2018 – Reflecting Why We do What We do

January 4, 2019

By Jason Brooks, PE

What is our why at LDA Engineering?

Simply put… We serve communities to help make them stronger and happier. Hmmm…so what does that look like?

Strong communities have reliable, adequate and accessible infrastructure for basic needs and mobility, along with good capital improvement plans to meet the growing needs of today and well into the future.

The City of Johnson City just cut the ribbon on a 5 million-gallon water storage tank that will provide more reliable drinking water service and better fire protection for the community. Reliable and safe drinking water service provides peace of mind to the community and its citizens, allowing them to focus on bigger matters and other improvements.

Every day we have neighbors who struggle to overcome disabilities to get to their destination safely and without hazards. There is often confusion around the definition of a disability and many of us often don’t realize the challenge or danger that a simple trip (no pun intended) along a sidewalk can present to getting where we need to be. Basically, a disability is classified as anything that prevents an individual from performing an “essential life function,” which can range from sleeping to breathing.  Several communities around Tennessee are working to meet the requirements of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) for our public infrastructure such as sidewalks, street crossings, and many other mobility features.  Assessments provide the basis for Transition Plans created to provide better access and mobility to those in our community who struggle with physical challenges and limited mobility.

The new 280-multi-family Integra Vistas development was completed in Chattanooga, giving residents a spectacular view of Signal Mountain.   Contractors, developers, engineers, equipment suppliers, and the Fire Marshall worked together to design a system that met the City’s Stormwater Ordinance while also providing fire flow protection to residents.

Happy communities also include recreational, interesting, and fun places to shop, dine, and spend time outdoors and to visit with our neighbors.

This past year the City of Knoxville completed construction of a wetland inside the Fountain City Lake. The wetland area will provide nutrient uptake from the water to help reduce undesirable algae from developing. The wetland also provides native plant life that will further enhance the ecosystem and provide educational opportunities for people visiting the park.

The City of Alcoa completed plans for shoreline improvements and a boardwalk around the Alcoa Duck pond providing both environmental improvements and better access to this community water feature. Construction on these improvements will begin in 2019.

The Town of Bulls Gap has started the first phase of design for a new park and trail to provide green space and walking trail for the community. This small, community grant-funded project will go a longer way in providing more access to outdoor recreation and healthy living.

The City of Johnson City embarked on a planning effort for the Walnut Street corridor, which has the potential to create a pedestrian friendly corridor connecting downtown Johnson City and East Tennessee State University with a mixed-use redevelopment. This development will create a vibrant shopping and dining area along with potential residential usage that promotes walking and biking.

A strong community is one that is also working to address the future workforce needs and promoting additional opportunities for STEM programs to build a pipeline of future engineers and scientists needed to continue building Stronger. Happier. Communities. Two programs in East Tennessee that are   meet these goals are the Future City Competition and STEM Scouts.

How is LDA Engineering contributing to Stronger. Happier. Communities.?

In each of the projects described above, LDA Engineering teams have been committed to assisting our clients with achieving those community goals. Our teams are curious, and we take initiative to Learn, Design, and Act to help the communities we serve. We work hard and with humility to learn what the communities we serve value most to better design solutions. Finally, we act by providing planning, engineering, and geospatial information management services to build solutions for infrastructure, public services, and environmental enhancements.

We also have our eye on the future of our profession. We give both our financial support and sweat equity to local STEM education initiatives to help fill the pipeline of future engineers and scientists that will continue the mission of Stronger. Happier. Communities. Our team members are leading STEM Scout labs, coaching Future City Teams, mentoring high school and college students, and volunteering in our community organizations.

At LDA Engineering, we developed and launched a STEM Initiative in January 2016. The goal of the program is to support STEM programs that promote and assist K-12 students into considering engineering as a career. The program includes both labor hours and monetary support with a goal of $250K invested in STEM programs over 10 years. Since announcing the program, our team has donated 1,623 hours of staff time that is has been worth $53,467.30 and a total of $27,290 in additional monetary support for multiple school and STEM programs, including: Tennessee Regional Future City Competition, Greater Smoky Mountain STEM Scout District, Clayton Bradley Academy, Blount County Schools and Alcoa City Schools.

I personally am looking forward to the many ways we will partner with our communities in 2019 to continue building Stronger. Happier. Communities.