The Peeples Choice

Now that we’re coming out of our post-Easter sugar comas, it’s time to pay homage to a staple of Easter baskets everywhere.  Peeps.  Those fluorescent-colored bunnies and chicks aren’t just for eating anymore.  Each year, they serve as inspiration for Peeps Diorama Contests across the country that challenge entrants to create a setting and “peepify” it.

See some entries from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press Marshmallow Peeps Diorama Contest:

Bunny Slope by Jane Dierberger

Peep with the Pearl Earring by Jill Schaefer

“Chick Magnet” by Bev and Murray Schomberg

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Back in January, billionaire Warren Buffett partnered with Quicken Loans to give away $1 billion to anyone who successfully predicted the outcome of every game in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament.

That possibility of a perfect bracket vanished only days into the tournament, with bracket busters such as Mercer upsetting Duke.  But truly, the $1 billion was never in danger of being won or lost.

The contest rules for the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge noted that the odds of winning the grand prize were one in 4,294,967,296.  One mathematician estimated that the odds of predicting a perfect bracket were more like one in 128 billion. Continue reading

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Innovation is one of Barnhart’s core values, which frequently produces leading-edge products like one the cooler tools in our arsenal, the WesTrac/EasTrac  dual lane transporter.

Barnhart engineers, in conjunction with German manufacturer Goldhofer, designed WesTrac to be a new breed of dual lane transporter with the features of a modular platform and axle spacings that met stringent DOT requirements for West Coast heavy hauling.  EasTrac was then developed for East Coast standards. Continue reading

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Barnhart prides itself on keeping jobs on schedule, but sometimes Mother Nature trumps all our careful planning.

Such was the case recently when Barnhart was hired by BP to move a knock out drum (KO) to a refinery in Ohio.  The KO drum, which weighed around 220,000 lbs. was 72 feet long, 18 feet tall and 21 feet wide.

The project started in December at the Port of Catoosa in Oklahoma and would end at the Port of Toledo in Ohio. Barnhart loaded the drum into a hopper barge to be transported by the river system to Chicago.  The low profile barge was required in order to pass under one of the bridges along the route.  But since it could only be used for inland waterway transportation, the cargo would have to be transferred to another barge to complete its journey. Continue reading

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Engineering News Record (ENR) recently named Alan Barnhart, owner and president of Barnhart Crane and Rigging, a “Top 25 Newsmaker” for his leadership of a company that successfully handled an extremely challenging project in Seattle last spring.

Barnhart  planned and executed the transporting, hoisting and assembling of the world’s largest tunnel boring machine (TBM), designed to bore out the new Alaskan Way Viaduct. Nicknamed Bertha, the firm was charged with handling her 41 individual pieces—the largest weighing 850 tons—from a freighter docked at the Port of Seattle, 500 yards across port property and then 80 feet into the launch pit.

According to an article in ENR, Alan Barnhart knew that it would have been “absolutely catastrophic” if his crews damaged even one part of the 7,000-ton, 57.5-ft-diameter drill.

It was a touchy operation, but Barnhart Crane did it all without incident last May, and precision was the key. “It took a lot of work in pre-planning,” says Barnhart. “It was a major effort, and our engineering department put in thousands of hours.”

Individuals are chosen by Engineering News-Record editors who look through the stories that have appeared in ENR and select individuals for special recognition. There are no applications to review or interviews to schedule.  Editors select candidates because they made a difference for the industry and the public.

Barnhart, 53, has worked at the business his parents started in 1969 since he was 10 years old.   He and the other winners will be honored at ENR’s annual gala in New York City on April 3rd.

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Last week’s polar vortex dominated the headlines.  The weather phenomenon with the catchy, ominous name caused brutally cold weather that set records across the entire country.

This arctic air mass also caused extreme temperature inversions. According to The Huffington Post, on Monday, January 6, Memphis was 20 degrees colder than Anchorage; Atlanta was colder than Moscow; and Nashville was colder than Albany.

The extreme cold made some people lose their common sense, as evidenced by the faddish trick of throwing boiling water into the air to watch it freeze and turn into snow.

While for some it worked, for others, it resulted in burns from being scalded.  The trick, and its intended and unintended consequences, was so popular that many news organizations, including the Los Angeles Times, reported on it.

Continue reading

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One of the downsides of holiday travel –  in addition to crowded airports, long lines, snow delays, crying children and generally grouchy people – is that even once you’re on the plane, you’re not done. After you dodge getting whacked in the head by an overhead bag, you still have to watch the mandatory in-flight safety video.

Does anyone pay attention to these messages?  After all, don’t we all know about the yellow oxygen masks that automatically appear, the designated exit rows, and the flotation devices under your seat?  Or do we?

To fight this tendency of passengers to drift off as soon as the doors are closed, Delta Airlines has been coming up with creative videos to make their safety message more entertaining.

This year’s holiday in-flight safety video is an all-out effort to keep passengers engaged, crammed with sight gags and cameos from Scrooge, the Nutcracker and…. well, we won’t spoil it for you.  Watch it yourself and see if you don’t smile.

Delta says the holiday-themed video will be shown on more than 160 of its aircraft into early January.

Barnhart Crane appreciates the effort Delta took to make their passengers conscious of safety.  After all, safety is one of our values.   “We invest all resources necessary to ensure the safety and protection of our people, property and environment of our company, customers, vendors and general public.”

Perhaps this is not quite as entertaining a safety presentation as Delta’s video, but the underlying message is the same.

So this holiday season, be safe.  Smile.  Delight in your family and friends.  And don’t forget the true meaning of the season.  Happy holidays!

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No matter what your college loyalties might be, if you’re a football fan, you were likely mesmerized by the Iron Bowl last weekend.

This annual clash of football titans Alabama and Auburn is one the biggest rivalries in sports.  But at number one and number four, they were also two of the best teams in the country.  Plus, Auburn’s Phoenix-like rise from a 3-9 record in 2012 and a 49-0 drubbing in last year’s Iron Bowl to a 10-1 record entering this year’s Iron Bowl added to the drama.  Throw in their “Immaculate Deflection”against Georgia a few weeks ago and Auburn had the best comeback story of 2012.

Still, no one expected them to beat recent three-time national champion Alabama.  Not Lee Corso.  Or Kirk Herstreit.  Or Paul Finebaum. Continue reading

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Yesterday was election day, but since it was an off-year, there were few races across the country.  Therefore, those few in New Jersey, Virginia, Alabama and New York City garnered plenty of attention.

Elections underscore our freedom of choice.  We have a right to choose our candidate. It’s a freedom of choice our customers have as well. They don’t have to choose us.  Like politicians, we constantly have to prove we’re worthy of their vote (or business).  We have to earn it.

Barnhart recently completed a project to lift and rough set four vessels of varying weights and sizes at a Texas petrochemical complex. The smallest vessel weighed 150,000 pounds and the largest was 1.7 million pounds. The vessel heights ranged from 92 feet up to 219 feet. Continue reading

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Recently, Barnhart made the Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 600 Specialty Contractors for 2013 ranked at number 45. That honor means it was a good year for Barnhart. Companies are ranked according to revenue from 2012.

That good news seems to be reflected across the industry. According to the ENR Report, “signs of a market turnaround are evident for many large firms. Revenues are up, and generally, markets are returning to health.”   Continue reading

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