Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On Location: Mount Vernon, Washington

This month, for those considering employment with Commonwealth, or simply wishing to learning more about us, we are featuring a series of posts showcasing our various office locations.  We are pleased to continue this week by introducing you to our Mount Vernon, Washington office in the rugged and majestic Pacific Northwest.  We trust you will find it, as we do, to be a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

"Spectacular!"  "Breathtaking!"  "Magnificent!" 

These are just a few of the words sure to come to mind when you visit our Mount Vernon location.

Nestled between the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound to the West and the Cascade Mountains with the scenic Cascade Loop drive to the East, Mount Vernon, Washington is the county seat of Skagit County. 

At just 60 miles from Seattle and 90 miles from Vancouver, it is an easy distance to virtually anything you might have in mind.  Skagit County features an abundance of action, adventure, relaxation, and culture, but you don't have to leave home to find recreation, entertainment, and family fun, because Mount Vernon has enjoyed a rating of #1 "Best Small City in America."

Historic Downtown Mount Vernon offers much in the way of boutique and antique shopping and fine dining, or you may wish to grab lunch at one of the great eateries and enjoy the day at Edgewater Park.  Perhaps you'd prefer to walk your dog along the miles of paved trails, take a whale-watching tour in the San Juans, kayak the Skagit River, or go eagle-watching in Concrete. 

In Mount Vernon, the sky's truly the limit.

Be surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery

Explore the limitless playground

Witness firsthand the majestic Bald Eagle in flight

Mount Vernon, a nature lover's paradise

Enjoy the gorgeous Tulip Festival

Tackle the slopes of Mt. Baker

Just a few of the highlights:


A Special "Black Friday" Option

If you will be in the Jackson area and looking for something different to do on Friday, consider brunch at The Granary at Ella Sharp Museum:

9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Hot New Orleans Style Beignets
Eggs Benedict - traditional or with salmon cakes
A Variety of Homemade Quiche to include:
Salmon with fresh dill and hollandaise,
Tomato Herb with Goat Cheese
Traditional Quiche Lorraine
Bananas Foster French Toast
Bagels and Homemade Gravlax
Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
Homemade Corned Beef Hash
Scandinavian Apple Puff Pancake (Pfannakuchen)
And our regular lunch menu too.

...and touring the W.A. Foote exhibit to learn more about Commonwealth’s roots.  There is a $5.00 admission fee for the galleries.

*The Granary does not take reservations for groups <6 people.

(With special thanks to Monica Collett for the great suggestion!)


Monday, November 21, 2011

Commonwealth Pool Tourney Results

THANK YOU to the company and the participants who helped make Commonwealth's 4th Annual Pool Tournament a success!  

Trophies were awarded to our first and second-place finishers, and a very special "Horse’s Rear" trophy was awarded to the team in last place.

And now, for our award recipients...
  • In first place were the illustrious team of Dave "the Destroyer" Myers and John "Right Pocket" Raymond. 
  • Finishing second were "Magnificent" Mike Petty and Kevin "the Krusher" Stone. 
  • Receiving the non-coveted "Horse's Rear" trophy were Brett "Bruiser" Broxholm and Chase "Champ" Oxbourgh.
Brett "Bank Shot" Stockhill and "Sensational" Sam Cobb finished third.

Door prizes were awarded to everyone and a special thanks goes out to Sandy Fisher who stopped by to watch.

Thanks again to those who participated – we hope to do it again next year!

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Vampire" update

Bela Lugosi as Dracula

For Halloween, we wrote about stand-by or "vampire" energy-consuming devices that cost American consumers an average of $10B annually.  You might be pleased to learn of this positive development on that front.

WASHINGTON, D.C. and LOUISVILLE, CO – The U.S. cable industry today announced a new initiative dedicated to improving the energy efficiency of consumer set-top boxes and other devices and developing advanced cable-enabled services designed to promote innovative consumer energy conservation measures. A key element of the initiative is the “CableLabs® – Energy Lab,” a new facility within the cable industry’s R&D consortium that will concentrate exclusively on improving energy efficiency, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and CableLabs® announced today.

The energy initiative will promote the development, testing, and deployment of technologies that will enable cable subscribers to reduce and manage energy consumption in the home, including establishing new requirements for both cable video devices and network support systems. Among other things, these specifications will enable the manufacturing of devices that have “sleep” capabilities to reduce power consumption when subscribers are not actively watching television. After successful field testing of set-top boxes with next generation power management semiconductors, cable operators will begin promoting the deployment of these devices as part of their ongoing efforts to provide functional, reliable and energy efficient services.

The resulting increased energy efficiency for new model set-top boxes will improve on the strides in recent years by cable operators to utilize devices with dramatically lower energy consumption than previous generations of equipment. In addition, cable operators providing service to approximately 85 percent of U.S. cable customers have committed to ensure that by the end of 2013 at least 90 percent of all new set-top boxes they purchase and deploy will be ENERGY STAR 3.0 devices....

Reed assumes new post at national engineering firm’s northwest regional office

MOUNT VERNON, WA – Commonwealth Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce that Paul W. Reed, P.E. has been promoted to the position of Transmission Section Manager in its northwest regional office in Mount Vernon, Washington.  “With 13 years’ experience serving the electric utility industry, Paul is an accomplished transmission engineer who brings tremendous insight and expertise to this role,” stated John White, Commonwealth Vice-President and Northwest Regional Manager. 
Reed is a registered professional civil engineer in the state of Washington and received his B.S. from the University of Washington.  Prior to joining Commonwealth in 2010, he was employed as a Transmission Engineer at HDR Engineering, Inc. and at Puget Sound Energy in Bellevue, Washington.  White continued, “Paul looks forward to using his collaborative leadership approach to expand his team and to assist clients in upgrading their transmission infrastructure.”  “The people at Commonwealth are a great team and it’s a real privilege to be able to serve in this new capacity,” commented Reed.
Commonwealth offers a complete package of engineering and consulting services for clients and is proud to be listed among the 2011 Top 40 Design Firms by EC&M Magazine and the 2011 Top 500 Design Firms by  The company maintains principal offices in Mount Vernon, Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; and Jackson, Michigan, along with satellites in Columbus and Dayton, Ohio and Roanoke, Virginia.

For more information, please visit:

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On Location: Atlanta, Georgia

This month, for those considering employment with Commonwealth, or simply wishing to learn more about us, we will be featuring a series of posts showcasing our various office locations.  We are pleased to continue this series by introducing you to the great southern city of Atlanta, also affectionately known as "The Big Peach."  We trust you will find it, as we do, to be a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

Despite its humble beginnings as a settlement at the intersection of two railroad lines, Atlanta today is a major business city and the primary transportation hub of the entire Southeastern United States.  It contains the country's third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies and is also home to the many cultural institutions and exhibits.  As Georgia's Capitol and largest city, Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlantic metropolitan area.

Trendy, gracious, vibrant, and energetic, Atlanta is the ultimate blend of Southern hospitality and multicultural influence, lending to its reputation as one of the nation's leading international cities.  Additionally, to the delight of environmentalists, it is unique among all major American cities for its lush tree canopy, earning it the nickname, "City in a Forest."

Whether you are an avid sports fan, a student of urban architecture, or an outdoor enthusiast lured by the balmy climate into one of Atlanta's spectacular city parks, you are sure to find plenty of activities to meet your cultural and recreational needs here.

Atlanta Stadium
Centennial Olympic Park

Atlanta Aquarium

Atlanta Zoo
Just a few of the highlights:

 ·         Atlanta Botanical Garden
 ·         Georgia Aquarium
 ·         Fox Theater
 ·         Braves Museum & Hall of Fame
 ·         Georgia Dome
 ·         Centennial Olympic Park
 ·         Atlanta Motor Speedway  

Don't forget to visit us on Facebook for more great photos and information! 


It's that time of year! Are you ready to bring some cheer?!


Toys for Tots Began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children.  In the fall of 1947, Bill's wife, Diane, crafted a homemade doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization which would give it to a needy child at Christmas.  When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one.  He did.  Marines have conducted successful nationwide campaigns each year since 1948.  Over the 62 years of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Marines have distributed more than 400 million toys and a powerful message of hope to more than 188 million needy children. 

Commonwealth Associates, Inc. is proud to assist in this worthy cause.  We invite you to participate with us by bringing your new, unwrapped toys for children up to age 12, to our office lobby in Jackson. 

Thank you for caring!  YOU make the difference!


Friday, November 11, 2011

A note of thanks...

Today we recognize and applaud the brave men and women who selflessly serve and have served this country so courageously and honorably.  We owe you so much more than words can express. 

Please accept our most heartfelt "Thanks."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On Location: Jackson, Michigan

This month, for those considering employment with Commonwealth, or simply wishing to learning more about us, we will be featuring a series of posts showcasing our various office locations.  We are pleased to start by introducing you to the city we call "home" -- Jackson, Michigan, location for the headquarters of Commonwealth Associates, Inc.  We trust you will find it, as we do, to be a wonderful place to live, work, and play.

From its historic downtown, to the 600 acres of beautiful, open parkland that stretch across the city limits providing limitless outdoor recreational opportunities, Jackson easily earns its designation as one of Michigan’s “Cool Cities.”  Once known as the “Crossroads of Michigan” due to its location at the I-94/US 127 junction and its use as a major railway hub, Jackson has become a crossroads of innovation led by an eclectic group of entrepreneurs and artists. 

The area features numerous festivals and celebrations and cultural activities abound.  Attend the symphony, catch a Broadway show, or stop by the Shakespeare Festival.  History buffs may wish to explore Jackson’s captivating history with a visit to the birthplace of the Republican Party “Under the Oaks,” or soak in her rich heritage with tours of Underground Railroad and Civil War sites.  Wine lovers can spend the day at their favorite local winery and race fans can try their hand at a lap around the famed Michigan International Speedway.  Love the water?  You’ll find plenty of it to play in here, so grab your gear and set off on an adventure.

In the “Rose City,” there’s something for everyone…making it the perfect place to call home.

Cascade Falls, Cascades Park

Destination: Downtown - an art lover's paradise

Jackson's Civil War Muster

Just a few of the highlights:

Don't forget to visit us on Facebook for more great photos and information! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What's in our energy future?

What is the right mix of energy for the future of America? 

The globe? 

You personally? 

Population has just hit the 7 billion mark.  What does that mean in terms of energy demand?  This article asks the question, "When should we pursue energy transition?"

What are your thoughts?