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Text Version    RSS    Subscribe    Unsubscribe    Archive    Media Kit November 12, 2014
Vol. 45 No. 14

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Confirmation-Dependent Recommendations
As a geoprofessional, you know that the recommendations conveyed in your final report are themselves not final, given that the conditions you inferred to exist — and on which your recommendations are based — may not exist, necessitating changes. Although this fact is referenced in Important Information about Your Geotechnical Engineering Report and Important Information about Your Geoenvironmental Report, you'd probably be well advised to make it clear in the report itself. In the past, the suggestion that these be called “preliminary recommendations” was rejected, because the recommendations are not preliminary. Labeling them "pre-final" was also turned down, because the term is somewhat ambiguous. So, the newest label being advanced is "Confirmation-Dependent Recommendations," possibly supplemented by an asterisked-connected explanation that may read along the lines of the following sample:
    * Do not rely on these recommendations until the [geotechnical engineer of record (GER)] [environmental professional of record (EPR)] confirms through field observation that the inferred conditions on which the recommendations are based are the conditions that actually exist. If observation suggests otherwise, your [GER or EPR] will develop the necessary modifications.
Note that GBA offers several "message" flyers that you can use to explain this and related issues (e.g., the observational method) to client representatives. You can also use the flyers for purposes of in-house professional development.
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Pardon Our Dust
GBA Operations Director Sarah Lanning, PMP is heading the team that is in the process of converting the GBA website from to You'll see an "under construction" message posted prominently on the website during the week of November 17-21. The website will not be totally down, but many links and features may not be working. Note: If you need something right away, fear not! Just give us a call or send us an e-mail and we'll get right on it.

Once this phase of work is complete, will become our main website; persons who click to will be automatically redirected to We will keep the redirection in place for at least a year; longer if our website statistics indicate we're still getting a lot of traffic through Note that these changes are somewhat stopgap in nature. Creation of an entirely new website comes next. Stay tuned!

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New Study: Owners Want BIM. Can You Provide It?
McGraw Hill Construction
Building owners are increasingly recognizing building-information modeling's (BIM's) value, according to a The Business Value of BIM for Owners, a new report available free from McGraw Hill Construction. According to the report, 40% of U.S. owners and 38% of U.K. owners believe that, within the next two years, more than 75% of their projects will involve BIM, with a particularly high level of growth in the U.S. The study also reveals that owners would expand their BIM involvement if design and construction firms had more BIM-skilled personnel on board, if their operations and maintenance staff had a better ability to use the model, and if there were standards of model development and exchange to better enable use of the model across the entire project team.
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New GBA Logo for Your Website
We have just revised our logo for GBA-Member Firms; please place this new logo on your website today. In the past we offered a logo for members that expressed pride in ASFE membership, but ultimately, it's really all about your clients' success, and our revised GBA logo for GBA-Member Firms reflects this. So, if you have the old ASFE logo already on your website, please replace it with this one. And if you don't have our logo on your website, how about adding it now?
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  Past Conferences on Demand

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

HR DEPT.: Employee Disengagement Prevails
A new ADP Research Institute study has found that companies' senior leadership and HR departments are out of touch with employee attitudes and perceptions:
  • Employees rank their compensation and benefits less favorably than HR or management.
  • Career opportunities receive far lower grades from employees than from HR.
  • Employees rate senior leadership less positively than HR.
Employees also rate many workforce- and talent-management functions (professional growth, training and management support) much lower than HR does. In the U.S., two of every five employees indicated their intention to leave their companies within the next 12 months. Dissatisfaction with HR processes, policies, and functions is a major reason.

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Tetra Tech Exiting Fixed-Price Bidding Environmental Market
Tetra Tech
Tetra Tech, Inc., a 14,000-person civil-/environmental-engineering firm, has announced that its remediation and construction-management (RCM) segment will exit all noncore construction markets that require lump-sum, fixed-price bidding. The work performed in those markets generated about half of RCM revenue in fiscal 2014, but failed to generate a profit or positive cash flow. The company will retain its core environmental remediation, pipeline, solid-waste, and utilities-related activities. According to company CEO Dan Batrack, Tetra Tech will be "more strategically focused on the front-end science and engineering aspects of a solution that differentiate us in the marketplace, and are the hallmark of our offering."
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Date Event Location
Jan. 23-25, 2015 GBA Winter Leadership Conference Hyatt Dulles
Herndon, Virginia
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.

Pahk Yah Gondoler in Hahvad Yahd
Gizmodo Australia
Like other major U.S. cities that got to be major thanks to their seaport locations, Boston is facing the threat of climate-change-induced sea-rise inundation. But the Urban Land Institute has come up with a truly imaginative plan that would allow the city to stay dry and actually improve its economy, especially its tourist economy: Convert key Boston streets and alleyways into canals. Planners are focusing on the city's Back Bay, which will be underwater by 2100 no matter what. Talk about a big dig!
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Water-Supply Study Calls for Significant Changes. Are You Ready To Help?
The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread
"Without significant changes, existing water systems will soon no longer be able to provide the services that citizens have come to expect. Recent water crises have illustrated that the economic and social consequences of inaction are far too great for this nation and its communities. It is time to accelerate the adoption and implementation of the transformative solutions we know are possible." That's the key takeaway of Navigating to New Shores: Seizing the Future for Sustainable and Resilient U.S. Freshwater Resources a report that culminates The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread's work through its "Charting New Waters" initiative. The report identifies what's wrong and why, then goes on to provide vital recommendations. Are you in this market yet? It's geoprofessional all the way!
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DR. ENGLISH: Have a Good Day
I'm so tired of people telling me, "Have a good day" or "Have a good weekend." First of all, either is so trite. Just about everyone wishes such bon temps on others, reducing the value of the hope to zero. Second, no one really wishes it or hopes it; it's just something nice (assumedly) to say. Third, assuming someone actually does hope it (like, "I hope I have a good day"), why be so cheap? Why limit good times to just a day or weekend? Given that hopes and wishes are free of charge, why not go whole hog and say, "I hope you have a good life" or – better yet – "I hope you have a good life and a great afterlife." Suggestion: Instead of writing something along the lines of "Thanks for your help. I hope you have a great day," try “Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it," or just "Thanks for your help" and let it go at that, recognizing that, when it comes to writing, less is more.
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Now Available: Practice Guide 32: Sustainable Water Management on Brownfields Sites
Managing stormwater is a central concern for municipalities struggling with more intense weather events and increased pressure to develop land that would have previously accommodated stormwater through infiltration. Green infrastructure and low-impact development are proven methods to manage stormwater more efficiently. Developed by the University of Louisville's Center for Environmental Policy and Management, Practice Guide 32: Sustainable Water Management on Brownfields Sites makes the case for using green infrastructure on brownfield sites as a way to offer an environmentally friendly amenity while also meeting clean-up requirements. The guide includes a brief history of brownfields, a description of clean-up practices, examples of potential uses of green infrastructure and low-impact development on brownfield sites, a summary of current sources of funding, and case studies.
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GRAPE PRESS: A Taste of the Fall Conference
John Bachner's wine tastings at GBA conferences tend to be popular educational activities. John has a knack for finding some pretty amazing reds and whites that not only are wonderful wines, but relatively inexpensive. "You don't have to pay a king's ransom to drink like a king," John says, and his latest tasting of reds and whites – all California wines — prove the point. Get both the red and the white list simply by clicking the READ MORE button below.
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YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING: Insurance Agent Fingered for Fraud
Poor Ralf-Werner Dehmer. The German insurance agent severed his finger and thumb after he tripped over his dog and fell into a circular saw. Or so he claimed (in seeking $1.5 million worth of insurance compensation). His casualty insurers became a tad suspicious when they discovered that, in the weeks before the accident, Dehmert had purchased three policies that provided compensation for loss of digits. Investigation also revealed that, given the severity of the supposed accident, the rest of Dehmer's hand should have been affected; it wasn't. And then there was the problem of the missing digits, neither of which turned up in Dehmer's workshop, although — a week later — his wife claimed to have found them outside, in the snow (near some Yellow Pages, perhaps). Bottom line: Instead of $1.5 million, the judge handed Dehmer a 22-month suspended sentence.
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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 / Concord, NH)

Kimberly 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, 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   
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Caitlin Harrison, Content Editor, 469.420.2657   
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