Meet our speakers!

Jason D. Averill

Jason D. Averill is Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The Materials and Structural Systems Division includes four groups: the Infrastructure Materials Group, Structures Group, Earthquake Engineering Group, and the Community Resilience Group. The division is also responsible for managing three statutory programs, including the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (for which NIST is the lead agency), the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (for which NIST is the lead agency), and the National Construction Safety Team Program. Since joining the Engineering Laboratory in 1997, Mr. Averill has focused his research on assessment of hazards to building occupants. Key research areas include movement of people, emergency preparedness, effectiveness of building systems and technologies, and emergency response. Mr. Averill has assessed fire safety for passenger rail cars, characterized material toxicity in large and bench scale experiments, characterized the effect of firefighting resources, and evaluated smoke detection technologies in residential housing.

Mr. Averill is currently an advisor to the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, was appointed to two terms on the International Code Council's Means of Egress Committee, has served on the NFPA Life Safety Code Committee (Means of Egress), and was a member of the ASME A17 Task Group developing guidelines for Occupant and Firefighter Use of Elevators During Fire Emergencies.

Bilal M. Ayyub, PE, PhD, Dist.M.ASCE, Hon.M.ASME, F.SNAME, F.SRA, F.SEI

Dr. Ayyub is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of Center for Technology and Systems Management at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Co-Director, International Joint Research Center for Resilient Infrastructure, Tongji University, China. He is affiliate of Center for Risk and Reliability; Disaster Resilience Center; Maryland Robotics Center; Applied Mathematics and Scientific Computation Program; and Institute of Systems Engineering. He was a visiting fellow at the National Security Analysis Department of the Applied Physics Laboratory of the Johns Hopkins University (201516). He was a chair professor at Tongji University (2016-18). He received the ASEE Fellowships ONRfunded for sabbatical leaves at U. S. Navy (USN) from 1993, 2000 and 2007, and was also a USN consulting professor during this period. He is the president of BMA Engineering, Inc., and angel investor and entrepreneur, and served on the board of several startup companies. Professor Ayyub is a distinguished member of ASCE and an honorary member of ASME. He is also a fellow of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME), the Structural Engineering Institute (SEI), and the Society for Risk Analysis (2017-18 Treasurer), and a senior member of IEEE.

Dr. Ayyub completed his doctorate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1983. Dr. Ayyub’s main research interests and work are in probabilistic risk analysis, resilience, sustainability, uncertainty and decision analysis, applied to civil, infrastructure, energy including renewables, defense and maritime fields, climate/hazard-resilient infrastructure, natural infrastructure, environmental/ecological concerns, and risk finance. Dr. Ayyub completed research and development projects for governmental and private entities including NSF, DOD, DOT, NIST, DHS, and leading insurance and multinational corporations worldwide including Chevron, United Technology, Ford, Bechtel, Hartford, Hyundai, etc.

Dr. Ayyub is the recipient of several awards, most recently the 2018 ASCE Alfredo Ang Award on risk analysis and management of civil infrastructure, 2019 ASCE President Medal for many efforts to bring adaptive design to the profession to help address a changing climate, 2019 ASCE Le Val Lund Award for contributions to resilience enhancement and risk reduction for lifeline-networked systems through measurement science and associated economics toward informing policy and decision-making practices, 2018 ENR Newsmaker award for passionate effort to give engineers their first formal guidance when designing infrastructure to be more resilient to weather extremes, and 2016 ASNE Solberg Award significant engineering research and development accomplishments in the field of ship survivability. He is the author and coauthor of more than 650 publications, and the founding editor-in-chief of the ASCE-ASME Journal on Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems.

Daniel Barrie, Ph.D.

Dan is a Lecturer, Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, and program manager in the Climate Program Office at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration where he manages a climate modeling program as well as a program that supports the National Climate Assessment (NCA). He was on the Federal Steering Committee for NCA4, released in 2017 and 2018, and will serve in the same role for NCA5. He was part of a team that won the 2019 Department of Commerce Silver Award for the Assessment.

Dan’s background is in Physics (BA, Colgate University) and Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (PhD, University of Maryland). Dan’s interests are in drought and hydroclimate, energy systems-climate interactions, climate model development and analysis, and variability and change in marine ecosystems.

Catherine Coleman Flowers

As the founding director of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice(formerly the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise), Flowers builds partnerships–from close neighbors, to local elected officials and regional nonprofits, to federal lawmakers and global organizations–in order to identify and implement solutions to the intersecting challenges of water and sanitation infrastructure, public health and economic development.

In 2011, Flowers worked with the UN Special Rapporteur to uncover the startling level of poverty in Lowndes County and the southern United States more broadly. With the Columbia University Law School Human Rights Clinic and Institute for the Study of Human Rights, she published “Flushed and Forgotten: Sanitation and Wastewater in Rural Communities in the United States”(2019), an examination of inequalities in access to sanitation and clean water within a framework of human rights. The report exposes the extent of water contamination and sanitation problems in poor, rural communities across the country, largely due to neglect by local leaders.

Flowers also spearheaded a collaboration with tropical disease researchers focused on intestinal parasitic infections spread by way of insufficient water treatment and waste sanitation. The researchers found that hookworm–long thought to have been eliminated from the South–is in fact prevalent among the residents of Lowndes County, prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to undertake a similar, larger study across the rural American South. Flowers’s testimony to the U.S. Congress led to the introduction of legislation in 2019 to address neglected diseases of poverty in the United States.

In addition to leading the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, Flowers sits on the Board of Directors for the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the American Geophysical Union, as well as serving as a Practitioner in Residence position at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. In 2021, her leadership and fervor in fighting for solutions to these issues led her to one of her most notable appointments yet — Vice Chair of the Biden Administration’s inaugural White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council. Previously, Flowers has worked as a high school teacher in Detroit, Michigan, and Washington, D.C. She has published articles in Anglican Theological Review, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, and American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, among others, and her first book, Waste: One Woman’s Fight Against America’s Dirty Secret, came out in November 2020. Flowers was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship–commonly referred to as the “Genius Grant” –in 2020.

Renee Collini, Ph.D.

Renee Collini is the Director of the Center for Equitable Climate Resilience at The Water Institute. In this newly established role, she draws from on-the-ground experience working in underserved communities and navigating federal, state, and local governmental processes and systems to help support effective and equitable climate resilience planning and action in communities across the Gulf Coast. Prior to
joining the Institute, Renee served as a coastal climate resilience specialist in the northern Gulf of Mexico for almost a decade, facilitating the flow of information between researchers and decisionmakers to improve science application. As the lead of the Program for Local Adaptation to Climate Effects: Sea-Level Rise, she integrated a multi-state network of stakeholders, researchers, NGOs, and state and federal agencies to build tools, programs, and projects to address gaps in sea-level rise observing, research, and decision-making. She has collaborated on projects and efforts that have improved coastal community and environmental resilience and has led development of tools and programing that have been applied throughout the Gulf and across the United States.

John Dai, P.E.

John is a senior engineer currently leading the Climate Adaptation Vulnerability Assessment (CAVA) at Southern California Edison (SCE). With over ten years of combined experience in civil engineering, earthquake engineering, program management, and climate change, John does not know how to say 'no' to a new initiative. He also serves as chair for the sub-committee on Climate Intelligence in Codes & Standard (CICS) through American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate (CACC).

John received a Bachelor of Science in Structural Engineering from University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and he is also a licensed professional civil engineer in California. During his free time, you can find John deep in the mountains backpacking or at your local craft brewery.

Benjamin J. DeAngelo

Benjamin DeAngelo is the Deputy Director of the Climate Program Office in the research arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is the Chair of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), a working group under the Arctic Council, and serves as the NOAA Principal to the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). His specialties focus on climate change, the Arctic region, scientific policy, atmospheric composition, and risk mitigation. He previously served for just under 20 years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the Senior Analyst and Advisor for Climate Change Science and Policy. Prior to that, we worked as the Deputy Executive Director for the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the Deputy Executive Director of U.S. Global Change Research Program with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Co-Chair of the Arctic Council Task Force for Short-Lived Climate Forcers with the Arctic Council. He received a joint undergraduate degree from Penn State University in Geography and German, and his Masters in Geography from the University of Toronto. 

Gerald "Gerry" E. Galloway, Ph.D.

Dr. Gerald E. Galloway, Jr. is a Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an Affiliate Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, where his focus is on disaster resilience and mitigation, sustainable infrastructure development, and water resources and energy policy and management under climate change. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Institute for Water Resources. He joined the faculty of the University of Maryland following a 38 year career in the U.S. Army, retiring as Brigadier General, and Dean of the Academic Board, United States Military Academy at West Point, where he had earlier served as a professor and the first head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. He also served, while in the military as District Engineer for the USACE in Vicksburg, MS and later, for seven years as a Presidential appointee to the Mississippi River Commission. In 1994, he was assigned to the White House to lead an interagency study of the causes of the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1993 and to make recommendations concerning the nation's floodplain management program.

Professor Galloway is also former Dean of the faculty and academic programs at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, National Defense University, where he taught ethics. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004 and to the National Academy of Public Administration in 2008. He has been a member of sixteen committees of the academies studying complex water resources , natural resources governance and national security issues. He was a six year member of the National Research Council’s Water Science and Technology Board and is currently a member of the Academies’ Roundtable on Risk, Resilience and Extreme Events, the Louisiana Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation, and the Maryland Coast Smart Council. He is also a member of a Natural Heritage Institute Team reviewing dams and climate change in the Mekong Basin. He has been a consultant to The Nature Conservancy on its Yangtze River Program, the WWF on its China Flood Risk Management program, a Natural Heritage Institute Team reviewing dams and climate change in the Mekong Basin, and to Singapore on sea level rise.

He holds a Master's degree in Engineering from Princeton; a Master's in Public Administration from Penn State (Capitol Campus), a Master's in Military Art and Science from the US Army Command and General Staff College and a Ph.D. in Geography (Water Resources) from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

Marccus Hendricks, Ph.D. 

Dr. Hendricks is an Associate Professor; Director at SIRJ Lab; Affiliated Research Faculty, Clark School of Engineering's Center for Disaster Resilience, NCSG & EFC. Dr. Hendricks' primary research interests include stormwater infrastructure planning and management, social vulnerability to disaster, environmental justice, hazard mitigation, sustainable development, public health and the built environment, and participatory action research. He takes a mixed-methods approach to his research that includes both quantitative and qualitative methods such as multiple regression, cross-sectional research, spatial mapping, in-depth interviewing, participatory action research, and different forms of spatial and analytic epidemiology, among others. At the intersection of his work, he uses a combined social vulnerability to disaster and environmental justice framework, to ensure that low-income and communities of color are planned and accounted for, emphasizing participation and action, in light of everyday urban stormwater management and extreme events such as urban flooding and investigates the socio-spatial dynamics related to the inventory, condition, and distribution of critical infrastructures and public works, mainly water infrastructure (i.e. stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water) and green space, can modify risks of hazard exposure, resulting disaster impacts, public health outcomes, and opportunities for community resilience.

While at UMD, Hendricks has received two early-career awards from both the National Academies of Science Gulf Research Program and The JPB Environmental Health Fellows Program at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. He also participated in a congressional briefing entitled "Addressing the Impact of Climate Change on Public Health and Natural Disasters" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and was quoted from his participation in Scientific American. He has also been featured in public media on the local morning show Get Up DC and Grist Magazine discussing the Ellicott City, MD floods. He is a Faculty Research Affiliate with the Clark School of Engineering's Center for Disaster Resilience, the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education, and the Environmental Finance Center. Hendricks has worked on research projects related to infrastructure, sustainability, public health and disasters, which have been funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He was also awarded a Tier 1 research grant from the University of Maryland’s Division of Research to work on a project entitled, Infrastructure, Urban Flooding and its Influence on Social Vulnerability and Mobility: A Place-based Study in Southeast Washington, D.C., one of seven selected for funding out of 33 applications. One of his most recent projects funded by the Sustainability Fund at the University of Maryland, will install sensors to monitor stormwater characteristics on campus and provide critical data to help improve stormwater management practices. The project will provide real-time continuous flow data that can inform both short term responses and longer-term restorations to address stormwater surface runoff.  His research has been published in several journals including the Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Infrastructure Systems, Risk Analysis, Landscape Journal, and Sustainable Cities and Society. He has complementary professional experience from his time working with the Brazos Valley Texas Council of Governments as a public safety planner and with the Texas A&M Engineering Extension at their Emergency Services Training Institute.

Hendricks is a founding fellow of the William Averette Anderson Fund (the first national interdisciplinary organization working to increase the number of underrepresented persons of color in the field of disaster research, practice, and pedagogy) and currently serves as a board member for the Fund. He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Science and a Master of Public Health, both from Texas A&M University. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of North Texas.

John Ingargiola

John Ingargiola is Lead Physical Scientist in the Building Sciences Branch of the Risk Management Directorate at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Federal Insurance & Mitigation Administration (FIMA) in Washington, D.C. Ingargiola’s work involves a broad range of mitigation activities that include; pre- and post-disaster building sciences, building science education, working with codes and standards-producing organizations; building codes policy development; development of technical guidance related to hazard mitigation and coordination with various mitigation partners in the public and private sector. In 2013, Ingargiola received an ICC Community Service Award recognizing his untiring support of and dedication to professional code enforcement promoting public health, safety and welfare. Before joining FEMA in 1999, Ingargiola was a Building Code Official in Florida. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Civil Engineering from the Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art.

Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D.

Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D., is chief scientist for NOAA. In this role, Dr. Kapnick will be responsible for advancing policy and program direction for NOAA’s science and technology priorities. Dr. Kapnick has extensive experience at the intersection of climate science and economics. Most recently, she served as a managing director at J.P. Morgan in the role of Senior Climate Scientist and Sustainability Strategist for Asset and Wealth Management. While at J.P. Morgan, she supported sustainability and climate action efforts and served as an advisor on new business and investment opportunities and risks.

Previously, Dr. Kapnick was a physical scientist and deputy division leader on seasonal to decadal variability and predictability at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). At GFDL, her work spanned seasonal climate prediction, mountain snowpack, extreme storms, water security and climate impacts. She was an expert and reviewer for NOAA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program, a member of its Eastern Region Climate Team, a science panelist for and the NOAA team lead for the NASA High Mountain Asia Team. Dr. Kapnick is a member of the American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society and American Association for the Advancement of Science. Prior to her graduate studies, she spent two years as an investment banking analyst with Goldman Sachs covering financial institutions. She received a Ph.D. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences with a Certificate in Leaders in Sustainability from UCLA, and an A.B in Mathematics with a Certificate in Finance from Princeton University.

Maria Lehman

Maria Lehman has more than 40 years of diverse experience in transportation and buildings from planning through decommissioning, with capital expenditures to $3.9 billion. Currently, Lehman leads the U.S. infrastructure business at GHD, focusing on federal and New York State (NYS) government relations programs and provides strategic expertise for markets and specific pursuits. She was the Acting Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the NYS Thruway Authority; VP for Infrastructure in the Northeast for Parsons Corporation; and Commissioner of Public Works for Erie County, NY, among other roles. In October 2022, Lehman will start her term as President for the American Society of Civil Engineers, a professional society with 150,000 members in 177 countries. She was also recently appointed to the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council. Lehman received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo (magna cum laude) and is a licensed professional engineer in several states.

Eric Letvin

Mr. Letvin serves as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for Mitigation. Mr. Letvin directs FEMA’s pre- and post-disaster mitigation programs that support sustainable, disaster-resilient communities, to avoid or reduce the loss of life, property, and financial impacts of natural hazards. These programs include the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grant Program, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Flood Mitigation Assistance grants, the Floodplain Management component of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and the Community Rating System under the NFIP. In addition, Mr. Letvin leads the hazard mitigation disaster workforce cadre and overall disaster operations for the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration. Mr. Letvin was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2016.

Prior to joining FEMA, Mr. Letvin was the Director of Hazard Mitigation and Risk Reduction Policy with the National Security Council, The White House. He coordinated the development and effective delivery of mitigation capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal and advised the President in the mitigation mission area. Mr. Letvin led interagency efforts to develop Executive Orders which resulted in the resiliency of the built environment to flood, earthquake and wildfire hazards.  Prior to serving at the National Security Council, Mr. Letvin was the Disaster and Failure Studies Program Director within the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Engineering Laboratory. Before coming to NIST, Mr. Letvin was Leader of Infrastructure Research and Resiliency Team in the Homeland Security Group of URS (AECOM). Mr. Letvin holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Syracuse University and Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore.

Norma Jean Mattei, Ph.D.

Dr. Norma Jean Mattei earned her Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from Tulane University and has been a renowned researcher and educator in the areas of structures and construction materials. She is also an expert in sustainable engineering and construction and large watershed management initiatives. Dr. Mattei served for a decade as one of two civilian civil engineer Commissioners on the Mississippi River Commission (MRC). She served as the 2017 President of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and locally she is still active on the Executive Committee of the ASCE New Orleans' Chapter of the Structural Engineering Institute. Norma Jean also has served in the past on several National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) committees and task forces, most recently serving as chair of the Board-level Education Committee and is an Emeritus Member of National Council of Examiners. She was named by the Governor of Louisiana to Louisiana's licensing board for professional engineers, serving as Chairman of the licensing board in 2011-12. Dr. Mattei is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Louisiana. She is currently presidentially-appointed to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.

Kit Ng, Ph.D.

Kit is the Hydraulics and Hydrology (H&H) Manager for Kit is the Hydraulics and Hydrology (H&H) Manager for Geotechnical and Hydraulic Engineering Services (G&HES) of Bechtel. Prior to her current role, Kit served as G&HES Chief Engineer for the Bechtel Infrastructure global business unit. She was appointed a Bechtel Fellow in 2016 and served as the Chair of the Fellows from 2017 to 2019 promoting technical excellence.

Kit received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1990 in Environmental Fluid Mechanics. She has 32 years of industry experience in the field of hydraulics and hydrologic engineering. She has been in technical and advisory roles providing H&H solutions to the engineering and construction of a broad spectrum of complex industrial and critical infrastructure projects in the transportation, power generation, mining and metal, liquefied natural gas, oil refinery, and pipeline sectors.

Kit’s primary area of technical expertise is in surface water hydraulics, hydrology and coastal hydrodynamics that includes assessment and mitigation of extreme precipitation and riverine flooding, dam failure, hurricane storm surge, tsunami flooding, plume dilution and dispersion, and water-resource and water-use management. Her expertise also includes hydraulic structure design and hydro-thermal modeling. Climate change's impact and adaptation have been an integral element in her work.

Kit has authored more than 20 professional publications and presentations in her technical areas that include articles in conference proceedings, presentations to trade groups, invited speaking engagements in industry, regulatory and academic forums, and research reports. Some of her professional activities include being the U.S (United States). representative and vice chair for the Flood and Dam Safety Committee of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), voting member of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Environmental and Siting Consensus Committee, working group member of ANS standard committees, and technical advisor to the Fukushima Flooding Task Force led by Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Mark Osler

Mark Osler is the Senior Advisor for Coastal Inundation and Resilience for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). His leadership advances coastal inundation science and the ability of decision makers to prepare for and respond to changes affecting the nation’s coastlines. He serves as senior advisor to NOAA leadership on defining research, applied science, and policy priorities related to understanding and reducing impacts of coastal risk to the public, our national security, and our nation’s economy.

Mark’s inter-agency leadership includes: U.S. Government representative to the G7’s Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance; Convening Lead Federal Author for the Coastal Effects Chapter of the 5th National Climate Assessment; Co-chair of the Coasts Workgroup within the U.S. Global Change Research Program; NOAA representative within various White House interagency fora including the National Security Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Council on Environmental Quality. Prior to joining NOAA Mark worked for 17 years in the private sector. He holds a B.S. in civil engineering from Lehigh University and a M.S. in coastal engineering from the University of Delaware’s Center for Applied Coastal Research.

SES Pete G. Perez, P.E.

Mr. Pete G. Perez was selected to the Senior Executive Service in November 2013 and currently serves as the Chief of Engineering and Construction for Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). He provides executive leadership for all technical engineering activities during planning, design, and construction for the military, civil works, environmental, support to others, and international programs within USACE with a budget influence of over $40 billion and a worldwide workforce of over 35,000.

Previously, Pete G. Perez was the Director of Programs for the Southwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dallas, Texas, a position he had held since October 2019. In this position, he was responsible for the development and execution of Civil Works, Military Missions, and Interagency Support within the Division. He provided leadership and supervision for the SWD Programs Directorate and has staff oversight for programs, planning, and project management activities in the division’s four district offices.

Prior to his SWD assignment Perez managed the operations of the Regional Business Center and oversaw three divisions: the Business Technical Division, Business Management Division, and Business Resources Division. He was the lead liaison on efforts between regional boards and functional boards, synchronizing activities with a particular focus on regional issues. Previously he served as the Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District, a position he had held since 2011.

Perez previously served as the chief of the Galveston District’s Engineering and Construction Division. While chief, Perez served an eight-month tour in Afghanistan Engineer District-South. Prior to this position, Perez was the former chief of Construction Operations at the Alaska District, held the position of an area engineer in the Southern Area Office, was a resident engineer in the Central Resident Office, and was a project engineer and resident engineer in the USACE Far East District in Korea. He began his career with the Corps as a project engineer in the Fort Worth District’s San Antonio Area Office.

In 2002, Perez was recognized with the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Award and earned a Professional Achievement Award from the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference. He received a Department of the Army Superior Civilian Award in 2008 and 2010, and earned the prestigious Bronze de Fleury Medal in 2008.

Don Scott, S.E., F.SEI, F.ASCE

Scott is the Senior Consultant and Former Senior Principal, PCS Structural Solutions. He is a leading expert in Performance-Based Wind Design and shares his expertise throughout the country through technical publications, presentations, seminars and National Council of Structural Engineers Association (NCSEA) webinars. In addition, Scott is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 7 General Provisions Committee, a member of the ASCE 7 Main and Steering Committee, past Chairman of the NCSEA Wind Engineering Committee, Chair of the ASCE 7 Wind Load Subcommittee and has been a member of that committee since 1996, shaping future IBC provisions for wind design.

Scott has established himself as one of the few wind design experts in the U.S. It was in the late 70’s when one of his University of Idaho professors inspired Scott’s interest in wind design. The 70’s were also when the last concerted effort had been made to perform wind tunnel research in support of the ASCE 7 Wind Provision which set the standard for wind codes. Recognizing that modern structures require updated data, Scott was an active driver with the ASCE Committee to establish a fundraiser for new wind tunnel studies. The data provided by the studies will inform the next generation wind load standard for ASCE 7-28.

Don Scott has been formative to the growth of the PCS Structural Solutions. He joined the 15-person team at Chalker Engineers, Inc. in August of 1982. “When I started,” says Scott, “the Tacoma Dome was already under construction. I supported the construction efforts, exterior site structures and the neon art installations. Throughout the years, his work at the Dome has included analysis of the dome roof to support various concert sound systems, which resulted in the design of the permanent light grid to support these systems. I was also involved in the design of the moveable seating and associated ramps throughout the years and the recently completed interior upgrades.” In 1987, Don Scott, Dan Putnam and Jim Collins purchased the firm, and the next generation of leadership was established at Chalker, Putnam, Collins & Scott Inc. Projects like the Dome and the revitalization of historic downtown Tacoma established the young engineers’ careers and the firm in the region. Today, PCS has 73 employees and a deep resume of work in public, healthcare, residential, commercial, and private markets.

Scott’s profound understanding of how buildings behave was forged over 40 years and a breathtaking 1,000+ projects. “Back in the early 1980’s,” Scott remembers, “A typical elementary school set of documents consisted of approximately a dozen sheets. Today a typical elementary school requires 30 to 40 sheets of structural drawings to satisfy the plan review and construction process.” Although the AEC environment has changed over the last four decades, some things remain the same. “Even with all the new technology, the most important factors of a successful construction project are teamwork, good communications and coordination.

Scott will remain active as the president of the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers and remain on the ASCE 7 Wind Load Subcommittee. “I have also served as the Principal Investigator for the development of the Pre-standard of Performance Based Wind Design, which is gaining momentum to be developed into a national standard.”

Thomas "Tom" W. Smith, ENV SP, CAE, F.ASCE

A dedicated member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for more than 25 years and a civil engineer by training, Tom Smith served as the association's deputy executive director and general counsel before becoming the executive director and secretary in January 2015. Smith also serves as a director on the board of the ASCE Foundation. Responsible for the day-to-day management of the Society, Smith leads a staff of over 200 and an active volunteer workforce of over 10,000, facilitating ASCE's tradition of providing high-quality products and services to more than 150,000 members in 177 countries, in all civil engineering disciplines and at all points of their career paths.

Before joining ASCE, Smith practiced law in Northern Virginia with the firm of Hazel & Thomas, P.C., now combined with Reed Smith, LLP. While in this position, Smith focused on commercial, construction and land use litigation in federal and state courts, and land use applications for commercial, industrial and residential development.

In addition to his master's degree in structural engineering and bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Virginia, Smith holds a law degree from Washington & Lee University. He is admitted to the bar in Virginia and the District of Columbia. He is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and an Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP).

Outside of ASCE, Smith serves as a trustee on the board of the United Engineering Foundation (UEF), where he serves on the Grants Committee and as chair of the Nominating Committee. He is a member of the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) Key Professional Activities and Key Global Activities Committees, as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society, and Order of the Engineer.

Actively involved in his community, Smith serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Park Trust, where he also serves on the Land and Park Preservation Committee, and he is a member of the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals. He previously chaired bar association committees providing legal services to local homeless shelters as well as coordinating national moot court competitions. Smith has published articles on engineering ethics and legal issues and is a frequent speaker on association and civil engineering subjects.

In 2020, Smith received the University of Virginia Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award, and in 2011, he received the ASCE William H. Wisely American Civil Engineer Award.

Richard "Rick" Spinrad, Ph.D.

Richard (Rick) W. Spinrad, Ph.D., was sworn in on June 22, 2021 as the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and the 11th NOAA Administrator. Dr. Spinrad is responsible for the strategic direction and oversight of the agency and its over 12,000 employees, including developing NOAA’s portfolio of products and services to address the climate crisis, enhancing environmental sustainability and fostering economic development, and creating a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive NOAA workforce.

Most recently, Dr. Spinrad served as a Professor of Oceanography and Senior Adviser to the Vice President of Research at Oregon State University (OSU). He was also Vice President for Research at OSU from 2010-2014.

Dr. Spinrad served as NOAA’s Chief Scientist under President Barack Obama from 2014 until 2016. He also led NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and National Ocean Service from 2003-2010. While at NOAA, Dr. Spinrad co-led the White House Committee that developed the nation’s first set of ocean research priorities and oversaw the revamping of NOAA’s research enterprise, including the development of the agency’s Scientific Integrity policy.

Prior to initially joining NOAA, Dr. Spinrad held leadership positions at the U.S. Office of Naval Research and Oceanographer of the Navy, where he was awarded the Distinguished Civilian Service Award — the highest award given by the U.S. Navy to a civilian. He has held faculty appointments at OSU, the U.S. Naval Academy, and George Mason University; served as Executive Director at the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education; was President of Sea Tech, Inc.; and worked as a research scientist at OSU and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. He also developed the National Ocean Sciences Bowl for high school students. In the international arena, Dr. Spinrad served as the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission from 2005-2009.

He is the recipient of Presidential Rank Awards from presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. Dr. Spinrad is past president of The Oceanography Society (TOS) and the Marine Technology Society. He is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, Marine Technology Society, TOS, and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), and an IMarEST Chartered Marine Scientist.

Dr. Spinrad received his B.A. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from The Johns Hopkins University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Oceanography from Oregon State University.


Chris has over 45 years of professional experience in the development, leadership, fiscal management, and strategic direction of a diverse group of architects and engineers at Clark Nexsen. For the last 20 years, Chris served as Clark Nexsen’s President and CEO. Chris recently retired but continues to consult with the firm as the Senior Principal for Sustainability and Resiliency at Clark Nexsen.

Chris works to further develop and define “sustainability and resiliency” for all Clark Nexsen’s projects, to inform our clients about climate change, sea level rise, increased precipitation, and temperatures (heat island impacts), pandemics and the impact on our infrastructure, communities, the built environment, and their occupants. Chris serves on the Virginia Joint Subcommittee on Recurrent Flooding and the Virginia Professional Engineer’s Licensure Board and served as the 2011-2012 National President for the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).

Chris also serves on the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, a group of prominent civil engineers from across the country, who advise the ASCE Board of Direction. Chris has a BSCE from Virginia Military Institute and a MSCE from the University of Virginia.

Mari Tye, Ph.D.

Mari Tye is a Project Scientist in the Climate Change Research group of the Climate and Global Dynamics Lab. Her research centers on extreme weather and climate phenomena and their anticipated evolution with climate change. Mari's two main foci are understanding the likely societal consequences of climate intervention (e.g. through changes in drought and flood regimes), and translating global circulation model output into useful information for water resource managers.

Through her background as a Professional Civil Engineer, Mari facilitates collaborations between ground breaking atmospheric science research and decision-makers. In this capacity she is the current Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers Committee on Adaptation to a Changing Climate. She is a co-PI on the NSF funded Global Infrastructure and Climate Network (ICNet), focused on supporting educators as they prepare Civil Engineering under- and post-graduates to incorporate the impacts of climate change in their future designs. She is also a co-PI on the UCAR President's FY21 Strategic Initiative award "Towards actionable science: assessment of water availability under climate change and climate intervention scenarios".

Mari joined NCAR in 2012 after completing her PhD in statistical climatology at Newcastle University, UK, in 2012. Prior to this, Mari worked as a Civil Engineer in flood prevention and mitigation focusing on resilient drainage solutions for surface water flooding.  During 2010 she spent a three month internship with the Scottish Government's Climate Change Adaptation team as part of a policy knowledge exchange program, responding to the likely impacts of Climate Change in Scotland. In summer 2008, she also spent some time in Uganda reviewing water and sanitation in and around Kabbubu Village and helping to develop "low regret" solutions to improve the facilities and water supplies.