by Donna M. Condida
Cutting-edge utility simulation software
Headquartered in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Advantica Stoner helps companies in over 49 countries populate the quiet towns, large cities, and remote regions of the world with smooth-running water lines, steady-flowing gas lines, and more. How? Their natural gas, electricity, water and petroleum simulation software enables utilities to safely and efficiently implement such systems.
Dr. Michael Stoner started the company in 1970 on the foundation of a family of simulators that, for the first time, enabled the pressure-flow modeling of large integrated gas and liquid pipeline networks. In explaining Advantica Stoner's unique services, HR representative Heather Eickhoff says, "We develop software that forms a simulated model of a utility company's water lines, gas pipes, or electric distribution system. Utilities can then populate the software with data specific to their system, so they can plan, analyze, and operate that system." For a town's water distribution system, for example, the software will show pipe sizes, customer hookups, valves, and anything that affects the flow of the water.
For its efforts, Advantica Stoner was named one of the 50 best places to work in Pennsylvania, and the company also received the 2000 Technology Company of The Year Award from the Technology Council of Central Pennsylvania. However, even with such accolades, it's not easy finding the type of engineers they need. To deliver customized service projects and assist computer specialists in developing software, they usually hire civil, mechanical, or electrical types with project engineering experience.
When looking to hire engineers, Advantica Stoner often seeks entry level people who have had course work in hydraulics and fluid flow. And because the firm interacts extensively with their clients, they also require sharp communication skills. "Our engineers interface with our clients. We need people that can sell themselves while being a good representative of the company," Eickhoff explains.
So what's new for the 21st Century? In addition to its core utility applications, Advantica Stoner has positioned itself to address industry changes, most notably deregulation. Eickhoff says Advantica Stoner has developed software for marketers representing local distribution companies that enables a utility to more accurately estimate energy or water consumption. The more accurate the estimating, the reasoning goes, the more efficient the process and the lower the prices.
Since being founded in 1950 in a one-room office in Hyattsville, Maryland by Marcus Greenhorne and A. James O'Mara, Greenhorne & O'Mara (G&O) has come a long way. In the beginning, G&O became known for its civil engineering, land planning, and surveying, serving private land developers and municipal clients. As client needs evolved, the firm added transportation engineering, environmental engineering, and mapping services and diversified its client base to include state and federal government agencies and private industry. Today, G&O offers consulting engineering services in general civil engineering, transportation engineering, resource management, and geographic sciences from its 14 offices in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Over the last two decades, G&O has set out in two innovative directions. First, it has sought to strike a better balance between the needs of a growing and changing population and those of the environment. G&O strives to reach that goal through several means such as incorporating sustainable design techniques, employing resource-sensitive stormwater management, finding innovative ways to integrate neighborhoods and wetlands, and turning abandoned brownfields into areas of economic & environmental renewal.
On another front, G&O also provides anti-terrorist and security protection to their clients through its Hazards Mitigation and Security Services Group. These services include site planning and engineering for anti-terrorism/force protection; facility, infrastructure & installation assessments; structural engineering; geographic information systems analysis and modeling; hazardous material sampling & remediation; and client/community involvement. The firm's engineers, planners, and architects are experts in identifying and combating terrorist events, providing force protection, and mitigating against natural hazards.
According to Jim Marcotte, employment manager, "We've had a very strong demand for engineers. What drives this is the need for infrastructure across the nation and world. A lot of the existing infrastructure is in need of replacement and expansion." They employ highway, traffic, structural, land development, construction engineering and inspection, and water resources engineers.
What does G&O seek in engineers? For starters, "We look for innovative business men and women," Marcotte says. They like candidates who have acquired internship or co-op experience. "We also look for individuals with good CAD and computer skills." Company perks include employee ownership opportunity and 100% tuition reimbursement.
For more information, visit http://www.G-and-O.com.
Donna M. Condida is a freelance writer and photographer
in northeastern Pennsylvania who also conducts photography and writing
workshops for kids. Visit her website at