stories and more. One of Hawaii's treasured arts is the hula. Learn hula basics, history and folklore along with dance steps that you will long be sharing with friends and family. For participants of all ages, everyone is welcome. $30 per person. E-mail Barb@asfe.org to sign up.
New from EPA: Best management practices required to manage erosion, stabilize soils during construction
Effective May 5, 2014, a final Environmental Protection Agency rule published March 6 (79 Fed. Reg. 12,661) requires the construction, utility, and housing sectors to implement best management practices to manage erosion and stabilize soils at construction sites, supplanting use of numeric nutrient limits for turbidity in stormwater. The rule clarifies the 2009 effluent guidelines limitations that required development of a stormwater-prevention plan, among other practices, to reduce erosion and amends 40 C.F.R. 450, which governs pollutant discharges from the construction and development industry.
Bring home the best of GBA conferences with content on demand — online and on DVD.
PROFESSIONAL SELLING: Putting in the you
In the ASFE/GBA "Hassle-Free Selling for Project Managers" Backyard Seminar, seminar leader John Bachner makes the point that a project manager's job is to make the client representative a hero in the client representative's organization. This usually can be accomplished through expectations management, by first setting realistic deliverable deadlines and realistic budgets for the services involved and — when a bona fide construction-cost estimator is on board — for construction; then delivering on time and on budget and, occasionally, delivering ahead of schedule and/or under budget.
Proposed FY2015 budget would slash water-infrastructure funding; scale back tax exemption on "tax-free munis"
National Association of Clean Water Agencies
The Obama Administration's FY2015 budget proposes cutting $431 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program and $150 million from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program. The proposed budget also calls for limiting to 28% the amount of tax liability wealthy individuals can claim on municipal-bond-interest income. According to National Association of Clean Water Agencies Executive Director Ken Kirk, "These proposed cuts come at exactly the wrong time. Clean water agencies are increasingly demonstrating their ability to spur local economic development and create jobs, efforts that the federal government should embrace as a full partner."
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."
There's money in them thar transit ills
U.S. Department of Transportation
Using 2010 data, a new U.S. Department of Transportation report — 2013 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges and Transit: Conditions and Performance — estimates that federal, state, and local government would need to spend up to $145.9 billion per year to maintain and improve U.S. roads and bridges, with another $24.5 billion being needed for annual transit-rail- and bus-systems improvements. The report also indicates that transit's state-of-good-repair and preventive-maintenance backlog is $86 billion, an all-time high that it is growing by $2.5 billion annually. If your firm has not yet entered this market, is it planning to? Should it?
The open office is dead. So is the closed office.
Critics have been heralding the demise of open-office design ever since the 2012 publication of Susan Cain's book Quiet. Their arguments have two major flaws, however. First, the negative reviews are almost always based on individuals' opinions about individual work, even though individual output is generally not as important as the output of teams and departments, an outlook supported by a study of computer-enabled collaboration. It showed that, while interactive work can at times be maddening, it produces more and better outputs than solitary work.
Lunch & Learn: This Meeting Will Come to Order
This Lunch & Learn seminar focuses on proven meeting-management techniques participants can apply to help any team they facilitate meet efficiently.
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
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 own claims, the leadership of Vanasse Hagen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), a Watertown, MA-based civil-engineering firm, set 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.
Are you aware of your firm's "Complete Streets" opportunity?
Smart Growth America via Brownfield Renewal
More than 80 communities adopted "Complete Streets" policies in 2013, bringing to 610 the number of jurisdiction that have done so. The policies encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel: by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, or transit.
Contract Reference Guide
A great tool for project managers and others! An updated, expanded version of GBA's acclaimed Contract Reference Guide, Third Edition, in CD ROM format. Cross-references listed after each provision are hot-linked. A search function makes this an ideal tool.
YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING: Lighten up, PETA
Rick Dyer describes himself as a Bigfoot "master tracker" and, to prove it, he has launched an across-the-country tour with an 8-foot-tall Bigfoot specimen in tow. Dyer says he used a 30-06 rifle to shoot and kill the beast near San Antonio, TX, after luring it to his tent with a set of Walmart ribs he rubbed with a secret ingredient. According to Major Larry Young, game warden with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, "We don't acknowledge that Bigfoot exists, but if you wanted to shoot and kill one in the state of Texas, you'd just need a hunting license. "Well, wouldn’t you know it: Major Young's remarks caused real pain to the good folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Companies using RICO to fight, deter fraudulent claims
The Wall Street Journal
The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) — GBA is a founding member — has long been advocating a more aggressive response by a business community plagued by frequently fraudulent lawsuits. With bar associations, state attorneys general, and the U.S. Department of Justice showing little stomach for policing the fraud perpetrated on our civil courts, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is emerging as a tool with which companies themselves can begin to punish and thus deter fraud, without waiting for enforcement authorities to act.
Webinar: Negligence and the Standard of Care
How good do you have to be to avoid being negligent? What do you figure? That you have to be in the top 10%? The top 20%? Actually, you can be in the bottom 10% or 20% and still practice without being found negligent. In fact, the very worst of the worst probably have the best chance of never being found negligent and — in fact — never even being sued. If you don't know why this is, consider attending GBA's one-hour "Negligence and the Standard of Care" webinar. John Bachner leads it. This on-demand webinar may qualify for one professional-development hour (PDH).
Boston vs. New York: The real "subway series"
As a geoprofessional, you have a pretty good idea of what it takes to design and build a subway system, an essential element of urban infrastructure that all too many city dwellers take for granted (in part because geoprofessionals let them). Here's a good book you might want to read and recommend to not just a few others: The Race Underground: Boston, New York, and the Incredible Rivalry that Built America's First Subway. In it, author Doug Most — a deputy managing editor at The Boston Globe — chronicles the political, technical, and societal challenges that engineers, contractors, and "sandhogs" had to overcome to bring the first Boston and New York trains on-line more than a century ago.
Give all your employees access to GBA's resources
Did you know that every single employee of your firm is considered a member of GBA? Why not encourage them to visit GBA's website and sign up for a password to unlock the full value of your firm's membership in GBA? Send them to http://www.asfe.org/index.cfm?pid=12065 to get started.
2013-2014 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kurt R. Fraese, L.G.
(GeoEngineers, Inc., Seattle, WA)
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)
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)
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063