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Text Version    RSS    Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit May 27, 2015
Vol. 46 No. 2

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FOPP: The Time To Reserve Is Now!
The 25th class of the Fundamentals of Professional Practice (FOPP) program is now open for enrollment. The course is absolutely unique, comprising six months of distance learning focused on business basics, conducting a meaningful (and usually valuable) research assignment, and learning how to write properly thanks to an instructor who formerly headed the English Composition Dept. at the University of Hard Knocks. Learn more about this time-tested (2,000 alumni!) program by reviewing the new FOPP website. Reserve spaces now. They may not be available later.
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Getting Paid: New GBA Publication Tells Geoprofessionals How
In an ideal world, your bills would all be paid within 30 days. Recognizing that we do not live in an ideal world, GBA has published Getting Paid, a new, 19-page guide comprising 21 chapters, each focused on a specific technique to achieve prompt payment while sidestepping some clients' efforts to avoid payment altogether, typically by filing a negligence claim. According to GBA President Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G. (Schnabel Engineering, Inc.), "For many years, efforts to collect a bill have been a principal trigger to negligence claims. For that reason, GBA has counseled consistently that it is better to write off a fee than it is to contest it with an unscrupulous client. A key preventive, discussed in the guide, is performing a thorough background check before accepting a new client….It's also why design and environmental professionals' contracts should include a dispute-resolution mechanism that makes litigation a last resort or not an alternative at all."
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FROM THE BENCH: Federal Liability for Katrina Flooding Could Have Massive Impact
Ten years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Susan Braden has decided St. Bernard Parish v. the United States, ruling that the federal government was partly responsible for the flooding, and — perhaps more important — that the flooding constituted a "temporary taking of property." She ordered the government to pay damages. The ruling — if it stands — could be a game-changing budget buster for Uncle Sam, given that the federal government could wind up having to spend trillions of dollars in damages caused by future "property takings" resulting from rising sea levels, extreme storms, other climate-change effects, and the inability of our aging infrastructure to respond effectively. With that kind of threat, Congress may be far more open to the concept of "pay me now or pay me later." In concluding her 74-page opinion, Judge Braden wrote that "it is the considered view of the undersigned judge that further litigation in this matter is not in the interest of the Army Corps and will not serve the interests of justice." We shall see.
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Last Chance: See How Your Firm's Finances Compare to Other Member Firms'
Each year, the Business Practices Committee conducts its Financial Performance Survey and issues a report that conveys results (click here for last year's). The new survey is ready for your firm's participation — hurry before the survey closes at the end of this week! Send the name of your top finance person to Operations Director Sarah P. Lanning, PMP at, or ask the person to go directly to the survey at We even have a free, members-only webinar if you want to learn how to calculate the numbers involved!
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I know I can't. I know I cant.
The Associated Press via Tulsa World
On the average weekday, 2,000 trains carry 750,000 riders along the Northeast Corridor that links Washington and Boston. That's a 50% ridership increase since 1998, thanks to the introduction of high-speed trains like the Acela. But half the route's 1,000 bridges are about a century old and, at current funding levels, it would take 300 years to replace them all, including the ten "historic moveable bridges." One of the latter — the 105-year-old Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River — got stuck in "open" for 45 minutes in February. The first of the two new bridges that will replace the old one will cost just under $1 billion. In Connecticut, officials plan to replace a vintage-1896 swinging bridge over the Norwalk River. The bridge jammed twice at rush hour. The computer that operates the bridge dates to the 1980s.
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  Past Conferences on Demand

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

John's Top 10 GBA Resources
It's overwhelming, isn't it? Trying to figure out which of GBA's resources you need for your firm? John Bachner put together a list of his favorites to help you get started. Whether it's training for your staff, help managing your clients, or dealing with a potential lawsuit, John points the way toward the GBA resources you need most.
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Going up Going down
Got a client with a spent mine to sell? How about turning it into a subsurface-business center, something that firms in Missouri, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania have been doing since the 1960s? One of the best known of these is Kansas City's SubTropolis, once an active limestone quarry and now home to 52 underground businesses that employ 1,600 people. SubTropolis General Manager Dick Ringer noted that six-million square feet of the space is ready, "and we have room to build out another eight-million square feet based on demand." Vanguard Packaging, which makes store-display units, occupies 500,000 square feet in SubTropolis to manufacture and assemble its products. "In the dead of winter and summer, we're saving $35,000 a month on our energy bills by being here," said CEO Mark Mathis.
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One-Third of U.S. Seaports Need $100 Million Each for Infrastructure
American Association of Port Authorities
"Challenges facing American seaports continue to threaten the long-term ability of these critical national gateways to efficiently move cargo, create jobs, and strengthen the U.S. economy." So said American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) President and CEO Kurt Nagle, in announcing AAPA's publication of 2015 The State of Freight report. The report cites U.S. port authorities' estimates of infrastructure investments needed to keep freight moving efficiently. "At issue is the condition of land-side connections that serve as vital links between seaports and other segments of the nation’s freight-transportation network," Nagle said. "These 'first and last mile' connectors, along with other intermodal projects, are the very definition of critical transportation infrastructure." Many of these connectors are antiquated, in disrepair, and creating congestion issues that need to be addressed immediately. Connections at nearly one-third of U.S. ports each need at least $100 million in upgrades to handle projected 2025 freight volumes. U.S. seaport activity generated more than 23 million jobs and $321 billion in tax revenue in 2014 and seaport managers need geoprofessional help. Do they know you can provide it?
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Date Event Location
October 8-10, 2015 GBA Fall Conference St. Regis Monarch Beach
Dana Point, California
January 29-31, 2016 GBA Winter Leadership Conference Hyatt Dulles Hotel
Herndon, Virginia

  For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.

Get out of Your Box: Success with Multiple-Service-Line Projects
A three-person panel comprising Anthony F. "Tony" Adamo, P.E. (Drash Consulting), James M. Harless, Ph.D., CHMM (SME), and Randal G. "Randy" Martin, P.E. (S&ME, Inc.) discusses successful techniques for cross-selling environmental, geotechnical, and CoMET services and coordinating service delivery across these multiple service lines for clients’ projects. Brief presentations and case studies provide examples, followed by an open discussion and Q&A. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $149 for everyone else!
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Contact Us: We're Not Credible
Content Marketing Institute
More than half of the B2B vendor websites (your firm's would be one of those) lack a simple feature that's regarded as a "must have" or "very important" by 90% of buyers who need it to move forward with an inquiry. What's the feature? According to a survey, it's thorough contact information. Why? Because establishing credibility and trust are essential in today’s Era of Scam. As such, when clicking "Contact Us" results in the display of an e-mail form, with no names or physical addresses indicated, 44% of visitors just leave. Essential to the formation of trust: Indicate your firm’s physical address(es), the names (and maybe photos and biographical information) of the people behind the company, and information on how one reaches a human should problems occur. You don’t have to confine contact information to a "Contact Us" page. You can add a phone number and/or e-mail link to the header of each page. And if you do have a "Contact Us" page, add it to the main navigation vs. burying a link to it in a footer, where it's difficult to access for those using mobile devices. And that’s just the first step to incorporating credibility into your online presence.
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The Dark Side of Innovation
Have you ever wondered what your life looks like when viewed through the eyes of others? Ever considered what your project partners say about you when you're not in the room? Kord J. Wissmann, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE used to live on our side of the street, working as a geotechnical consultant and providing engineering excellence for a fair fee. Then, 16 years ago, Kord moved to the other side of the street: geotechnical contracting, known to many as "the dark side." Kord gives us his thoughts about the forces driving geoinnovation. He shows us how our business models stand in the way and discusses what we can do to pave the way for innovation. This short session provides a different perspective and practical suggestions to help us stand apart. The presentation is free to members with the discount code and just $49 for everyone else!
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Construction-Worker Safety: It's a Big Deal
American Society of Safety Engineers
A new report — Overlapping Vulnerabilities: The Occupational Safety and Health of Young Immigrant Workers in Small Construction Firms — states that young Hispanics (under 25 years old) who work for small construction companies (fewer than 20 employees) face more occupational safety and health challenges than almost any other U.S. employee segment or industry. Many of these workers are unfamiliar with the risks they face on the job, unaware of standard safety procedures, receive little or no job training, and do not speak or comprehend English. Compounding the problem, many of the small firms they work for — which comprise 90% of all construction firms — have no occupational safety and health infrastructure. Beware: When these workers are injured, workers' comp rules prevent them from suing their employer, but they may sue any other party that allegedly owed them a duty of care that it allegedly breached. Geoprofessionals — those that provide CoMET services, in particular — often are the targets of such suits. Be sure to include such issues on your go/no-go checklist.
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RoboRep: Sci-Fi Hardhat Is Not Sci-Fi
Digital Trends
Daqri has introduced its "Smart Helmet," and you should check it out for purposes of efficiency and productivity, safety, and brand enhancement (few innovations will give you as much wow as this one). The wearable device allows users to observe the world around them. Each helmet comes with 360-degree navigation cameras, a high-resolution depth sensor, and an inertial measurement tool. The device displays a real-time graphical model over whatever you're looking at on the dual-screen HD display, which is protected by a clear visor. The hardhat also supports HD photography and video recording, 3D mapping, and alphanumeric capture. That's all combined with the Intellitrack software, which can be taught to recognize specific tools, equipment, or products.
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Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G.
(Schnabel Engineering, Inc. / Glen Allen, VA)

Joel G. Carson
(Kleinfelder / Omaha, NE)

Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(Terracon / Nashville, TN)

Charles L. Head, P.E., P.G.
(Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc. / Concord, NH)

Kenneth R. Johnston
(GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. / Norwood, MA)

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

Alex Sy, Ph.D., P. Eng.
(Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. / Vancouver, BC)

Woodward L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F.ACI, F.ASCE, F.ASTM
(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 /

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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Cait Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657   
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