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Text Version    RSS    Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit January 21, 2015
Vol. 45 No. 19

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Matheson, Carson, Reinbold Head 2015-16 BoD Slate
GBA's Nominating Committee has announced its slate of officers and directors for the May 1, 2015-April 30, 2016 fiscal year. GBA President-Elect Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G. (Schnabel Engineering) will become president. Those nominated for the other two officer positions are Joel G. Carson (Kleinfelder), for president-elect, and Laura R. Reinbold, P.E. (Reinbold & Associates) for Secretary-Treasurer. Those nominated to serve as directors-at-large are: Chuck A. Gregory, P.E. (Terracon); Charles L. "Charlie" Head, P.E., P.G. (Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.); Kimberly Finke "Kim" Morrison, P.E., R.G. (Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc.); Alex Sy, Ph.D., P.Eng. (Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.); and Woodward L. "Woody" Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F.ACI, F.ASCE (Paradigm Consultants, Inc.). GBA has sent a mail ballot to the HQ office of each GBA-Member Firm. Members have until March 6 to respond.
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GBA Launches New GBA Best Practices Series of Monographs. Topic No. 1: E-Mail Disclaimers
The long disclaimers that lurk at the bottom of so many business e-mails are counter-productive, especially in light of simple alternatives readily available. So says GBA's Legal Affairs Committee in GBA's new e-Mail Disclaimers: A Better Way, the first of a newly launched series of GBA Best Practices monographs. "Putting disclaimers into an e-mail seems wise enough," the new monograph states. "People send more than 55 billion e-mails a day (not including spam) and some are bound to be sent or forwarded to someone unintended…. While risk confrontation needs to be an active, vibrant element of any geoprofessional firm’s business operations, it generally should be a somewhat subtle element, lest what's done gives people the impression that a firm is permanently 'lawyered up' and is unwilling to accept responsibility for anything."

The new monograph identifies a new approach to such disclaimers, and provides sample wording members can apply to make it happen. e-Mail Disclaimers: A Better Way is available only to GBA members, at no charge.

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GBA To Optimize Performance in Miami, April 16-18, 2015
"Optimizing Performance for Our Firms and Our Clients: Innovation in Practice" is the theme of the upcoming Spring Conference of the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), April 16-18, at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami, FL. Topics include, among others:
  • Innovation: A Process for Any Company
  • Full-Service Geoprofessional, Maximizing Revenue
  • Trapped under the Sea
  • Sinkholes at the National Corvette Museum
  • Freeing Every Generation To Innovate
  • Nuclear Compliance: Lessons Learned, Action Taken
  • Giving Back: An Investment in Our Profession
The conference will also afford a variety of networking opportunities.

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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.

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 construction-materials engineering and testing (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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New Limitation-of-Liability Case Index
GBA has published a new edition of Limitation-of-Liability Case Index, an important legal reference conveying in lay terms the results of 75 cases where the legality of limitation-of-liability provisions has been challenged in the courts, usually without success. The Index was prepared for GBA's Legal Affairs Committee by Committee Vice Chair Terence J. "Terry" Scanlan, Esq., a principal of the Seattle (WA) law firm Skellenger Bender, P.S. Although the limitation-of-liability (LOL) concept is 400-years old, it was GBA that innovated its application to the design, environmental, and CoMET professions in 1969. By applying the concept, now upheld in most states, a client agrees to limit a design professional's liability to a given amount, most commonly $50,000 or the fee, whichever is higher. Without using "legalese," the Index describes each of the 75 listed cases in terms of its background and the points or holdings involved, and – to support additional research — identifies the case by name, jurisdiction, and citation. The cases span the period 1956 to 2014.
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GBA Takes Cover of Civil + Structural Engineer
The cover of the January 2015 issue of Civil + Structural Engineer features a photo of suburban Maryland's Intercounty Connector, along with the title of the article related to it: "UNCOVERING HIDDEN ISSUES: Geotechnical engineering helps minimize project risk." The article itself — developed by GBA's Geotechnical Business Council — is a pilot project underwritten by GBA in hopes of encouraging GBA-Member Firms to develop similar pieces on their own, for other trade magazines. In essence, the approach is to develop a project-related article that is bylined by a client representative, for publication in a trade publication that caters to the client representative's industry. This makes the client representative and the client happy, of course, because they get good press. And because such articles typically address how effectively a given firm performed on the project, the firm's project manager and C-level personnel are delighted, in part because a third party can say things about a firm that would be unseemly for firm representatives to say about the firm. And the editor is happy, too, because the magazine gets to publish an article that is of genuine interest to its readers. Interested in learning more about how you can help the geoprofessions by helping yourself? Communicate with GBA Executive Vice President John Bachner ( / 301/565-2733, Ext. 223).
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  Past Conferences on Demand

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

"Intelligent Mining" Down Under
Bentley Systems representative Dave Body reports that the Australian mining industry, hard-pressed by falling prices, is focused on building-information modeling (BIM) to increase efficiency while lowering costs. Although BIM is more conventionally associated with the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure, it can be particularly effective when used to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the operations and maintenance (O&M) phase of mines. "A mining operation is essentially one big, continuous construction project which can run for 50 to 100 years," Body observed. "It all needs to be maintained throughout the course of that life cycle, and that’s where BIM can be of immense benefit." As it so happens, it's not called "BIM" Down Under, but "a rose by any other name…." Would your mining clients be impressed by your BIM proposals? Do you know what you need to know to propose? What other clients could you help with BIM?
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New Software Tool Designed To Maximize Water Use in LA
Arid Lands Institute
"Divining LA" is a new software-mapping tool being developed by the Arid Lands Institute (ALI) to help urban planners, engineers, and architects maximize use of the Los Angeles area’s water profile. The tool combines information sourced from digital terrain models, geotechnical-data sets, multi-spectral satellite imagery, and historical surveys. ALI began work on Divining LA in early 2013. Already, it can model a 460-square-mile down to a resolution of 300 square feet. According to Peter Arnold, ALI co-founder and research director, the tool is able to model the impacts of changes large and small; e.g., how a proposed structure would alter the hydrological landscape. The tool will also have the ability to update its model to show the effects of proposed construction.
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Legendary Leadership in Changing Times
Constant challenges are a fact of life in today's business world, making effective leaders more important than ever. Some groups are weakened by challenges. Others welcome the challenges and use them as a time to learn, grow, and contribute more. Nate Booth DDS, MS addresses the essential beliefs and skills outstanding leaders use to create environments where challenges bring out the very best in their people. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $199 for everyone else.
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BUSINESS 101: Annual Goals out; Quarterly in
Fast Company
Most businesses develop strategic plans one year at a time. Consider doing it a quarter at a time instead. Things change a lot in one year. Some of the goals leaders set before January might be irrelevant as December nears. Besides, with one year to get something done, an "I-can-put-this-off-until-next-week" mentality can set in. Also, because 90-day goals are less daunting, they are more achievable. Achievement begets achievement, meaning that four quarterly goals may bring better results than one annual goal. And if you discover something that makes your quarterly goal more difficult to attain than you originally thought, you can reset quickly, making the next quarter better.
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Call for Abstracts: Fall Conference in Southern California
Have a creative idea for a presentation at the Geoprofessional Business Association (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.

Confronting International Business Risks
Connected to the here and now via the Internet, the world’s have-nots see what others have and want some of it themselves: The growing demand for preservation of natural resources, development of effective infrastructure, and creation of renewable energy sources is creating unique opportunities for geoprofessionals in diverse emerging and frontier markets. With opportunity comes risk, of course, and Donald J. Anderson, Jr., P.E. discusses how to confront those associated with international business, sharing his experience as an engineer and risk consultant. His presentation addresses recent case studies from Ukraine, West Africa, and Asia, to help you take advantage of the opportunities and avoid the pitfalls of working outside the U.S. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $99 for everyone else.
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A Streetcar Named "Maybe Not"
The extraordinary success of the Portland, OR streetcar project — happy riders, urban revitalization — was largely responsible for the Obama administration's decision to encourage other cities to follow suit, providing $500 million for assistance. But Portland’s claims are coming under scrutiny. In fact, a recent audit of the city’s streetcar system indicated that Portland overestimated ridership by 19% percent and falsely claimed a perfect on-time record; the streetcar was on time only 82% of the time. It seems the thinking now is that streetcars are as much about style of living as they are about transportation. That outlook helps critics make the point that, insofar as transportation is concerned, buses are just as good if not better, and far less costly. If your firm is involved with streetcar projects, or is thinking about it, you may want to take a close look at what’s happening nationwide.
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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   
Contact the Geoprofessional Business Association

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Caitlin Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657   
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