News and Events - "Terracon in the Community"

Welcome to our newsroom! Here you will find the latest information about our company, projects and people. Browse articles published by our engineers and scientists in national publications and conference proceedings, view our press releases and read through news coverage of Terracon.

If you are a member of the media, you may contact our media relations representative at media@terracon.com.


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Terracon Foundation Awards $50,000 in National Partner Grants to Girl Scouts of the USA and Society of Women Engineers

OLATHE, Kan. — The Terracon Foundation is pleased to announce the presentation of two National Partner grants: $25,000 to Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and $25,000 to the Society of Women Engineers. To date, the Foundation has granted more than $1.6 million to community organizations, universities, dependents of employees, and for disaster relief efforts. The Terracon Foundation encourages employees to submit grant requests for local organizations aligned with the company’s mission.

GSUSA Grant

The grant money awarded to Girls Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) will be used to support the organization’s National STEM Strategy: Math in Nature Badge Program. GSUSA works with 1.8 million girls through 800,000 volunteers in 112 councils in all 50 states and overseas troops in 92 countries. This is the second time the organization has received a national partner grant from the Terracon Foundation.

“In recognizing the need to address the future demand for strong female talent within the STEM arena, Girl Scouts remains committed to programming that encourages girls to embrace the STEM career path,” said Sylvia Acevedo, GSUSA chief executive officer. “This generous grant from the Terracon Foundation will help to ensure our organization – both at the national level and through our Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri council – will have the ongoing support necessary to fortify our STEM leadership development efforts.”

The GSUSA grant was recommended by Karen Rieken, P.E., site investigation group manager in Terracon’s St. Louis office. Rieken’s long association with the organization started when she became a girl scout in first grade and has continued into adult volunteer roles including troop leader and educator. Rieken recently presented the grant check to Bonnie Barczykowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, on behalf of the national organization. For more information about Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org.

Society of Women Engineers Grant

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) will use the grant money awarded by the Terracon Foundation to help support its SWENEXT program to engage the next generation of female engineers. SWE has nearly 40,000 members, 100 professional sections, 300 student sections, and global affiliates throughout the United States and around the world.

“Through the generous support of the Terracon Foundation for the SWENext program, SWE can develop new resources to inspire the next generation of female engineers and technologists,” said Jonna Gerken, SWE president.

SWE’s grant request was submitted to the Terracon Foundation from Catherine Rocky, P.G., CSPM, national account manager in Terracon’s Wichita office. She has been a supporter and participant in the SWE local, regional, and national organizations since college, and currently serves SWE Magazine’s editorial board. Rocky recently presented the check to Gerken at the organization’s local conference in Tulsa. SWE was also the 2015 recipient of the Terracon Foundation’s national partner grant.

The Terracon Foundation’s goal is to reach out and become a real part of the lives of Terracon employees and the communities where they live and work. Employees may apply for local community, university, and national partner grants, allowing them to recommend investment in causes in their own communities.

For more information about the Terracon Foundation and other organizations it has supported, visit www.terracon.com/foundation.

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 4,000 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 140 offices with services in all 50 states. Terracon currently ranks 30th on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit www.terracon.com.


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Terracon Foundation Awards $86,390 in Community and University Grants

OLATHE, Kan. ­­– The Terracon Foundation is pleased to announce the award of $86,390 in grants to six universities and 12 community organizations. The Terracon Foundation was established as the community investment arm of Terracon with a goal to reach out and become a real part of the lives of company employees and the communities where they live and work.

University Grants

As part of an ongoing effort to support higher education, the Terracon Foundation presents university grants for graduate-level scholarships, fellowships, and programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

This year, the Terracon Foundation has presented a total of $50,000 to six universities:

  • University of Arizona – graduate scholarships;
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Terracon Foundation Fellowships;
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte – female and underrepresented minority scholarships;
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Terracon scholarship;
  • University of Washington – graduate geotechnical fellowships; and
  • Virginia Tech Foundation – Terracon Graduate Fellowships.

Community Grants

The Terracon Foundation has also awarded $36,390 in community grants to 12 local, nonprofit organizations that were recommended by Terracon employees involved in these organizations. The Terracon Foundation grants are intended to support education and causes focused on the natural and built environment.

Terracon Grant Employee Champion Location Community Grant Recipient Organization Grant Recipient Location
Bettendorf, Iowa LeadHer Davenport, Iowa
Bettendorf, Iowa Junior Achievement of the Heartland Moline, Ill.
Birmingham, Ala. Freshwater Land Trust Birmingham, Ala.
Cincinnati, Ohio YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. Cincinnati, Ohio
Dallas, Texas Martha Turner Reilly PTA Dallas, Texas
Lenexa, Kan. Shawnee Mission Education Foundation Shawnee Mission, Kan.
Little Rock, Ark. Boys & Girls Club of Saline County Benton, Ark.
Mountlake Terrace, WA Christ the King School Seattle, Wash.
Tulsa, Okla. A New Leaf, Inc. Tulsa, Okla.
Tucson, Ariz. Tucson Clean & Beautiful, Inc. Tucson, Ariz.
White Bear Lake, Minn. Pine Bend Elementary School Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
Winter Park, Fla. Field Manor Foundation Merritt Island, Fla.

For more information about the Terracon Foundation, visit terracon.com/foundation.

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 4,000 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 140 offices with services in all 50 states. Terracon currently ranks 30th on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit www.terracon.com.


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Brownfields Redevelopment: Revitalizing a Cultural Heritage Center

 

A touchstone to the Hispanic community in Utah, Centro Civico Mexicano (Centro) is a place where generations celebrate the traditions of their heritage. Centro was first established in 1935 by Mexicans who came to Salt Lake City and surrounding communities to work on the railroads and in the mines. Today, the well-loved cultural center is solidifying its commitment to future generations by revitalizing its downtown property; made possible through a combination of brownfields funding tools.

IDENTIFYING HISTORICAL USES

Originally purchased in the 1950s, the Centro property was facing the all-too-familiar challenges of urban neighborhoods—aging facilities in need of repair, pressure from surrounding development as part of downtown gentrification, and options to sell the property and relocate. Knowing the challenges at hand, community leaders decided it was time to reconstruct and design a new facility at the site of Centro’s existing home.

“The best reason for the cleanup and new construction is to build a showpiece representing the history of Hispanics in Utah and to give them something to be proud of, including taking part in an environmental improvement of the District,” said Brandy Farmer, president and CEO, Centro Civico Mexicano.

Serving as a trusted partner, Terracon helped Centro assess the property’s history, identifying past industrial uses on the site and surrounding properties as part of the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Terracon discovered the site had been contaminated by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) from past coal use, and chromium and petroleum hydrocarbons from other past industrial activities. These needed to be cleaned up to meet the requirements of the new development. Development money was raised to cover the new proposed Centro buildings, but not the environmental costs.

BROWNFIELDS FUNDING SOLUTIONS AID CLEANUP

Terracon provided solutions to address both the environmental issues identified and the unexpected financial challenges associated with the cleanup. By helping Centro prepare successful applications for both an EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant and a Revolving Loan Fund Cleanup Subgrant from the Wasatch Brownfields Coalition, Centro received $400,000 in funding to aid in the cleanup.

Although a small footprint, this piece of downtown Salt Lake City has a powerful future. The new plan for mixed-use development will include low-income senior housing, offices, classrooms, a multipurpose gymnasium, a rooftop soccer facility, and a black box theater.

“This has been one of my favorite projects. The people working on this are fantastic, and together they are all bringing solutions to the table,” said Craig Eaton, Terracon’s environmental department manager in Salt Lake City. “My thanks go out to everyone at Centro Civico Mexicano, Corroon Development Company, Salt Lake City Corporation, Salt Lake County, Utah’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, EPA Region 8, EPA Office of Brownfields & Land Revitalization, and the generous foundations in the local community.”

Belinda Richard, Terracon’s national Brownfields program manager added, “This project is a wonderful example of how local partners, community members, and regulatory agencies can come together to make a project happen—it takes a village.”


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Terracon Foundation Awards $105,500 in Grants

OLATHE, Kan. ­­– The Terracon Foundation is pleased to announce the award of $105,500 to grant recipients. The Foundation was established as the community investment arm of Terracon with a goal to reach out and become a real part of the lives of company employees and the communities where they live and work. Employees complete applications which are then reviewed and decided upon by a volunteer board of professionals.

The Foundation bi-annually awards funds in the grant categories of universities and community organizations, and annually presents funds for scholarships supporting dependents of employees. To date, the Foundation has distributed more than $1.3 million in grant funds.

“Through the Terracon Foundation, we have been able to support the education of 55 young adults in the last three years,” said David Gaboury, P.E., president and CEO of Terracon. “The scholarships are one facet of our broader commitment to providing financial support for industry-focused higher education at universities across the country.”

Dependent Scholarship Grants

The Foundation distributed $24,000 in scholarship grants to 12 dependents of Terracon employees who are pursuing a four-year degree through a community college, college, or university.

University Grants

As part of an ongoing effort to support higher education, the Foundation also presented university grants for graduate-level scholarships, fellowships, and programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This year, the Foundation presented $55,000 to nine universities: Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Texas A&M University – San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas; Texas Tech University – The Institute of Environmental and Human Health, Lubbock, Texas; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark.; University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.; University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo.; University of Oklahoma, Norman, Okla.; University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas; and University of Utah – Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Community Grants

Terracon also awarded $26,500 in community grants to eight local, nonprofit programs in which employees are actively engaged with an emphasis on education and the built and natural environment. Recipients include: Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne, Inc., Cheyenne, Wyo.; Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, Kansas City, Mo.; Celeste Henkel Elementary School, Statesville, N.C.; Community Help for Autism Spectrum Everywhere, Olathe, Kan.; Great River Greening, Saint Paul, Minn.; Junior League of Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Kiwanis Club of Bradenton Foundation, Inc., Bradenton, Fla.; and Sustainable Tulsa, Tulsa, Okla.

For more information about the Terracon Foundation, visit terracon.com/about/terracon-foundation/.

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 3,500 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 130 offices with services in all 50 states. Terracon currently ranks 32nd on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit www.terracon.com.

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Unique Approach to Supporting At-Risk Youth Builds on Success

Terracon Foundation Supports Founding of Family Enrichment Center of Davenport

BETTENDORF, Iowa — Kathy Toft, who has lived in the Quad City area 38 years, and others in her community wanted to create a unique program focused on supporting the underserved Goose Creek Heights neighborhood of north Davenport, population approximately 1,600.

They desired to create a safe and self-funded setting with free programming that could serve every member of the household – children, young adults, and caregivers. From this dream came the development of the nonprofit Family Enrichment Center of Davenport (FEC).

“Our goal from the beginning was to create a continuous system of support,” said Kevin Kellums, FEC executive director. “By offering relevant programming for the whole family, including the Head Start program, afterschool tutoring and parenting classes, we hoped to produce a momentum shift that would change the neighborhood norms away from destructive patterns and toward constructive goals.”

To help make this dream a reality, Kathy Toft, a senior administrative professional in Terracon’s Bettendorf office, has provided volunteer hours, spearheaded fundraisers, and championed the FEC by applying for annual grants through the Terracon Foundation.

“It’s nice to work for a company like Terracon that shows support for its employees’ passions and enables us to help others in our local communities,” said Toft. “If we could raise enough funds to establish the FEC, we thought it could be a resource and support to families. We had a vision and followed it through. With more than 700 kids in the neighborhood, the opportunities are there to make a real difference.”

To date, the Terracon Foundation has donated $4,500 to the FEC.

Expanding Programs, Enduring Support

In 2013, construction began on the building that would house the nonprofit. Terracon engineering and technical staff volunteered and offered services by observing the construction site conditions, performing materials testing, and monitoring placement of support structures.

Once the facility was completed, enrollment for Head Start and Early Head Start programs began as well as afterschool programs throughout the year reaching as many as 40 children. Today, there are 18 Head Start students and eight Early Head Start students. While there is no charge for the programs, families are asked to “pay it forward” by volunteering in the community.

Along with providing engineering expertise, Terracon employees have participated in many fundraisers to support the FEC. Golf tournaments and toffee sales, along with personal donations, show continued support for the organization.

The $2,500 the FEC recently received via Toft’s Terracon Foundation request will be used to establish an after-school tutoring program expected to enroll up to 15 students. In addition, the organization has developed a partnership with Iowa State University’s Extension Center which provides the curriculum for two parenting sessions designed to equip caregivers with child-rearing skills and resources.

About the Terracon Foundation

The Terracon Foundation was established with a goal to reach out and become a real part of the lives of employees and the communities where they live and work. Employees complete applications which are then reviewed and decided upon by a volunteer board of professionals.

Twice a year, the Terracon Foundation awards grants to community organizations and universities, and once a year presents funds for scholarships supporting dependents of employees and also awards a national partner grant. To date, the Foundation has donated more than $1 million to organizations nationwide. For more information about other organizations the Foundation has supported, visit www.terracon.com/foundation.

About Terracon

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 3,500 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 130 offices with services available in all 50 states. Terracon currently ranks 32nd on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, visit www.terracon.com.

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Terracon Foundation Awards $127,700 in Grants

OLATHE, Kan. ­­– The Terracon Foundation is pleased to announce the award of $127,700 to grant recipients. The Foundation was established as the community investment arm of Terracon with a goal to reach out and become a real part of the lives of company employees and the communities where they live and work. Employees complete applications which are then reviewed and decided upon by a volunteer board of professionals.

“This past year we celebrated our 50th year of business. We are especially thankful for the partnerships we have developed with clients that have allowed us to become a strong, prosperous company capable of giving back to our communities,” said David Gaboury, P.E., president and CEO of Terracon. “Through the Terracon Foundation and with guidance from our employees, we have been able to support a number of very deserving recipients.”

The Terracon Foundation also awards funds twice a year in the grant categories of community organizations and universities, a once-a-year grant to a national partner, and annually presents funds for scholarships supporting dependents of employees.

National Partner Grant

The Society of Women in Engineering (SWE) was the recipient of the 2015 national partner grant of $50,000. SWE is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering. The grant funds will be used to support the Collegiate Leadership Program which prepares female engineering students to become leaders in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Specifically, funds will be used to host webinars during the 2015-2016 academic year, provide for 75 students to attend the Collegiate Leadership Institute in October 2016, and support the Leadership Coaching Committee.

Community Grants

Terracon awarded $52,700 in community grants to 20 local, nonprofit programs in which employees are actively engaged with an emphasis on education and the built and natural environment. Recipients include: Bicycle Cooperative of Fort Collins, Fort Collins, Colo.; Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, Springfield, Mo.; Bonner Springs Elementary, Bonner Springs, Kan.; Bradley Central High School, Cleveland, Tenn.; Communities in Schools of San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas; Family Enrichment Center of Davenport, Davenport, Iowa; Foundation for the Edmonds School District, Lynnwood, Wash.; Great Parks Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio; Greenspaces, Chattanooga, Tenn.; Houston Habitat for Humanity, Houston, Texas; The Literacy Lab, Kansas City, Mo.; Manara Academy, Irving, Texas; Martha Turner Reilly Parents and Teachers Association, Dallas, Texas; Niles Home for Children, Kansas City, Mo.; Salvation Army, Birmingham, Ala.; Science Pioneers, Kansas City, Mo.; Southern Arizona Environmental Management Society, Tucson, Ariz.; Systematic Tutoring Resulting in the Development of Essential Skills, Greenville, S.C.; University of New Hampshire, Manchester, N.H.; and WFR Construction Technology Career Academy, Knightdale, N.C.

University Grants

In an effort to support higher education, the Foundation also presented university grants to support graduate-level scholarships, fellowships, and programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Foundation presented $25,000 to two universities: University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill., and the Virginia Tech Foundation, Blacksburg, Va.

For more information about the recent grant recipients and to learn more about the Terracon Foundation, visit terracon.com/about/terracon-foundation/.

Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 3,500 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 130 offices in 42 states nationwide. Terracon currently ranks 35th on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms. For additional information about Terracon, please visit www.terracon.com.

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Women in Leadership Take an Active Role in Promoting STEM

PromFIRST_FLL_KCSTEM_Alliance-8832oting a love of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is a passion for many of our professionals. For Terracon’s women in leadership, outreach is often very personal as they encourage more girls and women to follow them into STEM careers. Whether it’s conducting hands on activities related to water sampling, participating in job shadowing, acting a Big Sister mentor, or speaking to a scout troop, our women in leadership are making an impact with the next generation. Thanks to Catherine Rocky, P.G., E.I.T, C.P.S.M., senior associate and national accounts manager, as she shares the STEM activities of Terracon women across the country.

Around the Country: Outreach Big and Small

California
Irvine: Melanie Seydel, staff environmental scientist, has been active with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) collegiate chapter at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, working with local schools, Girl Scouts, and perceptive students, engaging them in age appropriate activities, including hands-on activities such as constructing parachutes, paper airplanes, catapults, paper towers, and bridges. Another outreach highlight for Melanie was Fourth Grade Days during the National Society of Professional Engineer’s (NSPE) Engineering Week (E-Week), reaching out to a record number of 28 classrooms in four days.

Florida
Orlando: Leila Jammal Nodarse, P.E., senior principal, serves on the University of Central Florida (UCF), College of Engineering Foundation Board and serves as a mentor to a new female board member. Leila has spoken to many of the classes at UCF as well as the Leaders Up Close series where she told her story of starting her engineering career which then led to founding an engineering business, Nodarse & Associates, now a Terracon company. Leila found the women in the class were interested in the work-life balance and took comfort in hearing that she has found the engineering profession is one where women can have both. Leila also finds time to talk STEM with Girl Scouts, a group she feels especially connected to as she credits the organization with developing her entrepreneurial spirit at a young age through cookie sales.

Iowa
Des Moines: Anna Smith, E.I., project geotechnical engineer, has volunteered for the ASCE booth at the Girls In Science, held at the Science Center of Iowa, and the Believe in Girls (B.I.G.) event hosted by the Girl Scouts.

IMG_2083Kansas
Lenexa: Sara Somsky, P.E., senior geotechnical engineer, has been involved with STEM volunteering opportunities through ASCE, NSPE, and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), participating in MathCounts, Block Kids Building Program, and the annual Bridge Building Competition sponsored by Kansas Society of Professional Engineers. She has also volunteered with the First Lego League through the KCSTEM Alliance. Sara noted these types of opportunities allow engagement with the students to discuss what design features on the structure work well and what can be improved the next time.

Wichita: Heather Rogers, E.I.T., environmental engineer, is a mentor for the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ STEM program, and also serves as a judge for design events, and volunteers in many STEM outreach activities with the organization including a CAD workshop, the Wichita SWE Engineering Expo planning committee, and continuing the Rocks and Dirt demonstration booth started by Terracon 12 years ago. Heather has also helped fellow SWE members coach a competitive Lego robot team of Girl Scouts. The office also hosts events supported by SWE.

Minnesota
St. Paul: Cami Van Abel, P.E., senior engineer, actively serves the Minnesota chapter of the SWE and specifically the E-Week celebration at the Minnesota Science Museum. Outreach events include the Wow! That’s Engineering program aimed at educating young girls in the Twin Cities.

New HampshireMuriel Robinette STEM
Manchester: Muriel Robinette, P.G., senior principal and senior environmental hydrogeologist, has been a guest lecturer at her daughters’ science classes in middle school, dressing the kids in Tyvek, and doing hands on activities related to water sampling (using bailers and taking water quality readings). Muriel has also been job-shadowed several times in the past 10 years and judged design events. She is on the Board of New England Women in Energy and the Environment, which promotes networking and job shadowing for young women interested in STEM careers.

Ohio
Cincinnati: Nancy Dendramis, P.E., A.M. ASCE, senior staff geotechnical engineer, served as an adjunct professor in the engineering department at University of Cincinnati. Nancy is a past president of her local ASCE section and part of a STEM team assigned to high school classroom presentation responsibilities. Her role has included presenting a geotechnical engineering solution for the Billy Mountain landslide event in Utah. She also serves on the National Board of Trustees for the American Heritage Girls, helping with the development of the Engineering badge.


Texas

San Antonio: Laura Campa, P.E., principal and materials department manager, is regional vice president of the Bexar Chapter Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE), local chapter of the NSPE. She’s is the founder of the Nerds 5K, one of the largest E-Week fundraisers, and participated in the Engineer for a Day program. Laura also volunteers at various state and local Mathcounts events. Laura also finds time to serve on the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering Advisory Council, attending various student group activities including luncheons which provide opportunities for professionals and engineering students to interact.

Wyoming
Cheyenne: Ayna Kekilova, project environmental engineer, shared her Russian native language and everything she could about engineering with a 12-year-old girl interested in environmental studies engineering.

2.kids imageAuthor: Catherine Rocky, P.G., E.I.T, C.P.S.M., senior associate and national accounts manager has more than 30 years of experience in consulting and government in environmental engineering. She is a member of SWE, SMPS, and past president of the Wichita Council of Engineering Societies.


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Oklahoma Office Sponsors students for summer camp

OK photoThe Oklahoma City office environmental group suited-up 25 students as part of Biology and Engineering for a Sustainable Tomorrow Summer Camp held in the area this past summer. The camp was designed to introduce students to the vast world of biology and engineering as applied in everyday life. Campers visited the Terracon office, and learned more about STEM careers, including math, technology, science, and engineering, and were encouraged look into careers in these fields. Terracon partnered with Oklahoma State University for this camp.


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Atlanta North Office takes part in 5K race to support charity

Employees at the Terracon Atlanta North office ran in the Miles4Major 5K race to raise money for childrens hearing aids.

 

The Atlanta North office participated in the 5th Annual Miles4Major 5k race this summer. The Miles4Major charity helps families purchase hearing aids for children because insurance often does not cover the cost, which can be more than $3,000 for each ear. Terracon was one of the sponsors for this year’s event. The company had three winners on its team!! Claire Bacon won 1st place in her age division and 3rd overall! Great work Team Terracon!! Find out more about this charity here.


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New Orleans Office takes part in citywide day of service

new orleans vol

The New Orleans office participated in the K10 Day of Service this summer, a citywide initiative. The August date marked Hurricane Katrina’s 10-year anniversary. Teamed with a local architect firm, the Terracon group volunteered at Our School of Blair Grocery, an independent alternative school and sustainability education center based in the Lower Ninth Ward. Fifty volunteers toured the facility, planted, weeded, composted, relocated the goats to a new pin, reorganized items in the main building, and more.