Author Archives: Mike Lauer

Angela Schreffler Receives John H. McCormick Educational Outreach Award

Angela Schreffler, PWS, CE

We’re proud to announce that Angela Schreffler, PWS, CE has received the John H. McCormick Education Outreach Award presented by the Central Pennsylvania Engineer’s Week Council. Nominated by WTS Central PA for her volunteer efforts, she was presented the award at the Council’s banquet on Wednesday, February 21.

Angela, a senior environmental scientist in our Harrisburg office, enjoys science, nature, and transportation, and she delights in sharing her excitement with younger generations. While educational outreach has very little to do with her job, it’s still something that she is passionate about. Her favorite part of volunteering is watching the kids’ disbelief change to excitement when they witness and understand how science makes the world work. Being a female in an industry that is dominated by men, she especially loves introducing girls to STEM topics and helping them realize their full potential as future leaders.

She has been active in a variety of roles since she became a member of WTS in 2008. In addition to the opportunities WTS has offered her, she is a Girl Scout troop leader, volunteers as a judge at local science fairs and her local Junior Achievement program, and she visits her children’s school to do in-classroom science activities once or twice a year. Most of the organizations she volunteers for typically involve at least one of her own four kids, so it’s another way for her to make fun memories with her family.

Encouragement, exposure, and mentoring seem to be the most influential factors for girls to choose STEM fields in college and their careers,” Angela said. “WTS is the perfect organization to mentor our future transportation leaders.”

Angela serves as WTS Central PA’s new Scholarship Chair and will continue to volunteer on the Transportation YOU committee, for which she was co-chair from 2014-2017. Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Their chapter offers several different types of programs, including classroom visits, donating books to local schools that feature girls in STEM fields, running an activity booth during Engineers Week at a local science center, and a monthly program with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

Jeannette Quirus to Present at 2017 Penn State TESC

Jeannette Quirus, PE, PTOE

Join us at the 2017 Penn State Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference!

On Friday, December 8, Jeannette Quirus, PE, PTOE will be discussing the Basin Street Low-Cost Safety Improvement Project during the “Applying the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) for PennDOT and Low Cost Safety Improvements” session.

McCormick Taylor’s Bryan Hanover, PE, PTOE will serve as the moderator for the session.

Session Description: The session will start with project-specific lessons learned from applying the HSM for two PennDOT projects, including an interchange evaluation in District 8 where the HSM assisted in the preferred alternative; and an urban roadway study in District 11 to determine B/C ratios for the various improvement options. The remaining speakers will discuss low-cost safety improvements (1) on a local roadway in District 5, which constructed low-cost safety improvements with results from preliminary before/after crash data; and (2) at Maryland toll plazas, focusing on pavement marking treatment options.

Jeannette Quirus has more than 20 years of experience. She is the manager for McCormick Taylor’s traffic department, managing staff, coordinating traffic workloads, work sharing, and staffing needs. She has extensive experience in project management and a wide range of traffic engineering activities ranging from studies and operations to final design. She is an active volunteer in professional societies, having served in elected positions, including president of MASITE in 2007; president of ITE District 2 in 2010; and member of the board of directors for the Engineer’s Club of Philadelphia from 2010 until 2015. She also served as the program chair for the 2010 Transportation and Engineering Safety Conference held at Penn State. She currently sits on the Montgomery County Transportation Authority, of which she was elected vice chair in 2014. Most recently, Jeannette was appointed to the Whitemarsh Township Authority. She is a licensed PE in eight states, and has her PTOE. She has both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2AwqGCw

Donation to SCNPS Helps Protect Rocky Shoals Spider Lily

Rocky Shoals Spider Lily

Through McCormick Taylor’s Charity Committee, Katie Ellis, a water resources designer in our Columbia, SC office, was able to donate funds to the South Carolina Native Plant Society (SCNPS), where she is an active member. SCNPS works with conservation partners to protect special places with rare plants, including a site with Rocky Shoals Spider Lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) in McCormick County, SC.

The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily is a rare plant that inhabits shoals and rapids in piedmont streams. With the donation, the Society was able to put the funds towards restoring and preserving the rare Rocky Shoals Spider Lily.

Click here to learn more about this project.

The formation of McCormick Taylor’s Charity Committee was announced in 2017. This group is charged with reviewing requests for charitable donations, and allocating funds on behalf of the company.

 

 

 

 

McCormick Taylor Named a Best Place to Work in PA

McCormick Taylor has been named one of the Best Places to Work in PA for 2017. The awards program, created in 2000, is one of the first statewide programs of its kind in the country. The program is a public/private partnership between Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Central Penn Business Journal.

This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania, who are benefiting the state’s economy and its workforce. Employers are categorized based upon the total number of employees they have in the United States, 15 to 99 employees, 100 to 250 employees, or more than 250 employees.

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

– Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business

– Be a publicly or privately held business

– Have a facility in Pennsylvania

– Have at least 15 employees working in Pennsylvania

– Be in business a minimum of one year

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the 100 Best Places to Work in PA. The first part of this process was evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophies, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process.

McCormick Taylor will be recognized at the Best Places to Work in PA awards banquet on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, PA. Rankings will be revealed at the ceremony.

ACECNJ Names 14 McCormick Taylor Employees to Multiple Committee Rosters

Vittorio Anepete, PE – Young Professionals, Steering Committee Member

Kevin Boulden, PE – South Jersey Transportation Authority, Committee Member

Anthony DiMaggio, PE, PTOE – South Jersey Transportation Authority, Chairman; NJDOT Design, Steering Committee Member

Eric Ditchey, PE – Legislative & Policy, Committee Member

Jim DiVietro – Environmental Site Remediation & LSRP, Steering Committee Member

Regina Majercak, PE – Membership, Chair

Walter Marks – Environment – Land Use & Permitting, Steering Committee Member

Tim McGuire – Public Utilities, Committee Member

Mark Moschella, PE – Alternative Delivery Method (ADM), Committee Member

John Mullen, AICP, PP – Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, Committee Member

Amer Nazha, PE – Environment – Water & Waste Water, Steering Committee Member

Jim Vena, PE, CME – Program, Committee Member

David Verdia – Awards, Committee Member

Alexis Williams, AICP, PP – Public Relations, Steering Committee Member

 

 

 

 

McCormick Taylor Completes SAV Survey to Support Environmental Mitigation

McCormick Taylor’s Mount Laurel, NJ office is performing a Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Survey in Barnegat Bay for the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Route 35 Mileposts 0-4 Restoration Project, which was constructed under emergency conditions in response to Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The SAV Survey occurs in a portion of Barnegat Bay located in Seaside Park, NJ.

SAV includes certain plant species that exist in permanently submerged water areas. Both the plants and their submerged habitat are ecologically valuable since they provide shelter for a variety of aquatic life, including essential fish spawning and nursery habitat. Common SAV in this portion of Barnegat Bay are eelgrass and widgeon grass. SAV and associated habitat are regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), with mitigation typically required for adverse impacts.

The Route 35 project included the construction of five new stormwater pump stations with outfalls discharging into Barnegat Bay. During initial operation of the pumps, unanticipated scour occurred just beyond the outfall discharge pipes and the scoured sediments were re-deposited on the floor of the bay adjacent to the outfalls. These open water areas (below the mean low water line) are regulated SAV habitat. Marine mattress was installed at each outfall to prevent further scour issues, which caused permanent impacts to regulated SAV habitat. However, the extent of impacts due to the redeposited sediments was not immediately known. It was also not known if SAV was in fact present in adjacent open waters prior to the emergency reconstruction.

Widgeon Grass

McCormick Taylor conducted a sediment survey in 2015/2016 to determine the approximate extent of re-deposited sediments on the bay floor. At each pump station outfall, it was determined that the re-deposited sediments formed a fluvial (fan-like) pattern, similar to a diamond-shaped polygon, which covered a relatively large open water area. For permitting purposes, these polygons were considered as the “worst-case” scenario of impacts to SAV habitat, and may have overestimated the SAV habitat truly impacted.

To determine the true extent of SAV impacts, and thus refine agency mitigation requirements for SAV, NJDOT requested that McCormick Taylor conduct an SAV survey at Pump Stations 1-5 to determine the presence/absence of regulated SAV species, including the relative density and approximate boundaries of SAV that might be present. The 2017 SAV Survey began in late July and is expected to be completed in mid-August. The SAV Survey will be repeated in the summer of 2018 to compare SAV areal distribution and growth density.

At each pump station, McCormick Taylor and subconsultant KMA visually created an SAV study area on the surface of Barnegat Bay by placing orange buoys at the corner coordinates of the “worst case” diamond polygon and stringing high visibility yellow nylon rope between the buoys and the outfall structure, thus visually defining the study area limits on the water surface.

To perform a methodical and repeatable study, transect lines were established perpendicular to the shore at 15-foot intervals, with SAV sampling stations located at each interval along each transect. This provides approximately 150 sampling points at the typical pump station, with one pump station containing almost 400 sampling points. Each sampling station was assigned an alphanumeric identifier. McCormick Taylor and KMA waded into the water to each sampling station, where KMA placed a prism rod and obtained a coordinate, while McCormick Taylor dove underwater and visually examined the bay floor. Underwater and representative above-water plant samples were photographed to confirm SAV species encountered. McCormick Taylor created data sheets to record various data at each sampling station.

Upon completion of work at each pump station, all buoys and rope were removed from the water and reused at the next pump station. The data will be plotted and analyzed, followed by report preparation. Based on preliminary findings, there is substantial growth of widgeon grass in many areas where scoured sediments were re-deposited, which is favorable to the NJDOT because potential mitigation obligations will be reduced.

Alexis Williams Named a Top TDM Professional Under 40

John Mullen, AICP, PP; Alexis Williams, AICP, PP; Bert Cossaboon, AICP, PP

We’re proud to announce that GVF named Alexis Williams, AICP, PP, a senior planner in our Philadelphia, PA office, a Top Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Professional under 40 years old! Per GVF, these awards are presented to “ambitious leaders in our industry that are working to find creative solutions to improve our quality of life through engineering, planning, marketing campaigns and the development of commuting alternative programs that are shifting behavioral change.”

“It’s exciting to be recognized as one of the region’s top TDM professionals under 40,” Alexis said. “As a planner, transportation demand management is important to my work as it encourages people to consider all transportation options and helps create stronger communities.”

The awards were presented at GVF’s 27th Annual Meeting, which was held at the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia – King of Prussia Hotel on May 8, 2017.

McCormick Taylor Baltimore Named a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business

On May 17, the League of American Bicyclists recognized McCormick Taylor with a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) award.

The firm joins nearly 1,350 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies across the United States that are transforming the American workplace.

“This recognition will help us encourage more employees and visitors to consider biking to work,” said Anikwenze Ogbue, EIT, a Traffic Designer in our Baltimore office. “We have a lot of amenities at or near the Baltimore office, such as bike parking, showers, bike share, and transit. If we show how it’s possible to integrate them, I think more staff and future talent will see the benefits.”

Learn more about the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program at bikeleague.org/business.

Bicycle Friendly Business is a Service Mark of the League of American Bicyclists; used with permission.

Chris Brooks to Present on Lot E at CWEA Spring Stormwater Seminar

Chris Brooks

Senior Water Resources Engineer Chris Brooks will be presenting on McCormick Taylor’s Parking Lot E project at the Chesapeake Water Environment Association’s (CWEA) Spring Stormwater Seminar on May 18.

Held at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Study in Linthicum Heights, MD, this year’s CWEA Spring Stormwater Seminar will provide attendees the opportunity for peer-to-peer information exchange with representatives of regulated stormwater programs.

Read the presentation’s abstract below:

 

Ellicott City’s Historic District is a Main Street community located between steep slopes in Maryland’s Patapsco River Valley. Inspections of the town’s infrastructure following the August 2011 mid-Atlantic-shaking earthquake revealed that Parking Lot E’s retaining wall needed repairs. A month later, Tropical Storm Lee flooded Ellicott City damaging homes, stores, and county infrastructure, including additional damage to the Lot E retaining wall.

 

Howard County hired McCormick Taylor to design and construct a solution to Lot E’s failing retaining wall with the additional objectives of improving access to parking, increasing pedestrian safety, and beautifying Parking Lot E, all while incorporating the treatment of nearly two acres of previously unmanaged upland impervious surface draining from the Circuit Court complex.

 

Stormwater is now managed through a series of BMPs. Treatment begins with the majority of water from the courthouse area entering a flume leading to a multi-tiered bioretention treatment train. Water enters into the flume and is conveyed down a step pool feature to a forebay, where it is carried beneath the stairway into the first bioretention cell. When full, the first cell flows over into a second bioretention cell via a weir waterfall that doubles as an aesthetic feature. The second cell also utilizes an aesthetic waterfall feature as an overflow. A tree box filter placed along the edge of the parking lot catches water off of Lot E itself. An additional bioretention located at the north end of the lot catches runoff that bypasses the staircase treatment facilities. Densely planted native species uptake nutrients in the runoff while providing year round aesthetic value and supporting native wildlife.

 

The Lot E Staircase and Water Quality Project utilizes a unique combination of LID practices in a treatment train, beautifies an adjacent parking lot, and overcomes urban infrastructure challenges while treating stormwater and improving walkability. The design allows pedestrians a safe and well-lit path not only to the vast parking lot located less than 0.2 walking miles from Main Street, but also to resources and infrastructure such as the Howard County Historic Society Museum, the Ellicott City Wellness Center, the Circuit Courthouse, and several small business. This staircase and parking lot improvements that incorporate bioretention in the design not only provides improved human access but also creates an opportunity to educate both visitors and locals that managing stormwater is a fundamental part of urban infrastructure that can be both functional and aesthetic.

Mentorship Comes Full Circle for Charles Penny

Charles Penny

Consider your mentor.

Whether it’s someone who helped with your career, education, or hobby, there’s probably a friend, relative, or professor who aided you in getting to where you are now.

Take Charles Penny, a Transportation Planner in our Baltimore office, for example. On March 8, Charles visited Patterson High School as part of Women in Transportation (WTS) Transportation YOU’s mentoring program. He and four other mentors taught professional development skills to 12 high school girls through confidence-building exercises, mock interviews, and offering helpful tips on composing oneself during introductions.

For nearly three years, Charles mainly focused on program coordination and support for the committee, but as the only male he had never interacted with the students as a mentor before. This was the committee’s first professional development workshop, as well as the first time a male was incorporated into the mentoring program for young women.

Charles said that he enjoyed working with the minority youth and that it was a great opportunity for the students to connect with someone they can relate to. He and the other mentors shared their experiences and vulnerabilities with regard to professional development, allowing the students to address and express their own career hopes and dreams.

Charles had his own mentors growing up, and he viewed this as a great opportunity to pay it forward by sharing some of the advice he was given, as well as what he’s learned through his career.

“I remember being their age and being grateful for people giving their time to me,” Charles said. “It showed me that even if you don’t know someone personally, they can still care about you and want to help you.”