ASFE - Newslog - August 11, 2021

August 11, 2021

Vol. 50  No. 34


New! Case History #110 Published: Suspiciously Variable Test Result?

A public-school district (the “District”) retained the Member Firm to perform geotechnical-engineering studies for several buildings at two schools. The Member Firm’s geotechnical reports both contained identical recommendations for “select” fill to be used in constructing the building pads for the schools.

The District retained different design teams for the two schools and the Project Specifications for the two schools, not surprisingly, differed significantly, and neither were completely consistent with the recommendations that the Member Firm provided in their geotechnical-engineering report.

A field representative testing compaction of the building pad fill identified inconsistencies and discovered onsite mixing of native soil with import material, a clear violation of the geotechnical recommendations.

What happens next?

Case Histories are real-life stories about GBA member-firm experiences.  They provide background, problems, outcomes, and lessons learned.  There is no easier way to learn expensive and time-consuming lessons than from others that went through the pain first and shared their experiences so we can all learn.

GBA Case Histories are FREE to all members.

Read More

Welcome New Members!

The GBA family welcomes back Burns & McDonnell and new member CTE Wind USA.

Burns & McDonnell - We are a family of companies with an unmatched team of 7,600 engineers, construction professionals, architects, technologists and scientists. Our singular mission since 1898 has been to make our clients successful. When we plan, design, permit, construct and manage projects worldwide, we do it like we own it.

Burns & McDonnell is a 100% employee-owned company. We tackle every technical challenge, every complex detail, with the intent and attention of an owner. It’s what brings our clients back, project after project.

CTE Wind USA - CTE Wind USA is an engineering and consultancy company specialized on foundation design for wind turbines. Est. in 2020 CTE Wind USA is a subsidiary of CTE Wind International. CTE Wind International is the headquarter for the wind energy business established in 2003.

Together, we have cumulated a strong track record of over 17.000 WTG foundations (2019) with its excellence in design and geotech consultancy.

CTE Wind USA is part of the CTE group, a structural engineering consulting firm specialized in buildings and civil engineering. The CTE Group was founded in 1965 and today is one of the leaders in the sector.

A list of all GBA Member-Firms can be found:  HERE

Register Now: GBA Fall Conference

GBA is coming back together this October for our 2021 Fall Conference in Henderson, Nevada. As we enter the post-pandemic world and have the opportunity to gather together after a long period of separation, GBA will reunite in-person to learn, collaborate, network, renew friendships, celebrate successes, and meet with fellow geoprofessionals from across North America.

We will do what GBA members have done for more than 50 years: identify emerging opportunities, solve common problems, strive to improve our businesses and elevate our profession. We will reconnect as a community, share experiences, and plan for the future.

Reuniting at this conference will bring us back to the basics of what GBA does best. We will focus on business & educational resources, specifically risk management and business performance optimization for geoprofessional firms.

Dates: October 21-23, 2021
Location: Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa, Henderson, Nevada

Register Today


Our most popular article from our last issue of GBA NEWSlog was the announcement of Vic Donald’s Award for Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership.

Read More

2021 GBA Photo Contest

GBA is committed to promoting the value of geoprofessionals and we want to see it through your eyes. For our 2021 Photo Contest, we would like to know:  How do you depict the day in the life of a geoprofessional?

Is it field activities? Is it meeting with colleagues and clients? Is it performing testing in the laboratory?  How is safety incorporated into your work?  How are you positively impacting the world?  Capture those vibrant moments and express what being a geoprofessional means to you!

Contest ends August 31, 2021. Winners will be presented with awards and featured during our 2021 Fall Conference.

Learn More


Future GBA Events: Mark Your Calendars Now!

GBA Events Calendar


Universal Engineering Sciences

Caring for Our Community

(Member Firm Addresses Vaccinations)

Over the past 18 months the GeoEngineers community has experienced unprecedented attacks on our health that we have not experienced in our lifetime and hope we never see again. As leaders of the firm, we have a legal—but more importantly a moral—responsibility to protect the health and safety of GeoEngineers’ staff and their families in the face of these threats.

We have always said to our staff do the right thing, make good choices, and take care of one another. As leaders we also need to follow this advice, so we are increasing our defenses as a company against this virus that has devastated so many.

Here is our very simple plan, which will apply to all GeoEngineers employees and go into effect September 15, 2021:

If you come into our office, travel for work or engage with other GeoEngineers staff in any way, you have a choice. You can be vaccinated or, if for personal reasons you are not able to get vaccinated, you can get tested regularly to show that you are COVID-19 free.

Why are we doing this? We have a responsibility to make sure people feel safe coming to work and not be exposed to an illness that can kill them or their family or cause long term health effects. The way to mitigate this risk is clear – vaccinations, testing and continuing to mask—so let’s do what is needed to care for our home and our family.

Thank you for your efforts to make our workplace a healthy place for all. We are better together.

  - Chief Executive Officer Mike Hutchinson and Chairman of the Board David Sauls

Read More
Universal Engineering Sciences

Raba Kistner Announces Acquisition of Drake Environmental Company

Raba Kistner, Inc

Raba Kistner, Inc. has announced that as of today, August 2, 2021, Drake Environmental, LLC, has joined Raba Kistner. Based in College Station and with additional offices in Austin and Houston, Drake Environmental will become part of Raba Kistner’s environmental division. 

Drake Environmental was established in 2014 by Scott Story, with a focus on environmental construction and compliance services, specializing in erosion and sedimentation control, stormwater management and stormwater pollution prevention.

“Drake Environmental is a key player in the environmental and compliance field and well respected for its exceptional client service and relationships, innovative stormwater solutions and commitment to the communities they serve. The partnership will allow us to expand our industry reach and build upon our extensive environmental sector expertise,” said Thomas Burr, senior vice president and COO of Raba Kistner’s environmental division. “They are a great cultural fit for Raba Kistner and will bring a dedicated, engaged team with capabilities and values complementary to our own.”

Read More

Universal Engineering Sciences Announces Agreement for Long-Term Strategic Partnership with BDT Capital Partners

Universal Engineering Sciences

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 announced that BDT Capital Partners, LLC (“BDT”) has entered into an agreement to make a significant strategic investment in the company through an affiliated fund.

BDT, affiliated with BDT & Co., LLC, a merchant bank that provides family- and founder-led businesses with long-term differentiated capital, will become the majority shareholder of UES, joining existing shareholders comprised of Palm Beach Capital, company founders and the management team. Former AECOM Chairman and CEO and current UES Chairman Michael Burke will continue to serve in his current role.

Read More

We’re Turning 25!  Happy Anniversary, NOVA!

NOVA Engineering and Environmental

Back in August of 1996, Walter Cook, David Miller and Barry Roziewski had an entrepreneurial vision. Through a lot of hard work, sweat and tears, we are now an industry leading firm with a stellar reputation! Not only have we grown to a staff of almost 500 professionals and 18 offices in the Southeast, but over time we have grown our service lines as well. This business venture has become all our founders hoped for, plus more.

Thank you, Walter, David and Barry, for taking that leap and starting NOVA 25 years ago. And thank you to each and every one of you that have made this dream become a reality. Happy 25th anniversary, NOVA Engineering and Environmental!

Read More

Froehling & Robertson Adds Andrew Fawcett to Their Marketing Team

Froehling & Robertson

F&R is pleased to welcome Andrew Fawcett to the Marketing Team. Andrew comes to us with over seven years of experience in Marketing and Graphic Design. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design with a Minor in Studio Arts and Photography from Cedarville University. His original goal was to be a logo designer, but after a #marketing internship, he found the role to be a great fit for his skillsets, as it provided an opportunity to combine the creative with the analytical.

Read More

Town Of Dedham: Flooding Prediction For Your Community - The Charles River Flood Model Is Now Live


The Town of Dedham, in partnership with the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) and 14 other communities in the upper and middle Charles River watershed, is excited to announce the release of the Charles River Flood Model (CRFM).

Funded by the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs FY21 MVP Action Grant Program, and developed by Weston & Sampson, this flood model can help communities protect vulnerable populations and property from flooding. 

Read More

Pennoni Announces New Office Director in Cape Coral Betsie Hiatt Promoted to Lead the Florida Office


Pennoni, a multidisciplinary consulting engineering firm headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, is pleased to announce the promotion of Betsie Hiatt as the new Cape Coral office director. Formerly serving as the senior environmental manager, Hiatt will oversee office operations while bolstering current client relationships and expanding key service offerings.

Hiatt has been with the firm for two years and has more than 20 years of experience in the environmental space in Southwest, Florida, including 12 years with the Lee County Department of Public Works, as an environmental manager.

“We are excited that Betsie Hiatt has been named the Cape Coral Office Director. Since Betsie has joined the firm, she has used her reputation to grow the Pennoni environmental group exponentially,” says Regional Vice President at Pennoni, Brian Diehl, PE. “We are looking forward to Betsie’s continued leadership and excited to support the advancement of our female leaders.”

Read More


Drone Usage Includes Flight Restrictions

Construction Exec

The FAA approved its first set of regulations governing the use of small, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, in construction or other commercial operations effective in 2016.

Read More

Unlicensed Engineer Sues Board of Examiners

IJ Org

Unlicensed engineer sues North Carolina Board of Examiners for Engineers on first amendment grounds to overturn misdemeanor fine levied for expert witness work.

Read More

Measuring Inclusivity


Building an equitable and inclusive workplace is fundamental to an organization’s culture and to its ability to both attract and retain talent, and has significant, positive benefits for a company’s reputation.

Read More

Contorted Myths About Flexible Work


When it comes to flexibility, executives are often worried that they’ll open Pandora’s box and set a dangerous precedent if they allow some employees to work flexibly. They worry that if they let a few employees work from home, then the office will always be empty and no one will be working.

Read More

Simulating Slope Failure

The Engineer

Geotechnical engineers will acquire a greater understanding of catastrophic earthwork failures following the creation of a large-scale National Engineered Slope Simulator at Loughborough University.

Read More

Since When Are Earthquakes Considered Weather?


We‘ve noticed a lot of reporting on earthquakes is done by weather reporters. The following podcast lead from a recent Weather Channel feature illustrates our point: “To learn more about the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History." Perhaps its time for geologists to consider getting into television news. 

Read More

New Restrictions on PCE & TCE Considered


The EPA might soon place new restrictions to Perchloroethylene (PCE) and Trichloroethylene (TCE)  under TSCA. Cities on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River will face nearly $2 billion in damages from climate change through 2025, according to a new survey of municipalities in the basin.

Read More

I Built My House from Sticks: Tall Wood Structures


Across the globe, tall wood structures have begun transforming the world of skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, ushering in an important shift to an architectural practice that has traditionally been dominated by steel and concrete. Chicago’s water management system is stressed.

Read More

How’s the Weather?

We Forum

Weather, climate and water-related hazards account for at least half of all global disasters over the past 50 years, according to new data.

Read More

Words of Wisdom

"You can have all the talent in the world, but without determination, you won't get far."

- Malorie Blackman


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


Connect with GBA

GBA Staff
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)

Geoprofessional Business Association
15800 Crabbs Branch Way, Suite 300 | Rockville, MD 20855 | 301-565-2733 | Contact Us

About GBA
The Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) helps its members and their clients confront risk and optimize business performance by delivering unique professional resources, programs, and services that make them stronger and more successful.

Learn how to add us to your safe-sender list so our emails get to your inbox.