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We’re Hiring!

MeritCorp is looking to Hire both Field and Office Staff. We are currently seeking the following:

Project Engineer I

Participates in Project Site Design, planning and Drawing. 

  • Setup base CAD Files for engineering plans.
  • Site grading
  • Storm sewer design
  • Sanitary sewer design
  • Watermain design
  • Detention design
  • Pavement design
  • Soil erosion and sedimentation control and IEPA regulations.

Coordinates with Project Manager, Engineers and CAD Technicians and Agencies as needed to complete projects. 

  • Maintain a cooperative working relationship with all personnel, and a professional relationship with our Clients.
  • Think and plan ahead on every job, and make sure that all information and materials needed are available to keep up the flow of work. 
  • Help make suggestions to the Project Manager regarding utilization and equipment/software needs to keep production and the work backlog at proper levels.
  • Perform any other duties as may be assigned
  • Maintain a cooperative working relationship with all personnel, and a professional relationship with our Clients.
  • Check in and out with Project Manager and Administrative Assistant.
  • Promote a high degree of morale and spirit of motivation.  This includes the degree of cooperation, communication and coordination between the job site, the office, and the other Project Engineers.
  • Always report any requests for work that you feel is outside the scope of the contract, to the Project Manager before you start the work.

Ensures that all project related paperwork, drawings and reports are completed on time and accurately. 

  • Ensure that design tasks are completed on or ahead of schedule with acceptable levels of quality and workmanship
  • Submit all required reports and paperwork on time and in the proper format (ie. work orders, timesheets, etc.)
  • Ensure all work is completed in a professional manner and to the specification, & satisfaction of the Client.
  • Track all the daily time, record it on your time sheet charged to the proper job number and cost code worked.  Submit to office by 12:00 p.m. the following day.
  • Recognize signs of possible mistakes
  • Ensure that all calculations are correct and complete.
  • Maintain the project file in accordance with MeritCorp standards

SURVEY

Seeking a Responsible, Experienced & Motivated Individual for an immediate opening. The candidate must be capable of running a Survey crew or working alone with a Robotic instrument. Requires year round outdoor work in varied conditions & terrain. Three (3) – Five (5) years’ experience in land surveying preferred. Computer skills involved in the submittal of daily files including downloading of data, preparation/organization of field sketches & digital photographs, completion of daily checklists & timesheets, and vehicle navigation are required. Competitive wages based on experience. Must have Valid driver’s license with a clean driving record. Position includes out of town/state travel. S.I.T. or C.S.T. and/or ability to use AutoCad Civil 3D is a plus.

SEND RESUME with Qualifications to info@meritcorp.com

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Rebecca LuginbilWe’re Hiring!

Collaboration

Collaboration – a common enough word and one used frequently in terms of a team or between companies working on a project.   It is common enough that we don’t always stop to think about the benefits and why it is important.   An open concept office is helpful in encouraging our employees to connect and collaborate with others in the workplace.  This kind of collaboration is encouraged for a myriad of reasons that are beneficial to our clients and employees.

MeritCorp Employees Collaborating on Projects

A FEW REASONS TO COLLABORATE

  • Share strengths and weaknesses – No Engineer can claim proficiency in every possible area of their field.   In fact, continuing education is a regular ongoing requirement to renew a license.  In collaborating with other Engineers an opportunity to learn and expand knowledge, share past experiences and troubleshoot with multiple perspectives is presented.
  • Promote Faster Solutions – ‘Divide and conquer’ and increased efficiency are included in collaborating – Sharing ideas, problems and solutions as well as dividing workload in a way that allows for learning but also keeps the project on time.
  • Enhance Job Satisfaction – Human interaction, sharing knowledge, and stronger working relationships thru shared success and struggles.  When up against a problem, collaborating allows for a faster, more efficient pooling of ideas to find a solution.
  • Workplace Community – Since a majority of the day is spent with co-workers, it is good to have a comfortable workplace community where each member is valued and allowed to contribute.  Collaboration encourages that sharing of ideas and can reinforce positive workplace relations.
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Rebecca LuginbilCollaboration

MeritCorp is Hiring!

September 5, 2018

MeritCorp is HIRING!!   We are currently seeking Candidates for two positions.

Survey Crew Chief Position is posted on LinkedIn.  Please apply HERE.

CAD TECH – See Below and apply by email to Info@meritcorp.com

Job description:  Candidate will prepare engineering designs, drawings and related technical information in support of project Engineers.  Responsibilities include:

  • Provide Project Engineer and/or Project Manager feedback on current projects
  • Ensure that design tasks are completed on or ahead of schedule with acceptable levels of quality workmanship
  • Submit all required reports and paperwork on-time and in proper format (i.e. work orders, timesheets, etc)
  • Ensure all work is completed in a professional manner and to the specifications & satisfaction of the client.
  • Track all time daily and record it on time sheet to proper job number and cost code worked
  • Recognize signs of possible mistakes
  • Ensure that all calculations are correct and complete
  • Maintain project files in accordance to MeritCorp Standards

The health, well-being, and happiness of employees is a high priority at MeritCorp. We offer various benefits to qualified employees including healthy lifestyle incentives, health insurance, dental insurance, and disability.

Skills and Requirements:

  • Minimum of 2 years of experience CADD / Civil 3D
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Rebecca LuginbilMeritCorp is Hiring!

What’s NEW at MeritCorp Group LLC

Our Hourly Rates are Changing

It has always been our goal to provide our clients with reasonable rates for our services. We have held the same rates since 2013 now find that we need to make modest increases. All new contracts beginning May 1st will reflect the increased rates. Current Fixed Fee contracts will not be affected. Please feel free to Email Us to request a proposal or obtain rate information for your project.


MeritCorp Group is honored to have been awarded a Storm water Master Plan contract for Benedictine University’s Lisle Campus. We look forward to helping the University realize its’ future grown plans.

MeritCorp is also a proud sponsor of Benedictine’s Upcoming President’s Invitational Golf Outing to benefit Student Scholarships on June 5th at Cantigny Golf Course.

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Rebecca LuginbilWhat’s NEW at MeritCorp Group LLC

Civil Engineering – Where Every Day is Earth Day

It’s EarthDay once again! [April 22nd]  In schools across the United States, students are learning about the important natural resources available to us and they are taking time to focus on ways to reduce, reuse, renew and recycle.  It is encouraging seeing this focus in the classroom and exciting to think about how this will translate to a better tomorrow.  That is our focus at MeritCorp every day – ‘Designing the Future’ to our best ability every day.  Perhaps you read the title of this Blog and you are asking yourself, “What does a Civil Engineer do that affects our environment?”

WHAT DO ENGINEERS DO?

There are many facets to Civil Engineering and some of the specializations have more impact than others.  Here are just a few of the ways that a Civil Engineer manages the resources around us:

  • Engineers design how and where water flows taking into account contaminates, distance, filtration and final location.  This includes surface water, groundwater, wastewater, soil and air.
  • Engineers help manage our natural environment including wetlands, watersheds and floodplains.
  • Engineers design systems for wastewater treatment and disposal of solid and hazardous waste.

EARTH DAY – EVERY DAY

With each and every project, whether it be a roadway, building, or subdivision it is important to note that Engineers do not just consider building size and location, vehicle/pedestrian pavement design, traffic flow and safety, but they look at how the stormwater runoff will be collected, stored and discharged.  A Civil Engineer needs to find a way to reduce the volume of water and the level of contaminates in stormwater runoff.  They need to consider how to utilize natural filtration thru clean soil to recharge groundwater tables and to help protect sources of drinking water.

  • Where will the water that washes off the sediment, salt and oil from the building or pavement go?
  • How are contaminates separated from the stormwater discharge?
  • When a building is constructed, will there be enough area to contain rainfall and prevent downstream flooding?
  • Does the planned building or parking lot affect a natural area or wetland?

Proper management of stormwater from any land development is essential to ensure the continued quality of our natural water system of streams, rivers, wetlands, watersheds and floodplains.

SITE CIVIL WORK AND BEYOND

When buildings and subdivisions are constructed, the civil engineers are responsible for designing how and where drinking water is provided to serve the site and how wastewater will be leaving the site.

  • Where will the water and sewer lines that are necessary for the building go?
  • How will they hook up with what is already in place?
  • How are these water and sewer lines protected?

 

Municipalities and some developments are required to have wastewater filtered and cleaned either by a water treatment facility or thru a natural process before it goes back into our streams and waterways.

Earth Day is an important reminder that we need to minimize our negative impact on the environment.  As we learn and improve, we also strive to ‘clean up’ what is already in place thru testing and remediation.    Every day MeritCorp Group LLC works to design a better tomorrow thru responsible planning and thoughtful Engineering.   We can also help identify potential hazards at existing developments with Phase I and PhaseII investigations, and Asbestos Surveys.  We don’t need to wait for Earth Day to improve the World we live in because here we do it every day.

–  by Clayton Schuler and Rebecca Luginbill

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Rebecca LuginbilCivil Engineering – Where Every Day is Earth Day

Great Lakes, Chicago Waterways, and Asian Carp

Asian Carp and the threat they pose to the Great Lakes has been in and out of the news for some time now, and has just recently been spotlighted by a new report prepared by the US Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps).  “Asian carp are fast-growing, aggressive and adaptable fish that are outcompeting native fish species for food and habitat in much of the mid-section of the United States.1

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) submitted to Congress the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Inter-basin Study (GLMRIS) Report Jan. 6, 2014….The report contains eight alternatives, each with concept-level design and cost information, and evaluates the potential of these alternatives to prevent, to the maximum extent possible, the spread of 13 ANS, to include Asian carp…” 2    The  Army Corps, during the Month of January 2014, is in process of hosting public meetings in Chicago, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, Traverse City, St. Paul, St. Louis and Milwaukee to discuss the options available and allow for public comment.  Since all of the options offered require extensive funding, there needs to be public support for any plan put into action.

The Chicago Area Waterway (CAW) system has been the main topic of conversation regarding the threat of Asian Carp entering the Great Lakes. In this new report, the Army Corps identifies 18 other possibilities for passage of Asian Carp and other species into the waterways.  One passage where preventive measures are needed is known as Eagle March, near Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Eagle Marsh is at the headwaters of the Wabash River, which is part of the Mississippi River Basin, and the Maumee River, which is part of the Great Lakes Basin. During flood events, water depths in Eagle Marsh range from 2 feet deep to 10 feet deep. These events last from just days or up to a month, and can occur multiple times during any given year. These events allow for a clear passage for Asian Carp and other species between the two basins.

Several species of Asian Carp are known to be present in the Wabash River, and are within 25-70 miles of Eagle Marsh.  To reach Eagle Marsh, the fish would need to enter Little River and then a series of ditches. Upon reaching Eagle Marsh, the free passage to the Great Lakes (Erie) via the Maumee River can occur. To date, there is no certain evidence that the fish have reached Little River. There is no evidence of Asian Carp in Eagle Marsh either; however there is evidence of common carp, which have made successful passage for decades.

Several projects are currently in place or in the design phase to prevent passage of these invasive and destructive fish from our waterways.   Currently a temporary chain link fence has been installed between the two basins and is meant to prevent larger fish from gaining free passage. Other possibilities for implementation include structural barriers, chemical treatments, biological controls and physical fish removal.

Our waterways are an important resource to be protected.  At MeritCorp Group, LLC we want to help our clients make informed decisions and provide information needed to create eco-friendly developments focused on the best use of natural resources.  Some of our services include Flood Control, Stormwater Management, Erosion Control, and Drainage.  For a complete list of the services we offer please see our website.

Please feel free to contact our office with any questions or for more information on the services we provide.

– by James Meier, PE, PLS, CFM

  1.  National Wildlife Federation website:  http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Threats-to-Wildlife/Invasive-Species/Asian-Carp.aspx
  2. Army Corps of Engineers Report www.glmris.anl.gov
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Rebecca LuginbilGreat Lakes, Chicago Waterways, and Asian Carp

Putting the VALUE into Engineering

In today’s economy, we are all on the lookout for products and services at the best possible price.  With multiple suppliers for every need, we the consumer can afford to take our time and shop for the best product at the best price – right?  Except that isn’t always what happens.  Many times we just grab the lowest cost item, forgetting the painful lesson learned when the last ‘cheapest’ thing we bought didn’t last or hold up to the test of time.  Three years ago I bought my first smart phone…. And unfortunately I went for the least expensive option.  It only took me 6months to give up and move on after reminding myself once again that ‘cheap’ isn’t the way to go.

So how does this lesson apply to Civil Engineering you ask?  Well, cheap isn’t the way to go.  When looking for services we need to remind ourselves that, much like a finished tangible product, the end result of the service has to be made up of quality.  Does the service the Civil Engineer provides bring value to the project?  Do they provide the service you need?  Do they have long term relationships with clients indicating continued quality service?  Do they have a solid reputation?   Are they good at explaining the issues as well as troubleshooting to find answers?   These are all excellent questions that need to be answered to ensure that you don’t end up regretting your decision.   Every project has issues that need to be resolved, but with the right team, the project moves ahead and you end with a quality finished product.  Choose your consultant poorly and the road along the way can become a bitter battle.  These key components are not just for a Civil Engineer either…..they are tools to keep in mind as you look for the best firms to work with on any project.

3 Keys to picking the right Consultant:

Value:  Are you getting your money’s worth?   You picked a consultant that wasn’t the cheapest and probably not the most expensive one either.  Are you getting what you expected?   Many companies including consultants, construction firms, architecture firms and more sell you their top level employees and then divide that work out to lower level employees and interns within the company.  Is that fair?  While it is common practice to spread the workload some firms are better at it than others.   At MeritCorp a Principal is assigned to the Project from start to finish overseeing, reviewing, and quality checking the entire process.  We want to ensure that there is a single point of contact for our client that is ultimately responsible for the quality and value you receive.  Our Staff attend weekly project status meetings, receive training and are internally mentored to provide a consistent product to our clients.

Integrity:  Integrity is defined as: “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; the state of being whole and undivided”… in the business world this means:  what you see is what you get.  At MeritCorp, integrity is a core part of our business.  While it feels good to get a ‘deal’ on the price tag, it is even better when that product or service holds up to the test of time.   Does your consultant or contractor have integrity?  What is their reputation?  MeritCorp strives to provide service that stands the test of time.  Integrity is all about doing what is right because it is right.  That is why we have long term clients.  They have learned the value of working with a company that adds value to their projects and has integrity that stands the test of time.  We encourage you to ask us for our references and to contact them.

Price:  Pricing is a hard topic for any industry.  Our pocketbook begs us to go cheap while our head reminds us of the disaster that could have been avoided had we only spent a little more for a quality product.  At MeritCorp we can provide hourly or fixed pricing, but in the end what you see is what you get.  When we provide a fixed cost proposal the pricing is exactly what it says ‘fixed’.  That’s it.   No second guessing, no games, no added cost.  And when you need to add scope, we can provide you with a lump sum cost for that too.  Instead of trying to ‘sneak’ more past our clients we want you to know up front what to expect so that at the end of the project the total cost doesn’t come as a surprise.  We are happy to review the scope and fees with our clients at any time.  It is part of what we do to make sure you know what you are paying for – to give you the end product at the price you expect.

After the disaster with my first smart phone, I considered my needs, re-evaluated my pocketbook and chose a new phone that has lasted the test of time.  These same principals can guide us to a whole new outlook on shopping in this economy.   When we remember that Cheapest isn’t the best we free ourselves to shop for a quality product at a fair price.

 

At MeritCorp our goal is to provide you with quality services, Integrity, and Value….an end product with Merit.

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Rebecca LuginbilPutting the VALUE into Engineering

When The Retention Pond Fails

In July of 1996, the Fox River in Illinois flooded at an alarming rate after almost 17 inches of rain.  In April of 2013, we are again seeing major flooding in Illinois, this time affecting a broader area, but still causing the same kind of damage and chaos.  There are no rules about when and how flooding can happen – it happens anywhere it rains.  However as developed areas grow, they can become more susceptible to flooding due to outdated drainage and growth that exceeds the planned need for retention or has too much area covered with hard surfaces preventing natural drainage.

Factors for Flooding: When designing, we don’t design for events greater than the 100 year storm.  The recent flooding in the Chicagoland area would be considered an extraordinary event where much of the flooding was not due to design failure, but rather current conditions.  There are several factors to consider when flooding happens to determine what, if any improvements can or should be made based on cost and potential risk.  These factors can include things like soil saturation, current pond and river water levels [is there room for more water?], rate at which the water comes down and flows into the current retention system and whether or not the drainage systems are maintained correctly.  [Is there a pile of leaves or other junk obstructing the path of the water?]

100 Year Storm:  As news crews report the flooding that happens the phrase ‘100 year flood’ or ‘100 year storm’ can be used to describe this extraordinary event.  This can be confusing… since this doesn’t truly reference how often such flooding occurs, but rather the likelihood of it happening.  The term “100-year flood” is used in an attempt to simplify the definition of a flood that statistically has a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year. Likewise, the term “100-year storm” is used to define a rainfall event that statistically has this same 1-percent chance of occurring. In other words, over the course of 1 million years, these events would be expected to occur 10,000 times. But, just because it rained 10 inches in one day last year doesn’t mean it can’t rain 10 inches in one day again this year.

Stormwater Runoff:  Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater runoff from naturally soaking into the ground.  As precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground it can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies used for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.   During times of flooding that same runoff can quickly become a dangerous moving body of water causing damage and gathering ever more pollutants as it travels over areas not typically covered in water.

Poorly managed stormwater causes three big problems:  Pollution contaminating water, Damaging Floods, and oddly enough – Water Shortages especially in developed areas with more impervious surfaces.  These surfaces can keep rainfall from soaking into the ground and replenishing groundwater and streams used for drinking water or fish habitat.

Retention Ponds:  Retention ponds are one of the most common forms of stormwater management.  Retention ponds or “wet ponds” are ponds constructed to manage stormwater runoff, prevent flooding, limit downstream erosion, replace tree absorption due to development, and improve water quality in adjacent bodies of water. Retention ponds are permanent pools of standing water, many times with plantings and sometimes even walking paths to make them more enjoyable or even creating a ‘feature’ to a developed area.  These ponds provide a buffer allowing the stormwater to be ‘treated’ by allowing the water to go thru the natural cleaning process of sedimentation and nutrient uptake.  As with any stormwater management strategy, some maintenance is required.  Regular inspections for pests and erosion are recommended and the areas around the pond maintained.

A detention basin, commonly called a ‘dry pond’ is an area that temporarily stores water after a storm, but is not meant to stay wet and eventually empties out at a controlled rate into a body of water.  An infiltration Basin is similar to detention areas, but instead of going to a body of water, it is designed to direct stormwater through a permeable area to groundwater.

Flood Plains:  A flood plain is an area of low-lying ground adjacent to a river, formed mainly of river sediments and subject to flooding.  In the real estate market, a home in a legally defined flood plain is eligible for purchase of federal flood insurance. In this case, the broad definition of flood plain, also known as a flood zone, becomes more specific and detailed.  Lenders use the process of flood zone determination to evaluate the property and structures that secure mortgages. Federal banking regulations require certain flood zone properties to carry flood insurance as a condition of extending the loan.

The National Flood Insurance Program was established in 1968 to reduce the costs of emergency assistance in flooded areas. By the law, lenders had to require that buyers purchase this insurance on properties that fall within a Special Flood Hazard Area.  A Special Flood Hazard Area, also known as the 100-year floodplain, is a zone that has a 1 percent chance each year of experiencing a greater than normal flood. These zones are shown in detail on the National Flood Insurance Program map.  Owners or buyers whose property falls within a Special Flood Hazard Area may contest this determination by applying for a Letter of Map Amendment, Letter of Map Revision or Letter of Determination Review. The forms needed are offered for free on the Federal Emergency Management Assistance website. Having the designation removed allows the buyer to purchase the property without the legal requirement of federal flood insurance, though a lender may still require the insurance by its own guidelines.

When the Retention Pond Fails…

So what happens after the floods come and the damage is done?  That’s when municipalities take a look at their flood plans, ordinances are reviewed and Civil Engineers get to work continuing to make improvements and look for ways to control the water so that next time maybe the damage won’t be quite so bad.  Do you have flooding issues?  Need to get it looked at?  MeritCorp can help.

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Rebecca LuginbilWhen The Retention Pond Fails