The Department of Transportation says the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the heaviest long distance travel times.

The number of long distance trips over Thanksgiving (those 50 miles or more both ways) increase by 54 percent. During Christmas the increase is 23 percent. The potential for fatigue is higher during these long trips after a long day of visiting and eating.

Many say eating turkey makes you tired as turkey contains L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid with a documented sleep inducing effect. However, according to , it’s not just the turkey. A carbohydrate-rich (as opposed to a protein-rich meal) increases the level of the amino acid and leads to serotonin synthesis – “that familiar sleepy feeling”.

Fats slow down the digestive system and take a lot of energy to digest so the body redirects blood flow to help in digestion. Having less blood-flow elsewhere, people feel less energetic after a meal rich in fats. Overeating has the same affect so it’s very important to watch how much you eat prior to travelling a long distance without giving the meal time to digest.

If you start to feel drowsy while driving and your eyelids start to get heavier, pull over and rest! A Nationwide Insurance article pulls from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration article that states drowsy driving “causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than $12 billion in losses”.

People are at their mental peak at 9:00 am and 9:00 pm with physical best at 11:00 am and 7:00 pm. Energy hits its lowest points from 2:00 am to 6:00 am and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Try to plan your travel during your high peak times.

A couple more helping driving hints are:

• Take a 15 minute power nap to help you obtain needed rest without causing a major delay in your schedule. A longer nap requires more time to return to full alertness.

• Stay hydrated and eat fruits, vegetables and protein-loaded items in small portions. We already know carbs make us tired.

• Get a good night’s sleep prior to the drive.

• Take someone with you to keep you alert, help watch the road and even share in the driving.

Have a great holiday season and stay safe on the roads!

Safety Director Crystal Schafer
Article by Crystal Schafer, Safety Director




Where Life Changes for Kids and Families


As the holiday season approaches, many people are in the giving spirit. People open their hearts for generosity and feel a sense of satisfaction helping others.The staff at Auberle, located on Hartman Street in McKeesport, open their hearts to the community year round.


In 1952 Auberle opened its doors. The faith-based Catholic agency’s mission is “to help troubled children and families heal themselves”. Auberle offers a plethora of services for children, youth, adults and families including foster care services, in-home crisis intervention, shelter services and transitional living. The goal is to invest in children to break the cycle of abuse and neglect. They also believe strong families build strong children and serve over 3,000 at-risk children and families each year. Serving in seven southwestern PA counties, 60% of the clients are receiving services in the home, school or local community.

Recently, Auberle has partnered with employers to give at-risk youth on the job training. This partnership has been titled Auberle’s Employment Institute and enables youth to develop skills such as work ethic, timeliness and accepting criticism. By gaining real experience, the at-risk youth is able to lessen skill gaps and have higher opportunity for employment in the future.

Auberle recognized as Agency of the Year in the United States by the Alliance for Children and Families. Auberle has also received the Wishart Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management by the Forbes Fund.

Massaro Restoration Services, LLC is honored to be able to work with such a noble organization.

Hinchberger_AndreaAndrea Soltis, Business Development Representative






Why Don’t People Seek Excellence on a Daily Basis?

Few would argue that we are living in an ever changing world. Those who do not adapt to change are choosing to live in a constant state of discomfort.

At Massaro, we made a decision a few years ago to change the way we run our business. We decided that in the face of rapid change, the one consistent determinant of success is the pursuit of excellence. We even have a name for our journey to excellence, Expedition.

Our Expedition inspires us to go a little beyond what we expect from ourselves, just doing a little more each time and each day. We have asked each of our employees to raise the bar and stretch themselves. We believe that everything we do, regardless of how common the task may seem, should be done uncommonly well. This is the path to excellence. This is our Expedition.

In Marshall Field’s words:

“To do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way; to do some things better than they were ever done before; to eliminate errors; to know both sides of the question; to be courteous; to be an example; to work for the love of work; to anticipate requirements; to develop resources; to recognize no impediments; to master circumstances; to act from reason rather than rule; to be satisfied with nothing short of excellence.”

Which brings me to a more important point. On an everyday basis, excellence is in short supply, but when a tragedy such as the massacre at Sandy Hook occurs, excellence becomes the norm. People go beyond their normal selves to aid their fellow man. They stretch and support and sacrifice and serve and love. As sick and sad as that event is, the way so many people have given of themselves to do anything possible to help the victims is nothing short of inspiring. And that which they gave will return to them in far greater quantities than what they are doing for the victims and their families.

The pursuit of excellence is a proven pathway to success. So the question we need to ask ourselves is, “why don’t people seek excellence on a daily basis?”

Excellence in Real Life

What’s the difference when it comes to getting from point A to point B?

Last week I saw excellence in action. When I arrived at the airport at 6:00 AM for a 7:00 AM flight to Minneapolis, I realized I didn’t have my boarding pass. I worried a bit because the security line was long and the wait to get a boarding pass could take some time. At the top of the escalator, my concern was validated.

There were large crowds in front of USAIR and Southwest, and I was flying Southwest. As I moved toward the line, increasingly concerned about time, I noticed something. In contrast to the group in front of the USAIR counter, the Southwest group was animated, vocal and moving. I looked up and noticed that the wall behind the counter was wrapped in pink wrapping paper and populated with cut out hearts with messages on them: “Luv is in the air”; “we luv flying”; “We luv luggage”. I smiled and took my place in line. In no time at all, I was at the counter, happily greeted by John. When the kiosk was unable to locate my reservation, John stepped out from behind the counter and offered to help. He immediately noticed that my credit card had the III suffix, but my reservation did not. “Happens all the time”, he said. “I’ll take care of it.” In less than a minute, I was sent on my way with a warm voice, “have a great day and enjoy your trip Joe.” “Thanks John, same to you.”

It was early, and I still had to get through security, but I felt good. So good that I decided to stand and observe each of the counters for a moment. Only Southwest and USAIR had crowds. Only Southwest was decorated. The USAIR crowd was subdued, Southwest was alive. United and another airline (I cannot remember which) had no passengers. “Southwest gets it”, I thought to myself. Gets what, you ask? They “get” how to treat their customers as if they matter. Their commitment to customers is real and authentic. (Two weeks ago I had a maddening experience with United where the gate agent refused to book me on a flight on which there were empty seats because he had to close the doors in order to avoid him taking a delay. He made my wife and I wait three hours for the next flight because he didn’t want to explain to his boss why the doors didn’t close on time. At the Customer Service counter I was told to log on to United’s website and file my complaint there. It was surreal.

Every airline does the same thing. They all face the same challenges of managing costs, dealing with weather, flight delays and cancellations, unpredictable passengers and all the rest. They all have to line you up to board the plane and hope that your carry-on luggage fits. The playing field is level, and there is no difference whatsoever in the product each delivers – a flight from point A to point B. So what’s the difference? My guess is the pursuit of excellence. Southwest understands the big picture, and it truly cares about its customers. They know how to run a good airline, make their passengers feel valued, and have fun along the way. (The flight attendants pre-flight instructions were original and funny.)

Pursuing excellence is not easy. It requires vision, patience, a fanatic focus on mission and values, discipline, and hard work. But the payoff in terms of employee engagement, customer loyalty and financial results is well worth the effort.

Technology and Its Influence on the Design Process


Massaro is design-builder for the new Benedictine Sisters Convent and we’re implementing extensive BIM technologies.

While BIM has increasingly become a common buzzword in the world of construction, its acceptance and adoption in architecture or design has been extremely varied. There are some firms that have led the charge in BIM, while others feel that technology is not an integral part of producing quality design.

Although there can be arguments made for either side, Arch Record’s recent interview with SOM’s Carl Galiotio, partner-in-charge of SOM’s New York Technical Group, and Paul Seletsky, Director of Digital Design, makes a strong case for the adoption of BIM throughout the design process. It is often a common misconception in the architectural world that BIM means using Revit. However, as Galiotio and Seletsky explain, BIM is not merely a tool that aids in production. It is an analytical tool that changes an architect’s work process and information flow, in a similar way that email changed business.

“If architects merely see BIM as a means to a more efficient production of representational documentation, then they will, I believe, lose out to construction-management firms. If architects merely see BIM in terms of geometry, and they forego understanding the really significant part of this—which is their role in a greater understanding of simulation and analytical-performative analysis applied to that model—then they will lose a tremendous opportunity to really elevate their stature and their responsibility.”

SOM also argues that BIM can be implemented on projects of various scales and in firms of varying sizes. For example, although they used BIM on the entire building of the Freedom Tower, its use began as an exercise in investigating the complexities of the sub-grade conditions. Employees, seeing the value of using BIM, then asked to use it on the core, then the mechanical levels, and eventually on the entire building. It allowed the design to become more advanced at an early stage and that early development was retained through the project.

Similar ideas regarding the integration of technology and design were discussed recently here in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University’s Encoding Architecture Conference. Attended by Massaro’s own Jared Friedman, the conference focused on ways architects can learn from and adopt technology from outside the field of architecture. Topics such as fabrication methods, robotics, and programming languages were all discussed in terms of how they can enable architects to explore forms in more complex ways.

What technology can do for architects is create a range of solutions that inform exploration and decision-making early in the design process. From there, it is the architect’s role to interpret these solutions. Therefore, architects are not just conceiving ideas, but becoming an integral part of their implementation throughout the duration of a project.

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