Business leader learns employees can work successfully from home

I wish I’d known that employees are not necessarily most successful working in an office — collaborating, learning, and being managed — and that our clients do not necessarily need us to meet with them face-to-face regularly; this new mindset eliminates countless meetings and saves travel costs. 

Over the last 10 months, COVID-19 has exploded key paradigms involving fundamental assumptions about the best ways to run our businesses. Our industry will never be the same, and our employees, clients, and firms will benefit greatly.

In October 2020, I collaborated with a dozen co-workers in an online charrette before

On-the-ground advice on avoiding burnout during a pandemic

Tommy Faulkner, P.E., LEED AP, CCM, is the CEO of the multidisciplinary engineering, inspection, and testing firm JDSfaulkner in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is currently reworking his firm’s hiring and training processes and has advice for civil engineers on how to succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Why are civil engineers susceptible to burnout from unexpected events and what does that look like?
The burnout that I’ve noted the most is a change in mindset — or change in hope — which then starts to affect everything in our lives. Naturally, as engineers, we look at a situation and

Paying attention to details pays off

When Matthew Hughes, P.E., M.ASCE, earned his professional engineer license a year ago, his employer automatically promoted him, adding management duties to his regular tasks, which involve using geographic information systems and other technology to develop asset management programs. He says that as long as he is managing infrastructure, he wants to stay current on the techniques and technologies that can be implemented. And as long as he is involved in asset management, he wants to do all he can to improve that process so clients can keep their infrastructure up to date and ready for the

The Philadelphia Municipal Water Supply was the first of its kind

The early water system of colonial Philadelphia wasn’t much of a system. According to the website — curated by Adam Levine, a historical consultant to the Philadelphia Water Department — public wells were dug in the streets for average citizens, and private wells were dug in the backyards of the wealthy. “Human wastes were disposed of in privy pits, often located in the opposite corner of the backyard,” Levine writes on the site. “Since Philadelphia lots are narrow, that often meant that the water for drinking was coming out of a hole in the ground located 20 feet

Florida aeronautical university flies high with new student union

The new student union at Florida’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University follows a form inspired by birds in flight. For the engineers, translating that vision into a series of exposed structural systems involved considerable cantilevers and creative designs.

A bird in flight was, appropriately, the inspiration for the new Mori Hosseini Student Union at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Located in Daytona Beach, Florida, adjacent to the Daytona Beach International Airport, Embry-Riddle focuses on aviation and aerospace education along with business, engineering, and other disciplines. The roughly 180,000 sq ft student union — named for a prominent alumnus, donor, and chair of the university’s

Response team investigates wildfire damage to buried drinking water infrastructure

Over the years, wildfires have crept out of the wild and into the urban landscape, threatening more lives, property, and infrastructure than ever before, sometimes devastating communities. In Paradise, California, and the surrounding Butte County, 85 people lost their lives and an estimated 18,800 structures were destroyed because of the November 2018 Camp Fire. Damage to aboveground infrastructure is easy to observe and assess. However, communities are only just beginning to understand how their buried drinking water infrastructure can be damaged or compromised during these disasters. A response team from Purdue University and Manhattan College led an investigation into

ASCE’s new code of ethics guides civil engineers

After going for more than four decades without significant changes, ASCE’s Code of Ethics underwent a total rewrite that was adopted in October 2020. The highlights of the new code, which a task committee spent countless hours crafting, include an easy-to-interpret hierarchical system; language that is clear, concise, and modern; and an approach that addresses issues of the day while allowing for future alterations as necessary. 

By the time Robin A. Kemper, P.E., LEED AP, ENV SP, F.SEI, Pres.19.ASCE, became ASCE’s president-elect elect in 2017, she had been thinking for four years about what she saw as the need

Crescent shape marks new airport terminal in New Orleans

The distinctive curved geometry of the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport terminal was designed to withstand harsh weather while concurrently improving the overall passenger experience. The design and construction team’s ingenuity kept the project to its fast-paced schedule even with major changes to the scope of the program. 

The new state-of-the-art Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport terminal opened in November 2019, making it the first major replacement airport terminal to open in the United States in the previous 10 years. The signature design and fast-paced schedule of the new terminal required ingenuity from its design and construction

Breakwaters aim to halt ongoing erosion at coastal refuge

A series of breakwaters to protect a coastal wildlife refuge in southwestern Louisiana incorporated an innovative, lightweight design. Despite extremely poor soils and ongoing erosion that kept changing the shoreline throughout the project, the breakwaters are already showing dramatic results.

The Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Louisiana, which borders the Gulf of Mexico for 26.5 mi, is disappearing at an increasingly rapid rate. When it was created in 1920, the refuge originally encompassed 86,000 acres of biologically diverse coastal wetlands in Cameron and Vermillion Parishes. But over time, ongoing coastal erosion has reduced the refuge to 71,000 acres.