Engineering Georgia September/October

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TABLE OF CONTENTS 7 THE PULSE News Coverage from In and Around the Engineering Community 28 SUSTAINABLE LEGACIES A Look at AECOM and Pont’s Decadelong Mentor-Protégé Relationship 55 ASSOCIATION NEWS Updates from the Associations that Make Up the Georgia Engineering Alliance. 66 A LOOK BACK A Back-Page Throwback Picturing Georgia’s Most Historic Landmarks 20 COVER STORY: Lights, Camera, Georgia! $4.4 BILLION FILM PRODUCTION INDUSTRY TAKES CENTER STAGE IN PEACH STATE 32 DBE Mentorship In Georgia: Four Perspectives HOW DBE MENTORSHIP POSITIVELY IMPACTS MENTORS, FIRMS, AND PROTÉGÉS 44 ACEC Research Institute CLIENTS SAVE TIME AND MONEY WITH QUALIFICATIONS-BASED SELECTION


Michael “Sully” Sullivan

Editor-in-Chief: Brett Hillesheim

Creative Director | Designer: Sabrina Tongren

Contributing Writers:

David Caraviello

Julie Ann Howlett

Accounting Services Manager: Melisa Beauchamp

Advertising Sales Manager: Jennifer Head ACEC Georgia 233 Peachtree Street Suite 700 Atlanta, Georgia 30303 (404) 665-3539

Send change of address to: ACEC Georgia 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 700, Atlanta, GA 30303 or email @Engineering_GA

Engineering Georgia 2022 is published bi-monthly by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Georgia (ACEC Georgia) and its partner associations ASCE, ASHE, GEF, GSPE, ITE, ITS, SAME, SEAOG, SMPS and WTS. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited.

In8 Design, ACEC Georgia, and its partner associations ASCE, ASHE, GEF, GSPE, ITE, ITS, SAME, SEAOG, SMPS and WTS, as well as their representatives, employees and agents, are held harmless from any claim, demand, liability or action on account of, or in any way arising out of, the client’s advertising, products and services, or its participation in Engineering Georgia.




STACEY CHAPMAN CIT, Croft Architecture and Engineering


MICHELLE ERSTE CPSM, iParametrics / SMPS Atlanta

LIGIA FLORIM Cobb County DOT / WTS Atlanta






JOHN PIERSON PE, Georgia Tech Research Institute / ASCE Georgia




THOMAS TRUE PE, LS, Maser Consulting SASHA UGI Croy Engineering


Atlanta Post

WWhenever I talk to people curious about the kind of political advocacy issues on which ACEC Georgia engages, I tell them that our ultimate focus is always on economic development. Sure, we’ve successfully passed lots of legislation over the years focused solely on the A/E/C industries, and we are constantly engaging with state agencies and local governments on engineering industry-specific issues. But the fact is that most of the advocacy issues we are working on in any given year are about improving Georgia’s overall business climate and strengthening Georgia’s status as the #1 state for business.

Of course, promoting policies that are good for business helps engineering businesses too. But beyond that, the way I’ve always seen it is that anything that creates growth and economic development activity is ultimately going to benefit engineering firms. That’s because no matter what the industry is or what they are building, they are going to need engineers to design it and enhanced infrastructure to support it. Engineering is in everything.

A great example of that is our feature article on Georgia’s filmed entertainment industry. The connection between the entertainment industry and engineering might not be obvious. But engineering is in everything, including creating world-class film production facilities. And we are proud to highlight in this issue the tremendous investments made into Georgia’s economy by some of the world’s leading studios. Not only is it just plain cool to see that “Made in Georgia” peach logo in the end credits of so many of the most popular movies and television shows, the filmed entertainment industry also continues to create absolutely massive economic benefits for Georgia.

Between July 2021 and June 2022, film and television productions spent $4.4 billion in Georgia – a new record. Georgia hosted 412 productions, including 68 films and 269 television productions directly supporting nearly 100,000 Georgia jobs. And that direct spending multiplies, generating several billion more in total economic impact across our state.

Mentorship is an essential element of encouraging small businesses and ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to succeed. We are proud to feature some of the engineering firms that are leading the way in successful mentor/protégé relationships between large engineering firms and disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms. These firms provide an example that other businesses could implement, providing positive benefits for both the mentor and protégé firms. And fostering entrepreneurship and a more inclusive and diverse engineering industry benefits us all.

As always, if you have ideas for things we should be covering in Engineering Georgia or ideas on how we could improve it, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email at and let me know.


Michael L. "Sully" Sullivan

/ CEO, ACEC Georgia

Engineering Georgia



The award-winning Savannah Country Day School's 32,000-square-foot project has already been featured in Learning by Design Magazine's Fall 2021 Architectural and Interior Design Awards of Excellence edition and comprises five math classrooms, five science labs, an energy learning lab, and a maker space. Other building features include an expansive library, conference rooms, common student areas, Deans' offices, and second-story outdoor gathering space.

“The design challenge was to blend a contemporary state-of-the-art science facility with the traditional Lower and Middle School Buildings. Our design solution provides a thoughtful hybrid between the traditional architecture of the campus and a contemporary STEM center,” said G. Holmes Bell, IV, PE, CEO & Chairman of Hussey Gay Bell.

The project is the result of a collaboration of Savannah-based Architect & Engineer of Record, Hussey Gay Bell, and Design Architect, Architectural Resources Cambridge of Boston, Massachusetts, to design a building that complements the 13 existing facilities while pushing the limits of modern design to anchor the existing quad. The construction was made possible by donors, graduates, and the larger school community.

The Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Program aims to strengthen eligible institutions to plan, develop, undertake and implement programs to enhance the institution’s capacity to serve more low- and middle-income Black American students. “[T]hese funds will allow the College to further its vision in supporting women to pursue and persist in engineering technology fields, of which women continue to be underrepresented,” said College Provost Dr. Melissa Frank-Alston


Augusta Technical College has been awarded a United States Department of Education Predominantly Black Institutions Formula grant of approximately $1.6 million over five years. The grant project is entitled VARiETy (Virtual and Augmented Reality in Engineering Technology), and its purpose is to enhance student engagement and improve educational outcomes in Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Nuclear Engineering Technology, as well as encourage women to pursue Engineering Technology as a viable career option.


The Terracon Foundation announced a $7,980 grant to Columbus State University (CSU) in Columbus, Georgia, for its STEM scholarships.

“GEC, a Terracon Company, and CSU have a long-standing relationship working together to improve the lives of students and the community,” said Jason Cooper, P.E., Office Manager in Terracon’s Columbus office, who championed the grant. “As part of our commitment to the students and confirmation of the importance of CSU to our long-term success, GEC established an annual scholarship for undergraduate students majoring in a STEM-related field of study, and this grant will ensure its continuance.”

The Terracon Foundation encourages employees to submit grant requests yearly for organizations focused on education and the built and natural environment. The Terracon Foundation has granted more than $3.7 million to community organizations, universities, dependents of employees, and disaster relief efforts.


Hussey Gay Bell has received an ENR Southeast Award of Merit within the Sports/Entertainment category for Enmarket Arena. As a 2022 Best Projects awardee, Enmarket Arena was acknowledged for its innovative ideas, quality of work, and ability to overcome challenges and was recognized as one of 31 winners from 93 submissions. N

Mingledorff Hall, Photo Courtesy of Hussey Gay Bell Enmarket Arena, Photo Courtesy of Hussey Gay Bell
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The Enmarket Arena represents nearly 20 years of efforts to construct a first-class, sustainable arena that provides a flexible and usable sports and entertainment venue to the public. Initially funded by the City of Savannah’s 2014 SPLOST 6 program, in 2019, the City selected the Perkins & Will team to design the 9,500-seat, 215,000 SF arena. The project's magnitude also required the design and construction of various civil improvement projects to be delivered in tandem.

The development of the new $165M arena site is considered the catalyst project in an overall effort to develop the entire surrounding Canal District – a 55-acre area to the west of Savannah’s historic downtown core that presents the opportunity to reimagine the Canal District to the west of West Boundary Street, creating a vibrant new center of activity. The multi-phase project aims to revive an underappreciated canal and expand Savannah’s economic vitality.

Governed by a 9-member board of some of the Cumberland District's top private-sector leaders, their mission is to improve and sustain the quality of life for those who live, work, and visit Cumberland.


W.K. Dickson & Co. has announced the acquisition of Edison Engineering Group, a civil and environmental engineering firm based in Dallas, Georgia. This new partnership will allow WK Dickson to better serve existing and future clients’ critical infrastructure needs throughout the state.

“Our partnership with Edison represents a natural outgrowth of the strong client and partner base we already have in Georgia,” said David Pond, President and CEO. “WK Dickson is well positioned to increase our impact in the region by supporting our clients’ capital improvement plans and helping them obtain the funding they need to upgrade their infrastructure.”

Edison’s former principal, Mike Jones, PE, will assume the regional manager role for the Dallas and Atlanta offices, leading their growth and business development. At the same time, his partner Chuck Rann, PE, will continue to lead the technical operations. “We’re excited to join with WK Dickson. Their reputation is impeccable, and their service diversity and depth of resources is a major win for our clients,” said Mike Jones.


The inaugural meeting for One Cumberland’s Board of Directors was held on August 24, 2022, officially launching Cumberland’s first community 501(c)(3) organization. One Cumberland, founded by the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID), will help bolster the work of the Cumberland CID by enhancing and broadening its reach, funding, and impact.

“Creating and maintaining a livable, vibrant community doesn’t happen by itself,” said One Cumberland Board Chair Rob Garcia. “One Cumberland will embrace this growth and engage our diversity to further establish Cumberland as a place where people want to live, work, and visit.

“This is an exciting day for our community,” said Kim Menefee, Executive Director for the Cumberland CID. “Since 1988, the Cumberland CID has invested over $160 million into key infrastructure projects and enhancements that have led to the region's success. One Cumberland will build upon this success by being the engine that continues to boost the quality of life and elevate all the assets that make Cumberland unique.”

The mission of One Cumberland is to protect and conserve the natural resources of Cumberland and establish the District as a vibrant, diverse community through the enrichment of cultural amenities, quality of life, improved access, and environmental stewardship. The Cumberland CID will staff and manage the day-to-day administration and operations for One Cumberland’s programs and projects.

The new Dallas operation will primarily provide planning, design, and engineering consulting services for water, wastewater, and land development projects. Future office expansion includes adding aviation, energy, and watershed services within the next six months.



SmithGroup has opened its first office in the southeastern United States in Atlanta. The office in the city's Midtown neighborhood is the firm’s 19th location worldwide, expanding the company’s already footprint in the Higher Education and Healthcare markets.

One Cumberland board members, from left, are Chad Koenig, Secret Holland, Jon Ingram, Melissa Cantrell, Rob Garcia, Barry Teague, Chris McCoy, Michele Swann and Holly Quinlan SmithGroup Atlanta Office, Photo Courtesy of SmithGroup
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SmithGroup has an established portfolio of work in the southeastern United States, already serving major health systems and colleges and universities in the region for the last four decades. Most recently, the firm designed the new Georgia State University College of Law building in downtown Atlanta, a patient tower expansion, and bridge connections for Emory University Hospital. Elsewhere in Georgia, the firm designed the Engineering and Research Building on the campus of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, which opened in the fall of 2021, and a new patient tower at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center that opened in April of this year.


The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences has awarded Georgia State University a $1.7 million grant to conduct a four-year study of the relationship between student outcomes and career and technical education (CTE) and teacher preparation and experience. The research will also examine the challenges school districts face in recruiting and retaining qualified CTE teachers.

“Every state in the country faces CTE teacher shortages and is trying to align with industry demands,” Principal investigator Daniel Kreisman, an associate professor of economics, said. “However, policy decisions are being made without a concrete understanding of what instructor skills, experience, and certifications are critical to CTE student outcomes. Our research will fill this gap.”

The project will provide a comprehensive overview of CTE teachers and contextualize strategies for addressing CTE staffing. It will explore how student outcomes, such as test scores, college enrollment, employment, and earnings, vary with these teacher characteristics. The research team will observe data across four states in a sample of more than 2 million unique students who took CTE coursework from more than 15,000 CTE teachers.

“We know a whole lot about the role K–12 teachers play in student learning,” Kreisman said. “We even have good insight into the challenges districts face in recruiting and retaining them. Yet, when it comes to CTE, we know next to nothing. Our research will provide detailed information the CTE field has sought for years.” A

Photo Courtesy of GSU
September | October 9


(CHA) announces that Albert Rodriguez and Candice Scale have joined the firm as Vice Presidents/Key Account Managers. Albert will be growing CHA’s business in the Southeast utility market. Candice joins the firm to expand CHA’s growing relationship with federal and defense clients.

Albert Rodriguez joins CHA with nearly 30 years of experience in utilities, power, oil and gas, electric and renewable energy. He recently served as a Senior Key Account Manager for an international energy company focused on sustainable energy solutions. He has extensive experience in sales, marketing, and business development, including account planning and strategy development. Rodriguez earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Florida International University and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. He is also a Florida State Certified General Contractor.

Candice Scale comes to CHA with nearly 15 years of experience in business development in the AEC industry. Working with clients such as the US Air Force, US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Navy, and others, Scale has extensive experience developing marketing strategies and managing strategic accounts, with expertise working with federal and defense clients. She is an active member of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and serves as the Atlanta Post President and a Director at the Panama City Post.

CROY has welcomed several dynamic new hires to join its team. Tracie Kleine has joined as their Senior Aviation Planner. Additionally, Kayla Thomas and Matt Reeves have joined Croy’s transportation team. Thomas has joined as their Traffic Engineer, and Reeves has joined as their Transportation Planner. They are pleased to announce these additions and look forward to their positive contributions to their team and community.

Art Cannington joins the firm with 39 years of experience conducting various surveys, including boundary, topographic, as-built and ALTA surveys, water plant, water line route, sewer route and reservoir surveys for commercial, retail, residential, and transportation projects. His responsibilities include directing and managing all survey activities for the Atlanta office. Cannington is a licensed Professional Land Surveyor in Georgia and Alabama.

Travis Williams joins the firm with 24 years of project and crew management experience, expertise in performing ALTA, topographic, boundary, commercial and residential surveys, and construction staking and data processing. As Survey Project Manager, he oversees and coordinates survey projects from field to finish for the Atlanta office.

Ashley Painter, EIT, LEED AP joins as an entry-level Civil Engineer. Her responsibilities include assisting civil project managers and engineers with various tasks, including site layout and design, plan set preparation, and permitting assistance for public/ private civil projects. Painter obtained a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a Landscape Studies minor from the University of Georgia. She recently received Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certification in Georgia.

Diego Montoya, EIT joins the firm with 12 years of experience in building construction. He obtained a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Kennesaw State University, a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Technology from Southern Polytechnic State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Piedmont College. Montoya is a certified Engineer-inTraining (EIT) in Georgia.

HUSSEY GAY BELL is proud to welcome Art Cannington, PLS, as Survey Department Supervisor, Travis Williams as Survey Project Manager, Ashley Painter, EIT, LEED AP as an entry-level Civil Engineer, and Diego Montoya, EIT as Project Manager for the Structural Department.

KECK + WOOD is proud to announce that Marci Early and Mike Hull, PE have joined the KW team to provide enhanced collaboration with their clients.

Mike Hull, PE joins as Project Manager - Community Development. As a LEED Accredited Site Development Engineer,

Albert Rodriguez Candice Scale Ashley Painter Travis Williams Diego Montoya Mike Hull
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Hull brings 14 years of experience to Keck + Wood in all aspects of land development, including drainage and hydrology. His expertise in multi-disciplinary A/E projects provides him the acumen to deliver quality design solutions for their clients.

Marci Early joins as Staff Professional – Transportation and Traffic. Early is an Atlanta native and holds a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Fort Valley State and a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas. Her experience in transportation is centered around Traffic Analysis, but that is only the beginning for Early, a 2022 ACEC Future Leaders Program graduate.

also a veteran, served nine years in the Army Corps of Engineers and completed his service as a Captain in the US Army Reserves. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Georgia and an ASHE member.

Carlin Billings, PE served as a high school teacher for six years before shifting into a career as a civil engineer in 2017. As a Project Engineer, she will be responsible for the design of our transportation projects as well as developing standards and workflows for OpenRoads to assist with onboarding future hires. Billings is a Georgia Institute of Technology graduate, a registered Professional Engineer in Georgia, and a supporter of STEAM education in Georgia’s schools.


has promoted Robert Walker, PE , to Chief Operations Officer.

Robert Walker, PE has 34 years of experience. He joined Neel-Schaffer in 1991 as an Engineer Intern and has served in a variety of roles, most recently as the Manager of the firm’s Central Region, which encompasses 17 Mississippi-based offices and a subsidiary firm, Maptech, Inc. Walker is also an Executive Vice President and serves on the firm’s Board of Directors.

“I can’t say enough good things about Robert and what he has done for this company over the last 30 years,” said Joey Hudnall, President and CEO. “He is very well-respected in our company and our industry. He serves on our Board and has done a tremendous job managing our Mississippi operations. He cares about this company and wants to give back, see us grow and prosper and see all of our employees reach their greatest potential.”

Walker is a Mississippi native and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University.


(PDP) is pleased to announce the addition of Ian Maxfield, PE and Carlin Billings, PE to the team!

Ian Maxfield, PE serves as Project Manager/Senior Engineer responsible for managing and executing infrastructure and transportationrelated projects for various clients. He graduated from the University of Georgia and the Georgia Institute of Technology and brings ten years of engineering and project management experience to the team. Maxfield is

STANTEC welcomes Trent Franks, Yagesh Panta, and Julie Work to their Atlanta office.

Trent Franks joined Stantec’s Atlanta office as a Project Control Analyst specializing in Earned Value Management, project proposal devel opment, and project scheduling for the Water Business Line, lending his skill set regularly to assist 26 separate Project Managers across the country. Franks has over five years of financial and staff management experience and a decade’s experience in customer support, merchandising, and sales.

Yagesh Panta, PE joined Stantec’s Atlanta office as a Water/Wastewater Engineer. He has five years of experience in public works engineering, including pump stations, force mains, gravity sewer pipelines, and construction management. He has held design engineer and assistant project manager roles for various public entities in Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida.

Julia Work joined Stantec’s Atlanta office as a Water Resources Engineer in Training. She is a recent graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering with the Highest Honors (Summa Cum Laude). N

Marci Early Robert Walker Ian Maxfield Trent Franks Carlin Billings Yagesh Panta Julia Work
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THOMAS & HUTTON is pleased to announce the addition of two new Georgia-based company shareholders: John Giordano, PE and John Paul Moore, PE

John Giordano, PE is a Civil Project Manager and licensed professional engineer based in the Savannah region. John earned his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida and joined Thomas & Hutton in 2007. He has 17 years of experience providing consulting and engineering design services for projects in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida. Giordano’s notable projects include Savannah Harbor, multiple infill projects within Historic Downtown Savannah, Lake Mayer Skate Park, Chatham County Detention Center, Chatham County Courthouse, and the Tybee Island Dune Restoration projects.

John Paul Moore, PE is a Civil Project Manager in the Savannah region. He joined Thomas & Hutton in 2013, shortly after earning his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. A licensed professional engineer, Moore’s experience includes consulting and engineering design services for transportation, commercial, resort, and residential developments. His notable projects include the Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort (Bluffton, SC), Moreland’s residential and amenity development within Palmetto Bluff, Eastern Wharf (Savannah, GA), and the amenity and first phases of Del Webb’s +/- 1,300 home expansion of Sun City into the East Argent PDD (Hardeeville, SC).

extensively involved in managing a wide array of contracts throughout the southeastern United States over the past two decades, focusing on the states of Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Richard Boston, PE as the Georgia CEI Director. Boston has over 28 years of diverse experience in all facets of the transportation infrastructure industry, including design, construction engineering & inspection, maintenance inspection, and bridge inspection. His extensive experience in both the public and private sectors provides him with a unique insight into all aspects of the process, making Richard a notable asset to clients on every project.

N. Marie Njie, Ph.D. as the Senior NEPA Specialist for the Georgia office. Njie brings 20 years of environmental technical services experience assessing and managing environmental resources and social impacts associated with Georgia infrastructure projects in compliance with the United States National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) policies and regulations. She works primarily on transportation projects that require environmental technical review and approvals. A

VHB welcomes Audra Rojek, AICP, as Transportation Planning Manager in Atlanta.

Audra Rojek, AICP comes from a multinational engineering and design firm. She led public engagement efforts and developed multiple multimodal transportation plans and studies for clients, including the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Association (MARTA). She brings more than 15 years of experience in transportation planning in the Atlanta region. She has served on the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) Atlanta Board for six years, most recently as At-Large Director.


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VOLKERT is excited to announce the following additions to its growing Southeast Region:

David McFarlin, PE, PLS, PTOE as the Senior Vice President of the Southeast Region. He will be responsible for all Volkert personnel and projects throughout the states of Florida and Georgia. McFarlin will build on Volkert’s past successes throughout the Southeast while pursuing new opportunities for expansion and growth throughout the region. An active member of the engineering community, he is known for consistently applying a collaborative management style while drawing on his diversified experience to troubleshoot problems and develop workable solutions within the industry. McFarlin has been

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David McFarlin Audra Rojek Richard Boston N. Marie Njie
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September | October 13


MEGA Meeting moderator Asheya Warren, CPSM, along with panelists Veronica Jenkins, Doug Crandell, MFA, Wendy Watkins, CPCC, PCC, and Cheryl Ann Frazier, M.Div., MPA, CPM. Guests of the 2022 MEGA Meeting network and explore exhibitor booths prior to the meeting’s panel discussion. Participants of ACEC Georgia’s 2022 Future Leaders Program. Participants of ACEC Georgia’s 2022 Future Leaders Program.
the pulse
Chairwoman Romika Jasrotia, PE welcomes the 2022-2023 class of Future Leaders. Guests of the 2022 MEGA Meeting network and explore exhibitor booths prior to the meeting’s panel discussion. ACEC Georgia's Brett Hillesheim and Chandler Baker manned the Engineering Georgia booth at the 2022 MEGA Meeting. Guests of the 2022 MEGA Meeting network and explore exhibitor booths prior to the meeting’s panel discussion. The 2022 MEGA Meeting was held on August 30, 2022 at the Georgia Aquarium

IIn August, President Joe Biden signed the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act (IRA or HR 5376). After undergoing serious debate, compromise, and modification, the final version includes an amalgamation of healthcare reforms, climate change initiatives, and new taxes on businesses—some of which will affect individuals and businesses in Georgia.

Energy and climate change initiatives have been a cornerstone of the Democratic agenda for several years, as well a major part of the Biden Administration’s “Build Back Better” plan, and lawmakers found a way to use the IRA to achieve their ends. While the IRA is a toned-down version of previous climate change reform proposals, it includes investments in climate protection and tax credits for both households and companies, to the tune of $369 billion.

The green business incentives found in the bill include $10 billion for qualified investment tax credits aimed at reducing commercial carbon production. Some models project that these subsidies may cut US carbon emissions by some 40% by 2030. In addition to the encouragement to move towards more environmentally friendly practices through tax credits and subsidies, the bill raises the superfund tax on crude oil and imported petroleum to 16.4 cents a barrel and increases some other taxes and fees on the fossil fuel sector.

The IRA’s climate friendly incentives for individuals include a tax credit of up to $7,500 for electric vehicle (EV) purchases, credits for upgrading a home’s electric panel to handle EV charging, and qualifying energyefficient home project and product upgrades. However, the rebates

and credits offered to individuals for efficiency projects and purchases involve some major restrictions, such as income threshold limits and manufacturing requirements for EVs. In fact, some car manufacturers have voiced concerns over the qualifications for the EV tax credits and see the “buy American” provisions—including the requirement that minerals for EV batteries be sourced in America, among other pro-US manufacturer qualifications—as a potential impediment for consumers who want to utilize the available EV credits.

For businesses, those that are moving to retrofit existing facilities to become more energy efficient will similarly be eligible for various tax credits, and any companies looking to build green facilities with clean energy sources are also eligible for energy credits. These credits include a clean hydrogen production credit and a clean electricity credit, among others. Many of the tax incentives for green energy production, however, are aimed at encouraging increased US manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and critical minerals processing. The IRA also includes nearly $30 billion in targeted grant and loan awards for states and electric co-ops to transition to clean electricity.

The bill’s authors attempted to only levy increased taxes on the wealthiest businesses, and the measure stands poised to generate revenue through a variety of sources. HR 5376 is estimated to raise nearly $740 billion over the next decade through new taxes on large corporations and stricter enforcement by the IRS. Moody’s Analytics projects that simply strengthening IRS enforcement alone has the potential to “reduce the cumulative deficit by $124 billion over 10 years.”

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The IRA also creates a new 15% corporate minimum tax (CMT) on publicly traded corporations with profits of more than $1 billion, which will be levied on book income rather than on taxable income. Moody’s projects this new corporate minimum tax may result in an estimated $313 billion of increased revenue over 10 years. In addition to the CMT, HR 5376 imposes a new 1% excise tax, termed a “stock buybacks fee”, on publicly traded US corporations on the market value of shares repurchased by a corporation. Finally, the IRA extends the limitation on pass-through business losses created under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts through 2028. It’s worth noting that the contested tax proposal on the investments of private equity and hedge funds did not make the final version of the bill.

The third major pillar of HR 5376 accomplishes some major healthcare objectives for Democrats. Beginning in 2025, Medicare will be allowed to negotiate the price of certain prescription drugs and Medicare recipients will enjoy an annual cap of $2,000 for out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. The Inflation Reduction Act also includes an extension of subsidies for Affordable Care Act (ACA) premiums. The federal government has had a subsidy program aimed at lowering medical insurance premiums under ACA that was set to expire this year; however, the IRA has extended that program until 2025.

As far as the bill’s name is concerned, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business estimates that the Inflation Reduction Act will “reduce annual inflation by around 0.1 percentage points in about five years” and that the “impact on inflation is statistically indistinguishable from zero.” A

September | October 17
NUMBER OF WINERIES IN GEORGIA producing wine from local grapes and fruits. GENERATED FROM AGRITOURISM in Georgia in 2020. FARMS are currently operating within the State. GEORGIA NUMBERS 41,300 $12.2 BILLION 4.5 MILLION 60 by the the pulse POUNDS OF PECANS were harvested last year. 88.6 MILLION ACRES OF CROPLAND span every geographical region of Georgia. September | October 19


$4.4 billion film production industry takes center stage in Peach State

IIt’s hard to believe now, seeing steel and concrete structures rise up from the red clay northeast of Atlanta, but the site had previously been an industrial wasteland mostly covered by a two-foot-deep slab of concrete. Crews had to break it all up, recycle all the rebar, navigate the buried parts of the automotive stamping plant that had operated at the location until 2008. Today, though, the area has been transformed. And in June of 2023, it will become home to one of the largest studio complexes in Georgia’s burgeoning film production industry.

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Photo: Tyler Perry Studios
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When it’s finished, Assembly Studios in Doraville will have 20 soundstages and over 1 million square feet of space. And the whole thing will be as fundamentally Georgian as a Chick-fil-a sandwich and a slice of peach pie.

“Our mantra from day one has been, we’re going to show the world what Georgia can do,” said Jay Gipson, Developer on the project for Atlanta-based Gray Television. “The steel comes from Georgia. The concrete group we’re using comes from Georgia. Everything we’re doing has a Georgia base to it. I think when people think of film studios, they naturally think it’s people coming from L.A. or New York. But no— these are Georgia lives, and Georgia jobs. That’s like saying every car manufactured here is coming from Detroit or Japan. No, they’re coming from Georgia. Once people get their hands around it, they realize that it impacts a lot of lives and a lot of communities.”

Georgia has long been a favorite as a filming location, dating back to movies like “Deliverance” from 1972 and “Fried Green Tomatoes” from 1991. But over the last 14 years, the Peach State has become home to a deep-rooted film and television production industry that’s churned out blockbusters like Marvel movies and award-winning television series such as “Ozark” and “Stranger Things.” Georgia has nearly 4 million square feet of soundstage space, with another 3 million on the way. The state is poised to one day challenge greater Los Angeles, which leads the world with 5.4 million square feet of soundstage space, according to the region’s film office. N

Photo: The GIbson Company September | October 23engineering ga [ feature ]

The economic impact of that growth has been massive. Film and TV productions spent only $132 million in Georgia in 2007, according to Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of Film, Music and Digital Entertainment at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. During fiscal year 2022, that amount ballooned to a record $4.4 billion, which represented 32 feature films, 36 independent films, and 269 episodes for television networks or streaming services. And that number doesn’t include the development of soundstages or other entities supporting what has clearly become one of the film production capitals of the world.

“People in L.A. marvel at what’s happened here,” Thomas said. The demand to film in Georgia is so acute, that soundstages can’t be built or expanded fast enough. “We’ve lost projects because at some point, there’s just a finite amount of space,” she added. “So we are looking forward to having some of these new properties coming online.”

Properties like Assembly Studios in Doraville, which has partnered with NBC Universal. Like Athena Studios in Athens, which will have around 350,000 square feet. Like Electric Owl Studios, which will have six stages on 17 acres in Stone Mountain. Like Cinelease-Three Ring Studios in Covington, which is adding eight new stages to its existing six in a project to be completed in late 2023. Like Tyler Perry Studios, which opened a new location in 2020 on the site of the former Fort McPherson army base. Like the ever-expanding Trilith Studios near Fayetteville, which built its own 235-acre neighborhood adjacent to what is the second-largest film studio in North America—for now.

And if you think all this studio space is reserved for elites jetting in from La-La Land, think again. “At least 85 percent of people on any given set are Georgians or Georgia

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residents,” said Kelsey Moore, Executive Director of the Georgia Screen Entertainment Coalition at the Georgia Chamber. “It took us a little while to develop that workforce infrastructure, but now, it’s significant. We were looking at tens of thousands of Georgians working in the industry, and now we're getting close to that mark of 100,000 Georgia jobs in the industry.”

That impact is felt throughout the state, in ways both small and large. Cinelease, which started in Georgia with one employee and 8,000 square feet, now has a staff of 30 and a presence in three counties, according to General Manager Gannon Murphy. At PES Structural Engineers, principal Travis Paul has gone from a first studio project with Tyler Perry in 2011 to projects in New Orleans, Texas, Ireland and Saudi Arabia, as well as Georgia. The development of Assembly Studios in Doraville is roughly a $150 million project, according to published reports.

“The backbone of everything going on in the film industry in Georgia is 99.9 percent Georgia people,” said Gipson, who handles Development and Construction Management for The Gipson Company. “Sure, you have talent that flies in and spends five days or three months here, and then they're gone. But the people that make up the heart and core of this business are Georgia people.”


Georgia has never been a stranger to film and television. Its moss-lined byways and rural settings proved the background for movies like “Smokey and the Bandit,” along with TV series like “In the Heat of the Night.” The inception of the Georgia Film, Video and Music Office in 1973 helped fuel an increase film production, including award winners like “Forrest Gump” and “Driving Miss Daisy.” The location was hard to beat— but soon, location wouldn’t mean as much to film studios as the bottom line. N

Photo: The GIbson Company
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Photo: Tyler Perry
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“Incentives came about in the late 1990s in Canada, and that really changed the game,” Thomas said. “Everybody had to have incentives to be considered for projects. And so rather than a director or producer deciding, ‘Oh, this is the best look for the film,’ it really became the backroom accounting people running the budgets and seeing where their money was going to go.”

Tax incentives offered by British Columbia made the Canadian province such a popular filming destination that soundstages booked up and some projects were shot in empty warehouses. In the U.S., Southern states that had gotten a taste of the film industry jumped into the game. First in 2005 and then again in 2008, then-Georgia Gov. Sonny Purdue went to Turner Studios to sign the Entertainment Industry Investment Act, the latter version of which offered a 20 percent tax credit for qualified productions and an 10 percent tax credit if an animated Georgia promotional logo appeared within the finished product.

“I think this bill will jump-start the Georgia film industry,” Rep. Butch Parrish, a sponsor of the legislation, said at the time. And it has, proving the necessary capper to other built-in advantages such as a temperate climate, an ease of access via Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, and a ready workforce bolstered by the presence of the Georgia Film Academy, a program founded in 2015 which has since partnered with 27 colleges and universities in the state.

“Georgia really has kind of everything. They can shoot year-round—I mean, you're probably not going to shoot outdoors in Michigan in February, right? And we have diverse locations, with big cities and small towns and the mountains and the coastline. We compete with New Mexico, which has a very specific look. With Georgia, pretty much any script we get, we can try to pull a location package that will work for them,” Thomas said. N

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“We also have a lot of infrastructure—a lot of soundstage space and a lot of equipment suppliers, which makes it cheaper to film here if they can get everything locally. We have a lot of people who have been trained in the industry, both through the Georgia Film Academy and schools that have picked a up film curriculum. And Georgia has stayed on a certain path with this incentive. We have made modifications over the years, there have been changes and some basic housekeeping done. But it hasn't been the back-and-forth that you've seen in some of the other states.”

That last point is crucial, particularly in respect to another state that was once viewed as Georgia’s primary competition for film production in the South. North Carolina had its own bustling film industry centered in Wilmington, and some of the first incentives offered by any U.S. state—at one time, as much as 25 percent for some film productions. But North Carolina lawmakers killed that program in 2014, replacing it with a smaller, grant-based initiative that left the state’s film industry a shadow of its former self.

“It evaporated, almost overnight,” said Darrell Rochester, Chairman of Rochester and Associates, an engineering firm based in Gainesville and Fayetteville that’s been active in studio development. “So that’s a very real, and very important issue.”

While there’s perhaps no single movie or series that signaled the arrival of the current era of film production in Georgia, clearly a few stand out as harbingers of the $4.4 billion industry seen today. Debuting in 2010, the AMC series “The Walking Dead” was an immediate hit—not just among viewers, but also among those in Senoia, where the series was largely filmed, and sparked a surge in tourism. “’The Walking Dead’ made the connection for people on how much this industry can help revive and revitalize some of our communities, and create a whole new kind of tourism offshoot,” Moore said.

Five years later, superheroes joined zombies as mainstays on Georgia soundstages. “Ant-Man” was the first of what would be many Marvel films shot in Georgia, among them such blockbusters as "Avengers: Endgame,” "Spider-Man: No Way Home,” "Black Panther," and "Avengers: Infinity War.” “Marvel produces a lot of stuff with their spin-offs and now for Disney+, so they have to generate a lot of product,” Thomas said. “So I would say, they’re probably always here, with two or three shows going on here at one time.”

Although Georgia film officials have had a longstanding relationship with Disney, now Marvel’s parent company, the state initially didn’t have the infrastructure to land a Marvel production. “We couldn't get a Marvel movie. The people at Disney would put us in front of the Marvel people, and we would pitch for these shows, but there just wasn't a facility big enough,” Thomas said. That changed after the state found room to land and produce the second, third and fourth films in the “Hunger Games” series, “which was the beginning of getting us into these tent-pole productions,” Thomas added.

But it doesn’t take a Marvel blockbuster to produce dividends for Georgia. The Netflix series “Stranger Things” spent 359 days in the state filming its fourth season, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. It spent $127 million hiring an estimated 2,080 local crew members, nearly $2 million on hotel nights, $3 million on car rentals, transportation and airfare, and over $800,000 on wardrobe, hair and makeup. The series is set to return to Georgia for a fifth and final season.

“This incentive, as planned, has built an infrastructure and ecosystem in Georgia that creates high-paying jobs and an atmosphere for small business and entrepreneurs to thrive,” said Gannon, of Cinelease. “Georgia has seen film job rosters expand from a few thousand to almost 10,000, and perhaps most importantly, vendors and suppliers that focus on entertainment-specific services have put roots down to employ support staff around the year.”


“We need to design and build a replica White House in six weeks.” It was an unusual request, to be certain, but Travis Paul has learned to expect the unexpected as the Principal at PES Structural Engineers becomes more and more involved in the Georgia film industry. There was the time when he was asked to help design a 150-foot yacht, which is currently bubble-wrapped and awaiting use in a forthcoming production. There was the backlot at the original Tyler Perry Studios in Greenbriar, where Paul helped design 10 different houses for use in television shows. When the Perry studios were moved to their current location, he helped recreate the same thing in a different place.

“I will say that my wife gets a little tired of me pausing movies to point out items that we have been involved with, or making sure I watch the credits at the end to see where different productions were filmed,” Paul said. “We design buildings every day, but the design work for studios is always unique.”

Engineering is but one industry that has benefitted from the explosion of film production in Georgia, which ramped up at a time—on the heels of the Great Recession—when many firms were looking for work. Today, engineering firms play an integral role in the development and expansion of film studios. They help determine the structural integrity of locations such as bridges and old buildings. And during production, they’re constantly involved in managing the loads on a soundstage’s roof structure, which can be asked to support heavy props like helicopters.

“The construction of the soundstages is only the start of the story for structural engineers in this industry,” said Paul, who’s also involved with Assembly. “Once the soundstages are in operation, the engineer’s involvement is continuous, especially if they have existing buildings on the campus that are used for filming. Every sound stage has a letter written by the SEOR (Structural Engineer of Record) that notes how the roof structure can be loaded. The SEOR tries to clearly denote the allowable loading, but rigging companies and some production companies often require verification from the SEOR and a stamped review of their proposed loading regardless of whether it is obvious that their loading meets the SEOR’s requirements.”

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As the film industry expands in Georgia, more engineering firms are becoming involved in studio development. “It’s not too dissimilar to a large industrial-type development, but there are some unique differences,” said Jeff Collins, vice president at Rochester and Associates, which works with Trilith. “I need to get trucks around here, to get access around the studio lots. They’re a buzz of activity, so you have to think about the volume of people, the safety of the people on their bikes and golf carts, how you’re going to park them. So how they use the facility is much different.”

Studios have to be accessible—but only to a point, added Helen Simpson, Department Manager of Civil Engineering for Lowe Engineers, which works with Cinelease. “You don't necessarily want a lot of public involvement in your studios, right? So we have to be able to have it accessible, but yet you don't want the public to be able to literally come up to the fence and see. You kind of want it hidden to a certain extent. But yet you still have to have big, open areas for the massive quantities of trucks that are used, because each film has its own army that rolls in.”

At WMD Engineering Consultants, Founder Michael DeLoach has long specialized in facilities like shipping terminals—long-span structures with no interior columns. Film studios “kind of fit a groove with us,” he said. WMD did the concrete package on the former Pinewood Studios, since rebranded as Trilith, and is handling the full structural design for the Cinelease-Three Ring expansion. Studio development has become such a large part of WMD’s book of business, DeLoach added, that he’s had to turn other jobs down.

“It's to the point now where we're having to turn people away, there is so much design work,” he said. “It’s just word of mouth—we did Pinewood, they mentioned us for Three Ring, and then Cinelease recommended us for another job in New Jersey. It's been a good stream of work for us, and it looks like it's going to continue well into the future. The movie people like working in this area, like the relatively cheap land acquisition costs, like all the tax incentives Georgia has put into place. And abundant labor, cheaper housing in Georgia compared to California, all of that stuff goes into the bottom-line cost of the movie.” N

Photo: The GIbson Company
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For many engineering firms involved with studio projects, there’s been a learning curve—most evident in the tight timelines involved. “The ingredient that we did not realize was going to be so dramatic is that they expect these things to be built in very short order,” Rochester said. “Truthfully, it falls harder on the contractor than it does on us. But they always have us under the gun to hurry up and get a permit. The reality is, in some cases, they have 120 days or 180 days to build these buildings. They've scheduled the movie production to occur at a certain time, so these buildings have to be ready for them to take occupancy in order for that to happen. It's a pretty intense deal.”

But those stresses are clearly worth the effort, given the steady stream of work that Georgia’s film production industry has created for engineering firms in the state. And that work comes with other benefits as well, albeit some completely unforeseen ones—like engineers getting to walk the red carpet at studio openings or local movie premieres, or getting to brag a little about their role in creating the next Marvel blockbuster or Netflix hit.

“You tell people you design shipping terminals, and they’re like, ‘Oh, that sounds boring.’ And it is. As engineers, we like boring,” DeLoach said. “But the movie side of it has been really cool. When somebody sees a movie on TV, we can say, ‘Hey, we designed that studio.’ You don’t get that with a shipping terminal.” A

Photo: Tyler Perry Studios
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September | October 31


MMentor - protégé relationships between large engineering firms and disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) firms represent a unique opportunity for all involved. GDOT defines a DBE firm as a “for profit small business where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least 51% interest and also control management and daily business operations,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Owners can be women, African Americans, Hispanic, Native Americans, Asian Pacific, or Subcontinent Asian Americans, and they need to apply for DBE certification from the state to qualify. Additional requirements must be met for certification, including “a personal net worth that does not exceed $1.32 million” and other financial criteria. The DBE Program exists so that these firms have an equal opportunity to receive and participate in DOT-assisted contracts. This article gathers four different perspectives to offer insights on how DBE mentorship is not only a benefit for the DBE firm but also benefits the mentor firm and others. N

Mentors, Firms & Protégés
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Kimberly A. King, Equal Employment Opportunity Director at GDOT, works closely with Stacey Key, GDOT Board Member and CEO of Georgia Minority Supplier Diversity Council. Together, they help spread the word about DBE Certification via workshops and webinars. They find firms that meet the criteria to be a DBE and assist their certification. Although GDOT does not have a formal mentor-protégé program, they collaborate with firms on the steps to get there, including becoming listed as a DBE firm and bidding for subcontracting projects. GDOT works as a broader team that includes everything from DBE Analysts to compliance officers, ensuring federally mandated funds are allocated appropriately to those who can benefit from them most. “We are very deliberate; we’re very careful, conscientious in reviewing those applications and vetting those applicants to make sure that those folks that are being certified are those that ought to be certified,” King shares.

The current GDOT DBE directory has 3000 firms in it. Increasingly many of the prime contractors: subcontractor relationships also develop mentor-protégé components. “[The] mentor-protégé relationship is just one of several types of assistance that could be provided on the project to make sure the participation of the DBE is meaningful,” states King. She continues, “GDOT is hard at work in finding opportunities for these firms to develop and grow. Sometimes those opportunities are mentor-protégé, sometimes supportive services assistants, sometimes notifying them about an upcoming project, etc.” N

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“I began my career working in DBE firms, so DBE development has always been near and dear to my heart,” shares Claudia Bilotto, Senior VP and Southern States District Leader of WSP. She worked in two different DBE firms when she first got started, and now, 22 years of industry experience later, she is still serving in DBE - only from the other side of the table. WSP is an organization of 55,000 employees headquartered in Montreal with a large U.S. presence; they specialize in engineering and design across all realms of infrastructure.

They help DBE firms from sole proprietorships to small firms of less than 10 employees. Bilotto also works cross-functionally with the Georgia Mentor Protege Connection, a “business development program that matches up small businesses with larger partners, sanctioned by the state”. Her role is in the procurement subcommittee, serving as a “DBE Champion on key pursuits and projects”.

Bilotto emphasized that partnership with DBE firms grants them access to diversification of services. “Being plugged into larger engineering firms allows you to expand your technical capabilities” and “gives you access to clients that you maybe haven’t worked with before”. She unpacks further: “Some DBEs are comfortable staying in one technical area. Others want and need the opportunity to expand. That is the type of support that I can provide as part of a large firm. In addition, sole-proprietor DBE firms often end up spread very thin – in need of support because there is one person responsible for all aspects of the business – not a sustainable model. Providing guidance on future structure so that there is a clear path to delegate workload and identify additional team members is critical to sustainable growth – and mental health!”

Through the mentorships, WSP benefits from win-win opportunities to deliver for clients, receiving additional support in technical delivery, and developing trusted long-standing business relationships. In fact, a key component of DBE mentor-protégé connections is the ability to form enduring partnerships. Bilotto offered that many partnerships become her close, personal friends and that “these are people that I care about their success”. Between check-ins, team building, networking, and lunches there are ample opportunities where friendship and business align.

These partnerships establish business sustainability - everything from whom to hire, what to outsource, and how to develop a long-term plan could umbrella under this need. A notable challenge area is new hires. Being that most small DBE firms start out with few people, it is often unsettling to trust someone else with a business that is very personal to you. Sometimes difficult conversations need to be had about hiring. Bilotto shares, “It takes courage and grit to address what needs to be addressed and keep moving forward. You must be able to give up the reins and bring in people that you trust and sometimes that takes different attempts to do so.” N

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For over a decade, Garrick Edwards, VP/ Transportation Lead of AECOM, and Sean Garland, President & Owner of Pont Engineering, have worked in tandem to deliver on civil engineering projects and implemented their own mentor-protégé relationship. Their clients span a multitude of government contracts in the transportation sector - from city bridges to airports. Pont Engineering is a small black-owned business and engineering firm of 25 employees, whereas AECOM is a large multi-national corporation of 50,000 employees, 450 of which are Georgia based.

Garland spoke about how AECOM greatly supports Pont Engineering in “developing stronger business capabilities” - specifically, saving time and resources in knowing where to invest and where not to invest and managing client relations. “[The relationship] has provided us with the stability a small firm needs to hire, train, and retain the highly capable professionals we need to grow.” Edwards points out, “through AECOM, Pont is given access to strategic marketing, technical training, and advisory support, as well as technologies and business systems typical of a large firm.” It also “allows the protégé to predict cash flow, take calculated risks to add staff, diversify services, and invest in training and infrastructure.” Furthermore, “AECOM benefits from a partner who prioritizes our work and understands our rigorous quality and safety standards.” Ultimately, Edwards believes that it is in AECOM’s best interest to support someone like Garland, as inevitably, as his engineering firm grows, so too does AECOM.

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When asked about what they feel makes a successful mentor-protégé relationship work, Garland emphasized that the protégé should show up with a willingness to deliver on client expectations. Both agree that transparency needs to be invited into the dynamic by bringing the protégé into client meetings and allowing them to see how the engineering firm truly operates from the inside. Although there may need to be legal protections in place, like NDAs related to intellectual property, Edwards and Garland do not restrict one another’s business in a non-compete capacity. Instead, they suggested their symbiosis is so well integrated that sometimes the client at hand does not even know which of them belongs to which company. As Edwards offered, “the culmination of these agreements is realized when the mentor firm can’t tell the difference between work produced in-house and by the protégé firm.” They work together as a team, learning and growing through each other’s experiences. What they share in common is a desire to deliver on client expectations and - at its core - preserve the longevity of their mentorprotégé relationship.

For them, the relationship is built on trust and a desire to support each other in their respective careers. Garland points out that the best partnerships are not just about checking a diversity box but instead making integration a key part of the story. “My hope is that we engage in meaningful conversations and develop actionable goals that build sustainable DBE firms, rather than focusing on a minimum DBE goal.” Finally, Edwards highlighted there is a corporate responsibility to deliver on businesses like Garland’s, as for too long the field of engineering has been unavailable to those in underrepresented groups.

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Jennifer A. Etheridge, President, and Kate Henry, Vice President, own Aulick Engineering, a 40-person engineering firm that is a women-owned small business (DBE). Serving with focus areas on hydrology/hydraulics, civil-site design, and airport inspection; they assist on everything from airports to state and local transportation departments, municipalities, and engineering firms.

They have worked with larger firms such as Parsons, Arcadis, Michael Baker, and RS&H. Through their endeavors, they also experience contractual mentor-protégé relationships. As Etheridge shares, “The mentoring program has allowed a smaller firm like us to be involved in some really big projects that in the past we haven’t had the staff to pursue, even as a minor sub. Having the intentional support of a Prime has allowed us to work together with the staff we have and grow our staff throughout the course of the project.” A consistent thread across mentor - protégé relationships for Aulick Engineering has been that of a win-win. The DBE firm gets to expand on untapped projects, and the larger firm gains help on client workload.

Communication is key to making these types of partnerships a success. Etheridge explains, “I think that relationships are important and finding the right fit from a skillset and personality perspective is an important part of making the mentoring program successful, so if you are a mentor or a protégé and you have not had the best experience, I would encourage you to keep trying until you find the right fit. When it fits right, I believe you will see that this can be a mutually beneficial program.”

Benefits to Aulick Engineering have included training and management advice. Henry told of how a specific project manager at Arcadis offered support on reasonable hours estimates, salary information, and other topics not typically discussed between firms. Henry also shared how firms RS&H and Parsons offered helpful quarterly training on topics spanning from invoicing requirements, Bluebeam training, motivational speakers, diversity training, leadership, and HR. N

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“When done right, the DBE mentoring program can bring benefits to both firms and facilitate long-term relationships that result in successful projects and help pave the way for the next generation of engineering firms,” shares Etheridge. Both Etheridge and Henry are encouraged by the increasing mentor-protégé components being written into new contracts. Henry elaborates, “We are glad to see it incorporated into the contracts and projects to encourage primes to do this work. We have enjoyed being engaged in the program from that perspective. It has been exciting to see some of the firms we work with develop their own internal mentorship programs in response to these requirements.”

These types of strategic partnerships benefit not only mentors and protégés but respective engineering firms. Each side benefits in areas including strategy, client relations, business expenses, diversification of expertise, and investment opportunities. Although there are always areas to fine-tune, ultimately, these types of partnerships go deeper. They lead the way in long-term collaboration and shared experiences that embody learning, growth, trust, empathy, and service. Perhaps Sean Garland, Pont Engineering, said it best: “Without somebody that you have confidence in helping you navigate your career choices, I don’t know how many people would be successful in their careers.” A

Julie Ann Howlett is a freelance writer with a background in science and technology.

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With Qualifications-Based Selection

[This article is reprinted with the permission of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) and originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Engineering Inc., ACEC’s quarterly business magazine.]

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TThe use of Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) in federal, state, and municipal procurement provides significant direct and indirect benefits over alternative procurement methods, according to a comprehensive study published in March by the ACEC Research Institute.

QBS is the cornerstone procurement process for the design services industry in the public markets in which firms compete for work based on experience and technical expertise, rather than aiming to submit the lowest bid. N

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Since QBS was introduced at the federal level in 1972, ACEC has asserted that QBS produces the best project results for clients. Other organizations, including the American Public Works Association and the American Bar Association, have endorsed the method, and numerous studies over several decades have demonstrated the benefits of QBS over other procurement options.

The Research Institute study, Savings, Innovation, and Efficiency: An Analysis of QBS in the Procurement of Engineering Services, reinforces those findings. The researchers, Paul S. Chinowsky of the University of Colorado–Boulder and Gordon Kingsley of the Georgia Institute of Technology, analyzed 68 projects that utilized QBS, as well as a host of other procurement methods.


In the traditional project metrics of cost and schedule, the study found that QBS outperforms the national performance in cost growth by 50 percent (3 percent growth versus 6 percent growth) and in schedule growth (7 percent growth versus 10 percent growth).

These efficiency gains stem primarily from the production of higher-quality design documents, which are more likely on QBS procurements because the method puts such a large emphasis on the designer’s past performance and proficiency.

The Research Institute study also revealed some important indirect benefits of QBS.

While QBS has a positive impact on all projects, there is substantial added value from contracting with experienced and stable design teams on highly complex projects

For example, Milwaukee’s Lakefront Gateway Project, consisting of the redesigning of ramps to I-794, required a significant amount of public outreach and involvement between the city, state, county, and numerous other stakeholders. According to a designer on the project, “Projects with community involvement, social components, and additional community features require design firms with broader knowledge and understanding. This brings QBS into a positive position.”

Additionally, QBS projects more consistently achieve the client’s objectives than non-QBS projects. In the study, owners on projects that utilized QBS commented repeatedly about the many benefits of collaborating with an experienced design team, including the opportunity to build on the design team’s experience to better position their proposals for future funding.

Finally, the study found that QBS projects are more likely to produce innovative solutions, once again because of the emphasis on firms’ past experience and previous project success on the front end of the competition. N

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Given all these benefits, it’s no surprise that most of the states and many local governments mandate the use of QBS to some degree.

At the state level, the majority of ACEC state Member Organization executives reported that all their state agencies use QBS at least 80 percent of the time, and only two states reported the lack of a state QBS mandate: Indiana and Vermont.

The use of QBS drops off, however, at the local levels. Counties, municipalities, school districts, and other agencies only use QBS between 41 percent and 60 percent of the time. The researchers attribute this decline to two factors: education and capacity.

Turnover in procurement departments has increased in the past decade, and less experienced individuals are now in charge. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in advocacy efforts by groups promoting cost-based methods. As a result, knowledge, and understanding about the core benefits of QBS have dropped in many localities.

Finally, many smaller jurisdictions don’t have dedicated procurement staff. Procurement is just a part of a larger set of responsibilities for a single individual. In these cases, individuals have reported that they believe QBS takes longer up front, and this presents a capacity issue.

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This Research Institute report can be a powerful tool for the engineering and design services industry to expand the reach of QBS in these local jurisdictions.

“Advocating for QBS is an evergreen effort because officials change, and we need to repeat the education on a regular basis because some have never heard it before,” says ACEC Indiana Executive Director Beth Bauer. “It helps to have fresh information to tell our story about QBS and why it is the way to go.”

In Virginia, Executive Director Nancy Israel is sharing the report with the Virginia Association of Governmental Purchasing. “This is the best information shared with the states in many years,” she said.

And in Illinois, the ACEC Member Organization has incorporated the data from the report into the drafting of Illinois House Resolution 682, which outlines the benefits of QBS and reaffirms it as the preferred procurement method in Illinois.

For more information and to download the free report, visit A

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In celebration of Pont Engineering's 10th anniversary and 10-year relationship with AECOM, our firms are entering into a formal MentorProtégé Agreement. This article recounts the story of two bridge engineers - Sean Garland, founder and President of Pont Engineering, Inc., and Garrick Edwards, AECOM's Georgia Transportation Leadwho met two decades ago in a job interview and laid the foundation for two growing businesses in the Georgia Transportation market.


SEAN: In 2003, I was between jobs and looking for new opportunities when a colleague referred me to a small Georgia-based bridge engineering company. I was able to secure an interview for an open senior bridge engineering position. It was during this job interview that I first met Garrick Edwards.

GARRICK: As the firm's Chief Bridge Engineer, I was responsible for hiring and training engineers. We had built a solid team of mid- and junior-level staff, but I needed a senior bridge engineer to whom I could delegate responsibility. This was the first time in my career interviewing someone for a senior engineering position. I had interviewed several candidates with more experience, but Sean clearly distinguished himself by the way he answered my interview questions.

SEAN: Garrick quizzed me about my approach to bridge design. Anticipating this, I described my systematic approach leveraging software, automation, and development of in-house tools to improve efficiency, ensure quality deliverables, and minimize rework. This exchange made it clear that Garrick and I had similar views on bridge design. He then told me he was looking for someone with more experience.

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GARRICK: When I told Sean I was seeking someone with more experience, he replied confidently, "No, you don't. . . you need someone you can trust to deliver!" Taken back his directness, I thought, "Who's interviewing who here?" As the interview progressed, Sean demonstrated strong knowledge of the local bridge market and the value he could bring to our team. By the end of the interview, we were exchanging ideas like we were already working together.


SEAN: From 2003 to 2008, our company's bridge practice grew to the largest in the state. Increasingly over this period, Garrick trusted me to lead the technical responsibilities of the company. Our conversations expanded beyond technical guidance to people management, client engagement, project management, finance, and other aspects of running a consulting business that would be valuable if I ever decided to start my own business. I began to view him less as a boss and more as a mentor.

GARRICK: Over those years, I migrated to more project management and client relations, while Sean shifted to the technical lead role. While working together, Sean and I often discussed gaps in our local DBE market, specifically a minority-owned business specializing in bridge design, and the lack of black-owned businesses in the Georgia transportation market.


GARRICK: Under increasing financial pressure from the economic downturn of 2008, my firm was sold to a foreign infrastructure company. Two years later, I left the firm and returned to AECOM. Through this experience, I learned important lessons about ownership, partnerships, acquisitions, and company culture that would prove invaluable during my time at AECOM.

SEAN: While working with the new firm, I was tasked with teaming and developing relationships with DBE firms in Georgia. Finding DBE professional services firms that fit our specific project needs was surprisingly tricky. Recognizing this market gap, I laid the groundwork for Pont Engineering in 2010 and departed the firm to run it full-time in 2012.

GARRICK: I was excited to see the launch of Pont Engineering and was very aware of the regulatory barriers Sean faced in the years before the launch. Sean and I regularly talked about navigating these impediments to his business while laying the foundation for a long-term relationship between AECOM and Pont.

SEAN: The first barrier Pont faced was meeting the minimum requirements to do business with the state. To be pre-qualified to design structures, firms must employ two licensed professional engineers with documented experience in bridge/structural design. Because pursuing, winning, and securing a contract takes several years,

small firms would have to borrow money to pay, provide benefits, and retain a licensed professional engineer until securing enough billable work to support that engineer full-time. One option was entering into a partnership with another engineer, likely giving that person significant shares in my company. I chose to retain my ownership and rely on organic growth, which fortunately materialized through my relationship with AECOM.

GARRICK: By this time, I was firmly entrenched in a leadership role within AECOM's Georgia-based operation with responsibility over our Highway-Bridge business. A key component of our local strategy was to form partnerships with minority-owned firms that complemented AECOM's broad range of services. Sean needed Pont Engineering to grow, and AECOM needed partners that complimented our core services, prioritized our delivery schedules, and understood our rigorous technical and quality standards. We began by adding Pont Engineering to our bridge-related contracts but recognized that Pont would struggle to grow without a solution to the prequalification issue. This prequalification would make Pont more marketable to other firms needing bridge expertise, something critical to Sean building a sustainable business.

SEAN: Fortunately, with support from AECOM and leadership at the GDOT, a compromise was reached that permitted a small firm to become pre-qualified while employing a single PE as long they could provide documentation that another pre-qualified firm reviewed the work. AECOM immediately stepped up to serve as Pont's review firm and provided documentation that allowed us to secure a prequalification in bridge design. In addition, AECOM added us to their GDOT Bridge Inspection and Maintenance contract and started our mentor protégé relationship.


Starting a sustainable professional engineering services firm from scratch has many challenges to overcome. Pont Engineering was facing an additional challenge, the perception that there were no capable minority-owned professional services firms in the marketplace.

The stability of any firm revolves primarily around meeting the client's needs by providing talented, capable professionals. To build a successful and sustainable professional services firm, Pont needs to recruit, retain, and train highly skilled professionals, which is complicated further by current labor shortages in our industry. To attract talent, employees must see opportunities to work on interesting projects. To retain talented professionals, we must provide diverse career opportunities, training, professional development, and a clear path to career growth. Our partnership with AECOM offers excellent opportunities for our staff to work on some of the industry's most challenging projects but also gives us access to software and innovative technologies AECOM is using to deliver projects. We attribute much of our growth over the past few years to our relationship with AECOM. N

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In Georgia, it is common for small firms to subcontract services to larger firms. Arguably, relying solely on prime-sub agreements does not necessarily produce equitable and sustainable growth for minorityowned firms. We feel strongly that mentor-protégé arrangements, similar to what is used with the Small Business Administration, make the most sense for our arrangement, but these agreements are more common at the federal level and rare in the local marketplace.

Because of our history of working together and mutual understanding of the benefits to both firms, we agreed to a strategic partnership sealed with a handshake. That handshake has sustained this commitment between our firms for more than ten years. Over the past ten years, Pont has grown to 25 employees, achieved an average of 50% year-over-year revenue growth, and strengthened its bridge design, inspection, and maintenance services. AECOM has grown into one of the largest transportation service providers in Georgia, getting exactly what it needed from Pont Engineering, a partner firm with the capacity and technical capability to deliver services that complement AECOM's business strategy.

GARRICK: The nature of the MentorProtégé relationship is mutually beneficial to both parties and the marketplace as a whole. The mentor firm has no equity, financial interest, or management control of the protégé firm. Furthermore, the agreement does not restrict the protégé firm's business arrangements with other firms, including AECOM's competitors; AECOM understands that Pont needs to be sustainable by diversifying its client base and freely respects Pont contracting with our competitors. Naturally, the protégé is obligated to protect any intellectual property disclosed in the course of doing business by the mentor. For this agreement, AECOM agrees to support Pont and work to enhance its business opportunities and technical capabilities by providing:

SEAN: While there is no equity or financial interest directly shared between the protégé and mentor, these agreements provide a multitude of value to small firms. In addition to the support provided by Garrick and AECOM, the relationship gives Pont access to AECOM leadership who can assist with:

• Strategic Planning: For the next evolution of Pont Engineering, our goal is to continue along a path of smart growth, leveraging AECOM management as strategic advisors in our planning efforts.


• Business Development Assistance in the form of strategic planning: identifying potential new market and contracting opportunities; supporting the development of marketing materials and proposals; and positioning for new business opportunities.

• Management Assistance with internal business processes and man agement systems.

• General Administrative help with business processes and quality assurance programs.

• Technical and Resource Assistance with protégé staff development, including senior manager shadowing and technical training on advanced software and advanced engineering techniques.

• Peer Exchange: Being the sole Owner of Pont Engineering means I have to make every major decision relating to the growth and expansion of services, finance and investments, information technology, and potential legal issues. To vet ideas and ground truth solutions, it is import ant that I can access trusted advisors at AECOM who understand my company.

• Diversification: If we continue to provide valuable service to a global firm like AE COM, we have an opportunity to diversify our service offerings and potentially ex pand the relationship with other markets and clients.

These engagements are common at the scale of a firm like AECOM, but for a small firm like ours, they provide immeasurable value in understanding where to invest time, energy, and resources.

GARRICK: To the great staff over at Pont Engineering, thank you for consistently delivering exceptional service across all our projects. We could not be successful without your dedication and commitment to excellence. To Sean Garland, I will simply say that I am proud of you for all you have accomplished this past decade and honored to be part of your story.

SEAN: Every successful individual I know can point to mentors who helped shape their growth and development.

I am incredibly grateful to those that have been instrumental in my career. My goal is to position our company and each individual in it with the opportunity to have similarly positive career experiences and retain talent in our industry. I genuinely appreciate AECOM's commitment to Pont Engineering over the past decade and look forward to continuing and expanding our relationship in the decades to come.

For more information on Pont Engineering, Inc., visit A

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54 Engineering Georgia


Meritage Land Development President, 2021-2022 ASCE Georgia


Julie Secrist, PE, M. ASCE President

Secrist has served ASCE Georgia for 16 years including leadership roles on the Hospitality Committee, Younger Member Group, Infrastructure Report Card and 6 various positions on the Board of Directors. She is also active on several committees for ASCE National level. In her day-job, Julie is the President of Red Stone Group which is a multi-functional design and consulting firm. Her ASCE goals for the year include continued reengagement with the Younger Member Group, revitalized member benefits and implementing lessons learned from the last few years post-covid.

John Pierson, PE, F. ASCE President-Elect

Pierson has served on the ASCE Georgia Board of Directors for the past 8 years. As President-Elect, his main focus will be to plan the monthly section meetings with a goal to provide interesting and relevant topics for our members. John recently retired as a Principal Research Engineer from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) after a 29-year career. He now works with NClear supporting corporate business development and is the principal for Pierson Enterprises, an engineering company focused on technology development, design, and data analytics.

Anita Atkinson, PE, F. ASCE Vice President Atkinson was involved with ASCE at Georgia Tech through her graduation in 2000. In 2013, she re-engaged with the Section through the Hospitality Committee and has served on the Board of Directors since 2016. In her day-job,

Anita has 18 years experience and currently leads Patterson & Dewar’s Civil Engineering and Surveying Department with specialties in power line design and power infrastructure delivery. As ASCE Vice President, she hopes to increase Section membership and member satisfaction, as well as Fellow applications.

Raj Anand, PE, M. ASCE Treasurer

Anand has been involved with ASCE Georgia section for the last 5 years in various positions including Student Chapter Advisor, Director of Younger Members and currently serves as the Section Treasurer. He is a bridge engineer at Heath and Lineback Engineers Inc. and has been part of their structural practice for 6 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from India and a master’s degree in structural engineering from Georgia Tech. Raj’s favorite part of ASCE is connecting with the people he gets to meet through ASCE.

Richard L. Curtis, P.E., D.GE, F. ASCE

External Director

Richard is past Chair of the Georgia Section Geo-Institute chapter and currently the Georgia Section External Affairs Director. His major responsibility is to provide oversight to the Student Outreach (K-12) committee and his goal for the year is to provide ASCE representation for student outreach activities (such as the upcoming STEM DAY/ Dream big event). In his day-job, Richard is a senior associate geotechnical engineer with Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions and designated a Diplomate of Geotechnical Engineering (D.GE) by the Academy of Geo-Professionals.

Josh Orton, PE, PMP, M. ASCE Internal Director

Orton has been involved with ASCE since serving as Captain of the Steel Bridge Team and Vice Chair of the Auburn ASCE Student Chapter. He has since served the Section as Secretary and Chair of the Structural Engineering Institute. Currently, he serves as Internal Director which oversees the Awards Committee and the Section website. For Brasfield & Gorrie, Josh leads the Design & Engineering Group performing construction engineering services. His favorite part of ASCE is the relationship building opportunities with fellow engineers.

Les White, PE, M. ASCE

Technical Director

White has been a member of ASCE throughout his career

and currently serves on the Membership Committee and as Technical Director. With a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech, Les White gained over 20 years of experience in general civil design prior to joining Cemex USA in 2014. As a Paving and Infrastructure Engineer, Les provides education and technical support (including design help) related to a variety of concrete and cement applications. For ASCE, he looks forward to strengthening the relationship between ASCE-GA and the various Technical Groups and welcoming more of those groups to the Georgia Section.

Kathleen “Katie” Kelly, EIT, M. ASCE Younger Member Director

Kelly serves as ASCE Georgia Section Younger Member Director, ASCE Region 5 Younger Member Advisory Council Chair, ASCE Georgia Section Administrator, ASCE National Concrete Canoe Committee Member, and practitioner advisor for KSU and SSU student chapters. In her day-job, Katie is a Structural Engineer at Arcadis with a focus on bridge design. As ASCE Younger Member Director, Katie hopes to host a one-day ASCE Young Engineers Conference for Younger Members and Student Members to provide leadership training, networking opportunities, and workshops, such as social skills development and roundtables.

Stefka Vacheva, EIT, M. ASCE Secretary Vacheva has served ASCE on the Region 5 Advisory Council, Infrastructure Report Card Committee and Younger Member Director prior to becoming Secretary. For Heath & Lineback, she is a bridge engineer. Her favorite aspects of volunteering for ASCE are such a rewarding opportunity to grow, make new friends, learn new things about yourself, others and the community. She believes volunteering brings us together and gives a chance to make a difference in our society.

Keith Cole, PE, F. ASCE Student Chapter Director Cole has been a member of ASCE since 1986 and has volunteered and participated on the Board of Directors for ASCE-Georgia Section since 2007. His passion is working in Outreach with primary and secondary schools to promote the profession and help mentor students and young practitioners. He has been instrumental in starting and developing the Section’s STEM Outreach programs and acting liaison with ASCE Student Chapters across the state. Keith is a Principal for Ramboll US Consulting sitting in the Atlanta, Georgia office with over 30 years experience in the environmental field.

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56 Engineering Georgia


Heath & Lineback Engineers

ASHE Georgia President

ASHE Georgia is proud to host the 2023 ASHE National Conference in June! Make plans to join us for informative sessions, social events, technical tours, and plenty of networking opportunities. Help us put on the best conference in 25 years by joining us as a sponsor or presenter!

Go to or scan the code for more info!

ASHE Georgia held its annual bowling tournament to benefit the many scholarships awarded by the chapter. As always, all had big fun, and some folks even bowled us over with their talents! Congrats to the division winners:

Interstate Division

On-Line Locating Services Highway Division


Local Roads Division

SAM Driveway Division

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September | October 57

Summer is always a busy time for GAITE. In July, we held our Annual Summer Seminar at St. Simons island. This annual conference was jam-packed with technical sessions, social events, sports, and time on the beach. All technical sessions for Summer Seminar 2022 were recorded and are available for viewing on our YouTube channel. We would like to thank Christy Jeon (Chair), Bing Zhang (Technical Chair), Olivia Zuvanich (Registration Chair), and the rest of the planning committee for their hard work in making this year’s conference a success. We would also like to thank our sponsors, without whom we could not do all that we do, and the keynote speaker for this year, Clyde Higgs, CEO and President of Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Moving into the fall, GAITE continues with our robust monthly meeting schedule. Our August meeting was held at Cobb DOT, featuring Drew Raessler, the Director for Cobb DOT, who spoke on transportation investments in Cobb County. Our September meeting will be held at KSU Marietta Campus.

Our first-ever Marr Traffic Grant Prix Operational and Safety Training Event is coming up on September 30th. This event will showcase a blend of good ole fashion racing and professional training. The operational training will be led by Rick Ayers of the University CAT Lab on the newest tools available from RITIS. The Safety training will encompass new developments within the safety application Numetric. The venue for the event is K1 Speed in Duluth, GA. In addition to training, participants will also have the opportunity to compete on the go-kart course to determine the first-ever Georgia ITE Grand Prix champion

If you would like to be a part of Georgia ITE, please see our website at: for information on how to join. When you join ITE international, you are automatically added as a member of your local section. Members receive discounts on our monthly meetings and events and have the opportunity to serve on our various committees.

58 Engineering Georgia


I am pleased to report that 2022 has been a great year for GEF so far! Our primary purpose is to provide scholarships for engineering students across this great state and we are doing just that.

Since our founding 50 years ago the scholarships provided by firms, society partners and family endowments have assisted future Engineers across Georgia achieve their dreams.

Three members of our current board are past recipients of foundation scholarships including our newest member Suleman Rana, PE, as well as veteran board members James Secrist EIT and Peyton Lingle, PE (our scholarship chair). They like others before them are so thankful for the financial assistance that our scholarship partners provide.

I wanted to share some recent comments from several scholarship awardees…

“As I finish my undergraduate degree at Tech with the help of your scholarship, I am reminded of one reason I chose engineering as my major. I not only chose engineering because it challenges me to never stop asking questions, but also because it gives me the ability to help others and solve problems that matter. With your example in mind, I look forward to helping others with my degree, whether as an engineer or a future (GEF) benefactor. Thank you again for your generosity, and may God bless you.” –C. Sims

“Dear GEF – I wanted to thank you for awarding me the Kenneth G. Taylor PE Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship, as well as others that I have received through GEF, have been a tremendous help in my college career. I will be graduating this summer and I am incredibly grateful for your support that has helped to bring me to this milestone in my life. Thank you.” –Kayley O.

This year as in years past, GEF has engaged directly with the College of Engineering deans at the University of Georgia, Georgia Southern University, Savannah State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Mercer University, Kennesaw State University and Gwinnett Technical College. The deans have in turn enthusiastically reached out directly and through their staff “to spread the word” about available GEF scholarships, our foundation and benefactors.

Now more than ever, it is critical to invest in the future leadership of our Nation and the greater engineering community. You can know that GEF will assure that each scholarship is awarded on benefactor goals, student merit and with a strong consideration of each scholar’s financial need. As the need for financial assistance continues to grow, your generosity is needed now more than ever. If you are interested in setting up a scholarship or endowment, or volunteering to serve, please reach out to GEF at or

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September | October 59


Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood


GSPE and NSPE host job boards as an added benefit to members and engineering community members. The NSPE job board hosts job postings across the United States and beyond, with detailed job information available. The job board has over 500 listings and can be explored through several search functions. Internships are also posted with tools for job seekers and employers. Some useful tools include the Career Learning Center, Coaching, and Resume Writing & LinkedIn Profile Development assistance.

Engaging speakers with interesting and timely topics will update attendees on the status of the engineering profession, important information on recent updates from within the State of Georgia, and helpful educational material for advancing your career and technical knowledge. If you or one of your colleagues would like to join, please contact us


HB 476 passed during the 2022 Georgia legislative session. The new law allows for the creation of a Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (PELS) licensing board that is independent of the Georgia Secretary of State's office. The independent PELS board will be able to set its fees, manage its budget, hire its staff, and improve customer service for applicants, registrants, and the general public. Staff will be dedicated solely to the independent PELS board rather than being shared across many licensing boards. Our new board structure will be more responsive to requests from applicants and registrants, leading to more robust enforcement of complaints and licensure violations. This will improve the engineering profession.


*September 11, 2022*

*Wreckingbar Brewpub, Atlanta, GA*

Every year, GSPE hosts a new PE recognition event to help celebrate the accomplishment of licensure to those newly licensed individuals and Professional Engineering Firms. This year the event was held on Saturday, September 11, at the Wreckingbar Brewpub in Atlanta at 6 PM. Thank you to all participants, honored guests, and event sponsors! Additional information on sponsors and photos from the event will be shared online and in the next issue of the Georgia Engineering Magazine! Be on the lookout for next year's event, and if you are planning to become a Professional Engineer in the next year, look for the invite on your e-mail on file with the Licensing Board!


*December 2, 2022 @ 8 AM*

*Georgia Tech Exhibition Hall, Atlanta, GA*

Join us on December 2 to catch up on PDHs! This is a great opportunity to earn up to 8 PDH hours for continuing education requirements.

The PELS board has approved fees needed to fully fund this new, independent structure:

• Renewal fees for PE, SE, and LS licenses - $ 100.00 annually

• Application fees for PE, SE, and LS licenses - $ 100.00

• Comity fees for PE, SE, and LS licenses - $ 100.00

• Certificate of Authorization fees for Engineering Firms and Land Surveyor Firms - $ 100.00 annually

Please note that HB 476 has modified license renewals from biennial to annual renewal schedules. Changes to PDH requirements have not yet been finalized. The new fee structure will go into effect immediately for all future renewals and COA fees. PE, SE, and LS license renewals will start in October 2022. The COA fees will start in April 2023. Application and Comity fees will go into effect beginning in mid-September 2022.

A task force that includes liaisons from engineering organizations in Georgia is leading the efforts to create the new board structure. Kevin Berry, PE is representing GSPE on the task force. The goal of the task force is to have the new board up and functioning by the middle of 2023.

60 Engineering Georgia



ITS Georgia hosted a training on all things communication in July. It brought in some of the state's most knowledgeable engineers to teach us everything from network basics to redundancy planning. Presentations by RJ Surgi (AECOM), Natalie Smuz-Mengelkoch (icf), Sven Burkard (X), and Clark Rutledge (X) were followed by hands-on demonstrations, including network switch programming and diagnostics and everyone's favorite, fiber splicing!

In August, Mark Knellinger from Cisco joined us to discuss how Cisco and local agencies are working to accelerate V2X communication deployment using common interfaces already deployed across the country and in most production vehicles. He provided information on challenges facing largescale deployments, including component availability and pricing. He provided some new methods to reach deployment at scale and provide communities with new options to deliver more innovation and better safety responses to their travelers.

Both these meetings were well attended and are published on our YouTube channel ( if you happened to miss them.

ITS Georgia fulfilled our promise to donate 1,000 backpacks to the Boys and Girls Club of Atlanta this year. I was proud to have been able to drop these backpacks off at centers in need around the community and see faces light up with smiles as we handed over such a generous donation. From the bottom of my heart, I thank every person who was able to join in the process, however small it may have seemed. I hope your participation has impacted you and increases your commitment to volunteering your time and skills elsewhere!


In each edition of Engineering Georgia, we like to highlight a volunteer who generously gives their time to the Chapter. In this issue, we spotlight Matt Glasser, PE, the TSMO Account Lead for Arcadis and an ITS Georgia Board Member.

When did you know you would be involved in transportation engineering or policy?

In my first year of college at Georgia Tech, I knew civil engineering was my calling. As I progressed in my collegiate career, I began gravitating toward classes focusing on transportation policy, planning, and technology. After joining the Georgia Department of Transportation's Office of Traffic Operations almost ten years ago, I fell in love with transportation technology and data analytics. I've been doing it ever since!

What got you interested in transportation?

Initially, it was something that just clicked for me and felt so intuitive. As I took more government and public policy classes in school, transportation felt like a way that I could have a positive and tangible impact on the community.

What is the coolest project you have worked on?

I had the opportunity to be GDOT's lead for Super Bowl 53 Operations. It was a project that took years to prep for; we were starting

transportation planning before the I-85 bridge was rebuilt. I got to work with the country's most passionate and brilliant engineers, planners, first responders, and public officials. Everyone spends countless hours developing strategies, deploying new technology, and overhauling traditional event management procedures. Our efforts paid off big time, winning the region numerous national awards and making the front page of the AJC for our technological wizardry. Kudos still go out to that amazing team.

What does the future of transportation look like to you?

I am particularly excited about Georgia's continued efforts in Big Data analytics and governance. Big Data provides the opportunity to level the playing field by providing the same analysis alternative with the same data for all communities. Georgia is leading the nation in sharing Big Data resources with public and private sector transportation engineers, which is not only saving the taxpayer money but is also increasing all of our engineers' skillset and capabilities.

What are you doing for ITS Georgia?

I am a member of the Board of Directors and help manage the monthly meetings and trainings we host for our members.

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September | October 61



A/E/C professionals

business in the federal marketplace at Georgia Tech Hotel & Conference Center

federal agency briefings,

sessions, networking, TopGolf, and more. Visit our website to register now.

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SCALE DOD, CHA Consulting, Inc SAME Atlanta Post President Atlanta Post LEARN MORE ABOUT SAME & CONNECT WITH US! OCTOBER 12–14: Southeast Tri-Regional JETS 2022 NOVEMBER 2–4: Federal Small Business Conference UPCOMING EVENTS You’re invited to join us at one of our upcoming events! Visit our website for more information and register.
Join 400+
62 Engineering Georgia



Do you have an interesting project you would like to share with fellow SEAOG members? If so, please reach out to


Thanks to the nearly 50 members who joined us at our Summer Social and to Gibson, Gray, Bailey Construction, PES Structural Engineers, and Joe N. Guy Construction, who made it happen. We hope this will be the first of many great in-person networking and education events this year.


Are you interested in attending the NCSEA National Summit in Chicago, IL this fall? For more information, visit

SEAOG is offering (3) - $500 merit-based scholarships to members whose summit attendance will benefit the organization directly.


SEAOG Young Member Group members enjoyed cross-disciplinary networking at AEC+Chill, an event hosted by AIA’s Young Architects Forum last month.


Seeking Guest Speakers

As students everywhere head back to school, educators will be looking for guest speakers at Career Day events. SEAOG has compiled a cloud-based folder of handouts and presentations for members to use as

templates. Interested in connecting with students and educators as a speaker? Aware of an opportunity for SEs to get in front of your student’s classroom? Have resources to add? Contact


The new committee leadership for 2022-23 is Zinah Rosenberg, Committee Chair, and Maysa Kantner, Committee Vice-Chair. We will continue the mentoring program

this year (initially started by our local SE3 chapter in 2021). More information will be provided soon for both new and existing participants. Goals for the upcoming year include expanding the mentoring program, developing awareness of engagement and equity topics in the local community, and increasing attendee participation at equity meetings and other events. For more information on any of these topics, please email

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September | October 63


We are dedicated to the betterment of the SMPS Atlanta Chapter, the society, and our members and their firms. We will continue to bring alive the work that SMPS Atlanta chapter has done for 40 years. To CONNECT, EDUCATE and ADVOCATE for our members as we transform business through marketing leadership.

Join our mailing list at www.smpsatl. org to keep up with everything we have going on. We are eager to share all our news with you.

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CPSM Terracon SMPS President MICHELE HOLCOMBE President Foundation Technologies MEGAN KOPACKO President-Elect Stevens & Wilkinson
Immediate Past President
Terracon CECELIA
ARANGO, CPSM Secretary Thomas & Hutton CALLIE
WORTHY Treasurer Catamount Constructors Inc.
CPSM, SSOE Director of Chapter Development Burns & McDonnell
Director of Communications Modo Modo Agency
PATEL Director of Membership Eberly & Associates, Inc.
BUNN Advisor of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Brown & Caldwell
JONES, CPSM Director of Programs SLS Consulting
CPSM Director of Education TY Lin International
Chair, Coastal Committee JE Dunn
64 Engineering Georgia


To celebrate WTS Atlanta’s 40th Anniversary in 2022, our chapter has set a goal to grow our scholarship program by raising $40,000 this year to support women pursuing transportation careers. Help us reach this important goal by clicking on the link below, through the QR code, or texting to give! Send a text to 41-444 with message WTSATLANTA2022 and include the amount you’d like to give and your name.


The WTS Atlanta celebrated its annual GDOT Board Breakfast. The event focused on partnerships in our industry and featured a community service activity donating basic essential items to local shelters. Thank you to the attendees for donating big and to our inspiring speakers, Commissioner McMurry, Ann Hanlon and Karyn Matthews. WTS Atlanta greatly appreciates GDOT and the State Transportation Board for partnering on this special event every year!

September | October 65association [ news ]


Macon, Georgia – Main Street – Taken the same year that Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park was formally established under the National Park Service, this photo shows Main Street in Macon in 1936. Macon, officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county. It lies near the state's geographic center, about 85 miles southeast of Atlanta—hence the city's nickname, "The Heart of Georgia". PHOTO CREDIT: Walker Evans, 1936 66 Engineering Georgia

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