Author: Hoyle Tanner Staff

From Desk to Harness: The SPRAT Certification Process for Bridge Inspection

Ben Schorn hanging underneath a bridge after earning his SPRAT Certification for Bridge Inspections

In 2021, I became a SPRAT-certified bridge inspector to enhance and expand my skills as a bridge engineer. The certification process was short but intense, and I’ll be using the skills I learned from this training throughout my career.

The Certification Process

The SPRAT (Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians) certification training was administered over the course of one week in which students were taught both behind a desk and in hands-on application. Critical information and theory in the classroom and physical rope access methods and techniques in the training facility. There was a diverse group of students in the class which varied from professional engineers to tradespeople.

Why I Got Certified

I wanted to become SPRAT certified because it seemed like a great opportunity to combine my passion for learning new skills (both physical and intellectual) with my thrill-seeking personality. I love being a student, regardless of the setting, so when I was offered this opportunity from Hoyle Tanner to take this course, I hopped on it immediately.

Training on Location

The certification course took place in a training facility in Oakland, New Jersey, which is about five hours from the Burlington, Vermont office where I work. The facility is basically a warehouse comprised of multiple stations varying in size and complexity meant to mimic common in-the-field scenarios where SPRAT skills would be used. There was also an air-conditioned classroom within the warehouse where we sat for lectures and took our written exams. Structural Engineer Katie Welch and I took this course in the middle of July so the warehouse was extremely hot (especially with full face-coverings while climbing).

Physical Intensity & Duration

Even though some of my coworkers who were already SPRAT certified gave me some insight to the physical intensity of the training, I was not prepared for the constant fatigue the training would subject us to. We spent many days practicing specific rope access techniques and procedures repeatedly, which to me was the most intense five consecutive days of exercise I’ve encountered in a very long time (that is, until I applied these skills while inspecting the Augusta Memorial Bridge in October 2021).

The course consisted of four days of instruction and one day of evaluation. At the end, everyone in our class received their SPRAT certifications and we were all very proud of one another for overcoming the physical and mental challenges the course put us through.

Engineering After Certification

Following the SPRAT training, I attended a two-week course in Chicago at the end of August which granted me a NBIS (National Bridge Inspection Standards) certification. These two certifications often coincide with one another, as the SPRAT certification is required to physically climb a structure and the NBIS certification is required to inspect/document deficiencies on a structure. With these trainings under my belt, I was able to properly participate in the inspection of the Augusta Memorial Bridge for MaineDOT at the beginning of October along with my colleagues Ed Weingartner, Joe Ripley, Katie Welch and Brian Nichols. It was very rewarding putting my skills to use and working together as a team to get this inspection done thoroughly and efficiently.

Is it Worth it?

The training required to receive a SPRAT certification is certainly a rigorous one, but it’s extremely rewarding overcoming the challenge. I would recommend it to anyone who’s interested in pushing their limits and learning new hands-on skills. I very much enjoyed putting my certification to use during the Augusta Memorial Bridge inspection last October and look forward to using my certification more in the future.

This article was written by Ben Schorn.

Stickney Hill Road: An Unexpected Culvert Replacement

Project Manager Audrey Beaulac recalls one of her most memorable projects from 2019 that stands out from the rest. It’s the story of a deteriorated culvert that wasn’t on the town’s to-do list but quickly became a priority when it failed its routine New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) inspection. Her story is below:


Stickney Hill Road in Hopkinton, New Hampshire, provides residents quick access to I-89, is a highly utilized bicycle route for those that want to ride into Concord, and is a school bus route. In June 2019, NHDOT performed a routine bridge inspection of the 10-foot-wide Stickney Hill Road Bridge that conveys Boutwell Mill Brook beneath the roadway. The inspection revealed the corrugated metal pipe had deteriorated significantly since the previous inspection; NHDOT sent a letter to the town advising them that the bridge is at critical deficiency, requiring posting a  BRIDGE CLOSED sign with suitable barricades at each end of the bridge to prevent vehicle use. As a result of this notification, the town closed the road and bridge to  motor vehicles, but fortunately bicycle and pedestrian access and use was maintained for those wanting to connect to the regional trail network close by.

However, closing the road meant potential emergency response delays for residents in the area between the crossing and I-89, Exit 3. Exit 3 is not a full-service exit and only allows access from I-89 northbound and onto I-89 southbound. The detour included using Exit 2 of I-89 to reverse direction to utilize I-89 northbound from Stickney Hill Road or using Exit 2 to reverse direction to access Stickney Hill Road from I-89 southbound. The town line between Concord and Hopkinton is also between the crossing and I-89, which would cause issues for school buses when school starts in August. Additionally, mail and package carriers were impacted by the closure, and some even stopped delivery. The town wanted to reopen the important roadway as soon as possible.

Project Site Map

Thinking outside the box, and knowing lead time to cast a precast concrete culvert could take months, the town asked Hoyle Tanner if the culvert they just had cast for the culvert replacement project they were currently working on along Briar Hill Road would provide the necessary hydraulic capacity required to convey Boutwell Mill Brook beneath Stickney Hill Road – and if it would be structurally strong enough to support the road and earth materials at that location. The town was a week away from installing the Briar Hill Road culvert but quickly switched directions when the Stickney Hill Road bridge replacement became a priority. Since Hoyle Tanner designed the precast box culvert for the Briar Hill Road project, we took a look at the size and design and compared it to what would be required for the Stickney Hill Road location. Upon further investigation, the similarities of the two sites proved advantageous, allowing for the already-cast Briar Hill Road culvert to be used for the Stickney Hill Road location.

With a quick replacement solution in hand, all that was left was the permitting. Since there would be wetland impacts at the crossing needed in order to replace the structure, a wetland permit would be required from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES)  with final approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. On behalf of the town, Hoyle Tanner coordinated with NHDES and initially sought Emergency Authorization to repair the crossing. The structure was subsequently determined to not be an immediate threat, and the standard process was used for wetland permit application and approval.  

As time was of the essence, Hoyle Tanner quickly finalized the design and coordinated with NHDES. Upon approval of the wetland permit by NHDES and concurrence by the Army Corps of Engineers, the town’s contractor began construction in the fall and opened the roadway to traffic in late fall 2019.

“Hoyle Tanner is wonderful to work for and that is why the Town keeps working with Hoyle Tanner.”

Dan Blanchette, Director of Public Works

The project’s primary goals were to utilize the already-precast structure the town had on hand and open the roadway to through traffic before winter. The town was grateful Hoyle Tanner was able to meet their goals and remain on budget. Dan Blanchette, the Director of Public Works said, “Hoyle Tanner is wonderful to work for and that is why the Town keeps working with Hoyle Tanner.” And don’t worry, Briar Hill wasn’t forgotten, the town got a new culvert cast right away and was able to complete that project, as well.

This article was written by Audrey Beaulac, PE.

Airport Master Plans: More Than Forecasting

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Investor Warren Buffet’s simple observation encapsulates the reward that can be derived from a thoughtful long-term planning effort, whether that effort is for an individual or a central transportation hub. The dynamic Master Planning process creates a living document that is able to adapt to unanticipated events or external factors as they occur. Recent global events have highlighted the impact unanticipated events can have on the planning process. For airports, part of the planning process includes developing a comprehensive Master Plan which:

  • Evaluates the airport’s current and future role in the national airspace system,
  • Evaluates current socio-economic and technological trends, and
  • Assesses aviation demand to create short-, medium- and long-term development plans.

Master Plan Brief Overview:

A Master Plan looks at existing conditions to develop a forecast for the next five, 10 and 20 years. This includes an inventory of existing conditions, anticipated future demand and the facility requirements that can handle the projected demand. Once the aviation activity forecast is complete, alternative options for development are considered, and a financial plan is built within the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the next five years and beyond. A master plan should be reviewed every 10 years.

How to plan:

The first step in the Master Plan development process includes an inventory of the existing conditions at the airport. The existing condition study is more than an inventory of existing physical facilities such as hangars, terminal space, parking and runway lengths. The study should include socio-economic and demographic data for the airport service area, regional setting, land use and industry trends, which can affect the airport’s operation and sustainability.

This study is followed by the aviation forecast of aeronautical demand for various future time frames determined by individual aircraft types and aircraft operations. Forecasting consists of (passenger) enplanements, aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings) and fleet mix (type of aircraft using your airport, fixed-wing, jet, helicopter, etc.). This process identifies the critical aircraft, which dictates the design standards used in a Master Plan for future development.  

Once a forecast has been determined, submitted and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, facility requirements will be proposed that specifically address facility additions or improvements needed to support the forecast demand. Alternative development options are then identified and evaluated based on operational, environmental and financial impacts leading to the emergence of a recommended development alternative. For example, the future development of a parallel taxiway is going to make it necessary to move a fuel farm. Alternative development will look at where the fuel farm could be relocated. Further assessment will determine the best relocation site, which becomes the “preferred alternative” for development.

Why plan:

As worldwide lockdowns were imposed and commercial passenger travel came to a virtual standstill, we in the industry were all left wondering the validity of thoughtfully prepared aviation forecasts and the proposed development plans associated with them.

Since Master Plans can adapt to unanticipated events, consider a Master Plan as your GPS: it can recalculate when you veer off course but still get you to your destination.

This article was written by Patrick Sharrow, AAE.

Sustainable Drainage: What are the Techniques for Protecting the Watershed?

Sustainable Drainage Systems are a collection of practices used to mimic natural processes of the hydrologic water cycle, which is the path of water as it moves around the earth and includes condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and evapotranspiration.  These sustainable drainage systems can consist of natural features or man-made features made to look and act like natural features (bioretention facilities, rain gardens, vegetated rooftops).  In the United States, Sustainable Drainage Systems are more commonly referred to as Best Management Practices (BMPs) or Low-Impact Development (LID).

What are Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Low-Impact Development (LID)?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Low-Impact Development as systems and practices that use or mimic natural processes that result in the infiltration, evapotranspiration, or use of stormwater to protect water quality and associated aquatic habitat. Why does this matter? As EPA notes, applied on a broad scale, LID can maintain or restore a watershed’s hydrologic and ecological functions.

Implementing LID practices allows the treatment of stormwater closer to the source using natural processes. Closer to the source means treating the water as close to where it reaches the earth’s surface as possible.  For example, stormwater that sheet flows off a roadway and is collected in a swale then treated by an LID practice is treating the water closer to the source than if the stormwater were collected in a closed drainage system within the roadway and conveyed several hundred feet away to a larger detention pond.  The swale (known as a level spreader) acts as a level swale that collects the stormwater and infiltrates it slowly into the ground, similar to what the water would do if the paved roadway were not present. For more significant flows that overtop the level spreader, a best management practice can provide some treatment of common pollutants, including total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), and total suspended solids (TSS) (gravels in the stormwater) before the stormwater reaches a waterbody. 

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are defined as methods that have been determined to be the most effective and practical means of preventing or reducing non-point source pollution to help achieve water quality goals. Non-point source pollution includes TP, TN, and TSS.  Some BMP’s commonly used include bioretention facilities, rain gardens, vegetated rooftops, and tree box filters. Methods used to treat the stormwater include infiltration, filtration, detention, retention, and disconnection.  Infiltration and filtration are similar in the way the water flows through a media which provides the treatment.  The media used in infiltration practices it the natural soils which then convey the stormwater to the groundwater below. In filtration systems, the media is a man-made media, sometimes consisting of sand, sometimes a combination of sand/soil/and compost mixture, and sometimes a manufactured filter similar to filters you find in your house or car.  Detention and retention are similar methods, they detain water. Detention practices detain water for a short time while retention practices typically have standing water at all times. Both treat the stormwater by allowing pollutants to settle out of the water over time. Disconnection methods includes conveying stormwater from an impervious surface (rooftop or pavement) to a pervious surface (grass) to allow the stormwater to naturally filter through the grass and into the soils prior to reaching surface water or groundwater sources.

Protecting our Watershed with These Methods

So how do BMPs or LID practices help with flooding or protecting the watershed?

One way these methods protect our watersheds are through the filtration.  A rain garden is designed as a small depression in the ground that consists of various native plants planted on top of a filter media.  The filter media allows the stormwater to be conveyed through it and also allows for uptake of the stormwater through the roots of the plants providing treatment of the stormwater and evapotranspiration of the stormwater (release of water to the atmosphere from soil and plant leaves).  Stormwater that filters through the media can either infiltrate into the groundwater if the soils are conducive to that, or the treated stormwater can be collected in a pipe and conveyed to nearby surface waters.  Treating the stormwater is important because untreated stormwater that reaches a waterbody (wetland, stream, pond) can affect the plant and animal life in that waterbody.  This can lead to the degradation of ecosystems across the watershed.

A construction photo of underground storage chambers for flood control at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Another way we can protect the watershed using LID is through flood control. Underground storage chambers can be used as flood control in areas where there is limited above-ground storage. These best management practices are common in urban developments, including shopping centers and stadiums.  They are commonly placed beneath parking lots (such as this one pictured above, at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport) and act as a large storage facility for stormwater which can then be released at a controlled rate to nearby surface waters or infiltrated into the groundwater.

This photo shows the park where an underground storage system will be provided. The usability and aesthetics of the park will remain the same as existing conditions after construction.

Our Recent Drainage Projects

In Massachusetts, we are working on two projects that are the same roadway and therefore have similar properties, although they are in two different towns.  A large portion of these projects is within a water supply reservoir watershed.  Its location means that treating the stormwater runoff is critical so that any contaminants in the runoff do not compromise the clean water in the reservoir. Massachusetts stormwater regulations are geared toward treating the stormwater at the source as opposed to collecting large volumes of stormwater and treating it in a larger detention basin somewhere down the road.  To achieve compliance with the regulations and treat the stormwater, we have designed LID practices such as forebays, level spreaders, and grass swales at as many outlet pipe locations (outfalls) as allowable based on site constraints, including right-of-way and topography. 

Sample engineering plan and section for sustainable drainage methods.

A town in Vermont is having erosion issues at the base of a steep, dead-end, gravel road.  The erosion issues are due to the lack of stormwater conveyance practices and the lack of storage of more significant storm events.  This section of town is upstream from a large wetland, however it is not hydrologically connected to it, which means stormwater does not directly get conveyed to the wetland.  We were tasked by the regional planning commission to design two stormwater treatment practices that would convey the stormwater to the wetland area without creating additional erosion or flood control issues downstream. Both treatment practices included underground storage chambers for flood control of the larger storm events.  More formal ditch lines and a closed drainage system were designed to collect the stormwater that currently flows over the gravel roadway. 

This photo shows the location of a proposed underground storage facility for stormwater with an above-ground rain garden. In the bottom right corner of this photo, there is an existing rain garden that will be expanded.

The upstream BMP was designed to infiltrate the smaller storms.  It was requested this BMP not permanently impact the adjacent Town Green area; therefore with the underground chambers, the BMP will not be visible from above, thus not impacting the character of the Town Green.  It was requested the downstream BMP include a bioretention area (or rain garden) above the underground storage chambers.  The town requested a more natural stormwater collection process and liked the visual aspect of what a rain garden offered.  The soils beneath this BMP were not conducive to infiltration, therefore the flow out of the storage chambers was conveyed toward the downstream wetland via a pipe.

Sustainable Drainage Systems are everywhere – you have probably seen them and not even known it!  Take a look around next time you are out and about and see what you can find.

This article was written by Audrey Beaulac, PE.

Preparation Tools for Snow and Ice Control at Your Airport

Many of us have already been impacted by the arrival of snow and ice this winter season. Fortunately, our nation’s airport operators have been preparing for this wintery mix long before the first snowflake arrived. These airport operation professionals understand the vital role our Commercial and General Aviation airports play in the country’s transportation system and the importance of keeping them open and in safe operating conditions during every season.

HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS

Airport operators have many tools to assist with mitigating hazards created by winter weather. Perhaps the most important being an up-to-date Snow and Ice Control Plan (SICP). A comprehensive SICP includes a detailed game plan to address hazardous pavement conditions that may develop from any winter weather. This would include something as important as ensuring reliable communications between all entities involved in the airport operation. Snow crews, who are responsible for the airfield safety, must be able to coordinate airfield maintenance operations with Air Traffic Control, individual aircraft, and airport tenants. They share crucial information regarding the pavement conditions including the presence of contaminants such as snow, ice, or slush, all of which have the potential to negatively impact aircraft. Equally as important, they coordinate personnel shifts to ensure their staff is rested and able to fulfill their duties.

ICE COMMITTEE

The basis of any SICP starts with identifying a Champion of Winter Ops Safety, usually the Airport Manager or Director of Operations. It is the Champion’s job to gather support and build a guiding coalition also known as a Snow and Ice Control Committee. Preferably, this committee is made up of individuals working in varying roles throughout the airport. This ensures proper preseason planning has addressed every area of the airport and every individual operation focused on improving airfield safety and communications. Establishing this stakeholder group early helps build a solid communication base and creates a culture where communication and ongoing operational evaluations meet the needs of airport users.

Some considerations for airport managers before the snow season should include:

  • Establishing a Snow Control Center (SCC) for snow and ice control activities. This can be as simple as the cab of the operator’s snowplow, a desk in the manager’s office or Fixed-Base Operator, or a special office dedicated to snow operations. The priority is that there is a known official command center that is responsible for clearing the Airport Operations Area, disseminating information related to current field conditions, issuing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), and if necessary, closing runways or areas on the airport unsafe for aircraft operations.
  • Establish airport snow clearing priority areas. This identifies areas that are essential to the safe operation of the airfield. Priority 1 areas include the primary runway, associated parallel taxiways and route to the apron, essential apron area, and emergency staging and access points. Less essential areas, known as Priority 2, can be prioritized and cleared as operators regain control of the situation. These include crosswind runways, supporting taxiways, other airport facilities areas, and additional aircraft parking areas. Priority 3 areas are all other surfaces in the Airport Operations Area, including all access and perimeter security roads. Airport Managers should identify areas that tenants are responsible for and request SICP’s from individual tenants at the airport.
  • Staffing for snow operations. Airport managers should (and if operating a certificated airport are required under Section 139.303 to), “Equip personnel with sufficient resources needed to comply with the requirements of the SICP,” and “Provide sufficient and qualified personnel to comply with the airport’s SICP.” Human factors can play a huge role in operational safety during snow operations. Realistically the snow season can last more than half of the calendar year with storms that can last for several days with little if any downtime. Managers should consider things like personnel training, snow ops crews (A crew vs. B crew), shift lengths including adequate rest periods, food and hydration, and resting areas on site.
  • Equipment Selection & Storage. The amount and size of Snow Removal Equipment (SRE) required to clear the airport is based on calculations laid out in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5220-20, Airport Snow and Ice Control Equipment. The calculations provide guidance on the types and size of equipment needed to clear the Priority 1 areas in a specified time period based on the average annual snowfall, type of airport and annual operations. In addition to the type and size of equipment needed to keep the airport operational, the FAA recommends housing the equipment in a building capable of maintaining 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help prolong the useful life of the equipment and to enable more rapid response to operational needs. The availability of a storage equipment building also ensures operators can inspect the equipment before and after use as well as make repairs and conduct routine maintenance throughout the snow season.

With the snow season upon us, airports across the county will be implementing their thoughtfully crafted SICP with the understanding that it may need to be evaluated and adjusted throughout the season.

If you plan to travel at any point during this winter season, pause for a moment to observe and appreciate the many hours of planning that occurs before a single flake flies that keeps your airport open and safe during winter operations.

Further detailed information and links to supporting documents where you can find guidance when developing a Snow and Ice Control Plan (SICP) can be found in FAA Advisory circulars, 150/5200-30, 150 and 150/5220-20.

This article was written by Patrick Sharrow, AAE.

From Groundbreaking to Ribbon Cutting: An Internship with Hoyle Tanner

Over the past three months, I have had the pleasure of being part of the Hoyle, Tanner team, primarily in the Bridges & Structures group. I have gotten to see and experience a variety of different projects at all stages, and I am grateful for this opportunity and everything I learned along the way.

Projects in Derry

The first half of my internship experience was spent in Derry, New Hampshire replacing a bridge with structurally deficient culverts on this box culvert project. Here I performed Resident Project Representative (RPR) services and observed construction from start to finish – when the excavator broke ground to when the bridge was reopened to traffic. It was very rewarding to see the full project life-cycle and be there to walk the bridge. Every day in the field there was a new step and process for me to learn and see for the first time. Being on site opened my eyes to how many people are involved in the entirety of a project. Now I better understand the client, contractor, and engineer’s roles in making a project successful. For example, Hoyle, Tanner, the contractor, and the Town worked together to make field changes as needed.

Working on this project also introduced me to new engineering computer programs such as Bluebeam, MicroStation, and Mathcad that allowed me to edit drawings, review check sets and create other engineering documents. User efficiency greatly improved from the first days of using a program compared to after a couple of months.

Projects in Bedford

The last half of my internship has been spent in Bedford, New Hampshire where I took on day-to-day inspections of a gas main project. My duty there was to make sure the trench is properly backfilled and compacted and make sure everything goes according to plan. This role was rewarding because it allowed me to work more independently. I frequently communicated with the client on day-to-day progress and was the bridge of communication to the site.

At Hoyle, Tanner I was welcomed with open arms (virtually) and felt like I belonged. I am thankful my supervisor emphasized spending as much time in the field as I could because the experience taught me valuable lessons. I enjoyed the team environment and how my questions were encouraged by everyone. This opportunity brought me new experience and knowledge, and has increased my interest in field work. I’d like to personally thank Matthew Low, PE for providing me with this opportunity, Josif Bicja, PE for showing me what it takes to be a great engineer, and Katie Welch, EIT for guiding me along the way.

Derry, NH Box Culvert Replacement Project

This article was written by Griffin Curley.

8 Steps to Interview Success

You’ve read every article there is to read about finding and successfully landing a job after graduation and followed all of the guidelines to a T. You’ve spent countless hours on Glassdoor, Indeed, and CareerBuilder browsing for any and all potential job openings. You’ve produced draft after draft of your resume in the hopes of grabbing the attention of your potential employers. On top of that, you’ve networked, attended career fairs and customized your cover letter for each specific job you’ve applied for. Graduation day is just around the corner and just when you are starting to warm up to the idea of living in your parent’s basement, you get the phone call you’ve been waiting for.

All of your work has finally paid off; you’ve been invited to interview! Unfortunately, your few brief moments of relief are quickly overshadowed by an entirely new wave of nerves. No matter how old you are, how many jobs you’ve had, or how qualified you might be, interviews are scary. That’s why we have a few tips that we hope will inspire you to be more confident, prepared and ultimately more successful when sitting down for the first time with your potential future employer.

    1. Analyze the Job: It’s no secret that there is strength in numbers. Like most other college graduates, you have probably applied to any and every job you thought you were even semi-qualified for. That’s what makes this first step so important. Take the time to go back and find the initial job posting that you applied for. Make sure you take note of the title of the position you will be interviewing for, as well as the responsibilities and job duties that will be expected of you. Make a list of any descriptive language that tells you what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Then make a corresponding list of qualities you have comparable to that list. By having a solid understanding of what your potential employer wants as well as what you, as a potential employee, can bring to the table, you will have a better understanding of how to present yourself as a promising professional during the interview.
    2. Do your Research: In many areas of the professional world, research is a fundamental key to success. If you learn this lesson early, it will carry you throughout your career, make your life easier, and prevent big mistakes before they occur. When it comes to job interviews, doing proper and thorough research about the company will set you apart from other candidates and show your employer that you are taking the hiring process seriously; you demonstrate that you are invested and interested in becoming a part of their company. In order to maximize preparedness, you should make sure you do the following:
      • Review the Company’s Online Presence: Take the time to familiarize yourself with the company website. Pay attention to the About Us section in particular. Before the interview you should have a firm grasp of the company’s mission, vision and values, as well as the list of products/services that they provide. In addition, get up-to-date on the company’s current events by browsing its social media platforms.
      • Look at the News: Before sitting down for your interview, you should be well aware of anything new and exciting going on within the company, as well as any crises they are currently facing. Take the time to review recent press releases issued by the company, as well as any recent news coverage. Google Alerts are an easy way to stay up-to-date in the days leading up to your interview. Create them for the company, the industry and any other relevant information you may want to know.
      • Stalk your Interviewer: Ok, no, you’re not really stalking. But it is highly recommended that before you meet your interviewer, you try to learn something about them. If you have their name, look them up on LinkedIn or Facebook. Find their name and picture on the company website. Hopefully you will be able to get a feel for the type of personality this person has. Do they seem more fun and casual, or lean more towards the sincere and serious side? The more you know about your interviewer, the more prepared you will be to communicate with them.
      • The Industry: Before going into your job interview, you should do some research regarding the trends of the industry and establish an idea of the type of environment your company is currently working under. Take note of some of the company’s top competitors and make a list of things that differentiate the company from the competition.
    3. Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice makes perfect. That same rule of thumb applies to you before your interview. Print out a list of popular interview questions and visualize yourself answering them. Take the time to sit down with a friend or family member and conduct a mock interview. You may feel silly, but you’ll thank yourself later. Practicing will help to calm your nerves and inspire confidence in your answers on interview day.
    4. Do the Little Things Ahead of Time: On the day of your interview, you will have plenty to worry about. Make your life easier by preparing the small stuff beforehand.
      • Pick out your outfit: I think we all can admit to scrambling around the house last minute in search of our favorite tie or pair of shoes at one time or another. Unfortunately, these things happen, so it is better to prepare ahead of time. Plan and lay out what you are going to wear the night before your interview. By doing this you will make more time for yourself in the morning and eliminate unnecessary stress. Trust us, you will be thankful you did.
      • Plan Travel Time: Always make sure you map out the time it will take to get from your house to your destination before the day of your interview. If you will be traveling in the morning, make sure you research your journey during the morning before your interview. Sometimes people forget that even though at 3:00 pm it estimates a 20-minute ride, that same 20-minute ride could very well become 40 minutes during rush hour traffic.
    5. Bring the Right Materials: You don’t ever want to meet your potential employer empty handed. Here is a list of things you will definitely want to have with you on interview day:
      • Resume: Although you have already submitted your resume with your application, it is always a good idea to bring two clean copies of it with you to your interview.
      • References: It is a good idea to have at least two references. This list should be printed and include the name, title, company, and contact information of the individuals.
      • Work Samples: Showcase yourself by bringing work that you are particularly proud of to leave behind with your potential employer. This could include writing samples, design layouts, or maybe even a particularly challenging and detailed school project that you are proud of. There is no limit to what you could bring. Just make sure what you do choose is relevant, memorable and sets you apart from your peers.
      • Questions: Make sure you have a list of questions ready to ask your interviewer. You don’t need to have these physically printed out on paper but definitely think of a few and have them at the top of your mind. Asking thoughtful questions shows you are interested and care about both the future of the company and yourself as a potential employee.
    6. Have Confident Body Language: Nailing your answers to the interview questions and having a killer resume aren’t always enough. To communicate yourself as both a capable and confident candidate for the job make sure you:
      • Have a firm handshake
      • Make eye contact
      • Speak slowly and clearly
      • Sit up straight
      • Smile
    7. Say Thank You: Make sure you take the time to write a Thank You note to your interviewer following your interview. An email will suffice, but if you want to go above and beyond, take the time to write a handwritten note. This shows the employer that you are well aware of how valuable their time is and that you are grateful that they took the time to get to know you. This is a courteous gesture that will set you apart from other candidates. If for whatever reason you don’t get the job this time, they might be more likely to consider you the next time there is an opening.
    8. Breathe: Last but not least, don’t forget to breathe. Remember you are intelligent and qualified, and any employer would be lucky to have you. You can’t win them all, and sometimes no matter how prepared you are, another candidate will get the job. Don’t get discouraged; you will have many more interviews and many more job offers throughout your career. Be confident, be knowledgeable and be prepared and remember at the end of the day you will find a job and things will be okay.

Photo credit

A Tribute to Our Roots

Hoyle, Tanner founders gathering around a document signing

As we begin our 47th year in business, we pay tribute to our founders who exemplified courage, resilience, commitment and innovation while building the solid foundation from which the company operates today.

Doug Hoyle was a lot of different things — a graduate of Brown University, a Korean War veteran, a licensed pilot, an avid skier, motor sport enthusiast and co-founder of a company that still bears his name. Although his list of personal accomplishments is long, throughout his career, his key interest remained the same: to be recognized as Chief Engineer. In 1973, Doug Hoyle along with John Tanner and Bill Thomas founded the engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc. and opened an office in the Ammon Terminal building at Manchester Airport. This marked the beginning of what now has become a very successful 46-year history in the civil engineering business.

Together, the original team of three built Hoyle, Tanner from the ground up; their individual beliefs, experiences, talents and business strategies complemented each other nicely.

Doug would take the lead for the company in the field of environmental engineering. Doug understood that by utilizing the availability of funding from the federally-sponsored Clean Water Act of the1960s, water quality could be significantly improved, and this was to be especially relevant to the many municipalities in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. This work would become an important source of repeat business for the company, as well as establishing a reputation for high quality engineering in environmental services.

John Tanner also recognized the importance of a reliable source of funding for projects. His interest was in public transportation; he utilized the federally-funded Airport Development Aid Program which assisted airports by providing funds to finance capital improvements and maintenance projects. John led the way in this effort and was instrumental in building a national reputation for Hoyle, Tanner within the aviation industry. Unlike the other two founders, Bill Thomas was not an engineer but an experienced and insightful businessman who played a crucial role in business development, serving as the face of the company, and playing an instrumental role in important business decisions that affected Hoyle, Tanner’s future. Their personalities interwove together perfectly.

Doug Hoyle, a man of unwavering honesty and integrity, was a competent and traditional professional who made rational and calculated decisions. His pride was not in the name on the door but instead in his duty as Chief Engineer.

John Tanner was a gifted manager and a natural leader. John was always forward-thinking with big ideas and an ability to listen to a room full of people and distill a complex discussion to its core elements.

Bill Thomas was very personable; a natural conversationalist at ease in any social or business situation. Bill possessed the sound judgement and insights that would help to establish the firm’s culture and guide the company through future technological changes.

Together, the founders created a company culture of customer-driven quality and professionalism that is still very much in evidence at Hoyle, Tanner today. For 46 years, the company has been resilient and adaptive, embracing challenges and taking measured risks that are in the best interest of both our clients and our employees. Engineering is a continuously evolving industry. Hoyle, Tanner’s ability to adapt, anticipate these changes and persevere is something that has been with us since we first started in 1973 and that will continue to see us through our 100th year in business.

Founders black and white photo with names

This piece was written by Grace Mulleavey and Frank Wells.

NEWEA Young Professionals Summit: What I learned about Empathy and Strength

Photo shows three young professionals, including Monika Ingalls, meeting and networking at the NEWEA Summit

On Sunday January 26, 2020, the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA), partnered with New England Water Works Association, held a Young Professionals Summit to bring together young professionals (YPs) from the water and wastewater industries to hear from leaders in their profession and network with peers across New England. I was intrigued by this summit as I believe networking is important to furthering one’s professional career, as well as listening to those who are leaders and considering advice that they offer.

The NEWEA Young Professional Summit began with opening remarks and a large speed networking activity. This was a great way to get to know fellow YPs in the New England area. There were YPs from other consulting firms, public works departments, and graduate students. NEWEA provided several guiding questions and from there it was interesting to hear what projects other firms and municipalities were working on. One YP whom I spoke with, who was a graduate student from UNH, talked a bit about her research into removal of pharmaceuticals from water, which she was presenting in a session on Monday.

Empathetic Professionals

After four rounds of swapping partners and networking, we returned to our tables and prepared for a speech by Dr. Claire Baldwin, from CDM Smith. She spoke on the importance of empathy as engineers and as future leaders in our profession; it’s important as engineers to consider how our actions and designs will affect everyone, not just people with similar outlooks on life as us.

One example that she mentioned that I felt was especially powerful was an image of an older person with a walker attempting to climb up a steep slope next to stairs – it is clear in the image that those who are unable to use stairs were not considered during the design process. She pushed the importance of putting oneself into the shoes of all people who will be effected by a project.

Water’s Inspirational Future

Part of the day included the documentary Brave Blue World. The Water Environment Federation helped partner to create this film which provided a positive outlook on the future issues with water that the world will be faced with. It covered many different areas globally and presented entrepreneurs and scientists who are all doing their part to help solve their respective water issues. Once we viewed the documentary, we moved into a discussion about the movie and were tasked with creating panel questions for different audiences: high school students, the general public, and public officials in an area where a screening may be held. Overall, I felt this showing left me with an inkling of hope for the future – while there are problems that will become more prevalent, there will always be individuals to step up to the challenge and help the world and its inhabitants.

Strengths in Career Pathways

After this session, another speaker, Hannah Mento of Mento Mindset presented about finding what our strengths are and using these strengths to improve our creativity at work. This presentation was interesting and she helped guide us as we thought to ourselves what our strengths are, even going as far as messaging people we know to tell us what they feel our strengths are; and pushed us to consider these strengths moving forward in our careers to help improve our productivity and happiness with our jobs. It was interesting to hear the variety of strengths people discovered about themselves, whether it be communication, listening, organizational, etc. and to see whether there were strengths that we all had since we are all young engineers.

Hearing From other Young Professionals & Key Takeaways

Finally, two professionals were able to chronicle their first years as engineers and field questions from any of the YPs in the room during a panel discussion. One takeaway from this panel was the importance of remembering that it takes time to come into your own as a professional and not to feel discouraged if it is taking longer than expected.

After closing remarks, I had the opportunity to introduce myself to the president-elect of NEWEA, Jennifer Kelly Lachmayr, as well as talk with a few YPs who were new to the New England area. All in all, this was a good experience to connect with other young professionals throughout New England and to hear from speakers who wanted to help us grow more into our careers. After exploring my strengths and connecting with the professionals at the event, I am excited to participate more as a member of NEWEA and learn more from the professionals associated with the organization.

Photo credit: Charlie Tyler/NEWEA. See the full album.

Written by Monika Ingalls, EIT

What is the PFC Debate about?

To become financially self-sustaining, airports are continually evaluating ways to generate the revenue needed to support their facility. One key program commercial service airports use to support development and maintenance is the Passenger Facilities Charge (PFC).

The PFC program was established in 1992 and instituted a fee up to $3 charged per passenger per stop, to be used by the individual airport for approved projects that include enhancing safety, security, or capacity, or increasing air carrier competition. Two decades ago, the maximum PFC was raised to $4.50 and has not been adjusted since. The PFC rate amount has been the topic of many discussions between Congress, airports, and airlines. The PFC cap increase debate is once again a topic of discussion in the current FAA reauthorization.

 

1992-2000-2020

 

Rationale in Favor of Increasing PFC Charges

Airports and industry organizations such as the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and Airports Consultants Council (ACC) have been fighting for an increase in PFC charges and argue:

  • PFC is a user fee a passenger pays for using an individual airport. If you do not use the aviation system, you do not pay the price. The PFC is not an additional tax.
  • The current proposal to increase the cap on PFCs is needed to account for future inflation.
  • A simple adjustment to the PFC to account for inflation would directly support each individual airport’s infrastructure and fund the improvement projects needed.
  • As traditional revenue sources begin to decline such as parking due to rideshare companies including Uber and Lyft, airports need to identify additional revenue sources.
  • Large airports can drastically reduce their Capital Infrastructure Bonding Debt Service by funding more of the project with PFC revenue. Small communities can use the PFC to cover local share of the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant. Airport Council International (ACI) has a summary document that provides an example of how using PFC would significantly reduce the cost of a large scale terminal project by eliminating long-term debt payments.

Rationale in Opposition of Increasing PFC Charges

  • Airlines do not want to charge passengers additional fees.
  • The public is sensitive to airline ticket pricing and is not likely to support increased fees that will raise those fares.
  • Some airports negotiate fair and reasonable rates and charges without utilizing a PFC.

AIP Funds & Questions to Consider

Many United States airports rely on federal, state, and local funding to maintain existing capacity, accommodate growth, and support a safe, reliable national airspace system. The reality is, our nation’s airports are vital public utilities with sizeable operation costs. To meet the airports’ individual infrastructure needs the FAA established the AIP trust fund. This program was created as part of the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1981 as a means of distributing federal entitlement and discretionary funds to airports that are part of the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).

As we continue to watch the debate unfold over the following weeks, it will be interesting to see if there is an increase with future adjustments for inflation or we keep the status quo. There are still many questions to be considered. Per U.S. Code Title 49 USC § 47114(f), the amount of entitlement funds for large and medium hub airports that also collect a PFC, are reduced based on the PFC collection level approved for that airport. For example, if the airport is collecting at $3.00 or less, the amount of entitlements is reduced by 50%. If the airport is collecting more than $3.00, the amount of entitlements is reduced by 75%. If PFC raises to $8.50 or something in between $4.50 and $8.50, how would this further affect the process for AIP entitlement and discretionary distribution of funds? Would there be additional federal money supporting small airports while larger commercial airports can support their operations through PFC?

The Future of Airport Infrastructure

Airport executives are in a position where they are required to plan for future growth, support airlines, support aeronautical activity including the safe and efficient transport of people and goods, and enhance passenger services. How these improvements and services are funded are an integral part of the PFC cap increase debate. Legislators need to decide if an airport is a public asset that is to be supported by the government as an essential and vital piece of transportation infrastructure; or is an airport a business just like any other that is fiscally responsible for their operations? How this on-going debate over raising the PFC is addressed in 2020 will be key to airport infrastructure funding in the future.

This article was written by Patrick Sharrow, AAE.

Hidden Revenue Potential at Airports

Whether traveling for business or leisure, many of us have experienced firsthand the increase in the number of air travelers. Although fully booked flights are encouraging news for the industry, they also mean higher operating costs for the individual airports. To help defer these costs and become self-sustaining, many airport managers have begun to explore creative revenue generation opportunities.

A study conducted in 2017 by Airports Council International (ACI) estimated that the airports total cost per passenger is approximately $13.69. This value however exceeds the global average of $9.95 for aeronautical revenue received per passenger. While aeronautical revenue per passenger seems to be constant, the airport has the potential to increase revenue by finding creative ways to increase the non-aeronautical revenue associated with each passenger.

Revenue generated by an airport is typically divided into two streams. Aeronautical revenues include those funds generated to the operation and use of the airfield by aircraft or aviation-related businesses. Non-aeronautical revenues relate to those operations and uses that are incidental to the operation of aircraft. Traditional sources of non-aeronautical revenue include parking, rental cars, terminal lease, concessions, restaurants, and advertising. According to ACI, 39.9% of total global airport revenue is contributed from non-aeronautical revenue sources. Successful airport managers understand not only the aviation-related operations of their airport, but also the revenue potential associated with non-aviation operations and business. Some non-aeronautical revenue strategies that are applicable to both commercial service and general aviation airports include:

non aeronautical strategies

As technology advances, additional non-aeronautical revenue sources may also rise and airport administrators must be willing to embrace these opportunities to help defer ever-increasing operating costs and become self-sustaining.

This article was written by Patrick Sharrow, AAE.

How Hoyle, Tanner is Saving Time and Money with Drone Flights

Clearing the air! This is what our small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS – commonly referred to as drones), operators Evan McDougal, CM and Patrick Sharrow, AAE are incorporating into airspace analysis. Evan and Patrick are just two of Hoyle, Tanner’s professional Part 107 remote pilots who are utilizing photogrammetry and advanced autonomous sUAS technology to analyze and access airspace obstructions. With recent media highlighting the challenges of integrating sUAS operations into the National Airspace System, it is an exciting time to focus on the safer, less expensive, and expedient capabilities that these vehicles make possible.

Many organizations, both private and government, are interested in what these small flying sensor system platforms can do. For instance, many state aeronautics agencies that oversee the safety and operation of multiple airports can spend weeks with multiple survey teams and inspectors traveling from airport to airport assessing tree canopy and surrounding buildings – all in an effort to determine if there are obstructions to FAA approach and departure surfaces and pilots utilizing the runway.

In contrast, a drone can be flown by a trained and qualified pilot to collect accurate obstruction data. The three-dimensional results can show the entire area in many formats in a fraction of the time and cost it would take a ground survey crew or aerial survey.

Hoyle Tanner is passionate about increasing safety and efficiency in aviation. During the September 2018 National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) Annual conference in Oklahoma, Evan McDougal demonstrated his enthusiasm for the emerging technology and the airspace analysis applications we have developed.

Evan showed interested State Aeronautics Department Representatives how they could benefit using sUAS systems for obstruction analysis. Bryan Budds, Transport and Safety Section Manager at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), was quick to recognize the benefits of this capability and the opportunity to advance the MDOT existing drone program. He arranged for Hoyle Tanner to spend three days training DOT employees on how to collect accurate obstruction data using drones as well as process it into meaningful deliverables.

The information gathered in the sUAS flights is used to create detailed 3D models of the airport including trees, pavement condition, ground contour elevations, and surrounding land development. Once collected, the data can be used to graphically depict airspace approach corridors that are not able to be seen with the naked eye. Obstructions are clearly shown protruding into protected airspace making it much easier for the airport and responsible landowners to agree on obstruction removal alternatives.

With the proper coordination of sUAS data collection and software processing systems, “clearing the air” can be done economically, accurately, and efficiently. The exciting reality of the sUAS market is that the sky is the limit! Hoyle Tanner is committed to continually evolving and developing new opportunities to increase safety and efficiency in aviation moving into the future.

This article was written by Patrick Sharrow, AAE.

Heat Safety: 4 Tips to Stay Safe on Construction Sites During Summer

Heat illness prevention graphic of construction worker

Summer is officially here, and although the warm weather brings promises of barbecues, beach days and the hum of AC, working in the summer heat is not something to be taken lightly. For construction laborers and other outdoor workers, the heat can drain your energy and be very dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data, in 2015 over 2,830 American workers suffered from a heat-related illness that required at least one day away from work. In order to prevent more injuries now and in the future, it is important to spread awareness in the workplace about how to stay safe while out and in intense summer conditions. By planning ahead and executing these simple safety measures, you will be happier, healthier and ready to enjoy all the fun that the summer heat has to offer.

Drink Water

Staying hydrated is the single most important thing you can do to prevent heat-related injury or illness. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes even if you are not thirsty. Additionally, anyone exposed to prolonged periods of sweating should balance out their electrolytes by drinking sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade. Keep in mind, though, that sports drinks are laden with food dye and sugars, so you can also boost your electrolytes by eating mineral-rich foods like bananas, nuts, yogurt, and dark green vegetables like kale. Coconut water is another good source of replenishing electrolytes. If you can’t carry snacks around, some say that adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon to your water can have a similar satisfying effect.

Be Cautious of Caffeine

Coffee is an essential part of the day for many Americans. However, all caffeine — whether it be coffee, tea or soda — can be dangerous on a hot summer day if you aren’t careful. This is because caffeine can be diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss in the body and dehydrates you more quickly. Whether or not caffeine is actually a diuretic has been debated over the past few years, but your reaction is also very subjective; someone who rarely drinks caffeine may feel its effects more than a daily consumer, especially on a hot day. Drinking water throughout the day should counter these effects, but be wary of drinking excessive amounts of caffeine, especially while on the job site.

Take Breaks

Do not be afraid to take breaks. No job is worth risking your health over. The heat can be draining, and it is important that you allow yourself the time you need to recuperate. When you do take breaks make sure you find some shade, drink at least 20 ounces of water and reapply sunscreen. For lunch, eat healthy and energizing foods. You will be surprised how much stronger you feel throughout the day.

Know the Symptoms

Excessive heat can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is important that you are able to recognize these symptoms and know what to do if the situation arises.

Heat Exhaustion

Nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness, confusion, dizziness, and cool, pale, moist or flushed skin can all be signs of heat exhaustion. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms it is important that you immediately move them to a cooler location and start to loosen any tight or heavy clothing they are wearing. You need to lower the person’s body temperature by any means necessary. Some examples of how to do this include fanning them, spraying them down with cool water or resting wet towels on their skin. If the victim is conscious, start replenishing their fluids by having them drink water slowly (about 4 ounces every 15 minutes). Keep a careful eye on the person and watch for any changes in their condition. If they refuse care, begin to lose consciousness or start to vomit, call 911 or local emergency authorities immediately.

Heat Stroke

Signs of heat stroke include hot dry red skin, confusion, loss of consciousness or convulsions and seizures. Heat stroke is an extremely serious condition and can be fatal, so if you witness anybody experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. While waiting for help to arrive, cool the person down as quickly as possible. If circumstance allows, immerse the person up to their neck in cold water. If that isn’t an option, spray the person down or apply ice packs or wet towels to their skin.

For more information on what to do when temperatures rise, download the free Red Cross Emergency App. The app also gives users the option to receive alerts for excessive heat watches, warnings and heat advisories.

We want this summer to be memorable for a lot of reasons, but overheating is not one of them. When working outdoors in hot weather, the most important things to remember are water, shade and rest. Anyone can be at risk for severe dehydration and heat exhaustion, but people who are not used to prolonged exposure to heat typically are at a higher risk of suffering an injury. As things start to heat up this summer, ease your way into your work, especially if you are a new employee. Listen to your body and take the necessary precautions to ensure that you are both safe and successful.

Now get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

 

 

Written by Grace Mulleavey

 

 

 

 

National Drinking Water Week: Help Keep Drinking Water Clean & Accessible

National Drinking Water Faucet

National Drinking Water Week is a time to celebrate and recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives. For more than 40 years, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) has encouraged individuals in the community to take personal responsibility over conserving and maintaining clean drinking water.

Although the majority of the earth’s surface is covered in water, only 1% of it is accessible to drink. Here in the United States, we are blessed with access to some of the cleanest drinking water in the world, but we go through roughly 355 billion gallons of it a day. We need to increase our conservation efforts in order to preserve this vital natural resource for future generations.

In the hopes of spreading the word and doing our part to participate in National Drinking Water Week this year, we have gathered together a list of tips and tricks that can help you do your part to save more clean drinking water and support water infrastructure.

Get the lead out: Lead is a common and naturally occurring metal that is sometimes present in the pipes of older homes. In small amounts it is not necessarily toxic, however, continuous exposure can have harmful long term effects on the body, particularly in children and pregnant mothers. Due to it being both invisible and tasteless, the only way to find out if there is lead in your water is to get it professionally tested. That can cost between $20 to $100 dollars.

Don’t plan on getting your water tested? Flushing your tap water is a way to curb possible exposure to lead, especially if the tap has gone without use for an extended period of time. Flushing the tap gets rid of the water that has been standing in the pipes and ensures you only get water from the source where the chances of naturally occurring lead are extremely rare. A good measure for knowing when the water has been properly flushed is when the temperature goes cold, which could take anywhere between 10 seconds to three minutes. While lead can be removed by some home treatment devices, be weary of which product you use and if/how it has been certified. We suggest checking out NSF International, the Water Quality Association, and CSA International, all of which are organizations that certify products which eliminate contaminants. For further information on lead and how to ensure it is not present in your tap water at either your home or workplace, visit Drink Tap’s webpage or take advantage of one of these hotlines:

EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 1-800-426-4791

National Lead Information Center: 1-800-LEAD-FYI

Fix those Leaks: Did you know the United States wastes one trillion gallons of water annually from household leaks that go unattended? The easiest way to participate in water conservation is to make sure you aren’t unknowingly wasting gallons of water every day. The best way to determine if you have a leak is to turn off all of your appliances that utilize water (i.e. dishwasher, laundry machine), faucets, and outside watering tools. Once you are sure that there is no water running in your home take a look at your water meter. If the flow indicator is still moving, then you probably have a leak. The two most likely culprits for leaks are either the toilets or faucets. The cheapest way to check to see if your toilet is leaking is to drop food coloring in the holding tank. From there, all you have to do is not flush the toilet and wait to see if the water in the bowl becomes colorful. If it does occur, you can confirm the leak. Leaks can be tricky. It can be hard to identify the cause and even harder to execute an easy fix. If you want to read more about the do’s and don’ts of finding and fixing a leak check out Drink Tap’s webpage.

Take Care of Your Pipes: Repeatedly flushing products such as wipes, facial tissues, paper towels, medications and the likes down the toilet can cause unnecessary issues in time. Maintaining lower water pressure is an easy way to lengthen the life of your pipes. High water pressure can easily lead to leaks, which we already know can be extremely wasteful, and be costly to fix. Another easy way to preserve your pipes is making sure you properly dispose of fats, oils, and grease. Throwing these waste products in your regular garbage once they solidify can prevent unwanted in-home sewer back up.

Invest in Infrastructure: Water infrastructure is an essential part of daily life. The North American drinking water network is four times longer than the National Highway System, measuring roughly one million miles long. Unfortunately, much of the current infrastructure has been in the ground for 75 years or more, meaning that it will need to be replaced within the next 25 years. If we do not begin to face the problem of water infrastructure, we will soon find ourselves in the middle of a crisis that threatens the public health and economic vitality of the entire nation. This responsibility cannot be tackled by the water utility companies alone. Replacing our water infrastructure requires a united effort by government, stakeholders and the public as a whole.

We often forget that drinking water is a natural resource that needs to be preserved and protected if we are to have continued access to it in the future because it is so easily accessible to us in the United States. Taking these necessary precautions and investing in the care and restoration of pipes are easy ways that you can participate in preserving the existing infrastructure for the future.  

The Flow of the River: What 2D Hydraulic Modeling Can Teach us about Movement

GIF image of 2D hydraulic modeling showing water under a bridge

Imagine trying to measure water in a beaker or in a measuring cup; it is stagnant and easy to follow the line of meniscus to see if it’s a ½ cup or 3/4. Then imagine measuring water in a river in order to build safer bridges; it tumbles over rocks, it changes speed, it experiences different water levels throughout a season.

Believe it or not, water movement is one of the most difficult phenomenon to solve. Yes, you can apply mathematics or numerical methods to solve complicated differential equations, but there are always some unknowns about turbulent flows (class 4 rapids) where general assumptions are made.

Rivers require intricate numerical models for river-type engineering problems, and I have been accepted to present on these intricate models at this years biennial National Hydraulic Engineering Conference (NHEC) in Columbus, Ohio. The Conference spans a week from 8/27 to 8/31, and I will be presenting on Friday, August 31st.

Per the NHEC website (https://www.ohio.edu/engineering/nhec/), the conference is themed “Advancing Hydraulic Engineering through Innovation and Resilient Design,” and will address the challenges that transportation agencies face to construct, maintain, sustain, and improve hydraulic structures in the physical, natural, social, and economic environments of today and tomorrow. At this conference, I will be presenting on Two-Dimensional (2D) Hydraulic Modeling with Tidal Boundary Conditions.

Modelers typically use computer software packages where you input topography, flows, roughness parameters, and hydraulic structures. The software package uses the input to solve mathematical equations. It seems simple enough, but a modeler needs to have a conceptual understanding of numerical methods and know the limitations of the software package being used.

Whenever you hear the term “3D,” you think of an object in a space that has 3-dimensions, right? Similarly, water moves within a 3-dimensional space, where there is a z-component (up, down), y-component (left, right), and x-component (back, forth). What if I were to tell you that the movement of water in the z-direction (up, down) is not considered?

What would that mean? Well, what that means is that mathematically, we are simplifying a very complicated problem:  we are restricting movement of water to flow/move in 2D, 2-directions (x and y) and that is what 2D hydraulics is all about. Similarly, a one-dimensional (1D) hydraulic model is defined when the y-direction is neglected and water is confined to moving in the x-direction.

2D hydraulic modeling is not that new and has been available in an academia setting since the 80s. But in recent years, tools to develop 2D models have been readily available to engineers. A 2D model can’t be developed for every problem that we tackle, but it allows us to accurately represent actual real world conditions, make less assumptions and judgment calls, and communicate and show visualizations of flow movement to stake holders.

 

Written by Jeff Degraff

Getting the Most Out of Your Engineering Internship

Grace Mulleavey's Intern Testimonial

Internships are a great opportunity to network with professionals in your industry, build skills for your resume and also learn more about yourself and what you want from your professional career.

About 75% of college students complete an internship before graduation — a number that is rising due to the increasing evidence that internships are the most foolproof way to secure full time employment after graduation. Internships are competitive and if you want to be remembered you need to do more than just show up and do the minimum of what’s being asked of you. If you want to stand out and increase the likelihood of turning your internship into an opportunity for full time employment keep the following in mind.

Be Punctual and Prepared: Think of your internship as an audition for the big play or a tryout for the varsity soccer team. You need to be on your “A” game from start to finish. This means showing up on time, well rested, dressed appropriately and prepared with all the materials you need to do what is expected of you. As an intern you are a guest of the company, do not make them regret welcoming you into their space. Prove yourself to be a reliable colleague and a valuable addition to the workplace by meeting your deadlines and coming prepared for anything.

Pursue Excellence: Most likely your internship will come along with a variety of tasks, some that interest you and others that do not. The point is to approach each project with the same enthusiasm as the project that excites you the most. Even if a job seems easy, stay determined and do your best work. Everybody works differently and sometimes it takes a while for an employer to adjust to the time and efficiency of your work. If you find yourself finishing your work with extra time to spare do not just sit at your desk and surf the internet until the next task comes along. Be proactive, having extra time is the perfect opportunity to stand out and set yourself apart from other interns. Volunteer to do a project others don’t want or start working on something that needs to get done, but nobody has specifically asked you to do. By taking initiative and doing the unexpected, you will definitely give your employer something to remember.

Be Independent: An internship is a learning experience, and just like taking a college course, it is highly unlikely you will coast through it without having questions and understanding how everything should be done. The difference, however, is that in a college class it is the teacher’s job to help you; during an internship it is your job to help your employer. Unlike in school, in the professional world there is such thing as a stupid question. If a question arises, do not run straight to your boss and ask the answer. Be resourceful. Most of the time the answer you are looking for can be found through internal company resources or answered by a fellow intern. Now, this doesn’t mean that you should not ask any questions. After all, your internship is an opportunity for you to learn and grow professionally. However, the questions you should ask should be well thought out, insightful and bring something new to the table that maybe your employer hadn’t thought of before. Thoughtful questions are always appreciated and will even set you apart from the competition. Just be careful not to be the intern who wastes valuable time asking for answers that you could have come to on your own.

Build Relationships: When it comes to internships, networking is just as important as your official job responsibilities. Although it’s tempting and less frightening to only socialize with other interns, they won’t be any help come graduation time when you are frantically looking for a job. It can be intimidating but do your best to form strong relationships throughout your organization. Having mentors during your internship will not only help you to complete your job responsibilities effectively, but will also enhance your own personal growth. Establishing a meaningful relationship takes time and effort, and will not happen overnight. However, taking a network of contacts away from an internship will be extremely valuable to you not just after graduation, but for the entirety of your professional career.

Document the Experience: Take the time to make note of what you are doing throughout your internship. You should try your best to jot down the tasks you completed every day, as well as how you felt about them. What did you do well? What did you struggle with? What excited you? What didn’t you enjoy? This will be a tremendous help when it’s time to add your internship experience to your resume. You will also learn more about yourself and more specifically, what you are looking for from your professional career in the future.

An internship is the perfect opportunity to start building a professional portfolio. Listing coursework, experiences and strengths on a resume is not going to be enough to convince your future potential employers to hire you. For the most part, they want to see a physical product of your work and proof that you can walk the talk. Take the time to save the work you are proudest of. At the end of your internship, don’t be afraid to ask for letters of recommendation. By asking now as opposed to later when you actually need one, you will be saving yourself from the hardship of having to track down an individual willing to write one.

For most students, an internship serves as an introduction to the professional world, which is far different from the classroom. For that reason, as exciting as they are, internships can be nerve wracking and even overwhelming at times. Like all learning experiences, there will be both ups and downs, and it is important to remember not to let the downs discourage you.

Sometimes things in life do not work out the way you expect them to. You may find, that you end up hating an internship that you thought you would love. Do not give up, at this point in your young career the experience is invaluable to you. Push through it, come prepared, go above and beyond in the work that you do and build lasting relationships. Love an internship or hate an internship, you are still creating experiences and learning more about yourself and what you want to gain from your professional career.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Get that Dream Job with a Good Resume

Resume Writing Graphic

If you type “how to write a resume” into Google you are going to come up with thousands of results with varying and sometimes conflicting advice. That’s because there is no perfect way to write a resume. In fact, many experts recommend you steer clear from resume generating sites or cookie cutter formats all together. Resumes are unique and what you should and should not include varies based on several factors including industry, personal experience, profession and qualifications.

A good resume will get your foot in the door while a bad one may ruin your chances of landing the job from the start. There is no doubt that writing a resume can be a very daunting task and there really is no “right answer” in how you should do it. However, there are generally accepted guidelines that you can trust to help you along the way. We want you to be as successful as possible so before sitting down and updating your resume, take a minute to review these tips:

Spelling & Grammar: Missing typos or using bad grammar is the single easiest way to get your resume thrown out. Despite industry affiliation, most employers demand strong written communication skills in their new hires. To ensure your resume is free of any spelling and grammar mistakes, make sure you review it several times on several different occasions. Sometimes all you need is a pair of fresh eyes to catch a mistake you didn’t see before. In addition, have a friend or family member review it as well; the more people who review your resume, the less likely a simple error will go unnoticed and cost you your shot at landing an interview. For more advice, check out this list of top 5 grammar mistakes people tend to make on their resumes.

One size DOES NOT fit all: Sending out the same resume for every job that you apply for is not going to do you any favors and will most likely hurt your chances in the long run. Every job is different and every employer is looking for something different, so why would you give them all the same resume? You should customize your resume for each job you apply for. Although it may seem tedious and time consuming, you are increasing your chances of grabbing a hiring manager’s attention. If you’re not willing to tailor your resume to the job description, the employer has no reason to think that you are serious about the job opportunity and will not find it worth their while to call you in for an interview. Take your time to be thorough, research the company you are applying to work for, and tailor your resume to the job description. We promise the extra effort will pay off.

The key is in the keywords: With today’s advanced technology, most resumes are screened electronically before landing on an employer’s desk. Large companies in particular use computer technology that will search for keywords, keeping the resumes with them for review by a manager and discarding the rest. With that being said, you could have the best resume in the world but if it lacks the specific keywords the computer is looking for, your application won’t even make it into the hands of your potential employer. Although there is not a specific list of keywords to include on your resume, you can make a pretty good guess as to what they might be by carefully reading and analyzing the job description. For more information on how to identify and utilize key words on a resume click here.

Design for “Skimmability”: Most employers decide within a few seconds whether a resume is worth a full read or not, so you need to make sure yours is clean, consistent and easily readable. You do not want to distract the employer from reading what’s really important (your skills and experiences). Choose a modern classic font and stick with it. Make sure the margins are even and that the layout is navigable. You should avoid writing in paragraphs and instead present all of your information in clear and concise bullet points. A hiring manager is not going to work to find the information they need, so if it doesn’t stand out to them at the very beginning, the higher the chances are that your resume will end up in the reject pile. Sometimes people create flashy resumes that are designed to get the attention of an employer; this might be a good idea if you are pursuing a profession in a creative industry like design, but otherwise it is best to avoid using this tactic because it is risky and could be potentially distracting or unwanted to an employer.

Find a balance: A resume is about marketing yourself to an employer by telling a story about how and why your professional career up until this point has prepared you for the job. Often times people get caught up in trying to squeeze every experience right down to the first job they had in high school onto their resume. Although that job might be important to you, it may no longer be relevant. When it comes to writing a resume, it really is quality over quantity. Be specific and tell the employer your experiences that are both relevant and applicable to your ability to be successful in the position you are applying for. The standard rule of thumb is to keep your resume to a page in length. If you truly have enough relevant and important experience training and credentials, then it is okay to add a second page.

Accomplishments over responsibilities:
When listing your job experiences, it’s easy to get caught up in listing your job duties and responsibilities. An employer does not care so much about what you did while at your past job but instead is interested in what you accomplished. For example, did you drive sales up by 5%? Were you responsible for landing a new client? These are things you should take note of on your resume. A good way to do this is to include as many quantifiable facts and figures on your resume as possible, allowing potential employers to better visualize your capabilities and the positive contributions you’ve made working for past employers.

It’s easy to get caught up in the “do’s” and “don’ts” of resume writing. There is so much out there to consider that it’s easy to get lost in all of the technicalities. Before you go rewrite every line of your resume, we would like to remind you that it’s important you don’t edit your resume so much that it loses personality. At the end of the day, your resume is your introduction to your potential employer. Let them get to know you, but at the same time be honest, be concise and be relevant.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

5 Extraordinary Women in Engineering

March 8th International Womens Day

On International Women’s Day, we celebrate social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women today and throughout our history.

As engineers, we understand the need to increase the involvement and participation of women within our industry, as well as the other STEM fields. Today at Hoyle, Tanner we are celebrating a few extraordinary women throughout engineering history who have made a tremendous impact in our field and shown tremendous strength in times of opposition.

Martha J. Coston (1826-1904)
At the age of 21, Martha Coston was already a widowed mother of four children struggling to make ends meet. So when she happened upon a design for night flares that her late husband left behind in a notebook, she took advantage of the opportunity and went to work. For 10 years she revised his original design and even added pyrotechnic components in order to achieve a multicolored system that could be used for coded messaging. It was a long road, and along the way, Martha was forced to overcome unimaginable challenges, including the death of one of her children. However, all of her hard work eventually paid off when she succeeded in creating a bright, durable and long lasting tool that could be used for ship-to-ship or ship-to-land communication. When she patented the invention in 1859, the Navy purchased it from her for $20,000. (the equivalent of half of a million dollars for the time period). In addition, she won the rights to manufacture the devices for the United States Navy. Historians argue that the “Coston Flares” were a major contributing factor to the North’s victory during the Civil War. To this day, pyrotechnic devices are still used as a means of communication by the U.S. Navy. Throughout her lifetime, Coston demonstrated a profound ability to overcome failure and persist through hardship, and for that reason she is an inspiration to not only all women, but all engineers.

Helena Augusta Blanchard (1840-1922)
Helena Augusta Blanchard was born into a wealthy family from Portland, Maine. When her family lost everything in a financial crisis, Blanchard went to work using her talents to single-handedly restore their fortune. At the age of 30, she patented the zigzag sewing machine, her first and most famous invention. From there she went on to hold 28 patents, most of which were related to sewing machines. However, notable inventions by Blanchard also include the surgical needle and the hand crank pencil sharpener. She went on to open the Blanchard Overseam Machine Company in 1881 with the help of her sister. Helena Augusta Blanchard is the most prolific and successful female inventor of the 19th century. She loved what she did and continued to improve upon her designs and create new ones up until having a stroke in 1916.

Emily Warren Roebling (1843 – 1903)
Unlike others on our list, Emily Roebling never intended to become an engineer. However, when her husband became ill in 1872, she assumed the role of “first woman field engineer,” overseeing the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge — one of the biggest engineering projects of that time period. For 14 years, Emily executed many of the chief engineer’s duties, which included day-to-day supervision, project management, and even acting as a liaison with the bridges board of trustees. Although throughout the construction processes, Emily’s contributions were largely hidden due to the circumstances of the time period, today you will find a plaque on the bridge honoring both her and her husband.

Edith Clarke (1883-1959)
Edith Clarke was born in a small Maryland town and found herself an orphan by age 12. When she was 18, she made the courageous decision to spend all of her inheritance money on an education in mathematics at Vassar College. After graduating in 1908, Clarke worked as both a teacher and a computing assistant for AT&T before deciding to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she became the first female to graduate from their electrical engineering program. In 1922, Edith accepted a salaried engineering position at General Electric, making her the first professionally employed female electrical engineer in the United States. Edith Clarke was a loyal employee and stayed with GE for 26 years. During that time, she invented and patented her most famous contribution to the field, the graphical calculator “that simplified the equations electrical engineers used to understand power lines.” Edith Clarke was a pioneer for women in the engineering fields. Other firsts for her include being the first woman to present a paper before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE), the first woman to become an accepted voting member of the AIEE, and the first woman to be elected a fellow of the AIEE. Edith Clarke is honored in the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her extraordinary career.

Hedy Lamarr (1913-2000)
Hedy Lamarr is most commonly remembered as a beautiful movie star from the late 1930s to the 1950s. However, many are not aware of her talents off screen as an inventor. When Lamarr found herself bored with her daily duties as an actress, she started to spend all of her spare time on various inventions, despite a lack of formal training in the field. Her commitment to her hobby paid off when Lamarr patented a remote-controlled communications system that would be used by the U.S. Navy to jam enemy systems that interfered with torpedoes during World War II. The frequency hopping theory behind the design is the foundation for our communication technologies today, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi network systems. It was not until 2014 that Lamarr was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. There is no doubt that Hedy Lamarr was an incredibly talented woman who did what she loved despite the limitations of the time in which she lived. Next time you go to log onto your email or connect to Wi-Fi, take a moment to remember the woman who made it possible for you do so.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Engineers Week: Girl Day

Girl Day Engineers Week

It’s no secret that there is an underrepresentation of females in the field of engineering. Here at Hoyle, Tanner, we recognize diversity and inclusion as an instrumental part of making sure we are developing the best solutions to our region’s challenges. That is why we are participating in Girl Day, a recognized day of Engineers Week that is specifically geared toward generating awareness and educating young females about the opportunities available to them within the industry.

In 2015, women made up roughly 47 percent of the workforce but only 24 percent were working in STEM careers. Studies from Engineer Your Life & Changing the Conversation indicate that the lack of female interest and presence in the field may be due to the fact that many girls:

  • Do not know what engineering is
  • Think engineers must be exceptional at both math and science
  • Believe engineering is difficult and challenging

The gender gap in the industry can also be attributed to a matter of confidence. Studies show that when asked to assess their math abilities, female students tend to report lower capabilities despite equal levels of class achievement compared to their male counterparts.

There are many ways to encourage young girls to learn more about engineering, whether it be hosting events at your firm, visiting classrooms, or providing extensive access to role models or mentors within the field. However, if we are going to be successful in closing the gap and boosting the number of female engineers in future generations, we need to shift the focus of the conversation.

According to Discover Engineering, the only way to change young women’s thoughts about engineering is to change the way we talk about engineering. It is important to explain to young women that there is no “type” of person who becomes an engineer, and that a potential successful engineer does not necessarily have to be someone who “excels at math and science.” Instead, leaders of the women in the engineering movement suggest we begin to define a good engineer as someone who:

  • Is creative and imaginative
  • Likes to collaborate with others
  • Is curious and persistent
  • Wants to make a difference
  • Enjoys solving problems

By participating in Girl Day, we at Hoyle, Tanner hope to play our part in encouraging young women to study engineering. As a firm, we are proud to celebrate our female engineers and recognize how diverse minds at work help to increase the success of our projects.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Act Like a President, Think Like an Engineer

Presidents Graphic

The majority of our nation’s past presidents came from an academic or professional background — such as law, writing or education — rather than a technical or scientific one. In honor of President’s Day and as the kick-off to this year’s annual Engineers Week, we are celebrating five unique presidents who proved to have minds for engineering.

George Washington – (Presidency: April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797)
Most famous for being the first President of the United States and cutting down cherry trees, many people are not aware that amongst George Washington’s many talents was a knack for both geography and cartography. In fact, Washington spent his early professional career as a surveyor before some of his more distinguished endeavors as a business man, war hero and president. History shows that when serving as a military officer during the revolutionary war, Washington preferred to create his own field sketches as opposed to having them drawn up for him.

Thomas Jefferson – (Presidency: March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809)
Perhaps one of the most famous and influential figures in United States history, our third president, Thomas Jefferson, certainly thought like an engineer. Although classicism was his official expertise, Jefferson is often celebrated as America’s first great native-born architect. Even more impressively, Jefferson was self-made, gaining all of his architectural knowledge from books because of the lack of schools in colonial Virginia. Evidence of our founding father’s talent can be seen at the University of Virginia, or the state capitol building in Richmond, Virginia (both of which he designed). Jefferson’s work is uniquely American and still influences modern day architecture.

Abraham Lincoln – (Presidency: March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865)
Most famous for abolishing slavery, our 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln is known as both a successful lawyer and politician. However, most people are not aware that Lincoln spent a great deal of time studying mathematics, which qualified him for his early career as a land surveyor. In fact, in fall 1833 Lincoln spent countless days and nights pouring over texts such as Gibson’s Theory and Practice of Surveying and Flint’s Treatise on Geometry, Trigonometry, and Rectangular Surveying, both of which prepared him for making measurements in the field.

Herbert Hoover – (Presidency: March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933)
President Hoover is the only president who had an official background in engineering. In 1985, he graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor degree in mining engineering. Before winning the presidential election by a landslide in 1928, Herbert Hoover had a colorful career. The 31st president of the United States built his foundation working around the world on mining and railway projects, participating as a member of several war boards and councils and also serving as the Chairman of the American relief administration engaged in children’s relief in Europe. President Hoover greatly enjoyed his work as an engineer and spoke of the profession in high regard.

“It is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer’s high privilege.”

Jimmy Carter – (Presidency: January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981)
Next to President Hoover, Jimmy Carter is the second closest of all 45 presidents to have an official background in engineering. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology for one year before enrolling in the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis where he received a Bachelor of Science degree and became a submariner. While serving as a submariner in Schenectady, New York, he took graduate classes at Union College in reactor technology and nuclear physics. Carter served in the United States Navy for seven years on nuclear submarines. In fact, Carter was preparing to become the engineering officer in 1953 for the Seawolf before he abruptly resigned in the event of his father’s passing. Carter’s love for engineering is evident in the years following his presidency through his extensive work for Habitat for Humanity.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Happy National Engineers Week!

Engineers Week Poster

(Image courtesy of DiscoverE.)

In the United States, National Engineers Week is always the week in February which encompasses George Washington’s actual birthday, February 22; President Washington is considered the nation’s first engineer. It is observed by more than 70 engineering, education, and cultural societies, and more than 50 corporations and government agencies. The purpose of National Engineers Week is to call attention to the contributions to society that engineers make. It is also a time for engineers to emphasize the importance of learning math, science, and technical skills.

This year’s theme, “Engineers: Inspiring Wonder,” is a call to recognize the people who create today’s awe-inspiring wonders like cloud-busting skyscrapers and human travel to Mars. Our lives would be very different without daily marvels like clean drinking water, computers, and cars.

Over the next week, we will:

  • Celebrate President’s Day and kick off Engineers Week;
  • Share the passion our employees have for engineering;
  • Visit a local high school to demonstrate the skills engineers use every day;
  • Celebrate Girl Day, a worldwide campaign to introduce girls to the fascinating world of engineering by vising a local Girls, Inc.; and
  • Attend the Engineer’s Week Banquet to celebrate the 2018 NH Engineer and Young Engineer of the Year.

For additional information on engineering or Engineers Week, we encourage you to visit http://www.discovere.org/our-programs/engineers-week

Stephanie Bishop: Experiencing Civil Engineering First Hand

Hoyle, Tanner recently partnered with Milford (NH) High School & Applied Technology Center to host Stephanie Bishop, a high school senior, for the fall semester so she could further her passion for engineering.poster

What are your career goals after high school: Civil and Environmental Engineer

What inspired/influenced you to choose this career path: I love hands-on work. The whole design process from an idea to a sketch to an object seemed appealing to me. After taking the first engineering course at my high school, one project particularly stood out: paper bridges. I always wondered how bridges were able to hold so much weight. That curiosity combined with the knowledge gained from that unit in class, influenced my decision that civil engineering was the right path for me.

Provide a short description of the steps you are taking while in high school to pursue your career path: To start, I took all of the engineering courses available at my high school to make sure I liked it

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Stephanie shares her internship experiences with her high school classmates.

and wanted to continue with the subject. I got involved with STE(A)M nights as a student ambassador and got to share my knowledge and potentially spark an interest in younger kids. I wanted to know what other types of engineering were like so I joined the Women in Technology program with BAE Systems. This helped me gain an understanding of other options available should I decide that civil isn’t a right fit for me. I am currently in an internship with Hoyle, Tanner which is an amazing opportunity at the high school level to experience civil engineering first hand.

 

Tell me about your internship, what it involves, and who it’s with: My internship is with a private civil engineering firm called Hoyle, Tanner & Associates located in Manchester. I’m currently in the structures group which focuses on bridges but there’s also highway, environmental, and aviation groups within the firm. Being a structural engineer involves looking over blueprints, CAD drawings, quantities, load calculations, etc. To get out of the office you can also visit a job site and make sure everything is in check, which I’ve had the amazing opportunity to do within this internship.

We wish Stephanie the best in her college career and look forward to potentially having her return to Hoyle, Tanner, as a full-time employee.

Girl Day

In honor of Girl Day, a recognized day of Engineers Week, I had the pleasure of speaking to three Hoyle, Tanner engineers about their careers: Karen J. Frink, P.E.; Audrey G. Beaulac, P.E., CPSWQ; and Jillian A. Semprini, P.E. While Engineers Week is a time to celebrate the industry and engage in topics such as engineering education and awareness, Girl Day is specifically geared toward introducing the industry to females, who tend to be underrepresented in this fascinating and essential field.

Karen, Audrey, and Jillian brought up a lot of interesting topics in the discussion, finding that they had quite a few things in common besides their place of employment. Despite working in different fields of engineering (aviation, bridges, and transportation, respectively), all three women did not always know that engineering was the industry for them.

“I started out as a music major,” explained Karen, “and then took some math classes, and said, ‘Oh, I kinda like this.’” After studying abroad in England, she decided to come back to the United States and pursue a degree in engineering.

While Karen went from music to engineering, Jillian enrolled as undeclared for her first year of college, while Audrey simply followed her passion for math and science until she definitely knew that engineering was where she belonged, around her sophomore/junior year of college.

All three ended up as Hoyle, Tanner engineers, adding their expertise to the firm and to the industry as a whole. Because the number of women in engineering is not particularly high, Girl Day’s purpose is to introduce young girls to the industry and encourage them to learn more about engineering. This can be done in many ways, from engineering firms hosting events to engineers visiting schools as role models for girls to follow, which will hopefully aid in boosting the number of female engineers in the future.

When asked whether they were ever discouraged to enter the field, Karen responded, “I don’t think anybody ever told me I couldn’t do it, but I’m not sure I remember anybody saying ‘Wow, you really can do this.’” Because engineering is not an easy field by any means, requiring extensive knowledge while balancing the responsibility of public safety, young people need the encouragement and confidence to enter the industry. Girl Day contributes to that empowerment, especially since there are so few women in the field.

“I don’t think it’s well represented by women; I think they’re discouraged by it…they don’t get the mentoring they need,” explained Karen when asked about the lack of women in engineering. Both Audrey and Jillian explained that engineering was not very prominent at their high schools either, with Jillian saying, “Going through high school, I had no idea engineering was really even an option.” She was one of three females in her graduating engineering class of 2007.

Fortunately, Girl Day will encourage girls to study engineering, but it will also help increase the success of engineering projects due to the diversity of minds at work. Karen touched upon the benefits of both men and women collaborating in the industry, explaining how the multi-tasking talents of women complement the more one-task-at-a-time nature of some of the males.

Not only does the field of engineering benefit from these diverse minds, but it also benefits from diverse skillsets. While engineering is frequently labelled as a strictly STEM field, all three women agree that a creative skill set comes in handy as well. Audrey explained that with engineering, “There’s general guidelines to follow, but not every project is the same.” She credits thinking outside the box in order to ensure all projects meet the standard criteria.

Engineering may foster a sense of creativity as well as math and science, but unfortunately, it does not receive the public promotion that it deserves, as Karen pointed out: “Even to men, it’s not well-promoted….we’re gonna run out of engineers at some point, because nobody’s majoring in it anymore.” Although I am not an engineer, I even recall that the field was not heavily promoted when I was in school. I can remember various courses and academic clubs on topics such as law and healthcare, but not so much engineering. Hopefully, Engineers Week will boost the confidence of both men and women and draw attention to the importance of skilled engineers in today’s society.

When asked what advice she would give to young people, particularly girls, wishing to enter the field of engineering, Audrey responded, “Just don’t let anyone tell you can’t. If you’re truly interested in it, just go for it.” Hopefully, more people will take Audrey’s advice and contribute their skills to the future of engineering.

Written by Abigael Donahue

First Response: Storm Damage Mitigation of BMP Failure Presentation

I didn’t know what to expect. I had been to conferences before, seen many presentations, but never had to give one of my own. I thought, why not, I can do this. I got off the plane in Austin on Monday night and took the bus to the hotel. I had just missed the welcome social hour so I decided to relax before two full days of conference proceedings.

I got up early Tuesday morning to practice my presentation, although I wasn’t supposed to present until the following day. I got ready for the day and attended various half hour presentations about best Management Practices (BMP) Case Studies, Green Infrastructure, and Advanced Research Topics. Over a hundred vendors were gathered in one room promoting their products and answering questions. Tuesday night ended with a gala for all the conference exhibitors, speakers, and attendees. I met various engineers, managers, and product specialists.

Wednesday morning started early, like Tuesday, with me practicing my presentation before my 10:00 AM time slot. I got to my conference room early so I could set up and just as I fumbled through some minor technical difficulties, attendees started filling the room. Ten… twenty… fifty – I could not keep up with the headcount – all I knew was it was a full house. The moderator introduced me by reading my biography and as I stood up, I took a deep breath and started presenting. I knew what I wanted to say. I knew what slide was next. It was just like I had practiced. I had 30 minutes to present; but finished in 20 – a little fast, but I nailed the important discussion points.

I wanted to emphasize the intensity of the storm that caused the erosion at the airport. I wanted to emphasize the magnitude of the erosion along with the length and steepness of the eroded slope. And finally, I wanted to emphasize the various stormwater BMPs that were used in the design of the slope stabilization to prevent future failures along with the short amount of time available to do the design. I explained the various detention ponds and the closed drainage system that we designed to convey the stormwater from the top of the hill to the bottom. I showed details of the detention ponds and swales along with the different types of stabilization we used on the steep slopes.

It was now time for questions. What were they going to ask and would I be able to answer them? Three questions were asked and confidently I was able to answer them. I knew why we did what we did and what the design controls were and could therefore speak confidently about why we came up with the design we did.

And then it set in… it was over and I nailed it. Breathing resumed. It felt good to be done and to feel good about my presentation.

This article was written by Audrey Beaulac, PE.

Getting the Most out of Your First Entry-Level Position

Entry-level positions are more important than one may think. They are a chance to get a feel for the work world, establish some independence, and put your best skills to work. The thought of beginning a career is exciting, yet a bit daunting for some people, especially since you do not know what to expect. Although I never initially considered working at an engineering firm, landing my first job at Hoyle, Tanner has been the greatest career gift I could have received. Only six weeks have gone by since I started at Hoyle, Tanner, but I have already learned so much about marketing (and even a bit about engineering) and appreciating the value of an entry-level job.

Before being offered a position at Hoyle, Tanner, there were general rules I had to remember when searching for my first job. Keeping an open mind was extremely important during the job-searching process, especially for someone like me, a college graduate with little experience. I never dreamed of working at an engineering firm, especially as an English major. The thought never even crossed my mind. Marketing did interest me, but I was unaware that it could accompany engineering. Turns out, not only do marketing and engineering work well together, but they also need each other in order to accomplish project goals. Applying to anything and everything was crucial. It was important for me to not hold any judgements or preconceived notions about a particular job or industry.

Taking a step out of my comfort zone was also necessary. Finding a first job is daunting enough, especially with meeting new people, adapting to an unfamiliar office culture, navigating through a new area, and learning a job that may seem impossible to grasp at first. However, the only way to learn is by doing things that appear scary and out of reach. I decided to embrace my inexperience and to learn as much as I can from all different people. Also, I am grateful that I looked into all industries, even the ones that I never thought would have a place for me. There are so many jobs that people do not know exist, and you can tailor your skills to more positions than you think possible.

Despite the initial challenges of an entry-level positon, first jobs upon graduation are extremely valuable in setting the foundation for a successful career. Especially for individuals with a versatile college major, a wide set of interests, or uncertainty with their career path, an entry-level positon gives you the chance to try out a new industry and learn as much as you can. As I learned at Hoyle, Tanner, education and curiosity do not end after graduation.

New jobs and experiences are beneficial no matter the company, but Hoyle, Tanner definitely has a lot to offer to young professionals looking to build a career. First of all, the Manchester, New Hampshire headquarters are a bit on the smaller side, especially the marketing department. A small-scale company is extremely beneficial to recent graduates and to individuals new to the career world. First of all, you can never say, “That’s not part of my job.” In a smaller department, everyone does everything. This may be a bit intimidating to an individual who is unfamiliar with the company and with the job, but you learn how to do a variety of different tasks. For example, when building proposals, I learned how to use the computer applications, perform edits, communicate and work with a variety of people, and help in the printing, binding, and shipping process. From beginning to end, I am involved in almost all aspects of the process, not just a small piece of it.

At Hoyle, Tanner, I also have the opportunity to learn about engineering, an industry I had very little experience in upon graduation. I have the privilege of working with highly-skilled engineers, getting a taste of what the industry is about and the important impact it makes on everyday life. I never studied engineering before, but I now have the opportunity to work with engineering information and promote Hoyle, Tanner services. At the entry-level, Hoyle, Tanner exposes me to all areas of the company, helping me learn new things that I otherwise would never have discovered before.

Lastly, building relationships with the people I work with at Hoyle, Tanner comes naturally due to the essence of the environment. I must work directly with people, so therefore I get to know them better than if I rarely met with them face-to-face. On an average day, I work with people in marketing, in various engineering departments, and in printing. We respect each other as people, but also as coworkers because each person is absolutely essential in reaching our shared project goal, such as a printed proposal marketing the engineering expertise at Hoyle, Tanner.

For an individual out of college with little to no formal work experience, Hoyle, Tanner has plenty to offer in the way of multi-tasking, learning how to perform new job duties, communicating with a diverse group of people, and laying down a strong foundation to build a prosperous career on. Not only am I in a field that interests me, but I also experience new things every day that help me learn and grow as a young professional. Hopefully, I can help Hoyle, Tanner grow and continue to succeed, just like the company does for me.

Written by Abigael Donahue

The Value of an Internship

Navigating through college can be a tough endeavor for a lot of people. There is only so much that high school can do to prepare a student for what they can expect from college life and even less where career preparation is concerned. Luckily, in every college, exists the opportunity to gain real world experience and knowledge in whatever academic field a student chooses and often these opportunities can, when approached with the right attitude and with the right timing, lead to a potential career after college. I am talking of course about internships; often stereotyped as a position involving coffee runs, slave labor, underappreciated efforts and a general sense of hopelessness that the experience will lead to nothing but a few credits and a lot of wasted time. Fortunately for the most part, these stereotypes are nothing more than exaggerated tales from a few bad experiences and these days more and more students are realizing the importance of an internship, paid or unpaid in their respective field.

The benefit of an internship in the field of engineering is exceptional in what can be gained from it for the both the intern and the firm alike. Participating in an engineering internship allows the student to fully immerse themselves into their chosen career with real world applications through hands on projects that they may or may not be exposed to in their classes, as well as allowing them to explore other disciplines they may have never knew they were interested in. The firm on the other hand can not only gain additional manpower for arduous projects, but can benefit from a fresh mind with new ideas that is likely eager to learn and put classroom theories into practice.

We at Hoyle, Tanner believe in the value of an internship and what the experience can provide young and aspiring engineers. We regularly take on interns for summer positions as they near the end of their college career in an effort to prepare them for a long and successful career in civil engineering.

Hoyle, Tanner currently has two interns working in our Manchester headquarters this summer. Katelyn Welch, who is working with our bridge group and Amy Johnson, who is working with our environmental group. I recently talked with both of them to get a better understanding of what they feel are the benefits of an internship in the engineering field, and what I found out was that engineering students who seek out an internship have more than a few things in common; the main aspect being that they want to be challenged. The challenge seems to be the driving force behind the decision to pursue major in engineering in the first place as those in the field tend to have a curiosity in new ways to approach a problem as well as a desire for growth and continual education.

The value of the internship really shines through when they are given the opportunity to work in the field and experience what the job is really like. Both Katelyn and Amy noted that the work they have done so far has exceeded their expectations. Since engineering is very much a team effort, they have both been given the opportunity to collaborate with our full time staff on a wide variety of projects and have been fully involved throughout the process. Aside from their direct involvement with Hoyle, Tanner projects, both Katelyn and Amy are gaining insight into a lot of aspects of engineering in the real world that will surely give them a leg up in the future, such as countless terms, procedures, tasks and calculations that they feel they wouldn’t learn otherwise as well as gaining a better understanding of their chosen major/field is the right fit for them.

The other value they feel an internship provides is the anticipated ease of transition that comes when they enter the workforce after college. This much should be obviously evident, however, so many college graduates find out that they are either underqualified and need to take an entry level position at low pay when they need to actually make a paycheck, or that they are severely underprepared for what lies ahead of them. While many colleges have opted to make an internship mandatory to graduate, this is not always the case. With internships typically paying little to no money, many of them forego the opportunity to take on a low paying internship that would provide real world experience for a full time job on top of being a full time student. What we find with this recurring trend is a growing number of students who are graduating with little to no experience in their chosen field and without the connections that an internship provides, they are often left to fend for themselves in a sea of jobs with increasing standards and expectations for incoming applicants for entry level positions.

Fortunately, with this realization, many internships are either offering some form of pay or those who can’t afford to pay are working with local colleges to offer substantial credits towards the degree and in turn, more and more students are willing to take on an internship and more of these opportunities are leading to full time careers for the student at that company after graduation or it could lead to networking opportunities for those students that they may have not had before.

It is clear that the field of engineering is one that requires real immersion and involvement to really understand what to expect and can’t be mastered through books and classes alone. Internships like the ones we offer here at Hoyle, Tanner provide students with the real world knowledge and experience that is necessary to a successful career in the civil engineering world. If you are interested in an internship with Hoyle, Tanner visit our careers page or contact our Human Resources Department.