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Transportation engineers promote green in the industry featuring Steve Kathol

Steve Kathol, principal at Schemmer Associates and manager of Schemmer’s transportation group, was recently quoted in the June 15, 2012 issue of the Midlands Business Journal, titled “Transportation

Steve Kathol, P.E., S.E.

engineers promote green in the industry.”

He pointed out that going green in transportation engineering is becoming more and more common these days. It’s getting to the point that efforts are being made to start a program for horizontal structures similar to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) effort for buildings.

“It’s starting to get off the ground and I foresee that coming to a more substantive process,” Kathol said in the article.

Kathol also said he is seeing an increased number of transportation engineers striving to be greener by recycling more and reducing sediment from storm water runoff. Kathol also mentioned engineers are doing their part to stop harmful storm water runoff from their transportation projects.

To read the entire article, make sure to pick up the June 15, 2012 Midlands Business Journal. The article, titled “Transportation engineers promote green in the industry,” can be found on page 36.

Part I: Growing Solutions – Clean Solutions for Omaha By Charly Huddleston, P.E.

Charly Huddleston, P.E.

The Clean Solutions for Omaha program encompasses approximately 43 square miles of Omaha. The specific areas are known as Downtown, Midtown, North Omaha and South Omaha. These areas were developed at a time when combined sewer systems (sanitary and storm water flowing in single pipe systems) were an accepted design.

The specific area of town known as West Omaha is not included in the CSO program because it was developed after the discontinuation of combined sewers, which was replaced by separate sanitary and storm sewers.

Approximately 52 times each year, raw sewage is discharged into the Missouri River and the Papillion Creek watershed from the flows originating in the older combined sewer system areas. The City of Omaha is not alone. There are about 772 other communities in the United States facing this same challenge.

The Federal Government passed the Combined Sewer Control Overflow policy in 1994. In 2005, the City of Omaha received notification that compliance was required. Four years later, the City, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed on an approved long-term control plan (LTCP) to reduce discharges to four times per year. Completion of the LTCP is scheduled for 2024. Read more

Do Roundabouts Really Work? By Mark Lutjeharms, P.E., PTOE

Mark Lutjeharms, P.E., PTOE

“Hey look kids, there’s Big Ben, and there’s Parliament…again,” said Clark Griswold (aka Chevy Chase) in European Vacation. Despite Mr. Griswold’s experience with this particular round intersection, roundabouts have proven to be very successful in addressing safety and capacity at urban and rural intersections alike.  In fact:

  • In comparison to a two-way, stop-controlled intersection, roundabouts reduce severe (injury/fatal) crashes by 82 percent and overall crashes by 44 percent.
  • In comparison to a signalized intersection, roundabouts reduce severe (injury/fatal) crashes by 78 percent and overall crashes by 48 percent.
  • In comparison to a signalized intersection, roundabouts can reduce vehicle delays by as much as 89 percent.

Additional benefits of roundabouts include:

  • Reduced long-term operational costs.
  • More environmentally friendly than traditional intersections due to less vehicle emissions, fuel use and noise.
  • More aesthetically pleasing than traditional traffic intersections.
  • Easier navigation than traditional intersections for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Because of these benefits, roundabouts are being implemented more frequently in communities throughout the country and are oftentimes considered as the traffic-control method of choice.  

So, do roundabouts really work?  Absolutely!  If you haven’t already done so, give them a try. You might like them so much you will go round and round just like Clark Griswold.

Quality: Who’s Responsible for it?? By Steve Kathol, P.E., S.E.

 

Steve Kathol

Every entity that produces a work product is challenged by it.  Engineers and architects strive to perfect it.  Clients demand it.  Attorneys often get involved if one fails to produce it.  What is it?  Quality!

The quality of our work product is often the difference between a great client/architect-engineer experience and a good or perhaps poor experience.  This is true, not only for our work product, but also for the quality of the professional services we provide.  Poor quality often leads to construction change orders, schedule delays, exceeded budgets, unhappy clients and possibly litigation.  So it’s simple –produce high-quality deliverables and the likelihood of a successful project and happy client is high; fail to produce quality deliverables and the likelihood you’ll need your attorney is equally high.

So how do you produce quality? 

At Schemmer, our Quality Assurance/Quality Control plan is based on the following FIVE principles:

  1. Quality is everyone’s responsibility.  All team members have equal responsibility in ensuring high-quality deliverables.  It is not the sole responsibility of a principal, project manager, a department manager or project engineer/architect. This environment allows all team members to observe and take action.
  2. Quality control is continuous throughout project development. Good quality control does not happen only at the end of a project, but instead it is continuous throughout the entire project development.  Quality must be developed over time, just like other aspects of the project.  Read more

GENERALIST OR SPECIALIST? By Tracy Mumford, LEED AP

Tracy Mumford, LEED AP

“What built environment does your firm specialize in?” Those of us who work in the A/E/C industry can count on hearing this question.  As Schemmer’s Marketing Director, I’ve found that my answer depends on who is asking the question and when it is asked. 

Schemmer is an architectural, engineering and planning firm offering over two dozen distinctive services in five core market sectors.  Many firms that fit this profile describe themselves as generalists, but not Schemmer.  Instead, we view ourselves as specialists in multiple markets

If you had asked me what we specialize in three years ago, my answer would have been “engineering services for federal government agencies” or “architectural design of senior living facilities.” At that time, the majority of our billable hours were dedicated to serving these two core markets.  Our architects, engineers, project managers and field technicians are experts in fulfilling the needs of these markets. 

Today, though, if you asked me this same question, my answer would be “infrastructure engineering and industrial facility architectural engineering services.”  This focus enables us to address the needs of an expanded client base while continuing to provide our existing clients with consultants who are already proven and acclimated to their way of doing work. 

When demand for a built environment changes, Schemmer responds.  We are an adaptive group of professionals who are dedicated to fulfilling the needs of our clients. As the marketplace evolves, so do we.

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