New NBAA Noise Abatement Procedures Released

June 29th, 2015

by Robert C. Mentzer

On June 25th 2015, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) released an update to its recommended Noise Abatement Program (NAP).  Details of their announcement can be found here.  This was a complete repackaging of their program and related materials many of which have been in place for decades.  HMMH worked with NBAA to evaluate the noise footprints generated by the prior and updated procedures with several in-use business jet types.  HMMH also assisted NBAA with the development of language to describe and identify how these changes may affect airports.

NBAA’s updated Noise Abatement Program was developed with modern aircraft performance and air traffic control (ATC) requirements in mind. With this revision, NBAA continues to provide operators with guidance to reduce noise impacts that is suited to the current operating environment, as well as new tools for aircraft operators and airports to address the noise concerns of adjacent communities.

The updated program includes:

  • Noise abatement best practices for flight crews
  • Updates to NBAA’s “close-in” noise abatement departure procedure and approach and landing procedures
  • Noise abatement guidance for other aviation stakeholders, including airports and air traffic control facilities

The revised NAP retains the recommendations for the existing standard departure procedure, but includes a new option for high-density airports. The high-traffic option – which allows for a shorter thrust cutback area – may allow the procedure to be used at busy airports where it was not feasible before.  The new guidelines do not include the former “close-in” departure procedure, which was found to have no significant impact on noise reduction for today’s Stage 3 and 4 aircraft, which climb so fast that they reduce power while over airport property, reducing the benefit to communities outside the airport boundary.

Since the former “close-in” departure procedure has been eliminated and several airports recommend NBAA procedures, NBAA included the following page on their site to assist Airport operators understand the changes to the NAP:

Massachusetts Energy Priorities Expressed by Commissioner Judith Judson

May 27th, 2015

by Stephen Barrett


I had the honor of recently moderating a panel of experts with the new Massachusetts Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources, Judith Judson.  Commissioner Judson was appointed on April 21st so her appearance at the Environmental Business Council of New England’s (EBC) breakfast marked the end of her first month on the job, which is enough time to be engaged in many hot issues facing the state, but too little time to be in a position to communicate specific policies still in development.  But she did kick off by stating her five energy priorities for the Commonwealth which is helpful for understanding the context of the discussion:

  1. Stabilizing ratepayer energy costs
  2. Retaining national leadership status in energy efficiency and clean energy
  3. Maintaining progress in clean energy procurement toward achieving greenhouse gas emission goals contained in the Global Warming Solutions Acts.
  4. Facilitating operations of safe and reliable energy infrastructure
  5. Working to modernize the grid

The Commissioner explored more deeply many topics of interest to EBC members.  She said she likes data and cited some interesting statistics including: 10% of all electricity consumed in Massachusetts in 2015 is from renewable energy; 350 of the 351 towns in Massachusetts have at least one solar installation on a home or business; $2m are available from the Commonwealth in rebates for buyers of electric vehicles; and a study out of Texas demonstrated that deploying 5,000 MW of energy storage on the grid is cost-effective.  The latter point may be of particular interest to Commissioner Judson as she has worked in the private sector over the past decade for companies involved in developing innovative technologies to help make the grid run more efficiently, including Massachusetts-based Beacon Power and its flywheel technology.

In response to a question from panelist Matt Shortsleeve of Solect Energy about obstacles to continued growth in the Massachusetts solar industry due to net metering caps and fulfillment of the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) II Program, the Commissioner acknowledged the problem with pending uncertainty for private investors with the start/stop nature of these programs.  However, she said that the Baker Administration is interested in putting in place mechanisms to facilitate sustained and long-term growth with market predictability which considers the changing role of the utility companies as more power is generated locally.  The administration continues to review the Net Metering Task Force’s Report released in April to help formulate a path forward.  Other topics discussed among the panelists included maintaining Massachusetts’ position as #1 in the country in Energy Efficiency, working with the regional on gas supply to stabilize electricity prices, purchasing more renewables through long-term contracts to meet Green Communities Act goals, working to facilitate the development of regional electric vehicle infrastructure network, and prospects for offshore wind in New England with the problems faced by Cape Wind and the commencement of construction this month of the country’s first offshore wind project off of Block Island, Rhode Island.

With so much ground to cover, the Commissioner promised to make a return visit in the fall to provide an update.

Principled Leadership

May 15th, 2015

By Mary Ellen Eagan

 Simmons College Seal licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

Simmons College Seal licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

This week, I had the great honor of receiving the Simmons College School of Management’s Rappaport Award as part of the Dean’s Graduate Award Ceremony and Reception. Most people outside of Boston are unfamiliar with Simmons, which has a very interesting history:  John Simmons, a wealthy clothing manufacturer in Boston, founded the college in 1899, based on the belief that women ought to live independently by offering a Liberal Arts education for undergraduate women to integrate into professional work experience.

Since 1973, the Simmons School of Management (SOM) has pursued a unique mission of educating women to be exceptional leaders. SOM rigorously educates women for success in management while also helping them acquire the knowledge, experience and confidence needed to express a more contemporary and collaborative form of workplace leadership. It is still the only accredited MBA program exclusively for women.

During the Awards Program, I was moved by the collective commitment of the graduating business school students to the following Principled Leadership Oath. I agree with Dean Minehan’s comments that financial and economic scandals would probably largely be avoided if all leaders made such commitments.

Principled Leadership Oath

As a principal leader I recognize my role in society. My purpose is to lead people and manage resources to create value that no single individual can create alone. My decisions affect the well-being of individuals inside and outside my organization, today and tomorrow. 

Therefore I promise that:

  • I will manage with loyalty and care, and will not advance my personal interests at the expense of my organization or society.
  • I will understand and uphold, in letter and spirit, the laws and contracts governing my conduct and that of my organization.
  • I will refrain from corruption, unfair competition, or business practices harmful to society.
  • I will respect the human rights and dignity of all people affected by my organization, and I will oppose discrimination and exploitation.
  • I will protect the right of future generations to advance their standard of living and enjoy a healthy planet.
  • I will report the performance and risks of my organization accurately and honestly.
  • I will invest in developing myself and others, helping the management profession continue to advance and create sustainable and inclusive prosperity. 

In exercising my professional duties according to these principles, I recognize that my behavior must set an example of integrity, eliciting trust and esteem from those I serve. I will remain accountable to my peers and to society for my actions and for upholding the standards. 

This oath I make freely, and upon my honor.

Anniversaries and Recognition

May 4th, 2015

by Kurt Hellauer

This and last month mark a couple of important anniversaries for me that I thought I would write about.

Twenty-seven years ago, in May 1988, I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve. Over the years I have experienced the ups and downs that are inevitably part of such a long endeavor and have been fortunate enough to advance to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. My success, such as it has been, would not have been possible without the support of my wife and family, something that goes without saying. Less obvious, however, is that it also would not be possible without the support of my three employers during this period. These employers have allowed me time away as required for annual military training, allowed me the time to attend unscheduled and poorly timed administrative meetings that often occur between drills, displayed patience and understanding while I took countless phone calls and emails at work – especially when I was a commander, and so on. I can’t tell you the number of times that military orders for annual training were late in coming, often just days before I would have to get on a plane overseas and my employers adjusted and adapted, usually without much complaint. There is a reason why the bulk of the generals and colonels in the reserves are either government employees with civil service protections and liberal paid military leave policies or are self-employed business owners. The cumulative demands of part-time citizen soldiers tax the patience (and pocketbooks) of private sector employers, large and small.

Another anniversary occurred last month as I marked three years with HMMH. Relatively soon after joining the firm, amid the settling in and immersion in projects and moving the family to Boston, I was reminded of the adage that you don’t realize what you don’t have when you never had it. As Mary Ellen Eagan noted in her blog posts LTC Kurt Hellauer, I had no sooner placed a contract on a house up here when the Army in its infinite wisdom saw fit to mobilize me and sent me to the Middle East for nearly a year. This was my second mobilization, the first one was for 18 months during 2003-2004 and I well know that it can be a headache for an employer that is orders of magnitude greater than my taking phone calls at work, having to duck out early for an evening meeting between drills, or having annual training dates shift with little notice because requirements had changed. Despite that, and while HMMH did not have recent experience in employing active members of the Guard and Reserves, the leadership and staff here did not miss a beat and took events in stride, matter-of-factly confronting issues as they arose. What made this mobilization a bit shocking – one is never truly shocked at being called to active duty since that is, after all, the point of having a reserve force – is that I only had about 45 days’ notice of the mobilization. The Army’s goal is to provide soldiers and employers about three to six months’ time to get affairs in order. No matter, off I went and served as called. Below is a picture of yours truly during one of his many hours spent in a passenger terminal awaiting airlift in a C-130 over the desert, something which makes for a noisy, dusty, and sweaty experience.


Since I had worked elsewhere when I previously was mobilized and thus had a good frame of reference, I was able to quickly discern the difference between compliance with the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Act (USERRA) and actively supporting employees who are members of the Guard and Reserve, going above and beyond what the law requires. A small example of such a difference occurred midway through my time overseas when my birthday rolled around and the staff here at HMMH flooded the war zone with individual birthday cards, making me the envy of my fellow soldiers for receiving such an inordinate amount of mail. It’s one thing to “let your citizen soldier go” when duty calls, something an employer is required to do anyway. It’s another to take the time and effort to consistently maintain communications throughout the deployment and not just at the outset when emotions are still fresh. Doing so provides steady comfort and assurance that while I was gone, I was missed, my family would be looked in on and helped as needed, and that my position with the company would be waiting for me upon my return. It is a tough balance to make an employee feel wanted and missed without also making him/her feel guilty for being involuntarily mobilized and creating a scramble to reassign tasks or projects to others, creating considerable additional work and expense to the employer. Of course the primary point of USERRA and the real rub comes when the mobilization ends and it is time to reintegrate the service member back into the civilian workforce. With the experience I’d had extricating myself from work at HMMH to train up and then deploy overseas, and based on the ongoing dialogue we had maintained over the many long months, I was pretty confident my return would go smoothly and it did.

This month marks my one year anniversary of my redeployment from Jordan where I spent nine months. As my time there was drawing to a close some of my peers began actively seeking tour extensions because their employment situations back home had become tenuous. Apart from receiving a notice of divorce proceedings – something that occurs with alarming frequency during deployments – one of the saddest things a reservist can be told is that his/her replacement is working out great and there isn’t really room or desire to re-hire the reservist. It is all well and good that the law is supposed to prevent such behavior but another lesson learned long ago is that any job you have to sue to get (or keep) probably is not a job you want at the end of the day. Because my experience was so unlike that of my peers, I decided in April 2014 to nominate my supervisor for an award sponsored by the Department of Defense, Office of Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Mary Ellen Eagan was presented with of the “My Boss is a Patriot” award last September.

While the Patriot Award is for supervisors, ESGR also recognizes employers whose polices and corporate culture go above and beyond the call. Last fall, after having had time to reflect upon the entire experience, I was away at drill weekend in Virginia and took the opportunity to nominate the company for similar recognition, called the Freedom Award. This is ESGR’s highest form of recognition. The Freedom Award is presented annually after a competitive nomination and screening process. Each state chapter of the ESGR screens nominations from reservists and recommends two or three employers each year for consideration as National semi-finalists. This past weekend while again drilling – and now that I’m back it seems like these once monthly training events come around quite quickly – I learned that HMMH was selected as one of three National semi-finalists from Massachusetts, representing the 69 employers from the Commonwealth nominated during the past year. Across the country a total of 150 employers were selected from nearly 3,000 nominations. I am quite pleased to see the HMMH recognized; it is vitally important that the contributions employers (and families) of military service members not go unnoticed.

International Noise Awareness Day

April 30th, 2015

by Mary Ellen Eagan

Today is International Noise Awareness Day (INAD). INAD is a global campaign aiming to raise awareness of noise on the welfare and health of people. Noise affects people in many ways, but only deafness and annoyance receive actual interest from the general public. People all over the world are called upon to take part via various actions on this occasion: open days on hearing from acousticians, lectures in public health departments, universities and schools, panels of experts, noise level measuring actions, and readings.

In that spirit, the Center for Hearing and Communication offers this Recipe for a Quiet Day:

Recipe for a Quiet Day

Take these few, simple steps to preserve the peace and quiet in your life.

  • Pay attention to the noises you make and respect your neighbor’s right to peace and quiet.
  • Turn down the volume two notches on your radios and personal stereo systems with headphones.
  • Turn down the volume one notch on your television.
  • Do NOT honk your horn, except in the case of imminent danger; Do NOT tip cab drivers who honk their horns illegally.
  • Avoid noisy sports events, restaurants, rock concerts and nightclubs unless you use hearing protection.
  • Replace noisy activities with quiet ones such as taking a walk, visits to libraries and museums.
  • Ask your health club instructor to lower the music.
  • Ask the movie theater manager to turn down the volume.
  • Wear adequate hearing protection if you must be in a noisy environment (the subway, mowing the lawn)
  • Turn off the television during dinner and have a quiet conversation instead.
  • Get a free hearing screening.
  • Attend a town meeting to review (or develop) a local, enforceable noise ordinance.
  • Spread the word about the danger of noise.

And remember… observe one minute of no noise from 2:15 – 2:16 pm (regardless of location/time zone). – See more here.

Here are two things I recommend: (1) Take this Online hearing test, and (2) Tell your kids to turn down their iPhones!

Have a quiet day.