CHA Consulting, Inc. (CHA), a full-service engineering consulting and construction management firm has opened an office in Wyomissing.
CHA, based in Albany, New York, has signed a lease for space at 1220 Broadcasting Road.
“We are excited to open an office in Pennsylvania to better serve our clients in the Reading and Wyomissing area and provide a modern and collaborative space for our talented staff,” said An Le, chief engineer and Reading office leader. “We currently have utility infrastructure design staff in the office with plans to add more staff to the team throughout 2022.”
“We see tremendous opportunities for growing our services in Pennsylvania, and Reading will be a key location for that strategic growth,” said Power Sector President Greg Corso.
Barry Isett & Associates Inc. of Allentown said it has acquired CodeMaster Inspection Services of the Lehigh Valley.
The acquisition adds seven full-time and one part-time employee to Isett’s Code Services Department.
It also adds 17 municipalities as clients, which had previously worked with CodeMaster for their code, zoning and permitting services.
Isett acquired the former company’s custom computer program called CodeTracker, which is permit-management, inspection-scheduling and accounting software. Isett personnel are utilizing the software for the former CodeMaster clients and hope to integrate it department-wide by the end of 2020.
Barry Isett & Associates Inc. provides code, survey, environmental, and construction services; civil, forensic, municipal, structural, and geotechnical engineering; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering; landscape design, and construction inspection.
Colliers International, which has a Lehigh Valley office in Upper Macungie Township, is acquiring a controlling interest the engineering services company, Maser Consulting P.A., in Red Bank, New Jersey.
“Maser’s long and impressive record of growth in multiple real estate and infrastructure end markets, together with its special entrepreneurial culture, made it a perfect fit with Colliers,” said Elias Mulamoottil, head of global strategic investments for Colliers International in a statement. “With the expected push to rebuild and upgrade aging infrastructure in the U.S., Maser’s portfolio of service offerings, long-term contractual projects and diverse client mix provide us with significant new opportunities for growth in a segment with stable revenue streams overall economic cycles.”
Maser Consulting, which generated $167 million in revenue last year, will rebrand itself as Colliers Engineering Services by the first quarter of 2021.
Maser’s senior leadership will remain as shareholders of the business under the partnership model.
Penn State Lehigh Valley has started construction of a $14.4 million expansion project that will include a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) wing, organic chemistry lab, new dining facility and veteran and adult learner lounge.
The 20,500-square-foot-project marks the first major construction initiative at the Upper Saucon Township campus.
At a groundbreaking ceremony at the south entrance to the campus, officials spoke about how the project would meet the needs of students looking for potential careers in STEM fields as well as health care, with the addition of the organic chemistry lab.
“We are confident that this expansion will soon be a reality for our students,” said Tina Richardson, chancellor for Penn State Lehigh Valley.
The three-story addition, targeted to open in January 2021, would go up near the south entrance of the campus, facing Center Valley Parkway.
Officials said the first floor will include a dining facility, with student services spaces on the second floor and a STEM wing on the third floor, including the organic chemistry lab. The STEM wing will support Penn State Lehigh Valley’s current health degree programs and allow the campus to grow the necessary educational pipeline for health professionals and provide more undergraduate research opportunities, officials said.
Richardson noted that with health care the largest employer in the valley, the new addition will provide an opportunity to change the success trajectory of so many students.
Eric Barron, Pennsylvania State University president, said the project promised to bring groundbreaking opportunities for students and faculty at the Lehigh Valley campus. He noted the need for students to have spaces to gather and socialize on campus, which the expansion would offer.
“How do you build a community if you don’t have the space to collaborate and relax?” Barron said. “With this project we are tackling that challenge.”
The university got support from generous donors, he added. Among them are William Spence, PPL chairman and CEO, who was a graduate of Penn State. Spence said Penn State provided him with an excellent education that helped him become who he is.
“It’s about expanding the opportunities right here in our own backyard,” he said.
Former Congressman Charlie Dent also spoke about his time as a Penn State student.
“I didn’t fully appreciate it as an undergraduate,” he said. “It’s extraordinarily important.”
Dent cited Penn State’s commitment to science and engineering education.
Penn State will also name the STEM wing after the former Congressman.
“Our students are at the center of this project,” said Madlyn Hanes, vice president and executive chancellor for Penn State’s Commonwealth campuses. “This will expand the learning environment and expand leadership opportunities. It will help us compete in an otherwise crowded marketplace.”
Hanes cited the importance of a dining facility that would serve healthier options and areas with increased opportunities for student engagement.
Officials said the expansion could help support the local economy with a focus on education for careers that are in demand.
Penn State Lehigh Valley hired Alvin H. Butz of Allentown as the construction firm for the project and Spillman Farmer Architects of Bethlehem as the architect.
The Lehigh Valley campus is in the process of raising $1.8 million from private donors to support the expansion.
The 7th annual What’s So Cool About Manufacturing? video contest drew a record-breaking number of votes and more than 1,000 people to the award show last night to celebrate the winning entries at ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem.
Each year, middle school students involved in the contest create short videos at local manufacturing companies to show what it’s like to work in the industry today.
This year, Northeast Middle School emerged as the winner for Outstanding Overall Program among the 30 Lehigh Valley teams competing in the contest for their video of manufacturer Nestle Waters North America of Upper Macungie Township.
Here are the other winners:
The Viewer’s Choice Award went to Springhouse Middle School for their video of Sharp Packaging Solutions of Upper Macungie Township.
The Educational Value Award went to Broughal Middle School for their video of IQE Inc. of Bethlehem.
The Brand Placement Award went to Saucon Valley Middle School for their video of Ocean Spray Cranberries in Upper Macungie Township.
The Cool Award went to Lower Macungie Middle School for their video of Smooth-On of Lower Macungie.
The Team Spirit Award went to Bangor Area Middle School for their video of Equipto of Tatamy.
The Outreach Plan Award went to Wilson Area Intermediate School for their video of Crayola of Forks Township.
The Career Pathway Award went to Penn-Kidder Campus for their video of TPEI of Lehighton.
The Creativity Award went to Nitschmann Middle School for their video of B. Braun Medical Inc. of Bethlehem.
The Editing Award went to Northampton Area Middle School for their video of Innovative Office Products of Forks Township.
The Videography Award went to Eyer Middle School for their video of Allen Organ Co. of Macungie.
The Sweet Manufacturing Award went to Career Institute of Technology of Forks Township. For this award, culinary students from local technical schools compete to make the best cupcakes.
At the event, officials spoke about the importance of the contest, citing its effect on potentially attracting young people to enter the manufacturing industry.
“We continue to hear from the businesses we meet with and particularly manufacturers, that they are finding it difficult to find employees,” said Carol Kilko, deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, a supporter of the contest.
“We had to get to the middle schools so we could talk to the parents,” Kilko said. “This is just one of those really, really cool programs that I get to work with.”
With 30 local manufacturers participating, the Lehigh Valley contest will help build the employees that the state needs for the future, she added.
Manufacturers also appeared to enjoy working with the students as they created videos for the contest.
“The students on the Wilson Area Intermediate School team appeared really engaged and asked great questions,” said Nick Hoffman, a continuous improvement professional at Crayola. The Wilson team made a video of how Crayola manufactures crayons at its facility.
“I think the big takeaway is the vast opportunities…there’s a lot of different areas you can go,” Hoffman said. These can include working in logistics, procurement and engineering, he added.
The event included a networking hour with local manufacturers displaying their products.
“Another big focus for us is getting talent in our pipeline,” said Tricia Bowman, marketing communications project manager at Julabo of Hanover Township, Lehigh County, a temperature control manufacturer. “We were really blown away by what the students did.”
Bowman said the students learned there is more to manufacturing than just the hands-on technical piece and they just need exposure to the different types of jobs available.
Julabo worked with a Catasauqua Middle School team of four students for their video.
“I was very impressed that they retained everything they learned,” said Janine Hemond, the team’s coach and a teacher at the school. “Our goal is just to guide them. The technology is what they do.”
The team started in November and it typically takes three months for them to work on it to create a 2 ½ minute video, she said.
Starting on March 30, local middle school and high-school students will have an exciting opportunity to win cash prizes while also learning about engineering. Sponsored by the Lehigh Valley Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (LVASCE), the Lehigh Valley Bridge Design Contest is an annual internet-based competition in which student teams will design highway bridges, using an award-winning educational software package called the Bridge Designer. This software is a simplified version of the computer programs used by practicing structural engineers to design real-world bridges. It can be downloaded for free from the contest website (http://bridgedesigner. org/) and will run on either Windows or Mac computers.
The contest will begin with a Qualifying Round, conducted from March 30 to April 27, 2020. During this period, teams will download the Bridge Designer software, use it to design and test a bridge based on realistic requirements, and then submit their designs by e-mail for judging. To be eligible for judging, each design must pass a simulated load test performed by the Bridge Designer software. For designs that pass the load test, the basis for judging is low cost. During the Qualifying Round, teams may enter as many times as they like. An on-line scoreboard will allow contestants to see which teams are leading at any given time.
On Saturday, May 9, the top ten teams from the Qualifying Round (five high school, and five middle school) will compete head-to-head in a two-hour Final Round competition, hosted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem. This Final Round competition will determine the winners. Each member of the top high school team will receive a $300 cash scholarship; and each member of the top middle school team will receive a $100 cash scholarship.
“We’re offering this contest to provide Lehigh Valley students with an opportunity to learn about engineering by actually engaging in the engineering design process,” says Stephen Ressler, LVASCE’s contest director. “Along the way, the kids will also learn a lot about bridges and how they work.”
Complete contest rules and entry procedures are provided on the Lehigh Valley Bridge Design Contest website.
“Good luck to all of our contestants,” says Ressler. “May the best bridge designer win!”
Stephen Ressler, P.E., Ph.D., is a member of the Lehigh Valley Section, American Society of Civil.
Educators in the region’s colleges and universities say they are seeing a steady growth in students interested in majoring in engineering disciplines, and the ones coming into their programs are showing more knowledge and have more hands-on experience than in the past.
Most see two main factors for the trend:
First is the availability of engineering jobs and the salaries. Second, the years of pushing the idea of engineering careers and other STEM fields to the young set are starting to pay off.
The current starting salary projection for Class of 2020 engineering graduates is $69,961 per year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Those salaries can be earned in a variety of fields.
In Pennsylvania, a number engineering disciplines are in demand.
The Workforce Development Board of the Greater Lehigh Valley named civil engineers, mechanical engineers and industrial engineers as some of the most in-demand engineering fields. Demand for skills in drafting, engineering and mapping technologies is also very strong.
At Penn State Lehigh Valley in Center Valley, which has a two-year engineering program, Tracey Carbonetto, a lecturer of mechanical engineering, said the majority of students on campus are in some sort of an engineering program. Mechanical, industrial, civil, aerospace and biomedical are among the top being studied, she said.
“There’s a lot of different directions an engineering career can take you,” she said. “And there’s a promise of a good job market. They’re not going to toil away for four years and then get out of school and they can’t find a job.”
At Elizabethtown College, which has a prominent engineering program in Lancaster County, engineering professor, Sara Atwood, said the growth in engineering interest has been significant.
“In the last 10 years we have definitely had a huge increase in engineering enrollment. We are essentially at capacity for our program,” Atwood said.
She said the engineering degree gives them skills they can use in engineering jobs or even in finance or law careers.
At Lehigh University in Bethlehem, which has one of nation’s top engineering programs, it’s harder to quantify an increase in demand, said Greg Tonkay, associate dean for academic affairs in the engineering college. Demand to get into Lehigh’s engineering program is always strong, he said.
“We tend not to see large changes in enrollment in engineering because the school tries to balance its enrollment in different programs,” Tonkay said.
He did note that the incoming students are coming with a level of know-how, hands-on experience and enthusiasm that he wasn’t seeing 10 years ago.
He credits scholastic STEM Programs for letting younger students experiment with engineering technologies and create real-world projects that go beyond basic academic lectures.
“There was a time prior to the STEM push, where students had no experience working with their hands,” Tonkay said. “Society as a whole doesn’t fix as much anymore, so there’s no tinkering. STEM started a bunch of activities that are hands on so they can decide if it’s something they want to do or not.
Atwood said such programs have helped to increase women enrollment.
“We’ve seen that the effects of such programs have doubled the percent of women in engineering and more people are being exposed to it at an earlier age,” Atwood said. “10 years ago people came in here and didn’t really know what engineering meant.”
Karen Buck, manager of workforce initiatives for the Manufacturers Resource Center of the Lehigh Valley, said there are many academic programs being developed throughout the state of Pennsylvania to expose younger people to opportunities in engineering from actual lesson plans that focus on engineering subjects to extracurricular efforts.
She pointed to the “What’s so Cool About Manufacturing” contests, which sends eighth grade students into manufacturers to create videos about their operations, as a popular program that began in Lehigh and Northampton counties seven years ago and is debuting in Central Pennsylvania this year.
There is also a “Dream Team” of recent engineering grads that go into schools to talk to school students about engineering opportunities.
“This is good because they’re getting to talk to people a little closer to their age,” Buck said.
Carbonetto said bio-medical fields and green technology are also attracting students that hope to use their education to shape a better world.
“In the bio-medical file all of these possibilities are becoming feasible,” she said. “These students have the option to do something that may be remarkable. They can have an impact on the world when they’re 22-23 years old.”
What book are you reading right now?: “Better Buses, Better Cities.”
If you were stranded on a desert island, what non-essential items would you want with you? : I would take my acoustic guitar. I would take The Beatles “Rubber Soul” album and I would learn it from front to back and would take “The Godfather Parts 1 and 2” and watch them.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to a younger you, what would it be?: I would say, be mindful of the fact that your perspective will change over your lifetime.
If you could bring one thing to the Lehigh Valley from anywhere in the world, what would it be? A greater desire for a lifestyle less dependent on cars.
Are you a print person or digital?: Digital for business and print for pleasure.
Something your co-workers don’t know about you?: I don’t actually enjoy wearing a suit and tie.
When you were a child, you wanted to be… In the construction trades. I always thought I’d be involved in building things.
What’s your dream vacation?: An extended stay in a European or U.K. city. For all these reasons: the built environment, the history, the architecture, the public spaces.
Who are your fantasy dinner guests?: Ben Franklin. I would love to talk to him. John Lennon and Bill Murray. Franklin and Lennon for their humble beginnings and their accomplishments and their personal foibles and then Bill Murray, basically to keep it light and get Lennon riled up. I think it would be a heck of a dinner.
When you brag about the Lehigh Valley to people outside the area, you say… That it is a great place to raise a family. I made a conscious decision to move back here for that reason. My wife and I bought a house in West Philadelphia but when the time came, this was where we wanted to raise our children. We are very active in the community.
What’s your guilty pleasure?: Baked goods, especially chocolate.
What makes for a great day?: There’s a certain look I get from my kids that makes me feel like a great father, so when that happens that’s a pretty good day.
With almost 30 years of experience in the civil engineering industry, Matthew Malozi of Bethlehem has taken on a variety of leadership roles over the years and formed a new company earlier this year.
Named Civitas Regio, the small consulting firm formed in April and occupies office space in Velocity, an incubator in downtown Allentown.
Using the words “citizenship” and “region,” in its name, the firm aims to embody the ideals of shared responsibility, common purpose and sense of community with an area distinguished by similar features, such as a neighborhood.
It’s that community and neighborhood focus, coupled with the longevity of engineering experience that Malozi and his staff share that allow the firm to tackle many local projects with a broad range of engineering, planning and environmental services.
Malozi previously worked at RETTEW Associates Inc. for seven years, and Traffic Planning & Design Inc. for nearly 20 before deciding to start a new company.
As co-founder and president of Civitas Regio, Malozi helps both private and public sector clients with civil engineering and related services.
He also volunteers and offers professional leadership in a number of capacities in the community, including serving on the city of Bethlehem Planning Commission, the Bethlehem Area School District, and the American Council of Engineering Companies Eastern Pa. Chapter.
He recently sat down with Lehigh Valley Business to share details about himself and his approach to doing business in the Lehigh Valley.
LVB: What got you interested in the engineering field?
Looking back at my age now, I enjoy the built environment. If I had not gone to college, I would probably be in the building trades now. Upon graduation from college, my first job was with a transportation-engineering firm. I enjoyed the subject matter very much but I enjoyed taking a step back and being able to see the big picture of the operation of an engineering firm and preferably, a very employee-focused operation.
My second job with RETTEW was a much larger organization when I joined, about 500 people when I started there. Upon reflecting, in starting this organization, I found I was energized by a smaller growth-oriented and agile company. Here, we talk about something and make a decision and we do it. I want to see where we can take it, how much it will grow.
LVB: What challenges do you see facing the engineering industry?
Staffing. If national unemployment is at 3.5 percent, in engineering, it’s 0 unemployment or pretty darn close to it. Everybody is working. Everybody is waiting for the fresh grads to come out of college. The talent supply is low right now. Business is good. The Lehigh Valley is diverse and growing at a constant and moderate pace, which is healthy. There’s opportunity here for a lot of different reasons. It’s a good time for engineering right now. I think civil engineering is an underrated profession.
LVB: What have been some of your favorite projects?
Urban infill and redevelopment projects have been my favorites. Taking underused parcels and putting them into productive use, particularly in the cities in the underutilized areas.
You can talk about sustainability but when you concentrate populations in areas that already have infrastructure in place you are not running power three miles out in a cornfield. There’s an overabundance of automobiles. We’re still terrible when it comes to transportation. Electric cars are not even going to solve it. Thirty percent of the mass of available land area in a city could be set aside for vehicle storage. More parking means less city for real estate.
The Seville in Easton, that’s the development of a surface parking lot in downtown Easton into a mixed-use retail-residential building. It’s fully approved so I would assume construction would begin next year. In terms of sustainability, it’s taking a low functioning piece of real estate in an urban core and putting it into productive use and eventually more residents in the downtown which is important to the economy and local community. The residential component in downtowns is so key. There haven’t been much market rate apartments in the downtown. It is adding to the diversity of housing options in the downtown.
LVB: How did you form your company?
The formation of the company was something that’s been in my mind for several years but what made it a go was meeting up with the right people to get it started. This was the right time. It was an opportune time with the economy here in the Lehigh Valley. We do a lot of due diligence for St. Luke’s real estate transactions and those involve surveys and environmental site assessments. [Other clients include] Liberty Property Trust, Peron Development, and Serfass Construction.
LVB: Where do you see the local economy heading?
I think it’s unlikely we’ll have a recession unless some disrupter occurs. The diversity of the Lehigh Valley economy across different sectors and our geographical position across the Northeast…will enable the constant and moderate growth to continue. The fact that we are in a decade of expansion is because it’s been so constant. I’m bullish for 2020 again with the dearth of available talent being a concern.
Health care, we expect that to be a very good field, warehousing and logistics, multifamily probably still has some life left in it but the demand seems to be there and particularly, urban development. I think the demand for urban living will remain strong. [And also] urban style living in a more suburban setting with open space contiguous to it. There’s density to it but it’s out in a township. Those sectors will continue to expand.
LVB: What person influenced you the most and why?
Malozi: My response would be, who hasn’t influenced me? There are teachers, professors. If I had to choose one, I would choose Ben Franklin because I went to the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin started that. Those years that I spent there were so formative to me as a person. I study him and the school he founded was a major influence. Those years and the time I spent there were hugely transformative for me. Franklin I would say is more of a role model.
As the fall semester begins, Lafayette College in Easton officially opens its new $75 million Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center on Monday.
The 103,000-square-foot-project aims to integrate critical skills in science, technology, engineering and math while bringing together disciplines in biology, computer science, environmental science and neuroscience.
The college hopes the increased focus on collaboration and diversity will bring students enhanced learning opportunities to build skills that employers want.
Faculty have moved into the center and the college will have a formal dedication in September, said Alison Byerly, president of Lafayette College.
“This is really going to be a signature academic building for the college,” Byerly said. “The teaching spaces are designed for lots of flexibility. It shows our commitment to the future at Lafayette.”
The college connected the center to the adjacent Acopian Engineering Center on Anderson Courtyard and included its Dyer Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the building. The design aims to bring together students, faculty and external partners to develop solutions to real-world problems. A large multi-use area anchored by a flexible maker space serves as the new headquarters for the Dyer Center.
Additionally, the Integrated Sciences Center includes a new Center for Inclusive STEM Education, with the goal of addressing the need to recruit more women and underrepresented minorities to the field.
The connection between engineering and the sciences is very visible with the building, Byerly added.
“The spaces encourage collaboration and reflect the fact that the way we teach science here is very hands-on,” she said.
Overall, the center should help build skills useful in a job setting, she added.
“It will certainly help as we are in our growth mode,” Byerly said.
The center should help the college boost admissions, she said.
Every other year, the college has added about 50 new students. For this school year, the college admitted 701 students and 20 transfers, which is up from 635 students several years ago.
Lafayette College named the center after S. Kent Rockwell, a 1966 graduate and benefactor of the 192-year-old college.
Boston-based architectural firm Payette designed the project. Turner Construction of Philadelphia is the construction firm.
An engineering consulting firm with an office in the Lehigh Valley is expanding.
Red Bank, New Jersey-based Maser Consulting, which has a local office in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, has acquired a lab-testing firm, Craig Testing Laboratories of Mays Landing, New Jersey.
Craig Testing is a materials testing laboratory operation for soils, aggregate, concrete, and asphalt.
It will bring in house some of the services that Maser previously had to outsource to other companies and will help Maser’s capacity to provide geotechnical engineering, construction observation and testing, and special inspection services.
The lab will be used for all of Maser’s offices.
The company expects having Craig Testing will improve quality control and schedule control, which will provide an added benefit to its clients.
Maser has over 900 employees located in 12 states and 32 offices nationwide.
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