13 Things We’re Thankful For This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we thought the perfect way to celebrate would be to put together a list of all the things we’re thankful for here at HAKS!

1.Husam Ahmad, PE, Chairman and CEO: HAKS is extremely thankful to all its customers for giving us an opportunity to serve them during 2017. Happy Thanksgiving!”

2.Paul Hoffmann, SVP Special Inspections and Material Testing Department: “Friends, family, my dog Finnegan and great sushi!”

3.Wioleta Zieja, Senior Billing Specialist, Admin Department: “I am thankful for my daughter. She is super awesome and I am blessed to be her mommy!” Continue Reading…

Elon Musk Is Innovating Change in Space and on Earth (2 of 2)

As if Elon Musk’s ongoing initiatives for manned Mars exploration and high-speed suborbital travel weren’t challenging enough, the PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX founder recently declared his intention to become involved in the construction of a “Hyperloop,” a proposed mode of passenger/freight transportation that had first been described in an open-source design released by a joint team from Tesla and SpaceX in August 2014. This long-distance, high-speed transportation system would send pressurized pods through near-vacuum tubes at speeds approaching that of sound.  Continue Reading…

Elon Musk Is Innovating Change in Space and on Earth (1 of 2)

In the first installment of a two-part blog series, we take a look at one of the most innovative minds in the world today: Elon Musk. The PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX polymath has been moving forward with visionary plans, including utilizing a revolutionary new rocket design both for interplanetary exploration and high-speed suborbital travel.

At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia last week, Musk announced that SpaceX planned to send unmanned cargo ships to Mars by 2022 and human explorers by 2024 (Pulse, 10/3/17). This is going to be possible, according to Musk, by utilizing a new rocket, called the “BFR,” that is even larger than NASA’s Saturn V that carried astronauts to the Moon during the Apollo program. Furthermore, SpaceX is no longer going to put resources into its current line of Falcon 9 rockets (which are being used to carry satellites into orbit and to ferry cargo to the International Space Station) or its larger, next-generation Falcon Heavy (the Verge, 9/30/17). Instead, all resources will go into developing the new spacecraft, which will carry a payload of 150 tons and of which Musk reportedly hopes to begin construction “within the next six to nine months.” Continue Reading…

The New Tappan Zee Bridge’s Smart Technology Makes It Built To Last

One of the most technologically advanced bridges in the U.S. opened to traffic shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, partially replacing the old Tappan Zee Bridge, New York State’s longest bridge.

The Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is on schedule to replace the entire Tappan Zee Bridge when its second span is completed later this year. Once both spans are open for traffic, the new bridge will have eight lanes, including four for breakdowns and emergencies, bicycle and walking paths, and a future mass transit crossing. ENR reported in its March 20/27 issue that the new $3.98 billion bridge is designed to use smart technology systems to keep it operating smoothly and safely for the next 100 years—without needing any major repairs. Continue Reading…

Help HAKS #InnovateChange Today

Is there a project, innovation, technology, issue, or anything else that you would like to share with HAKS and others in the industry at large? As HAKS’ professionals go about their project work and spread the company brand at conferences, exhibits, trade shows, engineering fairs, cultural celebrations, and other industry events, we are capturing these occasions on our social media sites—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram—through our new #InnovateChange social media campaign. But we can’t do it without you. We need your input, feedback, conversations, content, and updates to make the campaign a success! Continue Reading…

No Ropes Attached: A Revolutionary New Elevator Has Arrived

Tired of waiting for elevators?  You’re not alone.  A Columbia University study revealed that, in one year, New York City office workers spent a cumulative 16.6 years waiting to travel up or down.  But help is on the way in the form of the “MULTI,” created by a German elevator company (thyssenkrupp), that enables sideways movement and cuts wait time to no more than 30 seconds.  Likened to a metro system inside a building, the MULTI features multiple cabins that operate in a loop, thereby revolutionizing the options for high-rise building design.

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Building a Virtual Future

Virtual reality (VR) technology has advanced rapidly in the past few years and is a potentially powerful tool for the AEC industry. VR, in which a user is completely immersed in a virtual environment and is able to move about in and interact with virtual features and objects, has its roots in the 1980s but has become increasingly relevant.
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A Grand Feat for Lower Manhattan

HAKS led the REI joint venture for this ambitious $40 million public works project that reconstructed water mains and utility infrastructure along Grand Street, from Broadway to Essex.  Subsurface challenges included active subways, non-functioning water main valves, active steam lines, underground building vaults extending into the street, and a high density of secondary electrical and communication lines.  Abandoned, heavily reinforced trolley track foundations also interfered with the work.  Continue Reading…

A New Perspective on Safety

LadderWith Safety Week upon us, we would like to highlight a very thought-provoking article in Engineering News-Record (April 10, 2017) on the way we perceive near misses and close calls on the project site.  These incidents are defined as “unexpected events that cause no significant property damage or injury.” Robin L. Dillon-Merrill, a professor at Georgetown University, believes that when we look at such events as evidence that our safety plan is working, we are in actuality reinforcing dangerous behavior.  In other words, these close calls are not safety successes, but rather potential accidents that need to be examined for their potential hazard. Continue Reading…

Earth Day and Arbor Day Notes

Ash Tree

Credit: W. Carter (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

Having recently observed Earth Day, we thought it would be appropriate to share some tips for protecting the environment. First, however, since today is Arbor Day, it is important to take a moment to appreciate trees. Everyone knows that trees transform atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen during photosynthesis. Trees cool the Earth during this process as well, not only by removing the greenhouse gas CO2 but also by the absorption of sunlight used to synthesize hydrocarbons.

Trees are used as building materials and to manufacture paper. Four billion trees are cut down each year to produce paper; and compared to building joists or wooden furniture, the lifecycle of paper tends to be ephemeral—used once, and then discarded. About four million tons of paper that could be recycled are thrown out each year in the US—enough to build a 12-foot-high wall from New York to California. Paper consumption in offices is particularly egregious; 45 percent of office paper printed each day ends up in the trash. Continue Reading…