Full Circle Sustainability from Coast to Coast

January 13, 2023

By Tony Havranek, Director of Fisheries, WSB

WSB & FisH2O are helping manage invasive species, protecting wildlife, enhancing water quality, and creating a more resilient future.

Aquatic Invasive Species are behind some of the most drastic changes to freshwater systems in the world today. They are impacting the ecology and water quality of many bodies of water across the U.S We went one step beyond mitigation when we formed FisH20, a subsidiary that grew from WSB’s innovative species management services.

Since 2019, FisH20 has expanded in scope, services and markets served across the U.S. Today, local governments, commercial fishers, lake associations, and wildlife protection agencies are among our partners. Together, we’re providing customized solutions that make an impact and build a more resilient tomorrow.

WSB is working with tribal, county, and state leaders to save Clear Lake hitch – an endangered species found only in Northern California. Currently in its first phase, WSB is conducting a carp assessment. 

WSB partnered with a local lake association to mitigate against silver an big head carp, ensuring the lake is safe for recreation.

Based in Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, FisH2O helps manage invasive species and protect water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams across the state.

FisH2O fish are transported through Wisconsin where they are flushed with freshwater and await transport to further locations.

Semi trucks transport millions of pounds of FisH2O carp where they are unloaded and held in ponds until they are ready for market.

New York
FisH2O fresh fish travel to New York where they are sold to restaurants, wholesalers, and retailers.

North Carolina
WSB has advised and helped the North Carolina Fish & Wildlife Services obtain a grant that will support the management of invasive species, enhance water quality, and protect local wildlife and ecosystems.

Geospatial Data

Geospatial Data

January 11, 2023

The Foundation of Digital Delivery

Geospatial data is information that involves large sets of data gathered from a variety of diverse sources based on location. In the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) Industry, we depend on geospatial data to build and design infrastructure. Strong data is the foundation of any digital delivery project. Capturing geospatial data for infrastructure projects is the first step in the digital delivery workflow.

The five ways we gather thousands of accurate data points to improve design methods and increase speed and accuracy.

Reality Capture for 4D / 5D

High resolution drones capture thousands of photos that overlap at different angles to create a geospatially accurate reality capture of an entire site. The reality capture contains accurate lengths, depths, and heights.  To increase accuracy, the geospatial data is tied to survey ground control points.  Once the data is processed, it can be input into many different design software, serving as the first step in digital delivery.

Interior/Indoor Scanning

Using a tripod and LIDAR scanner, we collect thousands of data points. The scanner is moved around to cover the entire area, capturing points along the way, and is then uploaded into BIM software. This information can be used to create a robust asset management system.

WSB 360 – Google Street View

WSB 360º captures high-resolution 360º imagery that is used to detect and map a variety of assets as they exist today. Google imagery is often missing or out-of-date. By driving a street or an alley, data is gathered within minutes and uploaded to Google Maps and StreetView.  This technology is also used to capture, map, and classify road assets including hydrants, signs, power poles, and streetlights.

Traditional Surveying

Traditional surveying is performed by survey crews using tools to make measurements. Some refer to this as the most accurate form of data collection because of the boots on the ground element. There are proven methods of verifying accuracy and conventional survey has been performed for hundreds of years.

Conventional Drone | 2D & 3D Reality Captures

With conventional drone data, we create 2D and 3D high-resolution imagery. This data serves as the foundation for 3D and 2D reality captures. 3D reality captures are developed when elevations are needed for digital design. 2D reality captures are developed when elevation isn’t necessary. In the past, satellite imagery was relied upon, which was often inaccurate and outdated. Through conventional drones, we can document a site accurately, in-depth, and within minutes.


The Top 5 Ways that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Benefits Communities

January 11, 2023

Late last fall, Congress passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which infused an astounding $1.2 trillion into our nation’s infrastructure. The package, which includes $550 billion in new federal spending over the next five years, gave local and state governments significant opportunities to fund infrastructure improvements over the next several years, and many communities have already taken advantage of this influx of funding.

Transportation, clean energy, clean water, broadband expansion, and more, gave communities across the country an unprecedented opportunity to invest in projects that will have a meaningful impact on the future for residents, businesses, and the environment.

How Have Communities Benefited from this Funding?

Every community is different, and every community’s needs are different, but here are some of the top ways that local leaders, planners, and governments have benefited from IIJA.

Advancing Bigger Projects Sooner & Removing Financial Roadblocks

Whether a large metropolitan city or a small rural town, every community has a list of needed infrastructure projects, but funding and resources are often limited. Communities must prioritize, and sometimes put larger projects on the back burner due to budget constraints.

TheIIJA is helping to change that mindset for many communities, giving leaders a greater opportunity to think big. Whether it’s getting on a project funding priority list, putting forward a feasibility plan, or thinking more comprehensively about the environment, transportation, or other community infrastructure needs, the federal infrastructure law has provided meaningful opportunities to secure funding for projects that may have previously been out of reach.

Viewing Projects Through an Equity Lens & Involving More Voices in Community Planning

Equity is a major component of IIJA, creating a real opportunity for communities to invest in projects that benefit traditionally underserved communities, as well as advance sizable projects that create a better community for all. Including equity in infrastructure project planning not only enhances local communities and benefits residents, but it also gives projects a competitive edge in securing dollars from the federal funding package. 

Many communities are viewing their infrastructure projects through an equity lens and incorporating more voices as they plan for the future.

Addressing Climate Change & Infrastructure Resiliency

Our climate is changing, and “once-in-a-century” storms no longer occur just once in a century. Higher temperatures, drought, more intense precipitation, wildfires, flooding, and changing ecosystems are all issues that impact communities’ infrastructure planning. Building greater resiliency in projects and planning for more extreme weather and climate events is critical and recognized within the IIJA funding.

Green infrastructure, innovative stormwater solutions, water reuse systems, native landscaping, and more can help mitigate risk and better protect populations, native species, and habitats.

Developing Brownfield Sites

Brownfields – previously developed sites that are no longer in use – are underutilized space that present real opportunities for economic, social, and environmental revitalization. However, they are often costly to redevelop. With more than $1.5 billion allocated to brownfields in the infrastructure package, many communities are taking advantage of the opportunity to move forward with brownfield projects, and expand their city’s tax base, grow jobs, build housing, and develop sites in ways that benefit residents and the community at large.

Building a More Sustainable Future

Sustainability is a fundamental component to infrastructure, and IIJA allows communities to invest in forward-looking projects that will have long term, positive environmental and social impacts. From electric vehicle charging stations and energy storage to ecological restoration, greater investment in sustainability is allowing local leaders to make bigger, more thoughtful investments that will help address climate change and resiliency.

Navigating a once-in-a-generation opportunity

Our team of funding experts help communities navigate grant applications, data gathering, project design and engineering, sustainability planning, stakeholder engagement, and more. IIJA is a once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment opportunity, and communities of all sizes can and should tap into the extraordinary opportunity for infrastructure improvement and investment.

Emotional Intelligence Header

Emotional Intelligence

Originally published in the Zweig Letter on December 18, 2022
By Jay Kennedy, Vice President of Texas Operations and Julie Thiel, Vice President of HR, WSB

Be thoughtful in how you approach and manage your emotions, and you will find success building and maintaining meaningful client relationships.

You have a meeting with a potential new client. You have the skills and expertise to bring meaningful results to their organization, but in today’s competitive market that’s just not enough. Approaching a new client relationship through the lens of emotional intelligence is critical to not only win and maintain new business, but it can also set you apart from your competitors.

Here are some ways you can think about your EQ when approaching a new client relationship.

What is EQ? What does emotional intelligence mean? It is the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage internal emotions. It also means understanding how to read the emotions of others to foster positive outcomes. EQ can help you overcome conflict, manage nerves and anxiety, and empathize with others. It takes practice, self-reflection, and self-awareness.

When approaching a new client relationship, flexing your EQ skills can also put you at an advantage to better listen to and really understand the client’s needs. Think of EQ as a tool in your toolbox, along with the technical expertise and skills you also bring to the client relationship.

Eight tips for approaching new client relationships. Having a high EQ means you can make emotions work for you in a constructive way. Here are some things to consider when approaching a new relationship with a client:

  1.  Practice self-reflection and self-awareness. Emotional intelligence is something that takes practice and ongoing self-reflection. Do you have weaknesses you need to overcome? Are you too informal in initial relationships before you know someone? Do you struggle to speak up and be assertive in group settings? Do you dominate conversations and cut people off during team meetings, rubbing some people the wrong way? Identifying your strengths and weaknesses and learning how to manage emotions will put you on a better footing with new clients.
  2.  Don’t approach a potential client meeting thinking you know everything. Clients are seeking your expertise, and they want to know what you bring to the table. But that doesn’t mean you should approach a new client meeting thinking you need to have all the answers. Stop, listen, and really pay attention to what the client needs, what they say, and how they say it. You’ll be able to offer more insightful solutions, as well as build a stronger working relationship.
  3.  Speak up. Listening is important, but clients are meeting with you because they want to hear what you have to say. Often, people feel more comfortable speaking up and offering contrary opinions when they are with people they know well. With new clients, understanding how to offer constructive critique or differing opinions is important to guide them in a positive direction. Find a balance to ensure you’re listening and offering input without dominating the conversation.
  4.  Prepare, prepare, and prepare. Meeting with a potential client is a high-pressure situation, and many people feel anxious approaching a new business relationship. But EQ is about managing emotions, and that means managing your anxiety. Preparing thoroughly for a proposal or presentation and doing your research can help you overcome nerves and make a stronger case on why you are the best person or firm for the job.
  5.  Reframe your state of mind. It takes conscious effort to change negativity into positivity, but reframing your emotions is helpful to build self-confidence. Feeling anxious about a client proposal? Instead, reframe your thoughts that you are feeling excited. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Instead, you’re feeling motivated to succeed. Your internal “talk track” can make your emotions work to your advantage.
  6.  Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Empathy is vital to growing your EQ, and putting yourself in the client’s shoes can help you better understand their ideas, concerns, challenges, and how you can best help. It’s also important to remember that they view their time as valuable, and they are giving you some of that time because they want to hear what you have to say. Approaching a client meeting with that attitude can help foster a positive relationship with your new client.
  7.  Watch out for anything that triggers a fight, flight, or freeze reaction. In a client meeting, are there answers you didn’t expect or prepare for? Did someone say something that put you on edge? Don’t get defensive. Understand that certain things may trigger your fight, flight, or freeze emotions. Managing your emotions during meetings and knowing you may run into something that makes you uncomfortable can help you redirect your emotions positively.
  8.  Approach client relationships as a partnership. As a consultant, your job is to help your client succeed. Understanding the give and take of client relationships can set the foundation for long, fruitful partnerships.

EQ can help grow your business, grow your career, and grow positive relationships. Be thoughtful in how you approach and manage your emotions, and you will find success building and maintaining meaningful client relationships and securing new business.  

Jay has over 30 years of experience managing municipal and civil engineering projects, including streets, storm sewers, water distribution systems, sanitary sewer systems, water and wastewater treatment, site grading, land use planning, and park improvements. Jay is particularly skilled at leading multi-discipline projects, developing capital and maintenance programs, and communicating with city staff, elected officials, and constituents. |  512.518.1819

Jay Kennedy

Thiel has more than 25 years of experience leading talent programs across multiple industries and is known for helping organizations amplify their current talent, build an attractive work culture and develop the next generation of authentic leaders. She focuses on driving implementation, developing actionable solutions, and creating a culture of inclusion and collaboration at WSB. |  612.237.1623