Monday, July 28, 2014

Saying Good-bye and Good Luck to Our Summer Interns

Now that our summer interns have had a taste of a 40-hour work week and keeping a time sheet, we wanted to know about their experience at GBA before they return to school. We asked what they learned and what they will take back with them and here’s what they told us.

Name: Grant Brady
Department at GBA: Water Environment
What was your favorite thing(s) about working at GBA?
Post stream restoration inspections and pebble counts in the field.
What stands out about your summer internship that was something you never learned in school?
Robots have videotaped almost all of the Stormwater and wastewater pipes below us.
What was the hardest thing to get used to working this summer at GBA?
Holding my attention span for eight chargeable hours each day.

Name:  Katie Cortis
Department at GBA:   Life Sciences
What was your favorite thing(s) about working at GBA?
1.    My coworkers
2.    Way more in depth than an internship where I would just be laying out lights in Walmarts.
What stands out about your summer internship that was something you never learned in school?
They teach you very little in school compared to what will be learned on the job. I’ll learn probably 90% of the knowledge I need to know in a job. GBA has been a great learning environment for me and I can tell that it’s been that way for every employee here in my department. Everyone is very willing to teach you what they know.
What was the hardest thing to get used to working this summer at GBA?
For me, it was the drive. I live 40 minutes away. Luckily, there’s no traffic.

Name:  Nolan Greenaway
Department at GBA:  Traffic and Wastewater
What was your favorite thing(s) about working at GBA?
I really enjoyed getting hands on work with actual projects that GBA works on, such as Traffic Impact Studies. Also, I became more familiar with MicroStation and was able to help out a lot with various tasks. I really enjoyed all of the people I worked with at GBA as well. They are very nice, funny and extremely helpful with anything I did not understand.
What stands out about your summer internship that was something you never learned in school?
MicroStation as a whole was something that really stood out. I had never even heard of the program in school and had never used it so it was a great opportunity to learn a lot about it. Also, a lot of the projects we worked on had a very detailed design process which is something that is not covered as much in school.
What was the hardest thing to get used to working this summer at GBA?
One of the hardest things for me this summer had to be waking up at 6:30 in the morning every day to get ready for work. I was not used to this at all and it was definitely a big adjustment for me. Also, adjusting to working a desk job was a big change for me since I had never done that before.

Name: Cody LaMonaco
Department at GBA: Transportation – Bridge Group
What was your favorite thing(s) about working at GBA?
Some things I’ve really enjoyed about working at GBA have been: being involved with challenging projects, the feeling of comradery both within my group and the company as a whole, and the amount of help and learning opportunities that have been made available to me.
What stands out about your summer internship that was something you never learned in school?
Something that stands out for me is how much I’ve learned about the bidding process. I was able to sit in on a meeting for the contractors to ask questions before formal bids were due; this really gave me a better feel for the issues that can make or break bids.
What was the hardest thing to get used to working this summer at GBA?
There wasn’t really anything I felt was hard to get used to. I really felt like I fit in well both in my group and the company, and when I did run into issues there was always someone there to answer my question.

Name: Justin Seabaugh
Department at GBA: Transportation - Traffic
What was your favorite thing(s) about working at GBA?
The closely knit group, you get to know your coworkers well.
What stands out about your summer internship that was something you never learned in school?
I learned how to rate the condition of pavements, an important concept to understand that is barely touched on in classes.
What was the hardest thing to get used to working this summer at GBA?
It was hard to get accustomed to tracking hours on each project, and working full 40 hour work weeks.
Thanks to our interns and we wish them good luck!! 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Amendment 7 for Missouri Roads

On August 5th, Missouri will hold a primary vote on Amendment 7, an amendment designed to address the state’s crumbling infrastructure with a proposed 10-year transportation sales tax.

Over 2,000 of Missouri’s bridges are considered structurally deficient and though Missouri has the seventh largest highway system in the country, it ranks only 40th in funding per mile. Ninety percent of the tax revenue from the amendment will fund state priority transportation projects while the remaining 10 percent will be divided between the cities and counties.

The increase would not affect taxes on items like groceries, medicine, fuel, utilities, mortgage payments, education, health care, retirement savings and prescription drugs. And it cannot be extended beyond the initial 10-year timeframe without another vote by Missouri’s citizens.

Groups like the Missouri Farm Bureau support the amendment, with bureau president Black Hurst saying: “A good road and bridge system is so vitally important to agriculture and all of rural Missouri, and approval of Amendment 7 will make many needed transportation improvements throughout Missouri.”

For more information about the benefits of the tax, go to

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

45 Years Later...

Remember the good old days when engineers and architects drew plans by hand? Drafting tables were common place scattered with straight edges and tee squares. Handheld calculators were considered “high tech.”  And Bill Gates was still in high school, yet to invent our favorite software company, Microsoft.

For the younger generations, these tools are only something to be seen in a Google search. In 1969 when GBA was established, these were the tools of the trade.

Although the tools of the trade may have changed, our passion has not. 45 years later we’re a thriving company with headquarters in the Kansas City metro and five satellite offices in four states.

GBA is proud to be celebrating 45 years of great engineering and architecture.

And we owe a big thanks to all the people over the years that have helped to make us the company we are today. We are looking forward to many more.

Happy 45th, GBA Team!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Answers to Those Construction Questions

Ever wonder, when you’re sitting in snakes of summer road construction traffic, the street before you a mess of orange cones and fluorescent-shirted workers, exactly WHY you’re sitting there?

I mean, what are they doing? Besides making you late to work?

For those of you wondering what exactly is going on while you are waiting your turn to finally get through the nearest stoplight and on your way, here are a few answers to what’s happening outside your window:

Why are they off to the side of the road? What’s in the grass over there and what does it have to do with the lane that’s closed? Even if workers are off to the side of the road, it is common to close a lane to provide a safe work environment. If you see crews working underground—either off to the side or along the road—they are likely relocating utility lines (phone, cable, underground electric, fiber optics, natural gas, waterlines, etc.) or placing storm sewer. These utilities could also be located under the road itself.

Why do they only remove the top couple of inches of pavement? Why not replace it all? When the road is ground down a few inches, road crews are performing a “mill and overlay.” The condition of the existing pavement dictates whether maintenance or complete replacement is required to return the road to satisfactory condition. A road in need of maintenance is milled down several inches and new asphalt is overlaid on top. Mill and overlay is more cost-effective and takes much less time than complete replacement.

Why can I drive over a bridge if they’re working on the other side? Isn’t that unsafe? If a bridge is open to one lane of traffic while a crew is working on the other, the bridge is structurally sound. Crews are probably re-decking, patching areas of deteriorated concrete or repairing girders or supports under the deck. Engineers confirm the structural integrity of the bridge before and during maintenance to ensure it is satisfactory for travel.

The article I read said they were supposed to finish here last week. Why are they still working? Weather, utility conflicts and unanticipated field conditions, such as geotechnical surprises—all can affect the schedule.

Why are they working on this road anyway? The one a mile down has huge potholes and cracked curb. Funding sources and projected growth patterns or safety concerns such as sight-distance issues or poor drainage can affect why one street or bridge is chosen for reconstruction/rehabilitation over another. Municipalities maintain an annual road maintenance programs that prioritizes those areas most in need of attention.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

GBA Life Sciences at #BIO2014

This week, a member of our Life Sciences team is at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego, CA. BIO is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry and brings together more than 14,000 people representing nearly 1,100 biotech companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and related organizations. GBA is attending alongside many of the companies for which we provide engineering, architecture, process design, construction and commissioning services.

BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. For more information, visit

#BIO2014 kicked off Monday evening with a welcome reception on the USS Midway.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Gateway Project in Johnson County is Under Construction

GBA is a major participant in KDOT’s first ever design-build project.  The Gateway design-build project includes 26 structure projects to help improve this corridor in Johnson County, KS.  GBA is in charge of 15 of these structures.  With design activities to end early in 2015, GBA’s bridge team was called upon first to get this project started.  Since the notice to proceed, in about three months, GBA’s design teams have met the early design schedule challenges.  They have been responsible for providing two early steel
packages, early bridge widening package, two widened and rehab bridge packages, two new bridge design packages and preliminary designs for two new bridges. GBA’s team has quickly provided these plans, following the required quality process for this project.  Along the way, GBA has eliminated bridge girders and found hundreds of thousands of savings on the bridges since the proposal was submitted.
For more information, follow the progress with #jocogateway.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Welcomes Interns

Four of the eight interns including: Allison Bruner, Cody LoMonaco, Katie Cortis and Eric Babb.

Summer brings sunshine, thoughts of lazy days and interns. We are excited to welcome eight interns this summer. The interns will work in the water/wastewater, storm water/environmental, highways/streets, life sciences, bridge and traffic groups.

We are excited to get to know our interns and their ambitions for the future. If you would like to get to know each one of them, please visit the GBA website as we feature each intern throughout the summer.