• 11/06/2019 2:25 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    We are thrilled to unveil the new ACRA Savings Marketplace, which provides hundreds of discounts on goods and services that you use the most. From hotels to car rentals, from mobile phones to computers, the ACRA Savings Marketplace can help you save money in both professional and personal settings.


    On the business side, deals with brands like Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, and more can help firms save on their technology needs. Deals including specific discounts with Avis, Enterprise, and hundreds of hotels can help save on travel expenses, particularly if a specific project requires car rental or lodging accommodations for employees.

    This brand new member benefit doesn’t just help those in leadership positions save money – firm leaders can also pass this along to their employees as a human resources benefit. Large companies often have benefits like this for their employees, but as many CRM firms are small businesses, this type of program in not financially feasible to offer. From vacations to retail options like JCPenney and Kohl's, give your employees access just in time for holiday shopping!

    Examples of discounts include:

    • Mobile phones
    • Computers
    • Hotels
    • Car rental
    • Clothing
    • Event tickets
    • Amazon flash deals
    • and much more!

    The Marketplace is updated with new discount opportunities on a regular basis. Now you can save on business expenses and pass on discounts to employees just for being an ACRA member - get started by accessing it through our members-only benefits page today!

  • 11/01/2019 4:01 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Charissa Durst of ACRA member firm Hardlines Design Company has won a 2019 Preservation Merit Award from the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office. The details are included in the press release below, and congratulations to Charissa!

    The State Historic Preservation Office has recognized the Woodward Opera House with a 2019 Preservation Merit Award.

    State Historic Preservation Officer Burt Logan presented the award to Charissa Durst, president and owner of Hardlines Design Company, as well as Woodward Development Corporation, the City of Mount Vernon, Korda/Nemeth Engineering Inc., and Modern Builders for the Woodward Opera House rehabilitation project. Four other groups also earned Preservation Merit awards and two groups won honors for Public Education and Awareness at the awards ceremony, which took place during a luncheon at the Ohio History Center in Columbus.

    “This project, while one of the most challenging ones we have ever been a part of, has also been one of the most fulfilling ones,” said Durst. “We have devoted two decades of our lives to restoring this historic place, and it has been very satisfying to see the Knox Partnership for Art & Culture’s vision and dedication be recognized with this statewide honor.”

    The Preservation Merit Award is given to projects for outstanding preservation of Ohio’s prehistory, history, architecture or culture, including the preservation and restoration of historic buildings. After a 20-year-long effort to rehabilitate the opera house, it opened to the public in January 2019 with a public performance.

    The restoration of the 1850s-era opera house at 107 S. Main Street was a dream of the Mount Vernon community. The magnificent red-brick building was conceived and constructed by Ebenezer Woodward, who intended it to symbolize commerce. Over the years, it housed movie theaters, commercial and office spaces, gymnasiums, retail spaces and more before eventually falling into disrepair. The Woodward Opera House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 10, 1975.

    The initial renovation actually began in 1994, and Hardlines Design Company became involved in 2001. However, the project took longer than originally planned because of funding issues and the logistical challenges of integrating an 1850s theater building with the adaptive reuse of an adjacent building.

    Durst led the multi-phase project to restore the building to showcase its historical significance. The project included adding a rear addition and work on the adjacent building. Throughout the project, Hardlines Design Company staged construction to interfere as little as possible with adjacent shop owners and their customers.

    Hardlines Design Company has worked on many notable projects across the country, including many in central Ohio, such as the historic Lincoln Theatre in the King-Lincoln district, and a $10 million rehabilitation of Stewart Elementary School in the German Village neighborhood.


  • 10/26/2019 5:02 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    THREE Questions is a new blog series highlighting ACRA member firms and their experiences in the CRM industry.

    ABOUT OUR MEMBER: Daniel Cassedy is one of the principal cultural resource managers at AECOM, a Fortune-500 engineering and environmental firm that has a CRM group of over 400 archaeologists, historians, and architectural historians in 23 US states as well as Canada, Australia, and the UK. He is currently on ACRA’s Board of Directors and was recently elected to the position of President-elect. Since his first job as a field technician in 1979, Dan has accumulated a broad spectrum of experience at private sector consulting firms, SHPOs, and university applied-research facilities, and he has been with AECOM (formerly URS) since 2000. While Dan’s original academic training at the University of New Hampshire and Binghamton University focused on the prehistory of Northeastern North America, he has a broad range of experience with cultural resources across many time periods and regions, encompassing archaeological sites, standing structures, and cultural landscapes from Alaska to Florida. He is a strong believer that CRM research should be shared as widely as possible with both the public and the academic community—his published articles and conference presentations derived from contract work can be viewed here.

    When engaging a general audience, what stands out as the one thing people are most surprised to learn about your company or the CRM industry?

    DC: After 40 years in this business, I am still surprised when people are surprised to learn that most archaeological studies in the US are done by paid professional consultants for compliance purposes. Somehow, the image of the tweed clad, pipe-smoking professor out with students on a summer dig is still strong in the public imagination.

    Do you have a favorite piece of personal experience that is your “go-to” for engaging clients and/or the public as to why CRM work is important?

    DC: A client HAD to use a specific field for a construction staging area to support a multimillion dollar Superfund remediation project, and our survey determined it contained intact remains from a French & Indian war fort. There were no reasonable alternative locations, but through intensive archaeological evaluations, design modifications, and agency negotiations, we were able help them identify portions of the field that could be used for the project. This significant site was preserved, and the public health was improved by the cleanup project.

    We all know that most CRM staff believe in what we do, but how do you engage those under you in the business aspects of your firm? Do you find that an increased awareness of the challenges of running a business is related to professional satisfaction, employee retention, and/or project success?
    DC: Yes—our company uses an online project management system that integrates estimating, budget management, scheduling, invoicing, and quality controls. As junior staff are given training in this system and assigned responsibilities for reviewing and updating it, they become more aware of what factors affect profitability, and we also try to show them how a more profitable company can afford to provide the benefits/perks and working conditions that are important to them.
  • 10/18/2019 1:52 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Readers can now find relevant news items compiled all in one place! In our CRM Firms in the News series, we feature recent mentions of ACRA member firms and their projects across the country. Was your firm recently featured in a news article or on social media? Send it to us to be included in our next volume of the series!

    • Cardno has been working as part of a team to uncover the mystery of Zion Cemetery in Tampa. The location of this historic African-American burial ground was forgotten until earlier this year. Read about the most recent developments in the Tampa Bay Times.
    • Live in Georgia? New South Associates, Inc. is helping sponsor a clean-up of a historic African-American burial ground in Darien on October 26. Head over to the Savannah Morning News to learn how you can help!
    • ACRA member firms provide essential services to their community, including helping homeowners establish historic designation for their properties. See a great example of the history our firms uncover with this feature on a home investigated by Legacy 106, Inc.
    • "The American Battlefield Protection Program has noted that while both the Stone Arabia Battlefield and Klock’s Field have both been labelled low priority in terms of potential threats, including imminent development, they’ve been listed as high priority in regards to the need for the accumulation of additional information." Read more about this project conducted by ACRA member firm South River Heritage Consulting in Amsterdam Recorder.
    • 3 ACRA member firms, including Dovetail Cultural Resource Group, Archae3D, and South River Heritage Consulting have teamed up at the location of a 17th century fort in Delaware - read more about how they are getting closer to finding its exact location in the piece from Delaware Public Media.
    • Read about the findings of Statistical Research, Inc.'s project in the former Chinatown area of Redlands, CA, including how they use the written record to complete the context, in Redlands Community News.
    • Alpine Archaeological Consultants, Inc. has been leading the excavation of a Colorado site slated for road construction, and they have uncovered a large, extensive network of Native American ruins. Read more about the importance of this find in the Durango Herald!


  • 10/16/2019 3:59 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Do you have a great idea for a webinar for CRM professionals? Do you have a presentation you give regularly that you think would be great for a larger audience? If so, we want to hear your proposals - the call for 2020 ACRA webinar sessions is now open.

    We are looking for expert providers to submit applications for online learning opportunities that will be offered on a regular schedule to ACRA members and to the public. We hope to offer a range of topics for sessions, from the technical aspects of cultural resource management to expanding general business skills and knowledge.

    ACRA's 2020 online learning program continues the revenue sharing program that was introduced last year. You can view the detailed requirements in the Request for Proposal here. Proposals are due on November 22, 2019.

    You can help shape ACRA's continuing education program and bring your ideas to a larger audience - share your ideas with us by November 22!


  • 10/11/2019 2:30 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Attendees at the 2019 ACRA Conference in two weeks will get more than just engaging sessions. The conference provides ample opportunity to socialize and learn about the history of Spokane!

    Included in this year's registration is the Spokane Heritage Bus Tour on Saturday evening. The one-hour tour will take you through beautiful Spokane to learn about the history (and prehistory!) of our host city. The tour will conclude at Barrister Winery, where the ACRA Awards Social will also be held.

    The winery is located in a historic brick and timber building with an urban garden courtyard. The renovated 1908 building is on the National Register of Historic Places and previously housed a early 20th century auto sales warehouse. The building is the perfect setting for our history-loving crowd, and the beverages are incredible to boot!


    One of the still-existing auto elevators at Barrister Winery

    Food and drink are included at the Awards Social, and these two events are included with the price of conference registrations. Don't miss out - if you haven't registered yet, do so today!

  • 10/04/2019 11:11 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The 2019 ACRA Conference in Spokane is just a few weeks away! This year's program includes a wide variety of dynamic sessions and events, but we wanted to take the time to highlight one in particular - Session 4: Tribal Views on the Adequacy of the “C” in CRM.

    Native American Tribes have members and hire non-members who are cultural resources professionals (i.e., Secretary of the Interior [SOI] qualified) that perform the same functions as CRM professionals who work off the reservations. In addition, Tribes assert that non-tribal CRM professionals lack knowledge about cultural resources that undermine interpretations and conclusions of investigations that have the potential to result in harm to resources, some that are adequately defined in applicable regulations, and others that are not given adequate consideration by many studies. In this session, two Pacific Northwest tribal cultural resources leaders will take questions and provide perspectives on these and other aspects of CRM that often evade industry and agency professionals.

    We hope that attendees will join us for this frank dialogue on working with Native American tribes. Tribal representatives who wish to attend for this session can do so for $50 less than the traditional one-day cost.

    Register now to attend this session and join the conversation!

  • 10/02/2019 3:25 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Are you planning where you are going or just waiting to find out where you end up?

    Join us on October 10 at 3:00pm EDT for Forecasting 101 where you will learn more about techniques to build and maintain a forecast in uncertain times. As our presenter points out, there is one thing true about all forecasts - they are all wrong! So, how can you create a forecast that is thoughtful and not just a wish list? And how can you create a forecast that works as a useful management tool as you move forward?

    Whether you are at the top of your field or just starting your career, knowing how to build a useful forecast can help both your career and your firm. Register for October's webinar today!

    Register Now

    ACRA members receive $50 off the regular webinar price, and student members can attend for just $19.


    ACRA's expert provider for this webinar is Tom Fulcher. Mr. Fulcher, a Certified Small Business Counselor, is the founder of The Idea Gardener LLC, a business development, strategy and leadership/management consulting organization. He has over 25 years of marketing, management and business development experience.



  • 09/27/2019 2:28 PM | ACRA Lobbying Team


    Talk of impeachment has taken over Washington, D.C. With all the attention focused on President Trump's dealings with the president of Ukraine, what will become of CRM industry priorities?

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed six committees in the U.S. House of Representatives (Judiciary, Intelligence, Oversight and Reform, Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, and Ways and Means) to gather evidence on allegations that the President has committed abuses of power. She accused the President of betraying his oath of office and betraying the integrity of our elections. In response, the President and his spokespeople said that the impeachment inquiry destroyed any chance for legislative successes. It is therefore fair to assume that the White House does not plan to lead any major push for a big, bipartisan achievement, like funding new infrastructure development.

    The White House's attitude may also complicate negotiations over the bills funding the government for Fiscal Year 2020, and could increase the likelihood of another federal government shutdown. At present, the House and Senate have passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government through November 21. Assuming the President signs the CR, budget battles will be postponed until November.

    Since legislative action will likely slow, CRM professionals should focus their attention on the regulatory arena. Changes to regulations are ongoing, and could have major impacts on CRM work. ACRA monitors and submits comment letters to federal agencies on proposed changes to regulations pertaining to CRM work. We anticipate that these efforts will continue apace until the elections in November 2020 and ask ACRA members to participate by sharing their experience and expertise. In addition, we will continue monitoring the reorganization of the Department of the Interior and the agency's efforts to move many federal employees out west. For example, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to shrink the teams that review NEPA compliance and scatter the employees across several states. These changes will probably hinder the permitting process and further antagonize Congressional committees who have protested that BLM failed to adequately justify these changes.

    With so much happening, the only prediction we can make with any certainty is that D.C. will be embroiled in controversy for quite some time to come. For further updates on what's happening in D.C., please join Marion Werkheiser and Burr Neely for their presentation at the ACRA conference next month!


  • 09/25/2019 2:17 PM | ACRA Lobbying Team

    This week, the Labor Department announced that workers earning less than $35,568 a year will be eligible for overtime pay. The new rule takes effect on January 1, 2020 and will impact approximately 1.3 million workers, who will earn time and a half for any work they do over 40 hours per week. ACRA firms should consider how the change will affect their payrolls and budget accordingly for 2020.

    This final ruling puts an end to an intense political and legal brawl over how many employees will be eligible for overtime. Since 2004, the threshold for overtime pay has been $23,660 a year. In 2014, the Obama administration tried to include workers earning up to $47,000. That plan would have also tied future raises to the cost of living.

    The Obama rule was an effort to raise the salary limit to keep pace with inflation. The $8,060 salary limit set in 1975 was worth approximately $50,440 in 2014. However, when the rule was finalized in December 2016, 21 states immediately sued. A judge invalidated the rule in 2017, on the grounds that such a dramatic change needed congressional approval.






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