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2009 New Faces of Civil Engineering


ASCE is shining the spotlight on 10 individuals whose technical prowess and spirit of volunteerism illustrate the enthusiasm and passion of the civil engineering profession. ASCE forwarded their stories to National Engineers Week New Faces of Engineering program, which recognizes outstanding young engineers from all engineering disciplines. Each year, the program is held during National Engineers Week in February. Both New Faces of Engineering programs celebrate the accomplishments of young engineers, highlighting their careers and their contributions to their communities.

Carrie Buthe
Carrie Buthe

Designing systems that will provide safe, reliable drinking water to over 300,000 people in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, is one of the many positive community contributions made by 26-year-old Carrie Buthe, a water resources staff engineer for Banner Associates, Inc. in Sioux Falls, SD.

In her current position, Buthe participated in the design of the main transmission line for the $500 million Lewis and Clark Water System. In a region with limited water resources, her work will have a positive impact on water quality, supply and infrastructure problems and stimulate the regional economy for years to come.

As the Younger Member Chair for the South Dakota Engineering Society, Buthe promotes the engineering profession to youth, with a special emphasis on young women. She works as part of a team that conducts hands-on engineering workshops reaching hundreds of girls each year. She is also implementing an outreach program for middle school children.

Buthe received her bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering from South Dakota State University. She resides in Sioux Falls, SD.

 Ben Groeneweg
Ben Groeneweg

Ben Groeneweg, 25, considers it a privilege and a duty to serve others. As a project engineer for Fort Wayne City Utilities Engineers, he has been instrumental in the planning and design of water resources for the City of Fort Wayne, IN. In his current position, Ben participated in the long term control plan for the elimination of combined sewer overflows. His projects include developing reports on elimination of inflow and infiltration, design of sewer re-route projects and trenchless pipe rehabilitation through cured-in-place-pipe. Groeneweg aspires to help improve society through his continued work in water utilities and sanitary sewer systems.

Groeneweg is actively involved in his community. He serves as an after-school tutor, a mentor at an institutional home for boys, and as a Sunday school teacher. He also serves meals for a downtown rescue mission and participates in Neighborhood Link, an organization that works on housing projects for the disadvantaged.

Groeneweg received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Tri-State University. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in public management from Indiana University. He resides in Fort Wayne, IN.

 Philip Hinson
 First Lt. Phillip J. Hinson

Recovering from the devastating destruction of Hurricane's Katrina and Gustav proved to be a rewarding task for 26-year-old Air Force 1st Lt. Phillip J. Hinson, the chief of maintenance engineering at Kessler Air Force Base.

Hinson was an integral part of the rapid recovery of Kessler Air Force base and the Mississippi Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. Leading 13 men and women, he conducted maintainability design reviews for over $450 million in rapid reconstruction projects. More recently, Hinson led the 81st Civil Engineer Squadron's preparation, ride out, and recovery of Keesler Air Force Base following the landfall of Hurricane Gustav in 2008. In addition, Hinson was responsible for executing 34 service contracts valued at $5.4 million per year supporting the technical training of over 26,000 military students annually. He also oversaw federal and Air Force energy policy for the base, significantly reducing energy consumption during the first year of his watch.

Hinson reaches out to his community as well. With 39 volunteers, he provided engineering support to a Boy Scout camp, enabling 451 scouts from three states to earn over 680 merit badges.

He received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University. He also received educational honors from Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama and Air Force Institute of Technology, and Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Iriginally from Cleveland, OH, He is currently assigned to Kunsan Air Force Base in the Republic of Korea as chief of plans for the 8th Civil Engineering Squadron.

 Melanie Kasper
Melanie Kasper 

Melanie Kasper, P.E., makes old buildings new again in her job as project manager for S. Harris Ltd. in Philadelphia, PA. This 28-year-old structural engineer has worked on dozens of projects involving structural analysis and stabilization of existing buildings, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kasper got her start with Urban Engineers, Inc. serving as construction inspector, project manager and designer for infrastructure improvement projects for the Center City District of Philadelphia, PA. Specifically her combination of technical and managerial skills brought fluidity to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Lighting Improvements Project. This project received an award from the American Society of Highway Engineers, Delaware Valley Section in 2005.

More recently, she was the lead engineer to analyze and design a structural reinforcement system to increase the load capacity of The Lewis Store, the oldest retail store in the nation. This articulated steel system was the source of a technical paper she presented at the American Institute of Conservation conference in Richmond, VA in 2007. Currently, Kasper is project manager of several building restoration projects located along the beachfront community of Asbury Park, N.J.

When Kasper is not exploring old buildings, she trains and competes in triathlons. She has competed in eight races in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Kasper earned her bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Bucknell Univeristy and her master's degree in civil engineering from Drexel. She is a resident of Philadelphia, PA.

 Eduardo Shinichi Maeyama
Eduardo Shinichi Maeyama
A member of Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi engineering honor societies, 24-year-old Eduardo Shinichi Maeyama, has already made his mark internationally with Parsons, Brinckerhoff Middle East in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. His growing expertise in sustainable engineering design and construction recently won him first place in an intra-company Emerging Professional World Paper Competition with his paper, "A Sustainable Future".

Maeyama's interest in sustainability began as an undergraduate and continued through his early training with Parson's Brinckerhoff's Washington D.C. office. He worked on infrastructure and transportation projects with government agencies, including District Department of Transportation and Washington Metro Area Transit Authority. He expanded his involvement with sustainability as a member of the US Green Building Council's Emerging Green Builders core group of the National Capital Region.

In 2007, Maeyama transferred to PB's Middle East operation and worked on proposals for numerous projects including the Masdar Initiative,a project aiming to develop a zero carbon footprint community. He joined the project management team of the Global Village Development, the flagship project of the three billion square-feet Dubailand Development. He has since returned to the U.S. office.

Maeyama earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Bucknell Univeristy. He resides in Washington, D.C. 

Ken Maschke Ken Maschke

Ken Maschke, P.E., a project engineer with Thornton Thomasetti in Chicago, loves talking about the exciting things he works on. While working in Denmark for six months in 2007, Maschke volunteered to maintain a bi-weekly blog about his experiences published by ASCE. Through his blog he provided insight into the challenges of his engineering work, and wrote about his adventures seeing Europe's great engineering marvels and participating in the local culture.

Back at home in Chicago, IL, 28-year-old Maschke continues to speak with prospective engineers about his career via a new blog, and he serves as the chair of ASCE's Committee for Pre-College Outreach. Maschke also teaches structural engineering principles to prospective architects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Maschke's structural engineering work on new and existing buildings provides plenty of interesting stories. He has worked on repairing the roof of the Chicago Bears practice facility, designed structural provisions for the full redesign of the exterior lighting system of the historic Chicago's Wrigley Building Complex, participated in the design Queen City Square Tower, the tallest building in Cincinnati, and performed structural concept studies of three radical architectural designs of multi-use structures for the Central Cove development in Dubai, UAE.

Maschke earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from the University of Michigan. He is a resident of Chicago. 

Theo MeloTheo Melo

Theo Melo, 23, is on the fast track in the civil engineering field with his early success as a project construction manager. As a construction manager for CH2MHill in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and the City of Ft. Lauderdale's Capital Improvements Water Works 2011 Program, he manages millions of dollars of infrastructure projects in an intense congested urban environment.

Coordinating multiple government agencies, utility companies, contractors, and public relations staff; developing cost estimates, quantity take offs, and complex change orders; and evaluating human resource requirements for over 120 projects covering a 10 year period are projects which established Melo as a valuable member of his firm, actively sought after for his technical and analytical skills.

Melo can also be counted on to help when others are in need of volunteer support. As a humanitarian, fluent in English, Portugese and Spanish, he has spent summers helping to build one of only three public chemotherapy hospitals in Brazil and working with the Environmental Protection agency on Hurricane Katrina emergency response activities in New Orleans.

Melo received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Auburn University. He resides in Ft. Lauderdale. 

Jamie Padgett Jamie Padgett, Ph.D.

Jamie Padgett, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, is a rising star who conducts research on how to improve our nation's infrastructure and shares her knowledge in the classroom. Her research is in the critical and timely area of infrastructure assessment and protection from hazards, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or aging. Her work on seismic bridge vulnerability provided tools for Department of Transportation officials and emergency managers to assess the resiliency of our transportation infrastructure and select effective bridge rehabilitation techniques.

Following Hurricane Katerina, 29-year-old Padgett traveled with the ASCE/TCLEE reconnaissance team to evaluate the performance of the Gulf Coast transportation system. Her research has subsequently aimed to develop new models for predicting coastal bridge reliability and identifying improved design details. Her work will have a major impact on adapting critical infrastructure to climate change and improving the safety and security of our nation's transportation infrastructure, and is critical to enhancing the sustainability of our built environment.

Dr. Padgett teaches graduate and undergraduate courses at Rice University. In addition she actively mentors students, including co-advising the Rice ASCE student chapter and an Engineers Without Borders team. She also volunteers on national committees, including the ASCE Seismic Effects and Structural Control Committees.

Padgett earned her bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida and her Ph.D. in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She resides in Houston, TX. 

Melissa Rodriguez Melissa Rodriguez

Melissa Rodriguez, 27, has her hands in a variety of projects that demonstrate her love of civil engineering and her hope for others to share her profession.

As a civil engineer with Parsons Brinckerhoff in Orange, CA, Rodriguez supplied information for geometrics, design and cost estimates for the $40 billion California High Speed Rail project and prepared designs for the Foothill South Extension project. Melissa is pursuing her project manager certification and serves on the Orange office's Green Team, a group focused on developing and promoting sustainable practices within the organization as well as in the industry as a whole.

Rodriguez gives back to her profession by reaching out to students in high school and college and by being involved in professional mentoring for emerging civil engineers. She also promotes diversity in the profession of civil engineering as an active alumnae for the Society of Mexican American Engineers and through Parsons Brinckerhoff's Hispanic Resource Network.

Rodriguez earned her bachelor's in civil engineering from the University of California, Irvine. She is a resident of Lake Forest, CA. 

Joy Sirikanchana Dr. Joy Sirikanchana

Growing up in Thailand's capital city, Bangkok, Dr. Joy Sirikanchana experienced unpleasant water and air quality, which inspired her to solve problems of environmental pollution. She followed her dream all the way to the San Francisco Bay area where as a post doctoral researcher, she worked to prevent fecal contamination. As part of a research team at University of California, Davis, Sirikanchana helped developed a better monitoring method to identify sources of fecal pollution in recreational coastal and estuarine water. The method protects California's residents and tourists along the coastal area from waterborne disease.

Sirikanchana, who is 29, has international experience in the field of water quality. Graduating first in her undergraduate class, she subsequently worked in a Thailand consulting firm, improving the water supply and treating municipal solid waste within many Thai cities. She came to the U.S. for post graduate studies focusing both her master's work and her doctoral dissertation on the efficacy of known water treatments on emerging microbiological threats to the water supply. The results of her work helped the US Environmental Protection Agency assess new microbial candidates for drinking water regulation.

With the goal of improving her home country's environmental quality, Sirikanchana will leave the US this year and return to Thailand. She will join research teams at the Chulabhorn Research Institute in Southeast Asia specializing in environmental health problems of developing countries.

Sirikanchana earned her bachelor's degree in environmental engineering from Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand, and her master's degree and Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She resides in Davis, CA.

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