News & Industry Updates

Calibre: Civil Engineers in the Know
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Several years ago I worked for a consultant doing some environmental permitting and stormwater management for this massive project to power the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in Jackson, New Jersey. Once the project appeared before the Jackson Planning Board several environmental groups made their voices heard about the concerns of cutting down trees in order to build a solar farm.

While the outcry over whether this was a true “green” development grew louder, the environmental impact was not of legal concern. Eventually the case came down to whether a zoning change for the area was broadly fair to encourage development or whether it was too specifically inclined to this individual project. As the above article states, last month it was ruled that the zoning change was admissible and the project may now have cleared at least one hurdle.

Cases like these make us, as those who work in development, really think of the power of zoning and more specifically how zoning is used by municipalities to get the type of desired development. In this case it was argued that the zoning was created too specifically. Not in protest of the project, but to guarantee it would move forward. How to dive into municipal zoning code, find intentions and split hairs, is a topic that I’m sure will find its way to debate and probably into a court room again.

Link to article:

-Caleb Nelson
  Engineer I
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This is a link to a video shot and edited by Trimble, Inc. In this video Dustin Hoaglin, one of our senior members, talks about his role within AzTec and how he has to wear many hats, form training field crews to QA/QC their data, performing network adjustments, distilling scanning and UAS data into what a client needs, and most importantly ensuring the data is correct. He also talks about how TBC, Trimble Business Center plays a role here at AzTec and explains how Trimble and their equipment has helped us become who we are today.

Youtube Link:

- Niku Kruger
  Aztec Consultants, Inc.
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According to the Denver Post, Colorado grants more health insurance waivers than other state for Medicaid recipients.  The linked article provides some very interesting statistics for our state. Many people in our state will be effected by the proposed changes to Medicaid.

Article link:

-Lauri A. Murphy
Office Manager
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“The research – which included almost 1400 surveys and several dozen phone interviews – reinforced some assumptions and provided clarity on others related to architectural practice, engineering practice and construction industry business marketing and business development.

If there is one over-arching theme to be gleaned from the research, it is that A/E/C firms are spending more money on business development (BD) than they have in the past – and they intend to increase spending in the future. This conclusion is not based upon any concrete expense forecasts (e.g., percent of net revenue spent on BD), but rather the significant growth of both seller-doer and dedicated business developer positions at architecture, engineering, construction, and related firms…

…So what gives? Why are firms willing to increase their labor expenses for business development? There are numerous factors driving this trend, but the reality is that we are in a highly-competitive marketplace. Client loyalties have changed: whereas a decade ago there was so much construction happening that a lot of firms could “sit back and wait for the phone to ring” (it’s never really that easy, is it?), that isn’t the case anymore. We’re in a new era of purchasing, with the dreaded “three-bid mentality” destroying long-term relationships and potentially negatively impacting the owners/clients – when the A/E/C firm that knows their culture, facilities, and/or structures isn’t the low bid and newbies come in, this could be a good thing. Or a very bad one!”

Jonathan L. Meyers, PE, MBA
CalibreEngineering by CalibreEngineering @
Work within the waterways is highly regulated at the local, state and federal level.  At the federal level more often than not a 404 permit is required for the work.  The work can often be permitted under what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) refers to as nationwide permits which cover typical work within waterways.  There are currently 52 nationwide permits which cover a wide range of types of works from dredging and bank stabilization to fish and wildlife harvesting or soil management for wildlife.  Effective March 19, 2017 the USACE has reissued these permits which are effective for 5 years.

To find if your project may be covered by a nationwide permit the USACE has all permits and facts sheets listed at the below link with information on what they cover, how to obtain and other general information.   

- Chris McFarland, P.E., CFM
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