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Text Version    RSS    Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit April 30, 2014
Vol. 44 No. 20

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"555 Survey" report: Who said what?
At the recently concluded 2014 Spring (Annual) Conference in Hawaii, Stewart G. Osgood, P.E. (DOWL HKM) analyzed responses to ASFE/GBA's comprehensive membership survey, undertaken last year to help the Board of Directors better understand attitudes and perceptions toward the new organizational name (Geoprofessional Business Association or GBA; no more ASFE), GBA's image, the value of membership and the drivers of association membership, and what GBA can do to better meet membership goals. We sent the questionnaire to 4,839 individuals; 555 responded: 503 current members, 25 former members, and 27 prospective members.

With respect to the name change, 57% regard it as positive; more than 80% think it is representative of what we do, is inclusive, and appropriate; 70% think it is better than ASFE and that it is understandable to those outside the profession. In the future, respondents said, GBA should focus on business growth, professional growth, education, and networking and sharing.
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"Everything you've ever wanted begins one step beyond your comfort zone"
"Everything you've ever wanted begins one step beyond your comfort zone." That's just one of the provocative messages that Eric Kaufmann delivered to members attending the 2014 Spring (Annual) Conference during his remarkable presentation, "Leadership as a Hero's Journey." But that was just one of a variety of remarkable presentations.
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BUSINESS 101: New-firm prenup
Texas CEO Magazine
Tom, Dick, and Harry were 40-year-old, newly minted principals of Midsize Consulting, when their visions of near-term leadership hit the harsh reality of Megamega Consulting, the firm that bought Midsize last year. Disgruntled, the three decided to start their own firm: ToDiHa Consulting. They were excited, enthusiastic, and mutually reliant. Four years later, the harmony of the first few years had eroded, replaced by mistrust and discord. The firm imploded and, just as in marriages, the three former friends divorced…messily. What did they do wrong and when did they do it? It happened when they decided to get hitched and failed to prepare and sign a prenuptial agreement. (In marriage, many folks regard prenups as romance killers; waaay too businesslike. But in business?) What should such a prenup cover? Among other things:
  •    transferability and right of first refusal;
  •    transfer on death, divorce, or bankruptcy;
  •    board seats;
  •    preemptive rights;
  •    buy/sell provisions;
  •    purchase on termination; and
  •    proprietary information/noncompetes.
    Even if your firm is not a start-up, "better late than never" applies: Principals still could benefit from having such an agreement…assuming they're still speaking with one another.

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    Thank you, Stewart!
    Stewart G. Osgood, P.E. (DOWL HKM) has stepped down from the GBA Board of Directors after one year of service. He was re-elected to the Board for 2014-15, but soon thereafter he was also elected to the Terra Insurance Company board. In his farewell letter, Stewart wrote, "Some of you have asked what the attraction to the Terra BOD is over the GBA BOD. For me it is simply a matter of me committing to a process with Terra prior to being asked to join the GBA BOD. I made a commitment (that if I was selected for Terra I would step down from GBA) and I intended to honor it… It is not a matter of one being better than another or more desirable; it is all about living up to a commitment. Long story short, I am still here to serve, I am excited about our future, and I am thankful for you all and what you do for this organization."
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      Past conferences on demand

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

    18 earn GBA Certificates of Appreciation
    Outgoing GBA President Kurt R. Fraese, L.G. (GeoEngineers, Inc.) awarded 18 GBA Certificates of Appreciation to members for their outstanding service to their fellow GBA members — that would be you! Read more about their accomplishments.
  •    Daniel R. "Dan" Cassidy, CPG (Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc.);
  •    Chuck A. Gregory, P.E. (Terracon);
  •    Julie A. Griffin, P.E. (Kleinfelder);
  •    Charles L. "Charlie" Head, P.E., P.G. (Sanborn Head & Associates);
  •    Kevin B. Hoppe, P.E. (NTH Consultants, Ltd.);
  •    Lee R. James, CPA, CMC, CBI;
  •    Richard E. "Rich" Johnson, P.G., C.E.G.) (BSK Associates);
  •    Randy A. Knott, P.E. (AMEC Environment & Infrastructure);
  •    James W. “Jay” Martin, P.E. (AMEC Environment & Infrastructure);
  •    Matthew "Matt" Moler, P.E. (S&ME);
  •    Kimberly Finke "Kim" Morrison, P.E., R.G. (Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc.);
  •    Randal A. Neuhaus, P.E. (S&ME);
  •    Victor "Vic" Omelchenko, P.E. (URS);
  •    Matthew R. "Matt" Poirier, P.E. (Sanborn Head & Associates);
  •    Jaye Richardson (AMEC Environment & Infrastructure);
  •    Gerald J. "Gerry" Salontai, P.E.;
  •    Alex Sy, Ph.D., P. Eng. (Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd.); and
  •    Robert W. "Bob" Thompson, P.E., D.GE (CTL|Thompson).

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    John Bachner's top 10 list
    Recently we asked John Bachner to list his Top 10 favorite resources that ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) has ever offered its members. See which ones he picked and order them today!
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    THE HR DEPARTMENT: Criminal-background checks
    Small Business Trends
    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has now come out against criminal-background checks, even though the EEOC itself uses them in its own hiring processes. Its reason? Racial minorities are convicted of crimes far more often than others; e.g., persons of African descent comprise 13% of the U.S. population but 40% of the incarcerated population. As such, by refusing to hire anyone with a criminal background, an employer could be found guilty of discrimination in hiring. Not everyone sees it that way, to be sure, witness how a judge ruled in the case that the EEOC brought against the Freeman Companies, and lost. (The judge's ruling makes interesting reading.) Note, however, that losses seldom deter government agencies from pushing their own agendas, which is why you might want to take some best practices to heart.
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    Make full use of your firm's benefits
    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 to get started.
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    PennDOT to let one P3 contract to replace 500 bridges
    The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has asked four teams to submit proposals to replace at least 500 Pennsylvania bridges as part of the department's Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, a public-private partnership (P3) initiative. Under one contract, the winning team will manage the bridges' design, construction, and maintenance for a yet-to-be-determined number of years.
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    Date Event Location
    June 28 "Write Right" BackYard Seminar led by John Bachner Geotechnology, Inc.
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Oct. 23-35 GBA Fall Conference The Westin San Francisco Market Street;
    San Francisco, California
    April 16-18, 2015 GBA Spring (Annual) Conference - J. W. Marriott Marquis Miami, Florida

      For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.

    Does your firm "do" CoMET for pipelines?
    Oil & Gas Journal
    Does your geoprofessional firm perform construction-materials engineering and testing (CoMET) services for pipelines? If not, maybe it's something you should consider, given that a federal grand jury on April 1 indicted Pacific Gas & Electric on 12 counts stemming from the September 2010 gas-pipeline explosion that killed 8 people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno, CA. National Transportation Safety Board investigators traced the explosion's likely cause to the rupture of a 30-inch-diameter pipe that was compromised by a seam-weld defect visible at the time of installation.
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    If it's a big deal, treat it like a big deal
    The Seattle Times
    The March 22 landslide near Oso, Washington, was a horribly grisly, destructive, and tragic event. Was it an unpreventable tragedy best characterized as an act of God, or was it a preventable occurrence that went unprevented because people in a position to act up didn't? As to preventability, or at least recognition of the danger, University of Washington geomorphologist David Montgomery said that the slide was a reactivation of several past events (in 1967, 1988, and 2006) and that the slope — composed of "very weak glacial sediments" — is likely to fail again.
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    Training when you want it
    We don't always have a live webinar just around the corner, but that doesn't mean you have to wait for your next dose of GBA-provided PDHs! All of our previous webinars are available on-demand, which means you can earn PDHs anytime it's convenient for you. Why not try one today?
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    Nominate a peer for ASFE-GBA/ASCE Ethics and Leadership Award
    Honor an engineer-leader for a specific accomplishment or for lifetime achievements that demonstrate superior ethics and leadership in professional practice or service to the public. Just two past recipients include Barry Thacker, P.E., who has almost single-handedly rescued the Coal Creek (Tennessee) Watershed, and Jim Suttle, P.E., past mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. Nominate a colleague by June 2 for the 2014 ASFE/GBA-ASCE Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award. The winner will receive a certificate and an honorarium. Send any questions about the award or your completed nomination package to
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    YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING: This coffee tastes like...
    South China Morning Post
    Bird’s-nest soup. Turtle jelly. Wasp crackers. Fried tarantula. Tuna eyes. Let’s face it: Asians eat some things that not just a few occidentals regard as odd. They drink some unusual things, too, and not just soup. How about a cup of black ivory, the world’s most expensive coffee, made from beans that cost as much as US$700/lb.? Why the high price? Good question: After all, the beans aren't that special; just Thai Arabica. At least that's what they start out as. Then comes the special part, beginning at an elephant orphanage in Thailand. There, the orphaned pachyderms are fed the beans for processing. Next, after "natural fermentation" is complete, workers collect the processed beans from the elephants' feces. From Thailand, the beans are shipped to Macau where they're hand-ground tableside and brewed into black ivory for $60 per cup. So what does it taste like? Diners in Macau have said, "Why this coffee tastes like… hmmm, cherry and tobacco." Watch out, Starbucks.
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    Transmission lines: Are you involved? Projects worth $164 billion being planned, built
    Utility Products
    PennWell's Transmission Hub is tracking more than $164 billion in planned and under-construction transmission-line projects. High-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) projects represent $48.9 billion of the $164 billion; underground- and underwater-cable projects comprise $25.6 billion. Utilities invested $12.5 billion in 2013 and as much as $14.9 billion will be completed in 2014. Forecasters predict $29 billion for 2015 ($10.9 billion worth of projects are under construction) and $19.1 billion for 2016 ($2.4 billion of that is under construction).
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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)

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

    Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
    (TTL, Inc. / 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
    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 ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association

    View media kit

    Caitlin Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657   
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