The Modern in Fort Lee Recognized by ASCE North Jersey Branch

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On September 27th, PS&S shared a table with SJP Properties at the 2018 ASCE North Jersey Annual Awards Dinner held in Fairfield, NJ.

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“The Modern” in Fort Lee - where PS&S is the site/civil engineer of the project - received Honorable Mention For Project Of The Year by ASCE North Jersey Branch for 2018.

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PS&S’s Joe Fleming also introduced the Government Engineer of the Year Award recipient.


Renard Barnes Quoted in Business Insurance


Bridge collapse signals wider problems

The Genoa, Italy, bridge collapse in August that killed 43 could portend tragedies in the United States as well in light of its own deteriorating infrastructure and inadequate investments in maintenance and improvements.

And design professionals, including architects and engineers, could find themselves facing significant liability if they fail to take advance defensive measures, experts warn.

Many experts point to the 2017 biennial report by the Washington-based American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave U.S. infrastructure an overall D+ rating and concluded that 9.1% of the nation’s bridges were structurally deficient in 2016.

They cite the 2007 bridge collapse in Minneapolis that killed 13 and the under-construction pedestrian bridge in Miami that collapsed in March, killing six, as examples of these types of incidents that have already occurred.

“It’s pretty well understood that overall in the United States we just haven’t spent the money in terms of maintaining existing infrastructure or increasing capacity to infrastructure in major metropolitan areas in particular,” said Brian Cooper, San Francisco-based managing director of construction for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

“We’re just really way behind the curve.” Litigants will turn to design professionals if an incident occurs, say observers.

“Design professionals often find themselves liable whenever there’s a catastrophe. When there’s third-party injuries, they’re often brought in, right or wrong, into those types of lawsuits,” said Dan Buelow, Chicago-based managing director of Willis Towers Watson PLC’s architects and engineers division.

However, “you would have to show negligence on the part of the engineer or architect,” which is the legal standard applied to all professionals, said Mark Peterson, Chicago-based managing director and design professional practice leader for Aon PLC.

A structural collapse is rarely caused by one error or failing, though, said Mike Davis, Philadelphia-based lead underwriter for construction professional liability for Zurich Insurance Group Ltd.

It could be a combination of design errors, including poor workmanship, material that reacts in an unexpected way, or “the actual structure being used in a way different than originally contemplated,” he said.

“Firms with good internal risk management practices and quality assurance procedures can more effectively manage” infrastructure projects, which will help prevent or mitigate losses, said Kevin J. Collins, a Chevy Chase, Maryland-based underwriter and senior vice president with Victor O. Schinner & Co.

Design professionals “need to have a clear ‘go, no go’ procedure in place to evaluate every project,” said Mr. Buelow. They must decide if their firm is in position to meet the project’s needs, if they have the right clients, if there is a fair and insurable contract, and if it makes financial sense, he said.

Robin Kemper, who is president-elect of the ASCE and a senior risk engineering consultant with Zurich North America, said the society recommends that in responding to a request for proposal, a life-cycle cost analysis be included in describing the scope of work for any project over $5 million.

“It’s very important that the interchange between owner and designer and contractor is clear, and also clearly documented,” said Jeff Burns, Denver-based partner with JLT Specialty USA, a unit of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group PLC.

The contract should also clearly articulate the generally accepted standard of care for the structure, said Brett Fowler, Farmington, Connecticut-based vice president and program manager for AmWINS Group Inc.’s architects and engineers program.

“Without that reference to the standard of care, there really is no benchmark to reference. It’s critical that be included in the contract,” Mr. Fowler said.

Renard Barnes, general counsel for PS&S Integrated Services, a Warren, New Jersey-based architecture and engineering firm, said that when asked to look at a structure, his firm likes clients to initiate an ‘exhaustive review of the existing conditions.’

Design professionals have “to really understand the intended and the potential future use” of the project, said Louis A. Gritzo, Norwood, Massachusetts-based vice president for research and international codes and standards for FM Global.

Design professionals may need to report to the authorities if a public safety or health issue is involved and “the situation calls for it,” said Nahom A. Gebre, a Chevy Chase, Maryland-based risk management attorney with Victor O. Schinnerer & Co.

In addition, design professionals should be sure “that they’re not coming in as the deep pocket in assets as well as insurance, so that they remain in a claim because of the assets they have to offer,” said Barbara Sable, Rockville, Maryland-based assistant vice president for RLI Corp.

Architecture and engineering firms do not need to be afraid of asking insurers questions or reporting potential claims, said David Zell, New York-based vice president of alternative markets for QBE North America, a unit of Australian insurer QBE Insurance Group Ltd. If a disgruntled owner has threatened to file suit, “it’s OK to report that. We’re not going to hold that against you,” he said.


John Sartor Quoted in Business Insurance


Liability cover abundant for architects, engineers

There is no shortage of professional liability coverage for architects and engineers in the current competitive marketplace, observers say.

“It’s really a good time to be a good architectural or engineering firm from a professional liability insurance perspective because the rates are very competitive. A lot of people want their business,” with some 60 insurers in the sector, said Brett Fowler, Farmington, Connecticut-based vice president and program manager for AmWINS Group Inc.’s architects and engineers program.

Terms “are fairly broad, but ... I think the carriers are not looking to go beyond what they have in the policy forms, so there isn’t a lot of flexibility,” said Joe Schrancz, New York-based vice president of Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co.’s specialty risks architects and engineers’ group.

Insurers are “not all that willing to use the capacity that they have,” although companies can build capacity by having multiple insurers on programs, Mr. Schrancz said.

However, ‘As you review and analyze the different options, you do have to be mindful’ of the exclusions ‘that may be in there.’
— John Sartor, President and CEO of PS&S

Design professionals can either purchase blanket or project-specific policies.

The market is more constricted for more complex infrastructure projects, said Dan Buelow, Chicago-based managing director of Willis Towers Watson PLC’s architects and engineers division.


Paul Robeson Community Themed Elementary School of the Arts Opens This Week


PS&S was pleased to be the Architects & Engineers for New Brunswick Public Schools “Paul Robeson Community Themed Elementary School of the Arts”, which opens for classes this week. The 135,000 SF building combines a new addition and renovations to the former school, and is the 5th NJSDA Design-Build school that PS&S has completed over the last several years with Design-Builder Hall Construction Co., Inc.

[Photos by Luke Gong.]

[Photos by Luke Gong.]


PS&S Participated in NJ Alliance for Action Events


NJ Alliance for Action – Investing in SNJ Forum

PS&S attended the New Jersey Alliance for Action’s annual Investing in South Jersey Forum on June 22, 2018. PS&S was pleased to support the Alliance for Action and proud to be an active member of the energy coalition community.

The event highlighted NJ’s energy master plan which emphasizes the creation of clean energy sources.  PS&S is actively working with many of the region’s utility providers and is well positioned, poised and ready to meet the call for the current and next generation of energy initiatives.

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NJ Alliance for Action Event – Health Care for the Economy – Hospital Construction and Expansion

On June 1, 2018 PS&S architects, Charles Clauser and Stephen Sgro, attended the NJ Alliance for Action: Health Care for the Economy featuring discussion of Hospital Construction and Expansion. 

The event featured speakers from the healthcare industry who discussed developing new concepts such as establishing healthcare space within retail and residential projects to make healthcare more accessible to its users.


NJBiz Features PS&S’s Marge DellaVecchia, Kris McCool & Jarka Vonder


Women breaking through glass ceiling at PS&S

Engineering, planning and surveying are three professions that historically have been male-dominated.

But PS&S, an architecture, engineering and environmental consulting firm based in Warren, is out to change all that with the recent senior-level promotions of Kris McCool, Jarka Vonder and Marge DellaVecchia, each now principals and vice presidents at the company.

PS&S’s Chief Executive Officer John Sartor said a culture of inclusion and diversity has been a part of the company since it started in 1962.

“It’s something that’s been in the company and, quite frankly, that’s always been the culture,” Sartor said. “My dad and his partners—that’s the way they always operated—and that inclusion has been maintained from back then. When I joined it was already there.”

Read more here:


Summer 2018 Newsletter



Recognizing our company’s best is an honor we always love to share in these newsletters. Earlier this year, we announced the promotions of 11 PS&S employees who became senior associates or associates.

Now we are thrilled to announce that eight PS&S senior-level managers have become Principals/Vice Presidents or Associate Principals. These eight men and women have all taken different paths to arrive at this moment, but all share several common bonds:  Professional excellence in their respective disciplines and an unwavering desire to succeed for our clients and for our company.

For more information, please contact Anthony Sartor at, or John Sartor at


FOCUS ON: Senior Level Promotions

We are happy to announce the following promotions in our Warren-based family of companies and at our regional offices. Eight senior-level professionals have been recognized for their outstanding work and dedicated service for our clients. All promotions took effect on June 22, 2018.



Promoted to Principal and Vice President:


Kris McCool – Kris heads up PS&S’s Energy Services Group where she oversees many of  the company’s energy and utility projects. Since joining the company in 1997, Kris has worked on large-scale brownfield development projects, managed our Delaware Valley office and was involved in the launching of three PS&S affiliated companies: PS&S Global, WarrenPro, and AJS Cap.  Kris has a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.


Jarka Vonder – As a Director of Surveying, Jarka is responsible for execution and supervision of surveying projects including boundary surveys for residential and commercial development, ALTA/ACSM Surveys, right-of-way acquisition, GIS applications, control for aerial photography, topographic and wetlands survey. She has substantial experience in subdivision design and layout, deed research, and map filing laws. Jarka joined PS&S in 1987 and has an MBA from Farleigh Dickinson University.

Marge DellaVecchia - Marge joined PS&S in 2016 and is responsible for client contact, outreach, project liaison and governmental contacts in and around the Delaware Valley region.  As a planner she is also able to work with clients to bring together partnerships and creative solutions to a variety of challenges.

Prior to joining PS&S, Marge worked for Camden County for six years, most recently as the Deputy Director of the Municipal Utilities Authority. Her past experience in the public sector includes positions in state government with the Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and the Department of Community Affairs, and 13 years in various roles in Cherry Hill Township. She is a graduate of Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.


Walter Fedick – Walt joined PS&S in 2017 to lead the PS&S Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection group where he manages multiple projects and works with both existing and new clients. Prior to joining PS&S, Walt spent 37 years at Roche, most recently as the Senior Manager of Engineering. He is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, earning three Master’s Degrees and his Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering.


Bill Salmon – Bill joined PS&S in April of 2015 as a Senior Director of Land Development to spearhead the enhanced presence for civil engineering and land development in the Monmouth and Ocean county regions. In his career, Bill has developed expertise in project management, all aspects of engineering design and regulatory permitting with NJDEP, NJDOT, and county and municipal organizations, and has provided expert testimony with municipal and zoning boards. Bill grew up in Edison, NJ, and earned his degree in civil engineering at Youngstown State University in Ohio.


Promoted to Associate Principal:

Joe Barry – Joe has 37 years of professional experience, and originally joined PS&S in 1986 as a Project Manager in the Civil Engineering department. He held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility, moving from project management to Department Management to Project Controls for the firm. He returned to PS&S in late 2015 after six years with the Port Authority of NY & NJ as Senior Project Controls Manager for the $15 billion World Trade Center Construction Program (WTCC), which included 1 WTC (the Freedom Tower), the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the WTC Transportation Hub and other ancillary projects. Joe received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from NJIT.

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Mark Chmielewski – Mark is a senior project manager who joined PS&S in 2002. Mark has a broad range of experience with a variety of building types including offices, education, higher education, mixed use, pharmaceutical research laboratories, manufacturing facilities, industrial and parking structures and multifamily residential/light commercial.  He has been involved in all phases of architectural services from planning and programming to design development and construction documentation through construction administration. He also has a strong knowledge of Westchester County, from the geography to the building stock. Mark graduated from NJIT with a degree in Architecture.


Chris Gulics – Chris joined PS&S in 2015 and is the company’s Senior Director of Environmental Regulatory Compliance. Chris has over 22 years of experience in management of water, stormwater and wastewater permitting services as well as with the NJDEP Air Quality Management Regulations. In addition to his technical expertise, Chris has a comprehensive understanding of the environmental regulations governing hazardous materials/wastes and their impact on the environment. Chris grew up in Woodbridge and went to Rutgers where he graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science with a concentration in Water Resources.



Grand Opening in Atlantic City


PS&S was a VIP guest at the grand opening of the Wheel at Steel Pier on Monday, June 11 as hosted by Anthony Catanoso, the President & Owner of Steel Pier.

The PS&S Structural Design team of Glenn Kustera, George Reichert and Marge DellaVecchia were in attendance and treated to the breathtaking sunset views atop the wheel.

PS&S engineers were integral to the development of the Wheel – by providing the technical expertise to create a path forward for the construction of the Observation Wheel atop the existing Steel Pier structure.  In doing so, the PS&S team eliminated the need to build an adjacent pier for the 485,000 pound observation wheel, saving its owner millions of dollars and the prospect of a lengthy and uncertain permitting process. 

The Wheel will be a year-round attraction to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk and economy further supporting the ongoing revitalization of this iconic New Jersey city.


Honoring Jersey City’s Best


The NJCU Foundation celebrated Jersey City’s Impact Makers at the first Jersey City Leadership Awards Dinner on June 7th. PS&S’s Ronald Weston and Steve Maravelias joined 150 attendees at Liberty House to celebrate four people whose work has transformed Jersey City: Mayor Steven Fulop, Angelo Genova, Esq. of Genova Burns, Panepinto Galleries Founder Stefania Panepinto and the late Thomas Stanton, Jr.


PS&S Sponsors NJ Chapter of the American Institute of Architects


PS&S is pleased to be a Gold-level sponsor of AIA Newark & Suburban Architects chapter, where Vice President and Civil Engineering Principal, Lisa DiGerolamo, PE delivered a compelling presentation titled “CIVIL DISCOURSE: What Architects need to know about Civil Engineering & Site Plan Approvals” to over 70 Northern New Jersey architects. Also attending the May 24th AIA event, held at The Madison Hotel in Morristown, NJ, were Fred Mundt from PS&S’s Civil Engineering group, and Ron Weston, PS&S Vice President who is also serving as the 2018 President of AIA Newark & Suburban Architects.


PS&S Employees Mentor in Yonkers

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Two PS&S Yonkers-based architects spent the 2017-2018 school year mentoring a group of Yonkers High School students, volunteering their time by participating in the ACE Mentor Program.

Leonardo Afanador and Michael Calvi worked with ACE, a national program for high school students who are interested in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering. The ACE Mentor Program looks for mentors who are practicing professionals in their respective fields to share their professional experience and expertise with high school students.

In addition to working in Yonkers, both Leonardo and Michael are Yonkers residents who believe in giving back to their community. Michael, who also grew up in Yonkers, participated in ACE as a high school student, and the program was instrumental in his becoming an architect. Leonardo was born in Colombia and came to the United States at the age of nine. He agreed to mentor to help introduce minority students to potential professional opportunities they may not have considered otherwise.

The PS&S professionals worked with the students on a project where they took a former industrial building and turned it into a sports complex and theater space for the community.


Volunteering on Long Island


PS&S Vice President and Principal-in-Charge of our New York Offices Keith Samaroo pitched in to help out Long Island-based Moonjumpers on May 11. The day-long event helped support the Girl Scouts of Suffolk County with site improvements, building repair and landscaping at Camp Sobaco in Yaphank, NY.


Supporting the Waterfront Alliance


“Cities on the Edge” is the theme for this year’s Waterfront Conference on May 8th, hosted by the Waterfront Alliance. PS&S’s work on the Saw Mill River daylighting project will be a focus of a panel discussion on urban restoration and waterfront development featuring Executive Vice President Joe Fleming. PS&S is a sponsor of the event which will take place aboard the Hornblower Infinity.


PS&S Supports NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering (NCE)


The PS&S team was happy to support and participate in NCE’s 20th Annual Salute to Engineering Excellence. PS&S was honored with NCE's Outstanding Industry Partnership Award recognizing its long and proud history with NJIT.

Nearly 15% of company employees have a degree from the Newark-based school including Executive Vice President Joe Fleming who was one of the evening’s featured speakers. General Counsel Renard Barnes was also appointed to serve on the NCE Board of Visitors.



PS&S Supports the Cooper Red Hot Gala

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PS&S is proud to once again support The Cooper Foundation’s Red Hot Gala, helping to raise a record-breaking $2.1 Million to support Women’s health.

More than 1,000 people attended the eighth annual event on April 27th in Philadelphia. The PS&S team in attendance included Kyle Rutherford, Kris McCool, John Sartor, Marge DellaVecchia and Steve Ewing.