Schools and Earthquake Safety: Identifying Alaska’s Most Vulnerable School Buildings


The Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission conducted rapid visual screening of several school districts to help identify the most vulnerable schools and allow the state to prioritize limited capital resources. To find out more about the Alaska Schools Earthquake Safety, and see out how certain school buildings measured up, review the report here.

You can also learn more by visiting the commission website, here.

APDC President’s Letter, October 2018


Letter from the President

The success of a nonprofit professional organization like APDC depends on a number of interrelated functions that, when combined, provide value for its members.


Value: The very existence of a nonprofit organization requires a strong focus on mission achievement, how well the organization is filling a need. APDC’s core mission is to advance the standards of education, training, and practice of design professions. To further that mission, APDC maintains contact with the state board of registration, advises state and local agencies and the legislature on regulations and guidelines that improve safe designs, supports education in sciences and mathematics, and lobbies for sound funding of capital improvements.

Board: Building and maintaining a strong board is essential to success, as the organization’s direction and belief in the mission should permeate through the members.  A good Board is diverse in skill, willing to share in their knowledge, and committed to positive results above self-interest.  Board composition should be reviewed regularly to ensure the organization maintains the right balance of skills and diversity.  Recently, the APDC Board made some strategic changes to its governance process to improve sustainability of the organization.

Volunteers: APDC simply would not exist without a passionate, supportive volunteer base, some who have been actively involved with APDC long after their service on the Board. These individuals selflessly commit their time and money to serve on committees, organize speaking points, and travel to Juneau to meet with our legislators. Additionally, their continued service provides valuable education and mentorship to train the next generations of APDC volunteers.

Public Relations: An organization that is filling a need and doing good work is a fantastic thing, but does the community know this? A thorough communications plan that focuses on cultivating relationships, sharing updates on challenges and goals, and providing proof of the organization’s impacts will go further in support of the organization than simply asking for money. With the help of volunteers experienced in social media and a true desire to make a difference, APDC recently revamped its Communication Plan that included an updated website, regular news feeds, an interactive LinkedIn site, and a monthly E-News. APDC’s communications committee has been diligent in providing frequent, relevant news pertinent to the organization’s value.

Funds: A nonprofit is no different than a for-profit business in that they both need funds to operate. The difference is that a nonprofit raises funds through donations. Fundraising is a whole lot easier when your organization provides value for the donor, has a history of meeting its goals, and can provide concrete results with updates through transparent communications. APDC uses its funds to provide value through hiring a lobbyist to keep us informed on state legislative issues relevant to our member organizations as well as an editor to maximize our communications effort.

Ultimately, it takes all spokes of the wheel working together to move the organization forward. I feel APDC is aligned to do that and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Nathan Dennis Joins R&M Consultants

Nathan Dennis

Nathan Dennis joins R&M Consultants, INC as an environmental Specialist in their Environmental Services Group. He will be responsible for ongoing regulatory compliance, permitting, environmental baseline monitoring, Phase I and II environmental site assessments (ESA), general contaminated sites work, NEPA impact analysis, SWPPP implementation and other related environmental services in support of highway, street, airport, site development, waterfront and other infrastructure projects.

Click here to read the full press release.

ASCE + 3D Nation Study Survey


ASCE section president Carl Uchytil was invited to a NOAA Hydrographic Survey Review Panel. As a result, the panel is asking for participation in a survey pertaining to 3D Nation (review summary here).   The 3D Nation Study has the potential to greatly improve the topographic and bathymetric data available to coastal engineers & surveyors working in Alaska.

Click on this link to complete the survey before September 28th.


UAA College of Engineering Fall 2018 Career Fair

The UAA College of Engineering Fall 2018 Career Fair will be from 9 am to 3 pm Wednesday, September 26 in the UAA Student Union. The fair provides an opportunity for employers to network with students and discuss potential employment opportunities and internships. Vendor attendance is free and parking fees covered by the College of Engineering. Deadline to register is Monday, September 24, by 12 noon. See the attached article for more details and contact information. UAA Career Fair

APDC President Letter, September 2018


One of the APDC’s founding purposes is to advocate for the procurement of professional design services in accordance with Federal Law (Public Law 92-582, Section 902) and Alaska State Statutes (AS 36.30.770), commonly known as the Brooks Act and the Mini-Brooks Act, respectively. These laws require any Federal or State Agency soliciting professional design services to not consider cost but rather use Qualifications Based Selection (QBS) criteria.

QBS is the standard by which all Architecture, Engineering, and Land Surveying services are selected for project work. Unfortunately, QBS criteria is often supplemented with a lowest-cost scoring criteria or replaced entirely with cost-based selection.

APDC’s standard approach to combat QBS violation includes writing letters requesting the selection agency revise their process to exclude costs. In most cases, our letters are ignored or we are told that the offending agency is precluded from the law. Our legislators are sympathetic to our cause and support the QBS process, but they are often too busy with other issues to assist.

I would like to suggest a different approach. I challenge all firms that typically respond to these RFPs to take a stand for the professions of Architecture, Engineering and Land Surveying by not responding to RFPs that include cost as evaluation criterion. One of the paramount attributes of the design professional is ethical integrity. The law clearly states that QBS is the standard by which professional design services are to be selected, and thus responding to RFPs that include cost could be viewed as an ethical violation. If we as an industry all choose integrity and to not to respond to cost-based solicitations, procurement standards will be forced to change.

I encourage you to consider this active support of QBS and welcome your unique perspectives and feedback as professionals.