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2003 New Faces of Civil Engineering


New Faces of Civil Engineering, a special program kicked off for 2003 National Engineers Week, spotlights the outstanding contributions of America's young and talented engineers. New Faces of Civil Engineering lets people see what kind of jobs they can do as civil engineers!

The 2003 New Faces of Civil Engineering have jobs ranging from bridge builder to environmental steward. They inspect dams for safety and help make construction sites safer. They keep cities from flooding and roads from clogging.

Civil engineering is an exciting profession that is open to everyone. The New Faces are great examples of what a young person can accomplish as a civil engineer!

Nichole Baker
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/nbaker.jpgWhen the water system at Point Sur Lighthouse State Historic Park in Sacramento, California, was not providing safe drinking water to visitors and residents, people quickly looked to Nichole Baker to make the necessary changes. With only three years of experience, Nichole developed a plan to upgrade the system, thus providing people with a safe water supply. Her innovative designs included a fire protection system for historic buildings and a new water tank that protects the view along California's scenic Highway 1, another step in helping to preserve California's heritage.

Nichole became a member of the PSOMAS Sacramento Water Resources Team after graduating from the California State University in Sacramento. Most recently, she is helping to recreate and preserve a historic wetland and lagoon along Sacramento's Carmel River for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Nichole was able to coordinate a large, diverse group of environmentalists, engineers and public agencies to ensure a positive impact to the environment and increase recreational opportunities for this project.  

Cheryl Burwell
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/cburwell.jpg With only three years of experience, Cheryl Burwell has already taken Seattle by storm. After graduating from the University of Washington with her bachelor's in 1998, and receiving her master's from the University of California-Berkeley in 1999, Cheryl joined the ranks of the Seattle-based firm Skilling Ward Magnusson Barkshire, Inc. As a design engineer, she exploded onto the scene as a monitor of the Seattle Kingdome implosion, a Seattle Justice Center designer and historic renovator of the Harborview Medical Center. As a mover and shaker in the civil engineering field, Cheryl was responsible for assessing damaged buildings after the Nisqually Quake in February 2001.

Cheryl takes advantage of the opportunities presented to her by encouraging young people to join the civil engineering profession. She organized a discussion group for younger engineers within her firm, and works with students from middle school through college with various outreach programs. She currently serves as the President of ASCE's Seattle Younger Member Forum.  

Monique De Jesus
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/mdejesus.jpg A native of Puerto Rico, Monique De Jesus graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with her bachelor's and master's in 2000 and 2001 respectively, before joining the White Plains, New York, firm of Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. She actively searches for U.S. Army firing ranges that are no longer in use to help Congress determine what is needed make the areas safer, as well as to determine what environmental impact the day-to-day operations of the range caused. She will do the same inventory work for the U.S. Navy in the future. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Monique became a licensed Asbestos Air Sampling Technician to assist in air quality monitoring and testing near Ground Zero. She spent two months evaluating the air in apartments in lower Manhattan to protect the health and welfare of the citizens in the surrounding communities.

Monique recently passed her engineer-in-training test, an important step on the path to becoming a licensed engineer. She is active within the Puerto Rican community and is helping to introduce minorities to the engineering field. She hopes to return to Puerto Rico one day and apply her knowledge to address environmental issues there.  

Kara Ejlali
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/kejlali.jpg Kara Ejlali graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2000 and has been climbing the ropes of success ever since as part of the Rope Access Team for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). As a member of the River Operations - Dam Safety team, she spends most of her time inspecting structures throughout the Tennessee Valley for potentially dangerous structural conditions which may jeopardize the safety of the public. She also serves as a member of the TVA Emergency Action Plan Team and is team leader for security assessments for West Tennessee, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Kara is currently the only female dam safety inspector for TVA.

Kara spends much of her time volunteering, promoting engineering and education through the Girl Scouts and serving as a teacher and coordinator of the Sharing Adventures in Engineering and Science Day. Her community commitment is evidenced through her involvement with Chattanooga Historical Preservation and Railroad Restoration organizations, Chattanooga Cares and the Combined Federal Campaign. 

Chad Fischer
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/cfischer.jpgEvery morning, Chad Fischer wakes up not knowing what adventures will await him throughout his day as a civil engineer with Engineering Systems Inc. in Aurora, Ill. Chad must always be prepared to respond to structural engineering emergencies anywhere in the country at a moment's notice. Engineering emergency projects include assessing the safety of a building following a fire, determining a repair scheme for a tornado-ravaged structure, or investigating structural damage due to an explosion.

Within 48 hours after the attack at the World Trade Center, Chad was requested to be part of a three-man emergency response team from Illinois. His team traveled through the night to reach the Ground Zero site by the following day. There he worked alongside firemen to insure demolition safety, monitor the stability of debris piles, and assess the safety of surrounding structures. Since that time, Chad was appointed to be a member of the Structural Engineering Emergency Response Committee. This national committee is developing a response plan so engineers are better prepared to respond to a major disaster.

Chad earned his bachelor and masters degrees in civil engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and he is working on his Ph.D. from the Illinois Institute of Technology.  

Wendy Gottshall
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/wgottshall.jpgFrom maintaining the longest bridges in the world to designing the new ones to make travel simpler, Wendy Gottshall makes a difference in daily life. As a civil engineer with Michael Baker Jr., Inc., Princeton, NJ, Wendy was an integral member of the design team responsible for the largest bridge replacement project in the state of New Jersey (Route 21). Her work on the project called for securing new land for construction and rerouting existing utilities that served the area's population, all while ensuring as little disruption to residents as possible. In addition, Wendy worked on the rehabilitation of the longest cantilever truss bridge in the United States, the Commodore Barry Bridge, which connects Pennsylvania to New Jersey across the Delaware River.

Wendy also contributes her knowledge to the world through numerous published and presented papers on bridge engineering, and by leading the Mentoring Committee at her office, guiding new engineers at the start of their careers. In her personal time, Wendy does not leave her engineering expertise at home, traveling on vacation to Punganor, India, to assist in the design of a living and working space for a group of 40 potters.

Brad Hartman  
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/bhartman.jpgAs a civil engineer, Brad Hartman concentrates on protecting the environment. He makes sure that water isn't polluted when structures are built and that sensitive habitats aren't disturbed. Brad was also the catalyst for the Hydrology/Hydraulics section of a surface coal-mining permit for a coal mining reclamation project. The permit is only the second surface coal mining permit submitted in Utah history. The permit will allow a large pile of low-grade coal refuse left as spoils from a previous underground mining operation to be disposed of in an environmentally safe way. It is anticipated that the refuse pile will supply energy for approximately 20-25 years.

Brad's vast knowledge of computer software was very helpful in the preparation of a fully interactive computer-generated 3D model of a proposed dam. This model incorporated high-resolution textures and topography, as well as realistic 3D structures. 3D models such as this allow stakeholders to quickly see the visual effects of proposed structures and landscape alternatives. Brad received his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Brigham Young University. He works for PSOMAS in Salt Lake City.

Reky Hiramoto
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/rhiramoto.jpgReky Hiramoto joined RBF Consulting in Los Angeles as the firm's top recruit in 1996, after his graduation from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona. Since joining RBF, Reky has worked on many of the firm's high-profile projects, most notably as project engineer for the new Soka University in Aliso Viejo, California.

Reky was responsible for all facets of the private liberal arts university's 104-acre campus's design, ensuring the effective sewer and runoff drainage systems of the University, as well as an efficient water system and street upgrades. Due in a large part to Reky's efforts, Sako University's first freshman class arrived on campus in August 2001 and was met with a campus considered a landmark in southern Orange County.  

Rashod Johnson
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/rjohnson.jpg Rashod Johnson, a civil engineer on various national codes and standards committees, is fighting for the best interest of contractors and setting the professional standard for tomorrow. In the two years Rashod has served as the first-ever Director of Engineering with Mason Contractors Association of America, he has built a strong network within the construction and masonry industries with contractors, architects, university professors and engineers.

He is in the finishing stages of the first Masonry Workmanship Standard and the Masonry Wall Bracing Handbook. Rashod is currently assisting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the development and revision of various construction safety standards. Rashod also instructs masonry testing and masonry wall bracing seminars to contractors nationwide.

Steve Kelly
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/skelly.jpg A new bridge design highlights Steve Kelly's career. Steve works for the URS Corporation, Tampa, Florida, on a major highway initiative, the replacement of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge in New Haven, Connecticut. The 10-lane signature bridge (commonly referred to as the "Q Bridge") will not begin construction until 2004, but Steve's work is well underway.

The new bridge will be an extradosed cable-stayed bridge, the first of its kind in the U.S. This type of bridge is a combination of two standard bridge designs that results in a longer main span and shorter tower, meaning less environmental impact. Steve works to develop working models of the new bridge design and extensively tests the models for the many forces that will impact the bridge on a daily basis, most notably wind and weight. Steve received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University and joined the URS team in 1999.  

Nicole Kogler
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/nkogler.jpg A two-year co-op position with the Judith Nitsch Engineering firm equipped Nicole Kogler with a strong foundation of practical experience to fortify her engineering education. Now a project designer at the firm, Nicole recently assisted in developing a stormwater master plan for the University of Virginia and will present the plan to the university's landscape architecture graduate students in February.

Nicole has been involved with the "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day," during National Engineers Week and has even spoken at a career fair for sixth graders and at the University of Massachusetts/Lowell to freshmen about civil engineering.

Nicole developed an ethics course for women engineering students at Northeastern University and presented there as well as at her place of employment. Nicole also spoke at Northeastern's Freshman Forum about her co-op and professional experiences and served as a panelist at the Boston Society of Architects Women in Design mentoring program. 

Pierre Kwan
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/pkwan.jpg Got water? Yes, you do! The fact that it is clean and safe to drink is due in part to civil engineers like Pierre Kwan.

Pierre has analyzed and helped design wastewater and drinking facilities and treatment processes throughout the U.S., and has established himself as an arsenic-removal expert in just four years. He created a process for the removal of contaminants such as perchlorate and uranium, and received high recognition for his findings at the American Water Works Association conference. His work experience includes examining how the construction and operation of a wastewater treatment and operation of a wastewater treatment and conveyance system could affect fish habitat in Puget Sound and King County, Washington lakes and streams.

Pierre has co-authored more than 12 technical papers and presentations related to arsenic removal, including the American Water Works Association Research Foundation Arsenic Removal Design Manual, which is distributed to water utilities nationwide as a guide to dealing with arsenic contamination in their water supplies. 

Edward Laczynski
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/edlac.jpg Edward Laczynski has been involved in multiple bridge, highway and building projects since his days as an engineering student at Virginia Tech. His most recent and exciting undertaking, however, is the $2.5 billion Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project to which he has dedicated a year and a half of his time and energy.

As a member of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project team, Edward is responsible for making sure the high-strength cables which support the bridge are positioned correctly. In order to accomplish this, he uses boats, barges and the most advanced engineering equipment and techniques. The completed bridge will have 12 lanes which will accommodate its 200,000 daily users. Edward finds the shear magnitude of this project staggering and is very proud to be a member of the engineering team chosen to work on this mission. 

Jeff Rich
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/jrich.jpg Since graduating from the University of Utah, Jeff Rich has applied his skills to many different aspects of his field, including designing roads, parking lots, subdivisions and water systems. During the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, he was instrumental in designing the temporary venues.

Jeff strives to choose projects which he believes makes a positive, lasting impact on communities in which he works. The first project he worked on, Jordan Landing, is a 400-acre development near his childhood home. The development included much-needed residential housing, commercial buildings, office space and retail shopping. Jeff found this project especially rewarding as he was able to give back something to the neighborhood in which he was raised. Currently, Jeff is designing border patrol stations on the Canadian/United States border. He is excited about this opportunity as it entails the type of community involvement that made civil engineering an ideal career for him.  

Tesse Roberts
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/troberts.jpg Transportation is a major theme in Tesse Roberts' career. With a master's degree in transportation planning from the University of Southern California, Tesse lives and works in one of the major transportation centers of the world, Los Angeles. Traffic, aviation and rail highlight her career with Parsons Brinkerhoff, where she worked on such high-profile projects as the High Occupancy Performance Program, a ground-breaking study on the impacts, uses and need for "carpool" lanes in Los Angeles County.

Tesse recently assisted in the design and location of security screening checkpoints and baggage bomb detection machines at Los Angeles International Airport, a major gateway for air travelers. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Project Manager on the environmental study for the Pasadena to Claremont Gold Line Corridor, a 23-mile corridor in the San Gabriel Valley of southern California. The area has experienced a recent population and employment growth and is in need of transportation upgrades. Tesse's expertise in this area made her an excellent candidate for this important position, improving the face of Los Angeles' transportation for the future by adapting to the county's needs.  

Jennifer Roden
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/jroden.jpg Jennifer Roden designs heating, cooling, and ventilation systems for healthcare facilities. She has helped build hospitals as far south as Sal Palo, Brazil, and as far north as a cardiovascular hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Jennifer learns more about her specialty, architectural engineering, as president of the Houston Chapter of Architectural Engineering Institute, and she shares this knowledge with other young engineers. Thanks to Jennifer, different engineers are working together better, and more people in her town know about civil engineering and the work civil engineers have done in the places we go every day. In her free time, Jennifer teaches dance to children. She graduated from Kansas State University and works for Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. in Houston, Texas.   

Chris Sharek
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/csharek.jpg Described as a true public servant who takes pleasure giving back to the community, Chris Sharek is a New Face of Civil Engineering who really shines in the Sunshine State.

Chris' experience includes working on wastewater treatment facilities in the Florida Keys and leading the complete design of a 60-acre Sarasota County facility. Now as the Assistant City Engineer for the City of Venice, Chris manages daily public works engineering policy, design and operations. His professional achievements in water and wastewater treatment, reuse, conveyance and utilities have been recognized through published technical papers and presentations to national audiences.

Chris has helped coordinate a number of projects locally and helping kids learn about engineering and science has been a priority. Chris has served as a judge at the State Science and Engineering Fair and has served as the coordinator and chairman for the Toothpick Bridge Building Contest. He also teaches evening college-prep courses in Mathematics at a local community college and has coordinated high school outreach programs during National Engineer's Week 2002.  

Jaryd Takushi
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/jtakushi.jpg Upon graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Jaryd Takushi began his career as a transportation engineer with HNTB Corporation in 1998. HNTB has provided him with many opportunities to work on high profile projects such as Invesco Field at Mile High and Denver International Airport.

Yet Jared considers his biggest achievement to be his role as lead project engineer on a four-lane parkway that links the city of Arvada's east and west side. Jared was been involved with this project since its conception which allowed him to observe all aspects along the way. This included attendance at public meetings where he was given the chance to interact and discuss the proposed roadway with the local residents it would impact. Jared believes the construction process was an invaluable experience as he was able to see his years of design work pieced together to complete a roadway puzzle. His achievement was realized when he drove this brand new two-mile corridor for the first time.   

Christine Warren
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/cwarren.jpg Christine Warren has a unique job, driving virtually on highways before they are built. Working with computer simulation programs at CH2M Hill, she determines if proposed designs for transportation projects will operate safely and efficiently upon completion. In the past three years, Christine has provided traffic modeling on projects in six states throughout which she predicts traffic flow, inefficiencies and safety concerns.

On a study of I-25 in Pueblo, Colorado, she developed a more cost-effective and accurate traffic simulation analysis process which was key in determining the best way to complete the project as well as in gaining stakeholder consensus necessary for the improvements. Her efforts were recently rewarded on a traffic modeling project for an interchange in Reno, Nevada. The much-needed project had stalled, but her modeling showed that the new interchange was the right solution and the design got the green light. And now, thanks to Christine's engineering excellence and innovation, thousands of people are able to travel the nation's roads more efficiently, economically and above all, safely.   

Aaron White
/uploadedImages/Diversity_-_New/awhite.jpg Aaron White is a civil engineer who works on the structural design of large and complex public facilities, especially those buildings that need very long-span steel roofs. Aaron has designed roofs for the Puerto Rico Convention Center and the Arizona Cardinals' new NFL football stadium. For the last three years, Aaron has been designing the roof for the largest building in the history of New England, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Standard, in Boston, Massachusetts. The building's high roof covers almost a whole city block and weighs over 5,000 tons. No two trusses in this roof have the same geometry.

Aaron has written extensively about his work with large roofs and given several presentations about his projects. Aaron went to Cornell University and works for Walter P. Moore and Associates, Inc., in Tampa, Florida.