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New ASFE/GBA Practice Alert on cell-phone safety
"'Distracted driving' occurs whenever a vehicle's driver is doing something in addition to driving, making it impossible for the driver to devote full time and attention to ‘the road.’… Any form of distracted driving can cause or contribute to an accident and create a liability exposure for your firm when the vehicle is company-provided or when a company employee is driving the vehicle (no matter who owns or provides it) on company business (which is likely to mean far more than you think it means)…. Geoprofessional firms need to realize that cell-phone use while driving creates a special risk, because it causes or contributes to so many distracted-driving accidents, and because so many triers of fact — judges and juries — seem eager to consider the mistakes of employees the responsibility of the employers whenever a cell phone is involved." That's from the opening of the new ASFE/GBA Practice Alert 57: Establishing a Cell-Phone Safety Policy for Your Firm. An updated version of ASFE/GBA Practice Alert 45, the newest Practice Alert was developed by the ASFE/GBA Business Practices Committee, with most of the heavy lifting being provided by Matthew "Mat" Moler, P.E. (S&ME, Inc.). The document explains the safety and liability risks involved with cell-phone use (even when not driving), cites an array of sobering legal decisions, provides guidance on policy development and the need to enforce policies, and provides important references and links. Get your free, members-only copy now.
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BUSINESS 101: 10 great Siri tricks to boost your productivity
American Express OPEN Forum/ Leander Kahney
There are literally thousands of commands you can issue to Siri, the "intelligent" voice-activated assistant built into Apple's iOS. I say "intelligent" in quotes because, for many people, Siri is anything but. Siri can be, in fact, completely useless. The first couple of times Siri stumbles on a command, or simply times out, you cuss it out and never launch it again. At least, that was my experience. That's until I wondered whether the problem was actually me, and not Siri.
Call for Abstracts: Spring Conference in Hawaii
Have a creative idea for a presentation at the ASFE/The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) Spring Conference in Hawaii, April 10-12, 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 Program Committee. The theme of the conference is "Optimizing Performance."
Register today for the GBA Fall Conference! Join us in Boston - in-person or on-line - for two days of outstanding education, networking, and experience-sharing, October 10-12, 2013.
"Print" a 2,000 square-foot house in less than 20 hours?
Within a couple of years, researchers at the University of Southern California believe 3D printing techniques will be used to construct entire buildings in less than a day.
As outrageous as it sounds, such machines can already extrude concrete walls with internal reinforcement fast enough to complete the shell of a 2,000-square foot house in under 20 hours.
The technology was demonstrated this week at the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in San Jose, Calif. The robotic extruding method, called "contour crafting," is comparable to its smaller 3D desktop printer counterparts in that it takes its orders from CAD software, which stores and executes the architectural designs. The designs can be customized on a construction site even as work is underway.
Eat my carbon
The paste-like crude extracted from oil sands is softened by heat and steam to make it flow though pipelines. Burning natural gas to process the fuel creates carbon dioxide. President Obama has said he won't issue the permit TransCanada Corp. needs to build the $5.3 billion pipeline to link Alberta with refineries on the Gulf of Mexico if it would significantly worsen global warming. In a July 28 interview with The New York Times, Obama said that Canada "could potentially be doing more to mitigate carbon release."
Webinar: Understanding Professional Liability Insurance
What does Professional Liability Insurance cover and what does it not cover? This is something you need to know for your own sake and so you can explain it to client representatives.
• What's the most important factor used to rate a PL company? (Most folks don’t know, but they should).
• What's the difference between occurrence-based coverage and claims-made coverage?
• What does "contractual liability" mean?
• How does it affect indemnities?
• What about prior acts?
These issues will be explained by John Bachner. This on-demand webinar may qualify for one Professional Development Hour (PDH).
Download the ASFE-TGBA app for full conference details
Download the ASFE/GBA app now, for your iPhone or Android smart phone or tablet, especially if you're attending the upcoming October 10-12 Fall Conference in Boston. The app gives you access you all the hand-outs (they're all virtual now), speaker bios, and all else conferencewise, updated to the last possible moment. And there's so much more to find via the app, including the latest NewsLog and access to all our publications. Put ASFE/GBA in the palm of your hand.
The Huffington Post
Post-recession sales have gotten a bit tougher; that's not news. However, the majority of many companies' struggles are not brought on by the weak economy: They’re self-inflicted and — good news! – totally fixable. It's simply a matter of determining exactly what you need to make your business more profitable and designing a map that leads to that success step-by-step.
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
Sign up today for the Fall Conference Webcast
Get real PDHs (depending on where you're licensed) by virtually attending the educational sessions of the October 11-12 ASFE/GBA Fall Conference in Boston. There's no limit to the number of persons who can attend per computer connection. Learn and earn. Free for firms with at least one in-person attendee, and a paid registration — in-person or live webcast — earns free access to the on-demand sessions when they become available about three weeks after the conference. Get the details!
Better infrastructure creates more, better jobs, Biden says
Addressing a crowd of about 300 on a wind-swept dock in Charleston, South Carolina, Vice President Joe Biden on September 16 implored Americans to find the resources to invest in its infrastructure, warning the U.S. will fall behind its competitors unless it spends now. Saying the United States is behind the rest of the world, Biden cast infrastructure projects as key to a broader strategy of growing the middle class, calling such projects a big win not just for local communities, but the entire nation. "Every time we invest in infrastructure as Democrats or as Republicans — every time we have done it — the economy grows and it grows good, decent-paying jobs," Biden said.
The 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.
133 pipeline projects underway in eastern Ohio
Columbus Business First
Oil and natural-gas production in the Utica shale play could get into full swing next year as multiple pipelines and processing plants are brought online to ease logjams at wellheads, says a Columbus attorney who tracks Ohio's shale gas industry. "What I get from industry and pipeline people," said Chip Collier of Benesch Attorneys at Law, "is they’ll work through [the rest of this year] to get the infrastructure in place. Then in 2014 wells will go into full production." Collier spoke after release of Benesch’s quarterly shale industry report. Among its findings: 133 pipeline projects are said to be planned or in progress in Ohio and companies such as Pennant Midstream, MarkWest Utica EMG. and Crosstex Energy are building or planning investments in processing facilities.
Participate in the online conference chat
Chat online at the ASFE/GBA Fall Conference in Boston! In-person and virtual attendees alike can chat during the meeting in a form of virtual networking, simply by going to http://todaysmeet.com/gbafall13 and entering your name.
Ride-sharing for the 2013 Fall Conference in Boston
Want to share a ride to this event? Sign up on the ride board.
Opt-in to the news you care about
GBA offers opt-in, focused message lists. Receive subject-specific, targeted information from our Construction Materials Engineering and Testing, Education, Environmental and/or Geotechnical Committees.
We get letters, thank goodness! Like this one: "I have a question about the use of 'observation' versus 'observations.' To me it makes sense to be singular when used as an adjective, as in 'observation protocol,' but it reads better (for me, anyway) to be plural when we're talking about 'geotechnical observations.' Maybe it's more of a personal preference."
Bridge agencies need better oversight, says GAO report
Toll-bridge agencies that span state boundaries — such as the Delaware River Port Authority — operate with little federal oversight and little accountability to their toll-payers, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (AGO) said in a report released September 13. "The authorities could benefit from greater transparency in public involvement and clearer lines of external oversight," the GAO report said. It went on to note that bridge tolls be "just and reasonable" has little teeth because no federal agency has authority to enforce it. Congress repealed the authority in 1987, although the requirement remains. And the public gets only limited opportunities to address toll increases before they are enacted, because bistate agencies are not subject to state or federal laws on public participation, the report said.
Download Fall Conference presentations
Presentations for the 2013 ASFE/GBA Fall Conference in Boston, Oct. 10-12, are now available online for download as PDF files. Get all the ASFE/GBA 2013 Fall Conference presentations now!
Douglas A. Downs, P.E.
Downs & Associates, Inc.
123 Woadamanda Way
Whatkindafool, MI 20910
Acknowledging your letter, herewith, I would like to express my thanks and heartfelt gratitude for your comments. Enclosed please find the photo you requested. I know that time is of the essence, but due to the fact that I have a hectic schedule — to be honest, I was on the road encouraging geoprofessionals to have zero tolerance for clichés — I was unable to respond earlier. But you're just the man I wanted to hear from! (A blast from the past.) Your invitation to respond was too good to refuse.
You ask if, by and large, the use of clichés has a negative impact on geoprofessionals' image. You can't keep that kind of thinking under your hat; it’s here and now; the big question. By the same token, it's the kind of negative attribute that would be categorically denied by those who can't tell the forest for the trees. Let's go cold turkey and talk heart-to-heart.
Chinese buying big in U.S.
Chinese businesses — many of them government-owned — are making headlines for acquiring energy and resource companies in Canada, Africa, and Latin America. Not so in the United States, where the government has repeatedly rebuffed Chinese bids to buy American firms that control natural resources or advanced technology. Still, Chinese investment in the U.S. is at an all-time high, because of a focus on noncontroversial deals. The biggest to date? AMC Theaters. Previously owned by a group of U.S. private-equity firms, AMC is now a division of Dalian Wanda of China — a huge entertainment conglomerate that bought the theater chain for $2.6 billion in 2012. Now Wanda controls more ticket sales in the world than any other company.
Join us for Local Color Night in Boston
On Saturday October 12, 2013, 36 fun-loving geoprofessionals will depart at 5 p.m. for a tour of Boston's historical sights on Boston's Duck Tour, a WWII style amphibious landing vehicle, for Local Color Night, in conjunction with GBA's 2013 Fall Conference. ASFE/GBA is grateful to the local sponsors for underwriting the cost of the tour, making it available to attendees for only $20 per person, which will include snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Afterwards, tour attendees are encouraged to dine at local area restaurants, a list of which will be provided so that attendees can make advance reservations (highly recommended for a Saturday night!). Principal sponsors of GBA's Fall 2013 Local Color Night are GZA Environmental, Inc. and Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc., with Kleinfelder and TTL, Inc. also pitching in to make it happen. Contact Laura Reinbold at email@example.com to reserve your spot today!
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!
Fall Conference activities for spouses and guests in Boston
On Friday, October 11, spouses and guests may take a one-hour private tour of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, followed by lunch at Stephanie's on Newbury, voted "Best of Boston 2013." Guests can choose to attend one or both activities. The tour begins at 11:15 a.m. at the museum and costs $20 cash, payable at the door. Lunch will begin at 1:15 p.m.; participants will each pay their own way. Both sites are less than two miles from the hotel, so participants may choose to walk or take a cab on their own. Please contact Barb Nappy (firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-565-2733) by October 7, 2013 to sign up for one or both of these activities.
On Saturday morning, October 12, we will offer a cooking demonstration for a cost of $65-$75 per person if there is sufficient interest. Please contact Barb Nappy (email@example.com or 301-565-2733) as soon as possible if you would like to do this.
YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING
You may be aware of the fact that "God Bless America" is not only not the national anthem (i.e., it's OK to sit while it's being played), it's still copyrighted property in the land that we love, requiring users to pay a royalty each time it's used. Shocked? Not nearly as much as you will be when you learn which even-more-popular song is copyrighted.
DFI Soil Mixing Seminar
On October 24-25, 2013, in San Francisco, CA, the Deep Foundations Institute Soil Mixing Committee is presenting a 1-½ day seminar covering design, quality assurance and control, construction, applications and case histories for soil mixing projects. ASFE/GBA is proud to be a cooperating organization for this seminar. Find out more and register.
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 Group, 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)
John P. Bachner, NewsLog Editor-in-Chief, 301.565.2733 ext. 223
Contact ASFE: The Geoprofessional Busines Association
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
View media kit
Caitlin Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657
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