Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief

Articles

Codes and Standards December 1, 2006

Areviderci, Aloha and Auld Lang Syne

Be it stricter energy and environmental codes, spikes in material and labor prices, alternative methods for designing and constructing buildings, industry consolidation or simply rapid advances in computer- and microprocessor-aided technology, change is inevitable. Over the near decade I've spent on this magazine, these are but a few of the forces that have altered the horizon of M/E/P engineer...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types November 1, 2006

Is a Muddier Shade of Green OK? I Think So

Let’s plant a billion new trees... Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) ranks some sports cars greener than current hybrids... both headlines I ripped out of my local paper on the same day earlier this month, and I think they say something about efforts toward sustainability. The first was a quote from the latest Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maathai who suggested the tree planting underta...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
October 1, 2006

Planting Seeds, Letting Go

Crockett, I never liked you. Those were words, tongue-in-cheek, that I often heard from a former boss, colleague and, more importantly, friend, Paul Beck. It is with a heavy heart that I must report that Paul, CSE's chief editor and resident funnyman from 1991 through 1997, passed away at age 45 after a four-year battle with cancer.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards October 1, 2006

Full of Hot Air?

The University of Pittsburgh, in the educational and cultural enclave of Oakland, just outside the Steel City, is surrounded by forested hills—a much different vista from the acres of farm fields that typically surround many colleges and universities in more rural and open locations. At the same time, existing in a well-developed urban environment presents a number of challenges to the school, particularly when it comes to expanding the campus. Thus, it's not a surprise that the university's main chemistry building—the Chevron Science Center—is a 14-floor high-rise. That said, when it came time to re-evaluate the fume hood venting scheme of the '70s-era building, a number of challenges other than energy efficiency—the main impetus of the upgrade—arose.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types September 1, 2006

Crockett Clan a School Market Microcosm

A recent radio advertisement told me I'd be 58 when my youngest graduates college, and by gum, they're right (well, pretty close at least). They also told me I'd better be planning now for his collegiate career. These words ring true on many levels, not only for students and their parents, but also for the people who commission, design and operate school buildings.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards August 1, 2006

May the Force Be with You—You Need It!

The apex of summer means different things to different people: blockbuster movies, all-star baseball, HEAT, vacation, more heat. But in the thankfully cool offices of CSE, it means something entirely different: time to crunch numbers! It's not the budget cycle, it's GIANTS time, and with our abacuses mightily worn, we have once again tabulated our annual Top 100 M/E/P engineering firms (p 37).

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Lighting and Lighting Controls August 1, 2006

Dimmable Ballasts: Consider Digital

Cheap and technologically superior? That’s what the promoters of a new electronic dimmable ballast are claiming. Lumenergi, formerly Lumenoptics, has come to market with a new name and technology it claims will revolutionize the world of lighting the way the Toyota Prius is changing the driving habits of many Americans. The growing popularity of daylighting on the building side of the green equation is certainly reason for lighting designers to consider greater use of dimmable electronic ballasts (DEBs). There’s just one problem: “To install dimmable ballasts right now is just too expensive,” says Bill Alling, president and CEO of the Sparks, Nev.-based company.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
HVAC/R and Mechanical July 1, 2006

What’s Good for the Goose … er, Panda…

Tai Shan, the nation's resident baby panda, just turned one. "Peaceful Mountain" in Chinese, the panda has come a long way from the hairless four-ounce creature that many dubbed "butterstick." I had the good fortune to see the youngster on a recent trip to D.C., where I learned that his successful transition to "rambunctious toddler" is partly attributable to technology developed for commercial...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
MNS, ECS June 23, 2006

NFPA Product Report

One of the biggest buzzes on the show floor of NFPA’s recent World Safety Conference in Orlando was fire alarms panels, specifically, the effects of UL’s 9th edition to its fire alarm standard—UL 864. “I know it’s been very critical for us,” said Jeff Hendrickson with Silent Knight . “Everything we’re showing is UL-compliant.” For the record, the new UL requirements call for a number of improvements, including more stringent power supply testing, more battery monitoring and better synchronization with notification appliances. FireLite saw the change as an opportunity to roll out a whole new line of products. According to the company’s Nick Martello, they started the process three years ago, and their panels are not just compliant, they’re UL-864-approved.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Building Automation and Controls June 23, 2006

The War at Home: Military Security Technology Coming to a School Near You

Whether it’s a show like NFPA’s recent World Safety Conference in Orlando, the ISC shows or the American Society of Industrial Security’s annual exposition, attendees, more frequently, are seeing both fire protection and security hardware exhibited on the show floor. It’s also not uncommon to hear a lot of buzz about integration of the two. And certainly, there’s been a growing number of official educational sessions dedicated to discussing the advantages of integrated fire protection and security design. But one player in this evolving marketplace is taking that philosophy to an entirely different level: military-grade.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types June 1, 2006

Ivy, Money and Other Things Green

Perhaps on some primordial level it has to do with the migratory instincts of birds, but if there's one constant in my life, it's that I know I'll be doing a lot of flying every spring—and indeed I have over the past few weeks, traveling to a number of conferences, media events, etc. The theme of this issue is sports facilities, which has nothing to do with flying, but many of these venue...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power May 1, 2006

Are We Overbuilt? Belt-Tightening Coming?

With Lightfair in Vegas at the end of the month and NFPA's World Safety Conference in Orlando the following week, a recent story noting Chicago has slipped to No. 3 as convention host behind these two cities noted above, comes as no surprise. Last year I was in Vegas or Orlando four times and I'll be back again in each city before the end of the year.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power April 1, 2006

Arc-Flash Compliance for Industrial Facilities and Beyond

At the National Manufacturing Week show in suburban Chicago last month, worker safety, not surprisingly, was the subject of a great amount of discussion, not only in various sessions but also on the exhibit floor. Arc flash, and adherence to NFPA 70E, part of the National Electric Code, was, of course, a subset of this discussion, but in a disturbing sort of way. "A big question we keep getting is 'Do we have to do this?'" said Doug Mleczko with Des Plaines, Ill.-based fuse manufacturer Littelfuse. Despite adoption by OSHA, and a definitive warning by the agency that it will come down on plant and building operators in violation of NFPA 70E's requirements, the reality, according to Mleczko, is that many still view this as an optional guideline. The other key issue, he said, is that many plant operators, frankly, don't know how to go about complying with the standard. At the show, Littelfuse was giving away arc-flash incidence calculators and promoting its educational offerings in this area.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power March 1, 2006

Old Friends, Old Vows, New Pledges

Work, like life, is not always a bowl of cherries. At one point or another, I'm sure most of you have experienced bleak points in your careers for whatever reason. I preach a lot about fighting the good fight for sustainability, ethics, integrated design, etc. But doing so often means you're going to take a few punches.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards March 1, 2006

Finding the ‘Sweet SPOT’ in Photosensor Placement

With all the discussion of daylighting in the pages of this magazine, a critical component for a successful design scheme that can't be overlooked is proper photosensor placement. For those not as up-to-date on this subject as they'd like to be, there's good news from out West. The California Energy Commission's PIER—Public Interest Energy Research—program has developed a new tool that's "spot-on." The Sensor Placement and Orientation Tool, according to the organization, is usable by anyone capable of using Microsoft Excel.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Lighting and Lighting Controls February 1, 2006

“America is Addicted to Oil”

Amen! I can't express how relieved I was to hear the president utter these words in his most recent State of the Union address. While it remains to be seen what will happen, it's my hope that the president's words and official recognition of this national malady may move more people to act. Certainly, the engineering community has many proponents of energy efficiency, and the green building mov...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Educational Facilities January 1, 2006

Key to the Future: Franklin’s Kite?

I would be remiss if I didn't point out an important anniversary that takes place this month: The 300th birthday of Benjamin Franklin. One of my favorite American historical figures, Dr. Franklin is owed a debt of gratitude by all of us, not only for helping to launch this nation, but also for his pioneering work in electrical power.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Building Automation and Controls December 1, 2005

Big Changes for LEED

This year's Greenbuild conference and expo in Atlanta certainly produced some big news, with the two most notable announcements being that LEED design credits can now be locked in at the design stage, and the LEED application process will be all-electronic. Meeting with the press during the show, which took place Nov. 9—11, USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi unveiled a partnership the organization has entered with San Jose-based Adobe to streamline the whole LEED application process. Instead of a pair of oversized binders and accompanying spreadsheet, all documents will now be available in PDF format. "We're convinced this will make a black and white difference," said Fedrizzi. "And we really see this as just the first phase, as there are many more features available that haven't yet been implemented," added Kumar Vora, Adobe's VP of product strategy. While this move is intended to make the process easier, one thing Fedrizzi wanted to emphasize is that it was not done to make LEED accreditation any easier.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power December 1, 2005

“You’re a Wizard, Harry!”

Those of you who, like me, have kids, I'm sure have already taken your brood to see the latest installment of the Harry Potter saga. Invoking that movie franchise in this month's column is apropos for two reasons: First, the wind is howling visciously outside and it's dark in our office, as the elements have knocked out power to our building.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Building Automation and Controls December 1, 2005

Greenbuild Expo Rolling

Walking the Greenbuild exhibit floor in Atlanta this year, one felt that the most obvious difference from past shows was the size. With roughly 400 exhibitors and an attendance increase of about 2,000 from last year's record-breaking crowd of 8,000, the show is certainly growing. But like many shows M/E/P consulting engineers attend, it's often the case that the larger the event, the less relevance a show has to specific products engineers are looking for.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards November 1, 2005

Don’t Forget Ethics in the Fundamentals Kit

Back in the mid '50s, an unassuming woman changed history when she decided to stand up and declare she would not sit down at the back of a bus. That woman, of course, was Rosa Parks, who passed away recently. As I read of her death, I couldn't help but think of how times have changed, and not necessarily for the better.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards November 1, 2005

Pharma Feels Good

From Allegra to Zantac, there's a veritable cornucopia of available pharmaceuticals that alleviate conditions ranging from hay fever to heartburn. That being said, there still remain many conditions and serious diseases for which there are no answers. But frankly, that means a steady source of work for those involved behind the scenes of developing and producing new drugs, including the architects and engineers who design these facilities. "Things are booming," said Scott Simpson, with Stubbins Assocs.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types October 1, 2005

Will We See Offices Again in the Big Easy?

New Orleans has always embraced visitors, including this editor. But Katrina is one traveler the city wishes it never laid eyes on. Overnight, she changed a place of joy and music to one of devastation and misery. What happens from here? This issue focuses on business and the offices where it's conducted.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power August 1, 2005

Security and Life Safety Converging

They've got cameras everywhere," declared Bill Sako, executive vice president of Sako & Assocs., security design firm, in reference to the city of Chicago and its new Operation Virtual Shield program. "They'll have the whole city wired up and will be able to pass on video to provide intelligence to first responders [if a building or corner has a surveillance camera]." Sako spoke recently with CSE about the latest trends in security, including the fact that the lines between that discipline and fire-protection/life safety are continuing to blur. His own company is a testimony to this fact as it was acquired a couple years back by the Chicago-based RJA Group in an effort by the latter to increase its offerings in the increasingly sophisticated security technology marketplace. "The software just keeps coming and coming," said Sako.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Lighting and Lighting Controls July 1, 2005

T5-HOs: Are They Here to Stay?

Abig buzz at last April's Lightfair conference in New York was the impact new state energy codes (the 1999 edition of ASHRAE 90.1 by default) will have on lighting, specifically the amount of watts consumed. One of the products being touted as a solution in many different applications was the T5 and T5-HO lamp.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Building Automation and Controls July 1, 2005

Call to Fire-Rate Cables Tabled but Still Smoldering

NFPA's recent World Safety Conference in Las Vegas provided a plethora of action and scuttlebutt on various code and standard developments. One key standard revision voted on was the proposed revision to NFPA 90A, Standard for the Installation of Air-Conditioning and Ventilating Systems . In a nutshell, the proposed revision would have required all electrical cabling in ceiling air plenums be fire-rated.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types May 9, 2005

The State of Green

With spring coming into full bloom, and of course, the recent observance of Earth Day, it’s an appropriate time to consider the state of sustainable design and LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. In a meeting last week with CSE advisor Anil Ahuja of CCJM Engineers, Chicago, we spoke of his company’s work in this area, which is significant, including a trio of schools in the far northern suburbs and the new Ford Calumet Center on Chicago’s Southeast side—a former heavy industrial area in a wetland environs. In fact, CCJM is currently working on a total of 10 LEED-hopeful projects. But despite the seeming cornucopia, Ahuja, a LEED-Accredited Professional, thinks firms aspiring to enter the green market need to go into the process with their eyes open and be prepared to get their hands dirty with a lot of hard work. “Developers, for the most part, just don’t care about LEED,” he said. “They just don’t see how they’re going to get more rent money by doing so.” For the most part, he’s found that green backers are generally owners who are committed to the environment.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types May 1, 2005

Lighting: Return of the Engineer

Energy consumption, as defined by Title 24, California's building energy-consumption standard, and the adoption of the 1999 edition of ASHRAE 90.1 as the default energy code for most other states, was a subject almost universally noted in conversations with exhibitors at the most recent Lightfair International in New York.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
MNS, ECS May 1, 2005

NFPA World Safety Conference to Tackle Big Code Items

Big happenings are expected at this year's upcoming National Fire Protection Assn. World Safety Conference and Exposition, June 6–10. For starters, the conference and show will take place in Las Vegas for the first time. This summer's show also marks the consolidation of NFPA's two annual programs into one major event.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards April 25, 2005

MasterFormat Committee Still Seeks Industry Input

Continuing its MasterFormat 2004 awareness and education campaign, key members of the Construction Specifications Institute gathered with the industry press during their annual conference in Chicago last week. Awareness remains a top priority. “We’re still getting a lot of feedback, especially since it’s been officially approved,” said Dennis Hall, with Hall Architects, Charlotte. Hall oversaw the MasterFormat reconstruction process as chair of the expansion task force. In fact, Hall said he still encounters many people who aren’t even aware of the new edition.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Building Automation and Controls April 1, 2005

LON Lecture Series Goal: ‘Open Minds’

Editor's note: The movers and shakers of the LON community tried a different tack at AHR in Orlando this year, conducting a day-long series of well-received lectures on open building systems. The sessions were really the precursor of an international seminar series addressing open building systems, as the organization is concerned, frankly, that too few M/E/P engineers are taking advantage of t...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Facilities March 1, 2005

Bullish on BACnet

Editor's note: I first met Mike Newman of Cornell University back in 1997 at my first ASHRAE Winter Meeting when I serendipitously sat in on a member session on control strategies for campus environments. Not knowing who Mike was, I approached him afterward, as he seemed like someone who knew what he was talking about—and more precisely, could translate what, exactly, just transpired to t...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Facilities March 1, 2005

Wireless Revisited

Adanger in reporting on new technology is that, inevitably, somebody else will always know more on the subject than you, and will often want to further educate you on the matter. I found myself in this position recently, when one reader took interest in the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) story we did in this space this past December, and invited me to his Milwaukee facility, which was just...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Educational Facilities February 1, 2005

Can Airports Improve One’s Sanity?

Over the past few weeks I've been doing a lot of personal and professional reflection: we've been preparing to launch a redesigned website; it's the annual staff and self-evaluation process; at home my eight-year-old is preparing for his first communion and confession; and my oldest, after bombing his first semester, is back from college much to my chagrin.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types January 1, 2005

Hidden Treasure

There was a time in this country when many people thought drop ceilings were a modern architectural marvel. It meant a then-rare, but highly desired technology—air conditioning—could be added to an old building. Such was the case with the Federal Courthouse in Cleveland, a turn-of-the-century Beaux Arts structure that saw the addition of AC in the late 1960s.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Energy, Power January 1, 2005

String Theory—Go for it

Nova is a cool show. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, it's a TV science series on PBS that tackles all kinds of questions about our planet, our universe and ourselves. A recent episode, "The Elegant Universe," explored something called string theory. For the sake of brevity, the theory has to do with subatomic particles beyond even quarks.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Facilities December 1, 2004

On the Right Path, But Miles to Go

Ten years from today if we're still discussing green buildings, we've lost. These blunt words were delivered by Chris Luebkemen of Arup at the recent Greenbuild conference in Portland in a session about the future of green commercial buildings. I couldn't agree more, and in fact, am happy to report that the readers of CSE also get it.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Facilities December 1, 2004

Healthy Daylight and Healthy Darkness: What Our Bodies Need

Nancy Clanton is one of the country's most respected lighting designers. She's also an electrical engineer—with an exceptional sense of humor. I had the recent pleasure of hearing Nancy speak at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild conference in Portland, Ore. She lectured on a subject that often gets lost in the lighting design shuffle: the human element.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power November 1, 2004

It’s a Small World, After all

Secretly, I smirked when I saw the Small World exhibit in Disneyland closed for renovation. Earlier this year, I took my family to the park prior to the ASHRAE winter meeting in Anaheim, and confess I was glad I didn't have to hear that song. Still, I must acknowledge the inherent truth of the concept and the power of the melody which, right now, is unfortunately chiming in the back of my mind.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power October 1, 2004

The Next Step for Controls?

It pains me to admit it, but every once in a while a salesperson may be right. Last month, as you might recall, I was completing an onerous task—finalizing our editorial calendar for 2005. As noted, part of that process included getting input from our sales staff. A unanimous choice that popped out of the mouths of my colleagues for inclusion was BAS—building automation.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Educational Facilities October 1, 2004

Taking a Look at LEED

CSE: EwingCole has done or is doing a number of LEED projects, including jobs for NASA and a new lab facility for pharmaceutical manufacturer Aventis. How does the whole LEED process start? Do you approach the client or vice versa? Kowalski: With Aventis, we actually brought up the idea. In this case, they found it appealing from a PR standpoint.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Educational Facilities September 1, 2004

Business 101: Everyday Reality

Everyone who has ever owned a radio at some point has heard Mick Jagger tell the tale of "Satisfaction," or lack thereof. The singer croons about driving around in his car hearing soap and cigarette sales pitches telling him why he can't achieve the objective of the song's title. Of late, I've been driving a lot, too, notably to deposit my eldest to his chosen institution of higher education.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types September 1, 2004

Halting Hooligans

In the wake of the Athens Olympic games, where the U.S. women's team took gold in soccer, and the exciting European Cup, in which Greece upset the competition, CSE thought it would be appropriate to take a look at the philosophy behind securing these very visible stadiums that are the would-be targets of both terrorists and another European plague—soccer hooligans.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Building Automation and Controls August 1, 2004

A Pair of Giants in My Book

Back in 1997, I encountered two men with whom I would only interact briefly, yet both would significantly influence my tenure here at CSE. The first was Paul Beck, the other, Dave Adams. Paul, as I'm sure many of you remember, was the publication's long-time editor-in-chief. Dave was principal electrical engineer with Anchorage, Alaska-based AMC Engineers.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power July 1, 2004

Contemptuous? The U.S.? Maybe

Man, I just flew in from London, and boy, are my arms tired—badda-bump. In all seriousness, I'm still shaking off jetlag after traversing the Atlantic to attend a gathering of the world's engineering and building trade press. In one of the event's sessions, hosted by the militantly punctual, but most gracious, folks from Siemens Building Technologies, Zurich, the subject of energy and CO2...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Facilities June 1, 2004

Take a Hike

Heartburn has been my constant bedtime companion of late. While not welcome, the condition is eerily timely, as I was recently asked by my bosses to poll readers on what keeps them up at night. It's a good thing this is our health-care issue because we all probably need a visit to the doctor amid ulcer-inducing issues including schedule compression, growth, recruitment, outsourcing, specializat...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Educational Facilities May 1, 2004

Ah, Ute!

Utah, University of Illinois, urbanism. Besides as an alliterative hook, why am I touting the letter "U"? Perhaps it's a subconscious remnant of working with my five-year-old on his ABCs (we just finished "T"). On a conscious level, it has to do with my travel itinerary—and with sharing a glimpse into the mind of an 18-year-old would-be engineer.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards April 1, 2004

Justice & Politickin’, Crockett-Style

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free. Raised in the woods so he knew ev'ry tree, kilt him a b'ar when he was only three... These words, of course, are the first stanza from the Ballad of Davy Crockett. Once portrayed by John Wayne (a Republican) and now by Billy Bob Thornton (a Democrat), he was played best, I reck'n, by Fess Parker (not sure of his pol...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power March 1, 2004

Manufacturing: Leaner and …

Upon returning from National Manufacturing Week at Chicago's McCormick Place a few weeks back, I had mixed feelings about the state of U.S. industry. On the one hand, I saw a lot of neat things on the technology front, but on the other, I was disturbed by the size of the show. Being accustomed to an event that spans both North and South Halls of the massive facility, I was more than a little su...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power March 1, 2004

Motor Efficiency: Easy as 1-2-3

Motor decisions matter. At least that's what those in the know say. "Research shows that most facility managers don't properly understand motor management, so there's a tremendous business opportunity here," says Ilene Mason, program manager with the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE). The organization, along with several motor manufacturers and utilities, is behind the Motor Decisions Matt...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Building Automation and Controls February 1, 2004

One Small Step…

Awhile back on this page, I mentioned that growing up, I wanted to be an architect. But another loftier profession, both figuratively and literally, I aspired to was astronaut. Today, I'm grounded firmly on Earth (although many will debate that claim), but NASA and the space program still intrigue me.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards January 1, 2004

A River Runs Through It

Dave Linamen knows the value of documentation. While attending an orientation meeting in the fall of 1998 for a design competition for the replacement of Pittsburgh's then-existing convention center, Linamen jotted down a number of items on the potential client's wish list: minimal environmental load, maximum natural ventilation, daylighting, and most importantly, the celebration of water.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power January 1, 2004

A New Year’s Resolution

Over the past few months, you've heard me preach from my editorial pulpit (hopefully, not too pretentiously) the virtues of sustainable design; the need to continue striving for engineering excellence; the need to raise the engineering community's voice to be heard by political leaders; and a vigilant commitment to ethics in an increasingly greedy world.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
December 1, 2003

For Purple Mountain Majesties

Perhaps I'm a sucker for a good story. I bring this up because I'm inspired to reflect upon events that took place Nov. 22. Like all of you, it's not uncommon for me to be at the office late. On that particular evening, my fellow staff members jokingly gave me grief as I left early for a parent-teacher conference.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
MNS, ECS December 1, 2003

’03 ARC Awards

I'm pleased to unveil the winners of this, our second ARC Awards competition. For a refresher, the awards, short for Advancing, Reinvigorating and Cultivating excellence in engineering, is not necessarily a competition about the "best" buildings or designs but about designs and designers that find the right solutions, often by going outside the box.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Educational Facilities December 1, 2003

’04 Economic Outlook

Held up by stalwart consumers of cars, new homes and their associated accoutrements, the U.S. economy fared better than expected in 2003, helped by a welcome, yet surprising surge from retail construction. Unfortunately, as 2004 approaches, economists remain cautious as the fear of continued job loss may kill the golden goose.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
MNS, ECS November 1, 2003

A Call to Action

Sports stadiums filled the pages of CSE last issue, and as I'm writing this piece, football stadiums are on my mind again, but for much more somber reasons. As I tuned into Monday Night Football for the Chargers/Dolphins matchup, the pre-game segments were very different from usual, focusing not on football, but on the wild fires that were ravenously consuming homes across Southern California.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Plumbing, Pumping and Pumps October 1, 2003

It’s Green (Bay) All the Way

Punching in these words, I'm recovering from a pummeling. My beloved Bears, for the tenth consecutive time, were defeated at home by the hated Green Bay Packers. As if this weren't punishment enough, the game was broadcast nationally on Monday Night Football, exposing a pair of civic embarrassments—the misfits who masquerade as a professional football team and the "new" Soldier Field.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards October 1, 2003

Big Changes Coming Concerning Arc Flash

Dealing with arc flash hazards and arc blast protection has become one of the most important—and confusing—issues developing in the wake of changes made to the 2002 edition to the National Electrical Code. According to George Farrell, a long-time CSE contributor and co-author of the Protecting Electrical Systems series, protection against arc flash hazard, which was revised unde...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
MNS, ECS September 1, 2003

MasterFormat Revisited

The latest revision to the Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI) MasterFormat is now available for review by the AEC community at www.csinet.org/technic/mfrevision. "This draft, like those before it, is provided to elicit commentary from users and others interested in and affected by the MasterFormat expansion process," notes Leonard Greenberger of the CSI MasterFormat Expansion Task T...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power September 1, 2003

Power to the People

Dick Groth, CSE's East Coast sales rep, hails from Cleveland. A proud native, he's quick to point out that the city's downtown is not as bad as it's often portrayed and, in fact, has undergone a lot of revitalization in part due to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and new stadiums for the Indians and Browns.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types August 1, 2003

Are You Experienced?

Two issues ago, we covered the museum market, and between then and now, I actually got out to visit a few institutions, including the Experience Music Project (EXP) in Seattle. The building, for those unaware, is another of Frank Gehry's undulating, metal-clad creations. This one's even multi-colored! Now I've never been a big Gehry fan—I was basically of the opinion that he came up with ...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types July 1, 2003

Get the Idea . . .

On many projects, lighting responsibilities fall to the electrical engineer. Depending on the talent and experience of the engineer, that can be a good thing, or it can be an extra and sometimes onerous duty. "There's just so much product out there that it's hard for an electrical engineer to keep on top of," says Shawn Good, P.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Lighting and Lighting Controls July 1, 2003

The Future of Office Buildings

As a kid I thought it would be cool to be an architect. After all, I loved to draw and build models, and according to the Brady Bunch (the father was an architect), you got to work at home a lot. A significant amount of years, less TV and some real-world experience, however, revealed that career was much more complicated and, frankly, a lot less fun than I imagined.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
June 1, 2003

Martha, Greed & the Right Thing

Gazing out my window, I'm enjoying what's been a rare sight as of late: the sun. But as I read my paper all three front-page photos leave me feeling anything but sunny. The images: Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa caught with a corked bat; President Bush meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders; and a really unflattering photo of media maven Martha Stewart coming out of court after being indicted on...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Motors and Drives May 1, 2003

Corvette Summer

Sometime in the early or mid-'70s I was sitting in my dentist's office looking at MotorTrend or some such magazine, reading an article that showed some concepts of what the future Corvette might look like. At the time, the current model was the Stingray, which I thought was a very cool car. Looking at those prototype renderings, however, I thought, "What dope came up with this idea?" Several ye...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types May 1, 2003

Doin’ Time

Monolithic. Blocky. Cold. These are all words that jump to mind when one thinks of prisons and jails. And most people are probably guilty of categorizing these facilities as relatively simple structures—concrete or stone boxes. But in reality, prisons and jails are much more than guard towers and razor wire.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types April 1, 2003

Healthcare Costs: Hold the Line

Healthcare is a two-edged sword for engineering firms these days. As our cover story (p. 34) attests, the sector, without question, is a red-hot, seemingly recession-proof economic engine for those in the AEC community. At the same time, according to design industry analyst ZweigWhite Assocs., providing healthcare coverage for their employees is one of the biggest challenges facing many AEC firms.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types March 1, 2003

Codes and the Real World

It is strange and unfortunate how reality has a tendency to make its way into the best—and worst—of plans. In assembling this university-themed issue, one of our offerings addresses trends in dormitory design, including sprinklers, but also the notion of voice evacuation as an egress tool for people unfamiliar with a particular building or facility (see "Graduate Degree Dorms," p.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Healthcare Facilities February 1, 2003

ASHRAE, Industrial Health & Glasnost

Someone once told me, "Speak the truth fast," when dealing with sensitive issues. Okay, here it goes: Since recently implementing a Glasnost-like policy of trying to include the voice of the manufacturing community into the magazine where appropriate (see 11/02 "Editor's Viewpoint"), it's been brought to my attention by a few members of that community that they feel they're not getting their fa...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types January 1, 2003

A Bigger Box?

For those of you living in regions where it's cold this time of year, I'm sure you've experienced a snowfall at some point this winter. And true to my sometimes curmudgeonly manner, I loathe snow. But so far this season, this has not been the case. In fact, I must confess that the few snowfalls we've had have been very refreshing.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Lighting and Lighting Controls December 1, 2002

Auld Lang Syne for 2002?

At the beginning of this decade, the big debate was which year the millennium officially started—2000 or 2001. The burning question now is when will we pull out of this current economic morass—2003 or 2004? One thing is certain, with respect to the business climate—I don't think many of us will miss 2002.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types December 1, 2002

Keep the Faith

An unfortunate engineer and an economist travelling in South America on business were captured for ransom by a group of rebels. After two weeks and no response, the rebel leader informed the pair that they would be executed. As was tradition, a last request was proffered. The economist noted he was on his way to present a five-year forecast to executives at a locally based corporation when he w...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Electrical and Power November 1, 2002

Growing Uneasy Alliances

It's a thin line between love and hate. So goes an old soul tune that conveys the ups and downs of a couple's relationship. The same could be said about engineers and product manufacturers: "Engineers are lazy;" "Sales people are too pushy." Other times it's a trusted partnership, with engineers relying heavily on the manufacturer for technical assistance.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Educational Facilities October 1, 2002

Vernal Convergence

Sharp readers will note the cover has a very Louis Sullivan flavor. Indeed, we purposefully chose one of the wonderful frieze panels from the master of Organic architecture as the basis of an illustration to represent another inspired design phenomenon: green building and the LEED movement. As demonstrated in the re-created panel from the since-demolished Garrick Theater in Chicago, Sullivan ...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Lighting and Lighting Controls September 1, 2002

Regaining Perspective

Helter-skelter would be an accurate description of the past few weeks. And indeed, various staff members can and will attest to a high degree of grousing issuing forth from my office. Without question, I've been gruff and grouchy—and frankly, feeling sorry for myself—as I found myself planning a new editorial calendar, participating in a sales meeting and hiring two new staff member...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Energy, Power August 1, 2002

Digital CCTV—An Easy Fix, But an Intrusive Option?

As the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon approaches, it's ironic that security upgrades have seemingly been pushed to the back of many building owners' "to do" lists. In assembling our annual "Giants" survey (p. 28), one of the questions we asked the more than 125 respondents was what significant items their clients asked for in the wake of 9...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
August 1, 2002

Halftime Adjustments

This year marks the 25th anniversary of CSE's annual Giants Report, our presentation of firm rankings based on M/E/P design revenue (p. 28). Before delving into our analysis of the market—which includes a breakdown of the economy by Daryl Delano, chief economist for Reed Economics (p. 32)—an understanding of the Giants rankings might prove helpful.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Energy, Power July 1, 2002

Dare to be Great

It's been a year now since I've taken the helm of this publication, and upon reflection I took a look back at my predecessor's final column. In his parting editorial, my former colleague challenged engineers to step up to the plate as far as voicing their opinions about what he dubbed the erosion of the built environment.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards June 1, 2002

Signs of Blooming

Space, the final frontier … These, of course, are the renowned opening words to Star Trek, but actually the reverse applies to the challenge of producing the pages of this magazine right now. In other words, if only we had more editorial space, the things we could do! At the same time, I'm actually very excited about the happenings here at Consulting-Specifying Engineer.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Other Building Types May 1, 2002

Fight the Good (Green) Fight

As you read this, Earth Day will have already passed, but its spirit, I would hope, carries on through the rest of the year. Depending on what camp you side with, Earth Day is celebrated March 22, in conjunction with the Vernal Equinox—or April 22—somehow expanding the role of Arbor Day. Either way, the concept remains the same—reflect on the state of our planet and what we mi...

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief
Codes and Standards April 1, 2002

Illuminating Facts on Industrial Efficiency

Last month, thousands from the manufacturing industry—including the press—invaded Chicago's McCormick Place, taking over all three halls of the sprawling exhibit complex to conduct National Manufacturing Week.In my forays through the numerous exhibits, I picked up some interesting information on industrial trends.

By Jim Crockett, Editor-in-Chief