Thursday, April 26, 2012

MS Walk

Bree Rush joined more than 1,000 people and put on her walking shoes for the MS Walk in Little Rock, Arkansas earlier this month. An administrative assistant in our North Little Rock office, Bree is motivated to support families with multiple sclerosis and MS research for a deeply personal reason.

"I have family members with MS and Huntington's disease," Bree said. "I also have a friend with MS. When you see someone close to you lose control of their ability to talk, walk, play with their children, cook, and do other things we take for granted, it is heartbreaking. I really wanted to walk this year, and every year in the future, for them."

Bree's fundraising team, Sarah's MS Dream Team, was led by Sarah Thomas, who was diagnosed with MS two years ago. "She is an inspiration to everyone with MS," Bree said. "She hasn't let MS stop her from being involved in her community. She is a part of many philanthropies, has gone sky diving since being diagnosed, and doesn't miss a yoga class or tennis match."

This year, Bree, along with Sarah's MS Dream Team and 1,000 others, helped the walk raise $115,000.

"Those are both records, shattering the old ones by 300 participants and $30,000!" said Lisa Finkbeiner, Development Manager-Special Events with the National MS Society-Arkansas. "It was a beautiful day, and it could not have gone better."

MS is a disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the arms and legs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Top 500 Design Firm!

Garver is again ranked on Engineering News-Record's list of the Top 500 Design Firms nationwide. Garver is listed #226. This is the 26th time Garver has been listed as a top design firm in ENR's annual rankings.

Based on Top 500 survey information, ENR reported a number of findings regarding industry markets and trends in 2011.

  • The Top 500 had overall domestic and international design revenue of $85.06 billion in 2011. This is up 6.6% from 2010.
  • The Top 500 experienced a 1.6% gain in revenue earned from domestic projects, which was 58.6 billion. 
  • The largest domestic public infrastructure market was transportation, which fell 0.1%, to $13.01 billion in 2011. Also down were water (down 3.7%), sewer and wastewater (down 8.3%), and hazardous waste (down 6.1%). 
  • There were 458 design firms on this year's Top 500 that also sent in surveys last year. Of that number, 62.9% experienced increasing revenues from 2010 to 2011, while 36.7% had declining revenues.
  • Eleven design firms that made the 2011 list were acquired by other firms last year.

Self-Defense Class

Garver offers life-improvement classes as part of our ongoing pursuit to enhance our employees' lives and skills. In the past we've invited trainers to give classes on first aid, CPR, and AED. On Tuesday evening, we're kicking it up a notch with a self-defense course that teaches the Krav Maga technique.

Krav Maga is a modern, efficient technique that focuses on simple and practical defenses against various forms of attack. It also emphasizes movements that are based on a body's natural reactions to an attack. Scenarios will include defending yourself while protecting others, defending against armed opponents, and defending against specific forms of attack, including punches, kicks, and chokes.

The class is taught by Devin Shirley with Krav Fit, who has been training in Krav Maga for more than 10 years. Devin is one of less than 100 active Krav Maga black belts in the United States and Canada.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Arc Thank You Brigade

The Arc Thank You Brigade visited Garver's Huntsville, Alabama office to express appreciation for helping sponsor the 13th Annual Mike Scherer Golf Benefit, which is April 20. The memorial golf tournament is The Arc of Madison County's single fundraising event, and the tournament has raised more than $2.2 million to benefit the organization. The Arc of Madison County offers adults with intellectual disabilities habilitation, residential, therapy, and supported employment services.

In the past, donated funds have been used to support the Arc's services and operational needs, including facility renovation and construction, vehicle purchases, client nursing services, equipment purchases, and music therapy services for children.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here's Your (Interstate) Sign

Annette Porter and Claire McKinney
Traffic engineers Annette Porter and Claire McKinney,  along with Traffic Team Leader Nicci Tiner, visited Interstate SignWays in Little Rock, Arkansas to watch the company produce roadway signs. The Garver employees toured the 169,000-square-foot facility to discover how the company creates drawings, produces and inspects signs, certifies materials, and delivers the signs on interstate trucks.

"The tour gave me a better understanding into how our engineering designs move from plans to actual signs," Annette said. "Watching this process will help me with my design of interstate signs."

As part of their work with Garver, Claire and Annette have provided signing details and plans for projects in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

Interstate SignWays is a leading highway sign manufacturer and has worked for clients throughout the United States.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Garver's Bicycle Advocacy Featured in National Magazine

Garver is featured in the March-April issue of American Bicyclist, which is a League of American Bicyclists magazine distributed to 300,000 members, including 25,000 individuals and 700 organizations. The article, The Role of Advocacy, features a large photo of Garver employees Derrick Hendrix and Blake Martin. In addition, Garver is highlighted under the subtitle Good for Business.

The American Bicyclist article is part of the magazine's theme: 2012 Bicycle Friendly America Guide: True Life Stories and Real-World Tools. Feature article The Role of Advocacy highlights ways bicycle advocacy can create a positive community influence,  features bicycle-friendly universities and businesses that provide leadership, and discusses the different types of advocacy.

In the  article, the writer states that Garver knows "the importance of bicycling," and that there is "camaraderie outside of the office, where everyone from surveyors to senior management are all bicyclists at the end of the work day."

Garver's employees have created a pro-bicycling atmosphere within the company. It's one of the reasons that the  League of American Bicyclists awarded Garver a Silver designation in 2010 as a top bicycle-friendly business. Garver's headquarters provides loaner bikes, secure bicycle parking, and showers and lockers to encourage employees to fit rides into daily routines. In addition, our employees participate in bicycle commuter challenges, ride together in events and races, and donate children's bikes during the holidays.

The article can also be viewed as a PDF.

Question: Are you a bicycling advocate? Why?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mentoring A Future Engineer

Sarah, an eighth-grade student, spent a morning shadowing engineers in our North Little Rock, Arkansas office. Her experience included visiting the Big Dam Bridge to see the southwest approach under construction.

Sarah said she is interested in civil engineering and hopes to build bridges one day. Before taking her to the Big Dam Bridge to see Garver's engineering project, (which adds a 1,149-foot-long, 10-span approach to the pedestrian bridge), Garver engineers A.J. Khairi and Fred Harper shared the project drawings with her. Then during the construction site tour, A.J. and Fred explained how the project plan sheets correlate to various construction aspects, including pier foundations, steel girder fabrication, and construction costs.

"Sarah had an incredible time this morning," Sarah's mom shared in a thank-you note. "She has been talking about it non-stop since I picked her up! I really do appreciate the amount of time your engineers spent with her and the impact it had. It was clearly a great educational opportunity for her."

In addition, Sarah spent time shadowing various engineering disciplines, including structural, bridge, traffic, hydraulics, and roadway. Garver employees who volunteered their time included Claire McKinney, Annette Porter, Madison McEntire, Adam Hall, Adam Wierciak, and Dustin Tackett.

Question: What specific ideas do you have to make sure a job shadow has an interactive and educational experience?


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