BUSINESS NEWS URBAN ENGINEERS CELEBRATES 60TH ANNIVERSARY Urban Engineers is proud to celebrate and recognize its 60th anniversary. The firm opened in August of 1960 with a staff of seven and has grown to a staff of 475 with 15 offices across the country. To celebrate the firm’s culture, people, partners, and projects, Urban has been running an online campaign called #UR60N – pronounced Urban 60 – that highlighted a different aspect of the firm each month building up to the anniversary this August. “Over the past 60 years, we’ve worked hard to create an inclusive and flexible work environment for all of our employees,” said Kenneth R. Fulmer, PE, the president and CEO of Urban. “I am proud that we have maintained a ‘family’ atmosphere as our firm grew over the years. Our #UR60N campaign was a great showcase for what we value and what our vision is for the future. This week we celebrate this important landmark, and I
thank everyone individually for helping us get here.” Urban’s 50th anniversary focused on its history. In anticipation of this week’s 60th anniversary, Urban shared themed stories over the past 11 months about staff, culture, partners, and work with an eye toward where the firm is heading. Themes included career agility, diversity, resiliency in infrastructure, and work/life balance. Stories were shared using text, images, and videos on the firm’s Excellence blog and on social media. The month of November focused on how the firm gives back, with donations made to 10 separate charities as a part of the campaign. All blog posts celebrating at the firm can be viewed here. Urban Engineers is a multidisciplinary planning, design, environmental, and construction support services consulting firm headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Urban’s experts put their passion to work to improve your everyday built environment, wherever that may be. The firm provides services for facilities, ports and waterways, public transportation, railroads, airports, energy and utilities, bridges, and roadways. Urban has transitioned leadership only three times throughout the company’s history. From the start in 1960, then in 1990, and again in July of 2016. Through a strong internal mentoring process, the vision of its founders, combined with the passion of new leaders, Urban’s core values continue to carry the firm to great accomplishments. Urban provides planning, design, and construction services for highways, bridges, railroads, buildings, transit, airports, and ports, in addition to environmental consulting. An ISO 9001:2015-certified firm, Urban maintains 15 offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, California, Connecticut, and Texas.
EDUARDO SMITH, from page 9
only for due diligence, but also the desired construction schedule and sales plan. They discuss the approach government agencies have taken on similar projects, and the consultant shares their experience on approaches that have been used successfully to address the expected environmental conditions. “During and on the other side of this pandemic, clients will be forced to cut back on spending and will be looking for ways to stretch their dollar – to get more for less.” They discuss how environmental conditions can affect the project, such as restrictions on stormwater management areas, groundwater use, soil conditions, worker health and safety, etc. The consultant informs the developer about potential government programs that might be available to help the project. The final reports are positively good, and the consultant presents the findings to the developer and the developer’s team to help develop strategies to overcome or deal with environmental constraints and make the project a reality. The first consultant sees the project as an environmental project and frankly, they are providing commodity services. The second consultant understands their client’s business and views their role as being part of the development team. Their project is much bigger than environmental work. They aren’t just environmental consultants; they are community builders. So the question is, do our clients want us just to solve technical problems, or do they want us to deliver business results? Or perhaps we need to look at it this way – do we want to be commodity service providers or advisors delivering business value? EDUARDO SMITH, P.E. is senior vice president of client success at SCS Engineers. Contact him at email@example.com.
for fewer opportunities. We must align our thinking or perspective with that of our client. After all, most of our clients are not in the business of doing engineering work. Perhaps an example will help get the point across. Take for instance a Brownfield or voluntary cleanup project in which our client, a developer, conducts their due diligence of a site to assess its viability for their envisioned master planned community. They must evaluate the entitlements, land use, and zoning restrictions, available surface transportation and utilities, and geotechnical and environmental conditions, among dozens of other factors. All this to satisfy themselves that they will be able to develop the site as planned, and their investment will yield the planned return. It’s not uncommon for our clients to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in due diligence – on a property they aren’t sure they will ever own. And they don’t realize any return on their investment unless they purchase the property, construct the project, and start selling or occupying their final product. So let’s look at a couple of scenarios, focusing on the mindset of the environmental firm assisting the developer, as that’s the area in which I’m most experienced. In scenario one, the environmental consultant conducts Phase 1 and Phase 2 site assessments following appropriate protocols and delivers final reports that are positively good. The consultant’s work is within budget and completed when required, during the due diligence phase. The developer has an idea of the environmental condition of the site and a report they can submit to a bank to satisfy their requirements for a loan. In the second scenario, the environmental consultant meets with the developer prior to starting the work to understand their goals for the project. They go over the conceptual layout and discuss the overall schedule, not
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THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 17, 2020, ISSUE 1357
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