• 05/17/2019 3:35 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    This post is authored by Angela Haines, Project Archaeologist and GIS Coordinator and Anne Lee, Project Manager and Principal Investigator at Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc.

    We’ve flown into the new field season full force, and it’s good to have some reminders for many of us and our staff about safe travel practices. Just think about how many of these tips we, especially seasoned travelers, completely ignore…and think about the small changes you can make to increase your own safety and security when you’re On the Road Again.

    Lesson 1: Hotels

    Although many of us consider ourselves to be “seasoned” when it comes to living and working out of hotels, it’s always good to have a refresher on simple things you can do to help yourself and your staff be safe while staying at hotels.

    • Check-In:
      • Have your ID and a printed hotel confirmation ready for the desk clerk, so that your information (name, length of stay, phone number, etc.) is not overheard by others in the lobby. This is the type of information others can use to get a duplicate key to your room.
      • Ask for one key to your room and clarify to the hotel staff that you are the only person that can get a duplicate or replacement key to your room.
      • Ask for a room between the second and fourth floor. This provides maximum security, while also providing the safest location in the event of a fire.
    • Room Inspection:
      • After you check for insects, make sure that your window and door locks function properly.
      • Look at the room. If anything feels weird, it may be; trust your gut.
    • Best practices during your stay:
      • Familiarize yourself with the hotel layout and evacuation routes.
      • Park your vehicle near a well-lit entrance.
      • At key-controlled entrances, don’t hold the outside door open for someone you don’t know.
      • Don’t leave any valuables, or anything with sensitive information, in your room or vehicle.
      • Always use the secondary door lock when you are in your room.
      • Never prop open your room door with the secondary lock while you are inside or while you run down the hall to the ice machine.
      • Look through the peep hole before you open the door to anyone. If someone identifying themselves as hotel staff is at your door at an odd time, verify their identity with the front desk before you open the door.
      • Leave your TV and a light on when you aren’t in the room to create the appearance that someone is in the room or plans on being right back.

    Lesson 2: Unfamiliar Places

    One of the best parts of traveling for work is getting to see new places across the country. But each new exotic locale, whether a rural farm town in Iowa or a big city on the coast, can present its own safety issues. Here are some simple things you can do to help you stay safe while traveling to unfamiliar places.

    • Familiarize yourself with local laws. Remember, the places in which you are staying and working may have different laws than your hometown.
    • Utilize the hotel staff to find out about the area. The hotel lobby staff typically lives in the area and knows the surrounding trouble spots; use their knowledge or advice when it comes to any question about the area.
    • When outside the hotel be aware of your surroundings. Remember, having your head down, looking at your phone, having ear buds in, or other such body language makes you an easily identifiable and vulnerable target.

    Do you have any additional travel safety tips you abide by? Let us know in the comments!

  • 05/15/2019 9:35 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA's CRM Industry Salary Survey has returned after 6 years, and now is your last chance participate! If you have not already, it is imperative that you complete the survey by this Sunday, May 19.

    The survey has maintained a primary focus on patterns of annual sales, business practices, and wage and benefit packages, helping you understand where your firm measures up compared to others. The independently collected and analyzed results provide essential longitudinal information on the state of the CRM industry. These data help substantiate industry trends over the long term, and no other organization collects this information specifically for CRM.

    We are also happy to announce that based on member feedback, we will be enhancing our summary report by including regional data. The CRM industry can vary widely depending on what part of the country you work in, and our report will now provide you with benchmarking statistics specific to your region. The summary report will be available in June.

    Both member and non-member firms are encouraged and needed to participate, and anyone who completes the survey will receive the summary of results. The information you share will NOT be tied to your name or any other personally identifying information, so you don't have to worry about any of your financial data being shared with others.

    Help us provide this valuable information that can be vital in running and planning for the future of your firm - complete the salary survey before the end of the weekend.

    If you run your own firm or CRM division and did NOT receive an invitation to complete the survey, contact us to receive a personalized link.

  • 05/10/2019 9:45 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Did you know that being an ACRA member gets you access to more than just conference, continuing education, and networking? Out latest blog series will focus on some of the benefits you may not be aware of. First up: the ACRA event calendar.

    You know ACRA's event calendar is the place to learn about and register for ACRA-sponsored events like our webinar series and the annual conference (registration is open for 2019!), but did you know that you can use it to advertise your CRM industry events to other members for free?

    ACRA's Event Calendar

    Whether you are hosting a summit on Native American interests or a training that would be of interest to other CRM professionals, you can add it to the ACRA calendar. By doing so, you can increase your attendance, maximize your feedback on projects, and even just raise awareness for your event.

    Adding your event is easy: simply send us an email with your event information. We only ask that you ensure this event is directly related to CRM and would be of interest to other ACRA members. 

    In 2019, ACRA has committed to expanding its member benefits based on feedback from members at firms of all sizes. Are there particular member benefits you would like to see (or if you aren't a member, that would convince you to join)? Let us know in the comments!

  • 05/07/2019 4:00 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    No matter what position you hold in CRM, or whether you work for a large or small firm, you need accounting skills to succeed. ACRA's upcoming webinar this Thursday gives you the opportunity to learn (or brush up on!) the concepts that will be help you be a better owner, employee, or potential hiree. This webinar will only be given live, so reserve your spot now!

    Still need a reason to attend? Check out the list below as to why you need to take an accounting course:

    As a firm owner:

    • Even if you think that you have a good handle on accounting practices necessary to bid projects and maintain your budget, you may be missing key concepts.
    • You can have a better understanding on the health of your company, enabling you to continue profitable actions and change directions when necessary - making you more money!
    • You will be able to make predictions about the future of your firm.

    As a firm employee:

    • Being a good employee includes more than just having the technical CRM knowledge. You need to have a handle on basic business practices too!
    • By showing that you understand how a firm sets budgets and prices and maintains its financial health, you have the potential to rise through the ranks at a faster rate (and thus earn more money!).

    As a student:

    • Demonstrating that you have knowledge on broader business topics makes you a more attractive candidate for potential employers.
    • The skills learned can even help you manage your personal finances better.

    Register for ACRA's Accounting Webinar TODAY

  • 05/03/2019 10:40 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Readers can now find relevant news items compiled all in one place! In our CRM Firms in the News series, we feature recent mentions of ACRA member firms and their projects across the country. Was your firm recently featured in a news article or on social media? Send it to us to be included in our next volume of the series!

    • The city of Fredericksburg, VA has launched a new digital archaeological tool aimed for use by the public, and work conducted by Dovetail Cultural Resource Group was integral to its creation. You can read about the interactive "story map" and the city's goals to designate an Archaeological Preservation District in the Free Lance-Star.
    • Up in Delaware, another Dovetail Cultural Resource Group project in discovering dozens of artifacts, including some that date back to 1000 AD, at the site of a future overpass. The Cape Gazette has more details on these fascinating finds.
    • New South Associates is seeking for descendants of people buried in a historic African-American graveyard in Georgia that is believed to have been active until about 60 to 70 years ago. Find out more about the project here, and spread the word if you are in the area!
    • Another project by New South Associates may have uncovered another hidden burial ground on the campus of Florida's oldest (and now shuttered) reform school. Read about the anomalies discovered in the Tampa Bay Times.
  • 05/02/2019 9:10 AM | Deleted user

    The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC) hosted its first annual stakeholder engagement forum on efforts to streamline the federal permitting process on Tuesday, May 1. Kelly Lizarraga, Advocacy Coordinator at Cultural Heritage Partners, ACRA’s lobbying firm, attended the closed-door session. She brought back the following report for ACRA on what government leaders are saying about the future of federal permitting.

    Top Trump Administration officials touted their efforts to shorten permitting timelines and detailed how projects on the FPISC dashboard save time and money. Andrew Wheeler, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, discussed how the EPA is tracking how long the permitting process takes – something that hadn’t been done prior to the Trump Administration. Wheeler said that his ultimate goal is to ensure that all permitting decisions get and up or down answer within six months. He also highlighted agency efforts to standardize the approach to all state permitting to ensure consistency nationwide.

    Wheeler cited four steps he sees as critical to better coordination with other federal agencies:

    • 1.     Working with the USACE to ensure early engagement on 404 projects
    • 2.     Streamlining NEPA
    • 3.     Ending the alpha-numeric rating system that was not required by law
    • 4.     Keeping the FPISC dashboard up to date

    R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, also spoke at the forum. According to James, a group of state governors met with President Trump at the White House. Their biggest complaint was the permitting process at United States Army Corps of Engineers. He decried the current situation in which lawsuits have caused different states abide by different rules regarding the definitions of “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). He said that they are working on developing step two of WOTUS and expressed confidence that the new WOTUS will be very effective.

    John Fowler, Executive Director of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), gave a brief overview of Section 106. He said that problems arise when there’s a failure to follow procedures. Fowler said that ACHP is committed to finding creative solutions to systemic challenges. As an example, he cited the creation of a new ACHP task force on digitization, on which ACRA President-Elect Nathan Boyless and ACRA Chief Lobbyist Marion Werkheiser will serve.

    Fowler highlighted ACHP’s work to improve coordination between NEPA and Section 106 regulations. He stressed the importance of early and effective engagement with all stakeholders, and emphasized the importance of involving tribes early in the process. He mentioned ACHP’s work to create a tribal contact system.

    In addition to Administration officials, the event featured Senator Portman (R-OH), FPISC officials, and industry representatives. Senator Portman (R-OH) discussed his role in passing FAST-41 legislation, which created FPISC, and stressed the importance of extending the sunset provision on the law. He highlighted the excitement in DC over infrastructure, but commented on the ongoing problem of how to fund it. FPISC Executive Director Alex Hergott moderated the event. Hergott talked about his vision of FPISC a “politically agnostic plan” in which common sense will guide solutions. FPISC officials gave a presentation on the steps in the permitting process and dashboard eligibility criteria, and industry representatives shared how the FPISC dashboard assisted their projects, which included a solar farm and a coastal restoration project in Louisiana.

    Several of the speakers from the FPISC forum will testify today before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Senator Rob Portman will chair the hearing. Alex Hergott, Executive Director of FPISC, is the key witness.

  • 04/30/2019 10:04 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    We are happy to announce that ACRA now has an official LinkedIn page!

    Since ACRA is the organization for the business of cultural resource management, we wanted to give you an opportunity to engage with us on the business world's biggest networking site.

    The ACRA LinkedIn group still exists, and is now a featured group on our LinkedIn page. The content  will differ from our Facebook page with more focus on business principles (but of course will still feature the ACRAsphere posts!). Join us there to connect with other CRM professionals, start robust discussions, and get the latest on all things ACRA. 

    We will continue to unveil new ACRA properties to allow you to connect with us through the networks you use the most, so stay tuned for options as 2019 continues. In the meantime, follow the official ACRA LinkedIn page here. We are glad to have you!

  • 04/26/2019 12:56 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    As you know, the National Park Service has invited public comment on troubling proposed regulations that have a direct impact on your work as a CRM professional. Earlier this month we asked you to submit comments on these regulations - if you have not done so yet, we need to you act NOW.

    The regulations would give federal agencies power to block National Register listings and eligibility determinations of federally owned properties, and also give large landowners the ability to block historic district and property listings. Not only does this undermine the power of state and tribal historic preservation officers to nominate historic properties on federal land, but the changes also appear to be designed to limit the input of local communities in the National Register listing process while giving more power to large developers.

    The deadline to submit comments is this Tuesday, April 30. It is imperative that officials at the Department of the Interior hear from as many of us as possible. ACRA has made it easy for you to do so - by using the template below, you can personalize and send your own comments in just a few minutes.

    You are the subject matter expert on issues like this - show that to NPS! Your comments can help improve this proposal and will also be read by courts in future litigation, if necessary. Please join your fellow CRM professionals and act NOW.


    Your specific expertise matters: please take the time to personalize these comments. The more information you include that is based on your own experiences working in CRM, the more impact your statement will have. Note: if you don't have time to personalize, please remove the words in bold below before submitting!

    Submit your comments here.

    I write to OPPOSE the proposed changes to the National Register regulations. I am a [insert professional interest in historic preservation—owner of a CRM consulting firm, professional archaeologist, historic architect, etc.] and write to express three major concerns with the proposed changes:

    1) The proposed regulations would cut off the ability of SHPOs, THPOs, and local communities and organizations to nominate historic properties located on federal land. The changes would allow only the federal agency to submit nominations of federal properties to the Keeper. This federal overreach is inconsistent with Congress’s intent in the 2016 amendments to solicit more input from SHPOs on federal nominations. [Insert your own examples where properties on federal land were listed through efforts of SHPOs, tribes, local communities or orgs]. These changes would also cause delays in the Section 106 process, because a federal agency could prevent the Keeper from determining the eligibility of federal properties for the National Register. Such delays are contrary to the Administration’s and Congress’s goal of making the permitting review process more efficient.

    2) The proposed regulations would allow large landowners to block a nomination of a historic property to the National Register. Currently, a majority of property owners can stop a National Register nomination; each property owner of a historic property gets one vote. The proposed regulations would empower the private owners of a majority of the land area to block a nomination—a change not supported by Congressional authority and clearly designed to give power to large developers to block historic property listings. These proposed regulations are designed to allow mining and energy developers to block National Register listings that encompass large scale landscapes, such as those in Alaska and the western U.S. that are culturally significant to Native Americans. [Insert your own examples of listings that could have been blocked by a majority of landowners]. Giving property owners more votes based on their landholdings is un-American and contrary to the time-tested principle of “one person, one vote.”

    3) Finally, I object to the process through which these changes were developed. The National Park Service did not consult with tribes, state historic preservation officers, or other federal agencies, including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to develop this rule. NPS should go back to the drawing board and enlist the expertise of professionals to develop regulations that are consistent with Congress’s intent and longstanding commitment to historic preservation.



  • 04/25/2019 2:26 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Accounting is the language of the business world. Whether you own your small business or are an employee of a larger CRM company, you need to understand basic accounting principles to succeed.

    ACRA's latest webinar Accounting Basics will go over not just basic accounting skills needed to successfully run a business, but will also explore more mid-level concepts to help improve your bottom line.

    With a combined over 50 years experience in business management and development, expert providers Marcy Maslov and Tom Fulcher will be available to answer your questions in real time. Whether you are part of a small firm or a large company, this team has the expertise for you:

    Ms. Maslov's is a national speaker, game inventor and executive coach devoted to building strong ethical leaders and entrepreneurs. Her experience includes 25 years as an international accounting professional with Pepsi, 20th Century Fox and Motorola, as well as more than 15 years as an entrepreneur and national speaker.

    Mr. Fulcher, a Certified Small Business Counselor, is the founder and President of The Idea Gardener® LLC, a business development, strategy and leadership/management consulting organization. He has over 25 years of professional experience. Tom has led projects and divisions for start-up, small and large firms including Colgate-Palmolive and Heinz. He served as CEO of an internet firm leading up to its eventual sale. Tom’s firm is also actively engaged with the Arizona and New Mexico Departments of Transportation leading small business educational, development and networking programs for small businesses.

    Even if you think that you have a good handle on the accounting practices necessary to bid projects and maintain your budget, you may be missing key concepts - and so could other employees. We recommend that you view this presentation with others on staff. If you have an accountant, even better - have them on hand to help apply the knowledge gained in this webinar directly to your firm.

    It is recommended that everyone take at least one accounting class in their lifetime. Why not take one that is geared towards your industry?

    This webinar will only be given live, and spaces are limited: sign up today to reserve your spot.

    Register Now

  • 04/23/2019 2:07 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Today we are unveiling an exciting new benefit specifically for ACRA's student members - new student pricing for our ACRA webinars!

    Students can now attend our online learning opportunities for just $19 per webinar. This is a significant discount to the normal webinar price. Students can now better prepare for a career in CRM for less than what most spend on coffee for the week! 

    ACRA webinars focus on the business aspects of CRM that students may not be exposed to in academic programs. Attending will net you skills that could ultimately make you a better employee and more attractive for CRM firms to hire. For example, our upcoming webinar on May 9, Accounting Basics, will go over basic accounting principles that will help you understand how CRM firms set budgets, bid projects, and more. Note: This webinar will only be given live and spaces are limited, so register today to reserve your spot.

    You must be a Student member of ACRA to get the student webinar pricing, so if you aren't a member, join here. Becoming a student member of ACRA also gets you access to networking with the leadership of CRM firms that may eventually employ you, insights into the inner workings of the industry, and more.

    We hope that these new student prices will allow more students to take advantage of the engaging content in our full webinar slate. Register to reserve your spot today!

Become an ACRA member to get exclusive benefits including vendor discounts, premium access to online learning opportunities, and much more.

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