The Scope of Donohue’s Work (Part 1)

WGTB logo PNG 112x89 Post 19 in a series. When Green Turns Brown is an examination of a small town’s digester-energy project, in which Whitewater, Wisconsin would import other cities’ waste, claiming that the result would be both profitable and green.

We’re now at the beginning of an examination of the current proposal from Donohue and Associates of Sheboygan, an engineering firm that I described in last week’s post as The Once and Present Vendor (since they were meeting with city officials, other vendors, and a waste importer on 11.5.13, even before Wastewater Superintendent Tim Reel gave his first slideshow presentation, and long before Donohue’s representatives made their first public appearance).

I’ll begin with this overview question: what’s the scope of Donohue’s work? They’re an engineering firm from Sheboygan, but that’s not an answer to this question. The scope of Donohue’s work is the boundary Donohue places on its work, either of their own imagination or from a client’s imposition. Embedded below is the first of several memoranda that Donohue prepared for Whitewater, each styled technical memoranda.

(There’s a double meaning to the term technical: although it’s likely intended to connote broadly the precise or scientific, it also describes work that’s narrow, and focused on engineering to the exclusion of other meaningful considerations: those of fiscal, economic, environmental, human health, and a city’s political and business culture.  Engineering matters, unquestionably so; other fields and perspectives matter just as much.)

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I’ll post this initial Donohue memorandum on its own today, because I think it deserves particular attention.  Often, the best examination beings simply with presenting something, and giving others the chance to think about it for a bit.  A thorough examination should be neither hushed nor rushed.  For all the discussions, for all the presentations from Whitewater’s City Manager Clapper and  Wastewater Superintendent Reel, there’s information about fundamental perspective and defining intentions in this engineering memorandum that they’ve not emphasized on their own.

Tomorrow, in Part 2 of this post, I’ll pose questions derived from Donohue Technical Memo 1, Strategic Direction.

Donohue Technical Memo 1, Strategic Direction,


Tomorrow: The Scope of Donohue’s Work (Part 2).