Staff News

The Government Shutdown

November 26, 2013 in Staff News, Structural Engineering

Blog-ForemanJim Foreman,
Structural Engineer –

 “One useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress” – 1977, the musical

This old quote gained popularity a few weeks ago when the US congress refused to pass the spending bills that fund the government.  The shutdown lasted an impressive 17 days.  Though there have been many government shutdowns throughout history, most are resolved over a weekend.  October’s shutdown is actually the second longest ever.  It took an estimated 24 billion dollars out of the economy (about a million dollars a minute!).  I was curious how this may have trickled down to Martin/Martin’s business, so I asked around.

Since we serve a mix of both private and public clients, the effects of the shutdown varied throughout our office.  Private jobs were mostly unaffected.  However, our clients include the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology – all of whom were partially shut down.  This caused project starts to be delayed, site visits to be canceled, and some internal schedule shuffling.  In the end, it sounded like our project managers were able to cope with most of the issues that came up.

Not everything was easily resolved though.  I won’t soon forget the panic that spread when people began to realize the USGS had taken down the online ground motion calculator.  Now we have to look up the values in a book?!?  And I’m sure some people are still complaining that the AIA Western Mountain Region Conference was relocated from the scenic Grand Teton National Park to a Quiznos in Jackson.  So hopefully, the next budget deal (January 15th) can be agreed on without shutting down any national parks or sending 800,000 people on delay-paid vacations.