In this month’s issue of Civil + Structural Engineer, we’re highlighting our annual Hot Firm and Best Firms ToWork For winners. It’s always a great time of the year for us when we get to call the winning firms to tell them about their awards. And then we see the press barrage following our announcement to get the word out.

    Being one of our Hot Firms truly is a special thing. These are the 100 fastest growing engineering, architecture, and environmental consulting firms in North America. They are doing something literally tens of thousands of other firms aren’t. Their growth is a direct reflection on the quality of what they are doing for their clients or they wouldn’t have it. Creativity, service, and quality of work are the drivers that make them grow. They have a lot to be proud of.

    So do our Best Firms to Work For winners. The fact that they can attract and retain quality employees by being a great place to work gives them a leg up over everyone else in this business. It is darn difficult to hire people and it’s smart of these companies to try to be a better place to work than their competitors. Too many companies in this business take their people for granted and are rewarded with a higher staff turnover rate and inability to grow. That makes it all less fun!

    Also in this issue, Phil Christensen, vice president, Analytical Modeling at Bentley Systems, discusses how because of rapid technology developments, including cloud computing and mobile applications, software vendors are increasing their capabilities in analysis and simulation across the complete portfolio of engineering and infrastructure products.

    Brian Johnson, product manager for Newforma, proposes that managing information risks — by capturing information consistently, sharing information securely, checking information thoroughly, and finding information quickly — contributes to managing the ultimate risk of an engineering project.

    Other articles highlight civil and structural engineering projects, including:

    • Steve Schwabe, project manager in the Information Technology and Management Consulting market at Woolpert, reviews implementation of a Cityworks work order management system for the City of August, Ga. The GIS-centric application streamlined the city’s utilities operations by managing labor, material, equipment, construction, maintenance, and repairs within a single software system.
    • Georgia State University commissioned SmithGroupJRR and Stevens & Wilkinson to design a new seven-story building for its College of Law in downtown Atlanta to provide a high-tech learning environment with sophisticated equipment, a flexible learning environment, and advanced engineering.
    • Designers, structural engineers, and steel fabricators are using Tekla Structures software and 3D modeling to overcome complex steel design challenges on the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

    Thanks to our editor, Bob Drake, who always delivers the goods, August is another great issue!

    Mark C. Zweig (