By Jeff Henfling, PE  |   September 17th, 2015
“I want the window seat” 
Common request for all of us that love to gaze out an airplane at the world below.  Traveling at nearly the speed of sound and at over 30 thousand feet, the world can look quite different.  Sometimes we have to work to identify features, while others are instantly recognizable.
While flying last week I happened to get a great view of one of our projects from my window.  It was the Cleveland Port Authority’s CDF 12 Site Improvements project, just east of downtown Cleveland on Lake Erie.  It struck me how large an area it is and just what sort of impact we all can have as engineers.  We work to support the needs of the project while protecting the environmental integrity of the natural systems.  Stormwater design calculations, work plans, site layouts, field inspections and earthwork construction all play a role in a much bigger picture.
Interesting perspective…from up here!
Jeff Henfling, PE, Civil Engineer
Jeff is a civil engineer with experience working on numerous waste management, urban revitalization, and energy projects throughout Ohio.  His experience includes landfill and stormwater design, remediation work plans, layout plans, construction documentation, geotechnical lab testing, and field inspections. 
Jeff earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University.
By Don Zuch, PG  |   September 11th, 2015
While attending the DUG East Conference in Pittsburgh this past June, I did what I usually do at a conference:  listen, learn and endeavor to meet new people and inform them about all of the good works being done.
I also experienced some new and different things.  For example, I turned 55 – that’s different; and, I also had the opportunity to attend a prayer breakfast that was sponsored by the local chapter of the Oilfield Christian Fellowship – that was new (and well worth it).  The keynote speaker at the breakfast meeting was an impressive gentleman by the name of Mr. Mark A. McCollum.  In addition to being the Chief Integration Officer for Halliburton, Mr. McCollum is a very engaging and thought-provoking speaker, as we all discovered that morning. Mr. McCollum talked about leadership and specifically the concept of the “shadow of leadership.” 
As I understood it, the main takeaway was that each leader in an organization casts a shadow. Leaders project this shadow, regardless of whether they realize it or not – regardless if they want to or not.  So, depending on the individual leader, this shadow can touch colleagues, employees, basically everyone in an organization, in a variety of ways.  Accordingly, it is important for leaders to have an awareness of his or her shadow of leadership and the effects on the organization. 
Does the leader’s shadow empower employees?  Does it provide motivation and direction to meet important company goals? 
I found Mr. McCollum’s speech to be very powerful and I have been thinking about how the concept applies to the very important topic of safety in the workplace.  Since entering the workforce as a geologist several decades ago, I have worked in remote locations, active refineries and just about every place in between and in every type of weather.   I have been very fortunate to have worked for and with some excellent professionals that understood the importance of having good safety programs in place and developing a safety culture within the organization.  I have also been actively involved developing safety programs and cultures. 
Although safety was always important, I have observed that some organizations have had better “luck” than others achieving their goals.   Why do some organizations have better “luck” developing a great safety culture where others seemed to struggle?
I now believe that the shadow of leadership concept was at play.  The common thread to the successfully-developed safety cultures, is always, always, always the complete support and dedication of the company leaders.  The leadership shadow of the safety leaders I have worked with, and that I have observed, touches everyone in their organizations in a very positive way.  When the leadership shadow of a true safety leader touches employees, contractors and other stakeholders it becomes the bedrock that a successful safety culture is built upon.
So as a safety leader in my firm, I consider daily how my leadership shadow looks and feels to my customers and colleagues.  Am I following our vehicle policies?  Am I reporting near misses?  Am I mentoring short service employees?
What does your leadership shadow look like?
Stay safe my friends.
Don Zuch, PG, Principal
Don Zuch is Vice President and a Principal, serving as the leader of the Shale Oil and Gas Market at Hull & Associates, Inc. Supporting various E&P, Midstream, Refining, Logistics and Petroleum marketing clients, Don has performed rapid response consulting, third-party oversight, Phase I environmental site assessments (ESA) and audits,  established due diligence programs for confidential oil/gas asset acquisition projects, underground storage tank (UST) closure assessments, site characterizations, remediation pilot testing and coordinated remedial system design, and has managed remediation system installation projects and remediation O&M programs.  His background is in structural geology with a specialty in fracture analysis.  In this capacity, he has proven to be a particularly valuable resource in the delineation and remediation of hydrocarbons in fractured bedrock.    
Don is an active representative of Hull in the Marcellus Shale Coalition, serving on several technical committees.  He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Geology from the University of Toledo.
By Mark Zakrzewski, ASP, CPG  |   September 4th, 2015
memorial day warning yellow jacket season
The cold winter and wet spring we experienced this year has been beneficial to yellow jackets, whose numbers are up and the size of nests are larger than average.
With the Labor Day weekend coming up it's important to note that yellow jackets are attracted to animal protein and will see your holiday weekend cookout as an invitation.  Be on the lookout.  If you spot yellow jacket activity you can use a commercial yellow jacket trap baited daily with fresh meat or synthetic attractant .
These work quite well if enough are used (4 per average-sized yard).  If you see a nest, stay well away from it to avoid aggravating the insects and triggering an attack.
Yellow jackets are much more aggressive than hornets but both are very protective of their nests. Mere vibrations from nearby foot traffic can cause an attack. The colony becomes more aggressive as it grows and this is why the majority of problems occur in late summer.
When you are outdoors over the next month or two, be sure to take a few seconds to look around for any wasps, hornets or yellow jackets that fly by and watch where they are headed.  This may reveal a nearby nest, an area to avoid for sure! 
Mark Zakrzewski, ASP, CPG, Health and Safety Officer
Mark is  Hull’s Corporate Health and Safety Officer.  Mark has been with Hull since 1991 and is an Associate Safety Professional through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals and a Certified Professional Geologist through the American Institute of Professional Geologists.   
Mark holds both Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Geology, with emphasis in Geophysics, from the University of Toledo and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix. 
By A.J. Smith  |   August 29th, 2015
The US EPA published new criteria for classification of solid waste disposal facilities and practices on April 17th, 2015.  Based on their effective date of October 19th it’s pivotal that you understand your owner operator inspection requirements for Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) disposal units. 
Based on type and designated hazard level you will be required to secure services for:
  • Weekly inspection of CCR surface impoundments by a qualified person,
  • Monthly inspections of CCR units and  instrumentation by a qualified person, and
  • Annual inspections by a qualified professional engineer (effective January 19, 2016).
To complicate matters many CCR impoundments that contain earthen fill embankments are subject to state dam safety regulations based on their hazard level classification. 
Due to recent events, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is moving towards classifying all ash impoundments as high-hazard dams.  In Ohio, most ash impoundments are Class II (medium-hazard) structures by the Department of Natural Resources. In addition to regular inspections, many of these impoundments are required to have Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Operation, Maintenance & Inspection (OM&I) Manuals in place.  If original, engineered construction plans are not available, the dams may be required to be assessed for stability.  The assessment would include a geotechnical investigation, slope stability analysis, hydraulic analysis of spillway systems and an as-built survey.
It is important to note that ash impoundments that are no longer in use may be removed from regulatory requirements by a formal closure process.  A pond closure may include removal or regrading of the ash, capping of the ash material with clay soil or a liner, breaching of an embankment, or some combination thereof.  Design considerations include: stability of remaining embankments, lowering of the water table within the impoundment, capping of remaining ash with an impervious material, monitoring of water levels during and after construction, and revegetation and reclamation of the site.
For more information on Dam Safety please click here
A.J. Smith, Senior Project Manager
A.J. Smith focuses on geotechnical and water resources projects.  He has used his geotechnical engineering and hydraulics and hydrology (H&H) expertise to work on a number of earthen dam and up-ground reservoir projects.  He has worked with ODNR on the investigation and rehabilitation of multiple state-owned dams, where different divisions of ODNR have been the owner, client and regulatory agency.  A.J. has performed inspections and investigations of existing dams for dam and spillway repairs.  He has designed spillway pipes and channels, lake drain systems, armored dam embankments, multi-billion gallon up-ground reservoirs, dam repairs, and stream bank stabilizations.  He has performed analyses of dams and downstream river systems to model breach flows and prepare inundation maps.
A.J. is a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of Ohio and Kentucky.  He holds a Master of Science in Civil Engineering, specializing in Geotechnical Engineering from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Ohio Northern University.  He is a member of the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) and is a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM).
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