Thursday, August 30, 2012

Running with MDOT for a Children's Hospital

Melinda McGrath, Ray Balentine, and Carrie Balentine
Environmental Team Leader Ray Balentine ran with more than 100 Mississippi Department of Transportation employees to raise money for the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.

Accompanied by his daughter, Ray joined 800 participants in the inaugural Governor Phil Bryant's 5k Run for Health.

Before joining Garver, Ray worked with MDOT for 25 years as an assistant roadway design division engineer, state planning engineer, and director of intermodal planning. During a recent visit with MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath, she told Ray that she was training for the 5k.

"I mentioned that my daughter has been running in 5ks and was trying to get me to join her," Ray said. "Melinda took that and invited me to participated with the MDOT group—and long story short, I did!"

The event raised $10,000 for the state's only hospital exclusively dedicated to treating and caring for sick and injured children. More than 150,000 children are treated by the hospital every year.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Continuing to Serve

Nick Braddy

Kyle Williams
Garver congratulates Nick Braddy, EI and Kyle Williams, EI on their service as 2012-2013 branch officers for the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Nick Braddy is serving as the Tulsa, Oklahoma Branch Vice President, and he previously served two consecutive terms as Secretary. Nick is an engineer in our Transportation Group and has worked with Garver for 3.5 years.

Kyle Williams is serving as the Tulsa Branch Young Member Contact and Secretary after having served as Young Member Contact for 2011-2012. Kyle is an engineer in our Transportation Group and has worked with Garver for 1 year.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weight of the Nation

HBO produced a four-part documentary series titled "The Weight of the Nation" that takes a look at obesity in America. North Little Rock, Arkansas has set up a local screening of the film and invited area health and wellness professionals to participate in panel discussions after each viewing. Garver Wellness Director Patricia Edwards (right) is one of the featured panelists.

A couple weeks ago, Edwards answered questions from the audience after the film "Choices," which focused on the science behind losing weight, maintaining weight loss, and preventing weight gain. She will engage with the audience again on Tuesday after the conclusion of the series. The film "Challenges" examines major driving forces behind obesity in the country and looks for opportunities for communities to fight back.

In her last discussion, Edwards was asked to comment on what a person can do to help lose weight and keep it off. Edwards focused on food portion sizes and how if a plate looks full, your brain will more likely be satisfied that you're getting enough to eat.

"I encourage our employees to eat from a 6 or 8-inch plate instead of a 10 or 12-inch plate," Edwards said.

The screenings are hosted by North Little Rock's Fit 2 Live Initiative. This movement began in 2009 when the City of North Little Rock and North Little Rock School District came together to address obesity in the city and to encourage and support healthy living. The final part of the documentary will be shown at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the William F. Laman Public Library in North Little Rock.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Funeral Arrangements Set for Brock Johnson

Funeral arrangements have been set for Brock Johnson, Garver CEO and past president. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:30 p.m., Friday, August 24 at Fellowship Bible Church, 1401 Kirk Road, Little Rock. A reception will immediately be following.

Garver's North Little Rock office will be closed Friday to allow employees to attend the service. His obituary has been posted on the Roller-Chenal Funeral Home website, and you can read it by clicking here.

Brock died Tuesday after battling cancer for several years. He spent 40 years with Garver and served as president from 2003 to 2012.

Brock was a cycling advocate and a huge supporter of Ron King's Recycle Bikes for Kids. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas on behalf of Recycle Bikes for Kids.

Brock Johnson, Garver CEO and Past President,
Dies at 63

William Brock Johnson, Garver chief executive officer, passed away today after battling cancer for the past several years.

"Our company has lost a talented and visionary leader who served as an inspiration to everyone around him, and we are deeply saddened by his death," said Garver President Dan Williams. "Brock was a respected leader who helped guide Garver through a period of historic growth. Brock also was a great friend and mentor to many, and we miss him dearly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time."

Johnson served as president and CEO from 2003 to 2012. Earlier this month, Johnson presented a resolution to Garver’s board of directors appointing Dan Williams as president, chief operating officer, and chairman of the board.

"Our company has lost a man who led Garver through transformational growth during one of the most difficult economic times in our industry," said Chad Clinehens, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “Brock outlined an ambitious growth plan to double the size of our company over the past five years. Despite the challenging economic conditions, Brock succeeded with flying colors. Brock was loved and respected by his employees, and he will be greatly missed.”

Johnson spent 40 years with Garver. During his leadership, he helped define and expand Garver’s brand and service into new markets, taking the company from six offices in four states to 12 offices in seven states. His direction led to Garver becoming the first engineering company in Arkansas to build a LEED-certified corporate headquarters – Garver’s offices in North Little Rock.

As an avid pilot, Johnson was instrumental in developing the company’s aviation business line, growing it into one of the largest business units in the company and providing services from Oklahoma to Tennessee; his engineering achievements began with much of the infrastructure at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.

Johnson was a cycling advocate, and he used his passion to transform Garver’s business culture into one that actively supports healthy living. In addition to helping Garver become the first and highest ranking Arkansas engineering firm to earn bicycle-friendly business recognition, his leadership structure contributed to saving Garver millions of dollars in health care costs.

Johnson is survived by his wife Paula; and his three children, Katie, Taylor and Sloan. Funeral arrangements are set for Friday.

Brock was a cycling advocate and a huge supporter of Ron King's Recycle Bikes for Kids. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas on behalf of Recycle Bikes for Kids.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Heading to Peru

Water engineer Ian Toohey's work environment is about to change. Ian and his wife Amanda are flying to Lima, Peru to work with the Peace Corps. Ian said goodbye to his coworkers in Garver's Norman, Oklahoma office last Friday. He provided the Garver blog with some thoughts about his next adventure, and all of us at Garver wish him well. We're proud of you, Ian!
We'll be serving in Peru for the next 27 months. I will be serving as a water and sanitation engineer, working on community-scale projects ranging from water supply development to proper waste disposal and including some environmental and point-of-use treatment projects. My wife will be a community health promoter, working on health curriculum in schools and homes to encourage proper sanitation, prenatal health, and reproductive health.
Our decision was largely motivated by our belief in the importance of international service. It is the mission of Peace Corps Volunteers to facilitate a cultural exchange between our communities here in the U.S. and those abroad. My wife Amanda and I hope to be positive representatives of American culture and values to the Peruvian people, and to bring home our experiences to share with our neighbors here in the U.S. Also, we see this as an exciting adventure, a chance to broaden our horizons and have a memorable experience that will have an impact on the rest of our lives.
My experience at Garver has greatly expanded my knowledge base and confidence in design and project execution, both on paper and in construction. I've had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects while with Garver and have also gained experience in project administration and construction management, all of which will translate into the type of work I'll be doing in Peru. The circumstances and constraints will be different, but the engineering approach I've developed as a Garver employee will still be applicable.
I have greatly appreciated the experience I've had at Garver, and the support I've received during the long process of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. I acknowledge the investment that Garver made in me as an employee, and I hope to honor that investment by serving in a way that brings credit to Garver, my profession as an engineer, and my country.

Friday, August 17, 2012

We Love This License Plate

This employee-owned license plate says it all. And yes, we are passionate about what we do.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Garver Expands Alabama Operations into Birmingham

Garver is expanding its services in Alabama by opening a new office in Birmingham. Garver's Birmingham office will focus on the water and wastewater market.

The office is led by Brian Shannon, PE, who has more than 14 years of experience in municipal water and wastewater consulting. Brian will serve as Senior Project Manager on water and wastewater projects, including planning and designing water and wastewater treatment plants.

“Garver’s presence in Birmingham will allow us to better cover the water and sewer needs of municipalities throughout Alabama,” Brian said.

One Chase Corporate Center, Suite 400
Birmingham, AL  35244

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dan Williams Appointed Garver's Next President

Dan Williams
The Garver Board of Directors announces that Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Williams has been named president and chairman of the board, effective August 13.

Williams succeeds Wm. Brock Johnson, who is transitioning to retirement after a nine-year tenure as president. Johnson will remain chief executive officer and will work a reduced schedule as he focuses on health issues that have arisen. Williams will also continue to serve as COO.
Brock Johnson
"I'm delighted with Dan's appointment—he brings strong technical and administrative experience to the position, and I'm confident he will build on our successes here at Garver," Johnson said. "Throughout his career, Dan has served Garver with strong leadership and the highest ethical standards. Dan has been at my side and aided me in leading transformational growth at Garver. Garver will continue to grow and prosper under his leadership. Dan’s new role as president will free me up to spend some more time with friends and family as I focus on my health."

Williams has served as executive vice president and COO since April 2008. Prior to that, he served as executive vice president and chief engineer for three years. Williams has spent more than 30 years with the company.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Fish Named Edward

As part of an Oncology Camp activity at Camp Aldersgate, a group of Garver employees spent the morning fishing with children ages 6-9. Matt Gross, Blake Roberson, Shaun Roberson, Adam Roberson, Seth Yancey, and Paul Strickland interacted with youth living with cancer or bleeding disorders.

"With the boys, it was fun to watch their excitement as they reeled in the catch, held and played with the fish, and laughed at the catfish's bark," Yancey said. "With the girls, we would hook the fish and they  would reel it in while yelling, 'fish, fish, yeah buddy!' Some of the fish even got named—one was 'Edward.' And several of the girls also tried to get up the courage to kiss the latest catch."

Camp Aldersgate in Little Rock, Arkansas serves to enrich the lives of children and youth who have medical/physical conditions or development delays. They provide a camping environment that encourages normalcy, socialization, and inclusiveness.

"After all they are going through, it was encouraging to see their smiles and hear their laughter," Yancey said. "Camp Aldersgate is providing a great service for these kids."

Additional pictures are available on our Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Environmental Services Spotlight

Garver offers full-service environmental capabilities provided by proven and specialized industry leaders. We handle all aspects of the environmental process, which includes managing a wide range of impacts and providing agency coordination and environmentally compliant documents.

In accordance with regulations and guidelines, our environmental professionals are proficient in NEPA documentation, public involvement, and resource studies and management. Our knowledgeable industry experience and long-time relationships enable our teams to build a cooperative bridge between our clients and regulatory agencies.
Our environmental team has recently been bolstered by two career professionals.

Ray Balentine, PE is our Environmental Team Leader with 34 years of public and private engineering experience and 25 years of management, design, and planning responsibilities with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Kirsten McCullough, AICP, RPA is an Environmental Project Manager and brings 15 years of environmental experience to Garver, including NEPA documentation, cultural resources investigations, and public involvement.
We are currently looking for an environmental scientist to join the Garver team and work with Ray, Kirsten, and the rest of the environmental services group. It's a great job providing environmental investigations and documentation while daily impacting Garver's projects. This position involves working in a variety of project types with diverse clients and internal project teams.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Ramp Opens on Big Dam Bridge

More than 40 bicycle riders and a dozen walkers made the inaugural climb up the Big Dam Bridge's southwest approach Wednesday morning. On a cloudy and steamy morning, the central Arkansas crowd gathered at the foot of the pedestrian bridge's new ramp to celebrate its grand opening.

"A lot of people take the Big Dam Bridge for granted, that it's just another structure. But it's not. It's an engineering feat," said Colonel Glen A. Masset, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Little Rock District Commander. "I can tell you that the Big Dam Bridge is an icon of the City of Little Rock and of Pulaski County."

The southwest approach to the Big Dam Bridge over the Arkansas River is the second phase of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that began in 2002. The bridge, completed in 2006, is constructed above the Murray Lock and Dam, and the Society of American Travel Writers has named it one of the top 10 bridges to visit in the United States. Garver provided engineering services for the bridge and its newest access ramp.

"When we did the original design for the Big Dam Bridge, part of that had a southwest ramp," said Pulaski County Judge Buddy Villines. "We didn't have the money to go forward then with that part, but we asked the Corps and the designers to leave a stub so that we could in the future add it."

"Well, we've saved money for about six or seven years so we could add this," Villines continued. "It's totally funded by local dollars, about $4.2 million to construct it."

The southwest approach provides bicyclists a route to connect with the Two Rivers Bridge without attempting a tight 180-degree turn, and pedestrians now have a great view of the lock and dam from an upstream vantage point. The bridge is part of the Arkansas River Trail, which attracted attention in June when area leaders signed a memorandum to continue to build, develop, maintain, operate, and promote the trail system.

The project involved nearly 1,300 cubic yards of concrete and brings the bridge's total length to approximately 5,270 feet. The new leg features a 325-foot curved steel plate girder unit, MSE approach ramp, cofferdam construction, and elevated observation platform.

Villines said that the Big Dam Bridge has become a focus for healthy activities in central Arkansas, which is a vision Susan Cooper with the Big Dam Bridge Foundation hopes to expand. Cooper announced that the foundation hopes to increase the number and types of events that revolve around the Big Dam Bridge, everything from sponsored walks to concerts to triathlons.

"We now have plans in place for new and exciting goals," Cooper said. "Last year, our bicycle tour [Big Dam Bridge 100] grew to around 2,400 riders. We now plan to make it as big as the Hotter than Hell 100 in Texas, which draws 14,000 riders."

If you weren't able to attend the event, Garver Tweeted during the ribbon cutting and has posted additional pictures on our Facebook page.


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