News & Industry Updates

Calibre: Civil Engineers in the Know
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Have you ever finished a work week and thought “that was a really great week, I feel so energized!” only to follow the next week with “well that week was a struggle…” Have you ever wondered what makes one week so different from the rest? Check out Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

For those who haven’t read Drive, it’s a workplace thriller. If you’re wanting to motivate your staff, catalyze your inner motivation, or make changes in the workplace, this book is a great start.

Pink focuses on the three main elements of modern-day workplace motivation:
1. Autonomy
2. Mastery
3. Purpose

Here’s what I learned about each category:

1. Autonomy
Generally, we are motivated, self-sufficient, and driven when we have control over what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and when we’re doing it. If you’ve had a controlling or micro-managing boss, you know what this is all about. If we as employees, and as human beings, do not feel autonomous in our work, we lose interest and commitment.

2. Mastery
If we’ve mastered something, we’re no longer interested in doing it. Part of what drives us as human beings is a constant curiosity. We’re curious from birth, and we stay curious as adults. Because of that fact, we find drive and motivation in solving problems and continuously seeking and learning. Part of finding fulfillment in a career is finding a job that gives us the freedom to continuing learning and striving to be masters.

3. Purpose
We need to make money at what we do. That is the central premise of a job. We have to work to live. Purpose goes above and beyond sustaining our livelihood. We want to make money, but that is not at the heart of what drives us. We want to feel like we are making a difference, like we are working for a purpose. And while money can fill a momentary drive, it, like the firework, is soon gone, leaving us thirsting for greater, more exuberant fireworks. In order to find what drives us, to be motivated at work day-in and day-out, we have to find purpose in what we do…and no amount of money will make up for lack of purpose.

Emily Villines, CPSM, MA
Director of Marketing and Outreach
CalibreEngineering by CalibreEngineering @
I don’t know about you but there are many days where I have so much going on, I forgot to stop and take a breather. Studies show you get more done when you make time to rest and renew your mind.

Check out this article about making sure you break up your concentrated work time, and great ways to do so!

-Danielle Lewis
 Marketing & Office Assistant

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Python is a free (in most cases) high-level programming language with an intuitive syntax. It is especially useful
collecting and storing large sets of hydrologic data, as well as moving data between formats (e.g. generating/inserting
reports from a database into Microsoft Word). The following link is an introduction to the easy-to-learn programing software: 

-Aaron Mangione
CalibreEngineering by CalibreEngineering @
Thoughts on Essential Value in Green Stormwater Infrastructure

For those of you who have heard me speak at conferences or lectures, you know how passionate I am about the idea that we, as designers, must continue to push the idea that high quality of life, resiliency, and sustainability are not just buzzwords to be used for marketing. We are accountable to our communities and humanity to design and build infrastructure that makes these characteristics and qualities ESSENTIAL, and not just “added” value.

If you think about it, any piece of infrastructure is already a “place”…

1. a particular position or point in space.

We should be focused on making infrastructure into places… that are attractive, enjoyable, durable, and of course - functional.

Younger generations clearly appreciate quality in the places they choose to live – by moving to those places that value quality in place. This is why cities with a perceived high quality of urban life are thriving. If for no other reason, we should all strive to provide infrastructure solutions that we are proud of, that lasts, and that inspires future generations - so that all of our cities and towns thrive.

The “new” paradigm that our firm believes in is actually really old.  We look as far back as early civilization to be inspired by infrastructure designs that (thousands of years later) are still beautiful, and still standing! We can no-longer afford to build infrastructure that serves only one purpose, or only lasts as long as its designer’s career. Stream Landscape Architecture collaborates with exceptional design and engineering partners to be leaders in planning and designing truly multi-functional Green Stormwater Infrastructure solutions like Denver’s Ultra Urban Green Infrastructure Guide.

Our infrastructure should enhance the context, improve quality of life, celebrate achievements in civilization, and generate community pride.

Here is a quick read from Stormwater Magazine on one viewpoint on how Green Infrastructure provides value on many levels. From the Author: “… pointing out the benefits not just for water quality, but for the economy and for cities as well—saving money for developers, in some cases benefiting investors, and creating more green space in neighborhoods.”

-Jesse Clark

Jesse Clark is the founder and managing partner of Stream Landscape Architecture. He is a Colorado Professional Landscape Architect with nearly 20 years of experience in public urban and open space environments and a focus on design and planning for water resources, stream channel reclamation, green infrastructure, municipal parks, and recreation facilities. He has been invited on numerous occasions to present on a variety of topics including Integrating Waterways with Recreation Facilities, Replicating Natural Processes in Shoreline Stabilization, and Creative Stormwater Infrastructure Solutions for Urban Areas.
CalibreEngineering by CalibreEngineering @
Ajin Prasad, a  Civil / Structural Engineer at The Louis Berger Group, Inc wrote an extremely intriguing article about an alternative to the Mexico and U.S border that's been thrown around by President Trump. Check it out!  

Of all the ideas that have been suggested for the border wall, there is one that may help to bring together Mexico and the U.S., instead of pitting the countries against each another over illegal immigration. I’m part of a group of civil engineers in Massachusetts that has conceived of a program that is based on a recently acquired patent for an advanced concrete construction technology for building large-scale, monolithic concrete structures capable of physically partitioning two countries while serving to promote economic development. This fast and thrifty construction method and our proposed program prove that, as far as creativity is concerned, civil engineering isn’t dead yet.

The research behind our basic design concept has roots in a scheme to irrigate the Saudi Arabian peninsula and another scheme to develop a concrete alternative for replacing earthen levees in the years after Hurricane Katrina. Our idea is to construct a monolithic concrete conveyance structure that is capable of transporting saltwater to the Gulf of Mexico, off Texas, from the Pacific Ocean, off the California coast, a distance of about 2,000 miles. Drawn off the conveyance structure, the saltwater would be desalinated using solar-powered units to produce potable water and irrigate arid terrain on both sides of the border.

The proposed facility is essentially a very large pipeline in the form of a rectangular box culvert. While the problem of moving large quantities of saltwater over mountains and deserts seems insurmountable, we now have the science, engineering and technology to do that in an economically viable way.

The concrete conveyance structure itself forms an enclosed riverbed roughly 30 ft high and 90 ft across, with an average 18-in. wall thickness. Depending on soil conditions, it would be buried in a trench most likely about 10 ft deep, which means it would present a 20-ft-high barrier structure along the border, except at designated crossing stations. The top surface of the concrete riverbed is wide and strong enough to support an elevated, multilane highway, which is another deterrence to illegal crossings: Active interstate highways are virtually impossible to cross.

Consider all the benefits. Irrigating vast stretches of empty desert is not a small accomplishment. Inside the conveyance structure, a separate chamber would serve as an enclosed utility corridor to provide electrical services to communities in both countries using the flowing saltwater to power electricity-generating units positioned along the route. Powered by magnetic and pneumatic technologies, another enclosed chamber would be set aside for rapidly transporting containerized goods.

There are obstacles, of course. As we see it, the project’s biggest problem would be to acquire an international right of way, but the conventional border-wall ideas face that same challenge. Further, in our scheme, private-sector investors would be encouraged to finance design and construction of the facilities in exchange for concession rights.
Although it isn’t part of the Trump administration’s agenda, conveying large quantities of raw saltwater to a desert opens up a new approach to countering the impending threat of climate change, rising sea levels and ever-increasing human population. In this way, what was intended to be only a physical barrier could serve other functions and pay for itself many times over.


-Jennifer Googins, EIT
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