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How to Assess the Strength of Coal Combustion Residuals

Stability failures of impoundments involving release of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs; commonly known as coal ash,) like the one that occurred in Dan River Coal Ash Spill in 2014, have recently highlighted the importance of assessing the stability of CCR impoundments. CCR materials contain pollutants like Mercury, Cadmium and Arsenic. Without proper management, these contaminantsContinue reading “How to Assess the Strength of Coal Combustion Residuals”

The Value of Numerical Modeling for Geo-Structural Engineering

Numerical modeling uses complex computer programs to build a digital model of a site from which to calculate how a design will perform for various loading conditions. These methods avoid some of the simplifying and conservative assumptions that get made in simpler approaches. They help improve the efficiency of a design, predict how a design is likelyContinue reading “The Value of Numerical Modeling for Geo-Structural Engineering”

How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks on Your Business

If you haven’t recently heard, cybercrime and ransomware are at an all-time high across all industries. With business after business getting hacked, it is more important than ever to tighten up your security. When it comes to cyber-attacks, it is not a question of if, rather of when. To begin, let us cover the basics… What isContinue reading “How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks on Your Business”

The Top Three Project Plan Documents to Drive Success

What to do when you have no time to plan! The importance of project planning cannot be overstated. The Planning Phase offers the most significant opportunity to save time, resources, and money.  The main purpose of developing a Project Management Plan (PMP) is to break down the broad goals of the contract into manageable tasksContinue reading “The Top Three Project Plan Documents to Drive Success”

How Automated Geotechnical Testing Can Help in Today’s Laboratories

Commercial and academic geotechnical testing labs traditionally have required considerable time and effort to manually apply and monitor loads and pressures, adjust valves and regulators, and record data on paper (Figure 1A). Each of these time-consuming steps is prone to human error and operator subjectivity (not to mention some very late nights/early mornings in theContinue reading “How Automated Geotechnical Testing Can Help in Today’s Laboratories”

Time for an Audit? Don’t Panic!

Audits are a necessary “evil” that we all must endure when working in a geotechnical testing laboratory. Audits can be from an outside accreditation agency, a client for a specific project or simply an internal audit for quality review purposes. The scope of the audit may be a review of your quality system but itContinue reading “Time for an Audit? Don’t Panic!”

Why is it Important to Monitor Bridges?

Asset management, maintenance, repair, rehab – all of these decisions need to be made about structures using engineering knowledge and available data. When data is insufficient, lacking, or incorrect, decisions can’t be made, costing asset owners money and valuable resources. From my experience, attaining a return on investment through structural health monitoring and instrumentation canContinue reading “Why is it Important to Monitor Bridges?”

Business as Virtual

It is all but illegal now to shake hands, show an unmasked smiling face, walk into a business establishment and travel. So pretty much EVERYTHING I’m good at and enjoy doing I’m not allowed to do anymore. Panic much?…You bet I panicked! In a new world of “business as virtual” instead of “business as usual” I hadContinue reading “Business as Virtual”

Making a Difference in Your Work

I recently finished the book “Great Work – How to Make a Difference People Love” By David Sturt and wanted to share my takeaways relevant to the workforce, regardless of your role or industry. The book exemplifies that innovation can make a difference in people’s lives (big or small) and can come from anyone, anywhere,Continue reading “Making a Difference in Your Work”

ASTM International – Get Involved, Be Heard, Make a Difference!

What is ASTM International? ASTM is the abbreviation for American Society for Testing and Materials. ASTM International is a consensus standard writing organization that is involved with almost every type of material we, as engineers, work with. Soil, rock, geosynthetics, concrete, steel, plastic, etc.  If you’ve worked on a tunnel, highway, deep foundation, dam, wasteContinue reading “ASTM International – Get Involved, Be Heard, Make a Difference!”

Top 5 Project Safety Tips

Safety is one component of a project that can be overlooked but shouldn’t be. It’s easy to turn the other way when you see something wrong, but the safety and well-being of you and your co-workers should be a top priority. Not only that, but EMRs (experience modification rates) are often requested in proposals, soContinue reading “Top 5 Project Safety Tips”

3 Best Practices for Shipping Rock Samples

Don’t you hate having to go back and do something a second time because it went wrong the first time around? What if you could have avoided that second time altogether? Although this idea pertains to many everyday activities, in the world of lab testing, this applies quite simply to packaging and shipping samples, specificallyContinue reading “3 Best Practices for Shipping Rock Samples”