ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/768999
FOCUS CLOSE COMMUNICATION AIDS CREATIVITY Lochner’s two-part program keeps far-away offices in close touch so designers stay abreast of new techniques and trends to aid transportation-focused projects by Craig A. Shutt Designers throughout H.W. Lochner Inc.’s 31 offices stay in touch thanks to a concerted two-prong communication strategy. The format ensures they access new ideas and techniques that help them design a range of bridge projects nationwide and stay abreast of technological advancements such as building information modeling (BIM) and alternative-delivery formats, as well as innovations with materials such as concrete. “Our goal is to generate strong relationships that help improve our efficiency and create innovative, costeffective designs for our clients,” says Brian Byrne, senior structural engineer and project manager in the East Hartford, Conn., office. The internal corporate-communication strategy incorporates a culture of work sharing, as well as systems that encourage knowledge sharing company wide. Work-sharing formats include regular monthly conference calls within divisional groups to discuss new projects, progress on existing ones, and specific challenges, explains Chuck Craycraft, risk manager and vice president in the Lexington, Ky., office. “We share ideas and experiences with structural issues of all types and take advice or input from others in the same group around the country.” Adds Byrne, “It’s great to hear what others have been doing, which may give me a spark that I can introduce to my project.” Knowledge sharing allows designers with a particular challenge to seek input at any point, says Byrne. It is coordinated by the Technical Resource Group (TRG) and operates through an intranet system called LochNET. “TRG connects firm leaders within specific disciplines to facilitate sharing of ideas about expertise and materials.” LochNET provides a forum for any employee to participate in knowledge exchange. For example, designers type in questions to which anyone can respond within specific technical communities. Employees also use this forum to post updates on projects and interesting challenges that arise. These then can be followed up with replies to the post, emails, and related documents. “The LochNET platform helps create strong relationships around the country,” Byrne says. “Of the 50 or so structural engineers we have on staff, I’ve probably worked with 80% or more to collaborate on designs.” Adapting to Challenges The system allows the team to adapt to design and constructability issues as well