MSC Member Spotlight: Stahl Sheaffer Engineering

The Member Spotlight is an ongoing Q&A series focused on getting to know the MSC community. Today’s spotlight shines on Scott Popovich, P.E., Director of Transportation for Stahl Sheaffer Engineering, LLC.

Q: Please give a brief introduction to yourself and your firm.

My name is Scott Popovich, P.E., and I am the Director of Transportation for Stahl Sheaffer Engineering, LLC. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 2003 and began my career as a traffic engineer. I primarily designed traffic-related projects for the first eight years of my career, but in 2011 I focused more heavily on roadway design as I became more involved in the oil and gas industry. I have been in the transportation engineering field for a total of 17 years (Registered P.E. in PA, OH, and WV) and have been with Stahl Sheaffer for the past eight years where I have managed transportation-related work for sixteen production and midstream companies in PA, OH, and WV. I was recently appointed as Stahl Sheaffer’s Director of Transportation responsible for all projects involving transportation studies, analysis, and design. I work in our Southpointe, Washington County, PA office where we currently have 30+ employees.

Stahl Sheaffer is a multi-discipline civil engineering firm that has been providing engineering services since 2006. Stahl Sheaffer specializes in transportation engineering, surveying, land development, geotechnical testing and design, building design and rehabilitation, bridge design and NBIS inspection, construction inspection, and asset management. We are constantly updating our technologies to support our services as well as our clients, including survey-grade mobile LiDAR systems and drone technologies. We provide engineering services for multiple markets including oil and gas, state agencies and municipalities, higher education, and private development.

Stahl Sheaffer has a staff of 150 individuals from which we can assign resources to meet timelines and design requirements, including professional engineers (P.E.), surveyors (PLS), LEED designers, traffic engineers (PTOE), GIS specialists, sUAS pilots, Certified Bridge Safety Inspectors (CBSI), Nationally Certified Tunnel Inspectors (NCTI), construction inspectors, geotechnical analysts, and environmental scientists. We operate from a total of ten locations in three states (PA, OH, and WV), and our firm is licensed to operate in fifteen states with engineers licensed in 43 states throughout the US.

Q: How does your company support clients in the energy space?

Since Stahl Sheaffer’s first energy industry project in March 2010, our focus on the public transportation aspect of the industry has been a key to supporting and advancing the efforts of our clients. Our transportation-related services have included access route evaluation; negotiation of agreements and roadway/driveway permits with DOTs, counties, and municipalities in PA, OH, and WV; design of roadway upgrades including widening, overlays, full-depth reclamation, repairs, and intersection widening; geotechnical investigations and slide repairs; and bridge inspection, loading analysis, design of repairs, upgrades, and replacements. Throughout our more than 10 years of service to the industry, we have provided transportation services to 23 production companies and 25 midstream companies. In addition, we have managed or maintained over 2,500 miles of state roads and 1,500 miles of township or county roads for the industry.

We partner with our clients to provide a wide range of transportation engineering and testing services that support their energy operations in both the production and midstream sectors. Our offices are strategically located in the heart of the Marcellus Shale Play in PA, OH, and WV which allows us to quickly respond to the requests of our clients. Centrally located in Canonsburg, PA is Stahl Sheaffer’s AASHTO re:source accredited geotechnical and materials lab, complete with Full Depth Reclamation (FDR) mix design capabilities. With this regional resource we can perform pavement coring and predictive pavement analysis to make the most cost-effective recommendations to upgrade or simply maintain a roadway.

In addition to roadway permitting and upgrading public roadways to accommodate the industry, we also assist in enhancing our clients’ transportation safety operations on public roadways. An example of this is the Safe Operating Speed Study that we developed for Seneca Resources Company, LLC in North Central Pennsylvania.  Stahl Sheaffer analyzed 66 miles of roadway in Seneca’s Clermont Western Development Area for roadway geometrics, roadway features, and truck driving patterns. Mobile LiDAR scanning technology was used to efficiently develop the existing roadway geometry and typical section.  Elements such as roadway widths, horizontal and vertical curve geometry, superelevation, clear zone, and sight distance were evaluated and compared to ASHTO design values for a rural local road – mountainous terrain. Roadway typologies were developed within the roadway network based on the existing traffic numbers.  Stahl Sheaffer developed an interactive tool to adapt roadway recommendations based on changing operations within the development area. The final recommendations coming out of the study included separate speed posting for passenger vehicles and commercial truck traffic, low cost roadway improvements recommendations, roadway maintenance recommendations, driver awareness and education, and roadway signing and delineation.

Q: What is a key differentiator for your business?

One of Stahl Sheaffer’s key differentiators in the energy industry is our ability to tailor our projects to meet our clients’ specific needs, and nothing exemplifies this better than the development of our GIS-based Oil & Gas Roadway Management Portal. This GIS-based web portal serves as a central point of communication for the management of our Marcellus Shale clients’ roadways and related assets and infrastructure. Built on the ESRI ArcGIS Enterprise platform, the portal serves as a central hub for client-specific roadway management operations, including roadway maintenance and permitting, driving directions, access routes, driveway and pipeline crossing permits, roadway videos, and more. This information is displayed using a combination of tabular, spatial (map) and graphical data to convey the desired information intuitively and effectively. Map features and data can be displayed, filtered, and queried by key attributes such as permit expiration to easily identify and prioritize actionable items. Permits, agreements and other documents are available as PDF attachments, providing a means to display, download, and print key documents for easy online or offline access by field personnel and truck drivers.

The portal’s underlying infrastructure was developed from the ground up to ensure we’re able to adjust to the needs of our clients. A variety of services, widgets and utilities serve as powerful tools to exploit the various data sources. For example, our proprietary spatially-enabled video player fully synchronizes map location and video playback, allowing users to not only see where the video’s playback location is in real time, but to drive directly to any point on the video path, providing an instant view of points of interest. When combined with our vast roadway video library, including windshield, surface, inspection, and panoramic videos, this provides fast, efficient insights into roadway infrastructure and assets directly from a web browser. In addition to the video player, the portal can be configured with a variety of Stahl Sheaffer’s other custom widgets, as well as ESRI’s wide array of available tools, providing nearly infinite configuration options.

Our Oil & Gas Roadway Management Portal remains in a constant state of progress, with new workflows, services, and tooling constantly in development by our software, GIS and engineering teams. With a variety of efforts including new widget development, AI and machine vision, roadway monitoring, client systems integration and other initiatives, the Oil & Gas Roadway Management Portal continues to improve and expand to maximize client value now and into the future.

Q: Name some of the member benefits you value most and provide any reason(s) why you would recommend MSC membership to other companies.

Stahl Sheaffer has been an MSC member since 2010.  One of the main benefits of being an MSC member is the ability to collaborate with the industry, contribute technical expertise in the transportation issues affecting the industry, and champion efforts to update and streamline policies. Stahl Sheaffer remains active with the MSC Transportation Committee and provides engineering support for technical efforts to drive development of DOT policies to aid the industry with fair regulations on public roadway use. Stahl Sheaffer has also found the MSC to be a valuable resource for networking and developing client and teaming partner relationships.

Q: What is something that you would like a neighbor unfamiliar with the industry to know?

I honestly believe that the average person does not understand what a profound and positive impact the industry has had on our regional economy and quality of life. I would point out that investments made by companies within the industry have not only provided good paying jobs for those working in the industry, but also for the businesses that serve the industry from suppliers to the hotels and food service establishments. The investments in infrastructure and recreational amenities that are able to be made by local governments with proceeds received from the industry via the Local Share Account have provided safety improvements at intersections and various upgraded facilities at County Parks and other venues that the public benefits from every day.