ASFE - Newslog - November 17, 2021

November 17, 2021

Vol. 50  No. 41


NEW! Best Practices: Software Validation

Surveys indicate most GBA Member-Firms do not have a formal process for validating software or spreadsheets before they are used.  This Best Practices document reviews the risks of using commercial software and spreadsheets blindly or without validation which may lead to inaccurate results and exposure to loss and litigation.  It also provides recommended practices to manage risk by increasing the accuracy of spreadsheets and software that you can start implementing now.


Notice of Changes to GBA’s Future Conference Schedule

For more than 50-years, GBA has delivered two conferences annually, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. This will not change because GBA conferences provide timely and valuable information that our members use to manage risk and optimize business performance and our conferences promote networking to enhance collaboration and lessons learned.

Building on the successes of the virtual platforms and in support of GBA’s purpose and strategy, the Board of Directors has chosen to hold the 2022 Spring and 2023 Spring Conferences as hybrid events, which will include both in-person and virtual attendance options on our normal Friday/Saturday schedule.

Additionally, the Board decided the 2022 Fall Conference will be delivered entirely as a virtual event, with the goal of delivering high-value presentations, collaboration opportunities, and networking events to a larger audience of GBA members and avoiding travel and a weekend commitment by attendees.

Please take a moment and read the details o this decision and how it will benefit GBA members:  HERE

President’s Update: Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Forensic and Expert Work

Tom Blackburn - GBA President

This is the November installment of President Tom Blackburn’s monthly updates to GBA members.  “It is my way to better connect you with GBA’s leadership, provide some lessons learned, show you how we continue to make GBA better and improve your GBA experience.” 

In this update, Tom shares his experience over 30 years on his forensic work and gives his suggestions on how to be prepared as an expert witness before and during testimonies.


GBA Partners with ABMS to Elevate Our Profession

The Geoprofessional Business Association was a proud partner of the Brazilian Association of Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ABMS) for the 1st Brazilian Engineer of Record Workshop during GeoMin 2021.

In support of our partnership, we offered copies of three valuable GBA documents to ABMS members who registered for GeoMin to help as we all work together to improve our profession.

ABMS translated GBA’s documents to Spanish for the GeoMin participants and is pursuing a full endorsement of GBA’s Proposed Best Practices for the Engineer of Record (EoR) for Tailings Dams.


Save the Dates – Winter Leadership Summit

In January 2022, GBA’s Board of Directors and Committee Members will meet in Minneapolis, Minnesota to formulate plans to complete annual assignments and plan for fiscal year 2022-23. Additionally, those gathered will review GBA’s recently completed 2024 Strategic Plan and collaborate on ways to deliver the plan.



Our most popular article from our last issue of GBA NEWSlog was the announcement that the 2021 Fall Conference Recordings are available on-demand for our members.


Join GBA’s LinkedIn Group!



Future GBA Events: Mark Your Calendars Now!

GBA Events Calendar


Universal Engineering Sciences Signs Agreement to Acquire Alpha Testing, Inc., Establishing a Strong Footprint in Texas: Fastest-Growing AEC Firm in the U.S. Further Strengthens Nationwide Presence

Universal Engineering Sciences® (UES), a national leading engineering and consulting company specializing in geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, building code compliance, threshold inspections, and environmental consulting, has agreed to acquire Alpha Testing, a professional geotechnical engineering firm headquartered in Dallas, TX, with offices in Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

Alpha Testing’s 400-person team provides geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, environmental engineering, and drilling services consulting to commercial, institutional, residential, and municipal market clients throughout Texas as well as Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Significant recent projects include Bois d’Arc Reservoir Dam, the Cypress Waters mixed-use development, and the Clements Tower addition at UT Southwestern Medical Center. BofA Securities, Inc. advised Alpha Testing in this transaction.

Alpha Testing President Brian Powell, PE, a 28-year veteran of the industry, will continue to serve in his current position as President, as well as serving as Texas Division President, UES. His existing leadership team will also continue in their roles.


Atlas Acquires G-Logics, Inc.

Atlas Geosciences NW

Atlas Geosciences NW is excited to announce our acquisition of G-Logics, Inc., a leading environmental consulting firm in the Puget Sound region!  Not only will this Issaquah office give Atlas a greater King County and North Sound presence, but Atlas also adds the extensive experience and resources of Rory Galloway, LG, LHG, and his team.  With more than 35 years of experience in environmental geosciences, Rory brings a wealth of site assessment and remediation knowledge to the Atlas leadership team and its clients.  Rory also brings his quality team of technical staff to the Atlas family. We will be providing additional information regarding Atlas's expanded team, capabilities, and resources in the coming months. Welcome aboard, All!


New Location for NOVA Raleigh


Our Raleigh team is on the move and settling into a new location. 


Investing in Our Future: Developing a More Diverse Talent Pipeline


As college and university students continue their fall semesters, Kiewit is kicking off a new partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) in support of the company’s continued efforts to recruit a more diverse talent pipeline.

Through the partnership, Kiewit will provide 20 engineering and construction management students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) with an immersive two-day company experience. The experience will include opportunities to learn about Kiewit’s culture, meet employees, engage with executives, and learn about what a day in the life is like at Kiewit and in the construction and engineering industry.

Of the 20 initial participants, 10 students will be selected for Kiewit internships and $10,000 scholarships, based on financial need. TMCF and Kiewit will partner to create the student requirements and TMCF staff will assist Kiewit in identifying top talent from HBCUs.


Glenny Honored by Ford Motor Company for Sustainability

Gannett Fleming

In alignment with Hispanic Heritage Month, on October 21, Ford Motor Company honored Gannett Fleming Vice President Yurfa Glenny, PMP, ENV SP, with its “Mujeres Legendarias” Award for Sustainability. Yurfa was among 20 Latina honorees across the U.S. whom Ford recognized for their efforts in strengthening their communities, environment, families, and business industries; and serving as shining examples of Ford’s brand pillars—sustainability, technology, community, and leadership.

As the leader of the Project Management Office for Gannett Fleming’s Water Business Line, Yurfa leverages experience gained from more than 20 years of delivering water resources and infrastructure projects for municipal, state, federal, and private clients throughout South Florida and northern California. She credits her unique understanding of the challenges facing our communities and the rewards of green and sustainable infrastructure to the opportunity to work alongside experienced engineers, hydrogeologists, and scientists since early in her career.


Cindy Shurling Joins VHB as Federal Environmental Practice Leader


VHB is pleased to announce the addition of Cindy Shurling to the firm as Federal Environmental Practice Leader. In this role, Cindy will be dedicated to advancing VHB’s environmental prominence in the Federal Market throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. Cindy will be devoted to developing relationships across the Federal Market through environmental service offerings, broadening the federal practice across VHB’s footprint, and building an environmental team of integrated service thinkers. With extensive knowledge of National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, environmental services, and public outreach facilitation for both federal and energy markets, Cindy will be responsible for leading the development and strategic growth of these services and overseeing them on complex projects.


Braun Intertec Welcomes New Chief Financial Officer Scott Poellinger

Braun Intertec

Braun Intertec is pleased to announce Scott Poellinger has joined the company as chief financial officer and senior vice president. Poellinger brings 15 years of experience as a CFO to the 100% employee-owned geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, and testing firm.

“I am thrilled to welcome Scott to the Braun Intertec senior leadership team,” said CEO Jon Carlson. “His seasoned financial leadership will be a strategic asset to our business as we continue to expand. Scott’s previous experience as a CFO for professional service firms will also sharpen the insight of our senior leadership and board of directors as we serve clients nationwide.”


ECS Announces New Director of Special Projects Group

ECS Limited

Mohammed Mulla, PE, Ph.D., CPM has joined ECS Southeast, LLP as the Vice President, Director of Special Projects Group and is based out of the Raleigh, North Carolina office. In his new role, Mohammad will lead the team responsible for complex geotechnical engineering and environmental services in support of bridge, roadway, mass transit, airport, port expansion, and other complex transportation projects throughout the Southeastern U.S.



Hard Hat or Helmet?


Probably one of the most iconic images you can have of construction work is that of a person wearing a hard hat. The term “hard hat” has become synonymous with a person working in the construction trades for over 100 years, since its introduction as a form of personal protective equipment.  But a relatively new development in the construction industry that some construction companies are starting to use are safety helmets instead of our traditional hard hats.


Legal Disputes Take Time, A Lot of Time

Press Banner

The city of Scotts Valley has finally agreed to settle a 2014 dispute over damage caused by surface stormwater drainage. The result was a $600K settlement.


Terra-Cotta Brackets Repair Historic NYC Building

CE Engineering

Cintec recently announced that their Anchoring System was used in helping repair the iconic Hemsley Building 230 Park Avenue, NYC.


Taxi! Self-Driving Boats Set Sea


Scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Senseable City Laboratory, together with Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) in the Netherlands, have now created the final project in their self-navigating trilogy: a full-scale, fully autonomous robotic boat that’s ready to be deployed along the canals of Amsterdam.


Measuring the Value of Software Asset Management

IT Asset Management

Measuring the value of software asset management (SAM) in your organization


Cement Manufacturer Invests in Solar Fuel Cell Firm. Let the Sunshine In

New Civil Engineer

Cement manufacturer Cemex has announced plans to invest in a solar fuel cell firm in a bid to reduce carbon impact during the manufacturing process.


Vaccination Mandate Update


The latest federal vaccine mandate requires 84 million workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine by January 4th — here’s what to know.


“Water Positive”


Why water is the next net-zero environmental target as pledges become more common among companies and governments.


Every Tool We Need

The Guardian

Reasons to be hopeful: according to experts, we already have all the climate solutions we need available now.


Leadership Lessons from Ted Lasso

University of Rochester

Launching on AppleTV in August 2020, Ted Lasso won over millions of hearts. In what was a difficult year for many of us due to the global pandemic, Coach Lasso’s brilliant optimism, humor, and kindness gave us something to smile about.

Coach Lasso may know little about soccer, but he has a lot of unconventional wisdom to offer for navigating life, especially at work. There are many leadership tips to pick up from Coach Ted Lasso, but here are only a few lessons.



"Takin’ on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse. If you’re comfortable while you’re doin’ it, you’re probably doin’ it wrong."

- Ted Lasso


President - Thomas "Tom" W. Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F. ASCE, F.ACEC (Blackburn Consulting / Auburn, CA) 530/887-1494

President-Elect - Leo J. Titus, Jr. P.E., (ECS, Ltd. / Chantilly, VA) 703/471-8400

Secretary/Treasurer - Christopher Matthew "Matt" Moler, P.E. (S&ME, Inc. / Greensboro, NC) 336/553-1245

Director - Martin LaRoche, P. Eng, M.Sc.(Kiewit / Montreal, Canada)

Director - Guy Marcozzi, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, F. ASCE (Duffield Associates, Inc. / Wilmington, DE) 302/239-6634

Director - Steve Wendland, P.G., P.E., R.G., D.GE (GeoEngineers, Inc. / Prairie Village, KS) 913/475-5851

Director - Teresa L. Peterson, P.E., C.M.E., LEED AP O&M ENV SP (Gannett Fleming / Harrisburg, PA) 717/763-7211

Director - Bradley M. Melocik, P.E., P.H. (DOWL / Redmond, WA) 800/478-3695


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Joel G. Carson, Execuive Director, 301-565-2733 (office) | 402-517-1819 (cell)
Sara Menase, Program Manager, 301-5652733
Phillip D. Pettway, Controller, 301-565-2733
Barb Nappy, Program Director, 301-565-2733 (office) | 727-457-2272 (cell)

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