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Kancheepuram N. Gunalan, Ph.D., P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE

2019 President Elect Official Nominee

Vision Statement

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has served the profession and its members well, for over 165 years. Being a beacon of technical excellence with a vision of "building a better quality of life", ASCE grabbed my attention while pursuing my Master's degree in India 36 years ago.  Upon arriving in the United States to pursue my Doctoral degree approximately 35 years ago, I signed up to be part of this preeminent organization with the help of my advisor. Ever since I have been actively engaged with the organization and its activities at the local, national and international levels.  In addition to serving on the Board of Direction, one of the highlights of my ASCE tenure was being Chair of the 2014 Global Engineering Conference in Panama City, Panama that was held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary celebration of the Panama Canal. I am very humbled by the contributions made by our members on a daily basis to their fellow professionals, the organization, the profession and society at large. I have been very fortunate that my journey has provided me a better understanding and appreciation for the challenges our members and the industry faces around the world.  

As the population grows, demand for more resources and services will grow to maintain the quality of life we all seek. Civil engineers have a moral obligation to  preserve the limited resources and sustain this planet we call home. Hence the ASCE Board of Direction (BOD) reviews the state of our profession on a regular basis to develop strategies to keep the organization and its members relevant through ever-changing times.  The BOD has been working this past year on developing a six-goal strategic plan to keep the focus on moving us toward the aspirational global vision; and to assure that the progress is being managed and measured along the way.  The working list of goals focus broadly on the following:

  • Best practices and state-of-the-art technologies
  • Safe, efficient, and sustainable infrastructure
  • Education and professionalism
  • Valuing the role of civil engineers
  • Membership growth
  • Organizational excellence

Based on my discussions with a number of our members who are very passionate about our profession and its future, and with a commitment to carrying out the will of the BOD, my vision is that ASCE: 

  1. Continues to be an organization of the future -- transparent, diverse, inclusive and accessible;
  2. Sustains itself financially and stays relevant for the foreseeable future;
  3. Attracts the best and brightest to the profession;
  4. Supports faculty advisors/liaisons in keeping students engaged; keeps Younger Members actively engaged by providing opportunities and platforms that help shape the future of our profession;
  5. Continues to encourage pursuit of knowledge and technical excellence; 
  6. Recognizes and rewards innovation;
  7. Fights marginalization of the profession by helping members enhance their value to their employers, clients, and communities;
  8. Continues to promote "zero tolerance" of bribery, corruption and fraud;
  9. Builds on its strong "brand" globally;
  10. Serves as a global leader in solving quality of life issues.

ASCE continues to embrace transparency, gender equality, diversity, inclusiveness as evident by the recent adoption of Canon 8 and provides access to all -- including younger members and students from all walks of life around the world.

ASCE takes advantage of emerging technologies and tools to remain relevant, enabling members to continue to enhance their value to the global community.   Value to membership and in turn enhanced member value is achieved by providing easy access to the most current and relevant technical information -- including state-of-the-art practices that bring value to programs, projects and clients.   

ASCE continues to provide members the tools and know-how to enhance their value while fighting marginalization of our profession. Enhanced value of our profession will not only continue to attract the best and brightest, but will also help retain the best and encourage their active participation in the organization. 

ASCE continues to encourage and provide an effective vehicle for mentorship so we do not leave any one in our profession behind.  I had the good fortune of having great mentors who encouraged, supported and guided me both in my professional career and at ASCE.  I believe everyone needs someone to help climb the ladder of success.   

ASCE continues to encourage pursuit of knowledge and technical excellence through higher and continuing education, research and innovation. This advanced knowledge will in turn help members envision, plan and develop the next generation of sustainable infrastructure projects.  ASCE's nine institutions, the cornerstone of the organization, are a great resource in helping achieve this Challenge.   

ASCE continues to provide a platform to develop our members' professional and leadership skills that will enhance their value and enable them to influence public policies pertaining to emerging topics such as autonomous vehicles, sustainability, resiliency, big data, smart cities, etc. ASCE continues to show leadership in gathering information and lessons learned; developing policies and procedures that help address both natural and man-made challenges such as those caused most recently by "Hurricanes Harvey and Irma". 

ASCE always strives to help members and partners preserve the integrity and dignity of our profession.  ASCE promotes "zero tolerance" toward ethical digressions, and continues to help everyone in the profession achieve their personal goals without compromising their integrity.  

ASCE continues to build on its brand globally and sustains itself for the future by serving as a Beacon of Excellence for generations of Civil Engineers to come - just as it did for me, and many others.   

I will work very diligently with your support to shape and structure an ASCE that is relevant to both its members and the profession; financially stable; nimble and influential globally.   I am passionate about our profession and I am proud to be a Civil Engineer.  I chose to be a Civil Engineer to make a difference and hope to have the opportunity to serve as your President to move us one step closer to the aspirational global vision.  


Interview

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Civil Engineering, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, 1986
  • Master of Engineering, Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Anna University, India, 1981
  • Bachelor of Engineering, Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Madras, India,1979
  • Licensed Professional Engineer (Civil), New Mexico (1990-present), Utah (1994-present)

Work Experience

  • AECOM,Vice President Alternative Delivery, AECOM, 2012-present
    • Capture Manager on major Infrastructure Projects managing multi-national and multi-discipline teams, contract and fee negotiations, developing pursuit strategy, and identification of risk and mitigation strategy. Providing lessons learned and best practices in developing senior, mid-level and junior staff on mega alternative delivery (design build, P3, CMGC) pursuits and projects throughout U.S. and Canada
    • Capture Manager/Deputy Design Manager on $1.2 B Central 70 pursuit in Denver, Colorado.
    • Advised Mass DOT in Development of Basic Technical Concept Design and revision of D-B Manual.
    • Developed and provided oversight of Quality Program for $500 M CAD Waterloo LRT Project.
    • Deputy Project Director and AECOM's Project Manager assisting NYSTA with procurement of the $3.9 B design-build Tappan Zee Bridge Project, 2012-2013.
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., Vice President, Senior Project Manager, Senior Professional Associate, 1996-2012
    • Manager, Design Build Technical Excellence Center responsible for design build work in all market sectors both on the owner's side and design builder's side of project delivery.(2006-2009)
    • Principal-in-Charge, $ 1 Billion DFW Connector Project, Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas responsible for contracting, setup and execution of pursuit/ project.
    • Deputy Manager, Geotech and Tunneling Technical Excellence Center, 2006-2012. Assisted with utilization, marketing and management of 200 geo professionals.
    • Program Manager of $265 Million I-15 NOW Expansion Design Build Project; Project Manager/Design Manager on the $330 Million Legacy Parkway DB Project; Program Manager for PB/Technical Oversight Manager/Pavement Construction Oversight Manager on the $1.529 Billion I-15 Reconstruction Project.
  • Maxim Technologies, Inc., Office Manager/Engineering Manager,  1993-1996
    • Responsible for marketing, management and operations; managed staff of 35 geo- professionals, industrial hygienists, and technicians providing geotechnical, environmental and material testing services.
  • Terra Engineers, Inc., Vice President/General Manager, 1986-1993
    • Responsible for marketing, management and operations; managed staff including 15 technicians providing geotechnical and material testing and inspection services.
  • Texas Tech University, Adjunct Faculty, Civil Engineering Department,  1991-1992
    • Undergraduate Geotechnical Engineering Course.
  • Texas Tech University, Part-time Instructor/Research Assistant, Department of Civil Engineering, 1982-1985 
    • Geotechnical Engineering/ Materials Lab.
  • Associate Lecturer in Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, Guindy, Madras, India, 1981-1982
    • Geotechnical Engineering Lab, provided consulting services.

ASCE Involvement

  • Awards
    • 2016 Professional Practice Ethics and Leadership Award
  • Governor, Geo Institute, 2014-present
    • Digital Media/Website
    • Regional Conferences
  • Member, Annual Convention Organization / Sponsorship Sub Committee, 2014-present
  • Corresponding Member, Global Strategy Council, 2016-present
  • Member, Indian Initiative Advisory Task Committee, 2015-present
  • Advocacy Captain/Member, Key Contact Committee, 2015-present
  • Chair, Committee on Ethical Practice, 2012-2015
  • Member, Task Committee on International Strategy, 2012-2014
  • Chair, Global Engineering Conference, Panama City, Panama, 2014
  • Director Region 8, 2009-2012
    • Program/Finance Committee
    • Strategic Advisory Committee
  • Executive Committee
  • Chair, Sub Committee on Global Principles for Professional Conduct, 2009-2012
  • Program Chair, Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada, 2012
  • Governor, Region 8, 2005-07
    • Chair, Awards/Program Committee
  • Member, Technical Committee on Embankments, Dams and Slopes, 2005-2008
  • Chair, Geo Institute Task Force on MSE Wall, 2005-2007
  • Member, Task Force on Global Principles for Professional Conduct, 2005-2006
  • President Utah Section, 2002-2003
  • President, High Plains Branch, Texas Section, 1992
  • Technical Advisor, Development of Ethicana

 

Other Volunteer Activities

  • Member, National Institute of Engineering Ethics, 2015-present
  • Vice Chair, Americas, World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) Anti-Corruption Committee, 2015-present
  • Member, WFEO Anti-Corruption Committee, 2013-2015
  • Member, Chi Epsilon Honor Society
  • Boy Scouts of America, 1995-2002
  • Texas Tech University CE Academy Inductee, 1997

Presentations/Publications

  • Keynote Lecture, "Understanding Performance and Developing Global Geotechnical Standards", Indian Geotechnical Conference IGC 2016, IIT Madras, Chennai, India, 2016
  • Facilitator, discussion on "Design and Performance of Deep Foundation Under Liquefied Soil Conditions", DFI-IGC Preconference Workshop, IIT Madras, Chennai, India, 2016
  • Geotechnical Delivery On Mega Transportation Projects: Challenges of Accelerated Delivery, GEOSTRATA, 2016
  • Moderated Panel discussions on a variety of topics including topics on Ethical Challenges at various ASCE Annual Convention/Conferences
  • Presentations on various topics of Ethics at ASCE MRLC, AECOM, 2009-2012
  • Expert Panelist, DBIA Transportation Conference, Grapevine, Texas, 2010.
  • Invited Lecturer, "Geotechnical Challenges on Transportation Projects", Geotechnical Engineering - Indian Experience GEOINDEX, Indian Geotechnical Conference 2006, Chennai, India, 2006.
  • Principal Author, "Chapter 14 - Highway Construction, the Handbook of Highway Engineering", CRC Publication, 2006.
  • Co-Presenter, Workshop on "Design Build, Warranties and Performance Specification" for FHWA Field Engineers, Washington D.C., 2004.
  • Principal Author, "Accelerating Construction of Bridge Abutments and Embankments, Legacy Parkway Project, Salt Lake/Davis Counties, Utah", Geo Trans 2004, Los Angeles, California, 2004.

Personal

  • Married to Duru 35 years
  • Son, Kabilar Gunalan, pursuing M.D./Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Case Western University
  • Daughter, Pallavi K. Gunalan, pursuing Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at USC
  • Love to read, travel, meet people, learn about various cultures

Endorsements