How to Slightly Improve in 2022

Does the idea of making and keeping New Year’s resolutions seem too overwhelming or doomed to failure?  Here’s a sample of some simple suggestions from The Guardian’s “100 Ways to Slightly Improve Your Life Without Really Trying” article to inspire you.

  1. Exercise on a Monday night (nothing fun happens on a Monday night).
  2. On the fence about a purchase? Wait 72 hours before you buy it.
  3. Always bring ice to house parties (there’s never enough)
  4. Feeling sluggish at work? Try the Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes on, five-minute break, and repeat.
  5. Keep your children’s drawings and paintings. Put the best ones in frames.
  6. If possible, take the stairs.
  7. Be polite to rude strangers – it’s oddly thrilling.
  8. Connect with nature: stand outside barefoot for a few minutes – even when it’s cold.
  9. Join your local library – and use it.
  10. Go for a walk without your phone.
  1. Eat salted butter. (Life’s too short for unsalted)
  2. Send postcards from the holidays. Send them even if you’re not on holiday.
  3. If you find an item of clothing you love and are certain you will wear for ever, buy three.
  4. Take out your headphones when walking – listen to the world.
  5.  Learn how to floss properly.
  6. Say hello to your neighbors.
  7. Always bring something – wine, flowers – to a dinner/birthday party, even if they say not to.
  8. Call an old friend out of the blue.
  9. Volunteer.
  10. Sing!
  1. Think about your posture: don’t slouch, and don’t cross your legs.
  2. Hang your clothes up. Ideally on non-wire hangers (it’s better for them).
  3. Thank a teacher who changed your life.
  4. Respect your youngers.
  5. Always book an extra day off after a holiday.
  6.  If in doubt, add cheese.
  7. Do that one thing you’ve been putting off.
  8. Give compliments widely and freely.
  9. Listen to the albums you loved as a teenager
  10. For instant cheer, wear yellow.

Once you change the word “resolutions” to “slight improvements” they don’t feel quite so insurmountable, do they?  Check out the Entire 100 list.     

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The Season of Miracles

The final days leading up to Christmas are filled with last-minute shopping, errands and travel. Amid the chaos, take a moment to focus on the essence of the holidays.

This video brings new life to an Old Master, Bartholome’-Esteban Murillo, and his painting, “The Adoration of the Shepherds.”

May the spirit of the season live in your heart.

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INFRASTRUCTURE BILL GOOD NEWS FOR HEAVY HAUL

President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill into law Nov. 15. It will deliver $550 billion of new federal investments in America’s infrastructure over five years. The law will touch everything from bridges and roads to the nation’s broadband, water and energy systems.  

According to an article in Loadstar, $110 billion will be designed for work on roads and bridges and major projects. In the United States, one in five miles of highways and major roads and 46,000 bridges are considered structurally deficient, or in poor condition. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that 42% of the 617,000 bridges across the U.S. are at least 50 years old.

The bill represents the single largest bridge investment since the construction of the interstate highway system in the 1950s. The goal is to rebuild the most economically significant bridges in the country as well as thousands of smaller bridges.

Ragan Watson, projects sales representative at Barnhart, said more than 10,000 bridges in the United States were scheduled for rehabilitation work. Hundreds need to be completely rebuilt. Given the inherent danger of a full or partial bridge collapses, these project should be a high priority.  

Barnhart replaces two 100-year-old bridges in California.

Supply Chain Improvements

Barnhart has a stake in the outcome. The company provides accelerated bridge construction, standard bridge jacking and emergency bridge services. They also haul the heavy cargo that challenges aging bridges.

“Our supply chain hinges upon the ability to cross structures, like bridges,” says Watson. “This is not only the case for oversized loads, but for the truckers who deliver goods across the United States.”

Besides being a safety hazard, if bridges are structurally deficient, it forces heavier vehicles to make lengthy and costly detours adding miles to the route and additional bridges to cross. All of which add to the overall project cost to the buyer. Investments in roads and bridges make the US more productive and help address at least one factor in the supply chain backlog.   

While it’s hard to estimate a timeline of when funding will be released, according to Loadstar the lion’s share of the spending should be complete within five years and “shovel-ready projects” could get under way in just a few months.

“We’ll be ready to go any time,” says Watson.

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LABOR WOES MAY WORSEN OVER REGULATIONS

According to a recent article in Fortune, “Overall, nonfarm employment in the U.S. is down by 4.2 million, or 2.8%, from its pre-pandemic level. This is according to the latest October figures from the BLS. Others estimate it could be higher. A report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimates the U.S. economy is still short 6.2 million jobs. Half of the 11,000 employees recently surveyed by CNBC in October reported their companies are understaffed.

It’s no secret that the U.S. is experiencing a labor shortage. You can see it from your local coffee shop to the docks that unload goods and the trucks who deliver them. Recently released mandates regarding COVID-19 vaccines may complicate the situation. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is set to start requiring employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on at least a weekly basis.

The OSHA rule will also require that these employers provide paid time for employees to get vaccinated, and require all unvaccinated workers wear a face mask in the workplace. 

Many are concerned that regulations like this could make a bad employment situation even worse. Will some employees just quit?  No one knows for sure. But if that happens, it would worsen a nationwide staffing shortage.

PROACTIVE PLANNING

Labor scarcity is real so what to do about it? At Barnhart we suggest accelerating planning in order to lock down vendors and equipment providers earlier in the process. Allowing contractors time to staff up for projects will reduce the chance that schedules will be delayed due to labor shortages. It will also help mitigate risk by ensuring highly trained personnel are on the job. 

No one can magically predict what will happen with the labor force in 2022. But by looking ahead and making sure your upcoming project needs are covered, you can help weather the potential storm.

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WHAT IS AN SPMT?

Acronyms are common in the world of rigging and heavy transport.  You’ll often hear PST, SPMT. What does the alphabet soup of acronyms mean?  

A PST is a model of a Goldhofer trailer and generally referred to as a self-propelled trailer.  Yes, the acronym and the description don’t match, but as Goldhofer is a German company, perhaps the acronym works in the German language.   

On the other hand, an SPMT is a more generic term and can stand for both self-propelled modular transporter or self-propelled modular trailer. It moves equipment or objects that are too massive or heavy to trucks to transport.

An SPMT is a workhorse of a vehicle composed of a platform supported by computer controlled axles, usually two across and up twelve axles long. The modular nature of the system allows for unlimited configurations by adding axles (or lines) to the length and width of the trailer. On a project site, you’ll often hear it referred to as a 8-line SPMT, 10-line SMPT etc.  

Barnhart uses an SPMT to move a bridge section in California.

Each axle steers independently, which means it can negotiate difficult or uneven terrain and keep the load level. Maneuverability is a big plus. The SPMT can move forward and backward, sideways, diagonally and even make a 360’ turn. It is an invaluable tool when space is limited. 

As for the self-propelled part, movement is provided by a hydraulic power pack which provides power for steering suspension and drive function. A crew member operates the SPMT with a hand-held remote control panel or from a driver cabin.

SPMTs are used in many industries including power and oil, on plant construction sites, and to remove and replace oversize bridge spans on civil projects. This type of trailer is the leader in moving heavy loads.

But because those loads are so hefty, you don’t want to get behind them.  An SPMT isn’t built for speed, moving at no more than five miles an hour. 

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Tribute to a Fallen Hero

Flags were flying as Corporal Daegan Page came home to Omaha, Nebraska on Friday, Sept. 17 to a hero’s welcome.

It was also his final rest. Cpl. Page was among the 13 service members killed in the suicide bombing at the airbase in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26. The 23-year-old was a member of the 2nd Battalion Marine Regiment based at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Daegan joined the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from Millard South High School according to a statement from his family. He was raised in Red Oak, Iowa and the Omaha metro area and was a longtime member of the Boy Scouts. Daegan enjoyed playing hockey for Omaha Westside in the Omaha Hockey Club and was a diehard Chicago Blackhawks fan. He loved hunting and spending time outdoors with his dad, as well as being out on the water. An animal lover, he had a soft spot in his heart for dogs.

Homecoming Plans Evolve

The plans for his funeral caught the attention of Jim Nordman, hockey enthusiast and assistant branch manager at Barnhart’s Lincoln branch. A member of the Nebraska Army National Guard for 15 years, he serves as president of the Nebraska Warriors, a nonprofit that uses sports to assist veterans with health and wellbeing.  

To plan Cpl. Page’s homecoming, Nordman worked with Kyle Williams, a fellow hockey enthusiast from Barnhart’s Omaha branch. Williams served in the Army and Iowa National Guard, which included a deployment in Afghanistan. 

An American flag hangs over the roadway.
An American flag hangs over the roadway.

The crew set up a crane at Millard Veterinary Clinic in Omaha, along the route the hearse and funeral procession would follow from Epply Airfield to the Braman Mortuary in Millard. A 15 ft x 25 ft American flag was draped from an EP-182 Barnhart Spreader Bar. Using Omaha’s unit 1632 (LinkBelt 8660 Series 2), they suspended over the roadway the final flag that Cpl. Page travelled under along the route.  

“In Nebraska, we are proud supporters of our Armed Forces and our community,” said Nordman.

Added Williams, “We wanted to honor and show support for Cpl. Page and his family because he made the ultimate sacrifice for serving our country and the people of Afghanistan.” 

The group effort included the Nebraska Warriors, Omaha Police Department, Millard Police Department, Millard Veterinary Clinic, and Barnhart branches from Omaha and Lincoln.

Following the funeral, officers led Page’s motorcade in a procession to Omaha’s National Cemetery.  Some 158 bikers with the Patriot Guard Riders participated in the procession.

Corporal Page was buried with full military honors at Omaha National Cemetery.

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TEN RULES OF CUSTOMER SERVICE

Barnhart started in 1969 with one branch and a handful of loyal customers. Today, there are more than 50 branches across the United States and the customer list has grown accordingly. That’s in part because of attention to customer service and living by some ironclad rules.

Ten Rules of Customer Service

  1. Always provide service safely.
  2.  Always observe the customer’s safety rules and regulations.
  3.  Always be on time.
  4.  Always be courteous.
  5.  Always work overtime when it is requested by the customer.
  6.  Never neglect safety procedures in an attempt to please the customer.
  7.  Never damage equipment in an attempt to please the customer.
  8.  Never dress or act unprofessionally.
  9.  Never refer to the company or its employees in a negative light.
  10. Never forget, it is the customer who pays you.

Many of these rules apply to all companies, whether you’re a small business, a one-person operation or a sizable crane and rigging company. It all boils down to treating the customer with respect and sticking to established procedures.  

When in doubt, remember the 10th rule.

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BARNHART GIVES NEW LIFE TO ABANDONED BUILDING

In the early morning hours on a frigid night in Jan. 2014, the Rose Bowl, a popular entertainment spot in Mason City, IA, caught fire. The bowling alley and restaurant was a local fixture since the 1960s. Presidential and other political hopefuls regularly used it for rallies. But now it was damaged beyond repair.  

For the next seven years the building sat vacant, becoming an eyesore at the entrance of the city.  

Recently, however, the branch was given new life by Barnhart’s Mason City branch. According to an article in the Globe Gazette, the once-dilapidated old building has been converted into an office and garage space.      

Photo credit: Lisa Grouette – Globe Gazette

The site’s transformation wasn’t overnight and the branch considered other locations before settling upon the 2nd Avenue site. According to Branch Manager Dan Ford, who spent time at the Rose Bowl in his younger days, “A lot of vision was needed to build what we currently have now.”

Barnhart did a build-to-suit project with the property owner. The outside was brought up to grade and rocked. The inside space was renovated and now shows little resemblance to the bowling alley that once occupied the space, except for a few lines from the bowling lanes on the cement floor.

Photo credit: Lisa Grouette – Globe Gazette

The project is a win-win for both the city and Barnhart.  

For Mason City, an abandoned building in a prominent location is now occupied. This provides a potential cornerstone for future development. Just as vacant buildings have a negative impact on surrounding areas, revitalized buildings have a positive one.

Barnhart gets a spacious new office with plenty of room for equipment and employees. This includes around 20,000 square feet of inside space and 6.5 acres of outside parking and storage space. The location is also ideal.  

 “This location provides us with room for growth,” says Ford. “Plus, it has easy access to all main state highways and interstates, and still sits in the center of our customer base.”

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Crane and Rigging Plus a Whole Lot More

Barnhart is known for crane and rigging service, but that’s not all we do.  With a 60-plus team of engineers across our 50 branches, you could also call us a planning and engineering company.

These professionals are experts at finding creative solutions to complex problems. Solutions that save you time and money, particularly when they are involved in the early stages of a project.

The next time you need advanced planning and engineering service, consider the crane company.  

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Demonstration Explores Undersea Vehicle Transport

Barnhart was recently part of a demonstration at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) in Southern California involving vehicles that will probe the depths of the ocean.

The demonstration was part of a U.S. Navy project. According to a press release from the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center, the Navy awarded a fabrication contract to Boeing in 2019 for five extra-large unmanned undersea vehicle prototypes — widely referred to as the Orca XLUUV.

To further the study of XLUUV prototype facilities capabilities on the West Coast, testing was scheduled at NBVC. The goal was to simulate the assembly, transportation and disassembly of the 85-foot-long, 90-ton undersea vehicle.

Photo: Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center video

A conceptual mockup was created to the dimensional specifications of a typical Orca. It comprised two 40-foot ISO containers, which acted as the vehicles’ separate halves. Barnhart was called in to provide the manpower and equipment — including single-propelled modular trailers (SPMTs) and a portable heavy-lift gantry system — to offload and transport the mockup.

The ISO containers were trucked in to NBVC. The Barnhart team offloaded each container from a flatbed truck with 500-ton gantries. The two containers were assembled under the gantries to the full length of the Orca prototype.

The day-long demonstration also included a travel test to ensure that the mock payload had the capability to maneuver through the existing facilities. Once the mock vehicle was fully assembled it was loaded onto two SPMTs. The SPMTs maneuvered the path from the assembly site, in and out of a maintenance building, to the wharf, back to the building and back to the site.

Upon their successful return, the containers were placed in a storage configuration to demonstrate XLUUV prototype dry storage when not in use, and then disassembled using the same equipment designated for the initial mock vehicle assembly.

The Orca XLUUV is among several undersea systems the Navy has been exploring. The first prototype is expected for delivery at NBVC in 2022.

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