This message contains images. If you don't see images, click here to view.
Advertise in this news brief.

Text Version    RSS    Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit February 04, 2015
Vol. 45 No. 20

Home   About Us   Members   Publications   Events   Programs & Services   Contact          


A Lot Going on with GBA? An Understatement!
In preparation for the just-completed GBA Winter Leadership Conference, GBA President-Elect Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G. (Schnabel Engineering, Inc.) issued a memorandum to GBA's leadership – committee and council chairs, vice chairs, and members — letting them know what's going on in various arenas. These arenas include the transition to self-management, development of more new GBA materials than at any other time in perhaps the last six or seven years, updating of the GBA website, and more, including the now-completed — and highly successful — committee-management-structure reorganization and the shift from technical committees to the Construction-Materials Engineering and Testing (CoMET) Business Council, Environmental Business Council, and Geotechnical Business Council. One of the other exciting new developments you will be seeing more of is, as Gordon explains, two new "types of monographs to replace our Practice Alert series. GBA Best Practices monographs focus on issues of lasting importance; GBA Business Briefing monographs will cover transitory issues, like survey results…. We will be reviewing all existing Practice Alerts to determine which we will convert to the new format (some with updating) and which we will discard."
   Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

PLI Basics Focus of New GBA Best Practices Monograph
Why do geoprofessionals need professional-liability insurance (PLI)? That's one of five fundamental issues addressed in a new GBA Best Practices monograph titled “Professional-Liability Insurance Basics," developed by GBA's Business Practices Committee. According to GBA Business Practices Committee Chair Matthew R. "Matt" Poirier, P.E. (Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.), "This new GBA Best Practices should be particularly helpful to younger practitioners who are being introduced to some of the business aspects of their professional activities. It can be a good refresher for some 'old hands,' too, especially when it comes to pointing out some important information that for whatever reason often goes overlooked, like BCAR." As explained in the new monograph, the "most important safety factor to consider [when selecting a PLI insurer] is not a company's size and strength today, when it accepts your premium payment, but rather the company’s forecasted financial strength when it may be required to pay out on your behalf… three, four, or more years from now, when today's mistake (real or otherwise) matures into a claim the PLI provider is required to defend. The only [A.M. Best Company] rating that reveals an insurer's creditworthiness is ‘Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio,' or 'BCAR,' which Best develops based on more than 100 tests."

The new monograph is available to GBA members only, and is free of charge.

Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Spring Conference Registration Now Open
Join us April 16-18, 2015 in beautiful Miami, FL as we explore ways to "Optimize Performance." Early-bird discount registration ends February 28. The deadline to reserve a hotel room at the group rate is March 20.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

  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.

Delay of Game
Miami Herald
Basketball Properties Limited, a sister company of the Miami Heat basketball team, has sued the architectural firm Arquitectonica to collect more than $17 million in damages it says the firm owes because of its negligent service during its design of the AmericanAirlines Arena. Basketball Properties Limited manages the Miami-Dade County-owned arena that opened on December 31, 1999. Basketball Properties Limited voiced its displeasure at the time, underscoring how long some disputes and claims can last. The bankruptcy of Reliance Insurance of Pennsylvania — Arquitectonica's professional-liability insurer, now in liquidation — has contributed to the claim's slow evolution. Since 2010, through a series of decisions, a court has ruled that Reliance owed $8.3 million to Basketball Properties; Basketball Properties is attempting to force Arquitectonica to pay the $5 million difference plus more than $3 million in legal fees. Were a Miami-Dade court to rule that Pennsylvania decisions against Reliance are not binding on Arquitectonica, Basketball Properties would likely seek to hold the architectural firm liable for the full $17 million plus, all of which underscores the need to rely on a professional-liability insurer with a solid long-term creditworthiness rating, a condition indicated by its Best's Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR) score.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

GBA Issues New Case History 101
It's been a while, but welcome the new GBA Case History 101. Sporting brand-new GBA graphics, the case describes how a GBA-Member Firm dealt with a serious error it committed while performing CoMET services for a new hospital building that was the key element of a high-profile, $600-million project. Importantly, the constructor-in-charge faced significant penalties if it failed to complete its work by the targeted date. The CoMET firm's errors were likely to cause a significant delay, resulting in major penalties, plus a serious cost overrun, all of which the GBA-Member CoMET firm feared it would have to pay for. The loss of an important client also was likely. The case history chronicles exactly what the CoMET firm did to undo its error without cutting any corners, to the delight of its client — the constructor in-charge — as well as the owner and its structural engineer. Perhaps even more important than the technical competence it displayed, the firm also demonstrated a great deal about the value of ongoing communications. In fact, when all was said and done, the CoMET firm emerged from the project with an enhanced reputation. According to the GBA-Member Firm representative in charge of the project, "Run toward your problems; meet them head on! That’s the best way to confront risk. If you fail to do that; if you stick your head in the sand, the problems will almost certainly spiral out of control."
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

2015 Employee Benefits Survey Now Open
GBA's Business Practices Committee is undertaking an update of Practice Alert #17 on employee benefits, so that GBA-Member Firms like yours can learn more about optimizing benefits to recruit and retain employees. Please help us by completing this questionnaire about your firm’s employee benefits. If you are not the best person to complete this questionnaire, please ask someone with more employee-benefits knowledge to do so. We plan to report findings in late spring 2015.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

  Past Conferences on Demand

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

Avoiding Allegations of Corruption: Not As Easy As You May Think
Avoiding allegations of corrupt practices is not as easy as one may think. So says GBA's Legal Affairs Committee in a just-issued GBA Best Practices monograph, "Avoiding Allegations of Corruption." As the new monograph points out, "It's not enough to maintain what you believe is your own and your firm's professional integrity. You need to know what the applicable laws are; you need to educate your staff about those laws; and you need to establish a professional culture that regards corrupt practices as a fatal virus that needs to be avoided at all costs, and investigated thoroughly at first suspicion, preferably with the assistance of legal counsel." The Committee reviews the Federal False Claims Act, enacted in 1863 to combat rampant fraud against the federal government and Union troops engaged in the Civil War. Also known as Lincoln's Law, the Act is still pursued vigorously today. As the GBA Best Practices monograph points out, "The Act’s breadth is far more substantial than many suppose; even corrupt actions committed in other countries can furnish a basis for recovery when they somehow lead to false claims to the federal government." The new monograph is available to GBA members only, and is free of charge.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Send Us Names of Safety and Other Key Contacts for Your Firm
GBA's Safety Committee wants to know who the top safety person is at your firm so the Committee can reach out about important safety issues. And while we’re at it, we'd also love to update our records about the rest of your firm's key contacts. Please send an e-mail to with the names and e-mail addresses of the following people for your firm: Safety Point of Contact, CEO, CFO, CIO, HR Director, and In-House Counsel. If there is more than one person in a role, that's okay. Thank you for helping us reach the right people to bring more value to your firm’s membership in GBA!
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Miss an issue of GBA NewsLog? Click here to visit the NewsLog archive page.

YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING: While You're Up, Print Me an Apartment Building
Last year, Shanghai, China's WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. claimed to have built ten 3D-printed homes using a recycled-concrete material as “ink.” Sure. Right. Well, actually, it did. And now, using a huge 3D printer (20 -feet tall, 33-feet wide, 132 feet long), WinSun has printed a six-story apartment building and a gorgeous stand-alone villa. This time the ink includes construction-waste concrete, fiberglass, and sand, plus a special hardening agent, resulting in material that is flexible, self-insulating, and resistant to strong earthquakes. WinSun fabricated the walls and other components offsite. Once they were pieced together on-site, WinSun placed beam columns and steel rebar within the walls, along with insulation, reserving space for pipe lines, windows, and doors. You've got to see it to believe it.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

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."
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article


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.

Looking for New Employees? Let GBA Help!
Find your next candidate with GBA's "Find Your Future" tool. Prospective candidates can submit their resumes online into our database. That database is searchable by anyone in a GBA-Member Firm. Just visit the site and login as a member to get started today!
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Hyperloop Becoming a Reality: Have Something To Contribute?
USA Today
Tesla and Space-X founder Elon Musk is also the founder of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the company that plans to create an intercity tube would connect passengers from one city to another at 600 MPH. Crazy idea? You be the judge: The company has just released a 76-page report explaining how it will do what it proposes to do. The system would use low air pressure and magnetic acceleration to move people from, say, Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes, supposedly at a cost of $30 or so. (Hyperloop would make its own electricity from solar sources.) Especially because the project would depend extensively on the skills of geoprofessionals, you might be interested in this note from the report: "[The] most important ingredient to achieving amazing results is getting people involved who are committed and passionate about working to achieve results. With people resources in place, the 'financing of the project' question becomes less daunting….If you can contribute something valuable, you can receive a part of the company’s success in return."
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Confronting Risk: Emerging Practice Areas and Legal Trends
New business opportunities are often accompanied by new risks. The best way to confront these risks is to proactively avoid them or minimize them. Lisa Dyson Gamblin, Esq. (Terra Insurance Company) explores some of the newer growth areas for geoprofessional firms, including international and Native-American-Indian Tribe commissions, and some of the problematic contractual trends that are starting to develop. She offers practical solutions on how to minimize risk and claims while striving to maximize success. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $99 for everyone else.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

New Nukes, Big Promise
The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Canada's Terrestrial Energy, Inc. (TEI) are partnering in the development of TEI's new integral molten-salt reactor (IMSR), a new type of nuclear power plant expected to come on-line about 2025. An IMSR will cost about the same to build as a coal-fired power plant, but its construction should be much faster than conventional nukes'; its comparatively small modular components can be trucked to a site. An IMSR uses liquid fuel that lasts seven years before replacement is required and it cannot be repurposed for military uses. It needs no external water for cooling, creates far less waste, and should have a lifespan of 30 years or more. It will still have to be safely sited, of course, and nuclear-plant siting is something geoprofessionals have been doing for decades, although not as much recently as in years past.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

Business Vision: October 2014-April 2015
How accurate were the business-conditions six-month predictions you and your geoprofessional peers made in March 2014? Business Practices Committee Vice Chair Matthew "Matt" Moler, P.E. (S&ME, Inc.) reported findings at the 2014 Fall Conference. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just a super low price of $0.99 for everyone else. (We want you to see what you're missing!)
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article

GRAPE PRESS: Lots of Mmmmm for the Buck
For several years, we've been touting the value one gets from Cameron Hughes wines. Hughes purchases overstock juice or completed wines from throughout California (mostly) and offers some absolutely huge values. Some of his 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons are extraordinary. They're somewhat pricey for Hughes — $29 — but they frequently go on sale, typically for 15%, 20%, and 25% off. If you buy one case, shipping is $10. Buy two cases (get together with a few friends) and shipping is free. Right now, we are drinking two huge 2012 reds from Cameron Hughes. One of these is a Lodi field blend (Lot No. 487) that is a massive wine, with tastes of chocolate, cherries, and blackberries. If you like a big wine, this is it. Unless you prefer an old-vine zinfandel (Lot No. 464) probably from the same producer. The wine has characteristics similar to the field blend's; big, bold, lusciously layered with cherries, chocolate, and who knows what additional goodies. Both of these are great for cold-weather sipping. And either one sells for $13, unless you buy during a sale with friends, and pay $9.50 or so, with $0 for shipping. There may be better values out there, but we don't know where.
Share this article:   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article


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

View media kit

Caitlin Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657   
Contribute news

Be sure to add us to your address book or safe-sender list so our e-mails get to your inbox. Learn how.

We sent this edition of NewsLog to ##Email##. To unsubscribe, click here. Did someone forward this edition to you? Subscribe here -- it's free!

Recent issues

Jan. 21, 2015
Jan. 7, 2015
Dec. 22, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014

7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063