May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Celebrating Big Wins in Texas and Federal Group

Celebrating Big Wins in Texas and Federal Group

American Structurepoint’s expertise and skill in delivering for our customers is reflected well in two big wins announced at April’s end in the Transportation and Federal sectors. Here’s a recap.

TxDOT Victory

American Structurepoint and our Texas design center scored a huge strategic win—a $5 million fee project to prepare plans, specifications, and estimates (PS&E) and related documents for on- and off-system bridge replacements throughout Texas. The company had been targeting this opportunity for over six months, and early coordination with the procurement team helped us to have a good strategy in place upon the RFP’s posting. American Structurepoint is the prime provider on the project, with six subconsultants. The contract can include assignments in any of TxDOT’s 25 districts. This is a terrific opportunity for us to showcase our skills around the state, and our designers will learn a lot about hydraulics and challenges in many regions of Texas.

FUN FACT: This proposal almost didn’t make it to the evaluation stage! The first proposal that we shipped was mis-sorted by UPS and spent an extra night at the Indianapolis airport! Luckily, we had scheduled an extra day for mishaps, so we sent a second copy of the proposal to TxDOT, which was successfully delivered a few hours before the deadline. A big congratulations and thank you to all who contributed to this win.

Federal Group Wins Work for New Parking Structure

We are excited about being selected as a subconsultant on the Apogee Consulting team to provide structural engineering and civil engineering services to design a new 460-space expandable multi-use parking structure at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The overall footprint of the parking garage is expected to be approximately 20,000 sft, with construction estimated at $10 to $20 million. This project pursuit was made successful through of our long-standing teaming history with Apogee Consulting Group and our impressive résumé of parking structures we have designed over the years. Fee negotiations are proceeding with the Department of Veterans Affairs and we are hopeful to be under contract very soon!

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Noble County Annex Gets Virtual Approval

Noble County Annex Gets Virtual Approval

Many American Structurepoint staffers are quickly learning to adapt to virtual public meetings to move forward on key projects. Project team members Dan Weinheimer, Nick Peterson, Matt Maday, and Matt Wright joined a recent Noble County Commissioners meeting virtually to review final drawings and cost estimates for a Noble County Annex Building project under design. The virtual session paid off as the Architecture team received a notice to proceed with preparing construction plans and bid specification for the new $15 million, 2-story, 40,000-sft facility. The new annex will bring under one roof most of the county’s administrative offices, currently spread out among several buildings in Albion, Indiana. The project should be ready for bidding in mid-September, with construction to start in spring 2021.

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Employees Answer the Call for PPE

Employees Answer the Call for PPE

The need for personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks for our staff and healthcare workers presented employees with opportunities to give back. Keep reading for info on how we are pitching in to help when needed.

Making Masks for Our Field Staff

When early social distancing requirements called for masks for field staff, most businesses couldn’t find any to buy. Technical Director Cindy Fort and Executive Assistant Michele Collins headed to their sewing machines to create masks for our staff. Cindy downloaded a pattern for pleated masks from the internet and started sewing. She used quilting scraps for her first batch of masks. Her second batch of masks came from big pieces of fabric she bought for a “someday” quilt, but making masks to protect our people seemed like a much better use. Cindy’s husband, Construction Solutions Engineer Webb Bernhardt, no sewing slouch himself due to fabricating camping gear, pitched in to help. The dynamic mask-making duo made about 100 masks for Construction Solutions and Utility Infrastructure staff, as well as Director of First Impressions Melody Niquette. Cindy’s sister, Evelyn Steensen, also contributed to the cause, making 10 masks that were mailed to the Columbus design center for field staff.

Michele downloaded four different patterns from the internet for her masks. She made 30 masks for Construction Solutions staff and several more for people she knew needed them outside of the company. All the versions Michele sewed featured a filter pocket to give the recipient an extra layer of protection.

Supplying PPE to Healthcare Clients

Whether you believe in serendipity, kismet, or Godwink moments, several forces came together simultaneously for American Structurepoint to produce ear guards and face shields for healthcare workers. Desktop Support Technician Simon Alfrey of our IT Group and the Architecture + Interiors Group joined forces to make and print PPE that are being donated to healthcare clients. Simon initially used a personal 3D printer to make ear guards for masks and face shields for healthcare workers. Meanwhile, Graphic Designer Jordan Barker read an article on Facebook about a Canadian Boy Scout who used a 3D printer to make ear guards for nurses. Jordan knew the Architecture + Interiors Group had a 3D printer and asked Marketing Services Group Leader Julie Kost if the printer could be used to make ear guards for healthcare workers as a way to give back to the healthcare community. Julie emailed the Architecture team, which led to that team seeking IT’s help in figuring out how to use their 3D printer, typically used to make building models for clients, for printing PPE.

A partnership was born. Simon prints ear guards and face shields at his home, the Architecture + Interiors team uses its printer to make ear guards and face shields, and Business Development Director Carrie Sermersheim delivers the final products to healthcare facilities. To date, Carrie has delivered 100 ear savers and 50 shields to Community Health Network as well as several other healthcare providers and hospitals in central Indiana. “Our donations of PPE have been very well received. We can’t print them fast enough,” Carrie said.

Sewing Fabric Headbands for Nurses

Accounts Payable Specialist Sarah Johnson put her sewing skills to work making fabric headbands with buttons for nurses in the New Palestine/Greenfield area. Sarah saw several nurses commenting on social media that mask straps were hurting their ears. Sarah ordered fabric and buttons and got busy, working her way down a list of people who had commented. Each headband features a large button on each side so that surgical mask straps loop around the buttons instead of sore ears! Soon Sarah was receiving requests for her “heady” designs, with some nurses requesting up to 10 headbands for their coworkers. Sarah obliged and created the headbands at no charge. Several thankful headband recipients left donations to pay for fabric on Sarah’s front porch when they came to pick up their orders waiting for them in Ziploc bags. Sarah estimates she made about 75 headbands. “This has been such a rewarding project, knowing that I was able to help, even if just a tiny bit,” Sarah says.

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Employees Step Up To Help Communities During Pandemic

Employees Step Up To Help Communities During Pandemic

Here’s some good news to brighten your day: find out about how your colleagues are making a difference amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Architecture + Interiors Group Provides Meals for Healthcare Workers

The Architecture + Interiors Group is stepping up to coordinate meal delivery for frontline doctors and nurses at our Indiana hospitals. As healthcare is one our primary markets, we continue to look for meaningful ways to show our support and appreciation for the work that our hospitals are doing during this unprecedented time of fighting COVID-19 in our country. So far, we have sponsored meals for five major Indiana health systems, feeding more than 400 doctors, nurses and medical staff who are caring for COVID-19 patients. The next round of meals is schedule to go out the first week of May, to another five Indiana hospitals systems, and we are hoping to feed another 300 providers. A small gesture of appreciation from American Structurepoint to thank, encourage, and support the hospital staff during this trying time.

Food Pantry Volunteers

Columbus Senior Project Engineer Fonda Welker, her husband Eddie, and their 16-year-old son Lane are volunteering at a food pantry ran by the Shepherd of the Valley Church in Logan, Ohio. “Most of the people who usually work at the food pantry are in the high-risk age group, so we decided to help out,” Fonda said. To promote social distancing, food pantry patrons wait in their cars while Fonda goes to each vehicle and completes paperwork for the household. Eddie and Lane carry the food boxes from the pantry and places the food inside the vehicles. Lane also volunteers monthly at the food pantry to unload food the church purchase from regional food banks for their own pantry. Thank you, Welker family, for stepping up!

Holiday Cards For Seniors

Structural Group Leader Luke Nisley’s 3-year-old daughter, Mia, joined in a neighborhood effort to make Easter cards for residents of a local assisted living facility. Mia made 25 colorful Easter cards to be distributed to resident. The cards were made of construction paper with eggs, bunnies, and fun stickers on them, then filled in with strips of tissue paper so it looked like a stained glass window when held to the light.

Blankets To Warm Residents

Kathy Tuley, wife of Business Development Director Mark Tuley, is making 100 blankets for residents of Columbia Healthcare Center in Evansville, Indiana. Kathy began her project prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, but her effort to make blankets became more meaningful during the pandemic. On a visit to the Columbia Healthcare Center Nursing Home in Evansville, Kathy noticed that many residents, most of them lower income with no family who visited them, had minimal blankets. She received an enthusiastic yes when asking the facility’s administrator for permission to make the blankets as part of her Covered in Love ministry. Kathy has made and donated over 700 blankets to various good causes in the last 11 years. She’s made great progress during the stay-at-home time, completing 70 blankets. Here’s a hearty congratulations to Kathy for working to warm and brighten the days of very deserving residents this coming winter.

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on PhotoCircle App Offers Fun Pics

PhotoCircle App Offers Fun Pics

Amy Anderson’s (Accounting Group, Indianapolis Design Center) 6-year-old cat, Lollie, finds Zoom meetings tiring, even when Rick is talking!

If you haven’t joined or shared photos to the 2020 – Adapting To Change group on PhotoCircle, you are really missing out. This is the place where you can post photos of your at-home workspace, your new co-workers, furry friends or otherwise, and pictures of virtual happy hours.

Now more than ever we want to capture our staff members working and their new environments. We want to see what unusual conditions staff are working under and the innovative ways we are overcoming new challenges! Whether via Zoom, in the office, or on a project site, we’re asking you to help us document every step of the way!

So join the Circle now:

Then get ready to smile at the awesome pictures. Maybe these photos will convince you to join.

Valerie Klingman’s (Transportation Group, Columbus Design Center) 11-year-old basset hound Cappy strikes a pose in the home office.

The Utility Infrastructure Group hosted a Zoom happy hour.

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Virtual Workspace – Front Line Report

Virtual Workspace – Front Line Report

Author: Mike Steffy, IT Solutions Group, Indianapolis Design Center

At this year’s company briefing, I was fortunate to share with you our strategy regarding our virtual workspace and how it would be a key component of enabling work sharing between staff regardless of the geographic locations of our people and design centers. Little did any of us know this would be put to an extreme test as we all began working from our homes due to the coronavirus. At the briefing, I remember saying “It just works.” That particular statement was based on previous years of using the technology in all nine of our design centers. I am now very happy to report that indeed, even in this extreme case, our virtual workspace environment is performing very well and as we believed it could. One thing I realize now is this solution will perform even better as we eventually move back to our design center locations, and that is based on much of the feedback we have received from all of you. In addition, our design centers have fast, reliable network connections that are not dependent on internet traffic.

I want to thank each of you who have given feedback and/or responded to the emails from IT, looking for information to improve the overall experience. Our IT Group is fully vested in ensuring you have the best experience possible.

 

Here is some data illustrating just how this historical time has impacted the virtual workspace environment.

February 2020 

Total User Sessions: 1,710

Unique Users: 201

March 2020

Total User Sessions: 4,008

Unique Users: 337

April 2020

Total User Sessions: 5,104

Unique Users: 268

Below are a few virtual workspace myth busters to share while the virtual workspace is a focal point for the majority of our staff.

  • The virtual workspace desktop I use slows down as more people access it.

The hardware running the environment is designed to provide the same experience to all users regardless of the load on the system. The speed of the internet connection being utilized is the main culprit for the desktop slowing down. It is important to note that we have predictable, fast, and efficient private network connections in our design centers, which is a big plus to improving the virtual workstation performance.

  • My virtual workspace desktop doesn’t have the same software as a co-worker.

The virtual workspace environment delivers the same software to everyone who accesses that desktop. Each user logs on and creates a profile that is then matched to the desktop.  The user profile contains items like Outlook profile, shortcuts, taskbar programs, and File Explorer quick access favorites, which are the items that can be different from any other user.

  • My virtual workspace doesn’t have any software in the Windows start menu.

All software installed on the virtual workspace desktops is contained within a folder on the desktop.  The folder is called Installed Software, and you can copy the shortcuts to the desktop so you can access it from there. I generally open this folder and leave it open then access any software from this location.

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on ITE Journal Features Patrick O’Connor

ITE Journal Features Patrick O’Connor

 

Lucky for Project Engineer Patrick O’Connor (Traffic Group, Indianapolis Design Center) that the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Patrick is the subject of an ITE Journal profile as part of the publication’s recognizing each district administrator in 2020 to mark the anniversary. Patrick has served as administrator of the ITE Great Lakes District since 2015. The article provides a good overview of Patrick’s interest in engineering as a career, his college days at Purdue University, and his roles with American Structurepoint and ITE. His current focus on traffic operations allows him to problem solve in real time.

“There is nothing like an upset motorist honking and sharing their sometimes-explicit thoughts with you while fine-tuning signal timings in a cabinet to motivate you to find a safe solution!”

Well said, Patrick. You can read the entire article at this link.

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Construction Solutions Promotion News

Construction Solutions Promotion News

Congratulations to two key members of our Construction Solutions team, Tom Carrow and Brian Fox, on their recent promotions.

Tom Carrow (Indianapolis Design Center) has been promoted to area supervisor. Tom has worked as a resident project representative with American Structurepoint for over 5 years and has nearly 30 years of construction and engineering experience. In his new role, Tom will continue to manage his own construction projects in southeast Indiana while more formally assisting with other area project.

Brian Fox (Evansville Design Center) has been promoted to area supervisor as well. Brian joined American Structurepoint in 2017 to oversee the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility (EWSU) Refresh Evansville Water Main replacement CI program. In his new role, Brian will continue to be the primary point of contact for EWSU and assist in staff and project management, recruitment, and business development for the Construction Solutions Group in southwest Indiana.

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on American Structurepoint in the News

American Structurepoint in the News

American Structurepoint people and projects appeared in the media 17 times in April. Read on for this month’s recap.

  • The Lafayette Journal & Courier reported that the City of Lafayette’s first-ever virtual public hearing occurred on April 8 to collect the public’s ideas on converting one-way streets in downtown Lafayette to two-way streets. American Structurepoint is conducting a preliminary engineering study to determine the feasibility of converting the downtown streets. The public hearing became a virtual Zoom meeting to comply with Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order.
  • The third segment of Chicago Street Reconstruction Project is underway in Hammond, Indiana. Go Hammond.com reported that American Structurepoint is the consulting engineering providing design and construction inspection services for this portion of the project.
  • The Loeb Stadium project in Lafayette continued to attract media attention throughout April. The city of Lafayette stopped construction on the stadium as of April 3 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Three weeks later, construction resumed. The Lafayette Journal & Courier and WLFI Channel 18 reported all new developments. Our architects designed the stadium that broke ground in August 2019.
  • Trade publication ITE Journal published a profile about Project Manager Patrick O’Connor (Traffic Engineering Group), who is the ITE Great Lakes District administrator. (Please see the article elsewhere in the newsletter.)
  • Moving forward on Phase 2 of the Tiffin Pointe housing development that will add 60 new housing units in the City of Tiffin caught the attention of WTOL Channel 11 in Toledo, Ohio. We are doing civil/site engineering for both Phase I and Phase 2 of the project.
  • A blog published by Plasti-Fab EPS Product Solutions touted a creative geofoam solution for a 13-mile section of SR 14 HMA overlay in Jasper and Newton counties that we designed. Plasti-Fab provided 3,778 cubic yards of expanded polystyrene (EPS) geofoam for the used in ground fill applications where a lightweight fill material is required.
  • This Week Community News in Columbus, Ohio reported three of our projects will receive funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission in 2021. They are the Hudson Street Reconstruction Project in Columbus, the James Road at Livingston Avenue Intersection Improvements project in Columbus, and the Scioto Darby Road/Walcutt Road Improvements projects in Hilliard.
  • The Dubois County Herald reported that the county commissioners approved paying American Structurepoint $70,342 for bridge inspection work.
  • Construction Pros.com published a case study about a concrete stormwater management system that we designed that solved a complex clearance challenge at the Hendricks Gateway Park in Monrovia, Indiana. The recently opened nearly 2 million-sft multi-facility campus features one of the highest concentrations of modern logistics and distribution space in the Midwest. The article gave kudos to Senior Project Engineer Colin Patterson.
  • The virtual approval of a design for a new $15 million Noble County Annex Building warranted coverage in the KPC News and the Kendallville News-Sun. Our architecture team designed the new facility. (Please see the article elsewhere in the newsletter.)
  • Three major Columbus roadway projects designed by our Columbus staff will move forward during the 2020 construction season, according to the Columbus Underground They are the redesign of Hudson Street from I-71 to Cleveland Avenue, James Road between Livingston Avenue and Main Street, and the widening of Lazelle Road. All three projects should finish construction in 2021 and 2022.
  • The Noblesville Times told its readers that many sponsors, including American Structurepoint, continued their financial support of the Carmel Youth Assistance Program even though a gala fundraising benefit was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A report on Indiana Public Media.org speculated on the projected opening date of the new IU Health Bloomington Hospital currently under construction at the east side of the SR 45/46 bypass near the IU campus. We provided structural and civil engineering services for the project.
  • Insurance Journal Magazine published a press release announcing that Project Manager Don Gillie will join the Ohio Investigative Team May 4.
  • The Chesterton-Tribune reported that the town awarded an engineering contract to American Structurepoint for Phase 3 of the Westchester-Liberty Trail.

 

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Community Service News

Community Service News

The Community Service fund has 129 employee contributors who contributed $3,112.50 in April 2020.

The COVID-19 virus has brought much uncertainty to our world, and some temporary changes have been made to our Give Back campaign in response. First, the company match to employee donations has been temporarily suspended; we will be relying on your generous contributions. Secondly, we are prioritizing contributions to the American Structurepoint family. Immediate consideration will be given to requests for assistance for employees and their families. Requests for contributions in the other five giving categories (families/children, elderly, education, armed/civic services, and emergency/shelters) will be held for consideration after the health and economic crisis has passed. As always, commitment forms are available via Pinnacle if you would like to begin contributing, or make a change to your existing commitment.

Recent Donations

Please be assured that all employee assistance requests will be kept confidential.

Employee Donations

Our amazing staff members, and their families, have stepped up to help their communities during this difficult team. Please see the article elsewhere in this newsletter about those efforts and read the item below.

  • Melody Niquette (Marketing Services Group, Indianapolis Design Center) is going out of her way to help facilitate social distancing for Indianapolis design center staff. “Melody checks my printer and desk nearly every day and drops a packet off at my house on her way home, which is so thoughtful and helpful of her!  It really cuts down on my very early AM trips to the office each week.” –Michele Collins

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Event Cancellations

Event Cancellations

We are sad to say that both the Chili Cookoff and corporate headquarters open house events previously slated for this year are now canceled due to safety concerns regarding COVID-19. We will look forward to heating up the competition with our Chili Cookoff again in 2021!

May 1, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Round of Applause Roll Call for April

Round of Applause Roll Call for April

Here’s a salute to the eight employees who went above and beyond for their co-workers in April.  Remember to recognize those who do a great job for you in May.

  • Josh Cribelar
  • Karen Gillmore
  • Kevin Gorak
  • Shirley Gray
  • Jenn Gustafson
  • Eric Farny
  • Melody Niquette (2)
  • Jamie Stetzel

 

April 3, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Noblesville WWTP Project Receives APWA Indiana’s Top Award

Noblesville WWTP Project Receives APWA Indiana’s Top Award

Our Utility Infrastructure Group picked up another major award for developing an innovative solution to remove phosphorus from the Noblesville Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Public Works Association chose the project as its 2019 Public Works Project of the Year in the environmental category. And even better, because the project received the highest award from APWA Indiana, it is now competing for a national APWA award!

American Structurepoint engineers integrated an innovative biological phosphorus removal system (Bio-P) that uses natural processes rather than chemicals. One of the first of its type in Indiana, Bio-P combines with aeration process modifications to achieve remarkably cleaner water at far less cost.

The project also replaced centrifugal blowers with energy-efficient turbo blowers and integrated an above-ground stainless steel piping system. Based on the first eight months of operation, the reduction in chemical usage and power saved the city approximately $800,000 a year while also providing cleaner water for Noblesville and downstream communities.

The national APWA winners will be announced at April’s end. The project previously received an Honor Award from ACEC Indiana and a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement from ACEC national.

April 3, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Land Surveying Team Shines On Social Media

Land Surveying Team Shines On Social Media

The professionalism of our land surveying team took center stage on our social media platforms during National Surveyors Week, March 15 through 21. Employee spotlights included Jessica Stapleton for her recent promotion, Nolan Mark for establishing a young surveyors’ state network, and Ryan Selby for his commitment to educating students about surveying as a career choice. The week wrapped up with a video created by the Marketing Services Group depicting a day in the life of our land surveyors here. We really do have the best land surveying team! Check out the video at this link.

April 3, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on Luke Kahren Hosts Virtual Dance Party

Luke Kahren Hosts Virtual Dance Party

Our very own Luke Kahren used his DJ skills to bring much-needed dance fun and frivolity into our quarantined lives by hosting a Facebook virtual dance party Saturday, March 28. Many American Structurepoint employees and their families tuned in to enjoy the dance beats. Facebook’s copyright policy caused cuts in the live stream, but Luke, his wife Emily, and all his Facebook friends persevered to enjoy the show.

“Thank you to everyone who tuned in,” Luke says. “It was so fun and heartwarming to see the countless videos, pictures, and comments of people having fun.”

Luke moves to the party to Twitch—the world’s leading streaming platform—on Sunday, April 5, at 10 a.m. for a brunch party called, “Bacon, Bloodies, and Beats.” Check him out at www.twitch.tv/cloudninedj

April 3, 2020
by Marketing Communications
Comments Off on IT Shares Super Tips For Working Remotely

IT Shares Super Tips For Working Remotely

If you need tips on how to improve your remote workplace experience, our IT staff can save your day! They have hosted a few Zoom calls to share best practices and to answer any and all questions you have. The To the Point Blog is recapping some common learnings for you right here.

General Tips

  • If you have a company laptop and just need to check email, connect to Wi-Fi and launch Outlook. No need to connect to the VPN.
  • For your best remote experience, do not connect to the VPN AND use Virtual Workspace. Connecting to both at the same time can cause a decrease in performance.
  • Connecting your PC to the Internet via hardwire (with an Ethernet cable) will give you a better performing connection.
  • If you experience frequent VPN disconnections, the best thing to do is contact your internet service provider. Discuss with them the need to use your corporate VPN without interruption. They may be able to make some adjustments to alleviate the frequent drops.
  • Please make sure to save your work frequently. This is friendly reminder so that you don’t lose something important.

Virtual Workspace Tips

  • When you are finished with your Virtual Workspace Session, sign out by going to the start menu, selecting the profile icon, and then selecting sign out. This will end your session.
  • The disconnect button on the top navigation bar should only be used when your session is stuck and you are not able to use the sign out method listed in number one. The disconnect button does NOT end your session; rather, it disconnects your PC from the running session. Using this disconnect button as a way to end your session could cause issues when trying to reconnect or start a new session in the future.
  • If you are going to be inactive for more than 90 minutes, please make sure to sign out using the method in number one. After 90 minutes of inactivity, your session will disconnect and you could lose work if you have not saved.
  • It is recommended to use Skype for business either in your Virtual Workspace session OR on your local computer, NOT on both at the same time. This can cause some messages to go to your local PC and some to go to your Virtual Workspace session, resulting in confusion.

ShareFile

ShareFile is the best option to share files with clients. If you do not have a ShareFile license, please contact IT Support.