To say 2020 was a challenging year would of course be a gross understatement. As a nation, we experienced unimaginable loss and hardship. As a nation and as a business, our collective capacity to adapt and cope in the face of extraordinary adversity was tested. The FDH team proved resilient as employees came together to adjust, persevere, and support clients as well as one another to keep the business moving forward. As 2021 begins to unfold, we invite you to join us to look back on some positive developments worthy of reflection.
Having just celebrated its 25th anniversary at the end of 2019, FDH continued to foster its deep roots in university research with accomplished PhD engineers who apply their academic achievements to the challenges of maintaining and extending the life of critical infrastructure.
The year began with Dr. Pramila Adhikari, geotechnical engineer, presenting at the 99th Transportation Research Board annual meeting. Dr. Adhikari presented the results of her PhD research examining pile capacity estimation in complex geomaterials and ways to improve estimation for Load and Resistance Factor Design. At FDH, Dr. Adhikari’s research interests include deep foundations, soil-structure interaction, geotechnical earthquake engineering, and reliability analysis.
Dr. Armita Mohammadian, PE, senior research engineer, was invited to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Wind Project O&M and Safety Conference. Dr. Mohammadian presented her team’s research on an innovative nondestructive test method to determine residual tension on wind turbine anchor bolts. In recognition of her many research accomplishments, Dr. Mohammadian was also the recipient of the 2020 Rising Stars Award in Structural Engineering by the Zweig Group.
FDH’s bolt tension measurement research was also discussed by Rakesh Khan, PE, director of technology solutions, in his presentation on the Strategy for Aging Assets panel at Wind Operations Dallas. This area of research is of great value to owners and service providers in search of a safer, more cost-effective way to determine tension in anchor and up tower bolts, a key aspect of smart maintenance designed to extend the life of wind turbines.
FDH is honored to participate in the technical committees of many of the industry’s leading associations. In 2020, Dr. Mohammadian was invited to become a technical member of AWEA’s Siting and Asset Management Committee, Turbine Components Work Group, as well as the R&D Committee.
Later in the year, Mr. Khan was invited to become a member of the newly formed North American Matting Association, as well as the American Concrete Institute’s Service Life Prediction Committee (ACI 365). These important committee memberships add to FDH’s ongoing participation on key technical committees at the Telecommunications Industry Association, Transportation Research Board, and American Society for Nondestructive Testing, among others.
In April, FDH announced the award of a multi-year contract by the U.S. Air Force to develop a robust method to assess current structural condition and long-term predicted degradation of concrete facilities, using finite element analysis modeling, nondestructive evaluations, and predictive material analysis.
FDH partnered with Marshall University on a multi-year contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue NDT and SHM research associated with dam structures throughout the United States.
In 2020, FDH initiated a long-term commitment to developing innovative products that advance the state of the art in the industry. In support of that effort, we expanded our Engineering Services Development division and added product management talent to the team. And despite the adverse circumstances of the pandemic grounding international travel, by leveraging video conferencing (and pulling countless all-nighters), we were able to launch a major proof-of-concept pilot in Asia for a new tower foundation mapping solution. Here are a few pieces produced in 2020 that highlight our innovative approaches to solving tough engineering challenges….
NDT & SHM for Infrastructure Risk Management explains how FDH’s proprietary NDT-on-demand technology, combined with structural health monitoring solutions, enables proactive, cost-effective asset and risk management of critical structures.
An FDH TechTalks podcast explored Creative Solutions for Tower Infrastructure in the 5G Era, with an expert panel discussing how to help tower owners overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges in the ramp up for the next generation of mobile connectivity.
And Helicopter Lifts: The Lynchpin in Tall Tower Work highlights the impressive efforts of FDH’s broadcast division, Stainless, in addressing the challenging and dangerous tower modifications required to facilitate television stations’ switch to new channels, as mandated by the Federal Communication Commission’s broadcast repack initiative.
Staying engaged with the communities where we work and live remained a priority for our Community Enrichment Committee (CEC). A companywide volunteer initiative, the CEC finds fun and healthy ways to keep employees connected with each other and their local communities.
Web conferencing became a vital means to both plan and conduct traditional CEC activities, ranging from an annual school supply drive for the Neighbor2Neighbor program to virtual holiday celebrations with live chat rooms, baking contests, and work-from-home decorating contests.
FDH welcomed two new leaders in 2020, who will be key players in moving the company forward in the coming years. Nuala Cullinane, SHRM-SCP, joined FDH in February to lead the Human Resources Department.
And Debra Wood, JD/MBA, CPA, joined FDH in October as Chief Financial Officer.
Finally, our success this past year was due to the teamwork and dedication of the entire FDH team. The unwavering efforts of our frontline employees, whether in the field supporting clients or in key office roles, enabled the majority of the team to work remotely for most of the year. Our Gratitude Is Essential video acknowledges and gives thanks for the dedicated efforts of employees across the country whose exemplary performance delivered for our clients and sustained FDH as a company through this incredibly challenging year.
…for accompanying us on this look-back at some notable aspects and events of 2020, a year like no other. Here’s to forging ahead with our clients, partners, and employees with innovative approaches to maintaining critical infrastructure and to our collective success in 2021 and beyond.