Numerous Media Sources Report: CHP clears Caltrans and Summarily Dismisses Retaliation Complaints by AECOM, AMEC and CALTROP Executives

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Oct. 4, 2014, — The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has been cleared by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) of claims that the agency retaliated against whistleblowers according to several media outlets. The following headlines appeared late Friday evening after media providers were allowed access to a report on an investigation conducted by the CHP at the request of State Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly:

Sacramento Bee: CHP: No Retaliation or Violations of Law on Bay Bridge Job

San Francisco Chronicle: No Evidence of Illegal Retaliation by Bay Bridge Boss, CHP says

Oakland Tribune: CHP Investigation Clears Caltrans of Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Over Bay Bridge Woes

Associated Press: Agency Finds No Payback Over Bay Bridge Concerns

The SF Chronicle goes on to report that the CHP summarily dismissed retaliation complaints lodged by engineering firms AMEC, AECOM, and Caltrop. All three consulting firms had lodged complaints towards Caltrans after they were unsuccessful in winning contracts to perform quality inspections on the new bridge for Caltrans. Notably, the CHP found no wrongdoing in Caltrans’ replacement of quality-assurance firm MACTEC, since acquired by AMEC, whose top manager (Jim Merrill) in China had complained numerous times to media sources about welding work. Investigators said the replacement firm, which included Alta Vista Solutions, had been qualified for the job, and there was insufficient evidence that MACTEC/AMEC had been punished for finding problems with welding work.

“We thrive on competition and we stand behind our work,” Alta Vista President Patrick Lowry commented, “we continue to live by our internal company motto – Do Right.” Alta Vista has competed for and won the lead quality inspection contract three times since initially joining the project in 2008. “Our firm has stood solidly behind this project and our client from the moment we began our work. We were confident this issue would be resolved and are pleased that the press has responded swiftly to the thorough and comprehensive work done by the CHP,” Alta Vista CEO Dr. Mazen Wahbeh commented after reading the headlines.

While Caltrans has been cleared of any legal wrong doing, the media articles say the CHP found that communication needed to be improved and led to perception problems and distrust with some of the Bay Bridge staff. “Communication is a very important element in delivering quality projects,” Dr. Wahbeh commented. “While it may be true that Caltrans needs to improve, there is more than just one side in any dialogue. We have an opportunity here to both understand the value of good communication and to improve how we share information and work together.”

About Alta Vista

Alta Vista is a Bay Area-based engineering firm that was recently recognized as the 20th fastest growing engineering firm in America by Inc. 5000. Alta Vista Solutions has quickly differentiated itself by performing customized quality management strategies for some of the largest infrastructure projects in the world. Alta Vista’s services include: Bridge Engineering, Civil Engineering, Construction Materials Engineering, Materials Testing, Construction Management, Program Management and Surveying.

Please see our website for more information at Over the past decade, Alta Vista has worked with public and private organizations to complete large-scale engineering projects that better serve their regions. Alta Vista’s client-focused philosophy—supported by uniquely qualified expertise and experience—delivers appropriate solutions to projects around the world.

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