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Jason Kelly, PE, promoted to Inspection Division Manager
April 1, 2016

OBEC Consulting Engineers is proud to announce that Jason Kelly, PE, has been promoted from project manager to the manager of the company's Inspection Division.

Jason joined OBEC in 2003 after receiving his Bachelor of Science in both civil and forest engineering from Oregon State University. He was promoted to construction project manager in 2013 and has managed some of OBEC's largest and most complex construction projects. Jason was promoted to the position of manager of the firm's Lake Oswego office early last year. As manager of the Inspection Division, he will oversee a staff of 20 construction managers, field engineers, and field engineering technicians who are responsible for the construction contract management, administration, and inspection of roadway, bridge, and utility projects, as well as the safety inspection of in-service bridges and structures throughout Oregon and SW Washington.

Please join us in congratulating Jason!

Connect with Jason on LinkedIn.





OBEC utilizes 3D scanning and modeling on Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge project

Renderings courtesy of GreenWorks, Inc.


OBEC utilizes 3D scanning and modeling on Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge project
January 15, 2016

OBEC Vice President & Chief Engineer Guy Hakanson recently returned from a trip to Utah with Aaron Kimsey from the City of Salem, during which they inspected the fabrication of the steel arch ribs for the Minto Island Bridge project in Salem, OR., which is currently under construction.

They visited the fabrication shop of Universal Industrial Sales, Inc., who mocked up the arch rib for inspection and acceptance before proceeding with the remainder of fabrication.

One of the criteria for the mock-up is to build it with dimensional tolerance per the approved shop drawings for the arch radius/camber, and also the attachment of the suspender connections to the tube. Due to the complexity of the compound angles and dimensions, combined with the arch rib curvature, it was difficult to measure and confirm the shape and angles were accurate to the drawings.

In order to quickly confirm this, Guy suggested 3D laser scanning, which can then be compared to the design 3D model. OBEC's Survey Manager Jim Colton contacted Diamond Land Surveying from Salt Lake City, who performs 3D laser scanning, and contracted with them to scan the mock-up and provide that data to OBEC. OBEC designers will take that data and compare it to the design shape and be able to tell how well it matches the fabrication tolerances.

The fabricator, the City of Salem, and Utah Department of Transportation inspection staff were not aware that you could use 3D scanning in this way, and were impressed with the idea. This represents another step in the innovation of our work processes.

You can watch the bridge's construction in near-real-time with the construction webcam here.






James Mischler, PE, Joins OBEC Consulting Engineers as Sr. Project Manager in Lake Oswego and Vancouver
January 8, 2016

As multi-modal projects increase in complexity in Oregon and SW Washington, OBEC Consulting Engineers provides seasoned expertise to help meet the dynamic transportation challenges. James Mischler, PE, joins the OBEC team, supporting both the Lake Oswego and Vancouver offices.

He is adept at managing projects with federal, state, and local agencies' involvement and funding to reach collaborative designs that enrich our collective transportation experience. James brings more than 30 years of roadway and bridge design and inspection, rail and railroad bridge design, transit design, water and wastewater structure design, and floodplain studies to help government agencies advance their infrastructure projects and enhance community livability.

Please join us in welcoming James aboard!





OBEC Environmental Specialist Obtains "Senior Author" Qualifications for WSDOT Biological Assessment Documents
December 9, 2015

OBEC is excited to announce that Wetland Specialist and Senior Environmental Specialist Julie Wirth is now qualified to be a senior author on Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Biological Assessment (BA) documents. WSDOT initiated a qualification process for consultants who write BAs to improve the quality of the documents they were receiving. To qualify, consultants must pass an exam and meet education and experience requirements.

Julie’s name is now on WSDOT’s online list of authors (Located here), and OBEC can write BA documents in-house on our Washington projects. Her qualification also expands our environmental group’s reach by allowing them to pursue subconsultant opportunities in an important, growing region. Congratulations, Julie!

Links: Julie's LinkedIn profile.






OBEC Hires Team of Transportation Planning Experts
September 2, 2015

To meet the increasing need for planning and concept-level analysis on infrastructure projects throughout Oregon and Washington, OBEC Consulting Engineers has added three dynamic transportation planning experts to its staff: Terry Kearns, John Kelly, and Seth Gallant. Based in OBEC’s Lake Oswego office, they will offer transportation planning and environmental impact analysis services to help government agencies successfully plan for the long term in meeting rising transportation demands, promoting economic development, and enhancing community livability.

Transportation Planning Manager Terry Kearns brings to OBEC 30 years of professional experience in the planning and development of both roadway and rail transit projects. Principal Planner John Kelly, with 39 years of experience, specializes in the land use impacts of transportation projects and compliance with environmental laws. Transportation Planner Seth Gallant has 12 years of experience in multimodal transportation planning, environmental impact analyses, and GIS mapping.






OBEC Projects in the News: Modern Steel Construction profiles accelerated bridge construction on the OR213 "Jughandle" Project
July 8, 2015

The OR213: I-205 to Redland Road project in Oregon City, also known as the Jughandle Project, was a high-profile transportation improvement project that made a splash when it used accelerated bridge construction (ABC) to minimize impacts to travelers of one of the busiest corridors in the state.

This month in Modern Steel Construction magazine, OBEC's own Bob Goodrich, PE, and Jason Kelly, PE, detail how the project came about and why ABC was ultimately the best solution. Check out the full article below:

Click here to read the article (PDF, 2MB).






Jeff Parker, PE, joins OBEC as Senior Project Manager
May 20, 2015

OBEC Consulting Engineers is pleased to announce that Jeff Parker, PE, has joined OBEC as a Senior Project Manager in the firm's Salem, Oregon office. He will be responsible for delivery of multidisciplinary transportation services in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Mr. Parker brings more than 25 years of transportation design and project management experience, including projects for county highways and rural roads, urban city streets, state highways, interstate freeways, and freight rail lines. He has also managed and designed a variety of transportation enhancement projects, including improvements for safer routes to schools, multiuse paths and trails, as well as pavement preservation projects. His projects typically feature transportation structures such as bridges, retaining and sound walls, and sign support structures.

If you'd like to join our mailing list and stay up to date on the latest OBEC news, please click here.

Links: Jeff's LinkedIn profile.






Jason Kelly assumes role of Lake Oswego office manager
May 4, 2015

OBEC Consulting Engineers is pleased to announce that Jason Kelly, PE, will assume the role of office manager for the firm's Portland metro area branch office in Lake Oswego, effective immediately.

The move is a natural fit for Mr. Kelly, who currently serves as a construction project manager for OBEC's northern Oregon and southern Washington projects and who has served as the senior inspector for the Lake Oswego office since 2009. He has been with OBEC since 2003, spending six years at the corporate headquarters in Eugene prior to relocating to Lake Oswego. Jason also manages many of the in-service safety inspection contracts as a FHWA certified bridge inspection team lead.

The Lake Oswego office was opened in 2007 to provide a full spectrum of engineering services to clients in northern Oregon and the Portland area, including the Sunrise Corridor JTA Project currently under construction in Clackamas. OBEC also has offices in Vancouver, Washington and Salem, Eugene and Medford, Oregon.

Links: Jason's LinkedIn profile.





OBEC sponsors International Bridge Building Contest

OBEC sponsors International Bridge Building Contest
April 27, 2015

This weekend, Portland hosted the 2015 International Bridge Building Contest at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). More than 60 high school students, one from as far away as Kathmandu, Nepal, competed with miniature bridges made from balsa wood, which were tested for maximum efficiency ratings using Vernier's Structures & Materials Tester.

The winner was Brendan Corcoran from Riverdale High School in Portland, whose bridge achieved a maximum efficiency rating of 5210. Congratulations, Brendan! Click here to see all the competitors' scores.

The evening before the contest, all the competitors and sponsors took a dinner cruise on the Portland Spirit, which took them up and down the Willamette River, providing up-close views of some of Portland's most iconic bridges, including the under-construction Sellwood Bridge and the brand-new Tilikum Crossing, which is not only Portland's first new bridge over the Willamette since 1973, but it's also the only bridge designed to carry light rail trains, buses, bicycles and pedestrians, but not private vehicles.

OBEC is proud to have sponsored this great event that encourages young minds to pursue STEM education.





Mark Zuckerberg addresses Women in Science & Engineering symposium attendees in Eugene, Ore

Mark Zuckerberg addresses symposium attendees in Eugene, Ore.
February 9, 2015

More than 30 young women took part in the 3rd annual Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Symposium this past Friday at Churchill High School. The event brought together scientists, engineers, and other specialists to lead students through more than a dozen science and engineering activities, ranging from high tech to down and dirty.

A workshop covering the basics of creating video games was one well-attended session. It included a video recording of President Barak Obama, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and others imploring the attendees to learn how to code so that today’s high school graduates can contribute to further advancements in technology.

Keynote speaker Amber Berger, an OSU graduate student in civil and structural engineering, kicked off the four-hour event for 8th grade and high school girls with a discussion on the broad field of engineering.

One of the many topics that captured the girls’ interest was innovation in aviation advancement. “Birds are able to sense turbulence and make rapid adjustments,” said Berger, “and engineers are studying exactly how they do it and then applying that to design more advanced and stable aircraft.”

After the keynote address, attendees set out for the STEAM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) laboratories and other classrooms on the Churchill campus.

Students taking part in the ‘Oil Spill Challenge’ had to design, construct, and deploy a way to contain and clean up an oil spill on water. Next door, environmental specialists from OBEC, Julie Wirth and Andy Burke, led students through the ‘Watershed Games’. Teams were able to see the effects of unmitigated runoff from simulated construction, agricultural, and industrial areas. They then designed and constructed temporary and permanent ‘best management practices’ that help protect water quality.

Churchill High School is an area leader in STEM curriculum. They also actively encourage local engineers, planners, designers, architects, contractors, and entrepreneurs to learn more about their program and to consider speaking with the engineering classes or hosting a tour of their office or project site. Contact Mary Beth Hepp-Elam at 541-790-5262 for more information.





The I-5: Willamette River Bridge Project wins Best of the Best at national Engineering News Record awards

I-5: Willamette River Bridge Project wins Best of the Best at national Engineering News Record awards
February 6, 2015

The I-5: Willamette River Bridge project, designed by OBEC and built by Hamilton Construction Co., received construction’s top honors today from the Engineering News Record (ENR). ENR selected the bridge as the Best of the Best in the Highways/Bridges category, which is particulary notable since the project is the only bridge to receive an award from ENR on the national level. The project previously won ENR's Best Project award in the Pacific Northwest region.

This is a great honor, and we're humbled to have been a part of the project! Special thanks to our friends at Hamilton, who submitted this project for this award, and who did a terrific job on this project.

To read the full ENR announcement, click here.

To learn more about the project, see our full project write-up here.




3D printing adds new dimension to STEM
February 2, 2015

Engineering students at Churchill High School in Eugene, Ore. are part of a unique program that is in part centered around the practical application of 3D printing technology.

Principal BJ Blake recently led a tour of her school’s “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) laboratories and explained how students in the program identify actual engineering problems and then design and create prototype solutions using their 3D printer.

Blake showed off an ID card holder that students designed and produced, explaining to 4J school board member Mary Walston that the standard card holders originally used by staff kept breaking. “The students saw the problem, designed a solution, and used the 3D printer to produce a holder that is really durable,” she said.

This is just one example of how the administrators, teachers, and students at Churchill are pushing beyond traditional classroom learning. One ongoing project is the design of a retrofit to all the laboratory chairs, aimed at converting them from rolling to stationary chairs. “Once they have a design, they’ll print a prototype, “said Blake, “and once they have a working prototype, they’ll look for a manufacturer.”

Blake and engineering teachers Marty Wilder and Greig Thompson explained that this approach does more than just engage students in real-world problem solving. It gives them tangible results for their efforts and lets them apply their creativity to skills beyond the technical part of engineering, into areas that cover intellectual property rights, manufacturing, marketing, and project management.

For one major ongoing project, all of the different disciplines in the STEAM laboratories have gotten involved. Together they are designing a water catchment system and fountain for the school, which will be integrated into a garden on the school grounds.

Churchill’s program is trend-setting in many respects, and one of those includes its ability to attract and retain a diverse group of students, including young women who enrolled this year at a rate twice that of last year.

To encourage this trend, Churchill is hosting a “WISE” Symposium (women in science and engineering) held at the STEAM laboratories on February 6th. The school is also actively encouraging local engineers, planners, designers, architects, contractors, and entrepreneurs to learn more about their STEAM program and to consider speaking with the engineering classes or hosting a tour of their office or project site. Contact Mary Beth Hepp-Elam at 541-790-5262 for more information.

OBEC has been actively involved in Churchill’s STEAM program for several years. OBEC President Larry Fox is on the program’s advisory board and sees it as a key part of developing the engineering talent our industry needs in the coming years.

OBEC Marketing Manager Josh Grenzsund attended the recent STEAM laboratories tour and held a discussion to give students a perspective on civil engineering as a career.

Julie Wirth and Andy Burke, both environmental specialists at OBEC, will be part of the upcoming WISE Symposium, leading students through a 35-minute hands-on exercise about watershed assessment and mitigation of pollutants.

Additionally, OBEC actively recruits summer interns from Eugene’s high schools and plans to have two interns this summer.