BLA Selected to Lead Regional Sustainability Effort
The Evansville metro area has been named as one of 45 regional areas to receive a grant under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Program developed to support more livable and environmentally-friendly communities. This new initiative is intended to build economic competitiveness by connecting housing with good jobs, quality schools and transportation. The Evansville MPO, the transportation planning agency for the Evansville-Henderson region, who submitted the application will administer the grant. The effort will also assist the Evansville Arts District by funding a detailed District Plan and will identify ways to encourage urban infill or redevelopment of underutilized commercial real estate assets.
BLA will work with the Evansville MPO, along with a consortium of regional organizations in Indiana and Kentucky, to gather data, develop needed models, and establish performance measures and tools to assess livability and sustainability. Suggested actions and scenarios will then be evaluated to develop a regional plan. A primary focus of the RPSD will be on the relationship between housing and transportation. Transportation recommendations will address all modes including bicycle and pedestrian facilities; transit improvements; and roadway and bridge facilities.
BLA Recognized as Patriotic Employer, Nominated for Freedom Award
BLA has been recognized for its support of employees in the National Guard and Reserve deployed in Afghanistan. The National Committee of the Employer Support of the Guard & Reserve presented BLA with the Patriotic Employer Award after Kevin Johnson, BLA's Manager of Right-of-Way Engineering, recommended the company. Kevin is a Senior Master Sergeant in the Air Force Reserve and was deployed to Afghanistan from late 2009 to late 2010. He said he put in the application because of the support he received but more importantly for the contact and support his family received while he was gone.
The award recognizes BLA for "contributing to national security and protecting liberty and freedom by supporting employee participation in America's national Guard and Reserve force. BLA is also a semi-finalist for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the highest employer award given by the Department of Defense.
Watters Promoted to Manager of Strategic Initiatives for Illinois/Missouri
Jason Watters, PE has been promoted to the role of RegionalManager of Strategic Initiatives for the Illinois and Missouri markets at BLA.
Previously Watters served as the manager of the firm's growing offices in Maryville, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. In his new role, he will continue to have oversight of these two offices, but will also be responsible for planning and executing geographic office expansions and spearheadingregional or national efforts to market key niche services outside of existing geographic markets.
"BLA has been fortunate to enjoy significant growth over the past three years despite the economy. We feel that the time is right to explore new markets, and Jason is just the guy to lead the way. His keen business sense and understanding of industry challenges will be a great asset in finding the right opportunities for future expansion." states Mike Hinton, BLA's President & COO.
Watters has 20 years experience in transportation design for states and municipalities. Before joining BLA, he worked as an employee of the Illinois Department of Transportation, where he served as a Hydraulic Engineer and District Geometric Engineer. He holds a Masters of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.
Southeast Indiana Office Opens
BLA is pleased to announce the opening of its latest office in Jeffersonville, Indiana, located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. "This area of the state is experiencing rapid growth and BLA has been proud to be able to play a role in its success." according to Patti Yount, BLA's Project Coordinator for Southeast Indiana. Currently the firm is working on a variety of transportation and water resources projects for cities and counties in the region.
Farvardin, Watters Named to Board of Directors
Reflecting the firm's growth, BLA has expanded its Board of Directors to include Daryoosh "Dan" Farvardin, PE and Jason A. Watters, PE. Dan currently serves as the firm's Director of Construction Engineering. He joined BLA in 1989, after graduating from the University of Evansville with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.
Jason is BLA's Regional Manager of Strategic Initiatives for the Illinois and Missouri markets. His 20 years of experience in transportation design includes 8 years working for the Illinois Department of Transportation as a Hydraulic Engineer and District Geometric Engineer. He holds a Masters of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.
BLA Up Over 50 Spots on 2011 ENR's Top 500 Design Firms
BLA is proud to announce that it's ranking in Engineering News Record's "Top 500 Design Firms" list has gone from 421 in 2010 to 365 in 2011, for a jump of 56 spots. The Top 500 Design Firms list, published annually in April, ranks the 500 largest U.S.-based designs firms, both publicly and privately held, based on design-specific revenue.
The IndianaMap Turns 52
Fifty-two Indiana counties sharing data with the
IndianaMap, that is. The IndianaMap is a statewide electronic map used to help manage everything from hiking trails to new business development to highway construction projects. It is especially valuable for emergency response and recovery, showing the National Guard where to sandbag against floodwaters or helping coordinate volunteer fire departments battling a blaze in an unfamiliar county. If you’ve ever zoomed in on your house on Google Maps, you may be surprised to find out you’ve been looking at aerial photography provided to Google from the IndianaMap. The IndianaMap is digital, which means the same information you find on www.indianamap.org is also available to real estate professionals, engineers, demographers, and even school kids.
An essential component of the IndianaMap’s usefulness is having local governments participate. Information is invariably better when it comes from the people who live there. Who knows a neighborhood, city or town better than its own inhabitants? Finding a way to make that local information interoperable with other information is vital. During the September 11th terrorist attacks, the lack of interoperable communications compounded already tragic circumstances. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the public was outraged at the lack of coordination among local, state, regional and federal agencies during the response effort. Taking map information that is created and maintained by local data stewards, and stitching it together with other federal and state information, creates a single statewide, interoperable map accessible to all levels of government, and anyone who relies on it for decision-making.
After a request last year by Jim Sparks, the Indiana Geographic Information Officer, and the nonprofit Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC), counties started signing up to voluntarily participate and share non-sensitive map information. “Meetings were held around the state to share information and help counties make the decision to participate,” said Phil Worrall, Director of IGIC. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is providing grants to those counties to assist them in connecting to the technical infrastructure of the IndianaMap. As the administrative barriers to sharing the maps are slowly peeled away, more local data, like roads and boundaries, will be seen in the IndianaMap.
And as the IndianaMap turns 52 there is much to celebrate. Over 65% of Indiana’s population will be covered by the local maps with the current level of participation, and many more counties are expected to join. This has been made possible by the cooperation of over a dozen organizations, including the Indiana Geographic Information Office / Indiana Office of Technology, IGIC, IDHS, the Indiana State Government Center for GIS Excellence, the Indiana Geological Survey, and University Information Technology Services at Indiana University, to name a few, in addition to the participating counties.
As a result of this unprecedented level of cooperation, the IndianaMap is saving Hoosier dollars. Sharing information - rather than having to reproduce it over and over again - is efficient and pays off in taxpayer savings. A study last year by IGIC showed a remarkable 34:1 return on the investment made in the 2005 statewide mapping project, which produced the pictures you see on Google Maps. Additionally, the study revealed a staggering $1.7 billion worth of projects and programs being supported by the map. Jill Saligoe-Simmel, PhD, who conducted the study said, “The initial investment of $8.5 million in the IndianaMap supports over 200-times its value in projects and operations - with 90% of users indicating they could not do their projects without it.” Ongoing maintenance of the IndianaMap is currently unfunded, even though access and use of the IndianaMap is free. The full report is available at www.igic.org. While governments around the country pursue statewide maps and local data participation with mixed results, Indiana is well on its way to an interoperable IndianaMap for all levels of government. As Jim Sparks puts it, “The more the maps are used the more value they deliver to Indiana. I am deeply appreciative of the willingness of these counties and their private sector consultants to make the IndianaMap richer by sharing their local data. Everyone benefits when we all work together to make sure that consistent, accurate geographic information is freely and widely available.”
Read more about BLA's involvement with the IndianaMap (PDF)
Groundbreaking for Hoosier Heartland Highway Final Section
The Indiana Department of Transportation and Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor Coalition hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for the SR 25 Hoosier Heartland Highway on Wednesday, October 22 in Lafayette, Indiana. Construction on the first section of the project is slated to begin later this year.
Bernardin, Lochmueller & Associates, Inc. (BLA) was selected for the prestigious 2009 Circle of Excellence by PSMJ Resources, Inc., a premier management consulting firm for the A/E/C industries.
PSMJ chooses Circle of Excellence firms by ranking them according to 13 benchmarks to measure exceptional performance, including project performance and staff utilization. BLA was one of only 44 North American firms selected for the honor and the only Indiana-based firm on the list.
The ranking highlights firms that “are well managed, have a strong client base, and are led in a responsible and sustainable manner,” said H.E. “Dan” Daniels, PSMJ Survey Editor. “PSMJ believes that clients prefer to work with well-run firms because they are more likely to provide superior service and value.”
Keith Lochmueller, BLA’s CEO and Chairman of the Board, said the firm is deeply honored that its work garnered this international recognition. “We put clients’ long-term needs first and run our firm with a long-term vision,” Lochmueller said. “I’m glad this has helped us grow in a sustainable, responsible manner.”
PSMJ Press Release
City of Washington Praises Common Sense Green Solution
The City of Washington, Indiana and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management talk about BLA’s approach to solving the city’s stormwater challenges. Read more here and here.
Three New LEED Accredited Professionals Added to BLA’s Green Team!
BLA is pleased to announce three Project Managers recently passed their LEED exam. They include Matt Wallace and Aaron Burke of Evansville and Don Wilson of Indianapolis.
All three are professional civil engineers with experience designing “green infrastructure” projects.
82nd Street Bridge Now Open
Indianapolis Department of Public Works held a ribbon cutting to officially open the bridge, located in the heart of Indianapolis’s Keystone at the Crossing shopping district, on October 8.