April is World Landscape Architecture month, a month-long international celebration of landscape architecture and designed public and private spaces. As landscape architects, we are always trying to advocate and create an understanding of what we do. The perception of the industry is often that we simply provide the “green” to the site design once the planning, architecture, and engineering are complete. While we do provide the design for the placement of trees, plantings and ground cover, we also create safe and attractive spaces for people to interact, experience and move about.
Assisted living facility employs green technology to reduce cost and environmental impact.
Today's storm water management codes and ordinances often are an afterthought in site design - a necessary function to carry a project through construction permitting to lessen impacts downstream. Storm water best management practices (BMPs) typically are shoehorned into the space available after the buildings, parking lots, and other amenities are designed, and occupy the majority of the property. BMPs often are considered nuisances to developers who feel that they take up valuable real estate.
Engineers work hard to improve how people live. They design, maintain, repair, and build almost everything we need in our daily lives. This week we celebrate National Engineers Week, a time to highlight how engineers make a difference, increase awareness about the need for more engineers, and bring engineering to life for children, educators, and families.
We had a successful open house on Thursday, March 3 at our new Cedar Rapids office. Thanks to the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance for helping with the ribbon-cutting. We are looking forward to being a part of the continued growth of the greater Cedar Rapids area.
Water, to many, has always had a calming effect. Whether living by a lake or river, it always adds a degree of peacefulness. Water features are used in many places because they also add some life to an otherwise still landscape. In this video, landscape architect Tom Graceffa explains how the cafeteria patio and break area design at Woodward, a local aerospace manufacturer, was designed to provide a peaceful escape to their large staff, as well as some unique places to sit.
Planning Ahead - The Importance of a Street Condition Analysis in the Capital Improvement Planning Process
A city’s streets are its lifeblood. They can determine success or failure of businesses, extend the life of vehicles, facilitate commerce and emergency responses, and even provide the foundation for a community festival. Streets are extremely important to the day-to-day function of a community. When neglected and not properly maintained, the results are reflected in insurance claims from bent rims or flat tires, slows down delivery times, and reduced traffic in an area, hurting businesses. An important part of maintaining the key infrastructure in a community is proper planning.
Fehr Graham is pleased to announce the addition of Landscape Architect, Bill Schmidt, to the team. Bill joins Fehr Graham with over twenty-two years' experience, as principal designer and Sr. Project Manager, directing a landscape architecture studio in a multi-disciplinary firm in the Chicago area, as well as a private practice. Bill will provide his expertise in landscape architecture and lead projects throughout the Fehr Graham network and located in the Rockford, Illinois office.
Grant Preparedness: 7 Tips to Tackle the '8-Week Window'
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $55.2 million in FY2016 brownfield grant funding to communities across the U.S. These funds will assist local governments and not-for-profit organizations assess, remediate, and redevelop brownfields properties. This article provides tips for your community to put its best foot forward when applying for brownfield grant funds.
Brownfields - Demolition and Groundwater Remediation
As part of the revitalization of a community, there are times when an existing building is unfit and must be demolished in order to clean up the location for future development. In this video, Ross Grimes, Hydrogeologist, explains the stages of a USEPA Brownfields grant funded project in Freeport, Illinois. The building is being torn down in order to clean up the contaminated groundwater using a unique remediation process. Cheese whey will be introduced into the aquifer to treat volatile organic compounds from historical operations on the site.
Turbo Blowers Boost Efficiency at Iowa Treatment Plant
by Michael Keating
The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Fredericksburg, Iowa (population 927), has been in a state of transition. In recent years, a major industry left the community, while two other manufacturing productions facilities moved in. The industry changes significantly altered the WWTP's influent wastewater characteristics.
APWA Report Article - Worksite Safety is not a One-Size-Fits-All Approach
by Steve Adamavich
Most municipalities look to consultants after a safety inspector has found gaps in its safety programs or trainings. Gaps can lead to citations, fines, and unsafe working conditions. What most municipalities fail to realize is that truly effective safety programming and training must be customized to meet specific needs of the workplace. Thre is no "one-size-fits-all"
Fehr Graham has earned a spot on the Zweig Group Hot Firm List for the third year in a row. Fehr Graham ranked #72 on the prestigious list that identified the 100 fastest-growing privately held architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firms in the United States and Canada. Placement on the list is based on both percentage revenue growth and dollar revenue growth over a three-year period compared to the other entrants.
Fehr Graham was twice a winner at the Annual Iowa Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) awards. Partnering with the City of Monona, Fehr Graham brought home an Honor Award for the City of Monona Aquatic Center permeable paver project. In addition, we also received a Merit Award for our Manchester Streets Project.
In honor of National Public Works Week, staff at a couple of our locations participated by writing opinion editorials to the local papers. Matt Johnson (Champaign), Fred Coombe (Springfield), and Noah Carmichael (Rochelle) wrote articles highlighting the vital public services such as water, electricity, and other infrastructure we often take for granted.
In their articles, they discuss how the demand on these public services has increased over the years and how public work employees and engineers use technology and infrastructure to meet these demands. They each mentioned the specific projects in their communities which contribute to the overall importance of infrastructure improvement in those areas and thank the public works employees for their contributions.
Matt Johnson, Branch Manager of the Champaign, Illinois office was awarded "Rising Star" status by Civil + Structural Magazine. This fifth annual Rising Stars in Civil Engineering and Rising Stars in Structural Engineering recognizes 25 professionals, 40 years old or younger working in the United States, who have shown exceptional technical capability, leadership ability, effective teaching or research, or public service benefiting the civil engineering profession, their employers, project owners, and society.
Fehr Graham is an engineering and environmental firm, and we look for an opportunity to be sustainable when possible, and our environmental staff took the opportunity this year to write about how to create a more environmentally-friendly world as well as celebrate how far we've come since the inception of Earth Day in 1970.
Our environmental staff in Plymouth, Wisconsin (Ken Ebbott), and Freeport, Illinois (Ken Beach) provide their insights.
Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Form R: Tips and Best Practices
There are numerous companies these days who use hazardous chemicals in their manufacturing process. Between the chemicals processed, produced as a by-product, or otherwise used, companies are required to file special reports when meeting certain thresholds. One report, due every year on July 1 is the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Form R Report.
OSHA estimates that over 100,000 workers in general industry and maritime are exposed to silica levels that exceed the new permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 50 ug/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air). OSHA’s previous PELs for silica were outdated, inconsistent and did not adequately protect worker health.
Construction industry employers are required to comply with the standard by June 23, 2017. Industrial Employers are required to comply with the standard by June 23, 2018.
Fehr Graham's Mick Gronewold writes a column in the March issue of North American Builder magazine on the climate of funding on the local, state, and federal level. In addition, he offers some helpful tips to provide the best possible chance at securing the funding available.
Water, water, everywhere - Dubuque Green Alley Project mitigates flooding, improves water quality
Between 1999 and 2011, six presidential disaster declarations were issued for Dubuque County, Iowa, due to increased epizodes of flash flooding in the area. With damage estimates nearing $70 million over the past decade, leaders in the city of Dubuque decided it was time to stand up to Mother Nature. READ MORE >>
Avoiding Danger: The Role of Fork Lift Training in Your Safety Program
For anyone working in a public sector, or private industrial setting, operating or working around a powered industrial truck (PIT), more commonly referred to as a forklift or lift truck, is a part of the daily routine. Most operators have been trained on how to operate a forklift, but the safety aspect of the training isn’t always a priority.
According to OSHA statistics, forklifts are the cause of about 85 fatal accidents per year; 34,900 accidents that result in serious injury... READ MORE >>
Fehr Graham Receives WisDOT Project Award for Darlington Retaining Wall
A Fehr Graham team led by Ken Plowman, Senior Engineering Technician from the Monroe office received a Project Engineer Award from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for the construction management of a soldier pile retaining wall along State Highway 81 in Darlington, Wisconsin. Jesse Duff, Project Engineer from the Monroe office and Joe Stricker, Senior Engineering Technician from the Freeport Office were also key members of the project team.
Fehr Graham Partners with Communities and Receives Two ACEC Awards
Fehr Graham received an American Council of Engineering Companies of Illinois (ACEC-IL) Engineering Excellence Merit Award for two recent projects.
The first is the teaming up with the City of Rockford on the environmental cleanup of the former Ingersoll Building along the Rock River. The building is currently being redeveloped into the UW Health Sports Factory, a sports complex built primarily to attract and hold amateur sporting events for the purpose of boosting economic impact through tourism.
The second award was for intersection analysis and final design of the roundabout at Pearl City Road and Kiwanis Drive/Forest Road in Freeport, Illinois. The City of Freeport and Stephenson County collaborated on the project.
Fehr Graham's Joel Zirkle interviewed about Renewal and Redevelopment article
Joel Zirkle outlines how Rockford is reclaiming its city and the role Fehr Graham has played in the process, in the article titled “Reclaiming First: Like a Rock” that is featured in the current issue of Renewal & Redevelopment. You can read it in full here. Additionally, Joel was part of a feature story on WREX-TV locally about the overall redevelopment of downtown Rockford. It can be seen here.
Fehr Graham Featured in TPO - Treatment Plant Operator Magazine
Fehr Graham is featured in the December issue of TPO-Treatment Plant Operator™ Magazine, a monthly national publication dedicated to water and wastewater treatmentprofessionals. Team members, Jeremy Bril, Ph.D, Staff Engineer, and George TeKippe, P.E., Senior Project Manager, provided insight and solutions to help an Iowa wastewater treatment plant save money on electricity while resolving odor issues.
The article titled "Fine-Tuning Aeration" was featured in the How We Do It: Wastewater section.
CLICK HERE to read the full article (see pages 46-47).
Distracted Driving Article
If you were asked to perform an activity that had a 23% chance of causing you or someone else injury or death, would you? Then why drive distracted?
In this current non-stop culture, cell phones have become an extension of our body and our main means to keep in communication with home and work. The increase of cell phone use over the last decade has been great for productivity, or so we think, but created a very unsafe environment on our roads. Read Full Article.
Birdseye View of Wiscold Drive Project
Reaching New Heights! Fehr Graham provided design and construction observation services in partnership with the City of Rochelle on Wiscold Drive, an east side business park. The project, a partially-funded EDP project, supports local creation/retention of jobs, including some of the nation’s top food industry companies. The $2.5 million, 0.67-mile construction project, was completed this fall and Fehr Graham intern Tyler Jahn and his father provided a “birdseye view” of the finished roadway. VIEW VIDEO
Fehr Graham Acquires Springfield, Illinois Civil/Structural and Land Survying Firm Coombe-Bloxdorf P.C.
Springfield, IL (December 3, 2015) – Fehr Graham, an Engineering and Environmental firm headquartered in Freeport, IL, with offices in ten locations, including Springfield and Champaign, announced today the acquisition of civil/structural engineering, and land surveying firm, Coombe-Bloxdorf P.C. of Springfield. For More Information ››
Fehr Graham Acquires Rockford Landscape Architecture Firm
ROCKFORD, IL (October 22, 2015) – Engineering and Environmental firm Fehr Graham today announced the acquisition of landscape architecture and planning firm, Thomas Graceffa and Associates, Inc. (TGA), of Rockford, Illinois. The acquisition adds landscape architecture to the full line of engineering and environmental offerings Fehr Graham currently provides to the Midwest market. With the acquisition, Fehr Graham’s Rockford branch has grown to 25 staff members. For More Information ››
Joel Zirkle Named to Chamber's 2015 Twenty People You Should Know
Joel Zirkle, Fehr Graham Principal Owner and Branch Manager of the Rockford Office was named to the Rockford Chamber of Commerce's 2015 Twenty People You Should Know. Zirkle was honored at a reception at the Prairie Street Brewhouse on Thursday, October 22, 2015. The Brewhouse is also the location of Fehr Graham's Rockford Office. For More Information ››
Fehr Graham Champaign Office Holds Open House
Fehr Graham celebrated the new offices in Champaign with a ribbon-cutting and reception. The team in Champaign relocated to a new office space located on the south side of Champaign at 1610 Broadmoor Drive.
“As we continue to grow in the Central Illinois market, we are excited to move to a building that will accommodate our growing staff,” said Matt Johnson, Branch Manager of the Champaign office. “The new building will help with our day-to-day operations and give staff the much needed space they need to conduct business.”
Fehr Graham New Hires - September/October
New hires include Deidra McIntosh (HR Generalist, Freeport, IL Office), Jacob Kaiser (Engineeering Technician, West Union, IA), Tyler Olson (Engineer, Manchester, IA), Larry Johnson (Sr. Project Mgr., Champaign), Stephen Spinelli (Engineer, Champaign), Ryan Townsley (Engineering Technician, Champaign), and Lukas Evans (Surveyor, Champaign). Welcome to the Fehr Graham team!
The Journey to Health and Safety
In this day and age, health and safety are in the forefront of everyone's mind. It is expressed through the healthier food decisions we are making, and by simply wearing a seatbelt. Why is this? There are many theories, but we at Fehr Graham believe it is because people are making a conscious decision to create a healthier and safer environment.
As a professional Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) company, we are hearing a refreshing change in mindset when speaking with clients and industryleaders. The once common statement often heard was, “Just tell me the minimum I have to do in order to be compliant with the law”. That dismissive philosophy is being replaced with the more proactive question “How do I get our employees to understand how important our safety & health program is?” read full story ››
Fehr Graham Receives Hot Firm Ranking for Fourth Time
Fehr Graham earned a spot on the Zweig Group Hot Firm List for the second year in a row, climbing six spots from their 2014 ranking.
Fehr Graham ranked #58 on the prestigious list that identified the 100 fastest-growing privately held architecture, engineering, planning and environmental consulting firms in the United States and Canada.Firms on the list are ranked according to their growth rate from 2011-2014, with 50 percent of the score being based on percentage growth and 50 percent based on dollar growth.
Complete Streets Programs Promote Access For All
A complete street is a road segment designed to be safe for drivers; bicyclists; transit vehicles and users; and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. The Complete Streets standards can benefit communities in many ways, and save money in the long run.
The Complete Streets concept is becoming more mainstream as communities make an effort to...read full story ››
We welcome four new faces to Fehr Graham. Ross Grimes (Environmental) has joined our Rockford office, and Justin Scheunemann (Environmental) and Bill Ripley (Safety) in our Plymouth office.
Three Safety Tips for the Job Site This Summer
A construction job site is like no other with an ever-changing work environment and varying tasks performed. Due to the multiple moving parts and components a job-site brings, the hazards faced on a daily basis can be dangerous. For the welfare of you, and those around you, keep safety a priority this construction season . . . read full story ››