2023 Fall Conference Proceedings

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FA23-01 Elevating Your Value: Taking it to the Next Level with the Upper Arrow
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During this engaging session, Sydne Jacques (Next Level Leadership) guides you through the Upper Arrow model, enabling you to uncover avenues for growth and differentiation. Starting with your clients, learn how to elevate your services and enhance your reputation, effectively distinguishing your company in the marketplace. By identifying strategic opportunities to elevate your value proposition, you will position your organization as an industry leader.

Recognizing the critical role of employees, Sydne demonstrates how the Upper Arrow model can be applied to create a thriving work culture that reduces turnover, increases profitability, and fosters an environment where people are motivated to stay. By implementing the Upper Arrow framework, you will gain insights into empowering and retaining your talented workforce, ultimately driving overall success.

This transformative keynote will inspire and empower you to unlock your full potential, differentiate yourself and your organization, and navigate the ever-changing business landscape with confidence. Elevate Your Value with the Upper Arrow and become a leader of the future. (60 minutes)

FA23-02 Woodward L. Vogt Project Excellence Award: Selway Slide Emergency Repair
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Selway River Road stakeholders include private landholders upstream, USFS, FHWA, LHTAC, Kidder Harris Highway District (KHHD), and the public using the 20± miles of river frontage, campgrounds, trails, and unlimited wilderness recreational opportunities. The region experienced considerable precipitation in early 2022. The historic rainfall and erratic geology in a steep cut slope caused slope failure and road closure, blocking critical access for firefighting, material supplies, and public access.

Travis Wambeke (GeoProfessional Innovation Corporation) and Justin Maffey, P.E. (GeoProfessional Innovation Corporation) worked with Debco Construction and stakeholders in a design-build effort to evaluate this large, complex slide system, comprising 100,000+ cubic yards of soil and rock. Timing was critical to developing repair concepts that could be safely implemented to salvage the 2022 outdoor recreation season.

Repairs had to be practical, consider difficulties to deliver/install various materials, and limit damage to the surrounding forestland. These parameters were balanced by the need for quick access for firefighting and a solution that could be implemented prior to winter weather. Through an iterative process, Debco, LHTAC, the KHHD, and GPI quickly narrowed the repair concepts, focusing on regrading the slope. Stability models evaluated various soil/rock inclinations within the grading limits and equipment capabilities. GPI evaluated repair concepts that include a buttressed rock slope and elevated road alignment combined with an anchored soil slope. (32 minutes)

FA23-03 Case History: Site Safety is the Highest Priority
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A key part of geotechnical and environmental services is providing appropriate field observation and testing during the construction phase of projects. The responsibilities present inherent and sometimes unique construction safety risks for geotechnical and environmental professionals.

This presentation will review the events leading up to the July 6, 2021 collapse of a drill rig (or crane) in Philadelphia that led to the death of a beloved, veteran engineer performing field observation and testing services. Rory Johnston, P.E., G.E., BCEE, F.GBA (Langan Engineering) identifies ways you can elevate safety to avoid similar events in your firm. As we elevate geoprofessional value, we must work together to elevate safety to the highest priority. (30 minutes)

FA23-04 Financial Survey Results and Trends You Should be Tracking & President’s Mid-Year Report
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Rebecca Zofnass (EFCG) delivers the results of GBA’s revised annual financial survey, highlighting how the industry is faring in 2023 and what is expected in 2024. She reviews the shifts taking place in major financial and strategic data and trends, and talks through what questions firms are now asking and how they are beginning to reassess their market position for continued success. (59 minutes)

FA23-05 Currents and Characteristics of the Emerging Future
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In this presentation, Kevin Benedict (Tata Consultancy Services) takes a deep dive into the trends and strategic currents likely to shape our future. He pays particular attention to the essential characteristics leaders need to embrace to survive and thrive during periods of uncertainty. Kevin then explores the building blocks of the future across science, technology, society, geopolitics, and the economy, and how emerging ecosystems and AI are the new foundations of business. (63 minutes)

FA23-06 Climate Change, Emerging Contaminants, and the Future of Geoprofessional Services
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The increasing recognition of climate change and its implications for civil and environmental engineering will continue to shape the evolving marketplace for geoprofessional services. Changes in precipitation and temperature extremes, along with sea level rise, are already having an impact on surface water resources and management practices to address changes in flood risk and drought.

What is less readily recognized is how these same changes are affecting mechanical properties of soils and the quantity and quality of groundwater resources. Rising groundwater tables in coastal regions not only contribute to surface water flooding but pose a risk of mobilizing vadose zone contaminants at thousands of sites in the coastal U.S. and worldwide.

Changes in irrigation practices and other drivers of increased groundwater demand are not only leading to depletion of groundwater resources but are creating great potential for widespread transport of highly mobile contaminants, including PFAS and other emerging contaminants of concern.

Based on his experience in federal science policy and private sector practice, Dan Walker, Ph.D., A.M. ASCE (University of Maryland) attempts to bring these various threads together in this presentation to explore their implications for our industry. (44 minutes)

FA23-07 How Technology Can Improve Stakeholder Engagement for a Successful Project Lifecycle
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In recognition of the rapidly growing impact of technology in geoprofessional consulting, GBA recently established the BizTech Committee. This presentation aims to demonstrate the transformative power of technology in common breadbasket projects such as brownfields, bringing the BizTech revolution to the forefront. Effective stakeholder engagement plays a crucial role in the success of any AEC project. So, how can you improve it?

Michael Boisvert (Verdantas) showcases the utilization of innovative technology to convert vast amounts of data, project challenges, and redevelopment design alternatives into interactive decision-making presentations, dashboards, story maps, and other user-friendly tools. The enhancement of the ‘user experience’ holds exceptional value in AEC projects, where stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, technical expertise, and interests must collaborate for project success.

Michael provides examples of groundbreaking approaches to data and development visualization. The examples highlight the value of these tools in soliciting stakeholder input, addressing concerns, and improving communication methods for complex engineering and environmental planning concepts. (24 minutes)

FA23-08 Elevating Geoprofessional Value Through Know, Like, and Trust
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Kevin Knebl’s session demonstrates highly effective networking, relationship building, and interpersonal skills including his “HIGH TECH/HIGH TOUCH RELATIONSHIP BUILDING SYSTEM™” and leads to a massive differentiation between the attendees and their competitors. Kevin provides immediately-applicable strategies and methods to increase your organizations’ visibility, showcase your credibility, and grow your revenue among many other benefits.

Kevin’s decades-long study of success principles based on the work of Napoleon Hill, interpersonal skills based on the work of Dale Carnegie, and top-of-mind and relationship-building skills based on the work of Bob Burg (and his study of the work of numerous other leaders in the fields of personal development) has resulted in a weaving together of time-tested principles with huge applications in business, which is demonstrated in this session.

During this workshop Kevin leverages both online and offline communication tools, demonstrating that while technology is a requirement in our modern business world, people skills including leadership skills are all about the human dimension and the ability to quickly create, nurture, and deepen relationships both within your organization and with prospective clients, networking partners, and strategic alliances.

Kevin’s content is in close alignment with the Guiding Principles outlined on ElevateGeoprofessionalValue.org. (58 minutes)