Archive for April, 2016

Some Stuff I Like to Think I’ve Learned

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

by Nick Miller

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HMMH Founders (from left to right) Nick Miller, Andy Harris, Carl Hanson, and Bob Miller.

I began my career in acoustics, noise, and how people react to noise in 1973 after quitting the Air Force. Not that USAF was a bad experience – it taught me a lot.  After living with pretty liberal parents, and going to liberal universities and colleges for about 8 ½ years, I found I actually could like politically conservative people and shoot an S&W Combat Masterpiece with reasonable precision without really aiming.  But never mind that; it’s just that lessons for life are everywhere.

Anyway, I began at Bolt Beranek and Newman in Cambridge Mass, (BBN) and found myself in a liberal, open-minded organization where my group in environmental noise analysis and control was struggling to find the best ways to resolve or attempt to resolve the relatively new political issue of the public’s dislike of all sorts of noise – from factories to construction to race tracks to new parking garages to planes, trains and automobiles. We worked with and for the likes of Ted Schultz, Ken Eldred, Dick Bolt (testimony about the 18 minute gap in the Nixon tapes fame), Bob Newman, and other brilliant people of whom you may not have heard like Chuck Dietrich, John Shadley, Warren Blazier and other good guys.  Truly a great place to start a career and learn.

As BBN turned away from acoustics to computer workings like design of the internet, Andy, Bob, Carl and I founded HMMH in 1981 (guess what the initials stand for). It was, and continues to be, another great experience, if you can get past the initial stress of putting your house up as collateral.  I remember vividly the day we four with our spouses met with bank representatives and all signed papers tying the future of our homes to our future success (or failure).  Well, we actually succeeded beyond our dreams, had a heck of a good time working together, bringing compatriots in noise into the company, sharing ups and downs, and building a company of more than 40 people.  That may not seem large to most people, but for a boutique business, we thought – “Not bad.”

Andy was president until 1989, and then I was until 2004 when we handed leadership to Mary Ellen. Andy, Bob and Carl have all retired and I will be within a year’s time.  I’ve naturally started wondering what to do next, and what about my 40 plus years of experience?  Do I walk away and leave the battle field of political acoustics or not?  I’m leaning toward going cold turkey.  However, my son-in-law’s father pointed out how much experience, ideas and insights I would be taking away from the industry.

To get to the point, I have decided to at least write a series of blogs describing some of the things I’ve learned about noise and people, leadership and mentoring. This is perhaps a common human desire to pass on something of what one has learned in a lifetime career.  I’ve noticed that a number of old folks like to write books about their accomplishments.  I certainly won’t be doing that.  I’m not sure what I’ve accomplished, but I do know I’ve learned some things.  Also these things are not worth a book; I’m not going to do what I notice some authors do and take a few basic pieces of wisdom and use up 200 to 300 pages talking about them in different ways.

So, I intend to write a series of blogs over the next months. That is my intent, anyway.  I will start with issues of the discipline: noise and people’s reactions thereto in different contexts and to different sources.  This will be fun for me, anyway.

TRB Releases HMMH-Authored Report on Renewable Energy at Airports

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

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HMMH is pleased to announce the release of  ACRP Report 151 “Developing a Business Case for Renewable Energy at Airports” by the Transportation Research Board (TRB). The report, authored by Stephen Barrett, Director of Climate and Energy, and Philip DeVita, Director of Air Quality, focuses on identifying and communicating the inherent benefits of renewable energy as part of the business case analysis. To reinforce its practical application, the Guidebook presents direct experience in renewable energy business case development to show both how those attributes are valued differently by different organizations with different missions, and how this broader renewable energy business experience translates to the airport business. The Guidebook reviews the criteria used to evaluate a renewable energy project and presents a system for weighting evaluation factors, including long-term self-sustainability and environmental/social considerations, based on the airport’s particular objectives. It walks through a model business case and evaluates the key factors fundamental in the renewable energy business case. The Guidebook also provides examples of similar renewable energy business cases from both an airport’s perspective as well as other organizations, including an airline, a university, and a hospital, and the lessons learned for airports.

This report was the first ever released by the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) in a “pre-publication” format (in November 2015) as part of its interest in accelerating the presentation of its research products to the industry, and demonstrates the high-level of confidence in the draft product.

HMMH has also prepared several other reports under this program including ACRP Report 141 “Renewable Energy as an Airport Revenue Source,” which provides the industry with business models and financial information to show how airports have gained financial benefits from renewable energy projects, ACRP Report 108 “Energy Facilities Compatibility with Airports and Airspace,” which reviews the aviation industry’s experience with a variety of energy technologies, and ACRP Synthesis 28 “Investigating Safety Impacts of Energy Technologies on Airports and Aviation,” which was the precursor study to ACRP Report 108.

 

HMMH joins RTCA

Monday, April 4th, 2016

By Mary Ellen Eagan

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HMMH is pleased to announce that it has joined RTCA, which is a non-for-profit association that was founded in 1935 as a radio technical commission for aeronautics. RTCA is a Federal advisory committee that works in response to requests from the FAA to develop consensus among diverse, competing interests on critical aviation modernization issues in an increasingly global enterprise. Chartered by the FAA to operate Federal advisory committees, RTCA employs a consensus-driven process to generate minimum performance standards for Air Traffic Control systems and equipment; to forge recommendations on key aviation policies, and identifying and developing mitigation on issues affecting air traffic management operations. RTCA developed performance standards form the basis for FAA regulatory requirements while the policy advice informs the FAA’s prioritization and investment decisions.

HMMH has supported a number of RTCA task forces in the past. Diana Wasiuk is a member of the NextGen Integration Working Group (NIWG), which drives industry agreement on the prioritization and timing of investments in NextGen and thePBN Time, Speed, and Spacing Task Group, which prioritizes the waterfall of PBN implementation and evaluates opportunities to maximize PBN benefits in the near-and mid-term. Mary Ellen Eagan is on the PBN Blueprint Community Outreach Task Group, which identifies best practices in communication around PBN noise issues. Mary Ellen Eagan is on the PBN Blueprint Community Outreach Task Group, which is identifying best practices in communication around PBN noise issues.

“We are pleased to increase our engagement with RTCA”, said Mary Ellen Eagan. “We are excited to bring our extensive noise and airspace experience to an organization is seeking to develop consensus across a wide stakeholder group, much as we do in our practice daily.”