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.

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Cincinnati office builds on Terracon Foundation support for CrossRoads Missions

Cincinnati office staff and several family members gathered to help build walls for CrossRoads Missions and Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity. CrossRoads Mission is a recent recipient of $3,500 in funds from the Terracon Foundation. Despite the heat, team Terracon had fun working together to build four wall sections. Overall, wall sections for two houses were built in less than 4 hours!  CrossRoads Missions serves as a doorway for community and church groups to serve others in meaningful enduring ways that provide life change for those serving and those served. Habitat for Humanity is an international organization with more than 1,400 local affiliates in the United States and more than 70 national organizations around the world. With volunteer support, Habitat has helped more than 1 million families — representing 5 million people — improve their living conditions since its founding in 1976.

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Austin office supports Case Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Employees from the Austin Terracon office participated in the CASA Superhero 5K run recently to raise money for abused and neglected children.

Employees in the Austin office participated in the the 2015 CASA Superhero 5K Run recently. The team helped to raise more than $55,000 for abused and neglected children throughout the Greater Austin area. The Terracon team had some custom t-shirts made to help us represent our great company. Case Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) speaks up for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering community volunteers to be advocates for them in the court system.  The organization has grown to 933 CASA and guardian programs in 49 states.

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Co-workers support fellow San Antonio employee to raise funds for Alzheimer's research

Alz. walk

Staff at the San Antonio office supported Julia Jonas’ fundraising for her walk as part of the 2015 Alzheimer’s Walk in the San Antonio area. Participants were invited to place a windmill flower along the route representing someone who is living with, caring for or who has been lost to Alzheimer’s. There were 4500 walkers who raised $249,160.93. Julia expressed a “thank you” to her Terracon family for helping her surpass her personal fundraising goal of $1,000 by $675. That amount, combined with another $705 from family members, enabled her to donate at total of $2,380. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Its nationwide chapters host annual walks to raise money for the association.

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Charleston office supports Make-A-Wish Foundation


Employees from the Charleston, WV, office joined other local residents in a pie fight to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation. More than 350 people donated funds to take part in in a pie fight, raising more than $5000. The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a national organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses from all over the country. For more information, click here.

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Helping Hands for Harvesters

Harvesters_CorporateEmployees from Terracon’s Corporate office recently volunteered their time to Harvesters, located in Kansas City, Mo. Volunteers put together 1,000 BackSnacks. According the Harvesters website, the BackSnack program provides a weekly backpack filled with nutritious, child-friendly food for schoolchildren to take home over the weekend. More than 100,000 children in Harvesters’ service area receive free and reduced-price school meals during the week, and many of those are at risk of hunger on weekends.

BackSnack is a partnership between Harvesters, a participating school and a local community partner-usually a corporate, civic or religious organization. Harvesters provides the food and the backpacks. The local community partners help facilitate picking up the BackSnack food kits from Harvesters and distributing them to the schools. School principals and/or counselors determine which children receive BackSnacks at each school.

Harvesters is a regional food bank serving a 26-area county of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas. Harvesters provides food and related household products to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes, and others. They also offer education programs to increase community awareness of hunger and teach about good nutrition. For more information about Harvesters, please visit

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Training to Save Lives

Phoenix Office_CPR_TrainingTerracon’s Phoenix office completed their annual CPR training. Participants were taught the proper procedures when someone is experiencing cardiac arrest.


According to the American Heart Association, most people who experience cardiac arrest at home, work, or in a public location die because they don’t receive immediate CPR from someone on the scene. For more information about CPR training and frequently asked questions related to CPR and cardiac arrest, please visit the American Heart Association website.

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Las Vegas Office Continues Support of Engineers Without Borders' Nicaragua Program

Terracon_EWBTerracon’s Las Vegas office participated in the 4th Annual Bowling Event to support the Engineers Without Borders’ Las Vegas Chapter, held October 17. The more than $1,300 raised during the event will go to specifically support the ongoing efforts of the Nicaragua Program.

By 2018, 40 individual homes will have composite latrines installed. More than a year ago, Terracon Foundation awarded a grant to EWD’s Las Vegas Chapter to support the initial phases of the project — site investigation/soil and water testing.

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Can Seventh Graders Design Erosion Control Systems?

When students have caring teachers and local volunteers who share their expertise, even the very young can accomplish remarkable things. Last fall, students at Cincinnati’s Nagel Middle School learned about erosion control from Terracon’s Jeff Dunlap, P.E. Jeff is a project geotechnical engineer in the Cincinnati office who took the time to make a real impact on these students and their education.
Jeff was invited to speak to 220 seventh graders (his son among them) who were studying erosion control. Jeff’s presentation became a key resource for these students who had been assigned real-world erosion control problems to solve. One group had to figure out how to keep eroding soil from collecting on a local basketball court located at the bottom of a slope. The other group had to design an erosion control system for a stretch of stream they had visited on a field trip. Students created models of their solutions.
In his free time, Jeff spent several hours preparing a PowerPoint presentation, collecting photographs that showed examples of erosion control as well as an array of erosion control products for the students to see and feel. He also tapped the knowledge of co-worker and Cincinnati Project Engineer Bruce Rome, P.E., who provided information about the Federal Clean Water Act and the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System.
“It was good to see how students showed real concern about what I was teaching them,” said Jeff.” In my son’s class, they completed the basketball court project. I am told that the students applied what they had learned quite well and kept their model basketball courts soil-free!”
Jeff received thank you notes from all of the students who heard his presentation. Many show that students learned a great deal.
“One student even told me it was the first time he had ever earned an ” ‘A’ on a science project,” said Jeff. “That felt good.”


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Terracon Supports Students at Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair

KC-Science-FairWhen the 63rd Annual Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair took place at Kansas City’s historic Union Station in March, Terracon was there supporting students. The annual fair is by Science Pioneers, a non-profit group whose mission is to create innovative and supportive education activities that will encourage the youth of Kansas City to understand and use science and critical thinking in their careers and everyday lives.

The Terracon Foundation sponsored an academic award: the Senior Environmental Sciences/ Renewable Energy Award. The first place winner was Katherine Calhoun, a senior at Shawnee Mission West High School. Triton Wolfe, a senior at Olathe North High School, won second place. Joe Marsh, P.E., director of Employee Development and Wellbeing, represented the Terracon Foundation during the Awards Ceremony. Both students received scholarships.

“Talking with students at the fair and seeing what they can do was inspiring and worthwhile,\” said Joe. “It was an honor to support these talented young people.”

Two Lenexa staff members, Brett Larsen, P.E., senior geotechnical engineer, and Angela Caw, project manager, attended a “thank you” luncheon hosted by Science Pioneers for Terracon the day after the fair. They had the opportunity to talk with Science Pioneers staff and to view the students’ presentation boards.

“The students’ research was very impressive,” said Brett. “Frankly, a lot of it was more complicated than the work I did as a graduate student in engineering.”

The Greater Kansas City Science and Engineering Fair is the largest in the region. More than 1,300 students, in grades four through twelve, from across the Kansas City metro took part.

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Do Constructions Workers Climb Like Spider-Man?

spidermanTerracon experts make presentations to a variety of audiences every day. But Peter Adams, a steel inspector from the Des Moines office, might be the only one who has ever had to field a question about superheroes in the construction industry.

“Do you climb steel like Spider-Man?” His audience members want to know.

His audience is comprised of underprivileged or at-risk preschoolers -“ some with special needs -“ and Peter gets to enjoy answering questions like these as part of his annual visit to Des Moines Public Schools’ Head Start program. For the past 12 years, he has been visiting this Head Start class, which wife, Natalie Adams, teaches. His visit is a favorite part of a unit on the construction industry that is part of the curriculum every year.

Peter always has fun talking to these young children and hearing what they have to say, but there is a serious side to this as well.

“It is important to support our community and help kids who come from poverty and are at risk for learning problems,” said Peter. “And maybe I can inspire a child to take an interest in this field.”

During his talks, Peter touches on many important topics. He teaches them that being safe is an important part of a construction worker’s job, and that to be a construction worker, you must learn how to read, measure, do math, and follow rules to make sure that buildings are constructed well.

“A lot of these children don’t get the opportunity to see things like this first hand, so it’s important to bring visitors into the classroom to inspire them,” said Peter.

He has a well-planned visit that involves passing around items like concrete, steel, certain tools and safety gear, rebar that is shaped like letters, and by having them try to lift a concrete cylinder with rebar inside. This usually gets them to ask questions.

“Peter’s passion for his job and these children is very special,” said Natalie. “He relates very well to them, which is evident by the smiles and the amazed looks on their faces.  I am so thankful that he works for a company which allows him to take time out of his day to enhance the learning of these special children.”