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Straightedge: the BergerABAM blog

Uncovering and Celebrating L.A. History: Los Angeles State Historic Park

Panoramic view of the Los Angeles State Historic Park by Downtowngal (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

The first Los Angeles train depot, built by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1885, will soon be transformed from an industrial brownfield into a world-class green space that provides a place to play, walk, and explore the city’s rich history. Constrained on all sides by an existing development in the Chinatown area, railroad tracks, and major public thoroughfares, the park consists of 34 acres of grass and dirt. However, the completed project will recreate much of the environment of Los Angeles before it was developed and will include a vernal pool and wetlands, welcome pavilion, citrus grove, river information and park ranger stations, walking trails, and several areas for picnicking. There will also be a space designated for outdoor concerts.

The Secret Life of Weeds

While white clover (trifolium repens) is commonly thought of as a weed, it is an ideal plant to blend into grass lawns since it doesn’t need fertilizer and it is drought tolerant.

Most of us can find more than a few unwanted plants in our landscapes and yards that we want to throw away; we see them as weeds that aren’t wanted and are competing with those we do want. It would be useful, however, to think of them as the poet and naturalist Ralph Waldo Emerson did: “A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.” Many of them are simply plants that are native—and beneficial—to our particular region of the world. Some of them are indeed “weeds”—not native to our area, and considered “noxious” and prone to crowding out the plants that are natural to our region. Discovering the “secrets” that weeds and our native plants hold can enable proper landscaping and planting decisions. In fact, telling the difference can help identify many native plants that are decorative enough to keep as additions to a garden.

M. Lee Marsh Recognized as Outstanding Alumnus by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

BergerABAM President Elect Dr. M. Lee Marsh was honored as Outstanding Alumnus by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

BergerABAM President Elect Dr. M. Lee Marsh (Lee) was honored as Outstanding Alumnus at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 2014 Spring Honors Banquet. The banquet is held each spring to recognize students, faculty, and staff of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award is given each year to an alumnus of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering who has excelled in professional practice. Dr. Marsh was a stellar student at both undergraduate and graduate levels while at Tennessee. He was supported in his graduate work by an American Institute of Steel Construction Graduate Fellowship from which he produced two articles in refereed technical journals, a practice he has continued throughout his career.

M. Lee Marsh Named BergerABAM President and Chief Executive Officer

BergerABAM President and CEO Arnie Rusten (left) will retire on 31 May with Lee Marsh (right) as successor.

BergerABAM announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Dr. M. Lee Marsh (Lee) as president and chief executive officer (CEO) effective 1 June 2014. He will succeed Arnfinn (Arnie) Rusten, who will retire effective 31 May 2014.

Since joining the firm in 1994, Dr. Marsh has spearheaded many of BergerABAM’s seismic design and assessment projects. During his tenure as senior project manager and principal, his work has included design, assessment, project management, and business development for bridges; transit guideways; marine structures; buildings; and specialized projects, such as cranes for nuclear power plants. In addition to his operational and project duties, Dr. Marsh has served on the firm’s Board of Directors since 2006.

Amr Hosny, PhD, PE, Bestowed ACI’s Chester Paul Siess Award

ACI Chester Paul Siess Award recipient Amr Hosny and Kåre Hjorteset, BergerABAM senior project manager, at the ACI convention.

Amr Hosny, PhD, PE, senior engineer at BergerABAM’s Houston office, was honored with the Chester Paul Siess Award for Excellence in Structural Research at the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Spring 2014 convention in Reno, Nevada. This award is presented to the author or authors of a peer-reviewed paper published by ACI that describes a notable achievement in experimental or analytical research that advanced the theory or practice of structural engineering and recommends how the research can be applied to design.

APWA San Diego and Imperial Counties Public Works Project of the Year: Sage Creek High School

Sage Creek High School is considered one of California’s most environmentally advanced and energy-efficient high school campuses.

On 14 March 2014, the Sage Creek High School project was awarded the American Public Works Association (APWA) San Diego’s and Imperial Counties’ Public Works Project of the Year award in three categories: Structures, Sustainable/Green, and More than $75 Million. The Public Works Project of the Year Award promotes excellence in public works projects by recognizing the partnership between the managing agency; the consultant, architect, and engineer team; and the contractor, who work together to successfully complete public works projects.

ASCE Seattle Young Member Forum Honored

The ASCE Seattle Chapter Young Member Forum (YMF) was honored at the Western Region Younger Member Council (WRYMC) awards ceremony held during the 2014 ASCE Multi-Region Leadership Conference in Arizona. The WRYMC comprises members of the ASCE’s geographic Region 8 (Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Hawaii) and geographic Region 9 (California). Each year, the council presents several awards for outstanding achievement in engineering.

WSPE’s Professional Engineer of the Year: Bob Mast

Bob Mast is best known by concrete design practitioners as the person that derived and codified the concept of shear friction.

Bob Mast, PE, SE, BergerABAM senior principal, has been named Washington Society of Professional Engineers - Professional Engineer of the Year for 2014 by the Puget Sound Engineering Council (PSEC) at the 56th Annual PSEC Engineering Awards Banquet held on 15 February 2014 in Seattle, Washington. This prestigious award is given to recognize many years of skillful engineering work; dedication to the highest ethical standards; contributions in advancing the state-of-the-art of civil and structural engineering; and lifelong service to the profession, community, state, and the nation.

Bob’s long history of engineering contributions spans more than a few decades. The “M” in BergerABAM, Bob has been with the company for 55 years, serving as president from 1972 to 1985, subsequently as chairman, and now as senior principal.

Gardens that Help Heal

Water features are often incorporated into healing gardens due to their calming effects. The cool, soothing sound of water is beneficial to patients and the elements of sight, sound, and touch are important to the healing process.

Though most everyone enjoys a beautiful garden, what specifically is a healing garden? According to environmental psychologist, Roger Ulrich, PhD, of Texas A&M University’s director for the Center for Health Systems and Design, a healing garden “should have therapeutic or beneficial effects on the great majority of its users.”

An old concept for new medicine, healing gardens are being incorporated into landscape planning for an increasing number of clinics and hospitals.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

Girl Day is a movement that shows girls how creative and collaborative engineering is and how engineers are changing the world.

Girls construct. Girls build. Girls create. Girls become women who are engineers.

In the long history of engineering, women have had more than a say in building infrastructure and all the important engineering elements that help civilization advance. From the Countess Ada Lovelace, who worked with Charles Babbage to create the first computer’s programming language in the 1840s, to such modern engineer astronauts as Dr. Mae Jemison, women have contributed to increasing engineering knowledge and building the structures that modern civilization relies on.