The Results Are In!

By Danielle Goudreau,  Engineer at Pare 

The results from the Pare Climate Change Survey are in!

Pare’s Climate Change Committee would like to thank all who participated in our survey.  We appreciate your thoughtful responses, and have explored answer patterns and concerns below.

Climate change is a very important topic with many differing opinions about causes, implications, and even its existence. However, it’s been established that in order to combat climate change, it will require a broad consensus, and this survey did a great job of establishing how close to that consensus we currently are.

Among survey participants, there is a consensus that climate change is happening and that it is concerning.  It wasn’t surprising (based on the title of the survey) that a majority of respondents believe climate change is occurring.  Approximately 95% of the respondents believe climate change is occurring, 3% do not believe it is occurring. 2% did not express an opinion.  The aspect of climate change participants find most concerning is storm frequency and/or intensity (33%) followed by sea level rise (23%) and ecological changes (20%).

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As far as whether or not we can reduce climate change, there is a split consensus.  Approximately 42% of respondents believe that we are able to reduce the effects of climate change. However the majority of participants (about 50), believe we can’t or won’t do anything to change the effects.  Approximately half of the respondents who believe we can reduce climate change also believe we will make changes to reduce the effects.

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Who should be responsible for mandating changes that may reduce climate change? One third of respondents believe that the Federal Government should be implementing regulations.

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Contest winner Ann Cote at Bryant University provided us with an optimistic view of the future (albeit with a major caveat):    “Only once society is educated on the topic and the seriousness of it, will ideas come forward and the passion to correct the issue surface.”

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Thanks to your participation, Pare’s engineers are now even more equipped to assist in providing clarity and recommendations to the state of the consensus among those associated with or working in the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction.

 

#PareTimeRunners

Eleven Pare engineers and one environmental scientist (AKA the #PareTimeRunners) took off on a 192-mile relay race that stretched from Hull, MA to Provincetown, MA.  They started at the Foxboro office in two vans…

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L to R: Chris Webber, Keith Black, Sarah Antolick, Victoria Howland, Matt Alford, Lauren Gluck

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L to R: Tim Thomson, Tim Thies, Andrew Chagnon, Lindsey Machamer, Danielle Goudreau, Keith MacDonald

The #PareTimeRunners ran all through the night.

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Keith Black passing the baton to Tim Thies

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The struggle was real.

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However there was light at the end of the tunnel!

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For the most part…

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They saw the sights.

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They even got some work done! #PareTimeRunners #FullTimeEngineers

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They finally made it! IMG_4108

Congratulations to the #PareTimeRunners on their 192-mile weekend. To view even more photos and tweets from the #PareTimeRunners, head on over to the @Pare_Corp Twitter page. If you’re interested in running a 200-mile relay race this summer, check out the Ragnar Relay website.

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Turning a Comment Into a Committee

By Kailyn Corrigan, Marketing Coordinator at Pare

In mid-March I was fortunate enough to attend the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA) Awards Gala. Our submission for the Bristol Stormwater Outfall Retrofit had received a Bronze Award, and I had helped assemble our submission. It was an exciting night where I was able to learn more about the A/E/C industry, meet plenty of new people, and eat a delicious dinner while getting to better know some of Pare’s senior staff.

Turning a Comment into a Committee

The morning after I attended the Awards Gala, I was doing my morning lap around the office and stopped at Civil Engineer, Victoria Howland’s desk. “How was it?!” she asked. As a fellow twenty-something recent graduate, Victoria understood that I had been nervous to keep up in conversation with our company’s senior-level leaders (being the A/E/C newbie that I am). “It was awesome,” I told her. I explained how I was seated next to Larry Riggs, our company President, and what an enjoyable conversation we shared about his professional past and my professional aspirations.

“Oh!” I added, “Right before the ceremony started, Larry told me this:

‘If you ever have a suggestion, issue, or see the need for improvement at Pare, feel free to let me know. We need young people like you to keep us in the loop.’

Isn’t that so thoughtful?”

Her eyes lit up, and a lightbulb appeared above her head. She enthusiastically agreed that was just about as kind and thoughtful as a company President could be.

In the typical and incredibly efficient fashion of engineers I’ve come to know, Tori drafted an email to me before I had even returned to my desk. In less than 10 minutes, Tori had established a plan to turn Larry’s comment into a committee.

At first I was hesitant, but the more we talked, the more her idea of a creative, organized, and productive way of accomplishing what Larry encouraged emerged. As someone with a lot to learn, I acquiesced and said I’d love to be involved. After meeting with Larry and the Civil Division Manager Ken DeCosta, Tori then thought it would be best to pick one young professional from each of our divisions: Civil (Victoria Howland – RI; Lindsey Machamer-MA), Environmental (Marc Weller, P.E.), Transportation (Bobby Sykes), Geotech (Jeff Costa), and Marketing (Me). And that’s how the Rising Professionals came to be!

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L to R: Marc Weller, Kailyn Corrigan, Bobby Sykes, Victoria Howland, Jeff Costa, Lindsey Machamer

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Since forming in June, we have held monthly meetings where we discuss networking, project concerns, education opportunities, and our experience at Pare. Our first order of business was to create a lunch hour called the “Enlightened Bite” where young professionals or anyone interested could participate in a Q&A with our company leaders—each of whom have led very successful engineering careers. So far we have held two Enlightened Bites.

One of the committee goals is to prevent turnover. As anyone in this industry knows, it is the youngest employees who are most likely to explore options as a young professional, however sometimes it’s because they were looking for something they could have had if only they had asked or been provided more clarity. As a committee, we aim to consider what those factors may be and will share our collective opinions on improving them.

The Rising Professionals hope to alleviate some of the hiccups and miscommunication that exist between generations within the workplace. We hope to fix problems before they develop, and we hope to provide a voice for the young people at our company. We look forward to expanding the group and our goals as we continue to grow.

 

Take Our 3-minute Climate Change Survey!

Over the past month we have all heard a variety of updates, opinions, and developments regarding the Paris Climate Summit and the Global Climate March, a gathering that produced significant awareness and opened the dialogue between hundreds of thousands of people. Although there is still much debate about the causes of climate change, there is growing evidence that storm severity may be increasing, and sea level rise and coastal erosion are well documented, especially in the Northeast.

As one of our founding fathers Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Sparked from the interest of our employees and in an effort to stay up to date with the possible ramifications climate change could pose, Pare’s Climate Change Committee (PC3) was born. Active for almost a year now, the committee has become a critical clearinghouse of climate change-related information and includes representatives from each division at Pare. PC3 includes committee chair Ryan McCoy from the Geotechnical/Waterfront Division, Chue Kue from the Transportation Division, Travis Johnson from the Environmental Division, and Briscoe Lang and Marc Gabriel from the Civil Division.

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Committee members Travis Johnson, Briscoe Lang, Ryan McCoy and Marc Gabriel (missing from photo: Chue Kue)

It has become more and more apparent that the A/E/C industry will hold a crucial role in responding to climate change through innovation, adaptive design, and proactive planning. Pare believes it is imperative to integrate proactive measures into our projects to better protect the public and our clients. In addition to collecting information and advising staff and clients, PC3 is continuously adding to our extensive in-house library so Pare can provide our clients with best practices for their projects. In most cases this will mean creating resilient or adaptive designs that minimize infrastructure and environmental damages resulting from severe storm events, flooding, and sea level rise. By doing so, Pare can better ensure post-storm continuity of business and reduce the amount of maintenance and repair that may be required from storm damage.

To help us understand how climate change impacts you, we invite you to complete the following short survey. We promise it will only take about three minutes of your time, and all who complete the survey will be entered in a drawing for a solar and hand turbine-powered American Red Cross Emergency Radio (which will even let you charge your cell phone when the power goes out!)

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Results of the survey will be posted in a future Pare Blog. The survey also allows you to provide an email address if you would like us to send you the results. If you have any questions about the survey or PC3, please send us an email at mailto:PC3@parecorp.com. Thank you in advance. Your input is greatly appreciated!

I Thought GIS Was the Newest Primetime Crime TV Show!

By Kailyn Corrigan, Marketing Coordinator at Pare

As a non-engineer/scientist, there is a lot of unfamiliar language I’ve come across since my introduction to the A/E/C industry in May 2014. For example, there is an entire division at Pare Corporation dedicated to geotechnical engineering – a term I’d never heard before I visited the company website. In order to be a successful marketing contributor, I try to notice which words come across my desk or within office earshot most often, and I ask a lot of questions. In 2015, I began to notice the term “GIS” more and more often, and so I realized it was time for me to investigate what GIS means and why its mention is on the rise.

In December 2014, Pare hired Sarah Pierce, a recent graduate of Westfield State, to join our Environmental Science group. In June of this year, Sarah was promoted to a full-time GIS Specialist and Environmental Scientist, so I asked her if she wouldn’t mind giving me a quick tutorial—a “GIS for Dummies,” if you will.

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Before meeting with Sarah, I made sure to check what GIS stood for, seeing as that was my first question, and nowadays one is expected to “Wikipedia” the basics. I learned GIS stands for “Geographic Information System.” Well that was a relief! At least I was familiar with the three words that comprise the acronym. I’m not always so lucky. I perused the resources Sarah provided me before the interview to develop a basic understanding, and I noticed that GIS is not exclusive to the A/E/C industry. Excited to share something in common with GIS already, I prepared my questions.p3p2-lg

I sat with Sarah, and asked for the less technical explanation of how GIS is used in our industry. Sarah explained that “GIS allows you to view data as a geographic representation.” For example, before GIS, location and project data was entered and viewed in list form, using software such as Microsoft Excel, and then data was applied to a map in a two-part process. GIS has made it a one-step process, which Sarah credited as one of GIS’s biggest benefits, “GIS has cut fieldwork time in half.”

A Growing Technology

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Now that I understood a little bit more about what GIS actually accomplishes, I was interested in learning why it is a growing technology. According to my Googling, GIS has been around since the 1960’s. GIS consists of an electronic display map, where the information you upload is associated with the corresponding geographic coordinates. When I asked how the growth spurt in GIS usage started, Sarah showed me the computer tablet she uses. While GIS has always been a helpful tool, prior to the development of portable computer tablets, GIS was restricted to desktop computers…which obviously aren’t as compatible with working in the field. The tablet has enabled engineers and scientists to enter and review data, whether they are in the office or knee deep in swamp land. Software companies like Esri have increased the mobility of GIS and the reasons for using it through tablet apps, such as Collector, which syncs information with ArcMap Online, the GIS software used on desktops.

Moving Forward

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A Pare project illustrating the visual components of data mapping.

I asked Sarah about Pare’s specific GIS expansion and which projects have benefitted the most from GIS technology. Currently it is used most often in feasibility studies, setback (a term commonly used in floodplain management) maps, and asset management in hydraulic modeling. However, Sarah hopes to utilize even more opportunities, and has developed a plan to do so. Sarah will be holding Lunch & Learns open to all staff. By providing the newest developments in GIS information and resources to staff members, our engineers will find new ways to integrate GIS into their projects. When I asked for an example of an area where GIS isn’t being used but should be, Sarah mentioned that it can be used as an alternative to computer aided drafting (CAD) in some cases. She hopes that Lunch and Learns will spark ideas among staff members and ultimately alleviate the workload of our very busy CAD department.

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A Pare project that used GIS to map components of a Town’s water system.

As a recent graduate, Sarah hopes to stay ahead of the ever-evolving GIS technology and remain at the forefront of the field. GIS software is updated on a yearly basis, so this will be no easy feat, but she looks forward to making GIS her professional priority. Since I learned a bit about GIS, Sarah also shared her ideas of how the Marketing department may be able to benefit from data visualization in proposal making and through our web presence. I am looking forward to working together and exercising my newfound understanding of yet another really cool engineering tool. For more information on GIS, its capabilities, and how you can apply it to your work, visit the GIS resource website that one of Sarah’s college professors created.

Pare Gets Resilient!

Pare’s Ryan McCoy Presents at the ASCE COPRI Coastal Structures Conference in Boston

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From September 9-11, 2015, Ryan McCoy, a project engineer with Pare’s Waterfront/Marine team and co-chair of the Pare Climate Change Committee (PC3), attended a 3-day conference in Boston, Massachusetts hosted by ASCE-COPRI (Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute). The “Coastal Structures and Solutions to Coastal Disasters Joint Conference” highlighted resilient coastal communities focusing on coastal protection and the vulnerability of the coastal infrastructure to coastal storms. In addition to attending technical sessions with topics ranging from coastal storms and flood mapping to tsunami response and protection to climate change and sea level rise, Ryan presented on day 2 at the conference’s poster session. Ryan discussed the Salisbury Tide Gate project, highlighting the resiliency of the structure which was designed by Pare with construction completed in 2014.

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Oxford dictionary defines Resilient as “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.”   The Salisbury Tide Gate project exemplifies the resiliency that is required when future sea level rise and the intensity of coastal storms are unknown. Pare reviewed available data including FEMA flood maps which indicated a 100-year flood elevation several feet above the embankment’s crest. In lieu of raising the crest elevation of the entire embankment (over 1 mile long), Pare incorporated resiliency into the embankment and tide gate design by allowing the site to be overtopped during significant storm events. Pare’s engineers designed the structure to be reliable and robust in order to preserve the structural integrity and water control required for post-storm recovery.

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The reconstruction of the site included the reconstruction of the embankment, replacement of the single culvert with twin culverts, and the installation of new tide gates. In order to make the site resilient, the new design included the installation of a steel sheet pile core wall driven to effectively eliminate seepage through the embankment, installation of armor stone on both sides of the embankment to reduce the effects of erosion potentially caused by flood waters, setup of remote water level sensors upstream and downstream of the embankment to alert DPW employees to rising flood waters, and new tide gates designed as combination sluice/flap gates to provide additional water level control during predicted flood events. In addition to these hard and fast solutions, proper tidal exchange and flushing of the sensitive salt marsh was reestablished, which restored the health of the resource area and provided a natural buffer during storm events.

These types of design considerations are going to be required as coastal communities look to improve public or private infrastructure across the country. Pare’s Climate Change Committee has worked diligently to understand the effects that climate change may have on future projects and the civil engineering industry as a whole. By remaining current with the science and policy of climate change, PC3 and Pare will provide our Clients with knowledgeable recommendations to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change through resilient design that is adaptable to a dynamic environment.

How Much Does Your Caffeine Routine Contribute to the Waste Footprint?

By Victoria Howland, Civil Engineer and member of Pare’s Sustainable Design Committee

Each morning you wake up, get ready for the work day, and reach for that delicious, aromatic and caffeinated beverage…which is filling our country’s landfills. Yes, I’m talking about coffee. An estimated 83% of adults in the United States drink 587 million cups of coffee a year. Coffee provides us with caffeine to keep us alert through the day and antioxidants to keep us healthy. This miracle beverage has even been linked to reducing our risk of getting (liver) cancer. So if you drink coffee, there’s no way you could be doing any harm, right? Wrong.

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Coffee has become a large contributor of waste. Every time you go to a coffee shop and grab a cup to go, your cup contributes to the waste footprint. Some companies use paper cups, which is an easy material to recycle. But do you recycle it? Other companies use Styrofoam for its insulating properties. It’s understandably difficult to turn down a cup option which keeps both your hand and the precious liquid a desirable temperature. And these environmentally unfriendly options are of low cost to the coffee shop and consequently to you.

Professor David Tyler, a chemist at the University of Oregon, addressed Styrofoam’s “worst material” stereotype by conducting a life-cycle assessment. The results of his study demonstrated that Styrofoam cups are no worse than paper cups for the environment. The carbon footprint of a Styrofoam cup (i.e., its contribution to greenhouse gases) is less than a paper cup. However, it does take Styrofoam longer to degrade. The choice is up to you; do you care more about carbon footprint or garbage reduction?index

Before we’re able to take a sip, we need to address another important coffee waste concern which is infamous in the New England region: the double cup. Found in both icy and sweltering temperatures, Dunkin Donuts and other coffee shops allow you to request your iced coffee in a cup within a cup. In the colder weather, your plastic drink cup is slid into a Styrofoam cup to keep the iced coffee from chilling your already chilled hands. In the warm weather, the Styrofoam second cup catches the condensation from your refreshingly cold drink. In both cases, the Styrofoam cup is being added as an insulator. And in both cases, you are contributing twice the amount of waste to the garbage.IMG_0829

And it’s not just cups that are filling our landfills.

In recent years, the single-serve coffee brewer has been at the forefront of home brewing. Keurig (now owned by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters) developed the K-Cup brewing system in the mid-1990s. As most of you know, it consists of a brewer and a K-Cup – a plastic container with a filter and 11 grams of ground coffee beans, vacuum sealed to prevent oxidation. The plastic container is made from a special plastic mix designed to withstand the heated brewing process. The brewer punctures a hole in the top and bottom of the K-Cup and passes hot water through the cup and into a mug. Once the K-Cup is brewed, it is disposed of, and it becomes a component of our waste footprint. While coffee grounds are compostable, K-Cup plastic containers are not. That isn’t to say they aren’t reusable though! Click the image below for ways to reuse your office’s K-Cups.

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John Sylvan was the brains behind Keurig and what he calls the “single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance.” He created Keurig in 1992 and sold off his share of the company in 1997 for a mere $50,000. Keurig is now generating $4.7 billion in revenue. Now that the K-Cup has received backlash from consumers, environmentalists, and more, John Sylvan states, “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.”

Coffee grounds are compostable, however the K-Cup plastic container is only recyclable in a few Canadian cities. The good news: Keurig Green Mountain has taken a pledge to create a fully recyclable K-Cup. The bad news: It won’t make its debut until 2020. Until then, we’ll have to be conscious about how we make our coffee!

Now that we’re finally ready to take a sip, cherish that taste of sweet…guilt! But perhaps there are ways we can lessen the guilt and lessen the environmental impact of drinking coffee. Coffee has always served as a treat, an energizer, and it is known for bringing people together. Consider bringing people together for an even greater benefit by encouraging environmentally responsible caffeinated practices in your office, whether it is supplying company-wide reusable coffee cups that all coffee shops are eager to fill, or by using a coffee-koozy to substitute the Styrofoam cup. Hey, there are some great opportunities for company branding here!

Use these links to read the details of Professor Taylor’s research, and the fascinating story of John Sylvan’s remarkable invention:
http://cascade.uoregon.edu/fall2012/expert/expert-article/

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/

Why the Northern Long-Eared Bat Should Be On Your ‘Radar’

Usually bats fly under the radar (no pun intended). However, the Northern Long-Eared Bat was recently listed as a threatened species by the US Fish and Wildlife Service due to a quick-spreading fungal disease, White Nose Syndrome. Discovered in 2007, the disease has caused unprecedented mortality of the Northern Long Eared Bat across the United States and Canada.

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Myotis septentrionalis, northern myotis (Vespertilionidae) showing signs of White Nose Syndrome (WNS). LaSalle County, Illinois. January 2013 Photo credit: University of Illinois/Steve Taylor

Bats play an important role in the ecosystem by controlling insect populations, so protection of a threatened species is understandable and justified. But our clients and colleagues should recognize that this recent threatened species listing could affect their construction and development projects. This listing is of particular concern for projects where federal funding or permitting is required. Schedules may also be impacted, as the removal of one acre or more of trees from a development site will be prohibited during the months of June and July. While this species of bats reside in caves throughout the winter, they move their habitat to trees during the summer months. Because the Northern Long Eared Bat will live in any tree species, projects that involve tree removal may be an obstacle for permitting.

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For project specific questions and more information, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s webpage about the Northern Long-Eared Bat and the consequent regulations here.

Thanks to Lauren Hastings, Senior Environmental Scientist at Pare for bringing this issue to Pare’s attention!

Save The Bay’s New Interactive Aquarium Exhibit Will Open June 25th

Whether you’re a Rhode Island native or looking to learn a bit more about the Ocean State, you won’t want to miss Save The Bay’s newest exhibit, Big Fish of The Bay, which will celebrate its grand opening on Thursday,  June 25 at 10 AM. The interactive exhibit will include over 140 species from Narragansett Bay, and its new 1,500-gallon tank will feature some of Narragansett Bay’s largest fish. The exhibit, located in Newport, RI, is free to Save The Bay members, and only $8 for non-members ages 4 and up.

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As a company headquartered in Rhode Island, Pare is proud to contribute to a variety of projects that support Save The Bay’s mission. From designing systems which eliminate harmful pathogens and polluted stormwater from entering Narragansett Bay, to design of the energy-efficient Beach Pump Station Replacement, which serves the Exploration Center & Aquarium in Newport (where the exhibit is located), we are eager to promote an organization that is dedicated to protecting and improving the Ocean State’s 400 miles of coastline. For more information about the Big Fish of The Bay exhibit, please visit the event webpage. Hope to see you there!

Behind The Scenes: The Making of Pare’s First Aerial Drone Video

In recent years the word “drone” – once associated solely with sci-fi movies and the military – has become more frequently mentioned in the news, on Christmas lists, and within the work place. While some of the regulatory issues of droning (is that a verb yet?) are still being considered, businesses and marketing departments have watched this burgeoning technology take off—literally.

It has always been important to Pare’s designers that we share up-to-date photos and videos documenting the progress of our projects. However, due to the size and scope of civil, transportation, environmental and geotechnical projects, it has often been difficult to get an accurate image or video of what was being accomplished without the use of a helicopter. That was until… the video drone.

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The Inspire1 is a flying platform designed to capture 360 degrees of aerial video with unrestricted views and much control

Several of Pare’s senior leaders met with Sean McVeigh, Director, Cinematographer and Photographer at Sean McVeigh Media, for an introduction to the Inspire1 drone, and to witness—through Sean’s past projects—the amazing opportunities aerial video footage can provide. The team was duly impressed, and began discussing potential projects worthy of aerial drone photography.

On May 1st, we ventured to Barrington, Rhode Island to film a key construction milestone on the Central Bridge Replacement project using the Inspire1 drone with Sean McVeigh and his partner, Seth Fandetti. Seth piloted the drone, watching out for power lines and birds, while Sean focused on the drone’s camera and capturing the best possible footage. Sean would explain to Seth the desired angles and shots he needed, while Seth communicated flight path options.

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Sean McVeigh and Seth Fandetti prepare the Inspire1 drone and flying equipment for takeoff. You can view Central Bridge in the distance.

We initially took off from a flat grassy area downstream of the bridge. However, to avoid electrical power lines and maintain the best view, we soon moved to the foot of the bridge. It was amazing to watch the Inspire1 remain steady and controlled, despite the windy and cloudy conditions.

Once construction filming wrapped, we interviewed Vice President and Managing Bridge Engineer, Kevin Viveiros, to provide project insight and narration for the completed video.

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Behind the Scenes with Sean McVeigh Media, Kailyn Corrigan, Marketing Coordinator at Pare, and Kevin Viveiros, VP and Bridge Engineer at Pare.

It was exciting to watch the different parts of filming come together in the final video. We hope this video will give you a unique perspective and insight regarding bridge engineering and construction. To view the completed video, please visit our YouTube channel, here. The full project story and details are located in the video description.