Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Debby Norris Is An Ambassador of Business

The Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce selected her to Serve On the Ambassador Committee

Debby Norris
POPLAR BLUFF, MO- SSE is proud to announce that Debby Norris, the Human Resource Manager at Schultz and Summers Engineering, has been chosen as one of the new Ambassadors for the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce.  Chamber president Steve Halter said, “We are proud to have Debby in our Ambassador program.  Their efforts to welcome new business to the Chamber are very important to our community and I am confident she will be a great addition to the team.”

She officially joined the Ambassadors on August 10, 2011.   Debby stated how excited she was to be on the committee and that she was looking forward to, “Recruiting prospective members to the Chamber, assisting with monthly networking activities, new member orientation, ribbon cuttings, member retention efforts, and help with semi-annual membership recruitment events.”

So far Debby has attended 2 ribbon cuttings for new businesses and she is looking forward to the 21st Annual Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce Golf Outing coming up on Sept 23, 2011.    Owner Bob Summers added, “Debby has been a key reason SSE was recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in America by Inc. 5000 and we are glad she was willing to be part of our efforts to help strengthen the Poplar Bluff community.”

Debby concluded by saying, “Meeting other business leaders and helping them promote Poplar Bluff is something that comes naturally to me.  SSE feels strongly about taking an active role in the community and it’s enjoyable to work for a company that supports my hometown.”

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wendell Beard Joins Schultz and Summers Engineering

He brings SSE over 35 years of surveying experience in
 Taney, Stone, Barry, Ozark and Christian Counties.

BRANSON, MO – Schultz and Summers Engineering is proud to announce the addition of Wendell Beard to their company.  Wendell spent 30 years of his career working for Larry Gardner, owner of Midwest Surveyors and the former Taney County Surveyor.  Owner Stan Schultz said, “Wendell brings a wealth of knowledge of the Branson region to our surveying department.  His 35 years experience will help us better serve our clients and we are excited about having him join our team!”  

He first learned basic surveying by taking night classes in the fundamentals of land surveying, boundary survey calculations and land survey law, taught by Dr. Richard Elgin who many consider to be the father of surveying in Missouri.  During his long career, Wendell has performed all types of surveying including boundary surveys, topographic surveys, Alta surveys, highway and road staking, sewer line staking, golf course staking and building staking.  He added, “I have done thousands of small and large surveys for hundreds of different customers including, business, developers, realtors, cities, counties, water, sewer and county road districts as well as the USACE.”
Brad Allbritton and Wendell look over some plans

Because of his vast experience in surveying in and around Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes, many consider Mr. Beard to be one of the most knowledgeable surveyors on USACE lake boundaries in this region.  Well known developer Kandis Davis said, “Wendell has worked on over 400 miles of government fee take line for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes.  Additionally, he handled over 200 miles of maintenance contracts through the Corps of Engineers.  Nobody knows this area like Wendell does.”

Wendell is a lifelong resident of Taney County and graduated from Hollister High School in 1973. His surveying experience has been almost exclusively in Taney, Stone, Barry, Ozark and Christian counties. Larry Gardner, owner of Midwest Surveyors and former Taney County Surveyor commented, “Wendell is the perfect employee for any business.  He is technically sound, works well with the public and knows this region like the back of his hand.  Wendell can handle any survey in any situation.”

One question Wendell keeps being asked is, “After 37 years why keep surveying?”  He responded, “I am healthy and love seeing this region progress.  Almost all our improvements and expansions start with a survey.  I have really become close friends with most of my customers.  I love the people in our area and helping them build the houses, businesses, utility lines and roads to accomplish their dreams is very satisfying to me.”

Schultz concluded by saying, “Knowledge of the local area is extremely important in surveying.  The chance to hire an experienced surveyor who has worked in almost every area of this region is a tremendous opportunity for SSE.  For year’s successful business, community and civic leaders have depended on Wendell for all their surveying needs.  We are thrilled to have him join us and keep his services available to all those in the Branson area.”  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SSE Engineering Provides One Hot Spicy Night

Family fun Cajun Style

The Hottest place in town Thursday night was the Cajun
Shrimp Boil hosted by Schultz and Summers Engineering

LAKE OZARK- Even though the temperatures have cooled down, things were hot and spicy at the Cajun Shrimp Boil hosted by Schultz and Summers Engineering Thursday night.  Over 500 business and community leaders attended the festivities.  Brian Meisel Assistant Vice President of First national Bank added, “What a fun party! SSE knows how to have a good time.  Everyone had a good time and the Cajun food was unbelievable. I am already looking forward to next year.”   

Owner Stan Schultz said, “Business is booming at our Lake Ozark office.  We love working here and to have so many community leaders show up and help us celebrate another great year of business was exciting.”

Lining up for Shrimp, red beans and Jambalaya
The festivities started at 5:00 pm with several people already waiting for the first batch of shrimp to finish cooking.  “The Schultz and Summers folks sure know how cook Cajun style.  They put on a great party with some outstanding food,” added Ron Duggan owner of Captain Ron’s.

While the slow economy has negatively affected many Missouri businesses, SSE was just recognized as one of the fastest growing companies by Inc. 5000.  Marketing Director Rodney Jetton says they are bucking that trend.  He said, “MGU gas, municipal sewer projects and the flood elevation program have kept our lake office very busy this year.  Our surveyors have done over 450 elevation surveys so far in 2011.”   

They also gave away several door prizes including an Remington 870 shotgun and an Apple I-Pad. Name Pam Petropoulos of Lexsar won the I-Pad while Rita Dew from Missouri Medical walked away with the shotgun and Chris Ling from Reality Work took home the fishing equipment.  Owner Bob Summers commented, “Seeing folks enjoy the food, music and fun made the whole party a success!  2011 is shaping up to be our biggest year ever and getting to say thanks to all our customers was enjoyable.”
Pam Petropoulos won the I-Pad
Chris Ling won the fishing pole

Rita Dew won the shotgun

Friday, September 16, 2011

Teresa Capps Is Getting Her New Heart

    We have some wonderful news today!!  Last night we held our annual Cajun boil at our Lake of the Ozarks office and had over 500 attend.  It was a good party but something more important happened. 

     We held a silent auction and 50/50 drawing for Teresa Capps who is in desperate need of a heart transplant.  The auction raised just over $1,100 for her and Amanda LaPorte chose to give her SSE employee of the month $100 donation to Teresa’s foundation.  

Bob, Amanda, Stan and Teresa pose with the check
     Four years ago Teresa had a virus settle in her heart and it basically killed her heart muscle.  This has left her with a heart that only functions at 10% of a normal heart.  She has been hooked up to a machine that pumps medication into her heart that helps keep it working well enough for her to stay alive.  Of course, like most drugs it is slowly becoming less effective and her time is running out.  In addition to her heart problems, she has had major financial issues from the high medical bills and her inability to work.     

     We were happy to help her raise a few dollar last night, but I could not help but think about how hard something like that would be to deal with.  My heart went out to her and I only wished we could do more.  

    Well now we can.  I just learned that Teresa received a call at 1:00am last night letting her know they have a heart for her and she will receive a transplant TODAY!  Her surgery will start at 12:00 and hopefully end around 7:00pm.

    I hope you will join me in praying that God would be with her and the doctors as they perform the operation and that everything would go smoothly.  Also let’s pray that the transplant takes and Teresa can get back to a normal life.  

    Kathy and I have been through our own health care crises.  She had major complications when she was pregnant with the triplets.  The last two months she had to stay on bed rest and in the hospital.  Things were even worse once the girls were born.  They told us Brooklyn wouldn’t make it and the whole situation had us completely shook up.

    During those months I rented an apartment in St. Louis so I could be with Kathy as much as possible.  The girls were in St. Mary’s Hospital and Brooklyn was transferred to Cardinal Glennon.  Brooklyn had surgery on Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and Valentine’s Day.  Slowly her health improved and I’m so thankful to have three healthy 7 year old girls today.  

That crisis almost closed down our business because I could not work as much and the health care costs were staggering.   Without the help of family and friends and a lot of prayers from so many people we never would have made it.  

     Hearing Teresa’s story brought back memories of those painful months in the hospital in St. Louis.  Sometimes I get frustrated with all the problems that life throws my way.  Raising 5 kids and running a company can make life seem hectic and troubled.  But thinking about how much Teresa’s life changed 4 years ago and now, how this operation could get things back to “normal” for her, reminds me of all the blessings I have and how really my troubles are not bad at all.

    I hope you will take a few minutes today to keep her in your prayers and while you’re doing that, consider all your blessings.   

Stan Schultz     

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sewer resolution needed in Sunrise Beach

By Amy Wilson
Posted Sep 15, 2011 @ 05:10 AM

Sunrise Beach, Mo. — Businesses in the Village of Sunrise Beach are desperate for a sewer solution.
A group of business owners attended the Monday, Sept. 12 trustees meeting to find out more about the status of getting a municipal wastewater treatment system in the ground and just what area that system will cover. The message was clear - move

The Issues
Time and money are the obstacles hindering progress on the town's wastewater woes.

1. Businesses can't keep waiting.
"With DNR (Missouri Department of Natural Resources) on the hunt right now, the longer we wait, the options get less, not more," said Sunrise Beach businessman Matt Sutcliffe. "There are businesses that are not going to survive waiting this out ... You're going to see businesses close up and not make it."
The municipality's budget is based almost entirely on sales tax revenues - there are some minor police-related revenues. The village does not collect any property tax.
Ron Duggan said he needs help "desperately" right now due to the legal action his business, Captain Ron's Bar & Grill, is facing from the Missouri Attorney General's Office for its wastewater treatment system. Duggan said they have to expand the wastewater treatment facility for the restaurant and bar.
Hired by Duggan, Schultz & Summers Engineering (SSE) have come up with an individual solution for Captain Ron's —  at a price tag of $50,000-$55,000. But even that solution is only temporary, expanding enough to buy more time, but it would still have to be pumped out on busy weekends.
However combined with the loss of Cannon Smoked Saloon to fire (since relocated to Laurie), Duggan indicated that it could be a struggle to fund even the temporary solution, and was looking for any help the village could give.
Home to the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout, the restaurant and bar is one of the biggest sales tax contributors to the small town.
But Captain Ron's was not the only one in trouble.
The campground owned by Dave Buehler, in attendance at the meeting, was shut down for part of the summer due to sewer issues, a direct loss of sales tax for Sunrise Beach. Rick Escobedo of Tortilla Flats Restaurant & Lounge said their situation is not desperate yet, but that it is becoming a concern.
Sutcliffe, owner of Bear Bottom Resort which is another big sales tax contributor, urged the board to move forward. His business is not facing action from the state, but he wants to expand and can't without a larger wastewater treatment system.
West Shore Landing developers, Ron Cragun and Bruce and Jan Adams, are also pushing for sewer to benefit their commercial project at Lake Road 5-41.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) provided the bulk of funding for the city's drinking water system. The second phase is currently under
RD has stated in a letter to Sunrise Beach that it will not commit to funding sewer with low interest loans and grants until the water system is complete and has been in
operation for one year.
That pushes the timeline for any municipal wastewater system funded through RD to early 2013.

2. Residential user fees must be reasonable.
To get government agency financing, it is required that the village's residential user fee be a minimum of 2 percent of the median household income (MHI). With an MHI of approximately $27,679, the monthly sewer bill would be about $46 per month.
About $38-41 was the amount originally promised to voters when revenue bonds were passed in 2006.
The unobligated portion of the city's capital improvement sales tax revenue could, however, be used to lower the residential sewer bill.
Sutcliffe also reported that the committee, through water attorney Bill McCaffree, had found that the idea for businesses to pay a higher rate to help offset residential user costs was acceptable to RD.
This could have an exponential effect for the town. A central sewer system helps create a more attractive environment for businesses. If there are more businesses, it means not only more sales tax revenue but also more sewer customers paying that higher rate.

The Status
Sutcliffe was on the committee that recommended the board make the "Mid Town" area phase one.
The committee's recommendation was based on a preliminary engineering report (PER) from Midwest Engineering. Two months ago, the board hired Olsson Engineering at a cost of approximately $18,000 to do a new PER of the north area of town, termed City Hall Ridge.
A second study, looking at the south end, by Olsson was considered Sept. 12. It was the topic for a closed session portion of the meeting, but was ultimately tabled.
Board members have said they are simply looking for the best plan. Without the entire scope of funding available for any plan, chair Curt Mooney said they are taking the time to search for the best numbers to make it affordable for residences.
After the July meeting in which Olsson was hired, another engineering firm came into the picture for the village, the previously mentioned SSE. With the board's stated intention of looking for better numbers, they offered to review Midwest's existing PER.
SSE has now entered into an agreement with Midwest to work on the Sunrise Beach municipal project. The joint venture will include SSE designing the wastewater treatment facility and coordinating with the appropriate government agencies to get funding.
Getting government funding in place is SSE's specialty. Since 1998, it has obtained almost $93 million in grants and loans through USDA Rural Development, Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
SSE founding partner Stan Schultz shared the results of their review at the Monday night meeting.
The findings were positive, in that Midwest had followed the funding agency outline, the proper documents had been filed with the agencies, detailed layout maps had been completed and a realistic cash flow had been forecasted. The unit prices for the construction work were also conservative in SSE's opinion.

What's Next
SSE advised the board that DNR money may be a better option for funding. Through Midwest, the village has applied to DNR for funding a system for the entire Highway 5 corridor, just as it has with RD.
According to Schultz, the application for the overall system scored in the top 7 percent of proposals made to DNR for that cycle. The entire system was too expensive - more than $7 million - to be funded to the extent needed to make it feasible for the village.
The overall system can, however, be built in stages, Schultz said.
He recommended the board identify its scope for phase one by developing a target area of 100-120 residences (considered the "magic" minimum number to receive the best grant funding from funding agencies) and identifying what commercial customers wanted sewer out of the largest 25 potential commercial customers.
The committee that has studied the issue believes that target area is Mid Town, not City Hall Ridge.
Mid Town and City Hall Ridge are different proposed first phases to get the overall system started.
According to the committee's findings based on Midwest's PER, City Hall Ridge would cost an estimated $1,888,171 to construct, but Mid Town hits that 100 potential residential user mark that makes it eligible for much more in low interest loans and grants. City Hall Ridge has 68 potential residential users.
In addition to the 100 residential users, Mid Town also has more potential commercial users, 64 compared to City Hall Ridge's 39. Mid Town's overall construction cost is an estimated $3,559,000.
Sutcliffe and other business owners have indicated they would like to see the board start pushing to get Mid Town funded, instead of paying more money out of the capital improvement sales tax revenues for other engineering firms to do more studies.
Existing businesses have indicated their willingness to pay a higher user rate to help offset residential costs - for now.
If the village cannot move forward with sewer, many businesses will either close or be forced to go out on their own for individual solutions, Sutcliffe said. And if businesses resolve their wastewater issues on their own, they have no incentive to then support a municipal system, especially one in which they subsidize lower residential ­­rates.

Conflict of interest
Discussion turned ugly at the Sept. 12 meeting when concerns were raised that the city attorney had a conflict of interest in the matter of advising the board on the proposed phasing of the sewer system.
West Shore Landing developers Ron Cragun and Bruce and Jan Adams expressed their concern about the board meeting in closed session at the July meeting with their longtime attorney Greg Williams. In that closed session, they hired Olsson Engineering to study City Hall Ridge.
The developers/realtors said Williams owns property within the City Hall Ridge area that is being marketed for commercial development. The City Hall Ridge area would include Williams' property but exclude the West Shore Landing property. The larger proposed Mid Town area would include both.
Bruce Adams said it was a concern to them that a "competitor" was advising the board in closed session. Even if Williams were strictly sticking to his role as city attorney when in closed session, there is still an appearance of conflict of interest, he said.
Adams formally objected to closed door sessions about sewer with Williams "under the guise" of personnel issues and asked that his objection be included in the minutes.
Cragun added that it appeared there was "politicking" going on behind closed doors.
Williams said that there was no one on the board who was unaware that he was a landowner in the village.
"It is not a conflict," he said, adding that the trustees had been "fully disclosed" and were "fully aware" of his situation.
"I was tasked with developing alternatives," said Williams about the board's search for a feasible plan to sewer the city. As a result, he has had discussions not just with Olsson but also with SSE and village business owners.
Hiring Olsson to study City Hall Ridge is merely part of the search for the best course of action, according to the board.
"He (Williams) is not running the project," trustee Debby Stoller said.
According to chair Curt Mooney, the board had two previous interviews with Olsson; it was not something that just happened.
Bruce Adams also objected to the decision to spend $18,000 to hire Olsson being made in closed session. Any talk about sewer, with or without Williams, should have been made in open session, he said.
Jan Adams added, "We were under the impression ... that the whole sewer issue had been tabled."
Cragun said that the $18,000 should have been used for the actual sewer system instead of funding another preliminary engineering report.
The open session discussion centered around how to phase a sewer system for the Highway 5 corridor. It was tabled to get more information on whether higher commercial rates could be used to make residential rates lower to make the recommended Mid Town area acceptable.
The board then went into closed session and decided to hire Olsson to look at City Hall Ridge. The City Hall Ridge area was a potential first phase that was developed by the committee, but was not recommended due to its low potential for grants and low interest loans.
Trustee Ray Kline said the open session discussion and the closed session decision were two separate items. Just because they are having City Hall Ridge studied does not mean that Mid Town is out.
It is unclear how the board arrived at the decision about which phase to study further as none of the trustees verbally indicated a preference for any of the proposed phases in its lengthy discussion in open session. The committee provided the information from their study for the first time publicly at that July meeting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


SSE is saving residents money by offering:

Neighborhood pricing discounts
Minimal trip charges
Quick turnaround times 

LAKE OZARK MO- More and more residents in the Lake of the Ozarks region and all over Missouri are being required to prove that their home is not in a flood plain.  Many have lived in their homes for several years with no flooding problem but because the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA updated the lake area flood maps last year; residents are being required by insurers, lenders and FEMA to prove that they are not in the flood plain. 

Here is a sample FIRM map
          FEMA occasionally changes the floodplain boundaries because of things such as population growth or decline, levee changes, and infrastructure improvements.  Also better technology allowing for better mapping can change a FEMA map.  These changes can move a property owner previously out of the floodplain smack into the floodplain.   This is the case for many residents of Camden County, Missouri.  Planning Administrator, Chris Hall said, “Some portions of the lake have had their BFE (Base Flood Elevation) level increased and those areas are adversely affected by these changes.”

          This has caused the most trouble for lakefront homeowners.  SSE owner Stan Schultz added, “When an insurance provider or a bank views the new maps, they are almost guaranteed to deem lakefront property as part of the floodplain even though the property has never even been close to flooding.”

          Here is an example of how it might work on let’s say Mr. Smiths lakefront home.  Mr. Smith was dumbstruck last year when the bank that holds his mortgage sent a letter alerting him that he had to purchase flood insurance for his home on the lake. In 30-plus years, the lake has never has gotten close to the house, and insurance was never required before. But the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, updated its flood maps last year, and Mr. Smith’s home was declared at risk of flooding. Not only that, his house went from requiring no insurance to being in the highest possible flood-risk category.

          According to FEMA, the national average for the cost of flood insurance is $600 a year, but Mr. Smith pays $1,100 annually. During the 25-year life of his mortgage, he will have paid close to $30,000 to protect his high-and-dry home from floodwater that would have to be delivered to his house in buckets.

          Mr. Smith said, “If there had been a flood issue, I’d have walked away from this place and not bought it. I wanted nothing to do with a flood. Now I’ve gone from being in a ‘No problem area’ to being in the worst possible classification.” His insurance agent Mr. Jones, said he tried to help Mr. Smith do battle with the government, but the pair got nowhere. “Not only was his house put in a floodplain after all these years, but they put him in the highest category,” Agent Jones said. “Mr. Smith is in the same flood zone as someone who lives directly on the river — Zone A. “He’s probably paying four times more than he would if FEMA put him in Zone B. It seems crazy.

          Many Missourians have dealt with this exact same scenario.  For some it was a nearby lake or an adjacent river and for others it may be an older levee.  For many it’s hard to understand!  Some say the new FEMA maps are merely moneymakers for the federal government, adding it’s almost “impossible” to get a residential floodplain status changed.

Missouri map showing affected counties
          But the folks at FEMA say that is just not true.  Laurie Smith-Kuypers, Natural Hazards Program Specialist in FEMA’s Chicago office, said “It’s not that big of a deal to ask the agency for reconsideration. All the homeowner has to do is hire a surveyor to produce an elevation certificate, proving his house is not in the floodplain.”

          Hiring a surveyor to come out and check the flood elevation can be expensive, plus there is no guarantee your home will be out of the floodplain.  Schultz and Summers owner Stan Schultz said “SSE developed a special flood certification process to help residents deal with the FEMA map changes.”  He added, “We tried to keep the costs as low as possible.  For a few hundred dollars we will come out and survey the property as well as turn all the paperwork into FEMA so the homeowner will get a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) that they can provide their lender or insurer.”  Schultz continued, “Another benefit we offer is the minimal trip charge.  Many times after our surveyors shoot the elevation they can determine if the home is not going to qualify for a LOMA.  We offer all our clients the option of stopping work and paying only a minimal trip charge.”

Add caption
 After visiting with SSE we contacted a few of their customers to see exactly how the service worked.   Philip Houghton from Gravois Mills, MO found out he was going to be required to purchase flood insurance a week before closing on his third floor condominium.  The quote for his insurance was estimated to be $3500.  He was told to purchase the flood insurance or forfeit the sale. 

Mr. Houghton called SSE and asked how much an elevation certificate would cost and could the whole process be completed before his closing.  He said, “I didn’t know if they could do it in time but amazingly they came out, did the survey and had the LOMA in less than 24 hours!”  In this case a homeowner was able to prove that the property was not in the flood zone allowing the lender to close the loan without forcing Mr. Houghton to purchase expensive flood insurance.  Houghton added, “The service I received from SSE was fast, professional, and fairly priced. They not only saved me money they kept my real estate transaction from falling apart.”

Another interesting story showing the difficulties the new FEMA maps have caused concerns.  Randall Carr and Susan Gepford from Stover, MO were tired of paying for flood insurance and hired Schultz and Summers Engineering to do a survey to see about obtaining a LOMA from FEMA and dropping their expensive flood insurance.  Susan said, “The surveyor came right out but unfortunately he informed us that our home was not going to qualify for a LOMA.  They asked us if we wanted to stop the process and pay the $100 trip charge or if we wanted to have them finish it up and see if we would come out in a cheaper flood zone.” She continued, “We told them to go ahead and finish it and even though we were still in the flood plain, our new elevation certificate lowered our flood insurance by $897!!”

          These two stories had happy endings but residents are still upset about all the extra hassle and costs the new FEMA maps have caused.  Smith-Kuypers said “The new maps were produced with the help of better topography, which was supplied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey. The maps do not include specific properties but show elevations across each community.”

Stan looking over a flood elevation survey
          Schultz concluded, “While dealing with the map changes is frustrating we are doing everything we can at SSE to provide realtors, lenders, insurers and homeowners with a professional process that can quickly determine if a property is in a floodplain at a very cost effective price.”  He added, “Neighborhood pricing discounts, minimal trip charges and a quick turnaround are just a few of the reasons we are doing more and more flood certifications each year.