Celebrating the EPA’s SepticSmart Week!

Are you ready to join us in celebrating the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SepticSmart Week? This annual event is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the essential aspects of using and caring for your septic system. Below we have shared the SepticSmart Quick Tip Video filled with valuable insights to help you understand how your septic system functions, what to avoid disposing of, the importance of well water testing, and more. Whether you’re looking to educate clients or enhance your own knowledge, these tips will be a valuable addition to your septic system toolkit.

EPA’s SepticSmart Week is an excellent opportunity to enhance your understanding of septic systems and their proper care. The SepticSmart Quick Tip Video provides essential information on how your septic system works, what not to dispose of, the importance of well water testing, and more. Share these valuable insights with your clients or add them to your knowledge bank to ensure your septic system remains in optimal condition. Together, we can promote better septic system management for a healthier environment and safer drinking water.

What is QBS?

In the world of procurement, an approach known as Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) is gaining traction for its emphasis on experience and technical expertise over the traditional race for the lowest cost bid. QBS is revolutionizing the way firms compete for projects, with the aim of delivering high-quality results and fostering fairness in pricing negotiations.

Under the QBS framework, firms vie for contracts based on their qualifications rather than bidding the lowest price. Here’s how the process unfolds:

  1. Qualification Evaluation: The procurement process begins with an evaluation of firms’ qualifications. This evaluation considers factors such as their experience, technical expertise, past performance, and relevant credentials. Firms are shortlisted based on these qualifications.
  2. Selection of the Top-Ranked Firm: After the qualification evaluation, the top-ranked firm is selected for further negotiations. This firm is chosen for its demonstrated ability to meet the project’s technical requirements effectively.
  3. Price Negotiations: With the top-ranked firm selected, price negotiations commence. The goal is to arrive at a fair and reasonable price that aligns with the project’s detailed scope. This negotiation is informed by the firm’s qualifications and expertise, ensuring that value and quality are at the forefront of the discussion.
  4. Client’s Budget Alignment: In most cases, the price negotiated with the top-ranked firm aligns with the client’s budget, thanks to the detailed scope and the focus on qualifications. This results in a win-win situation where the client receives top-notch services within their financial constraints.

However, if negotiations with the top-ranked firm fail to reach a mutually agreeable price, the process moves to the second most qualified firm. This ensures that the client can still access a highly qualified team while working within budgetary limits.

QBS brings several advantages to the procurement process:

  • Quality Assurance: By prioritizing qualifications, QBS helps ensure that projects are executed by firms with a proven track record of success, reducing the risk of costly mistakes and delays.
  • Fairness: QBS promotes fairness by awarding contracts based on merit rather than solely on cost. This encourages healthy competition and supports firms that invest in expertise and excellence.
  • Optimal Budget Utilization: Clients benefit from QBS as it often leads to agreements that fit their budgets while maintaining the highest level of quality.
  • Minimized Risks: The focus on qualifications helps mitigate the risks associated with subpar performance and project failures, ultimately saving time and resources.

Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) represents a transformative shift in procurement, emphasizing expertise, quality, and fairness. By prioritizing qualifications over cost in the selection process, QBS aims to deliver projects that meet or exceed expectations while staying within budgetary constraints. This innovative approach ensures that the best-qualified firms are entrusted with critical projects, ultimately benefiting both clients and the broader community.

You can learn more through ACEC’s QBS Resources Portal.

Jesse Kropelnicki to Succeed Gerry Salontai as CEO at Verdantas

Verdantas is entering the next phase of their plan.

Effective September 1, 2023, Jesse Kropelnicki will succeed Gerry Salontai as CEO. “This move follows the succession plan established at our platform formation in 2020 and aligns with my intent since inception to withdraw from day-to-day management when an appropriate successor was identified. Jesse has been an asset to our organization as Verdantas’ COO, consistently demonstrating exceptional leadership and a deep understanding of our industry and our organization.” said Gerry Salontai, CEO of Verdantas.

Read more about this exciting plan!

Universal Professional Licensure In NH

On June 28, Governor Sununu signed HB 594-FN, relative to the licensure of out-of-state applicants to boards or commissions organized under the office of professional licensure and certification.

This bill (which was recommended by a legislative study committee) requires the Office of Professional Licensure (OPLC) to expand the portability of state licensure for all professions.

The new law includes professional engineers, geologists, land surveyors, foresters, landscape architects and soil and wetland scientists.

In the near future, when someone applies for a license in NH and is already licensed and the license is substantially similar to NH’s, then they will have an expedited process. The OPLC in consultation with the individual licensing boards will decide whether the other state’s requirements are substantially similar to NH.

Qualified individuals seeking licensure in New Hampshire through endorsement— also known as reciprocity—will no longer need to submit transcripts, examination results, evidence of experience, letters of reference, and other documentation typically required to obtain a license.

Please note:

  • A person does not need to reside in NH to take advantage of this new process.
  • This will not impact individuals currently licensed in NH.
  • This new law does not mean that other states will automatically recognize a NH license because that will depend on the state and its laws.

HB 594 will become effective on August 27, 2023, and requires the OPLC to adopt administrative rules to implement the bill. The Office intends to file interim rules in late August and will prioritize these professions (none are A/E related).

The Office selected the above professions after considering the current licensure requirements for endorsement applicants, the availability of other means for reciprocity (such as licensure compacts), and the volume of applications received by the Office.

ACEC-NH will continue to provide further updates as they become available.


Nobis Group Announces New President and CEO

Nobis Group is pleased to announce a significant recent leadership transition: after 34 years of exceptional service, Ken Koornneef, PE has decided to retire from his position as President and CEO. Together with Koornneef, the company’s executive leadership team and Board of Directors have been preparing for this transition through thoughtful succession planning. Nobis Group expresses deep gratitude for Koornneef’s numerous contributions and unwavering dedication to the organization.

Nobis Group is thrilled to introduce Chris Adams, PE as the firm’s newly appointed President and CEO. Adams is a professional civil engineer with over 24 years of service at Nobis Group, holding multiple positions including, most recently, Vice President of Operations and member of the Board of Directors. Adams has a proven history of success in the consulting and engineering industry and brings this wealth of knowledge and strategic vision to lead Nobis Group into the future. His expertise and leadership acumen will be instrumental in driving Nobis Group, as a 100% employee-owned company, towards growth and continued exceptional client service, maintaining Nobis Group’s commitment to excellence and partnering with our communities into the future.

Read the Full Article

NHDOT Eliminates Salary Cap

Dear ACEC-NH Members:

Please see below from NHDOT. This is hot off the press!

Special thanks to the ACEC-NH Consultant Quality Initiative (CQI) committee for all their advocacy on behalf of the entire engineering community.

I will send a broader message about this issue in the coming days but in the meantime, please feel free to spread the word.

Alex Koutroubas, Executive Director


Salary Cap Elimination Memo – ACEC-NH

2022 Technical Transfer Conference Call for Presentations

The NHDOT/ACEC-NH Technical Transfer Conference planning committee has recently begun its work. The event will take place on April 21, 2022.

All member firms are encouraged to submit any ideas, studies or projects for consideration by the committee.

If you are proposing a specific presentation, please remember to include a title and brief description (paragraph) as well as who would be conducting the presentation.

Please submit all suggestions to ACEC-NH Executive Director, Alex Koutroubas by November 15, 2021.

ACEC-NH & NHDOT Partnering Meeting

Today ACEC-NH and NHDOT hosted a virtual partnering meeting for member firms. Peter Stamnas, Director of Project Development at NHDOT, highlighted NHDOT’s 10-year plan review with plenty of great information on funding, strategies, and more. Many others from the CQI Committee provided insight into various NHDOT updates, including RFQ Submissions, the LPA Program, Highway and Bridge Updates, and more. We thank you all for another great event!


Partnering Meeting  |  Ten Year Plan Overview

ACEC/NHDOT CQI Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes – June 16, 2021 (approved 8/18/2021)

Meeting Location:  Zoom Virtual Meeting

Day/Time:  Wednesday (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

In Attendance:

  • Bill Oldenburg, NHDOT (Chair)
  • Mike Long, MJ
  • Ted Kitsis, NHDOT
  • Alex Koutroubas, ACEC
  • CR Willeke, NHDOT (Scribe)
  • Bob Bollinger, FHWA
  • Darren Blood, GM2
  • Marty Kennedy, VHB
  • Loretta Girard Doughty, NHDOT
  • Chris Mulleavey, HTA
  • Rob Faulkner, CHA
  • Tobey Reynolds

Unable to Attend:

  • Jim Marshall (NHDOT)


  1. Meeting Minutes: May meeting minutes accepted as amended.
  2. Assigned Scribe for Meeting: C.R. Willeke (NHDOT)
  3. Topics for Discussion:
    • Improving Project Delivery – Mike Long mentioned that at the last meeting in May the Committee looked at items that could speed up or improve the process in the period from project inception through consultant selection and notice to proceed. At this meeting we want to look at items that can speed up or improve plan production and delivery process after consultant notice to proceed. A draft list of items / issues that slow project progress is attached and was used for discussion. Mike mentioned that today’s intent is to review the draft list of issues, verify we are properly describing the issues, and make/adjust the priority of the items on the list. The group discussed the following items on the draft list:
    • Front Office Meeting Preparation – It was mentioned that seeking front office concurrence appears to have caused delays in the past on projects. The question was raised if consultants could take on some of the responsibilities of the NHDOT PM’s in preparing for or participating in Front Office meetings to help speed up project delivery. The types of front office meetings were discussed (seeking concurrence for scope/schedule/budget changes, seeking concurrence for upcoming public meeting presentations (see #2 below), presenting the progress of a project at certain milestones, etc…), as well as the steps to prepare for front office meetings. Items like preparing the FOPIS (Front Office Project Information Sheet), allowing time for Bureau Administrator pre-review and Director of Project Development pre-review, making sure all of the background information in understood, etc…. were noted to be elements that can extend time / cause delays. It was also mentioned that newer PM’s may be less comfortable making decisions as compared to more experienced / recently retired PM’s; therefore, more vetting of project decisions is occurring which could be adding time to the project delivery process. It was also mentioned that older conference reports were felt to be lacking in capturing an appropriate record of project decisions, and therefore the FOPIS was introduced as the official record of decision making. This may be causing PM’s (especially newer PM’s) to schedule more Front Office meetings than in the past.
    • Public Outreach – It was mentioned that the linear/sequential public outreach process appears to slow down projects. Things like properly noticing abutters are state law and likely cannot be improved upon. But, similar to #1 above, the question was raised if consultants could take on some of the responsibilities of the NHDOT PM’s in preparing for or participating in public outreach and/or the front office meetings related to public outreach to help speed up project delivery.
    • Technical Plan Review Turnaround Time (Plan/Submission Reviews) – It was agreed to keep this topic on the list.
    • Delays in Receiving NTP after scope and fee are agreed on for On-Call – It was agreed to not keep this on this list as there is not much DOT or consultants can do to improve it. However, consultants will track on-call turnaround time and report back in the future about potential delays. It was mentioned that there is merit in keeping the message going that all aspects of project delivery should be as efficient as possible.
    • Delays within Bureaus (Geotechnical, ROW, Survey) – It was mentioned to keep this issue on the list. It was also mentioned that bureau coordination is an issue on NHDOT “in-house” projects as well.
    • Items 6, 7, and 8 were not discussed due to time limits.
  4. LPA Topics:
    • C.R. noted that the LPA PE On-Call process is reviewing the contract documents for the three selected firms in preparation for G&C. A big thanks to Bill Oldenburg for filling in the responsibilities that Jake (retired) used to do in contract preparation. The LPA CE On-Call process will be reviewing consultant proposals in July.
  5. Sub Committees:
    • Contracts – Darren noted that the standardized scope of work for Part A is almost done and when finished the committee will schedule a meeting.
    • Bridge – Loretta noted that they will be meeting tomorrow (June 17, 2021).
    • Highway – no updates (Jim not in attendance)
  6. Next Meeting: August 18, 2021


ACEC-NH Leadership Changes

Welcome to Our New Board Members

ACEC-NH Leadership Changes

We are pleased to announce some ACEC-NH leadership changes! In June, we held our annual elections for Board and Officers positions for the Council. We are pleased to welcome Darren Blood of GM2 and Meghan Brassard of Haley & Aldrich as new Board members.

Both Darren and Meghan have been active in ACEC-NH for many years. Darren has served on several committees around transportation issues. Meghan has served on the Emerging Leaders Committee (ELC) since its inception and is a geotechnical engineer.

Welcome to Darren and Meghan!


Thank You Bill Moore & Meg Melendy

Two ACEC-NH Board members recently concluded their service to the industry.

Bill Moore (who recently celebrated his retirement) served as a President of ACEC-NH for two years. In addition, he was chair of the membership committee and our representative to the NHJES. Meg Melendy served on the ELC for several years before she was recruited to be an ACEC-NH Board member. Meg is currently pursuing a career change in the education field.

We wish Bill and Meg all the best on their new endeavors!

GeoInsight Joins National Platform of Environmental Engineering Companies

MAY 12th, 2021, DUBLIN, OH – GeoInsight, Inc. (www.geoinsight.com, “GeoInsight”), a New England-based environmental and engineering consulting firm has joined Hull & Associates (Hull) Duffield & Associates (Duffield), and HSW Consulting (HSW), as part of a national platform of companies focused in the industrial, real estate, energy, technology, transportation, and government sectors.

The combined platform now includes over 350 staff in 24 offices, across 12 states (Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Texas). Together, the firms offer comprehensive capabilities, including environmental site assessment and remediation, cultural resources and ecology, water resources and treatment, traditional site civil and geotechnical engineering, climate change resiliency, along with marine and coastal engineering.  With the addition of GeoInsight, the combined company now also offer clients Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) and compliance services on a national scale.

Gerry Salontai, CEO of the platform, explained, “GeoInsight brings additional leadership to the platform, a great culture fit and a complementary set of capabilities to further solidify our presence in the Eastern US, while adding a strong EHS practice to our business. This in turn will strengthen our value proposition to our clients as we continue to build a national environmental, water and civil infrastructure consulting business.”

GeoInsight will continue its commitment to offering relationship-centric consulting services to clients in New England, now with an expanded portfolio of service experience and technical depth.

As Nikki Delude Roy, Vice President of GeoInsight explains, “The combined firms of Hull, Duffield, HSW and GeoInsight share a rare set of core values centered around genuine commitment to our clients and our staff. At GeoInsight, we are excited about this partnership and the ability to bring additional resources to our existing clients, as well as the opportunity to introduce our talented and committed staff to a broader set of clients across a national footprint.”

GeoInsight President, Brian Kisiel offers, “This new venture offers GeoInsight the chance to bring what we do best to a whole new level. GeoInsight will continue to do great technical work while building and maintaining its long-term relationships with our business partners and our clients, which is the essence of who we are.  With this exciting change, we now have the opportunity to bring expanded services to existing and new clients in new geographies.”

This platform is sponsored by Round Table Capital (RTC) and is their third buy and build strategy in the AEC industry. Ashley Chang, Vice President and member of the founding team at RTC said, “We are very pleased to welcome the entire GeoInsight team to the platform. The strategic addition of such a strong organization is a win for all stakeholders; providing additional opportunities for employees, enhancing the service offering to clients and creating value for shareholders.”

Stradling, Yocca, Carlson and Rauth, P.C. acted as legal counsel, and BDO USA, LLP and CohnReznick, LLP acted as financial and tax advisors on behalf of RTC and its affiliates.

For more information on Hull, Duffield, HSW, and GeoInsight, please visit www.hullinc.com, www.duffnet.comwww.hsweng.com, and www.geoinsight.com. For information on Round Table Capital Partners (“RTC”), the private equity investment firm focusing on capital investment and collaborative partnerships, that facilitated this collaboration, please visit www.rtcpartners.com.

ACEC-NH/NHDOT CQI Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes for March 17, 2021

Meeting Location: Zoom Virtual Meeting
Day/Time: Wednesday (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

In Attendance:
Bill Oldenburg, NHDOT
Mike Long, MJ (Chair)
Ted Kitsis, NHDOT
CR Willeke, NHDOT
Jim Marshall, NHDOT
Darren Blood, GM2
Marty Kennedy, VHB
Chris Mulleavey, HTA
Alex Koutroubas, ACEC
Rob Faulkner, CHA (Scribe)

Unable to attend:
Loretta Girard Doughty, NHDOT
Michelle Marshall, FHWA


  1. Meeting Minutes: The meeting minutes from the last meeting were accepted.
  2. Assigned Scribe for Meeting: Rob Faulkner
  3. Topics for Discussion:
    • Scope and Fee Development for Standalone Projects (Scope Development – Custom vs. Standard)
      • D. Blood reported on the following:
        • About ½ of the Part A Draft Standardized Scope has been completed and reviewed;
        • Next meeting is in April with the goal of having the complete Part A scope developed.
          The Final Design scope will be developed afterwards.
      • M. Long asked if scope could be used for standalone contracts or on-calls. It was discussed that
        it could be used for both and would be a good basis for developing the Standardized Fee Matrix.
      • B. Oldenburg noted that the standardized scope would be “all inclusive” and could be
        customized for specific projects by hiding or deleting scope items that wouldn’t apply. (for
        instance for various types of bridge projects or if a highway project, bridge scope items could be
      • It was further discussed that the intent would be that the standardized scope wouldn’t need to be
        customized very much at all – similar to MassDOT’s standardized scope. R. Faulkner noted that
        the MassDOT scope refers to specific manuals or processes and that it is the expectation that
        those documents will be followed and are part of the scope.
      • D. Blood further noted that the subcommittee used a compilation of existing scopes of work to
        develop the standard scope template.
      • M. Long asked if the intent moving forward would be that the standard scope would be set as is
        and wouldn’t be significantly modified for each project, to which the general response was
      • There was a further discussion regarding the number of assumptions or caveats that are added to
        certain scopes of work to further qualify or quantify the expectations or level of effort for certain
        tasks and whether or not these would still be needed
      • It was agreed that the CQI Committee should review the draft standardized scopes prior to
        further discussing the need for caveats, however, certain assumptions will always need to be
        made. M. Long mentioned that in some cases, there is a disconnect in what the consultant
        envisions for effort versus what the Department envisions. Again, it was emphasized that the
        scopes, and associated levels of effort should be more consistent to help make the process more
      • M. Kennedy began a discussion on the schedule for scope and fee development and questioned
        whether or not the schedule needed to be reviewed and possibly made more aggressive, as well
        as enforced, to help push the process along and expedite getting contracts executed.
      • B. Oldenburg reviewed the current schedule:
        • from the solicitation posting there is 4 weeks for LOI submissions;
        • the short list is typically developed at the following Consultant Selection
          Committee meeting;
        • Ideally, the draft scope of work should be developed by the time of shortlist.
          However, there are some exceptions for more unique work.
        • Once the scope of work / shortlist is released, consultants have 4 weeks to submit
          Technical Proposals;
        • 2 weeks after Technical Proposals are submitted is typical for selection.
      • He further noted that the process / schedule can break down during fee proposal development
        and that sometimes this is NHDOT’s fault, sometimes the consultant’s.
      • He further noted that the internal process can break down and used On-Calls as an example: the
        Department tries to execute all of the On-Call agreements at the same time – if one consultant is
        behind, it can hold up others.
      • M. Kennedy again asked if the schedules could be more aggressive. B. Oldenburg replied that
        he sets the schedules and that he already makes them aggressive.
      • There was a discussion that the consultants use the Draft Scopes of Work issued with the
        shortlist only as a guide for the Technical Proposal development because they are pretty general
        in nature and not necessarily the basis for fee development.
      • It was further discussed that the Scope of Work Checklist provides more detail to help facilitate
        final scope and fee development.
      • C. Willeke noted that if draft Scopes of Work were required from PMs when they bring the
        solicitation to the Consultant Selection Committee, it would better motivate NHDOT’s PMs to
        get that done. M. Long continued saying that consultants do not necessarily pay attention to
        Article 1 provided with solicitations and the specific details for a project are usually discussed
        with PMs one-on-one and that the scope checklist might be better. B. Oldenburg replied that the
        checklist typically doesn’t provide enough detail. The consultant group generally agreed that the
        Article 1 included with the shortlist is not really a basis for the Technical Proposals developed by
        consultants and that specific scope details are not really needed for Technical proposals.
      • M. Long referenced CTDOT’s process and the position D. Mancini holds in the Consultant
        Selection office. In that position, he shepherds projects through the solicitation process very
        effectively. Mike questioned if a position like that at NHDOT would help NHDOT move
        projects forward.
      • B. Oldenburg stated that the Department is restructuring the Contracts and Specifications Section
        after Jake’s retirement which should help with NHDOT’s internal process for solicitations. He
        further noted that he will bring forward to the Consultant Selection Committee what will be
        required for solicitations and emphasize that if PMs don’t have the necessary information needed
        for a solicitation, it may not move forward.
      • It was agreed that the Contracts Subcommittee needs to put forward the standardized scope(s) for
        the CQI’s review and that at the next meeting we would discuss the next steps after scope
        development (Fee Spreadsheet and Independent Estimate).
    • NHDOT Website Updates
      • B. Oldenburg noted that the long list of LPA qualified firms has been added to the website. He
        continued that the website had a new look but nothing changed internally – he then reviewed the
        location where the LPA qualifications for all consultants were located on the website and noted
        that all of the consultants that submitted for the prequalifications were approved and put on the
        list. This list can be referenced by municipalities looking for consultant services on LPA
        projects and that the prequalification will need to be updated by the consultants every year.
      • A. Koutroubas asked if the consultants can update their prequalification at any time. B.
        Oldenburg responded that prequalification will only happen in January. He continued that
        consultants will have the option to update the package as much or as little as they want to and
        that the packages will be used more as a “Yellow Pages” listing for municipalities.
      • C Willeke noted that the annual prequalification solicitation will likely not require a complete
        resubmission to stay on the list. If there are wholesale changes within a firm, the Department
        might require a full resubmission. It was further noted that it would lighten the Department’s
        workload if they didn’t have to do complete reviews every year.
      • B Oldenburg noted that the Project Solicitation and Short List areas have been updated to a
        certain degree but also noted that most of the projects on the Shortlist page are very outdated. He
        also stated that the Possible Action page was also outdated. He continued that the new process
        will be that once a project has been shortlisted, and the selected firm, fee and G&C approval has
        been updated, the posting will remain up on the website for 6 months.
      • C. Willeke provided an update, noting that the State Bridge Aid Enrolled Project Status section
        has been updated with firms that have been selected for projects.
  4. LPA Topics:
    • C. Willeke provided the following updates:
      • The internal checklist for invoice review has been updated and may be circulated to the
        CQI for review;
      • TAP applications are coming in will be ranked;
      • Additional LPA training sessions are being scheduled and will likely be in April or early
  5. Status of Sub-Committees:
    • Consultant Contract Subcommittee: Previously discussed above
    • Bridge Subcommittee: No update
    • Highway Subcommittee: No update
  6. Other Items:
    • May Partnering Meeting
      • It was discussed whether the Commissioner could speak at the May
        meeting instead of her doing a separate Town Hall. It was agreed by all that this made sense.
    • B. Oldenburg provided the following staffing updates:
      • Jason Ayotte – new Project Manager, filling L. Doughty’s position;
      • Don Lyford and Joe Adams are retiring;
      • The new Chief Project Manager has been selected, but yet to be announced and will be on the
        CQI committee.
  7. Next Meeting – Wednesday, April 21, 2021

ACEC-NH/NHDOT CQI Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes for February 17, 2021

Meeting Location: Zoom Virtual Meeting
Day/Time: Friday (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

In Attendance:
Bill Oldenburg, NHDOT
Mike Long, MJ (Chair)
Ted Kitsis, NHDOT (Scribe)
CR Willeke, NHDOT
Jim Marshall, NHDOT
Michelle Marshall, FHWA

Unable to attend:
Alex Koutroubas, ACEC
Rob Faulkner, CHA


  1. Meeting Minutes: The meeting minutes from the last meeting were accepted.
  2. Assigned Scribe for Meeting: Ted Kitsis
  3. Topics for Discussion:
    • Escalation Rate
      • Bill Oldenburg confirmed that the 2021 escalation rate of 2% was approved via an
        internal memo by Chief Engineer Bill Cass and Director Peter Stamnas. As this
        rate only affects the budget of standalone contracts, the ACEC group will have no
        further discussion of this rate for this year. It was mentioned that all consultants
        are paid the actual pay rates at the time services are rendered.
    • Establish Core Goal(s) of this Committee for 2021
      • The CQI committee is looking to identify items or topics that can be improved
        upon to help move project along faster and more efficiently. The committee
        identified the following topics that should be considered for further discussion:

        1. Agreement development and execution procedures.
        2. Project Development continuity.
          • Try to keep same people on projects.
          • Jim Marshall noted that Highway Design tries to keep the same
            team on a project but due to staffing shortages that isn’t always
            possible. This was one of the reasons the Bureau of Highway
            Design re-organized its sections recently.
        3. Scoping fee negotiation process before execution of an Agreement.
        4. And for projects that are underway let the consultants take a greater lead

          • DOT PM’s are overwhelmed and the committee sees this as an
            area that needs to be improved.
          • The committee’s goal is to advance projects faster.
        5. There isn’t a DOT PM manual to help with the transition of new PM’s.
        6. DOT working to have more standardized agreements so all bureaus have
          access to them and can use them.

          • Looking to streamline the Agreement process/effort to be more
        7. Engineer of Record Policy (currently in draft form).
          • Look at steps to engage Consultants during construction.
          • ACEC would like to provide comment on draft Policy.
        8. Improved communication and marketing of all the good things that the
          project is or is going to do.

          • Make sure FHWA direction is disseminated to all staff.
        9. Processes and procedures are constantly evolving due to audits that occur
          from time to time. The DOT finds it a challenge to effectively
          communicate these changes to Communities and Consultants.

          • Example: Bid analysis after bid openings.
          • Example: FOPIS
        10. Seems that in the last couple of years we have made things more
          complicated. It’s good to document things but many question the added
          value this brings to projects.

          • Having some flexibility would help mitigate some of the changes.
          • Many of these changes are mandated to the Department, usually as
            a result of audit findings or by FHWA directives.
          • Department has been looking to have a record of past decisions for
            liability issues as well as the inevitable staffing changes (FOPIS).
        11. Highway Design sub-committee is looking at a process (live document)
          that replaces the Engineering Report. The hope is to save time in the end
          and to assist engineers filling out the FOPIS.

          • FOPIS is actually a log of decision dates/events.
        12. Due to limited and reduced resources, the Department will be providing
          less reviews and the consultants will have a greater role in project
          management, including internal coordination, in the future.
    • Identify Individual Topics for Consideration and Prioritize
      • After some discussion the committee identified the following topics for
        immediate follow-up:
        1. Improve the Agreement process. (The DOT supports this effort.)
        2. Engineer of Record collaboration.
        3. Other topics not identified at this time.
  4. LPA Topics: ACEC has been getting a lot of questions regarding the recent LPA RFP’s (Oncall
    Design services and CE&I services) and is looking for an update to provide to
    its member firms.

    • CR noted that the Department is looking at this consultant selection
      process and will provide more information by the end of March or in early
    • A recent audit has found issues with the LPA G&C approval process that
      needs to be addressed before we can move forward with the On-call and
      CE&I Agreements. This will most likely require several changes to our LPA
    • All those consultants that submitted prequalification packages will be
      placed on a list that will be available on the NHDOT website for Towns to
      utilize in contacting forms for possible LPA assignments.
    • The RFP soliciting for On-call design consultants and CE&I consultants
      that the NHDOT will utilize for projects where the towns request that
      NHDOT preform the design or construction inspection is still under
  5. Status of Sub-Committees:
    • Contracts – Darren noted that the subcommittee continues to make progress on a
      standard scope of work – next meeting Feb 19th.
    • Bridge – Loretta noted that the subcommittee did not meet since our last meeting.
    • Highway – Jim noted that the sub-committee meets monthly and the group is
      developing checklists to aid in the reviews. The checklists are available on the
      NHDOT website for internal and external use (Link:https://www.nh.gov/dot/org/projectdevelopment/highwaydesign/com
  6. Other Items:
    • April Tech Exchange
      • The conference sub-committee has completed the agenda. This year’s
        conference will be virtual and all presentations will be pre-recorded.
      • The conference will be the entire week of April 12-16, 2021.
      • Registration fee is lower this year so we are anticipating more attendees this
      • The DOT can send all staff that want to attend due to the cost and virtual
    • May Partnering Meeting
      • We don’t have a topic for this meeting at this time.
      • Usually The CQI committee provides a recap of what we have been talking
        about at our meetings.
      • The ACEC group thought it would be good to have an update on the budget
        and projected revenues in the highway fund.
      • Bill Oldenburg will check with the Commissioner to ask if she would consider
        doing a Town Hall meeting that was originally scheduled for this past
        January. It would be a timelier discussion if we can have the Town Hall
        meeting in late March, just before the April conference.
    • New Topics for Next Meeting
      • Consultant manual will be sent to the ACEC group for their review.
      • Design Build manual will follow shortly thereafter.
  7. Next Meeting – March 17, 2021

ACEC-NH/NHDOT CQI Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes for January 15, 2021

Meeting Location: Zoom Virtual Meeting
Day/Time: Friday (1:00 pm – 2:30 pm)

In Attendance:

Bill Oldenburg, NHDOT (Chair)
Mike Long, MJ
Ted Kitsis, NHDOT
Alex Koutroubas, ACEC
CR Willeke, NHDOT
Michelle Marshall, FHWA
Darren Blood, GM2
Marty Kennedy, VHB (Scribe)
Loretta Girard Doughty, NHDOT
Chris Mulleavey, HTA
Rob Faulkner, CHA

Unable to Attend:

Jim Marshall, NHDOT


  1. Meeting Minutes: The meeting minutes from the last meeting were accepted.
  2. Assigned Scribe for Meeting: Marty Kennedy
  3. Topics for Discussion:
    • Escalation Rate
      • Bill reminded the committee that the NHDOT’s current calculation, which is
        based on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Data yields 2.25%, which would
        round down to a 2.0% cost escalation. He received internal Department push back
        on the suggestion of using the 2.25% plus 1% as discussed at our last meeting.
        Bill ran a sensitivity analysis using a $1.7 M project stating that the difference
        between a 2.0% and a 2.25% factor would be only $5 K and the difference
        between a 2.0% and a 3.0% factor would be only $20 K. Unless there’s another
        acceptable standardized method the consultant members can propose, the
        Department is prepared to implement the lower escalation rate. Consultants to get
        back to the Department within the next couple of weeks if there are other
    • Brainstorming Meeting Topics
      • Marty suggested that with this being our first meeting of the year, we
        establish our top priority for 2021. It was suggested and agreed that our
        top priority would be to work together discussing and implementing
        actions aimed at efficiently advancing NHDOT projects. There will be
        other topics to discuss, but we’ll be sure to allocate sufficient time on each
        agenda to this priority.
      • The agenda will include start and end time for each agenda item.
      • Subcommittee reports should be brief (2 min each). If there’s the need for
        a longer discussion on a subcommittee matter, it should be placed on the
        agenda as a standalone discussion item.
      • As the year proceeds, we’ll monitor our progress on implementing actions
        to advance NHDOT projects.
      • Bill Oldenburg and one consultant member (Mike Long) to work together
        on preparing the agenda for each meeting.
      • Will consider changing the day and time of the meeting. Bill will check
        the schedules of others.
    • Sub-Consultant Self-Certification Form
      • Bill noted that the new form is being instituted – being pushed out
        internally first.
    • Consultant Manual by ACEC
      • Bill will be providing this committee copies of the manual for review –
        appendix to be provided on-line. We’ll get one month, then the document
        goes to FHWA. Final step is the Commissioner’s signoff.
    • Commissioner Town Hall
      • Date and time not yet set. Bill to check with Commissioner on potential
        late February date – 1 hour.
    • Consultant Notes Posting for Non-NHDOT Services
      • Bill was contacted by SRPC for eligibility list of consultants so they can
        send out an RFP for on-call services. Bill explained to the SRPC that the
        Department doesn’t maintain an eligibility list but agreed to post their RFP
        on the NHDOT’s website. Bill asked if ACEC had any concerns with
        using the list in this way. No concerns were raised.
  4. Committees:
    • Contracts – Darren noted that the subcommittee continues to progress on a
      standard scope of work – next meeting Feb 19th.
    • Bridge – Loretta noted that the subcommittee did meet and are continuing to
      update the Bridge Manual – updating one chapter at a time. D-B Manual is
      complete, no more discussion needed.
    • Highway – Jim was not present today – no report.
  5. LPA: CR asked consultants on the committee if there might be any potential issues
    when laying out alignment during construction when the Construction Engineer is a
    different firm from the Design Engineer. The committee members didn’t see a big issue.
    C&I contracts require a licensed surveyor. Ted noted that on NHDOT projects their
    surveyors provide layout of project control, but the Contractor is required to layout the
    project. NHDOT RE’s then are provided GPS equipment that they use to provide a sense
    that the project is being constructed correctly. It was noted that when LPA project
    documents reference the NHDOT specifications, they need to pay close attention to this
    initial layout requirement as NHDOT survey crews will not be providing this control
  6. Other Items: Ted noted that Construction School will take place virtually (Zoom Meeting) for
    January 26th through January 29th. Consultants are welcome to register. Zoom
    meeting can accommodate up to 500 attendees.
  7. Next Meeting: February 19, 2021. (Subsequently changed to February 17, 2021)

ACEC-NH/NHDOT CQI Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes for December 18, 2020

Meeting Location: NHDOT Commissioner’s Conference Room
Day/Time: Friday (1:00 pm – 2:30 pm)

In Attendance:
Bill Oldenburg, NHDOT (Chair)
Mike Long, MJ (Scribe)
Ted Kitsis, NHDOT
Alex Koutroubas, ACEC
Darren Blood, GM2
Marty Kennedy, VHB
Loretta Girard Doughty, NHDOT
Chris Mulleavey, HTA

Unable to Attend:

Jim Marshall, NHDOT
CR Willeke, NHDOT
Rob Faulkner, CHA
Michelle Marshall, FHWA


  1. Meeting Minutes: The meeting minutes from the last meeting were accepted.
  2. Assigned Scribe for Meeting: Mike Long
  3. Topics for Discussion:
    • Escalation Rate
      • Further discussion was held regarding the establishment of an escalation rate on
        consultant salaries for next year. ACEC provided data accumulated from 27 firms
        (almost all have current contracts with NHDOT). Information was provided to
        Alex anonymously and the average salary increase from 2019 to 2020 was
        approximately 3.5%. Last year’s rate was taken from US Bureau of Labor
        Statistics Data which seems somewhat coarse and not entirely reflective of our
        industry, especially in southern New Hampshire as it is influenced by the Boston
        market. Using that data again would provide a rate of 2.25%. Bill suggested
        using that rate plus 1% and after some additional discussion it was agreed that he
        would propose that to the front office for approval.
    • Sub-Consultant Self-Certification Form
      • Bill asked if this form, which requires subconsultants to certify as to whether they
        are required to have an indirect cost rate (audited overhead rate) review based on
        the current contract value, could be moved along for possible implementation.
        ACEC’s concerns had been expressed in the previous meeting and through email concerning when a contract is actually complete for a subconsultant. With that in
        mind, Bill will move the form along for any additional internal Department
        comment and implementation.
    • Winter Conference
      • There will be no winter conference as in past years. Instead, a town hall type
        forum will be held with the Commissioner will be arranged, sometime around the
        middle of January.
    • April Technical Transfer
      • The Technical Conference will still be held in 2021, but it is being planned as a
        virtual conference due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The conference
        sub-committee is going forward with a plan to do it over a five day period with
        presentations each day. The technology on how to do this with a large audience
        has been discussed with SNHU. More to come on this in the near future.
    • Committees
      • Contracts – The committee is making progress on a standard scope of
        work and in fact, a standard for environmental assignments is very close to
        completion. Christine Perron from MJ provided McFarland Johnson’s
        “standard” and this was used as an initial template. The committee met
        and reinvigorated the process in other areas.
      • Bridge – No meetings recently, although Loretta noted that the
        Design/Build Manual has been reviewed and is almost complete and ready
        for publication.
      • Highway – Jim was not present today, but it was noted that a meeting was
        held recently and that the minutes from that and other meetings have been
        posted to the website.
      • LPA – CR was out and there was no update in this area.
  4. Other Items: No other items were discussed.
  5. Next Meeting – January 15, 2021

ACEC-NH/NHDOT CQI Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes for September 18, 2020

Meeting Location: Virtual Zoom Meeting
Day/Time: Friday (2:00 pm – 3:00pm)

In Attendance:
Bill Oldenburg, NHDOT (Chair)
Mike Long, MJ
Ted Kitsis, NHDOT
Alex Koutroubas, ACEC
Michelle Marshall, FHWA
Chris Mulleavey, HTA (Scribe)
Darren Blood, GM2
Marty Kennedy, VHB
Loretta Girard Doughty, NHDOT
Jim Marshall, NHDOT
CR Willeke, NHDOT

Unable to Attend:

Rob Faulkner, CHA


  1. Meeting Minutes: The meeting minutes from the last meeting were accepted.
  2. Assigned Scribe for Meeting: (DOT even months/ACEC odd months) – Chris Mulleavey
  3. Topics for Discussion:
    • Partnering Meeting Oct. 2, 2020 – Agenda Discussion
      • Bill O. mentioned training needs to acquire PDH’s have been difficult due
        to Covid restrictions. ACEC mentioned that there are a number of
        websites on-line that provide this service to engineers i.e. RedVector
      • Not a lot of ideas for additional agenda items other than standard updates,
        Bill O. will also mention some issues they are dealing with for electronic
        submissions in that consultants are password protecting their documents as
        file as file size limitations. ACEC suggested that they develop specific
        guidelines to be used for consultant electronic submittals.
      • Michelle M. suggested mentioning Everyday Counts Six is being rolled
        out soon by FHWA.
    • Winter Conference Jan. 15, 2021 – Agenda Discussion
      • The conference is planned to be virtual at this time
      • Bill O. will reach out to Kevin Nyhan for environmental topics, mentioned
        Permit requirement updates and MS4 as possibilities.
    • Tech Conference April 2021 – Discussion
      • Hope to have conference in person but will have backup plan for virtual
        meeting. Bill O. and Alex K. to get the committee together to start
    • Consultant Selection Manual – Update Status
      • No change from last meeting Bill O. working out kinks for on-line version
        and then submit to Contracts sub-committee for review of updates.
  4. Status of Subcommittees:
    • Consultants Contracts Subcommittee (Darren)
      • Standardized Scope of work/Fee Matrix: Darren reviewing with
      • Darren thanked Loretta for volunteering staff to write up sections which
        will speed up the process. Working on Part A will review at next meeting
        scheduled for Oct.1, 2020 then onto Part B.
    • Bridge Subcommittee (Loretta)
      • Design Manual Update -Held meeting Friday Sept. 11.
      • The Updated Manual is being reviewed internally.
      • Estimating Committee is developing a guidance document for estimating
      • The Bridge Sub-Committee notes can be viewed on-line at the NHDOT’s
    • Design-Build Manual (Loretta)
      • Is complete and going through internal review process. Once complete
        will be posted on NHDOT’s website for consultant’s use.
    • Highway Subcommittee (Jim Marshall)
      • Design Manual update – Committee will be meeting in 2 weeks, working
        on design submission checklists and aligning them with standardized
        scope, design manual chapter 8 revision is with Policy and Records then
        onto FHWA.
      • “Working on Design Report to document from beginning to end”
  5. LPA Topics (CR W.):
    • DOT managed on-call solicitation out also evaluating Pre-Qual list that
      Municipalities can utilize for consultant selection for LPA.
    • Working on a lot of procedural processes in the background for LPA.
    • Planning on LPA training virtually in the November/December time frame.
  6. Other Items:
    • Question raised from Mike L. regarding proper invoicing around the DOT Fiscal
      year ending. Bill O. That the only fiscal year ending that needs to be adhered to is
      the DOT’s which ends June 30th. The DOT cannot pay an invoice the spans two
      Fiscal years. Ie. June 30 is the stop then new Fiscal year begins July 1.
  7. Next Meeting – Thursday, October 16, 2020