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Engineering an important part of economic development

Posted on: October 16th, 2014

Often overlooked – but never forgotten – engineers play a very important and necessary role in the economic development picture.

From advisers, to hands-on supervisors of a project, engineers are usually at the forefront of any new construction, remodeling or municipal project in Sullivan County.

“We are usually on the front lines of the economic development world,” Glenn L. Smith, a consulting engineer in Monticello who has been practicing since 1982, said. “We are usually the first ones to learn about new projects and we can tell our clients if their plans fit the zoning for the town where they want to build.”

Smith said his company, Glenn L. Smith, P.E. is busier now than ever. He credits much of that to new businesses wanting to relocate to the area as well as a shortage of engineers.

“I have more business now than I’ve had in 32 years,” Smith said. “And there were more engineers in Sullivan when I started than today. No new guys are coming into the county.”

One of the companies which stepped up to help fill the engineering void is Barton & Loguidice of Syracuse.

Locally, Barton & Loguidice has planner Glenn Gidaly who handles several of their projects currently underway in Sullivan County.

“An engineering firm’s biggest goal is asset management,” Gidaly said. “Today, many municipalities have aging infrastructure which needs to be replaced.

“We help them with regulatory compliance and making sure they have adequate water and sewer available for businesses moving in,” Gidaly said. “The old adage is true – you have to be able to flush.”

To that end, Barton & Loguidice will be overseeing the Village of Monticello’s new $20 million energy efficient wastewater plant which will be built in the near future, with $11.9 million coming in the way of grants.

Locally, long-time engineer Joseph Gottlieb, P.C., P.E. also reports a busy schedule.

“We do a lot of smaller projects,” Timothy Gottlieb, an engineer in the firm, said. “A lot of ours is repair work, single family dwellings and bungalow colonies.

Gottlieb said his firm specializes in personal service and the ability to navigate projects through the planning and zoning boards of local townships.

“The planning board [meetings] is what it is, I prepare for it,” Gottlieb said. “When a client comes into our firm he or she gets to see me, that’s a plus.”

But some townships, like Fallsburg, have had to reach outside the county as the list of projects in the pipeline numbers in the 40s.

“It’s all based on safety,” Fallsburg Code Enforcement Officer Molly Messanger said. “If you don’t have the engineering right the watershed of one project could flood a neighboring property.

“You also have to think about sewer and wastewater treatment,” Messanger said. “And we also consider the turning radius for firetrucks [responding to an emergency].”

Messanger said that she and Town Engineer Will Illing often roundtable with the outside planning and engineering firms “to see what a project needs and how we can make the project better.”

The town employs outside planner Robert Geneslaw.

Ken Ellsworth, president and CEO of Keystone Associates in Binghamton, is the outside engineering firm for the Town of Fallsburg.

“We have developed a great relationship with the town of Fallsburg,” Ellsworth said. “Fallsburg hired us to do all the town’s engineering work.

“They are interested in what we have to say,” he said.

With 48 employees, Keystone Associates can deal with many engineering services including architecture, civil engineering, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical, construction management and asbestos and lead testing and remediation.

“We started small,” Ellsworth said. “And added services as they were needed.

“Fallsburg has 40 some projects in the review process and we need boots on the ground down there,” he said. “I looked at renting but they seemed high so I found a house on Park Street where our staff can stay.

“I thought was important that any community we go into we try to take a part in.”

Ellsworth said his firm set up a program with the town of Fallsburg where they are there as needed.

And he said that his company not only works with the town before projects are built but stays in constant contact with builders to make sure what was approved gets built.

Engineering Firms Doing work in Sullivan
1. Barton & Loguidice, D.P.C., Syracuse
2. Clough, Harbour & Associates, Goshen
3. Delaware Engineering, PC, Albany
4. Engineering & Surveying Properties, PC, Montgomery
5. Glenn L. Smith, P.E., Consulting Engineer, Monticello
6. Joseph Gottlieb, P.E., PC, Monticello
7. Kelly Engineering, Liberty
8. Keystone Associates, LLC, Binghamton
9. Lanc and Tully Engineering and Surveying, P.C., Goshen
10. McGoey, Hauser & Edsall Consulting Engineers, P.C., New Windsor
11. Rettew Engineering and Surveying, PC, Ferndale
12. Tectonic Engineering & Surveying Consultants, P.C., Mountainville
13. Wasson Engineering, Wurtsboro

Originally published in Sullivan County Business Edge: Fall 2014.

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