Articles

January Technical Speaker 1

Hike and Bike Trails (The How & Why)

Ms. Weiershausen, P.E., ENV SP - Project Manager, RPS

Hike and Bike Trails are becoming an integral part of Texas cities and provide some big benefits.  But there are a variety of options and challenges to be considered during their planning and design. This presentation will go over all of these aspects as well as some success stories and lessons learned.

Natalie Weiershausen, PE, ENV SP works at RPS (formerly Klotz Associates) as a project manager in the municipal services department where she works on the design of anything from roadway /utility reconstruction to a variety of trails around Texas.  She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a very active member in ASCE.

January Technical Speaker 2

Tax Incentives for the Engineering Industry

Mr. Kevin Sullivan, P.E. - Partner, BRAYN Consulting

The Research & Development (R&D) Tax Credit and other related tax breaks save U.S. businesses more than $12 billion annually. Many owners, officers, and CPAs of engineering firms are unaware that they are eligible for valuable federal and state R&D Tax Credits. However, due to the expansive definition of R&D for tax credit purposes, many of the day-to-day design and engineering activities performed by engineering firms qualify for such treatment.

There are four criteria that are considered when qualifying R&D activities. Each activity must meet this “four-part test” to include the associated taxable salaries and wages, supplies, and/or contract research in the calculation of the tax credit. Work performed under contract can qualify, but engineering firms should always be mindful of the exclusion related to funded research.  

This presentation will focus on the federal and Texas state R&D tax credits with specific application to engineering companies, and include case studies and examples.

Kevin is a partner at BRAYN Consulting, where he leverages his experience in the design and construction industry to help businesses take advantage of federal and state tax incentives, credits, and deductions. He is an award-winning expert on sustainable design and construction, and licensed as a Professional Engineer in over 30 states.                                                                                                

Kevin graduated from the University of Houston with a B.S.C.E., where he served as the ASCE student chapter president. He interned and AEI Engineering, worked for Walter P Moore for several years, and has chaired several committees for the ASCE Houston Branch.

November Technical Speaker 1

Best Construction Practices

Mr. Matt Cartwright, P.E., NACE Level 1 - Construction Manager, Freese and Nicholes, Inc. (FNI)

The goal of the training is to provide personnel who are responsible for construction inspection and/or contract conformance site visits with some common best practices on how to conduct and prepare for field inspections, and how to identify common construction red flags, which if found, could indicate the presence of defective or non-conforming work on typical public works projects.

The overall training is anchored by providing photographic and video examples of construction operations where “red flags” or non-conforming construction is illustrated, as well as where correct construction activities occurred. The training is designed to be both a presentation and an interactive environment.  Attendees will participate in the identification of potential issues in the photos and videos as they are presented.

In addition, the training will include the general do’s and don’ts of different types of construction work, such as concrete, earthwork, pipelines, well points, formwork and rebar, and roadways. Attendees will also review tips on how to interact and communicate with the Construction Project Delivery Team, including the Contractor, the Engineer/Architect, and the Owner. 

Matthew Cartwright received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from The Citadel, Military College of South Carolina. He has more than 14 years' experience, and currently serves as a Senior Construction Manager for FNI's Southeast Division. Prior to joining FNI, Matt worked in the commercial construction industry in various capacities, including serving as a Superintendent on the $300 million expansion of Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Since joining FNI in 2012, Matt has led projects in planning, design and construction. His construction management experience includes water and sewer lines, water and wastewater treatment plants, pump stations and lift stations, high-performance coatings, elevated and ground storage tanks, and water resource structures, including dams, levees and spillways.

November Technical Speaker 2

Texas Board of Professional Engineers - Professional Practice Update/Ethics

Mr. Rick Valdes, Investigator V - Texas Board of Professional Engineers

Updates on Board rule changes within the last year, general updates on initiatives the Board is working on, information on enforcement statistics, and the engineering Code of Conduct. 

Rick Valdes is an Investigator V with the Compliance & Enforcement Department, Texas Board of Professional Engineers. He has over 25 years of experience as an investigator with the State of Texas; thirteen of those years with the Board. As an investigator, Rick ensures that the TBPE Act and Board Rules are followed and also investigates complaints that are received by the Board regarding violations to the Act and/or Board Rules.

Rick has worked for the Travis County Sheriff’s Department, and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and while there, was the Program Manager of Professional Boxing for the State of Texas. Additionally, Rick was also the Supervising Investigator for the Texas Real Estate Commission before joining our team.

Rick has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Southwest Texas State University ’86, San Marcos, Texas.

 

September Technical Speaker 1

Evolution of Professional Land Surveying

Mr. Andrew Lonnie Sikes, P.E., R.P.L.S.

In the 17th century the modern economy was in the early stages of development. World wide navigation was well established and trade and commerce were expanding. Technology was evolving in the early stages of the industrial revolution. Hand shake agreements became a social and economic problem. In 1677, the English Parliament passed registration that defined actions and documentation necessary to make certain business transactions enforceable in the courts of the land. The application of the Statue of Frauds to a real estate transaction requires a property description. A property description requires the services of a surveyor. During the following 300 years this need evolved into a formally recognized and legally defined profession of Land Surveyor.

Andrew Lonnie Sikes was first introduced to ASCE as a teenager thru the publication Civil Engineer, which his father left laying around. He found the brain teaser problems challenging. He became a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers as a freshman at Texas A&M University in 1964. Mr. Sikes earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering at A&M in 1969. He has been an active member of the society ever since.

Mr. Sikes served as an officer in the US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations’ commission corps rising to the rank of Lieutenant (O3) before returning to Texas A&M to earn a master’s degree in Civil Engineering in 1974.

Mr. Sikes worked at Turner Collie and Braden, Inc. in Houston, Texas from 1974 thru 1977, where he completed the requirements to become registered as a Professional Engineer in Texas. He became registered as a Registered Professional Land Surveyor in 1980. In 1977 he started Andrew Lonnie Sikes, Inc. where he has practiced since.

As an active member of ASCE, Mr. Sikes has served on a number of local and national ASCE Committees. At the national level, he has been a member of the several surveying committees and the Education Committee. He has provided pier review of a number of article which were submitted to ASCE for publication. In Houston Branch, Mr. Sikes was the founding chair of the Surveying or Geomatic Committee. This is a very unique offering that adds to the unique character of the Houston Branch. In 2009, Mr. Sikes was the recipient of the Award of Honor from the Houston Branch, ASCE. In April 2011, Mr. Sikes was presented the ASCE Texas Section Award of Honor.

Mr. Sikes served three Governors of Texas between 1987 and 1999 as a member of the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying, where he also served as Chairman of the Board. During this time he was elected as Vice President of the Southern Zone, of National Council of Examiner of Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES). During his work with the Texas Surveyors Board, he was instrumental in bringing the registration exam in line with modern exam theory and adopting the NCEES surveying exam as part of the Texas registration process for surveyors.

Mr. Sikes is active in his community. He is a life member of ASCE and an active participant in the appropriate professional organizations in Houston. He is a deacon at South Main Baptist Church, Houston, Texas. He has three grown children, all fully educated, and gainfully employed.

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