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Clark•Nexsen Completes Phase VI Housing · Oct 16, 2004

Clark•Nexsen has successfully completed the new $24 million, multi-story Phase VI Housing project on the main campus of George Mason University (GMU), located in Fairfax, VA, and funded by the University’s Foundation. The Phase VI Housing was designed in association with Sasaki Associates, Inc. The new Phase VI Housing will be known as Potomac Heights.

This year, George Mason University surpassed Virginia Tech as the most populated state college in Virginia, with an enrollment of over 27,000 students.

The 190,000-square-foot Potomac Heights complex will house 504 coeducational upper classmen and consists of apartment-style beds in a five-story, post-tensioned concrete frame, brick-clad building. Each apartment includes two bathrooms, single-bed rooms, a living/dining/kitchen area, and storage. The building provides student amenities including study rooms, meeting rooms, computer rooms, storage rooms, and laundry facilities. The complex also houses the offices of Housing and Residence Life.

The new dwellings will provide many amenities, including security card access, carpeting, and kitchens with dishwashers. The privilege of living in the dorm of the future, however, does not come without a price. Beds in Potomac Heights run $6,200 each. The average price for housing at Virginia public universities is $5,707.

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Virginia Transportation Conference Scheduled · Oct 14, 2004

“Virginia’s Transportation Challenge: Enhancing Mobility through Safer, Simpler, Smarter Solutions” is the topic of the 53rd Virginia Transportation Conference, scheduled Oct. 17-19 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. Featured speakers include Virginia Secretary of Transportation Whittington E. Clement, Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner Philip Shucet, Department of Rail and Public Transportation Director Karen Rae, as well as guests from Norfolk Southern, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Rail Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation and many other agencies.

The conference includes a large trade show, featuring exhibits from companies and agencies that specialize in various aspects of transportation technology, construction or consulting.

More than 700 people have registered to attend the conference, which is being held for the first time outside of Lexington. “We expect this to be among the best transportation information exchange opportunities ever offered in Virginia,” said Gary Allen, VDOT chief of technology, research and innovation and director of the Virginia Transportation Research Council. “Anyone who is interested in multi-modal transportation issues and solutions is invited to attend.”

Among conference topics are: Transportation Supporting Livable Communities; Freight and Multi-Modal Solutions; Finance and Funding Issues; Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act (PPTA); Planning, Policy and Local Issues, and many others.

A new feature of the conference is a student paper awards competition. Awards will be presented to college and university students who submitted papers on the topics of transportation mobility, safety, applied technology or policy.

The Virginia Transportation Conference is hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Department of Aviation and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Registration information and a detailed conference agenda are available at www.vatransconf.org.

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Hanson In Top 500 For 17th Year · Oct 13, 2004

Hanson Professional Services, Inc., headquartered in Springfield, IL, with an office in Chantilly, VA, was recently named to the Top 500 Design Firms by ENR, the Engineering News Record. The firm came in at No. 192 on the national list. Hanson is also listed as one of the top firms providing design services overseas.

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The Promise Of Personalized Medicine · Oct 12, 2004

A new technology developed by scientists at IBM could bring the promise of personalized medicine one step closer to reality.

Using a basic computer language, the researchers created a “smart” DNA stream that contains a patient’s entire medical record, according to a report in the Oct. 11 print edition of the Journal of Proteome Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. The report was published online July 22.

With the advent of the genomic revolution, scientists are avidly seeking correlations between human disease and the architecture of individual genes. Parsing this huge amount of data could eventually lead to “personalized medicine,” some researchers say, allowing doctors to prescribe the right drug at the right dose for the right person, based on unique variations in their DNA.

But to achieve this potential, scientists need a way to store and efficiently transmit whole sequences of patient DNA with built-in privacy – a hurdle that has yet to be overcome, according to the authors.

Enter IBM’s Genomic Messaging System (GMS). GMS provides a basic computer language that can be inserted into DNA sequences to bridge the gap between patient medical records and genetic information, says lead author of the paper, Barry Robson, Ph.D., a chemist at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY.

The stream of information transmitted is basically a “smart” DNA sequence containing a patient’s entire medical record in compressed form as well as genetic information. The DNA stream could potentially even house images like MRIs and X-rays.

Such a universal medical record could help doctors create individualized prescriptions and treatment regimens, precisely tailored for each patient, Robson predicts. Also in earlier research, Robson and his coworkers demonstrated their system’s ability to mine patient data for interesting correlations, such as the connection between a pancreatitis disease and a scorpion bite.

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SFPE Releases Guide On Fire Exposure · Oct 11, 2004

The Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) recently released an Engineering Guide on Fire Exposures to Structural Elements. The guide discusses designing fire resistance of structures in a performance environment as a three step process. To purchase this publication visit www.sfpe.org

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Dam Rehab and Repair Act Introduced · Oct 8, 2004

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the
Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), members of the Dam Safety Coalition, today backed the introduction of the Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act of 2004 (HR 5190), a bill that will create a federal funding program to repair the nation’s unsafe public dams. Congresswoman Sue Kelly (19th District NY) introduced this important legislation to address the critical issue
of deteriorating dam structures that pose a severe threat to many
communities throughout the country.

“Dams provide tremendous benefits to society but they also represent a public safety issue. A dam failure can result in severe loss of life, economic disaster and extensive environmental damage,” said ASCE President Pat Galloway, P.E., F.ASCE, PMP. “I commend Representative Kelly for working with the coalition to craft this crucial legislation.”

“Dam failures are largely preventable disasters. This bill would protect the crucial services that dams provide as well as the property of those communities they serve,” said Kelly.

“The Association of State Dam Safety Officials applauds Congresswoman Kelly for her leadership in introducing this necessary legislation that invests in our nation’s critical infrastructure and will undoubtedly help prevent tragic dam
failures. ASDSO calls upon the other members of Congress and the Governors to recognize the growing number of unsafe dams and to support this bill,” said ASDSO President Steve Verigin.

Dams are a vital part of our nation’s infrastructure – providing drinking water, flood protection, renewable hydroelectric power, navigation, irrigation and recreation. These critical daily benefits are also inextricably linked to the potential harmful consequences of a dam failure.

In 2001 ASCE published the Report Card for America’s Infrastructure giving the condition of our nation’s dams a grade of D, equal to the overall infrastructure grade. In ASCE’s 2003 Progress Report, dams received a downward trend mark due to the dramatic increase of unsafe dams since 2001. State dam safety programs have identified more than 3,000 unsafe or deficient dams, many being susceptible to large flood events or earthquakes. The number of unsafe dams will continue to increase until a funding source is created to repair them.

The ASDSO, in its October 2003 report entitled “The Cost of Rehabilitating Our Nation’s Dams,” estimated that $10 billion would be needed to repair the most critical dams over the next 12 years. The Dam Rehabilitation and Repair Act of 2004 is a legislative step to help address this need. If enacted, the legislation would mandate:

Recently Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell and Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm called upon the Bush Administration to support the legislation to provide federal assistance in strengthening the state dam safety programs. With the aging of the nation’s dams, many that do not meet current safety standards, and the dramatic increase in downstream
development, this program would improve the safety of our nation’s critical dams and ensure the continuing benefits that dams provide on a daily basis.

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ASHRAE Assessing HVAC&R Market Needs · Oct 7, 2004

To help develop and maintain products and services to better meet the needs of its members and others in the global HVAC&R industry, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) is launching a comprehensive market research program.

The market research program involves collecting data from current members, former members and non-members around the world. As part of the assessment, ASHRAE will conduct a survey via email all of its current members as well as conduct focus groups and telephone interviews. Some 50,000 people are expected to be asked about how they use existing ASHRAE products and services, how those products and services could be improved and what products and services should be developed to better assist the industry.

The effort focuses on ASHRAE’s key stakeholders: consulting and design engineers, contractors, manufacturers and their sales representatives, and facility managers and building owners.

The results of the research program will be delivered prior to ASHRAE’s 2005 Winter Meeting, Feb. 5-9, Orlando, FL.

Kent W. Peterson, P.E., P2S Engineering of Long Beach, CA, an ASHRAE volunteer leads a team of volunteers, staff and market research consultants that are carrying out the program. The consulting firm, Kerr-Downs Research Inc., has 20 years of experience in delivering successful market research programs to technical/engineering associations.

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VDOT Announces New District Administrator · Oct 5, 2004

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) recently announced that Dennis W. Heuer, P.E., a 30-year veteran in the engineering and project management field in both the public and private sectors, will be the new district administrator for Hampton Roads.

Mr. Heuer will oversee the construction, maintenance and operations of highway projects and facilities in VDOT’s Hampton Roads district. He will be responsible for an annual budget of about $413 million and about 1,290 state employees. He will begin work with VDOT Oct. 12.

Mr. Heuer comes to VDOT from Thompson Engineering in Mobile, Ala., where he managed the engineering, design, construction, operations and maintenance of multi-million dollar projects. Prior to joining Thompson Engineering in 1994, Mr. Heuer worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the deputy district engineer for the Mobile District. He was responsible for planning, engineering construction, project management, real estate, budgeting and environmental activities of federal projects in the southeastern U.S. Previous to his position with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Heuer served the U.S. Army as an engineer and leader of engineer units.

“Following a nationwide search for a Hampton Roads district administrator, I selected Dennis for the job because he has a proven success record in leading a workforce to deliver projects safely, on time and within budget,” said VDOT Commissioner Philip A. Shucet. “He will replace Connie Sorrell, who has done an excellent job serving as interim district administrator. She set the stage for sustainable business improvements in the district.”

Ms. Sorrell will resume her post as chief of systems operations for the state. In that role, she will direct innovative approaches to ease congestion through better incident response and signal integration, traveler information systems, snow and ice control, work zone traffic controls and other systems operations improvements.

Mr. Heuer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, N.Y., and a Masters of Science degree in civil engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA. He is a registered professional engineer in 13 states, including Virginia.

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ASCE Calls For Global Anti-Corruption Standard · Oct 5, 2004

Bribes account for an estimated $340 billion dollars of worldwide construction costs each year. In comparison, the Three Gorges
Dam in China, the world’s most expensive public project, cost only $25 billion dollars. The forecast for dramatic increases in infrastructure spending, particularly in developing countries, will lead to an unprecedented globalization of engineering practices and the potential for a dramatic increase in corruption. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) will explore this and other vital issues at its 2004 Civil Engineering Conference and
Exposition in Baltimore, Maryland, held October 20-23, at the Baltimore Convention Center.

During a special conference session, global engineering leaders and representatives from The World Bank and Transparency International will be brought together to explore the role of the individual engineer in preventing corruption in business dealings. The global standards initiative, spearheaded by ASCE President-elect William Henry, P.E., F.ASCE, seeks to create an
acceptable set of global principles for the professional conduct of civil engineers. Global Standards of Professional Practice will feature Alan Boeckmann, chairman and chief executive officer of Fluor Corporation, who will review business practices that counter bribery; Daniel Kaufman, director, global governance, of the World Bank Institute, who will discuss the costs of corruption on infrastructure development; and engineers from Asia and Africa
who will present perspectives on regional corruption.

“With the increase in globalization of engineering practices, there is critical need to address global principles for professional conduct to ensure that limited project funds are spent only on necessary work,” says Henry. “Our effort will give all engineers a platform for expressing their views on this important issue.”

In a mix of topical and technical sessions, conference participants will also explore a number of the challenges civil engineers face. Among the featured events at the conference are:

In addition, the Civil Engineering Research Foundation (CERF) – Corporate Advisory Board (CAB)’s Technology Innovation Program and the Civil Engineering in the Oceans VI (CE06) conference will be held concurrently with the 2004 Civil Engineering Conference and Exposition in Baltimore. The CERF
CAB meeting, held October 21-22, will feature keynote speaker Admiral David J. Nash, CEC USN (Ret.), P.E., M.ASCE, who has been overseeing reconstruction efforts in Iraq and will discuss steps being taken to achieve U.S. and military objectives there. CE06, held October 20-22, will highlight the technical advances, historical perspectives and emerging trends in the multidisciplinary area of coastal and deep ocean engineering.

The opening plenary session will feature a welcome from Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley and a keynote address from Marsha “Marty” Johnson Evans, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. For more information on the visit the
ASCE 2004 Civil Engineering Conference & Exposition

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Fellow for Preservation Engineering Announced · Oct 4, 2004

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce that Susan Reynolds, a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as the first Robert Silman Fellow for Preservation Engineering.

Named in honor of Robert Silman and sponsored by Robert Silman Associates, PC, a structural engineering firm with offices in New York City and Washington, DC, the Silman Fellowship offers an exciting opportunity to a recent graduate with a Master of Science in Structural Engineering. The 12 month program focuses on learning and practice in the methods of exemplary historic preservation with particular emphasis on the role and development of preservation engineering. Through exposure to all aspects of preservation – from the inner workings of associated federal agencies, to the professionals and craftspeople who perform the hands-on preservation – the position will give the Fellow unparalleled insight into the multi-faceted field of preservation that would be difficult to attain even with many years of experience.

“This new fellowship offers an exceptional opportunity to be an active participant at the forefront of historic preservation and to develop long-term relationships with some of the nation’s most prominent preservationists,” said William Dupont, Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust. “At the conclusion of the obligations, the Robert Silman Fellow will be uniquely qualified to make immediate and lasting contributions to the field of historic preservation.”

The three-phase Fellowship will commence with 3 months of employment at Robert Silman Associates, followed by a 6-month stay as the Robert Silman Fellow for Preservation Engineering at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This 6 month term as an employee of the National Trust will be under the supervision of the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust, and will be an intensive period of work that will include master planning; condition assessments; consultant team selection; technical research; materials conservation methods; preventive and corrective maintenance; contract documents; bidding and negotiation practices; job site administration; and distribution of grant funds for various restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation projects at the 25 National Trust Historic Sites nationwide. Following this 6 month term, the Fellow will be expected to complete an article of benefit to historic sites that is suitable for publication in a professional journal within 3 months.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education and advocacy to save America’s diverse historic places and revitalize communities. Its Washington, DC headquarters staff, six regional offices and 25 historic sites work with the Trust’s 200,000 members and thousands of local community groups in all 50 states. For more information, visit the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s web site.

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