Top firefighter of 2016 named

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Firefighter Tim Brooks of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) has been named Mission Viejo’s 2016 OCFA Employee of the Year.
Firefighter Brooks, who has served Mission Viejo for eight years, is known for his vast experience and longtime dedication to this community.
He is responsible for task-level skills on Truck 9, a technical rescue truck for the Orange County Fire Authority. Along with fighting structure and wildland fires, handling medical aids, vehicle accidents and other emergencies, he performs trench, swift-water, rope and helicopter rescues. This impressive firefighter is also a member of FEMA’s California Task Force 5, an elite team of rescuers and support staff who are deployed anywhere throughout the country for hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and other natural or manmade disasters.

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Sussex Strategy Group

Established in 1998, Sussex Strategy Group is Canada’s leading government relations and strategic communications agency. With proprietary offices in Toronto and Ottawa, and a network of expert affiliates in major centres across the country, Sussex excels at helping our clients manage their issues at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government, as well as in the media and within communities.

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3 ways digital transformation makes governments more responsive

Article | April 14, 2021

COVID-19 placed enormous demands on government services—demands that are not likely to go away. Moreover, the private sector now looks to government to facilitate the data transparency, digital processes, and data security needed to fuel recovery. Governments now understand those old ways of doing business no longer work. They need to become agile and flexible to meet today’s needs. Some were moved in that direction by the unexpected demands of the pandemic. For others, COVID-19 simply accelerated their digital transformation journey that was already underway.

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American seaports provide thousands of contracting opportunities

Article | June 26, 2020

We know that an infrastructure bill is coming, and the debate in Congress will likely begin in July. Industry leaders, public officials, think tanks, and economic development organizations have provided lots of input. They know that some of their messages have been heard. There is no consensus between Democrats and Republicans about how the bill will be structured, but one thing appears certain – Congress must deliver an economic recovery bill. Because infrastructure is considered to be the quickest route to economic recovery, it is safe to assume that large amounts of funding will be allocated to infrastructure projects. Depending on how the final infrastructure bill is structured, the funding could come completely from government or it could be delivered from various types of alternative funding sources. And, when an infrastructure bill passes, it will almost certainly include funding for the country’s seaports. That’s because America’s sea and inland ports are essential cogs in the country’s economic recovery. Ports have played an incredibly important role in our short-term emergency response to COVID-19. The delivery of vital commodities and products reached recipients through ports. And, despite very difficult times, a vast majority of ports managed to remain open to cargo operations. Data is always lagging but according to the American Association of Port Authorities, cargo activities at U.S. seaports accounted for 26 percent of the U.S. economy in 2018. A study released by the organization outlines approximately $5.4 trillion in total economic activity and more than $378 billion in federal, state, and local taxes that resulted from economic activity related to ports. The anticipation of large amounts of revenue through an infrastructure bill is encouraging, but the reality is that there’s already a great amount of activity at most seaports. Planning documents have been completed or updated and contracting opportunities are abundant. Additionally, the potential for public-private partnerships is great. Florida The world’s third largest cruise port, Port Everglades, recently received approval from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners for its 20-Year Master/Vision Plan. The county manages the port’s operations, and the plan outlines 50 projects for delivery through 2028. Currently, the projects are projected to cost approximately $3.02 billion. Immediate opportunities include: Terminal 21 redevelopment at a cost of $124 million; the Ro-Ro Yard relocation and expansion for $10 million; upgrades to the Entrance Channel North Wall for $12 million; and other projects estimated at $26 million. California The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners has approved a $1.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2020-2021 that includes a $163.6 million capital improvement plan that provides funding for numerous terminal upgrades. Projects include an allocation of $38.1 million for improvements at the Everport Container Terminal and a $4.8 million project designated for the Pasha Terminal. The port’s waterfront public access projects include work at the San Pedro Public Market estimated at approximately $42.3 million. Smaller projects are set for the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade. Security related projects, whichinclude the development of a Port Cyber Resilience Center, are funded at $7.8 million. This port is considered to be North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, and it facilitated $276 billion in trade during 2019. Oklahoma The U.S. Department of Transportation in June awarded a $6.1 million grant to the Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. Funding was obtained from the federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Program. which provides approximately 50 percent of funding for projects such as the port’s rail switching project. Work will include the improvement of an existing 3-mile industrial rail spur. The completed project is estimated to cost $12.1 million. In 2019, the Public Service Company of Oklahoma entrusted the Tulsa Port Authority with future development of the Inola industrial site by granting an historic land transfer of 2,000 acres. In May 2020, a firm was hired to process survey data so that the project could move forward. Ohio A $16 million federal grant was received recently by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. The revenue is designated for a project that will receive an additional $4 million to rebuild and upgrade a mile-long dock wall. The dock-wall reconstruction is expected to take three years to complete and will be done in phases so that port operations can continue unabated. About $6 million of the funding is allocated for construction of a bulk-liquid transfer and storage facility. Currently, the port authority cannot perform liquid cargo movements, but the completion of this project will remedy that as well as allow for multiple sources of commodities. Texas The Port of Houston Authority was recently awarded $79.5 million in federal funding to improve 2,700 linear feet of wharf and upgrade 84 acres of yard space at the Barbours Cut Container Terminal. Total cost of the project is $198.7 million. The upgrades will reduce ship delay by providing additional berthing capacity and will decrease truck turn times, idling, and congestion. The port has several other projects planned including an inspection and repair design of wharves at Turning Basin South. Another upcoming project is for construction at the Bayport Terminal Wharf 6. In the fourth quarter of 2020 construction is scheduled to begin on a new maintenance facility at the Barbours Cut terminal. Washington A study has been approved by the Port of Woodland to evaluate the potential of a railroad-dependent development on recently acquired port land along Kuhnis Road. The study will provide critical engineering information required for funding applications as well as future port investments. Once funding is secured, contracting opportunities will be available. There is no doubt that America’s seaports will continue to generate an abundance of contracting opportunities in the future. but contractors now may find projects of interest at almost every port in the nation. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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Bond elections catalyze numerous contracting opportunities

Article | September 9, 2020

People often believe that bond elections only fund construction projects. Although it’s true that construction opportunities do occur when bond packages are approved, sales of certificates of obligation or general obligation spawn hundreds of other contracting opportunities. Companies that provide services related to technology, energy systems, furniture, landscaping, and security also benefit. Voters already have approved an abundance of bond packages this year, and more are pending in November elections. Although it’s true that construction opportunities do occur when bond packages are approved, sales of certificates of obligation or general obligation spawn hundreds of other contracting opportunities. Georgia The state of Georgia has funding of $1.133 billion that will be used for new projects, the purchasing of equipment, repairs and renovations to existing facilities. Some of it will also be used to launch new construction projects. School districts have been allocated approximately $378 million and $302 million is available for projects at the University System of Georgia. The Department of Transportation will receive over $152 million for roads, bridges, and rail projects, and the Technical College System of Georgia will receive approximately $99 million for various projects. The state also allocated $20 million for a new conference center at Lake Lanier Island and $12 million for infrastructure improvements at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. West Virginia The Cabell County Board of Education authorized the issuance of $87.5 million in public school bonds after it was approved by voters in August. Architectural firms and design teams will be in high demand soon as construction is planned for early 2021. Projects include rebuilding Meadows Elementary and Milton Elementary and construction of a new Davis Creek Elementary facility. Other school buildings will receive major renovations including new windows, doors, roofing, HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, and security upgrades. New York Bond funds were approved in Lewis County for a $33 million capital project to construct a new surgical pavilion and renovation of the existing Medical-Surgical floor. Bidding will be solicited in January and February 2021 with construction to begin immediately. The project includes construction of a 36,224 square-foot surgical pavilion as well as the renovation of about 18,889 square feet of the existing Medical-Surgical inpatient floor. California The state of California recently announced the sale of $2.65 billion of revenue bonds to benefit various projects at the University of California (UC). About $1.15 billion will be spent on campus projects. Regents for the university system announced that about than 50 construction projects at all 10 UC campuses are planned. Projects include improvements to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Research and Extension Center and Franz Hall. Seismic upgrades are planned for the Irvine Campus, the engineering tower, four gateway quad buildings, and the social sciences buildings. More earthquake-resistant improvements will be made at a number of additional facilities. Louisiana In August, $140 million in bonds were approved for construction of a new high school and the completion of 13 other construction and improvement projects for Ascension Parish Public Schools. Approximately $79.5 million has been set aside for a new high school which will be located in Prairieville. Solicitation documents for contractors will be released in 2021. Other projects that have been approved include $27 million in renovations at East Ascension High School, $7.5 million for artificial turf at four high school stadiums plus the stadium at the new high school, $4.4 million for a classroom addition at St. Amant Primary, and $2.3 million for improvements at Donaldsonville High School. Texas Voters recently approved $76.6 million for the Plainview Independent School District and this funding will be used to consolidate and restructure elementary and middle school facilities. Some of the revenue will also be used to update security and technology. The proposed building plan consolidates six elementary campuses into three with pre-K programs and increased capacity at each campus. Some solicitation documents are expected in November, and others are planned for early 2021. Hawaii The state of Hawaii successfully sold $995 million of general obligation bonds, and the funding will be used to finance capital improvements for various public buildings, elementary and secondary schools, community college and university facilities, public libraries, and parks. As 2020 draws to a close over the next few months, millions more in funding for all types of projects will result as November bond packages are placed on the ballot for voter approval. Even in the midst of a pandemic, public assets must be maintained, expanded, and made safe for citizens. The activity generated by the bond elections stimulates local economies, and the projects that result create thousands of jobs as well. Mary Scott Nabers is president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc., a business development company specializing in government contracting and procurement consulting throughout the U.S. Her recently released book, Inside the Infrastructure Revolution: A Roadmap for Building America, is a handbook for contractors, investors and the public at large seeking to explore how public-private partnerships or joint ventures can help finance their infrastructure projects.

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TOP 5 TIPS FOR ADOPTING ENTERPRISE MACHINE LEARNING

Article | June 18, 2020

When you first got your business off the ground, you may or may not have paid much attention to the technologies that would be available to you in the years to come—like machine learning. Machine learning was the stuff of science fiction just decades ago; now it’s practically everywhere. So, what is machine learning? Simply put, machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence in which computer algorithms learn from large datasets in order to make more accurate predictions over time. Obviously, it’s a lot more complicated than that, but it poses numerous benefits to business owners—assuming it’s used the right way. Here are five tips for successfully adopting machine learning technologies in your day-to-day operations.

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Spotlight

Sussex Strategy Group

Established in 1998, Sussex Strategy Group is Canada’s leading government relations and strategic communications agency. With proprietary offices in Toronto and Ottawa, and a network of expert affiliates in major centres across the country, Sussex excels at helping our clients manage their issues at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government, as well as in the media and within communities.

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