Holiday Wishes and Adam Smith’s Words of Wisdom

A seasonal message from GKY President Stuart Stein.

The holiday season is a wonderful time for reflection and growth. We can often find pearls of wisdom in unexpected places during this time of year. One of my favorites is 18th century Scottish philosopher Adam Smith.

In his landmark book “The Wealth of Nations,” Smith described the invisible hand of the free market and opened a new line of thought and inquiry in economics. An earlier, and far lesser known work of his, “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” concerns itself, among other things, with the meaning of happiness.

“Man naturally desires, not only to be loved, but to be lovely,” he wrote.

In the classic sense of the word, being lovely is synonymous with being worthy of earning the love of others and is a necessary condition for true happiness.

Smith, in this work, also introduced the concept of acting as if someone were looking over your shoulder. He knew that true character shows itself when nobody is looking.

As we enjoy the holiday season, we can all learn from Adam Smith. Focus on doing good – being truly worthy of earning the love and respect of others – even when it is easy (or profitable) to do otherwise. Business success is important, but shouldn’t come at the cost of character.

I feel blessed to work with great (lovely) people in serving great (lovely) clients to pursue important work. I hope you all have a joyous and lovely New Year!

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Fairfax County Will Host Free Green Infrastructure Certification Training

At a typical seminar, you sit in a classroom, taking notes and trying not to doze off. Luckily, an upcoming green infrastructure class in Fairfax is anything but typical. Students will get out of the classroom to get their hands dirty and learn what it takes to manage eco-friendly stormwater systems.

Green infrastructure means managing stormwater runoff with plants and soils, rather than traditional “gray” infrastructure like metal pipes. In April, we wrote about the National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP). Now, Fairfax County – a NGICP Partner Organization – is offering green infrastructure certification training for free.

GKY staff will help design the course materials and lead some of these important classes. Participants will learn about the construction, inspection and maintenance of green infrastructure projects.

GKY President Stuart Stein helped teach this course when it first came to the region. He knows how valuable this information will be, as more and more states push for green infrastructure. These systems can help solve water quality and quantity issues.

“This course is a little different than most of the classes we teach,” he said. “We tend to teach courses for engineers who need assistance with designing structure or folks who are concerned with regulatory compliance, but this really has to do with people who work in the field.”

In other words, this hands-on training is for people who spend time getting their hands dirty. This course is designed for workers that handle the day-to-day maintenance of infrastructure.

Stu likes how some of the course takes place outside, where people can share their real world experience. “Formal training is great, but when you go outside and look at some of the infrastructure and you discuss advantages and disadvantages, people can share their experiences with what has and has not worked for them,” he said.

Not only will the course help participants grow professionally, it will also help green infrastructure grow. Participants will learn how to keep these natural systems running smoothly, so they perform well for years to come.

Maintaining green infrastructure isn’t always easy, according to Stu. “With green infrastructure, you have to worry about the health of plants, which takes constant monitoring and maintenance,” he said. You also have to prevent invasive plants or animals from interfering with functionality.

Stu thinks this course is valuable because green infrastructure is still such a new idea. Many people do not have experience working on these types of projects. According to Stu, this course will help people “get up the learning curve faster.”

“We all learn as much from our mistakes as we do our successes,” Stu said. “Here you’re learning about [green infrastructure] in a classroom and you’re seeing it in the field, rather than experiencing it for the first time while you’re actually constructing a project.”

Though the course is free, seating is limited. The training goes from January 22 – January 26, 2018. At the end of the program, participants can take the official NGCIP certification exam. This certification is nationally recognized and will open many doors for green infrastructure jobs. Participants may also earn CEU credit, if they are certified stormwater inspectors through Virginia DEQ.

For more information about this training, please contact Heather Ambrose, Project Manager at the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division at (703) 877-2800 or Additional information on this course is also available on the County’s website:  The classroom portion of the training will be held at the Chantilly Regional Library at 4000 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly, VA 20151.


Interested in learning more about green infrastructure?
We can teach you the best practices for these emerging techniques. Get in touch with GKY today!

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The Perfect Storm of BMPs

GKY President Presents at StormCon 2017

In the world of stormwater management, one conference floats above the rest. Now in its 16th year, StormCon is the hub of industry knowledge and networking. It’s the largest event of its kind, drawing environmental engineers, scientists, and policy wonks alike.

Presenting at StormCon for the 13th time, GKY President Stuart Stein will lead a full-day pre-conference workshop on watershed Best Management Practices (BMPs).

Part educational conference, part trade show, StormCon takes place August 27-31 in Bellevue, WA at the Meydenbauer Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Hotel. Stormwater officials from around the world will gather to learn the latest industry practices and trends.

StormCon isn’t just for stormwater project managers. The conference also attracts government officials, consultants, and corporate engineers.

According to StormCon’s host, Forester University, stormwater runoff is “the fastest growing source of water pollution.” That’s why continual education is so important. You need to keep up with best practices to maintain surface water quality in the face of escalating pollution.

It’s also important to understand the ever-changing regulations affecting stormwater management. States are adopting stricter pollution standards every day. At StormCon, attendees can learn this key information directly from industry leaders.

Before StormCon 2017 officially begins, participants can take full-day courses for a deeper dive into specific stormwater topics. On August 28, Stu will present one of these intensive workshops: “BMP Selection to Improve Your Watershed.”

The comprehensive course covers BMPs for protecting and improving watersheds. Choosing the right BMPs makes all the difference for watershed management. But there are a lot of options to navigate, and it can be overwhelming. That’s why Stu’s workshop is essential training for stormwater program managers and engineers.

Throughout this 7.5-hour training, attendees will learn the ins and outs of stormwater BMPs, including:
• Understanding the different BMP types and how effective they are
• Selecting the best BMPs for a project
• Identifying pollutant types and sources
• Reviewing pollutant removal processes
• Knowing which regulations will affect your projects
• Navigating restrictions around MS4 and TMDLs
• Working with new designs or retrofitting older projects
• Learning low-impact rainwater harvesting
• Inspecting and maintaining successful BMPs
• Keeping track of your BMPs
• Using computer models to enhance BMPs

That’s a lot of ground to cover, even for a full-day course. Luckily, Stu has plenty of experience with these topics. He has worked in stormwater management for over 30 years.

His expertise stretches beyond BMPs into every avenue of the industry. From flood studies and watershed plans to MS4s and TMDLs, Stu understands what it takes to manage water resources efficiently, effectively and ethically.

Not to mention, he has written the book on stormwater runoff — literally. Stu co-authored the Federal Highway Administration’s widely referenced manual, “Evaluation and Management of Highway Runoff Water Quality,” as well as many other water management publications.

Once they’ve learned all about BMPs, conference attendees can choose from several educational tracks: Stormwater program management; Advanced research topics; Water-quality monitoring; BMP case studies; and Industrial stormwater management. There are over 130 presentations on these topics over the course of the conference.

The event also includes a trade show of innovative stormwater equipment. Hundreds of exhibitors will share their most up-to-date tools for stormwater management and pollution prevention.

On the last day of StormCon, attendees can tour local stormwater management facilities in Tacoma, WA. The city has built green stormwater infrastructure to manage its industrial runoff. This means cleaner water for the region. Insights and innovations like these are what make StormCon so valuable.

Though GKY isn’t presenting on every stormwater topic, we can’t wait to absorb the collective industry knowledge at StormCon 2017. We’re excited to share our BMP know-how and learn from our peers.

Contact Us!
Want to work with the best minds in stormwater management? We can make sure your BMPs live up to the latest industry standards.
Get in touch with GKY experts today!

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