RESTON, Va. – The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) announced today its 2024 recipients of the Society’s Outstanding Projects and Leadership (OPAL) awards, which recognize lifetime achievement in each of five categories: construction, design, education, government, and management. These individuals have advanced the civil engineering profession and enhanced their communities through innovative ideas, superb leadership, and a dedication to furthering the education of future civil engineers.
“ASCE is proud to honor the most renowned minds in the engineering field with this year’s OPAL Award recipients,” said Marsia Geldert-Murphey, P.E., 2024 President, ASCE. “The 2024 award winners have each played a role in improving the resilience and sustainability of infrastructure projects around the world, tying together past advancements with future needs. Our communities and future workforce are stronger thanks to these exemplary individuals and their contributions to the engineering profession.”
OPAL Award winners will be recognized at the OPAL Gala, which is scheduled for October 8, 2024, in Tampa, Florida at ASCE’s 2024 Convention.
The 2024 OPAL leadership award recipients
Cary Kopczynski, PE, SE, FACI, FPTI, M.ASCE, CEO and senior principal of Cary Kopczynski & Company (CKC), an award-winning structural engineering firm – for innovation and excellence in promoting efficient construction in civil engineering projects and programs. CKC designs major urban building structures throughout the U.S. and has won more than 80 regional, national, and international awards for its projects. With offices in Seattle and Chicago, CKC has pioneered numerous ideas to improve design and construction such as the use of high strength reinforcing steel and fibrous concrete in high seismic regions. Kopczynski is a past president of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) and past president of the Structural Engineers Association of Washington (SEAW). As ACI President, he spearheaded an initiative to improve the constructability of design and productivity of construction, resulting in the formation of a growing new entity called PRO: An ACI Center of Excellence for Advancing Productivity, whose board of directors he chairs.
James R. Harris, Ph. D., P.E., NAE, F. SEI, Dist. M. ASCE, founder and principal, J.R. Harris & Company in Denver, CO – for innovation and excellence in civil engineering design. He has designed or evaluated thousands of structures ranging from dwellings to high-rise buildings, industrial facilities, buildings in the most susceptible seismic zones, excavation bracing, renovations of historic buildings, and many others. His research has focused on the loading and response of structures, particularly earthquake and snow loadings. He is an active member of several committees that produce national standards for structural engineering practice. He has chaired the committee that produces the standard ASCE/SEI 7 Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures, and its subcommittee for seismic design.
Bilal M. Ayyub, Ph.D., P.E., Dist.M.ASCE, Hon.M.ASME, F.SNAME, F.SRA, F.SEI, S.M.IEEE, professor and director, Center for Technology and Systems Management, University of Maryland, College Park – for demonstrated excellence in furthering civil engineering education. Ayyub is recognized as one of the world’s leading researchers in risk analysis for informing decisions on disaster resilience. He is also a leading researcher in the areas of sustainability, climate/hazard-resilient infrastructure, natural infrastructure, environmental/ecological concerns, and associated economics and finance. His research has supported projects from governmental, private and international entities including the National Science Foundation, Departments of Defense, Transportation, Homeland Security, Energy, Interior and Commerce, and leading insurance and multinational corporations, such as Bechtel, Chevron, United Technology, and Ford. He is the author or co-author of more than 650 publications including 20 books and recipient of several awards, including the 2019 ASCE President’s Medal for bringing adaptive design to the profession to help address a changing climate.
Roger M. Millar, P.E., F.ASCE, F.AICP, secretary, Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) – for demonstrated leadership of public sector projects and programs. The prominent theme throughout Millar’s career is stewarding transportation systems that are not ends unto themselves, but rather the means toward economic vitality, environmental resilience, aesthetic quality, public health and social equity. His work on the Portland Streetcar and the Glenwood Springs to Aspen Bus Rapid Transit system provided communities nationwide a blueprint for new mobility tools. His Complete Streets leadership helped create a national movement for transportation systems that are safe, convenient, and pleasant for all users, regardless of how they choose to travel. Appointed Secretary of Transportation by Washington state Governor Jay Inslee in 2016, his leadership brings innovation to agencies with enormous influence on transportation investment. Most recently, Millar was the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President from 2022 to 2023 and the ITS America Board Chair from 2021 to 2022. Millar graduated from the University of Virginia in 1982.
Robert Prieto, M.ASCE, chairman and CEO, Strategic Program Management LLC, and non-executive director, Dar al Riyadh – for exceptional management skills in his professional career. As Chairman of Strategic Program Management and previously at Parsons Brinckerhoff and as a senior vice president at Fluor, Prieto focuses on improving organizational strategy and execution for large complex programs. He has served on numerous corporate, advisory and academic boards; co-chaired the NYC Partnership and Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure Task Force post 9/11; chaired the World Economic Forum (WEF) Engineering & Construction Governors; and as a presidential appointee to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He is a Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America (FCMAA); member of the National Academy of Construction (NAC); and member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council (ILC).
About the American Society of Civil Engineers
Founded in 1852, the American Society of Civil Engineers represents more than 150,000 civil engineers worldwide and is America's oldest national engineering society. ASCE works to raise awareness of the need to maintain and modernize the nation's infrastructure using sustainable and resilient practices, advocates for increasing and optimizing investment in infrastructure, and improve engineering knowledge and competency. For more information, visit www.asce.org or www.infrastructurereportcard.org and follow us on Twitter, @ASCETweets and @ASCEGovRel.