New Release! Case History 108

A GBA-Member Firm provided suggested changes to a sewer pipe design in order to keep construction moving forward on a five-story senior-living facility. Four years later, swelling clays caused the sewer line to back-up and the lower-level slab began showing heaving related distress. That good deed with other project related complications resulted in a $25 million claim that required an extensive defense of contract limitations of liability, standards of care, and project documentation.

Lessons Learned:

• No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
• Prevent Recommendations from Becoming Requirements
• Do Not Unilaterally Deviate from the Scope of Services
• It Pays to Be Your Brother’s Keeper
• Documentation Can Be Your Best Defense
• Consider Limitation of Liability During Your Go/No-Go Analysis

Learn from others. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past! GBA Case Histories are being used by our members for loss prevention discussions in support of professional development and mentoring. That is why GBA case histories are so valuable, and why GBA continues to produce new ones.

GBA Case Histories are FREE to all Members.

Download GBA’s Case History #108: HERE

5 More Case Histories Refreshed

GBA Publications Committee

Learn from others. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past! GBA Case Histories are being
used by our members for loss prevention discussions in support of professional
development and mentoring. That is why GBA case histories are so valuable, and why GBA is updating them all, while adding new ones, too. Five more Case Histories have been re-issued.

GBA CASE HISTORY 86 (download):
A “dream home” built on expansive soil and nonexpansive sandstone began to move about eight months after construction. The original geotechnical-engineering report warned of that risk, noted that a slope-stability analysis had intentionally been excluded from the scope of service, and advised that a slope-stability analysis was needed. During construction, the builder releveled the excavation by as much as 18 inches, without any geotechnical-engineering observations or tests, and this was the likely cause of the problems. But the builder was bankrupt and the other parties, except for the geotechnical engineer, were insufficiently insured. To get into the geotechnical engineer’s deep pockets, the homeowner’s attorney brought in a “hired gun” expert who knew just what to say.

GBA CASE HISTORY 87 (download):
A long-term, significant client – a regional grocery store chain – was replacing an existing outlet in a somewhat remote area. The store was one of the client’s less profitable, so the owner’s representative encouraged all involved with design and construction to keep costs low. Unfortunately, the general contractor seemed somewhat distracted, as did the architect. As a consequence, the Member Firm – engaged to provide geotechnical engineering and construction materials engineering and testing (CoMET) services – had to deal with an inadequate submittal-review process and poor scheduling. The member decided to not make waves about the situation, and that was a mistake: The new pavement system failed before construction was complete. Ultimately, the Member Firm got aggressively involved in problem remediation, and that prevented a bad situation from becoming worse. Still, the Member Firm had to contribute about $70,000 to recognize its own performance shortcomings, but – by using meditation – it salvaged its relationship with the client.

GBA CASE HISTORY 88 (download):
A GBA-Member Firm performed a geotechnical-engineering study for a 35-lot subdivision. The developer – a long-time client of the Member Firm – sold the land and development plans to a colleague. The colleague developer then sold one of the lots to a homebuilder. As it so happens, the homebuilder’s lot was located on an ancient landslide. Local authorities were concerned by the situation and told the homebuilder to contact the Member Firm, under the mistaken belief that the Member Firm still was the geotechnical engineer of record. The Member Firm responded promptly, sending a field representative to the site to perform a few basic services. Member Firm personnel assumed that the lot was being developed more or less as they had originally called for, and that was a bad mistake. It cost the Member Firm $95,000 to extricate itself from a situation it should not have gotten involved in to begin with.

GBA CASE HISTORY 89 (download):
A major health-maintenance organization (HMO) engaged the GBA-Member Firm to conduct a geotechnical-engineering study for a new office building to be constructed on a site underlain by old fill and expansive soil. The client clearly was concerned by the subsurface conditions, and that caused the Member Firm – also engaged to provide construction materials engineering and testing (CoMET) services – to work directly with the contractor when its geotechnical recommendations were overridden by the architect and the owner’s staff engineer. The Member Firm’s failure to take a more diplomatic approach caused reactions that forced it to “go along to get along.” It continued to serve, buy only to evaluate construction for compliance with the specifications as written. Because those specifications were inadequate, serious pavement distress occurred, followed by a dispute. When mediation failed to resolve the dispute, the Member Firm figured it could be in for a protracted problem, despite having a limitation of liability provision in its agreement with the HMO. Fortunately, the Member Firm’s worst fears were not realized, but that was a stroke of luck.

GBA CASE HISTORY 90 (download):
The Member Firm’s project manager studied a problem site that the owner purchased at a discount and developed an economic means of making the land usable for a new factory. The owner declined the Member Firm’s field services, however, and instead vested that responsibility in the earthwork contractor. Later, the contractor and the owner’s representative called the project manager, asking him to significantly reduce cut-and-fill requirements because the contractor’s representative said he was encountering “pretty good material.” Not fond of the owner’s representative at this point, the project manager said, “Go ahead,” without even bothering to visit the site. Soon after construction, the new plant’s floor slab began to crack and move, and the project manager knew why. The bad news: It cost the Member Firm $275,000 to correct the problem. The good news: Were it not for the firm’s fast, aggressive response, the loss could have been far, far worse.

GBA Case Histories are FREE to all Members.

Access GBA’s Entire Library of Case Histories: HERE



Nominations Being Accepted for the 2020 Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award

Nominations Being Accepted for the 2020 Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award

In 2005, GBA and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) instituted the Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award to promote and recognize civil engineering leadership in professional practice and ethics. The Foundation for Professional Practice, also established by GBA and ASCE, donated the funds to support this annual award which recognizes an engineer-leader for a specific accomplishment or for lifetime achievements that demonstrate superior ethics and leadership while participating in professional practice or service to the public.

Nominations are being accepted now through June 15, 2020. The award shall consist of a certificate and honorarium and the winner may be recognized at a future GBA event. Nominees should be licensed professional engineers but do not need to be a member of ASCE or GBA.


2020 Fall Conference Call for Abstracts

Are you a dynamic and engaging individual who can present to a large group of people? Do you have valuable content to share with geoprofessional industry leaders?

The Geoprofessional Business Association is accepting submissions for session abstracts for our upcoming Fall Conference scheduled for October 22-24, 2020 in Minneapolis, MN. Our members regularly gather at GBA twice a year conferences to network, share best practices, learn how to improve their business performance and elevate the industry.

Plan now to be a part of this event!

The Conference Theme: Recovery, Revitalization and Resurgence Beyond Crisis

GBA Member Firms will soon be looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis to recovery, revitalization and resurgence of their businesses. The 2020 Fall Conference will focus on leadership behaviors, business strategies, and proven tactics critical to managing corporate performance beyond crisis to take advantage of the emergent new business environment.

Looking beyond the pandemic, companies will do well to develop leadership that supports innovation, challenges assumptions and encourages risk taking and creativity. Leaders will necessarily assess business processes to improve efficiency and fully leverage their assets for the growth cycle as economies recover globally.
The COVID crisis has revealed not just vulnerabilities but also opportunities to improve the performance of businesses. Opportunities to push the envelope of technology adoption are accelerating. Rapid learning about what it takes to drive productivity when labor is remote or unavailable is driving fundamental change. Leaders are assessing the results of what we’ve been through: a stronger sense of what makes business more resilient to shocks, more cohesive, and better able to deliver solutions to clients.

Given that stronger performance is increasingly associated with a greater range of dynamic leadership teams, client types, and service offerings – and recognizing the relatively low priority many companies put on such diversity – the Fall Conference will provide valuable insight to improve your performance by expanding the range of experience and thought in your firm.

Post COVID-19, you can elevate performance, innovate delivery processes, diversify your business, and thrive in a new economy. Please join us as your GBA partners gather this Fall to help you recover, revitalize and resurge beyond the crisis.
Submission deadline is Monday, June 8, 2020

Download the Abstract Submission Form: HERE

With Gratitude: Geoprofessionals and All Essential Workers

Thank you to all the essential workers that continue to provide valuable services to keep all of us healthy, safe, and fed. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused unbearable stress and anxiety to all essential workers. Still, you have risen to the challenge to keep all essential services running. You are the unsung heroes during this pandemic.

We sometimes overlook the geoprofessionals who continue to keep essential projects moving forward  with safety and with high quality our profession demands. Working behind the scenes, you are helping to make sure when this pandemic is over, we will all be able to return to a safe world.

Thank you for being superheroes!

Head and Vogt GBA Appointed New Fellows

GBA Council of Fellows

Charles “Charlie” L. Head, P.E., P.G. (Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.) and Woodward “Woody” L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE, F. ASCE, F.ACI, F. ASTM (Paradigm Consultants) have been appointed to the prestigious Council of Fellows of the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA).

Charles “Charlie” L. Head, P.E., P.G. is a co-founder of Sanborn Head, and in his roles as CEO and Board Chair, he is focused on the successful implementation of the firm’s strategic plan.  Charlie received his bachelor’s degree in geology from St. Lawrence University, a bachelor’s  degree in civil engineering from the University of New  Hampshire, and a master’s degree in  civil  and  groundwater engineering from Colorado State University.

Mr. Head served as GBA’s President during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, is on the Board of Directors for Granite United Way and has served on the Board of Trustees of the Concord Community Music School. He currently sits on the University of New Hampshire’s Department of Civil Engineering Advisory Board. Charlie is a 2017 graduate of Leadership New Hampshire.

Woodward L. “Woody” Vogt, D. GE, P.E., is president of Paradigm Consultants, Inc. in Houston. He has more than 40 years’ experience providing geotechnical, construction materials, and investigative and forensic engineering services.

Prior to serving as GBA’s 2018-2019 President, Woody served on the GBA Board of Directors, and was a founding member of the GBA Construction Materials Engineering and Testing (CoMET) Council and chaired the GBA Accreditation and Certification Task Force. Woody is a Diplomate of Academy of Geo-Professionals and a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, ACI International, and ASTM International. He participates in committee activities of ACI International and ASTM and is past chair of ASTM E36 – Accreditation and Certification. Woody has served on the board of directors of the International Council for Certification of Construction Inspectors and is past board chair of the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. He served as president of TCEL/Geoprofessionals Serving Texas and the Houston Chapter of TCEL. Woody received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology (“Georgia Tech”) and is a licensed professional engineer in Texas and Louisiana. A contributor to many GBA publications, Woody heads the GBA Editorial Committee and has authored four case histories and the GBA publication “Moist-Curing Room Design, Construction and Maintenance” published by the GBA CoMET Business Council.

The association established the Council in 1975 to provide guidance for GBA’s direction and to pursue other activities its members deemed appropriate. The appointments of Messrs. Head and Vogt were announced during GBA’s 2020 Spring Conference by GBA President, Arthur G. “Art” Hoffmann, P.E., D.GE (Gannett Fleming, Inc.).

Please join us in congratulating Messrs. Head and Vogt for their appointment into the GBA Council of Fellows.

Kenneth R. “Ken” Johnston is New GBA President

Kenneth R. “Ken” Johnston (GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.)    is the new President of the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA), a not-for-profit association of geoprofessional firms. Accepting office during ceremonies  at GBA’s annual meeting held virtually for the first time in GBA’s 50-year history.

Mr. Johnston is the 50th individual to serve as GBA’s president and chair the group’s board of directors. Other directors who will serve during GBA’s 2020-2021 fiscal year are:
• President-Elect: Thomas W. “Tom” Blackburn, P.E., G.E., F.ASCE (Blackburn Consulting)
• Secretary/Treasurer: Leo Titus, Jr., P.E. (ECS, Ltd.)
• Chuck A. Gregory, P.E. (Terracon)
• Martin LaRoche, P. Eng, M.Sc. (SNC Lavalin)
• Guy Marcozzi, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, F. ASCE (Duffield Associates, Inc.)
• Christopher Matthew “Matt” Moler, P.E. (S&ME, Inc.)
• Matthew R. “Matt” Poirier, P.E. (Sanborn, Head & Associates, Inc.)
• Steve Wendland, P.E., R.G., D.GE (Kleinfelder, Inc.)

Mr. Johnston is the Senior Principal at GZA GeoEnvironmental and the firm’s chief administrative officer. He previously served as GZA’s senior vice president, responsible for risk management, contracts, and real estate and, before that, was the firm’s vice president of operations. Mr. Johnston holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Norwich University. He earned his master’s degree in business administration at New Hampshire College. An avid bicyclist, Mr. Johnston has completed the Pan Mass Challenge for 25 consecutive years, raising more than $170,000 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He is actively involved in the Board of Fellows at the Business & Management School at Norwich University, currently serving as the Board’s chairman.

During GBA’s 2020 Spring Conference, Mr. Johnston thanked the Association Members for their confidence in his leadership, especially during these challenging times for our Members and our Association.

More: GBA Board of Directors

Spring Education Series Available On-Demand

Those that attended GBA’s 2020 Spring Education  webinar series agreed that the presentations were educational, entertaining, and inspiring. Now you can watch, listen to, and learn from these speakers too, on your own schedule.

Presentations included:

The Return of the Economist: The Impact of an Unprecedented COVID-19 Supply Shock
Anirban Basu, MPP, MA, JD – (Sage Policy Group, Inc.)

Planning, Preparing and Executing for the Looming Recession
Lee James, CPA, CBI, CMC®, F.GBA (Lee James & Associates)

Negotiate It! How to Crush Your Fears, Develop Your Negotiation Muscle,
and Gain Power in the Workplace
Lynn Price, J.D. (Lynn Price Consulting)

Recession Tune-up (Overhaul)
Guy Marcozzi, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, F.ASCE (Duffield Associates, Inc.)

Gripped by COVID-19 – An Economic and Geopolitical Outlook
Past the Media Headlines
Bernard Baumohl (The Economic Outlook Group)

As added value to all members, GBA recorded the 2020 Spring Education Series and made them available to all through our on-demand platform. These videos make great lunch-and-learns for professional development of small groups or your entire staff.

Watch On-Demand: HERE

GBA Podcast is Launched

GBA announces the launch of its first podcast series titled COVID Concerns.

This series captures conversations with industry leaders on important topics that will help you lead your geoprofessional consulting firm, large or small, in response to the global pandemic.

GBA’s 4th Emerging Leaders Class led the podcast effort in response to our members’ demand to deliver important loss prevention and business optimization topics as easily downloadable audio content.

As the preferred source of business-educational resources for geoprofessional firms, COVID Concerns is the first in a series of podcasts planned for delivery of important GBA topics to our members and geoprofessionals worldwide.

Subscribe Now!

Begin listening on any mobile device by subscribing to GBA’s podcast. Simply copy and paste the following into the URL into your search drive: Subscribe here

Alternatively, you can listen online at

Please Help Us Explore How D+I Initiatives Impact Employee Engagement

Diversity + Inclusion (D+I) is used frequently  in business today but is often not well defined.
The Geoprofessional Business Association’s (GBA’s) D+I Task Force joined forces with the Emerging Leaders Committee to survey its membership and the broader geoprofessional community to learn what D+I initiatives member firms employ, the landscape of participants, and the perceived success of these programs in employee retention.

Information from this brief survey will be used to support future GBA programs on D+I, business brief or best practices documents, podcasts, and potentially development of affinity groups. The information will also support an article GBA is preparing for GEOSTRATA magazine later this year as part of a special issue on D+I.

The brief survey is being provided to GBA Members and others in the geoprofessional community for voluntary response, Your involvement will take less than two minutes to complete and the information you provide will be extremely important to understanding D+I within the geoprofessional community!

Please take GBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Survey HERE

GBA Peer Groups Provide Support in Troubled Times

GBA Peer Review Committee

Perspective: The interrelation in which a subject  or its parts are mentally viewed; the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.

Black Swan Event: A metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the widespread insistence they were obvious in hindsight.

As the nations and businesses of the world have tried to come to grips with the magnitude of the “black swan event” that is the Covid-19 crisis, rational perspective has understandably been in short supply. Sudden disruption necessitates a defensive response, relying at least initially on instincts. Unique in our lifetime, the disruption in this case is exacerbated by physical separation from our usual social resources. A relatively new GBA program has yielded added value to participants in these troubled times by helping to bridge the emerging social gap between leaders in geoprofessional firms.

GBA’s Peer Review program has for decades provided member firms the business perspective they need in times of relative normality. In the fall of 2018, GBA’s Peer Review Committee launched a related program (Peer Groups) designed to provide continuity and sustain a network for confidential peer perspective on business    best practices among participants. The  first Peer Group (5 executives from firms with little competitive overlap) was launched and  remains engaged.

Peer Group 1 held a kick-off meeting that shared firm profiles and a provided a platform for  bonding. The group has met twice a year since. Each meeting has focused on a primary topic of   broad business interest followed by several secondary topics covering pressing issues, core  management competencies and critical success factors. The Peer Group has developed trust  and support between meetings through ad hoc sharing of inquiries, experiences and suggestions.

The initial Peer Group is proving to be a valuable resource for participants as they seek resilience, navigating the impacts and response decisions related to Covid-19. After an initial virus-related inquiry within the Peer Group on March 6, participants have kept in touch each week on the impacts to their people and business while providing insight on response measures. The group has served as a virtual extension of each executive’s advisory team. Perspectives shared are fresh, independent and unbiased by the fog of war that is proximate in each firm. The group is planning a half-day teleconference this month to further confront the current and future threats we are facing, as well as stretch to explore potential opportunities that may emerge as we begin to heal.

More Peer Groups are being formed. For more information about how you can join a GBA Peer Group, please contact GBA Staff or Stu Thompson (CTL-Thompson), Chair of GBA’s Peer Review Committee.


GBA Board Member Spotlight – Kenneth R. Johnston – GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

A Road Less Traveled

It will not take long to see that my path to the Geoprofessional Business Association  is quite different from my fellow GBA Board Members. The first indication is that I don’t share the P.E, P. Eng, or P.G. designations that the majority of my GBA friends and business colleagues share. In fact, when I will become GBA’s 51st President in April 2020, I believe I will be the only GBA President to date without any of these designations after my name. This has been the story of my life, as I have always chosen the road less traveled.

I attended Norwich University which is the Nation’s Oldest Private Military School in the Country  founded in 1819.  Proudly, Norwich University has a 200-year history and it is where Reserve Officer Training (ROTC) was founded. I wanted to study at an institution that offered mental, physical and disciplinary challenges while living as part of a Corp of Cadets but was not accepted at my first choice which was the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis). I am grateful for the  education and leadership training that Norwich University provided me and being part of the  University’s long history. Additionally, my Dad was a Captain in the United States Navy and former fighter Pilot who fought in  WWII and the Korean Conflict;  I know succeeding at Norwich University made my parents proud.


I earned a degree in Business Administration with a minor in Computer Science in 1982 which was a personal victory because the graduation rate at Norwich was around 60%. This was due to the rigorous physical demands and the high academic standards. My success at Norwich required drive, passion, and determination that has fueled my almost 40-year professional career. On a daily basis, I am often one of the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave. It has always been this way throughout my career, and I do not know of any other way then to give it my all. While working full time, I continued my education. In 1985 I earned an MBA from New Hampshire College, and in 1994, GZA sent me to executive training classes at Duke’s Fuqua School.

In short, I am an entrepreneur living in a technical world and more than half of my career has been spent at GZA GeoEnvironmental.  I am currently GZA’s Chief Administrative Officer, Bedford District Office Manager, and a Senior Principal. I also serve on the Executive Team of the firm.  In this split role, I have responsibility for the overall management and development of the Bedford, New Hampshire office, while also  being involved in most of GZA’s administrative tasks including the negotiation and execution of all real estate related activities and major acquisitions.

My path to GZA is another road less traveled. I have worked in financial positions for Sanders Associates/Lockheed along with two entrepreneurial stops along the way. One stop was with a small group of investors from Minnesota that formed a start-up company called Storage Investment Management, Inc. This group was involved with all phases of operating and managing mini-storage warehouses across the country. I also spent many years as an owner of Allstate Polyethylene Corporation, a polyethylene packaging company. I would not change the path I have taken as I have enjoyed every moment and cherished all the great people I met along the way.  The road I traveled also helped me to prepare for my leadership roles at both GZA and GBA.

In 2008, Bill Hadge, my former boss, close friend, and CEO at GZA suggested I start my involvement in GBA.  As I began learning about GBA, participating in Committees and attending events; I met and established lifelong friendships with some of the greatest people in our industry while travelling to many interesting places around the country.  The GBA relationships that I developed helped my career in many ways and hardly a week goes by that I am not in contact with a GBA friend and colleague looking for advice on an issue we might be facing.  This sharing of knowledge works well because we have a mutual trust. It is a “two-way street” as we are always willing to share our experiences and provide advice to each other. This is a way of life with GBA members and just one example of the many values this organization provides.

My “work hard, play hard” mantra has been valuable in all parts of my life.  When I am not working, I enjoy all sports and could be considered a sport junky. I have been fortunate enough to have traveled the country and attended numerous  sporting events including Superbowl’s, an NBA championship, World Series, and Stanley Cup games.  I am also an avid bicyclist, having pedaled over 81,505 miles (as of 4-15-2020: Did I mention I am a type A compulsive personality) in the past 30 years. My lifetime goal is to bike along more roads less traveled reaching 100,000-miles before unclipping my cycling shoes and retiring from cycling. As motivation to ride, I annually focus my training on the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC), a 192-mile bike ride from Sturbridge, Massachusetts to Provincetown, Massachusetts.  This annual ride has become a tradition as I have completed the PMC 30 consecutive years, helping to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in the country’s single largest charity fundraiser. I am proud to have raised over $215,000 for cancer research, while the PMC has raised over $717 million since its inception 40 year ago.

Last year, the event raised an incredible record-breaking gift of $63 million. What separates the PMC from other fundraisers is the fact that 100% of rider raised money goes directly to the Dana Farber Cancer institute to help find a cure for cancer. God willing, I hope to stay involved with this event to watch them break the one Billion Dollar mark in donations which should be in the next 5 – 6 years.  I am also proud to have ridden the PMC several times with my two children, Lauren and Jeff who have also raised over $50,000 for this cause.

I have the sincere honor of being on GBA’s Board of Directors since 2015 and currently serve as President-Elect.  My road less traveled also includes serving as a past board member, and coach of many teams for the Stoughton Youth Athletic Club (STOYAC) in Stoughton, Massachusetts. Since March of 2010, I have been given the opportunity to give back to my alma mater as a member of the Board of Fellows. I served as a fellow for the Business & Management School culminating as the Chairman. After that position, I was selected to serve as the Chairman of the Executive Leadership Team overseeing the 96 members that comprise the Board of Fellows from the eight schools within the Norwich University system.

My road less traveled could not have been as enjoyable or as successful without my wife Sherri and our children, Lauren (Bryant University Class of 2011), and Jeff (United States Military Academy at West Point Class of 2015). Both Sherri and I are proud of our children and their spouses. They share my “work hard, play hard” mantra and all of them put it on the line every day for this great country.  My son-in-law Adam is a Boston Police officer and former army soldier that served in Afghanistan. Jeff and his wife Julie, also a West Point graduate 15’, are both Captains in the Army, Blackhawk pilots, and both recently returned from distinguished tours in Afghanistan.  My ultimate hero is my daughter Lauren, who is taking a sabbatical from her professional career to take on a more important role as a Mom to Malcom, our first grandchild and our pride and joy who was born in April 2019.

While my path to become the President of GBA has not been a traditional one, the road I took has been exciting and rewarding with opportunities to explore the scenery around each bend, experience interesting stops along the way, and grow a network of colleagues and friends from many diverse locations that I will cherish for life. When I look back over my career, I have to say that getting involved with the GBA back in 2008 was one of the best and rewarding decisions I  ever made.  I am honored to have the opportunity to serve you.

A Letter from GBA’s President Art Hoffmann

Dear, GBA Members.

We are living through unprecedented times. Family, loved ones, friends, employees, co-workers, neighbors,society are foremost in our minds at this time. We’re also very concerned about our livelihoods, our firms and the economy. I realize that GBA is a very minor item in a world in which such important things are brought into such sharp focus.

I send you this brief message to let you know that the Board of Directors of GBA and our wonderful staff are thinking about all of you today. We’re also doing everything we can to make sure that GBA remains a strong organization and that we continue, to the best of our ability, to provide value and help you address risk and business performance In that regard, we will continue publishing important reference material, updating our website, and plan to deliver key elements of the 2020 Spring Conference virtually. Additionally, we will continue working together to connect with our members and manage our Association efficiently.

Please take the advice of the experts and follow all the recommendations and directives that have been shared with us over the last few weeks so we can all come through this safe and healthy and together.

Looking forward to raising our glasses in a huge toast with all of you this October in Minneapolis for GBA’s 2020 Fall Conference!

Be Safe and Healthy

All the best wishes to you all

GBA BUSINESS BRIEF: The Future In-Focus: Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence

The Emerging Issues and Trends (EIT) Committee held the latest of its widely acclaimed Crystal Ball Workshop (CBW) series in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 2 and 3, 2019 and their efforts have been published. The CBW confronted the exponential rate of technology-driven change in what has been termed the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Central to this revolution are the roles of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. EIT expects that these technologies will forever change the nature of how geoprofessionals will deliver their services.

The GBA-hosted CBW was co-sponsored by ASCE’s Geo-Institute, ACEC’s Geoprofessional Coalition, and ADSC (The International Association of Foundation Drilling).

We extend our appreciation to Bradley Melocik, PE, PH (DOWL) and Teresa Peterson. P.E., C.M.E., (Gannett Fleming, Inc.) for their efforts in leading the Crystal Ball Workshop and preparing the GBA Business Brief all the volunteers and staff who participated in planning the event. We also appreciate the thought leaders who contributed to the success of the Crystal Ball Workshop. They are:

Chris Bellusci, (Aspect Consulting, LLC)

Stephen Brockwell, MSc (Esri)

Allen Cadden, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE (Schnabel Engineering, Inc.)

Benjamin Crawford, P.E., G.E. (Crawford & Associates, Inc.)

Kyle Davy, AIA (Kyle V. Davy Consulting)

John Doehring, CMC (J. Doehring & Co.)

Vic Donald, P.E. (Terracon)

Kurt Fraese, L.G., F.GBA (Fraese and Associates, LLC)

Jeffrey Gebhard (Braun Intertec Corporation)

Roy Kern, Jr. (Equipment Corporation of America)

Mark Kramer, P.E., F.GBA (SME)

Bryan Layman, P.E., P.P.S.S., A.O.S.E, LEED AP (ESC, Ltd.)

Nick Machairas, (New York University)

Jay Martin, P.E. (WOOD)

Bradley Melocik, P.E. P.H. (DOWL)

Mike Moore (ADSC – The International Association of Foundation Drilling)

Teresa Peterson, P.E., C.M.E., LEED AP O&M, ENV SP (Gannett Fleming, Inc.)

Laura Reinbold, P.E., F.GBA (Terracon)

Gerald Salontai, P.E., F.GBA (Salontai Consulting Group, LLC)

Marty Taube, P.E., P.G. (Menard Group USA)

Dan Thome, P.E. (Nicholson Construction Company)

Steven Thompson, P.E. (8260 Consulting Group, LLC)

Gordian Ulrich, Dipl.Ing. (Equipment Corporation of America)

Kord Wissmann, Ph, D, P.E., D.GE (Geopier Foundation Company)

Download GBA BUSINESS BRIEF: The Future In-Focus: Big Data, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence

5 More Case Histories Refreshed

GBA Publications Committee

Learn from others. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past! GBA Case Histories are being used by our members for loss prevention discussions in support of professional development and mentoring. That is why GBA case histories are so valuable, and why GBA is updating them all, while adding new ones, too. Five more Case Histories have been re-issued.

CASE HISTORY NO.81: Download Here
Not knowing your client’s preferences and expectations can be expensive, as one member learned on a nuclear power plant project. The client orally authorized the Member Firm to begin construction materials engineering and testing (CoMET) services and dictated the format for test reporting. The project manager complied, but learned the client was dissatisfied during a collection call. He thought the problem had been solved by changing procedures, but the client’s demand letter proved him wrong.

CASE HISTORY NO. 82: Download Here
A client planning to purchase a site said “enough is enough”  after contamination was discovered. The site’s owner was willing to pay for additional services, however, so the project moved forward. But that was a serious mistake,the Member Firm learned. If only the firm had spent 30 minutes inquiring about the new client’s reputation, $84,000 worth of litigation could have been avoided.

CASE HISTORY NO. 83: Download Here
An optimistic scope of service should be implemented by highly qualified staff, not junior employees. A Member Firm submitted the lowest bid for a project, assuming it could rely on its experience with a similar site about a half-mile away. The low-cost employees assigned to the project failed to realize that dune sand could cover the peat deposits of former marshes.

CASE HISTORY NO. 84: Download Here
A Member Firm’s preliminary estimate did not bring  in the anticipated engagement, so it just forgot about it.But not only had the estimate been used as a final report, it was applied to a project whose size was changed. The GBA-Member Firm learned what it should already have known: The size of a risk is often inversely proportional to the size of the project. In this case, a hoped-for $50 profit cost the firm well over $2.5 million, not including the value of the time it had to spend or the opportunity cost.

CASE HISTORY NO.85: Download Here
A firm, retained on an on-call basis, conducted 282 moisture and density tests during  back filling of utility lines in a housing subdivision. Ten months after completion of the infrastructure, the ground surface and sidewalks settled over the sanitary lines in three areas. The principal-in-charge reviewed test data, spoke with the resident engineer on the project, and learned that his firm’s responsibility was slight. Nonetheless, he provided $6,000 worth of remedial services to fix the problem and convinced the contractor to contribute even more. By doing so, he avoided litigation and gained a “client for life.”

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