Tag Archive for 'transportation'

Short Video Message from ARTBA President & CEO David Bauer

North Dakota State University Professor Denver Tolliver Honored with ARTBA’s Research & Education Award

Dr. Denver Tolliver, the director of the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute (UGPTI) at North Dakota State University, is the 2018 recipient of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) prestigious S.S. Steinberg Award. He was honored Jan. 13 during the association’s annual Research & Education Division (RED) meeting, held in the Nation’s Capital.

Named after the founding president of RED, the award recognizes “an individual who has made remarkable contributions to transportation education.”

Over the course of his career, Tolliver has received more than $25 million in grants from federal and state agencies. He has also authored – or co-authored – 160 transportation research publications, including reports for the Research and Innovative Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Department of Roads, and several state departments of transportation.

In addition to his position at UGPTI, Tolliver is the director of the Mountain-Plains Consortium, the U.S. DOT’s University Transportation Center in Federal Region 8; director of the interdisciplinary Transportation and Logistics graduate program at North Dakota State University; executive director of the Transportation Research Forum; and, chairman of the Transportation Leadership Graduate Certificate Program.

Prior to joining North Dakota State, Tolliver was a rail planner for the North Dakota Department of Transportation and a research assistant at the Center for Environmental Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning and a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Morehead State University.

Established in 1902, Washington, D.C.-based ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry before Congress, federal agencies, the White House, news media and the general public.

For more information visit ARTBA

Schneidawind Named ARTBA Vice President of Public Affairs

 The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has tapped John Schneidawind as its new vice president of public affairs, effective January 3. A former business writer at USA Today, Schneidawind has decades of diverse communications experience in the private sector and with national associations.

Schneidawind will head ARTBA’s media relations initiatives. He will play a key role in the execution of the “Transportation Makes America Work” advocacy program, which is aimed at educating policymakers about the many positive impacts of strong transportation investment on the U.S. economy, job creation and quality of life.

Most recently, he spent eight years at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as director of public affairs and media relations, augmenting AIA’s public policy voice on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country. He led external advocacy communications efforts and in 2017 waged a successful campaign to help win lower rates for architects in tax reform legislation. He also spearheaded an AIA effort to promote the values of the architecture profession and advanced its positions on immigration reform, climate change, and professional licensure.

Schneidawind has an extensive background in brand and reputation management, positioning companies for corporate restructurings, and in managing through crises. He led media relations for KPMG Consulting/BearingPoint through its initial public offering, acquisition strategy and a corporate governance crisis. He has also held corporate communications roles at telecommunications firms BellSouth Corp. and Neustar Inc.

A native of New Jersey, Schneidawind has a B.A. in communications from Seton Hall University. He resides in Arlington, Va.

Established in 1902, ARTBA is the “consensus voice” of the U.S. transportation design and construction industry in the Nation’s Capital.

For more information on ARTBA visit www.artba.org http://www.artba.org

 

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  There’s a tidal-hydrokinetic research project underway in Bourne, MA, at the end of the Cape Cod Canal.  The Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative of New England filed an application (not its first filing) with FERC for a draft pilot license application that would allow interconnection with the on-shore electrical grid.  This is pretty small stuff where power is concerned, about 100 kW.  A public comment period started in November and given MA’s environmental mandates pertaining to energy you might think that this Collaborative would have a whole lot of friends hoping they get this thing working, the faster the better.  Nope: not one supportive comment to FERC from any public officials or renewable energy or anti-pipeline groups.  In fact, MA’s Division of Fisheries and Wildlife criticized the application, writing that it falls short and requires more work, that the pilot license should not be granted.  Ditto for NOAA.  FERC is likely to make a next-step decision soon.  
*  But, change takes time, of course.  On Dec. 17 USEPA proposed approving a MassDOT project establishing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and specified transit facilities on certain roadways around Boston, e.g., I-93, I-90 and Route 3. The changes would improve air quality because of decreased vehicle miles traveled and less congestion.  Less fuel burned, of course, also means less CO2.  Again, considering MA is required to decrease greenhouse gas emissions you would think there would be a lot of support for MassDOT’s projects.  Hmmm… Well, there likely is but probably everyone is waiting for the last minute to send in his or her “attaboy.”  One proposal – a good one – within the recent report from the MA Commission on the Future of Transportation is for projects that increase corridor efficiencies, to move more people, not just vehicles.  These aren’t exactly new ideas – the Boston HOV lanes were first proposed in 1996 *:D big grin… It takes a while…!
*  Well, for what it’s worth as a measure of Big Gubmint, total Federal Register pages were way up at the end of 2018 compared to 2017.  Last year’s FR had 68082 pages.  2017 totaled 61949.  That’s a big delta of 6133 more pages!  2019 is off to a slow start because of the Federal government shutdown.  One day last week the entire document was two pages.
Have a great Monday and a great week!

Tom Ewing
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513-379-5526 voice/text

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship to Kick Off the New Year

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship
to Kick Off the New Year

 Going from selling directional drill rigs and underground equipment to running your own utility construction business requires a big leap of faith and a lot more. Scott Kandziora shares what he’s learned since he co-founded Milwaukee-based Underground Specialists in 2000.

1. Grab onto new utility technology 
Kandziora sold for Ditch Witch for five years out of college. Self-contained directional drilling equipment had just begun to transform the boring industry. “I grabbed on to the new technology because it gave me credibility with veteran customers,” says Kandziora. He trained crews on the rigs that he sold and saw a lot of people were not doing it right. He saw an opportunity to make money by doing things the right way.

2. Find a partner
Kandziora convinced Jerry Peterson, a former Ditch Witch principal, to go into business with him. Peterson had the industry contacts in Wisconsin and the funds needed for the start-up. “He really mentored me,” says Kandziora. The two worked together until Peterson retired in 2004 and Kandziora bought his share of the business.

3. Diversify your services
When Underground Specialists first launched, installing fiber optic cable for telephone companies was the primary source of income. By 2002, that market had dried up. “It forced us to go into the sewer and water market, where there was a lot more to learn about drilling,” says Kandziora.

When the government began subsidizing geothermal systems in the late 2000s, Underground Specialists pursued that market. They gradually added electrical and vacuum truck work to the mix.

In the last five years, the company expanded work in electrical, adding additional equipment and crew members to complete parking lot bases. “Diversification helps boost your sales,” he says. “When one market is down, another tends to perform well.”

4. Get utility crews invested in the business
Before Kandziora owned his own company he witnessed a lot of utility construction workers who just didn’t care about their work. “I never wanted to hear that from my employees,” he says. His solution was to create a profit-sharing system that allows employees to reap the benefits that come from working above and beyond on the job to help the company be profitable. “It promotes the attitude I want,” he says. When the company was too small to be able to provide health insurance for employees, he provided additional pay as compensation.

In today’s tight labor market, Kandziora is more inclined to hire less experienced workers and train them. “They don’t come with problems or bad habits learned from other contractors,” says Kandziora. Among his crew are a former landscaper, truck driver, roofer and a machine hand that are now all underground operators. Three supervisors are responsible for training the new hires on the drill rigs.

5. Be self-motivated
“I see a lot of small business owners sitting at home and waiting for the work to come,” says Kandziora. “I don’t think you can do that in this market. You have to be prepared to work long hours.” Kandziora believes it’s important to complete every bidding opportunity. “It’s easy to drop the ball and say, I’ll bid the next one.”

6. Recognize when you need to let go of the reins
Expanding from one crew to two crews in 2017 was a huge step for Kandziora’s business. “As a new business owner, it took me a long time to let go of the reins, to not be on every job site, controlling every aspect of it. It’s very difficult to let go and trust guys to keep the good name that you have been building. I finally realized that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to sell the company when I wanted to retire,” says Kandziora. Finding and keeping good employees becomes even more important when you grow.

7. Stay up-to-date on the latest products and technology
Kandziora recognizes the importance of staying up-to-date on technology but admits with a growing company, it’s difficult to find time for reading. “Attending ICUEE is my opportunity to catch up on what’s new and what’s out there and it gives the guys a team-building experience,” he says. The entire team is included because each person has their own ideas of what might help on their projects. At the next ICUEE show, he will be paying special attention to vacuum trucks, drill rig electronics, drill rig innovations, and trucks.

“At ICUEE 90 percent of the equipment will directly help us on our sites. The fact that we can get on the machine is a huge benefit. It’s different from any other show we go to.”

Save the date for ICUEE, The Demo Expo for the Construction and Utility Industries, Oct. 1-3, 2019, Louisville, KY. To get the latest information about the show, sign up for show alerts.