Monday, October 29, 2012

Why Participation in Industry Specific Organizations Matters

Many of us at Farnsworth Group are members of industry specific associations; however our level of participation may vary from time to time.  An association is an organized group of individuals with a common purpose, interest or activity. As engineers, architects, surveyors and scientists, associations are instrumental in establishing best practices, education, industry leadership and the technical standards that our industries follow.   Membership in associations is great; you get a membership card and something to add to your resume – but the real value is in active participation, and I don’t mean just going to a couple of meetings a year. Association membership and participation is important for those of us who are seeking to be engaged and take a leadership position in what drives our industry. 

What is the Gain?

Education and information sharing is a big part of what industry associations provide.  Associations host conferences, expositions and forums where you can contribute your knowledge and vision, as well as learn what others are doing.  These events are also a great place to gain a little cachet for sharing your expertise.  Many of our professional endorsements require continuing education of our professional knowledge.  So whether you’re there to learn, there to teach or both, you’ll find an opportunity for professional development and advancement.

Committee and board positions within an association is another way to be involved in sharing new ideas and practices that set standards for the industry and workplace.  These teams are a great place to get to know your peers and work together.  And, it’s a great way to give back.
And maybe the most obvious benefit of industry association membership and participation is the opportunity for networking.  Active participation allows you to cultivate relationships, build awareness of your value and thus be referable, which translates into business growth and opportunity with others in and around your field. 

Network with Us!

Stay in touch with us to find out where you can meet us face-to-face…

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Photography in Today's Age
By Amanda Payne

Photography has been an aspect of my life since I was a young girl.  When I was 16 years old, my parents bought me my first “real” camera.  This was not your typical Kodak disposable flash camera that I had been using; this was a Sony digital camera.  Suddenly I could take photos and see instant results.  If I didn’t like the shot, I could just delete it and take another.  As with all technology, once I had my Sony camera, I told everybody “I can never go back to those disposables.”  It is true.  This is what today’s technology has done.  It evolves and often makes us more efficient.  I love the ease of digital photography, but I also feel like I’ve lost a bit of touch with the “art” of photography, which tells a story.  
Certainly photography in our advanced world has steered us into a different direction than when I was younger.  When I was a child, it seemed the camera only got pulled out of the drawer or closet for special occasions.  And you never knew what that photo was going to look like until you dropped the film off at the drug store and returned to see what shot you got (or didn’t get!). 
Today, the camera is an everyday part of our lives.  Cameras are on cell phones, IPod’s … heck, even children’s Nintendo DS’s have a built-in camera.  These types of devices make it easy to generate photos on the internet so it is easily accessible for others to view.  Today there are nearly 7,000 photos uploaded per minute on Flickr.  You can snap a photo with your phone and a few seconds later make it available to the world on Facebook. With this many photos posted on the internet, it is as though photography is no longer a hobby or an art, but just a part of our everyday lives.  Today, everyone is a photographer on demand.   And I haven’t even mentioned all of the software available to ‘enhance’ your photos.
What do you think?  Is photography now simply a universal hobby?  With all these advancements in photography, it’s hard to imagine what’s next on the horizon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Water Conservation and the 2012 Drought
By the Bloomington Water/Wastewater Group

NOAA Seasonal Drought Outlook
As the weather begins to cool and fall continues into its second week, the abnormally hot and dry summer still lingers in the minds of many. Although some areas of the country have received some relief, more than 64% of the country is still experiencing moderate drought conditions or worse, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. These conditions are expected to persist, especially in the Midwest and Western United States.

This summer’s drought encouraged many municipalities to take a close look at their current water resources and infrastructure. For some, this examination was prompted by a large increase of water main breaks. Others saw their water reservoirs and resources quickly diminishing due to the lack of rain and record hot temperatures. However, there are many preventative measures that municipalities, water systems and even wastewater systems can take to conserve water and mitigate the effects of future droughts.
Aging infrastructure exacerbates common issues a water system could face during a drought. A good master plan with capital improvements that replace parts of the aging system is effective in promoting water conservation and improving conditions during a drought. A potential increase in capacity can also be investigated in certain components of the water system, including the pumps, treatment and storage. A capacity increase can alleviate some of the stress placed upon water resources during times of little or no rain.