1. Infrastructure Week: Q&A with FTCH Experts
Kamran Qadeer, PE
VP/Sr. Civil Engineer
Has Geographic information systems (GIS) improved infrastructure planning,
and if so, how?
Michelle Lazar: GIS is not just for mapping anymore. Infrastructure planning requires
that we also consider the age, condition, and capacity of the system. GIS integrates with
modeling and asset management software, and this same technology is used to collect
input and share information with maintenance staff, managers, and the public alike. GIS
allows us to store and analyze important information about our infrastructure, document
our progress, and support our planning decisions.
Kamran Qadeer: Potholes are a maintenance nightmare, cause damage to vehicles,
and contribute to lost productivity. There is no long-term fix for this except road
rehabilitation. Bad roads equate to lost economic growth, lost productivity and
lost profit potential for area employers. Deficient bridges play a role in restricting
economic growth. Deficient bridges can restrict the loading or can be closed causing
inconvenience to users and trade. A long-term sustainable funding solution to maintain
road ways and bridges is essential for the economic growth of our state.
How do potholes and structurally deficient bridges play into the greater
economic scheme of things?
Jack Rafter: Wastewater infrastructure is a silent partner in a municipality’s aesthetic
attraction for residents, businesses, industry, and potential new business investment.
It is seldom seen, operates continually, and must always be effective and reliable. This
part of a City’s infrastructure investment maintains community health. Wastewater
infrastructure recycles the water resources we enjoy as a Great Lakes state, allowing
water to remain a valuable asset for the enjoyment of visitors and residents alike. Much
of the infrastructure used to handle wastewater is reaching the end of its useful life, so
we look to replace and upgrade these systems and install components that better utilize
the labor, energy, and chemicals needed to recover this natural resource. FTCH helps
cities improve or control operational costs so the savings in the budget can be reinvested
to upgrade infrastructure and sustain a City’s claim as a viable location for new or
Expand on the idea that wastewater infrastructure must be efficient,
effective, economical, and reliable. How does FTCH’s innovative approach
help cities achieve this?
Claire Schwartz: FTCH has been a leader in innovative stormwater management through
our participation in grant-funded studies, and through the design and construction
oversight of green infrastructure projects. Our approach is to look for creative solutions
that serve multiple purposes such as drainage and flood control, water quality
protection, groundwater recharge, and stream stability. Public green infrastructure
projects improve public health, safety, and welfare.
In what ways does FTCH promote innovative infrastructure solutions that
strengthen and grow the economy?
Kamran Qadeer: Yes, good infrastructure, including good roads and bridges, is very
important to sustain and further economic growth. A good network of roads is vital to
the movement of goods, trade, tourism, and the general economy. Good infrastructure
attracts employers to the area and convinces them to relocate their facilities and create
jobs. With billions of dollars of trade with Canada, we need good infrastructure to
further economic growth.
Do you believe good infrastructure can further economic growth? How?
Wayne Langeland: Good infrastructure includes the water, wastewater, and sewer
systems, in addition to roads and bridges. These key infrastructure utilities affect the
quality of life in every community. Quality and reliable water and wastewater systems
with available capacity and a stable fee structure are primary considerations for
industries looking to locate or expand in the area. We can attract or retain investment
and the industrial base in our communities by leveraging these quality infrastructure
Claire Schwartz, PE
VP/Sr. Civil Engineer
Jack Rafter, PE, BCEE
Sr. Project Manager
Wayne Langeland, PE
VP/Sr. Project Mgr.
Michelle Lazar, PE, GISP