2019 Spring Conference Proceedings

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SP19-01 Eddie Would Go
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Stuart Holmes Coleman is a nationally acclaimed writer, speaker, and environmental organizer. He is also the author of “Eddie Would Go: The Story of Eddie Aikau, Hawaiian Hero.” As a pioneering big-wave surfer, Eddie Aikau charged into the biggest waves ever ridden on the North Shore of Hawaii, where the sport originated. As a lifeguard, he threw himself into the most treacherous surf to rescue those in trouble, and he saved hundreds of lives during his career. And as a crew member aboard the voyaging canoe Hokule’a, Eddie would make his last and most daring rescue attempt. Though he was lost at sea in 1978, his sacrifice and courage live on in the hearts of the Hawaiian people and all those who know his story. He has become a beloved icon and a symbol of the Hawaiian Renaissance. The phrase “Eddie Would Go” has become a popular mantra for those who seek to push themselves and serve others.

Learn the story and sacrifice of Eddie, gain insights into modern Hawaiian history and culture, and be inspired to live life in a more selfless way. (43 minutes)

SP19-02 We Are Golden: GBA’s 50-Year Journey in Service to Geoprofessionals
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In celebration of GBA’s 50th year, Kurt R. Fraese, L.G., F.GBA (Fraese and Associates, LLC) provides a retrospective of our organization’s history and milestones: from our origins as the Association of Soil and Foundation Engineers (ASFE) taking the lead assisting engineering firms in reducing their exposure to professional liability claims and losses to GBA’s current vital role helping members and their clients confront risk and optimize business performance. Highlights include establishing the limitation of liability contract clause, alternative dispute resolution, the peer review program, the role of volunteers and key leaders along the way, and the valuable materials and gatherings that have helped our members attain success in their professional pursuits. Ours is the story of dedicated professionals with enormous talent and grit who favored collaboration over competition. (35 minutes)

SP19-03 Business Snapshot Summary
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Come share your opinion and hear your peers’ insights about economic conditions across the country. This annual presentation by Steven K. Noble, P.E., PTOE (DOWL) includes the results of our survey, plus an expanded real-time interactive audience survey that will give you a brief but meaningful look at how your firm and region are performing relative to the rest of the nation. (10 minutes)

SP19-04 The Power of Peer Review
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Peer Review has been a landmark accomplishment of ASFE (and now GBA) since its introduction in 1975. ASFE was the only association recognized by “Engineering News-Record” in 1999 (for Peer Review) when it reviewed the 125 most significant construction industry innovations of the past 125 years. What makes Peer Review such a powerful tool for today’s business environment? How has it helped improve GAI’s business performance over the past 30 years? Gary M. DeJidas, P.E, MBA (GAI Consultants, Inc.) shares the benefits he has experienced as a peer reviewer, team captain, and committee member, and his insights and predictions about the future of Peer Review. David L. J. Coduto (Terra Insurance Company President & CEO) will share the benefits of Peer Review from Terra’s point of view. (43 minutes)

SP19-05 Hard Conversations: The Destructive Power of Conflict Avoidance and the Redemptive Power of Honesty
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It began with a nervous call from a client who suspected a letter (on state letterhead) the consultant provided may have been a forgery. Thus began a year-long journey into the mind and work product of a former employee who was willing to do nearly anything to avoid confrontation. Together Aaron J. Mann, Esq. (Terracon) Michael J. Yost, Esq. (Terracon) journey through their response to this allegation which included: (1) conducting a thorough internal investigation to determine and address the true scope of the employee’s actions; (2) interacting with multiple state and federal regulators to address their concerns; and (3) repairing the relationship with clients whose trust had been abused.

This process was painful at times. However, by being honest and transparent they were able to demonstrate to themselves and others that the actions did not reflect the ethical culture of Terracon. In the end, they emerged with stronger client and regulator relationships than before the incident and they ensured that the corporate culture continued to be one based on an ethical foundation. (51 minutes)

SP19-06 Our Journey from Red to Black Ink (Including a GBA Peer Review)
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In 2012 in the province of Quebec, Canada, collusion between engineering firms was rampant. SNC-Lavalin was accused of corruption involving projects in Africa and Montreal (home of the head office). The company lost clients, employees, and its outstanding credibility built over the last 100 years. Industry corruption and collusion also generated a new way of awarding engineering jobs: the law of the cheapest for many former good clients. Martin LaRoche, P.Eng. (SNC-Lavalin) joined the firm in May 2015 with the objective of rebuilding in a very different market. Within 3.5 years, SNC-Lavalin became profitable again, and the company’s culture, operations, and business development improved. The GBA Peer Review will help with their next goal: enhancing employee engagement and consolidating operations for a sustainable future. (50 minutes)

SP19-07 GBA’s Living Timeline: Past Presidents Panel
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Moderator: Thomas W. Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F.ASCE (Blackburn Consulting). Panelists: Richard A. Millet, P.E., F.GBA (AECOM); Laura R. Reinbold, P.E., F.GBA (Terracon); Gerald J. Salontai, P.E., F.GBA (Salontai Consulting Group, LLC); Edward Wilson, P.E., F.GBA (L. Edward Wilson and Associates, Inc.). GBA has a proud 50-year history of accomplishments under the stewardship of industry leaders. These past presidents — who represent key periods from the past 30 years — share highlights of GBA’s accomplishments, relive their memories of service to our association, and share their thoughts about the future of our profession. This is a unique opportunity to leverage GBA’s history as we launch into the future. (53 minutes)

SP19-08 The Quadruple Bottom Line and the Queen of Aloha
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Stuart Holmes Coleman (Writer, Speaker, Eco-Advocate) returns to challenge us to improve our leadership and company performance through the Quadruple Bottom Line. While bottom-line profit is always important, a more balanced and healthy culture should include People, Planet, Prosperity, and Purpose (The 4 Ps).

Stuart also introduces us to Rell Sunn, a legendary Hawaiian figure throughout the surfing world and for female athletes everywhere. Rell broke through the glass ceiling to become the first female lifeguard in Hawaii, the first female pro surfer, and ambassador of Hawaiian culture wherever she went. In spite of her cancer, Rell embraced a bold lifestyle and embodied the best of her culture in a way that sums up the Quadruple Bottom Line.

The Quadruple Bottom Line approach is about more than feeling good. It helps to attract quality employees and supports retention. There is much to be learned from Rell’s dedication to protecting the environment and the well-being of her community, and her defining the spirit of Aloha as “to give and give until there’s nothing left to give.” Leave motivated and with tools to boost your employee engagement. (43 minutes)

SP19-09 50th Anniversary Celebration and Awards Dinner
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This is an event everyone looks forward to each year. This year, it is even more spectacular … because it is on Maui! Celebrate the significant contributions of our members and some of the accomplishments through the past 50 years:

  • Certificates of Appreciation
  • Peer Review Certificates
  • Award of Excellence
  • President’s Award
  • Member Firm Engagement Awards
  • Ceremonial President’s Gavel Presentation
  • Brief remarks by GBA President Woodward L. “Woody” Vogt, P.E., D.GE., F.ASCE, F.ACI, F.ASTM (Paradigm Consulting, Inc.) and President-Elect Arthur G. Hoffmann, P.E., D.GE (Gannett Fleming, Inc.)

(55 minutes)

SP19-10 Improv for Engineers: Scared Scriptless
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As firms manage risk and uncertainty in constantly changing and challenging environments, the critical component to success remains effective communication and collaboration. Nancy Watt (Nancy Watt Communications) interprets relevant, evidence-based research on the psychology of change, leadership, and organizational development in a highly engaging manner. In a ‘pracademic’ approach and with passion and humor, she uses the tools and techniques of improvisational theater honed from her days as a Second City Conservatory Graduate in Toronto and Chicago. Certified in organizational and positive psychology, her highly interactive experiential learning will leave you laughing with insight and knowledge in social psychology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience. See why this talk has been rated in the top five leadership workshops at Microsoft’s INSPIRE Global Conference for the past four years. Nancy is a regular at ASCE, Society of Women Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders, delivering STEMpathy, insight, and engagement. (68 minutes)

SP19-11 Term Limits for Leaders: Strategically Planning a Leadership Transition
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One of the most important decisions any firm makes is who will lead and how long they will lead. Every firm handles this differently. Presented by William E. Hadge, P.E. (GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.) himself, this is the story of how Bill’s six-year term as President/CEO came about in 2013, and the impact of it on the company’s employees, strategic planning, and operations; and the smooth transition that was completed on March 1, 2019. (44 minutes)

SP19-12 Perception Is Reality: The Impact of Your Corporate Culture
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We say company culture is critical, but what is it? How is it defined? (Is it the company’s values, traditions, or an ever-changing attitude of the current management team?) How does your company culture – or the perception of it – affect your ability to win work, recruit top talent, and retain your best staff? The internet has transformed the way we access employer information including benefits, salary equity, diversity, gender ratios, age ratios, environmental responsibility, ethics, and employee satisfaction. And it turns perception into reality.

Helen Pappas, CHMM (Gannett Fleming, Inc.) Victor S. Barchers, P.E. (Kleinfelder, Inc.) discuss how a strategy focused on positive company culture, alignment with marketplace values, and reinforcement of the message to employees, clients, the supply chain, and the local and global community can help to ensure your company’s cultural reality is the perception. (42 minutes)

SP19-13 Being Nostradamus: Forecasting the Future for Business Success
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You don’t need to outrun the lion; just the other guy. If we ignore thinking about the future or, worse yet, assume that tomorrow will be just like yesterday, then we will be just like everyone else. Contemplating the future is hard stuff.

As business leaders we need to balance worrying about how to take advantage of today’s good times and not overexposing our firms to risk and exacerbating conditions during the next (inevitable) downturn. If we keep going full steam ahead, will we overleverage ourselves and implode under the stress of a downturn? If we pull back too early, will we miss out on good opportunities?

Guy Marcozzi, P.E. (Duffield Associates, Inc.) shows how to be like Nostradamus with practical tools to see into your business’s future, recognize the early signs of market inversions, give you time to pivot in your business strategy faster than your competitors, and track macro and micro economic trends. Then, take the actions needed based on your forecast of what lies ahead. (43 minutes)

SP19-14 What It Takes to Be Extraordinary
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Eric Saperston has spent the last 25 years cold calling and taking the most powerful people in the world out for a cup of coffee (all from a VW bus with his dog tagging along). He went from a kid who had to ask his father three times to get a yes for everything to a man who has dined with, talked with, and played checkers with Jimmy Carter, Jerry Garcia, Billy Crystal, and Governor Ann Richards. Eric’s wisdom, humor, and inspiration wow you while you learn the common traits, motivating factors, and guiding principles he discovered in these people, and how they can enable everyday people to produce extraordinary results. (53 minutes)