Konheim & Ketcham, Inc. is a small transportation and environmental consulting firm that succeeds in large challenges. Organized in 1981 as a woman-owned business, its first decade was largely focused on environmental analysis of solid waste plans and facilities and of major private development projects. These skills formed the basis of the transportation planning projects that marked its second decade. Throughout, the firm has combined its technical expertise and community insight to achieve effective public participation in development of projects that meet the goals of all parties and are readily approved.
THE WORK WE DO
Environmental Analysis of Major Developments
K&K’s diverse skills enable the company to be effective in responding to ever‑changing regulatory demands and in resolving complex problems that development projects and transportation facilities present. Since traffic and air quality impacts are usually of critical concern, the firm has developed special expertise in these areas. Other in‑house skills include air modeling, noise, water quality and ecological analyses, and demographic, land use, infrastructure and open space assessments.
Traffic Analysis and Transportation Planning
K&K performs a broad range of transportation‑related work. Analyses of traffic, mass transit, parking and pedestrian impacts, mobile source air quality and noise modeling are conducted to meet the exacting standards of regulatory review. Engineers also undertake accident analyses and pedestrian vehicle conflict studies, plan truck routes and evaluate traffic management plans for large construction projects. The firm maintains advanced modeling systems and is credited with "cutting edge" integration of models to best simulate actual conditions.
Public Information and Outreach
K&K is consulted about public policy, and manages public participation programs that stress early involvement. The firm develops audio‑visual presentations and print support materials including graphic displays, press releases and feature articles, newsletters, fact sheets, and technical summaries. The company organizes public meetings, forums, seminars, press briefings, and tours.
THE WAY WE WORK
K&K's purpose is to do good work that makes a difference. The firm's watchwords are: Listening, Innovating, Excelling. For its clients, who are almost equally public agencies and private institutions, and the prime contractors to whom its staff generally report, these principles translate into an unstinting commitment to achieve their goals--frequently by introducing new perspectives that lead to unexpected benefits for clients and their constituencies. Working always as part of project teams, K&K has had recent opportunities to add value to initial assignments:
- New York State's largest highway construction program is also its smoothest running, due largely to a foundation of public confidence, built during the project's development, that the new road will enhance the community both operationally and aesthetically.
- The largest hospital campus in Manhattan will gain not only two more world-class facilities, but its traffic-clogged streets will become free-flowing, goods movement will be more efficient, and off-site parking will be expanded, due to pursuing insights that evolved in preparing a comprehensive environmental assessment for City review.
- A pedestrian bridge will be built by the State on an accelerated schedule accompanied by interim safe routes to save lives of the residents of Co-op City, due to a bolder vision that grew from clearly identifying local needs in a fairly routine highway deficiency study.
- The world's favorite bridge will have pleasant and safe pedestrian and bicycle approaches at both its Brooklyn and Manhattan ends due to K&K's bold concepts that captured the imagination of City officials who began expecting only marginal changes.
WHO DOES THIS WORK
Working side-by-side with a first-rate staff, the principals of the firm, Carolyn Konheim and Brian Ketcham, are involved in every project. Both were early leaders in the environmental movement, and were City officials in the Lindsay Administration, pioneering the air pollution codes, plans, and analytical approaches that shaped the mandates for the ensuing generation. Both were recipients of U.S. EPA's first awards for Environmental Activism and have been founding members of several of today's prominent environmental organizations. Valuing public input continues to be a hallmark of their work.
Carolyn Konheim's early emphasis was on controlling stationary air emission sources, the basis for her certification as a Qualified Environmental Professional by the Institute of Environmental Practice, and her National Solid Waste Management Award in 1996 from the Air & Waste Management Association. She manages the firm's environmental assessments. Her understanding of technology and air modeling, and her long involvement of the public in transportation policy-making (e.g., as a State regional environmental director and head of official advisory groups to the MTA), has carried her into directing many of the firm's transportation planning studies and public outreach programs. These experiences have led to her appointment to the ITS-NY board, the Council on Transportation, and the Pedestrian Committee of the Transportation Research Board, and have been the basis for regular technical presentations at professional meetings.
Brian Ketcham, a licensed professional engineer, is knowledgeable about virtually all aspects of vehicular movement. As a City official, he built a vehicle test laboratory and a diverse team that produced what became the model for the nation's tailpipe control and transport planning measures to reduce emissions. Drawing on his experience designing high-performance engines, he built catalyst-equipped vehicles that upheld strict emission standards and corralled the auto industry into supplying the City with alternative fuel vehicles 30 years ahead of their time. His expertise in effective clean air strategies led to his mastery of air quality and traffic models, and the transportation planning process. This engineering rigor and creativity mark his responsibilities as a consultant to public and private clients on many aspects of traffic. Beginning with the Society of Automotive Engineers in 1970, he has advanced the concept of accounting for the full costs of auto use, a calculation he now makes for public clients who are setting penalties for construction delays.
A Staff that Strives for Excellence
K&K's professional staff is brimming with intelligence and good spirit. They enthusiastically tackle multi-disciplinary assignments, and become integral members of prime contractors' teams. They bring expertise in many kinds of modeling: air quality, noise, traffic operations, and, most recently, familiarity with the spectrum of land use models. They are proficient in GIS and other database management systems, accident analyses, wetland delineations and run-off calculations, preparation of environmental assessments and permit applications, managing public outreach programs and producing information materials, and in bicycle and pedestrian design guidelines. They are comfortable preparing reports that integrate the work of outside experts, e.g., in hazardous materials, cultural assessments and detailed natural habitat studies. They check the quality of each other's work and share in the pride of doing good work that makes a difference.