Teamwork, Collaborative Effort Highlight 2018 OPAL Gala

March 15, 2018
The Second Avenue Subway project team accepts the 2018 OCEA award. PHOTO: David Hathcox

Team was the theme at the 2018 OPAL Gala, March 15, in Arlington, VA.

Anil Parikh, vice president and senior program manager at AECOM, thanked more than a dozen project team leaders and contractors, as he accepted the 2018 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement award on behalf of MTA/New York City Transit for the Second Avenue Subway – Phase 1 project.

“It was a great team effort in building this project,” Parikh said. “And I am proud to be part of this project.”

The Gala – ASCE’s annual Academy Awards of civil engineering – honors the best of the best in projects and civil engineers. The OCEA award , established in 1960, recognizes the project that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills and represents a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society.

The Second Avenue Subway project was selected among five finalists. The first major expansion of New York City’s subway system in more than 50 years, the project included building some of the largest caverns in North America for two of the new stations. The tunnel liner was not the typical steel reinforcing bars, but instead only steel and polypropylene fibers. With such deep caverns, the team used 3D renderings to detail the proper arrangement of the rebar.

“Anyone who has worked on the project has had people come up to them and say we improved their lives by shortening their commutes, or made it easier to visit their grandmother or get to a doctor’s appointment,” said Michael Trabold, P.E., M.ASCE, associate vice president, AECOM, and project manager. “It is gratifying to have a direct impact on people’s lives. It’s why we got into this profession.”

The team concept was a consistent topic in the speeches of the four 2018 Outstanding Projects And Leaders award winners:

• In construction, F. Dave Zanetell Jr., P.E., M.ASCE, President, Kraemer North America LLC – for senior level professionals whose primary responsibility is to oversee significant construction projects

• In education, Sharon L. Wood, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, NAE, Dean, School of Engineering, University of Texas at Austin – for professors and deans whose careers are marked by achievements that direct or change the course of engineering education

• In government, Kyle E. Schilling, P.E., BCEE, D.WRE, F.EWRI, Dist.M.ASCE, Director (retired), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources – for civil engineers at work on public service construction projects or those who direct and oversee large government projects

• In management, William F. Brumund, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, President and Global CEO, Golder Associates (retired) – for senior managers of an engineering organization, whose primary responsibility is to oversee and direct operations

“This is a shared award,” Zanetell said. “This is something we’ve all done together.”

The four 2018 OPAL award winners. PHOTO: David Hathcox

The four 2018 OPAL award winners. PHOTO: David Hathcox

The National Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure Wall of Wind Experimental Facility, located at Florida International University, received the 2018 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation. Arindam Gan Chowdhury, director of Wall of Wind Experimental Facility, accepted the award with a heavy heart, just hours after a pedestrian bridge collapsed on FIU’s campus, killing at least four people.

“Today’s a sad day for FIU and our community,” Chowdhury said from the stage. “In lieu of an acceptance speech, we ask for a moment of silence for reflection.”

CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave earned the ASCE Excellence in Journalism Award.

Richard M. Kunnath, P.E., M.ASCE, board president of the Charles Pankow Foundation, received the Henry L. Michel Award for Industry Advancement of Research. The award recognizes designers and constructors who increase the awareness and participation of the industry in research advancement.

Kunnath spoke of team, too – specifically, fishing trips to British Columbia, Canada, with Charles Pankow and the award’s namesake Henry Michel.

“It means a recognition for the work that the Foundation and the many volunteers who support it are accomplishing,” Kunnath said. “It certainly helps to highlight the importance of innovation to civil engineering. And to me personally, it’s an honor. I knew Henry Michel, and anything that associates me with a man that great is a wonderful thing.”

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