ATLANTA, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Keith Franklin, PE, has joined the firm and will manage our Georgia operations.
“Keith is an experienced engineer who will help us expand our business opportunities in Georgia,” said Craig Hanchey, Neel-Schaffer’s East Region Manager. “Keith has a wealth of experience working with private and public clients, and we are excited that he has joined our team.”
Franklin has 30-plus years of experience in a variety of roles, including inspector, surveyor, design engineer, project manager, and business development manager. Franklin has been instrumental in the growth of the Atlanta area transportation system, working on a wide variety of projects across the Metro area.
He was on the program management team for a four-year transportation improvement project in Cobb County that involved some $500 million in construction. He was the project manager for three Georgia Department of Transportation task orders totaling $13.5 million over a 10-year period, and he was the project manager for a five-mile stretch of the East-West Connector in Cobb County.
Early in his career, Franklin gained extensive experience as a design engineer, working on I-75 and I-85 portions of the Downtown Connector, and the I-75 and I-285 interchange.
Franklin will work out of Neel-Schaffer’s office in Atlanta.
The big news in downtown Jackson (MS) Thursday is that the old Mississippi Valley Title building on West Street was brought down by demolition workers who are making way for the new nine-story, $53 million Westin Hotel.
Here are a few pictures of what’s left of the Valley Title building, along with other workers prepping for the start of construction. Among those pictured is Mike Biglane of SoilTech Consultants, a Neel-Schaffer subsidiary company that provides geotechnical engineering and materials testing.
Neel-Schaffer is providing engineering design and project management services for the new hotel, and SoilTech will provide construction materials testing services throughout construction.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held a month ago. The four-star, 203-room hotel will include 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The project is coordinated with Capitol Hotel Associates, Elness Swenson Graham Architects, and Brasfield & Gorrie (project contractor) for demolition of existing buildings and infrastructure, and the construction and improvements related to the hotel.
Neel-Schaffer will soon be engaged in the largest project (by construction cost) in the history of the firm, the $850 million Mobile River Bridge and Bayway Widening project in Mobile, AL.
Mobile Bay Gateway Partners, a partnership that includes Mobile-based Thompson Engineering, HDR, and Hatch Mott McDonald, was recently awarded the contract for the project to design a new bridge over the Mobile River, and widen the Bayway connector (I-10).
As a subconsultant to Mobile Gateway Partners, Neel-Schaffer will provide preliminary design services in the following areas: Environmental, traffic engineering and ITS, bike and pedestrian facilities, and hydraulics analysis.
The new bridge and widening of I-10 will help alleviate traffic congestion in the City of Mobile. Currently, I-10 traffic is routed under the river via the Wallace Tunnel. The Bayway will be widened from two to four lanes in each direction.
“This is a milestone for us in Alabama,” said Chris Sellers, who leads Neel-Schaffer’s Alabama operations. “It’s a signature project that means a lot to the City of Mobile and to the State of Alabama. We are very fortunate and very excited to be a part of a project of this magnitude that will have such an impact on the local community. It will mean a lot to our employees to say we were a part of this.”
John Murphy, who joined Neel-Schaffer in 2013 and leads our Mobile office, will be Neel-Schaffer’s project director. Sellers said work will be performed through our three Alabama offices (Mobile, Tuscaloosa and Birmingham), and other offices throughout the company.
JACKSON, Miss. (August 5, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Brian Granger, PE, BCEE, has joined the firm as an Engineer Manager in the Jackson, Mississippi office, bringing a wealth of knowledge in water resources engineering, advanced wastewater treatment, pumping, water supply and storage, and public utility pipeline projects.
Granger has over 20 years of experience and he has worked on several large private and municipal projects. He was a Project Engineer for the Nissan Automotive plant water and wastewater improvements project in Canton, and he was the Project Manager for the DeSoto County Regional Wastewater System project that included a wastewater treatment plant, 27 miles of gravity interceptor, 16 miles of force main, and 10 pumping stations.
“We’re excited to have Brian Granger joining our firm,” said Keith O’Keefe, Senior Vice President for Neel-Schaffer’s Central Mississippi operations. “He brings more than 20 years of water and wastewater engineering experience to us and will be a leader for us in that discipline.”
Granger is a graduate of Mississippi State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.
JACKSON, Miss. (August 4, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer is pleased to be a part of another exciting new project coming to downtown Jackson, the $53 million Westin Hotel.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the hotel was held today at the site on West Street. Among the speakers were Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber, Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn, state Senator John Hohrn, and Joseph Simpson, the head of Capital Hotels Associates, LLC, and the driving force behind this project.
The four-star, 203-room hotel will include 12,000 square feet of meeting space.
“The impact the Westin will have on downtown Jackson is immeasurable,” said Jennifer Johnson, president of the Jackson Redevelopment Authority.
“There is tremendous revitalization going on in downtown Jackson,” Speaker Gunn told a crowd of more than 100.
“Jackson is on its way back,” Senator Hohrn told the crowd. “And as Jackson goes, so goes Mississippi.”
Said Mayor Yarber: “When you have a vision, you can get things done.”
Neel-Schaffer is providing engineering design and project management services for the development of the nine-story hotel. The project is coordinated with Capitol Hotel Associates, Elness Swenson Graham Architects, and Brasfield & Gorrie (project contractor) for demolition of existing buildings and infrastructure, and the construction and improvements related to the hotel.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 21, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Greg Dotson, PE, has joined the firm and will manage our recently opened office in Memphis.
A Memphis native and University of Memphis graduate, Dotson brings nearly 20 years of engineering experience to his new position, where he will work with clients throughout the Memphis area, including parts of North Mississippi.
“Greg’s experience and expertise in traffic and ITS and construction engineering will help us greatly expand our services in the Memphis area,” said Joe Deering, PE, Neel-Schaffer’s Vice President for Tennessee operations. “His local knowledge and commitment to the Memphis area is a perfect match for Neel-Schaffer, where one of our core values is to serve the communities in which we work and live.”
In addition to the Memphis office, Neel-Schaffer operates Tennessee offices in Nashville, Jackson, and Murfreesboro. The firm also has an office in Southaven, Mississippi.
“This is definitely an awesome opportunity for me to build on the relationships I have established here in the greater Memphis area,” said Dotson. “I will continue to practice engineering and manage current and new projects with the City of Memphis and Shelby County.”
In his previous positions, Dotson worked for a decade on the Memphis TDOT Smartway and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) project. That project involved the installation of cameras, traffic sensors, and dynamic message signs on I-40, I-55 and I-240 that are aimed at relieving traffic congestion throughout the area.
Dotson holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Memphis, and a Master’s in Christian Studies from Union University in Memphis.
JACKSON, Miss. (July 8, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Damon Torricelli, PE, has joined the firm as a Project Manager in the Biloxi, Mississippi office, bringing a wealth of knowledge in municipal engineering services.
Torricelli, former City Engineer for the City of Biloxi, has over 26 years of experience in overseeing major projects like infrastructure repairs of water, sewer and drainage lines. He also has experience with overseeing projects that include architectural, geotechnical, and construction services.
“Damon will be a great asset to our organization. He will oversee major infrastructure projects like the Port of Gulfport,” said Steve Twedt, Neel-Schaffer Area Manager for South Mississippi. “His many years as City Engineer for the City of Biloxi will give him the advantage of understanding the needs of our municipal clients.”
Torricelli is a graduate of Mississippi State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.
JACKSON, Miss. (July 2, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Steve Vercher, PE, has joined the firm as Engineer Manager in the Shreveport, Louisiana office.
Vercher has over 22 years of experience, serving as an engineer and project manager for public and private entities in Louisiana. In particular, his experience includes working for the City of Bossier City and the City of Shreveport. He has extensive design experience with lift stations, force mains, gravity sewer, water mains, permitting, drainage and roadway projects.
"Steve's background and experience in an array of civil engineering disciplines such as road and bridge design, water and wastewater, and traffic engineering, will serve us well as we offer these services to our clients in north Louisiana," said Jerry Trumps, Senior Vice President for Neel-Schaffer’s Southwest Region. “Steve understands the needs of our municipal clients, having served for many years as assistant City Engineer for Bossier City.”
Charles Adams, the former Engineer Manager in the Shreveport office, is now working in the Neel-Schaffer New Orleans office as a Senior Project Engineer. Adams served in the Shreveport office for seven years, specializing in traffic engineering. He will offer the same expertise to New Orleans and the greater New Orleans area.
JACKSON, Miss. (June 22, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Bonnie Morgan has joined the firm, bringing a wealth of experience in environmental permitting.
Morgan spent 15 years with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality helping various state and federal agencies and stakeholders with their environmental permitting needs. She will serve as a client manager in our Environmental Science Group, working in our Ridgeland office.
Morgan has a significant amount of experience in completing the permitting needs of major economic development projects as well as existing industry. Her knowledge includes PSD Construction Permitting, Title V Operating Permitting, Synthetic Minor Operating Permitting, NPDES, Pretreatment, and Stormwater Permitting, all of which includes Greenfields and existing sites.
“We are extremely excited to have Bonnie joining our firm and bringing her energy, enthusiasm, and experience to Neel-Schaffer,” said Keith O’Keefe, Senior Vice President for Neel-Schaffer’s Central Mississippi operations. “With her years at MDEQ and her knowledge of environmental permitting, Bonnie will add value to our clients throughout the state.”
Morgan is a graduate of Mississippi State University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering.
Michael Volk, PE, is another example of how Neel-Schaffer employees look for ways to make a difference with their clients, in their communities, and abroad. Volk, the President of SoilTech Consultants, Neel-Schaffer’s Mississippi-based geotechnical engineering subsidiary, and his two youngest sons joined 152 other members of his church for a weeklong spring break trip to Haiti in March. That mission trip left such an impression on him, he returned in April and plans to make another trip to the earthquake-torn Caribbean island nation next spring. This is Michael’s story:
CLICK HERE to continue reading.
Neel-Schaffer employees are always looking for ways to make a difference with their clients and in their communities. Derek Cheatham, PE, the Engineer Manager of our Arlington (TX) office, found a way to give back through Engineering Ministries International (www.emiusa.org), a Christian non-profit organization that puts design professionals in a position to help partnering organizations realize their visions through the design and construction of facilities.
For more on Derek’s trip to Ethiopia, CLICK HERE.
JACKSON, Miss. (May 7, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., has moved up to 187th among the nation’s Top 500 Design Firms for 2015, according to Engineering News-Record, which compiles the prestigious list.
Neel-Schaffer made a significant jump in the rankings, from 199th in 2014. This marks the 21st consecutive year Neel-Schaffer has been included in ENR’s Top 500.
“Increasing our revenues through key acquisitions and dedicated service to our existing and new clients is a testament to the hard work of our employees across the company,” said Hibbett Neel, Neel-Schaffer’s President. “It is our mission to serve our clients as an extension of their staff, and each year we develop new services that will further assist them in meeting their needs and goals.”
The Top 500 Design Firms list, published annually, is based on design-specific revenue earned over the past year.
Neel-Schaffer is an employee-owned, multi-disciplined engineering and planning firm, with offices in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Through these offices, Neel-Schaffer provides consulting, transportation, site civil, structural, water, and wastewater engineering services. Neel-Schaffer also offers environmental science and public outreach services to clients across the South.
JACKSON, Miss. (May 4, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Mauricka McKenzie, PE, was recently honored by the Mississippi Business Journal by being selected to the magazine’s prestigious list of Mississippi’s Top 50 Under 40. Top 50 Under 40 recognizes the state’s 50 up-and-coming business leaders under the age of 40. McKenzie and the others in this year’s Top 50 Under 40 class were honored during a luncheon on April 24 at the Hilton Hotel in Jackson.
McKenzie, who works in the Water Resources Department of Neel-Schaffer’s Jackson (MS) office, is also an ordained Baptist minister and serves as the bi-vocational pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in McComb. A recipient of the Neel-Schaffer Minority Scholarship while attending Mississippi State University, McKenzie joined Neel-Schaffer in 2003 and has 16 years of experience.
“I am grateful to have been included in this honor,” said McKenzie. “I am thankful for the quality people that I have surrounded myself with who have helped shape my career and inspire greatness. It shows that the hard work and many hats that I often wear have not gone unnoticed.”
Mauricka has served as project design engineer on many major projects with Neel-Schaffer, including the project to build a water tower for Baptist Hospital in Jackson. He helped oversee the three-year, $6 million Baptist Hospital project. The project helped the hospital save approximately $200,000 per year in water utility charges, and provides it with its own source of dependable, high-quality water to support this important critical care facility.
COLUMBUS, Miss. (April 30, 2015) – Lowndes County and the City of Columbus will celebrate the opening of another outdoor recreation amenity at 10 a.m. on Friday, May 8, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new trail that connects the Columbus Soccer Complex and the Columbus Riverwalk.
The 1,050-foot long connector trail runs underneath Highway 182, parallel to Moore’s Creek. The Columbus Soccer Complex is on the east side of 182. The Riverwalk is on the west side of the busy, divided four-lane highway. The connector trail is 10 feet wide and constructed of mostly concrete, but it also boasts 340 feet of elevated wooden boardwalk under the 182 bridge, plus two pedestrian foot bridges, one 70 feet long, and the other 35 feet long. The soccer complex has more than a mile of concrete sidewalks that are used for exercise, while the Riverwalk stretches for 2.2 miles along the banks of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
“This project connects two great community assets in Columbus,” said Harry Sanders, president of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors. “This is a great thing for our quality of life and adds another bright spot to the downtown area.”
Columbus Mayor Robert Smith agreed: “This really is a great asset for the City of Columbus. Now the Riverwalk and our new Soccer Complex are connected. It’s a ‘win-win’ for everyone.”
Sanders and Smith are expected to speak at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will be held at its new trail’s connection with the Columbus Riverwalk, west of 182. Those wishing to attend the ceremony can park in the field and roadway adjacent to the trail. Also expected to speak at the ceremony are Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert and Melinda McGrath, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
Total construction cost for the connector trail was about $700,000. MDOT provided 80 percent of the funding, with the City and County funding the remainder. Neel-Schaffer provided design and construction oversight services, and Weathers Construction was the contractor.
JACKSON, Miss. (March 6, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Sidney Kelly was named Young Engineer of the Year for 2015 by the Mississippi Engineering Society (MES). Kelly was honored on March 5 at an awards luncheon held during the MES 2015 Winter Meeting at the Jackson Convention Complex
Mark Beyea, Kelly’s supervisor and the Engineering Manager for Neel-Schaffer’s Madison (MS) office, nominated Kelly for the award. An MES committee reviews each application to ensure the nominees meet certain criteria – an engineer intern or registered engineer who is a U.S. citizen and resident of Mississippi under the age of 35, and is a member in good standing with the Society. Nominees are also judged on professional integrity and reputation, and whether they consistently promote the welfare of the engineering profession.
“Sidney is a great young engineer,” said Beyea as he presented Kelly with the award. “He is diligent and very talented in both designing civil and transportation projects, and administering construction contracts. The best thing about Sidney is his attitude. He is always positive and will take on any challenge with the attitude that he can get the job done.”
Kelly was an intern at Neel-Schaffer during the summers of 2007 and 2008. He received a Bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from Mississippi State University, and then joined Neel-Schaffer full time in 2010. His work has included project design, storm design, field engineering, and construction administration.
“Being chosen for this award is amazing to me,” said Kelly as he accepted his award and provided encouragement to those at the luncheon. “It shows that the attempt to do a good job has been a success. In this profession, doing a good job goes a long way. It continues relationships with clients.”
Kelly works in the Madison (MS) office of Neel-Schaffer.
Neel-Schaffer’s Sidney Kelly (holding plaque) received the 2015 Young Engineer of the Year by the Mississippi Engineering Society (MES) at a March 5 luncheon in Jackson. Among the Neel-Schaffer employees at the luncheon were (from left) Vice President Keith Purvis, the firm’s Transportation Department Manager; Mark Beyea, Engineer Manager for the Madison (MS) office, and Kelly’s supervisor; Senior Vice President Keith O’Keefe, the Central Mississippi manager; retired Neel-Schaffer Chief Administrative Officer Slade Exley; and Senior Vice President Robert Walker, who manages the Central Region offices.
JACKSON, Miss. (March 2, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Roy Thomas, PE, and Ryan Waldron, PE, have joined the firm in Louisiana, bolstering the firm’s expertise in water, wastewater, hydraulics and hydrology services and coastal engineering.
Thomas has a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. He has over 16 years of consulting experience in flood protection, water treatment and distribution, wastewater collection and treatment, civil site design, drainage, and other water resources projects.
“We are excited to have Roy Thomas join the Neel-Schaffer team in Louisiana,” said Jerry Trumps, a Senior Vice President who manages Neel-Schaffer’s Southwest Region. “Roy’s experience and expertise in water and wastewater will add significant strength to our existing team as we continue to serve our clients in the Southwest Region and the company as a whole.”
Thomas will work in Neel-Schaffer’s Mandeville office.
Waldron has a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering. He is a Certified Project Manager and has certifications in
Scour at Highway Bridges, Stream Stability Factors and Concepts, Shallow Water Waves, and Nearshore
“Ryan’s expertise in hydrology and hydraulics engineering, as well as his coastal engineering experience, will provide Neel-Schaffer with added specific expertise along the Gulf Coast,” said Trumps. “This added team strength will play a significant role in our current work with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, as well as other clients in the Southwest Region and company-wide.”
Waldron will work in the company’s New Orleans office.
In addition to Mandeville and New Orleans, Neel-Schaffer’s other Louisiana offices are in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Shreveport. The firm has 32 other offices and operates in eight other states.
JACKSON, Miss. (February 23, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Cindy Rich, PE, was named to the 2014 class of the Mississippi Business Journal’s 50 Leading Business Women in Mississippi.
“I am delighted to be included by the Mississippi Business Journal in this group of very successful and talented woman,” said Rich, who was honored with the other selectees at a banquet held Feb. 18 in Jackson. “After this many years in my chosen profession I am grateful for the recognition and can truly say that I still find challenges and fulfillment in what I do and genuinely enjoy coming to work each day.”
Rich joined Neel-Schaffer in 1992. For many years, she designed bridges and hydraulic structures, but for the past 11 years she has served as the manager of the Structures Department of Neel-Schaffer’s headquarters office in Jackson (MS). In this role, she supervises a staff of 10 engineers who design bridges and other structures across the South.
“I don’t design so much now,” said Rich. “But I know everything we’re doing and I still get to add in my two cents on some of the projects.”
Rich holds a Civil Engineer degree from the University of Mississippi. She has served on the university’s engineering advisory board for more than a decade, and considers being able to give back to the university in this way one of her biggest accomplishments.
LAFAYETTE, La. (January 19, 2015) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Connie Lawrence Standige, PE, the former District 62 Engineer Administrator for the Louisiana Department of Transportation (La DOTD), has joined the firm and will work in the firm’s office in New Orleans.
Standige will concentrate on business development, particularly in Southeastern Louisiana, the greater New Orleans area, and with La DOTD. She served La DOTD for over 30 years, holding positions such as District Engineer, Assistant Maintenance Engineer, and District Engineer Administrator.
“Connie brings a wealth of knowledge and an extensive professional network to Neel-Schaffer, having retired from La DOTD in 2012 following a successful 30-year career with the Department,” said Jerry Trumps, Neel-Schaffer’s Southwest Area Manager. “During her tenure at La DOTD, she served as Assistant Secretary of Operations over all 64 parishes in Louisiana.”
“I am excited to be joining such an outstanding firm as Neel-Schaffer,” said Standige. “I have always had a lot of respect for Neel-Schaffer and their employees and I look forward to working with this talented group of people, as well as with their clients in South Louisiana, the area that I have been fortunate enough to live my entire life.”
Standige holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jan. 7, 2015) – Mary Margaret Nicholson, PE, has been promoted to Engineer Manager, and will manage the Birmingham operations for Neel-Schaffer, Inc., the engineering and planning firm announced today.
“I am very excited about Mary Margaret accepting the opportunity to lead our Birmingham operations,” said Chris Sellers, who oversees Neel-Schaffer’s operations in Alabama. “She has been a tremendous asset to our company through her leadership and hard work while serving as our Senior Bridge Engineer for the Alabama division. Those wonderful traits and numerous others are why we have asked her to lead our Birmingham operations into the future.”
Nicholson will manage Neel-Schaffer’s Birmingham and Hoover offices. Neel-Schaffer also has offices in Tuscaloosa and Mobile. Based in Jackson, Mississippi, Neel-Schaffer was founded in 1983 and now has more than 400 employees, with 37 offices spread across nine Southeastern states.
Nicholson joined Neel-Schaffer in 2012 and has nearly 30 years of experience as a bridge designer and in management, including eight years with the Tennessee Department of Transportation. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technological University, and a Master’s in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
“I look forward to many new challenges and opportunities in leading the operations for our talented and committed team,” said Nicholson.
Neel-Schaffer, a leader in water and wastewater engineering, is providing design services for the construction of the 1.25-Million Gallon Composite Elevated Tank on Main Street in Rowlett, TX. The new 215-foot tall tank will serve the upper pressure plane of the city’s water system.
The water tank is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2015.
This is the 28th water tank Neel-Schaffer (or its predecessor firm, Cheatham & Associates) has helped design and bring online since 1986.
JACKSON, Miss. (Nov. 4, 2014) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is joining forces with Almon Associates of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to form a larger, more versatile engineering and planning firm to better serve clients throughout Alabama. Almon Associates was founded in 1956 in Tuscaloosa.
“I am so pleased to announce that Almon Associates has joined with Neel-Schaffer,” said Hibbett Neel, Neel-Schaffer’s President and CEO. “Our partnership with Almon Associates allows us to capitalize on the strengths of both firms. Since 1956, Almon Associates has provided quality engineering, and this strategic alliance will give us a combined workforce of 450 employees.”
Founded in 1983 by Hibbett Neel and Gorman Schaffer, Neel-Schaffer is a multi-disciplined engineering and planning firm based in Jackson, Mississippi. With 37 offices and locations in nine states, Neel-Schaffer is one of the largest privately owned engineering firms in the South. The merger means Neel-Schaffer has 60 employees who live and work in Alabama, including 20 Professional Engineers and four Professional Land Surveyors. Adding a Tuscaloosa office gives Neel-Schaffer four locations in Alabama, including Birmingham, Hoover, and Mobile.
“This adds depth and breadth to our Alabama operations and will allow us to better serve our clients,” said Chris Sellers, a Neel-Schaffer Vice President who oversees the firm’s Alabama operations. “Almon Associates has some unique disciplines that Neel-Schaffer does not offer, and that will continue to strengthen our services.”
One of the firm’s founding principles was to serve the communities in which our employees live and work. This move better positions Neel-Schaffer to do just that in Tuscaloosa and throughout Alabama and the South.
“This merger combines firms that share a common culture of community involvement and quality engineering services that have helped both firms establish strong reputations in the engineering field,” said Russ Nevin, Almon Associates President. “As a part of the Neel-Schaffer family, Almon will be able to continue to provide the personal services on a local level that our clients expect, while having access to the resources of a much larger firm when needed.”
Hibbett Neel (center), President and CEO of Neel-Schaffer, receives the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance Champion Award from MMBA Chief Executive Officer Shellie Michael (left) and Betty Mallett, Chairperson for the MMBA Board.
JACKSON, Miss. (Oct. 29, 2014) -- Neel-Schaffer received the Minority Business Champion Award for 2014 at the recent Mississippi Minority Business Alliance banquet. Founded in 1997, the MMBA is a non-profit organization that aims to enhance minority business opportunities.
The Minority Business Champion Award, according to MMBA Chief Executive Officer Shellie Michael, is given annually to “corporate citizens who have demonstrated continuous commitment to minority business development through various resources, and their innovative and liberal procurement practices.”
At the awards banquet, Michael said: “The name Neel-Schaffer is a staple for engineering excellence throughout the South. The firm’s development of strategic alliances and partnerships with small and minority businesses has helped create a business environment of inclusion and strength through diversity.”
Hibbett Neel, who co-founded Neel-Schaffer in 1983 and still serves as the firm’s President and CEO, has been a long-time advocate of partnering with diverse firms and seeking diversity in the work place. In 1990, he created the Neel-Schaffer minority scholarship award to help fund scholarships for minority engineering students. Since then, Neel-Schaffer has awarded some $147,000 worth of scholarships to minority students in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Florida.
“Since we were incorporated, we have realized the value of our partnerships with minority companies, as well as the development of minority professionals who contribute greatly to the success of our company,” said Hibbett Neel. “It is a great honor to receive recognition by the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance for this commitment.”
Neel-Schaffer is the largest Mississippi-based engineering and planning firm, with about 400 employees working out of 36 offices spread across nine Southeastern states. Sixteen of those offices are in Mississippi, including the headquarters in Jackson.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
September 10, 2014
JACKSON, Miss. (Sept. 10, 2014) – Ole Miss football fans who will be visiting Oxford this week for the first time since the spring will notice a significant difference in Old Taylor Road, a major entrance to the University of Mississippi campus.
The Old Taylor Road interchange off Mississippi Highway 6 underwent a major transformation this spring, aimed at helping traffic flow more smoothly when school is in session – and on football game days, like Saturday, when Ole Miss hosts the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
On-ramps in each direction were widened, acceleration/deceleration lanes were extended, and double roundabouts were added on each side of the highway.
The bridge that carries Old Taylor Road over SR 6 was widened from two to four lanes, and a protected eight-foot lane was added for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The exit areas will be enhanced with new lighting, and the bridge is adorned with a University of Mississippi imprint, and bronze plaques in the shape of the historic Lyceum, the oldest building on the Ole Miss campus. Additionally, the new bridge railing was constructed to mimic the look of railings on campus bridges that were built some 60 years ago.
Engineers from Neel-Schaffer, Inc., designed the roundabouts and bridge widening and adornments. Talbot Brothers Contracting did the construction, which had a $6.8 million price tag. Old Taylor Road was closed to all traffic in May of this year and reopened in early August, ahead of the Aug. 15 deadline.
“It was a well-coordinated project,” Mitch Turner, the District Engineer for the Mississippi Department of Transportation, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
September 10, 2014
JACKSON, Miss. (Sept. 8, 2014) – Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that two more of the firm’s engineers in Louisiana have been certified as Professional Traffic Operations Engineers, bringing to eight the number of PTOEs employed in Louisiana by the engineering and planning firm.
“With the largest contingent of PTOEs of any firm in Louisiana, Neel-Schaffer strengthens its position as a consultant of choice with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development,” said Jerry Trumps, the Southwest Area Manager for Neel-Schaffer who oversees the firm’s operations in Louisiana and Houston, Texas. “That position is evidenced by the award of several traffic-related retainer contracts to Neel-Schaffer over the past few months.”
Neel-Schaffer’s newest PTOEs are Santosh Andem, P.E., PTOE, in the Lafayette office, and Ellen Burke, P.E., PTOE, in the Baton Rouge office. Neel-Schaffer now has 16 certified PTOEs in the firm, which employs about 400 and has offices in nine states.
The other Louisiana-based PTOEs are David Othling, Prasanth Malisetty, Nick Ferlito and Brin Ferlito in Baton Rouge, Vijay Kunada in Lafayette, and Charles Adams in Shreveport.
PTOE certification helps set traffic engineers apart from their peers, indicating a higher level of skill, training, specialization and competency.
And while Neel-Schaffer continues to expand its disciplines in Louisiana to include areas such as environmental, coastal and water/wastewater, Transportation continues to be the firm’s strength in the state. Said Trumps: “With a ‘deep bench’ of PTOEs, this will allow us to continue to pursue other projects, many of which require the use of PTOE qualifications and expertise.”
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
July 16, 2014
Neel-Schaffer engineer Chris Jones, P.E., BCEE, F.NSPE, was recently elected to represent the Southeast Region on the Board of Directors of the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Jones joined Neel-Schaffer in 1991 and works out of the company’s headquarters office in Jackson. He specializes in the disciplines of water and wastewater.
As the Southeast Region representative on the NSPE board, Jones will represent Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. His term runs through July of 2016, and he replaces Jim Currey of Nashville, who works for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
“Chris and I talked … in Biloxi about the Southeast Region Director,” said Currey. “I really liked him. He is knowledgeable, bright, personable and energetic. He’ll have his hands full but he is just what we need in a leader. Right person at the right time.”
“It is truly an honor and privilege to have been elected to this position by my peers to assist in fulfilling the NSPE mission of promotion, protection and enhancement of licensure and opportunities for the Professional Engineer,” said Jones. “As the Southeast Region Director, I intend to represent the best interests of the region and profession through education, licensure advocacy, leadership training, multidisciplinary networking and outreach. I humbly pledge to perform my duties to the best of my ability, while protecting the public health, safety, and welfare above all other considerations.”
Jones holds two Civil Engineering degrees from Mississippi State University, a Bachelor of Science awarded in 1990 and Master of Science awarded in 1996.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
June 9, 2014
Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is pleased to announce that Richard Aillet, PE, the former director of engineering services for the City of Ruston, La., has joined the firm and will work out of Neel-Schaffer’s office in Shreveport, La.
Aillet will serve as a Senior Project Manager, with an emphasis on water and wastewater projects. He worked for the City of Ruston for 14 years, eight as the director of water utilities and the last six as the director of engineering services. Prior to that, he worked in the private sector as an engineer and project manager in Louisiana and Texas.
“As a professional engineer with many years of experience in both the consultant and municipal arenas, with an emphasis in utility engineering, Richard will be a tremendous asset to the region and the firm, particularly in north Louisiana,” said Jerry Trumps, Neel-Schaffer’s Southwest Area Manager. “Richard will provide both technical and project support, along with business development support.”
Trumps said Aillet’s addition puts Neel-Schaffer “at an even higher level in north Louisiana, especially considering his engineering background in water and wastewater.” Additionally, said Trumps, “he adds significant depth to the Neel-Schaffer overall discipline as we continue to expand our water and wastewater discipline throughout the Southwest Region and firm-wide.”
“The opportunity to do work back in Shreveport, where I grew up, was really inviting,” said Aillet. “I have a lot of engineering friends in the industry there, and the chance to go back and network and work with them in that environment is something I’m really excited about.”
Aillet holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Louisiana Tech University.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
May 27, 2014
Neel-Schaffer is pleased to announce that Janis Dinardo, PE, has joined the firm as a Project Manager and will work out of Neel-Schaffer’s Biloxi office.
Dinardo has nearly 13 years of experience as an environmental and civil engineer. She has worked in the Gulf Coast area for nearly 10 years, moving to Mississippi in September of 2005 to assist her former employer with Hurricane Katrina damage assessments and other assignments.
Dinardo’s area of expertise is environmental engineering, with a focus on water and sewer projects. She has designed many major infrastructure projects for cities across the Mississippi Gulf Coast and will handle the same kind of assignments for Neel-Schaffer.
“We are pleased to have Janis as part of our Neel-Schaffer team,” said Steve Twedt, a Neel-Schaffer Vice President who manages the firm’s South Mississippi operations. “She is a very talented engineer and brings a wealth of experience.”
Dinardo holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of New Hampshire and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
April 24, 2014
Neel-Schaffer, Inc., is once again ranked among the nation’s Top 500 Design Firms by Engineering News-Record, coming in at 199th on ENR’s prestigious list for 2014.
It marks the 20th consecutive year Neel-Schaffer has been included in ENR’s Top 500.
“Retaining our standing on this list is a testament to the hard work of our employees across the company,” said Hibbett Neel, Neel-Schaffer’s President. “It is our mission to serve our clients as an extension of their staff, and each year we develop new services that will further assist them in meeting their needs and goals.”
The Top 500 Design Firms list, published annually in April, is based on design-specific revenue earned over the past year.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
April 18, 2014
Neel-Schaffer is pleased to announce that Maria Scheitz has joined the firm as a community planner in the Louisville office.
Scheitz previously worked for the Louisville Metro Division of Planning and Design, the Boone County (Ky.) Planning Commission and the University of Cincinnati. She is experienced in land use planning, development review, land use code development, and GIS mapping and analysis.
“Maria will help us expand our operations in Louisville and the state,” said Karen Mohammadi, the engineering manager for Neel-Schaffer’s Louisville office. “She has a wealth of experience and knows so many people in the metro area that we expect her to hit the ground running and help attract new clients and projects.”
Scheitz will have a variety of duties, including marketing, data collection and analysis, and research and development of planned studies.
“I am happy to be a part of a company that encourages active community participation,” said Scheitz. “I am excited about the opportunity to aid Neel-Schaffer in extending the market presence of our Kentucky office by expanding our Municipal Engineering and Planning Services capabilities to regional businesses and municipalities.”
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
March 11, 2014
Neel-Schaffer is pleased to announce that Robert Walker, PE, a Senior Vice President with the firm, was promoted to regional manager of the newly created Central Region. Walker now oversees the efforts of all Mississippi offices, including subsidiary companies Maptech and SoilTech Consultants.
“This reorganization will allow our offices in Mississippi to work even more as a team to sell the many diversified services of our company,” said Joey Hudnall, Neel-Schaffer’s Chief Operations Officer.
Walker joined Neel-Schaffer in 1991 and has held a variety of positions. Most recently, he was the overall manager for the Neel-Schaffer Transportation and Structures departments and managed the subsidiaries. His recent project work includes managing the award-winning, $88 million State Route 9 roadway project in northeast Mississippi. Neel-Schaffer was included in the preconstruction design, right-of-way and utilities relocation, as well as management of the QA oversight phase during the fast-tracked construction.
He also managed a fast-tracked job involving implementation of Intelligent Transportation Systems on the four Mississippi River Bridges in Mississippi. The project was funded with federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funding.
“Neel-Schaffer has 16 offices located throughout Mississippi to serve our communities,” Walker said. “SoilTech recently expanded to four regional offices. Maptech provides surveying across the state. Through our new management structure, we will further provide our clients engineering expertise in a cost effective and efficient manner.”
A 1988 graduate of Mississippi State University, Walker is a licensed Professional Engineer in Mississippi.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
March 6, 2014
Recently, WLBT reporter Brandon Artiles spent a few hours at SoilTech’s main office in Ridgeland (Miss.), producing a segment for WLBT’s popular “Business Matters” feature that airs during the Tuesday 6 p.m. news on the Jackson TV station. He interviewed SoilTech President Michael Volk and several others and shot video of SoilTech employees processing samples in the lab.
The feature aired on March 4 and can be seen here.
SoilTech, a subsidiary of Neel-Schaffer, Inc., opened in 2002 and now has four offices in Mississippi. The newest office opened in December in West Point, where SoilTech is working on the Yokohama Tire Company tire plant that is under construction.
SoilTech has 20 full-time employees and 11 part-time employees.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
Feb. 26, 2014
Steve Twedt, PE, has been promoted to Vice President in charge of Neel-Schaffer’s South Mississippi operation. A native of South Mississippi, Twedt joined Neel-Schaffer in 2010 as area manager and works out of the Biloxi office, coordinating work among the Neel-Schaffer offices in Bay St. Louis, Biloxi, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Laurel and Pascagoula. Prior to joining Neel-Schaffer, Twedt worked for 23 years as an engineer with the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
“Steve has been a great addition to our company,” said Hibbett Neel, President of Neel-Schaffer. “With his engineering expertise, as well as his relationships in the community and throughout the transportation industry, Steve has provided creative solutions for communities throughout South Mississippi. He has grown our offices in South Mississippi so that our employees can assist our clients further.”
Twedt’s work includes, state, county and municipal transportation projects throughout South Mississippi, aviation projects at the Gulfport/Biloxi Regional Airport, environmental and civil design, and more.
“Working at Neel-Schaffer has given me an opportunity to serve my native area,” said Twedt. “Our team in South Mississippi is creative, innovative and efficient – all keys to providing great engineering projects.”
Twedt is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He is a licensed professional engineer in Mississippi and Alabama.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
Feb. 11, 2014
Keith Purvis, PE, has been promoted to Vice President of Transportation of Neel-Schaffer. Purvis joined Neel-Schaffer in 2011 after retiring from the Mississippi Department of Transportation as an Assistant Chief Engineer.
Purvis leads Neel-Schaffer’s transportation department, working out of the firm’s headquarters office in Jackson, providing expertise on projects throughout Mississippi.
“Keith has been a great addition to our company,” said Hibbett Neel, President of Neel-Schaffer. “With over 25 years engineering expertise and his industry relationships and expertise, Keith has helped Neel-Schaffer continue to implement projects that provide safe and expeditious transportation solutions.”
His work includes design-build bridge widening projects on I-55 in Pike County and I-20 in Newton County, the US 45 Columbus Bypass, the Mississippi State Port at Gulfport, the statewide Ports Study, and more. “Working at Neel-Schaffer has given me opportunities to work on a variety of projects,” said Purvis. “Our transportation team is creative, innovative and efficient – all keys to provide great transportation projects.”
Purvis is a graduate of Mississippi State University. He is a licensed professional engineer in Mississippi and South Carolina.
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
Nov. 27, 2013
Neel-Schaffer played big roles in the construction of the Nissan and Toyota manufacturing plants in Mississippi, now our firm is helping build a new plant for one of the largest tire makers in the world.
Neel-Schaffer is working for the Mississippi Development Authority, providing project management services for the $330 million first phase construction for the Yokohama Rubber Company plant in Clay County, just outside of West Point. Neel-Schaffer has a trailer on-site, and SoilTech is testing nearly every day, reports Kevin Stafford, PE, who works out of the Columbus office and manages Neel-Schaffer’s North Mississippi operations.
Harry Sanders, president, Columbus Board of Supervisors;
Mayor Robert Smith, Columbus; MDOT Commissioner Mike Tagert;
CCVB Director Nancy Carpenter and CCVB Chairman Dewitt Hicks
By Rusty Hampton, Editor
Nov. 12, 2013
At one time, Harry Sanders considered the Old Tombigbee River Bridge in Columbus, Miss., an “eyesore” that had seen better days.
In fact, Sanders, the president of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors, told The Dispatch of Columbus he thought the bridge should have been torn down. Now the lifelong Columbus resident is glad that didn’t happen.
Last month, the bridge, which was built in 1927 and closed in 1991, was reopened – and repurposed. READ MORE
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