Posts Tagged: Geosynthetics

How Architectural & Engineering Consulting Firms Can Win More Work

By: William G Handlos, P.E. Why do some Architectural and Engineering consultants perennially get their choice of work? Let’s face it, most of the time; all of the invited and interviewed teams have the requisite experience and competence to accomplish the stated scope of work. You’re pretty sure that you have checked all the boxes on your Statement of Qualifications and your written proposal is complete and clearly shows your team has the design solution experience relevant to the task at hand. So why do you not have more wins? Let’s take a look at how clients really make decisions. Here is how we think that we choose. Does the consultant have: Unimpeachable character Relevant solid experience Exhibits problem-solving skills Outstanding communications skills Excellent interpersonal skills   Most consultants also believe that the best way to reach success in a presentation is to build the case for their side using reason and facts. Of course, there always needs to be a fundamental foundation of experience and qualification as a cost of entry. Written proposals are much more objectively weighed. However, neuroscience tells us that the factors that really affect decision-making are more emotional than logical. Here is how we really… Read more »

The day-after disappointment of substitute materials.

by: William G.  Handlos, P.  E. Most everybody can relate a story of disappointment at Christmas time as a child. You’ve asked Santa for a specific toy or boot or piece of sporting equipment and you visualize what it will be like to open that gift. Then the moment comes and you open up the package and feel the initial excitement as you realize you’re actually going to get what you asked for. Then as the wrapping paper is pulled away from the box… you get a sinking feeling. How could this happen? Your list was clear. You supplied details… Specifications… Related exactly what you wanted. But this wasn’t the real thing. When poor substitutes arrive at a job site, the disappointment can be just as real. But, the stakes are higher. Reputations are at stake and sometimes property damage or public safety can be compromised when poor look-alike products are allowed on the job. This morning, with the Yuletide just days away, I witnessed the collision of Christmas with the disappointment of a poor substitute product collide in an email string in which I was included. First, overnight I received along with hundreds of other recipients the following email… Read more »

The Case for Millennials in Your Organization

Blog: Millennials

Written by William G Handlos, P.E. We have become accustomed to reading about the challenges in hiring, satisfying and integrating millennials into your organization.  First, it needs to be said that all twentysomethings are not alike.  Still, there are some common characteristics that seem to show up in most young employees… and from what I see it’s pretty good. They are genuine. They definitely are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).  Because their lives have been lived in a terrarium called the Internet, where everything they do is exposed to friends and family, there is seldom any pretense and rarely any shame about who they are, what they believe in, or what they think of us.  We could do a lot worse in the workplace than to have a group of people who value honesty and decency in their dealings with customers. They are full of optimism. Youthful idealism is not new and I am happy to say that the latest generation exhibits this characteristic.  Promotion, sales and service works best when the messenger is happy and upbeat. They think outside the box. We’ve heard plenty about the downside of the generation that was told (and believes) that… Read more »

Content Marketing in the Geosynthetics World

Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. In the past, salesmen were hunters who would pursue customers with cold calls, emails and office visits to help them understand how problems could be solved with product line offerings. They would qualify opportunities, perform a needs analysis and pitch their value proposition to the identified decision maker. After the pitch, a price proposal would be made and if the solution was perceived a fit – negotiations would ensue and the job would be won or lost. The salesman controlled the buying process. If you haven’t noticed, there is a significant shift occurring in the sales process. Now, the customer does internet research and is well into the decision process before we even get the chance to meet them. Information that they find on websites, blogs, digital industry trade publications, and discussion boards about the products we offer supplies them content they use to form opinions and make decisions to either contact you….or to move on and continue their search,… perhaps with a competitor. The graphic below from Inboundsales.net says it all. We all have at our disposal – a matchmaking service called Google® (and others) that connect us in mere seconds. As a… Read more »

The Dangers of Breaking Specs and Bid Shopping

Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Specifying Engineers and Architects work tirelessly to build plans and specifications that capture the essence of their vision as they work to write the guiding documents for their project. They make decisions about product types, grades, and take great pains to build into their documents citations of certifications and standards to assure only quality materials are allowed on the site. Yet, when challenged to accept “or equal” substitutions, it seems that all the standards of care can sometimes be lost and substandard materials seem to too easily find their way onto the site. The reason for this lapse is often a result of the timing of the hand-off between the design team and the project management team occurring just as the contractor award occurs. Contractors are concerned about leaving too much money on the table (the difference in value between the winning and the second bid). Just moments after the bid opening or notice of award, bid shopping commences. Bid shopping on publicly-funded projects is disallowed by legislation in some localities, but even when formally disallowed, informally it occurs widely. With the economic power of the project award and with the pressure of the potential… Read more »

Highway Stormwater Control: Porous Vegetated Road Shoulders

Written by William G. Handlos, P.E. Highway Stormwater Control: Porous Vegetated Drivable Road Shoulders Gravel road shoulders are not porous. Rainwater sheet flowing off highway pavement passes right across the aggregate shoulder carrying with it sediment and other pollutants that ultimately end up in freshwater creeks and rivers. Aside from pollutant loading, re-grading shoulders is a continuous activity for State and County crews to repair eroded sections after several rain events. Some counties have taken a smart solution approach to this problem and are using geocell cellular confinement systems to reduce maintenance costs and to improve water quality.  Shown below are the cross sections detailing a GEOWEB® geocellular drivable vegetated shoulder solution. The infill to the geocell is made up of 2/3rd clear stone aggregate (void ratio 30 – 40%) and 1/3rd topsoil. The topsoil remains uncompressed within the interstitial spaces between the stone, and the stone is the structural component that carries the load. The topsoil allows for the vegetation roots to grow and feed upon the nutrients and water in the topsoil.  This system percolates runoff from the highway while offering proper load support for vehicles that pull off the side of the road. The GEOWEB® cells confine the… Read more »