WSB Branded Background

WSB hires Andy Kaiyala to oversee the firm’s construction technology and project control efforts

As vice president, Kaiyala will work across divisions and regions to support the firm’s growing project controls team and digital delivery efforts.

Andy Kaiyala

Engineering and consulting firm WSB announced today that Andy Kaiyala has joined the organization as their vice president of construction technology and controls. Kaiyala will oversee WSB’s project controls team and will support the firm’s advancement of digital delivery in the contractor market across regions and divisions.

The role was developed in response to the growing availability of project delivery methods, including Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) and progressive design build.

“The entire AEC Industry is recognizing the value of a more transparent process that is being driven by digital delivery,” said Jon Chiglo, chief operating officer at WSB. “With Andy’s expertise, WSB will guide our clients through a process that mitigates risk and reduces conflict for all stakeholders throughout the project.”

Kaiyala was most recently with The Lane Construction Corporation, a construction engineering company specializing in large, complex civil infrastructure, where he served as the vice president of bid development. In this role, he oversaw bid development from coast to coast. Throughout his 20+ year career, Kaiyala has gained insight from working for contractors, managed field operations, oversaw contract negotiations and led client engagement.

“WSB is uniquely committed to advancing innovation while understanding that a highly skilled, qualified individual is still needed to properly employ technology,” said Kaiyala. “The beauty of digital delivery is that it’s inherently transparent. The momentum in our industry will continue to advance and will result in many benefits for contractors, owners and engineers.

Kaiyala will support WSB’s construction division that offers many services including design-build, alternative project delivery, contractor modeling, pavement management and surveying.

3D design

Our Approach to Digital Delivery

Introducing Digital Plus

The future of project delivery

Beyond paperless

For many years, the AEC industry has been embracing advancements in the way we deliver projects.  Paperless plans were the first step in this process. Fast forwarding to today, paperless plans have evolved one step further. People often refer to any digital plan set as paperless, but at WSB, we take our designs one step beyond paperless by creating 100% models. 100% models mean the entire project is created and designed in 3D.

100% models house data and design information from the entire project lifecycle, leaving owners and contractors with an accurate, detailed, data-based model to support asset management needs well into the future.

The development of DigitalPlus

WSB is committed to leading our industry in the use of cutting-edge tools to work smarter.  As a firm, we’ve been at the leading edge of digital delivery efforts for many years.  Our approach is unique and one that has been internationally recognized as a best practice in digital project delivery.  To help tell this story, we created DigitalPlus. 

DigitalPlus is the future of digital delivery. Through a combination of cutting-edge tools, expertise and a commitment to innovation, we are shaping the way our industry delivers projects. We believe in advanced project delivery, and we know how to apply the right technology and expertise to support our infrastructure needs. Through DigitalPlus, we are setting new standards, developing best practices and changing our industry’s approach to multidimensional digital design.

Why DigitalPlus

As engineers, we are motivated by the opportunities to design infrastructure projects that support our communities. The infrastructure around us has a significant impact on our daily lives. From drafting plan sets to public meetings, we live in the details and embrace the full process.  We also embrace the advancements in our industry and how we can leverage technology to deliver better projects for our clients.

The benefits

  • Improve Quality
  • Sustainability
  • Enhanced Scheduling
  • Better Managed Risk
  • Relationship Management (Contractors | Owners)
  • Improve Cost
  • Increase Collaboration and Communication

What is DigitalPlus

A combination of expertise and cutting-edge tools.

Data Collection

Data is the foundation of any good project. We use several traditional data collection methods to gather data points that help paint a picture of the world around us. Good data is vital to the DigitalPlus process.

3D Design

Designing in 3D allows us to develop the project while providing a complete and accurate picture of the final product, significantly improving project outcomes.

4D / 5D

4D/5D modeling improves accuracy and efficiency by adding time and cost functions into design. The true power lies in the way a model can be used during preliminary design, final design and throughout construction.

Asset Management

Asset Management is the collection of an agency’s infrastructure assets and includes a plan for managing assets over the infrastructure’s lifespan. Through digital twins, assets can be managed virtually and accurately.

Utility Coordination

Digital delivery aids utility coordination by translating utility information into a 3D environment that can be compared with the design to identity and mitigate conflicts.


Real-time 3D visualization has completely transformed site-specific review and public engagement efforts. Visualizations allow for active participation regardless of project scope and size.

Traffic Operations

Through simulation technology and trip-origin destination data, roadway designs are now guided by real-time and historical mobility movement data.

Integrated Project Delivery

A process, rather than a project that all starts with an idea. Through a combination of expertise and cutting-edge tools, land developers and owners identify opportunities and challenges before a project begins.

Machine Control Modeling

Using 3D models and GPS data, machine control modeling allows earthwork machinery to be accurately positioned. Design surfaces, grades and alignments are directly imported into construction equipment, resulting in increased accuracy and timelines.

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Infrastructure resiliency

Green Infrastructure & Improving Project Resiliency

By Jake Newhall, Project Manager and Ray Theiler, Project Engineer, WSB

Extreme rainfall events are seemingly occurring more frequently than in the past. The frequency at which Americans are experiencing severe weather events due to climate change means building resiliency into infrastructure is more critical than ever. The influx of funding made available from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package is giving many communities unprecedented opportunities to make significant infrastructure improvements, and it’s important for community leaders to explore how resiliency in planning and building can bring both short and long-term benefits.

One solution to build resiliency in planning is through green infrastructure, which helps absorb water and emulate natural water cycles. Green infrastructure can significantly reduce environmental impacts and pollution and can also be far more resilient and economical for communities.

Exploring Green Infrastructure & Solutions to Improve Resiliency

As communities explore resiliency and green infrastructure, they must first consider their specific needs and impacts. From there, they can determine projects that most greatly benefit from investment in green infrastructure. Resiliency comes in many forms and can be built into a wide variety of community projects.

Is your community prone to flooding? Stormwater-related infrastructure including stormwater re-use for irrigation, allowing park space to flood during large events, incorporating overland overflows into drainage systems, tree planting to improve canopy, and slope stabilization can all be environmentally friendly and help reduce impacts from extreme weather events. Does your area often face drought or water shortage? Reuse of stormwater for irrigation also reduces the burden on potable water and depleted aquifers. There are also private entities and smaller public projects that can build in conservation practices to reduce impact like rooftop gardens or native landscaping. Aging service lines can be replaced to improve resiliency and drinking water quality.

Transit and roadway improvement can also include green infrastructure that strengthens resiliency and reduces environmental impact. Some alternatives include tree trenches, native plantings, vegetated depressed medians, incorporating linear best management practices, and evaluating retrofits to the existing storm sewer system as part of transportation infrastructure planning will improve sustainability.  

Think Ahead & Think Big Picture

With the influx of additional federal dollars available for infrastructure projects, communities must think ahead and think big. Whether it’s getting on the project priority list, putting forward a feasibility plan, or including green infrastructure early in a transportation project planning process, thorough, thoughtful preparation is key and can help ensure your project secures funding.

It’s also vital for communities to go back and look at projects that may have been previously out of budget or may have not quite made the cut due to other projects competing for limited grant dollars. The federal infrastructure law provides another meaningful opportunity to secure funding for projects that may have previously been out of reach.

Plus, if a community plans a project with big picture thinking – like a transit project that includes all the green infrastructure planning up front, for example – it can improve the odds of scoring higher in the grant application process, as well as provide long-term social benefits and economic savings. It’s often easier to build all at once, rather than do piecemeal fixes later.

How WSB Can Help

If your community is exploring how it can tap into opportunities to improve infrastructure resiliency and invest in green infrastructure, WSB can help.

Our firm can inventory lead water service lines with our GIS services. Our team can help review capital projects, risk areas, or identify how to score higher on project grant applications and better utilize funding. We design, plan, and build green infrastructure projects that help communities better manage and protect their water and other natural resources. WSB can also help communities navigate the project priority list and intended use plan process.

Every project is different, and every community is different. But as we face a changing climate and more severe weather events, green infrastructure and more resilient infrastructure is critical to communities, residents, and our environment.

Jake has more than 15 years of engineering experience designing and managing many types of water resources projects, including modeling, planning, design, maintenance programs, and construction. Jake has worked with various municipalities, counties and state agencies to solve challenging water quality and water quantity problems.

[email protected] | 763.231.4861

Ray is a Project Engineer specializing in project planning, feasibility studies, computer modeling, preliminary and final design, bidding, construction management, grant writing, wellhead protection planning, risk assessments, emergency response planning, community engagement, and state water permitting.

r[email protected] | 612.360.3163

Writing an RFP to Maximize your Project’s Potential

By Lori Johnson, Sr Professional Community Planner and Laura Melcher, Sr Business Development Coordinator, WSB

Government leaders, whether at the city, county, or state level, face numerous engineering and infrastructure project needs that often require outside consultants and experts. When putting together a request for proposal (RFP), communities have an opportunity to better communicate those needs and requirements to improve the responses they receive. A well-written and informative RFP allows you to find the right outside partner to meet your needs. 

Below are some ways government staff can build a concise, well-organized, and effective RFP to ensure hiring the right consultant to reach your goals.

Communities can get more out of their consultants and establish better relationships by writing an RFP that lays out clear expectations and goals. A higher level of detail in your RFP will increase the responding firms ability to meet and exceed your RFPs expectations. 

Here are a few things to consider when composing your RFP:

  1. Be specific and customize your RFP. It’s important to clearly outline specific sections that you would like answered so that every detail is accounted for, ensuring firms can provide meaningful details on how to accomplish your goals.  
  2. Be detailed about your specific project. The more details you can provide upfront the better. This will allow consultants to be more specific in their writing, better showcase their applicable skills, and maximize potential without guessing at what should be included or how their services will meet your requirements. 
  3. Highlight your top priorities and concerns. By being open about what is most important, what concerns exist, and what stakeholders will be involved in a project, consultants are able to better understand exactly who they need to bring in from their team and how they can provide proper support and expertise. 
  4. Allow time for questions and communication with potential partners. Creating set times for potential firms to connect and ask questions, like a virtual Zoom session, is helpful to ensure no details are missed and applicants have a clear picture of your expectations. Having these meetings at least two weeks prior to the submission date is helpful, as consultants work on specific timelines to ensure you get a quality proposal. 
  5. Ensure that your RFP defines specific submission requirements and clear deadlines. There should be at least one month between the release of an RFP to its application deadline, as this allows firms to put meaningful time and effort into a proposal. If you have a good idea about how the proposal should be organized, page number requirements can be used to ensure the consultant is concise and follows directions. It is also helpful to be clear if the submission should be electronic or printed and mailed. The address or contact email should be given to allow the consultant to deliver it on time and to the correct location/person.
  6. Provide a clear budget when possible and comprehensive scoring criteria. Every project has a budget and budget limitations. Communicating that information will help a firm build a proposal that fits within your budget. Make sure you accurately communicate how you weigh different sections of a proposal. If the budget is weighted heavily, state that clearly in your RFP. 
  7. If a firm isn’t awarded the contract, offer honest insight and feedback. After interviewing firms or evaluating the proposals, you must choose the right one for your project. For those who weren’t chosen, provide honest feedback. This ensures that consultants gain a better understanding of what they can improve for next time. A good consultant will take constructive criticism and use it to make their proposals better in the future. This will also serve to build a trusted relationship with the firm.

Following these steps to create a more effective RFP will help to ensure you hire the right consultant to meet your community’s unique needs. 

Lori has more than 25 years of experience working in a municipal planning department, having worked her way up through the planning department at the City of Blaine to become their city planner. She has worked in all aspects of city planning activities including project management, site plan and application review, public participation and long range planning.

[email protected] | 612.364.3029

Laura is a business development professional with over eight years of experience in the construction and engineering industry. She works with clients and internal teams to develop strategic solutions. Her experience in the construction industry across the United States has given her valuable insight on projects from the opportunity phase all the way through to the execution and completion of the construction project.

[email protected] | 615.772.4555

Photo of Trees and Tree Canopy

Define, Preserve, and Increase Tree Canopy Cover to Support Sustainability Goals

By Emily Ball, Forestry Program Manager, WSB

Green infrastructure is a term that has gained momentum recently. It refers to the framework and benefits humans can harness by building, preserving, or maintaining a resilient natural system. Green infrastructure solves some of our most pressing drainage, heat, air, and water quality problems, particularly in areas with the most population. Trees are one of the most vital and effective green infrastructure components that contribute to many cities’ sustainability goals. From stormwater interception and soil conservation to carbon storage and sequestration to improving air quality and reducing heat island effects; tree canopy cover provides many benefits.

Sustainability Goal: Preserve or Increase Canopy Cover

Tree Canopy

Increasing tree canopy cover over time can have a large impact on a community’s sustainability efforts. To meet that goal, the first step is to understand the current canopy cover and perform a “look back” to examine past trends. To gain an understanding, the USDA Forest Service has a free i-Tree Canopy application that quantifies canopy cover across the community.  In the 7-county area of the Twin Cities, communities can use the Metropolitan Council’s “Growing Shade” mapping tool to observe canopy cover and develop goals based on local issues and priorities.  Another step is to quantify the number of ash trees in the community through a tree inventory. All ash trees are at a risk of death which will negatively impact canopy cover if not preserved.

Mature shade trees have a bigger canopy so they can capture and store more carbon than their newly planted counterparts. They also provide the most ecosystem benefits – all compelling reasons to preserve what is already established, while also adding new trees. If an inventory has not yet been performed, the community must determine if a statistical sample will be adequate or if a full tree inventory should be performed. Issues related to data collection variables, potential stratification of the city, long-term management and storage of the data must be considered.  

This quantification work requires expertise, months of implementation, and often exceeds staff time or budgets designated to accomplish the work. While many communities have planners or sustainability staff, they may lack the expertise that a city forester or an ISA-certified arborist has. Even in a community with a thriving forestry program, managing routine work may be at capacity and carrying out projects like a canopy analysis may not fit into the work plan.

How WSB Can Help

Whether it is achieving a Green Step Cities best practice, part of a larger sustainability or climate action plan, WSB staff are prepared to help you define, preserve, and increase your canopy cover with Forestry, Natural Resource and Sustainability experts. We help our clients assess existing canopy, explore trends, provide an inventory to assess species diversity and resiliency, define the ecosystem benefits that public trees are already providing, and examine tangible steps to preserve existing canopies. With the community’s goals in mind and data, we provide a clear strategy to maximize canopy cover over time.

Emily brings 20 years of experience, primarily in community forestry. She has extensive experience in contract administration, management of staff, AmeriCorps members and contractors, budget and grant management, plan review, tree health and condition inspections, outreach and education. She works closely with partner organizations, staff, and the community to educate, manage natural resources and provide excellent customer service. | 651.318.9945

Using ipad

Q&A with Bret Weiss | Planting a flag

Five years ago, Bret Weiss, WSB’s President & CEO, walked into an all-staff meeting and said, “Beginning now, we are a technology firm.” Today, this statement rings true. WSB is still a design and consulting firm dedicated to building the places, spaces and systems that support our lives, but in everything we do, we look through a technology lens.   

In this Q&A, Weiss discusses WSB’s commitment to innovation and why he embraced disruption early on.

Why technology?

In many industries, technology has drastically impacted processes, deliverables and has had significant impacts on cost, quality and speed to market.  The AEC space is no different.  There are both tangible and intangible benefits to use new tools and technology that produce real results and help us meet our client demands. Many in our industry are comfortable with how we have always done it and I saw software solutions as an opportunity to differentiate our firm.  We have always tried to think like successful businesses outside our industry and want to be on the leading edge. Our commitment to advanced technology and project delivery will continue to further set us apart. There are countless internal staff and external client benefits that come from driving technological advancement for the industry.  We felt like a strong base in technology was the perfect place to position WSB.

“Beginning now, we are a technology firm.”

Bret Weiss
What type of reaction did you get from staff after you stated that WSB was a technology firm?

There were varied responses – some confusion, a lot of excitement and many questions. Obviously, we’re still a design and consulting firm, but it’s the way we deliver our projects that’s different and creating real impact.  We wanted to drive that home for staff.  The use, development and adoption of technology is a priority for our firm. Change can be hard for any industry.  A bold introduction was necessary.  Like with any change, there was some hesitancy in adjusting what’s already working, but the benefits speak for themselves, and it’s been something staff and clients have grown increasingly excited about.

You’ve been vocal about the importance of embracing change. How do you know when a change is the right one?

There is always a certain amount of risk associated with change and we are constantly evaluating any potential risk to our company, staff, and clients.  With any change, you will encounter resistance and may experience a slow transition, but that’s where we weigh the benefits of change.  Our culture is built on curiosity and experimentation with new ideas but is balanced with a swift evaluation of what has potential and what won’t meet our expectations.

My goal is to lead WSB to deliver better projects for our clients and the communities we serve. Any change that supports these efforts is something we’re willing to explore. We have a strong leadership team that is committed to new solutions, and we are committed to developing partnerships to help us on this journey.

We want to help build better infrastructure through streamlined approaches that are mutually beneficial for all parties. Whether it’s safer infrastructure, working conditions or cost savings and better schedules, the benefits must outweigh the risk.  We constantly review how technology could advance WSB and our deliverables, which is well worth the risk and has allowed us to grow in new areas of our industry.

When did you know WSB’s commitment to technology was going to be successful?

Our staff have always embraced curiosity and our business has been built on thinking differently.  There were a lot of milestones that helped build our momentum.  We hired new staff to grow our expertise, we collaborated with strategic partners, and we worked closely with clients who shared a vision for advancing our industry and leading digital delivery efforts. 

There are so many examples of where we have succeeded with developing, using and enhancing technology. The success we have had has spread throughout WSB and all our staff understand the importance of using technology to advance our clients goals. I’m excited about the progress we’ve made, but I’m looking forward to what’s next in our digital evolution.