October 2015

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October 2015 Newsletter


In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, PS&S was honored to work on projects that were vital to New Jersey’s recovery and so personal to many of our employees. We opened our Wall Office to focus on Sandy-related projects and worked with towns and counties throughout the state to rebuild.

Now we are three years removed from the devastating storm that changed the region forever. There is no doubt we have come a long way: rebuilding beach communities, repairing damaged infrastructure and navigating the constantly changing rules regarding building in riparian areas, defined as land located along the banks of a body of water. Of course, we all know the job is not nearly over.

From Anthony Sartor & John Sartor

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This month’s newsletter focuses on PS&S’s expertise in riparian design and development. At the heart of all riparian design is the need for creative structural engineering, the discipline upon which our founding members Bill Paulus and Wally Sokolowski were pioneers. We’ll also introduce you to Glenn Kustera, a PS&S Vice President and head of our Structural Department, who has been deeply involved in flood-design projects over the past five years in both new construction and flood proofing existing structures. Glenn has been with PS&S for over 16 years, and is one of the PS&S experts helping to make sure we’re ready and stronger than the next storm.

For more information, please contact Anthony Sartor at asartor@psands.com or John Sartor at jsartor@psands.com

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Focus On: Riparian Construction


Developing within or near riparian areas can certainly be challenging, especially since Superstorm Sandy in 2012. There have been tremendous changes taking place with regards to federal, state and local regulations addressing development near water, whether at the shore or inland in flood-prone areas. This is significant since Mother Nature is not expected to get any nicer.

In a recent study conducted by researchers at Columbia University, future coastal flood risk will be strongly influenced by sea-level rise (SLR), and the frequency and intensity of storms on the East Coast is predicted to surge.

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FEMA continues to update flood maps to reflect the continuously changing floodplains caused by natural forces and new developments. Riparian areas are found at every elevation and in every landform but can differ depending on local physical conditions (water vs. soil) and locations (elevation, valleys, canyons, etc.). These areas were – and continue to be – directly impacted by flooding.

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. According to floodsmart.gov, just a few inches of water from a flood can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. High-risk areas, or special flood hazard areas (SFHA), require a more in-depth analysis, risk assessment and understanding of changing regulations.

At PS&S, we recognize that one size does not necessarily fit all types of development and construction plans in these areas. Our integrated team of experts encompasses every discipline needed for designing and developing in riparian areas. You can learn more about our riparian experience [here].

For more information or if you have questions regarding riparian construction, please email PS&S at riparian@psands.com.

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Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma and is notable as the birthplace of radio legend Paul Harvey and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Largent. It was also home for four years for PS&S Vice President Glenn Kustera who headed west after graduating from Rutgers University in 1991 with a degree in civil engineering.

“Finding a job was tough in New Jersey when I graduated,” Glenn recalls. “I answered an ad in the New York Times for a structural engineering job in Tulsa and spent the next four years there. The company’s main business was designing and building Wal-Mart stores across the country, which was clearly a growth business at the time.”

Employee Spotlight: Glenn Kustera

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After Tulsa, Glenn spent the next four years in Dallas working for another consulting engineering firm focusing on retail and commercial projects. But after eight years in the Midwest, New Jersey called again…this time in the form of PS&S Executive Vice President Todd Heacock.

“My PS&S career began with a rescheduled interview on a Saturday afternoon,” said Glenn. “I accepted the job, traveled back east with my wife, and have never looked back.” Glenn joined the PS&S team in 1999.

“Throughout my 16 years here, there has been incredible consistency at PS&S. There hasn’t been a lot of drastic change in terms of how the team works together. In fact, the core group of engineers from 15+ years ago is still here…and we have brought on a great group of recent graduates to keep the company moving forward.”

Glenn serves as Principal-in-Charge of PS&S’s Structural Group and is responsible for project oversight, concept planning, code analysis, design guidance and QA/QC procedures. His experience encompasses a diverse range of project types and all facets of structural design including shallow and deep foundation systems, concrete, steel, timber, masonry and rehabilitation and strengthening of existing structures. In his years at PS&S, Glenn has worked on many high-profile projects including the Showboat casino hotel in Atlantic City, Red Bull Arena in Harrison and the BAPS Hindu American Religious Center in Robbinsville.

In the three years since Superstorm Sandy, much of Glenn’s focus has been on riparian design and development, helping clients navigate the rapidly changing rules on building near water and in flood-prone areas.

“Flood design is complicated because it involves a lot of different engineering disciplines,” Glenn explains. “It’s a collaboration to come up with design solutions where input comes from the civil side, the geotechnical side, and the regulatory side…and clients have to be educated on all these complexities in order to come up with a solution that works.”

While nature in part has caused the increasing demand for flood mitigation projects, Glenn explains that the PS&S team has always been well-equipped.

“Our core technical expertise in this area has always existed, and it’s very helpful that we have the right people in the room to handle any question regarding any discipline. On a PS&S project, there are no road blocks in the design process.”

Outside of the office, Glenn enjoys biking and plays bass guitar in The Needful, a rock cover band. He lives in Long Valley with his wife Janice and his 14-year old son Collin, a freshman at West Morris High School. And if you’re looking for Glenn on an autumn Saturday afternoon, chances are you’ll find him in the blue lot at High Point Solutions Stadium, tailgating before a Rutgers home football game.

“This is a great place to live and work,” Glenn adds. “PS&S has built a great niche right in the middle between the enormous A/E companies and the smaller firms. We’re able to combine “mom & pop” personal service with a broad one-stop-shop with expertise in all areas of design, development and construction. It’s the best of both worlds.”

For more information, contact Glenn Kustera at gkustera@psands.com

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