All posts by Sue Hill

Raine Gardner ’05 is a 2018 Young Professional of the Year

Raine Gardner
Raine Gardner ’05

MSA is proud to announce that Raine Gardner, senior project engineer for the firm, has been awarded with a Young Professional of the Year Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

The award recognizes the accomplishments of young Professional Engineers (PEs) who have made significant contributions to the industry and to the greater society. Gardner was recommended by the ACEC Wisconsin chapter and is the first from the state to be recognized.

Raine holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Michigan Technological University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read more at MSA Professional Services.


Cold Regions Engineering Award for Ralph Hodek

Ralph J. Hodek
Ralph J. Hodek

Ralph Hodek was selected by the Cold Regions Engineering Division of ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) to receive the 2018 Harold R. Peyton Award for Cold Regions Engineering.

For your extensive career of university teaching and mentoring of numerous Masters and PhD students in the field of Cold Regions Geotechnical Engineering and for your service to ASCE and the Technical Council on Cold Regions Engineering.

Hodek is an associate professor emeritus in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The award consists of a medal and cash prize in the amount of $600. It will be presented at the Society’s Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, from October 12-15, 2018.


Brian Barkdoll Comments on Runoff and Flooding

Brian Barkdoll
Brian Barkdoll

HOUGHTON COUNTY — Vegetation is a key element in preventing landslides and erosion but when it comes to road washouts like those seen during the Father’s Day flood there isn’t an easy solution.

Roots help hold soil in place with lightweight and deep rooted plants making good drainage ditch choices but plants can’t be grown in a blacktop.

Not all positive, vegetation can slow down water flowing through a ditch but this raises the water level causing it to overflow on the road, said Brian Barkdoll, civil and environmental engineering professor at Michigan Technological University. Once the ground reaches a certain level of saturation the water isn’t absorbed anymore, development can prevent saturation as well.

When we develop land we put roofs and parking lots and those surfaces don’t allow that water to infiltrate into the soil anymore 100 percent of the water runs off into streams or into sewers so whenever we develop we’re creating more runoff and perhaps flooding. Brian Barkdoll

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kali Katerberg.


Michigan Sea Grant Funding for Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue
Pengfei Xue

Pengfei Xue (CEE) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $48,969 research and development grant from the University of Michigan-Michigan Sea Grant. Xue is part of the Michigan Sea Grant.

Martin Auer (CEE emeritus) is the Co-PI on the project “Cladaphora, Mussels and the Nearshore Phosphorus Shunt in Lake Michigan.”

This is the first year of a potential two-year project totaling $199,870.


Registration Open for Michigan Rail Conference

MICHIGAN RAIL CONFERENCE 2018

Registration is now open for the Michigan Rail Conference 2018. The conference will be held Aug. 7-9 on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Michigan.  This year’s theme is “End to End Journeys: Integrating Partners.” Field trip activities include a round-trip train tour to Grayling.

Registration fees:

  • Early Registration—$200 (available through June 22)
  • Regular Registration—$250 (available June 23 – July 20)
  • Late Registration —$325 (July 21 through the conference dates)

Registration information is available from the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Tech.

By the Rail Transportation Program at Michigan Tech.


Local Students Explore the Aquatic Food Web

Kids and Joan Chadde look at a map while on the RV Agassiz.HOUGHTON — “You guys are going to be working today,” Agassiz captain Stephen Roblee informed a group of excited South Range fourth-graders.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, was a day of scientific exploration for these students, who are among the first to participate in Michigan Technological University’s annual Ride the Waves summer programming.

When not on the water the students focused on lab learning, including examining plankton, bloodworms and demonstrating how a fish might use their swim bladders to impact buoyancy.

MTU students Sara Gustafson, Maya Geiselhart and Ryan Kibler led the lessons and will do so for the summer. All three had experience with similar testing and programs in other areas though MTU has a little extra to offer, they said.

The Ride the Waves outreach program is funded through the Great Lakes Research Center and a grant from General Motors Corporation.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Kali Katerberg.


Tech Biosolids Research Featured at National Conference

Jennifer Becker
Jennifer Becker

Jennifer Becker (CEE) and graduate student Karina Eyre participated in the Water Environment Federation’s Residuals and Biosolids Conference 2018 (May 15-18) in Phoenix, Arizona. Becker gave an invited presentation entitled “Pathogen and Indicator Organism Inactivation in Class A Biosolids Produced by Low-Tech Methods,” during a session focused on identifying critical research needs related to biosolids, the treated residuals produced during municipal wastewater treatment. Becker and Eyre each gave podium presentations based on ongoing research sponsored by The Water Research Foundation and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Eric A. Seagren (CEE) is also a principal investigator on these projects.


Scott Conners ’92 to Serve as the President of the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers

Scott Conners
Scott Conners ’92

1992 alumnus Scott Conners, PE, will serve as the President of NSPE-MI, the National Society of Professional Engineers in Michigan.

Conners has a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering and holds many certifications related to municipal government. He has been the city engineer in Walker for the last 20 years, after having worked as a consultant for eight years with a variety of clients and projects across west Michigan. Scott previously served as Western Regional Vice President for MSPE and Western Chapter President, and currently serves as the chairman of the Professional Engineers in Government statewide committee.

Conners is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Grand Valley Metro Council, the Grand Rapids Charter Township Planning Commission and Site Plan Review Committee, and many other organizations. In addition to the bachelor of science degree, he holds a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.

In 2017 Conners won the Michigan Engineer of the Year Award from NSPE-MI. Scott is described as a dedicated, hardworking engineer, outstanding in professional abilities and endless willingness to volunteer. He is well respected among his peers with esteemed reputation for leadership.


Victoria Sage Receives Award from Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council

Victoria Sage Accepting AwardVictoria Sage, technical writer in the Center for Technology & Training (CTT), is the recipient of the 2018 Carmine Palombo Individual Award from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council (TAMC). In addition to her duties as a technical writer at the CTT, Sage is editor of the Michigan Local Technical Assistance Program’s The Bridge newsletter.

In announcing the award, the TAMC notes “Vicki’s work in these roles has been a great service to the TAMC in that many of Vicki’s efforts advance the strategies of the TAMC Work Program through key training and educational initiatives for professionals at local transportation agencies. Vicki has also provided leadership and advocacy of asset management principles as well as communicating relevant programs of the TAMC and transportation agencies across Michigan in helping develop stories in The Bridge.”

One of the driving factors in Sage’s nomination for this award was her role in development of the TAMC Bridge Asset Management Workshop. Using innovative features of common desktop software, she transformed the TAMC training into a focused workshop to quickly and easily create a bridge asset management plan for students attending the training.

“Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans, and she developed an innovative way to use everyday tools to help the workshop attendees,” says TAMC Bridge Committee Chair Beckie Curtis. “This innovation has been a game changer in terms of what can be accomplished in the training workshops and making it even easier for people to have a document that they can then use to organize treatments in a way that is financially manageable.”

Vicki had a vision to improve the creation of bridge asset management plans…Beckie Curtis

Transportation asset management is a process of managing public assets, such as roads and bridges, based on the long-range condition of the entire transportation system. TAMC, created in 2002 by the Michigan Legislature, promotes the concept that the transportation system is unified, rather than separated by jurisdictional ownership. Its mission is to recommend an asset management strategy to the State Transportation Commission and the Michigan Legislature for all of Michigan’s roads and bridges.

Victoria Sage at TAMC Conference


Michelle Banonis ’99 Helps Shape Future of California Water

Michelle Banonis
Michelle Banonis

Michelle Banonis was appointed Assistant Chief Deputy Director of DWR (California Department of Water Resources) on May 8. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) Mid-Pacific Region where she spent eight years working on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Upper San Joaquin River.

We are shaping the future of California’s water environment.Michelle Banonis

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Banonis spent most of her early years in Michigan. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering in 1999 from Michigan Technological University and in 2015 earned a Juris Doctor degree from Humphreys College, Laurence Drivon School of Law.

Read more at “Banonis Appointed Chief Deputy Director,” DWR Winter 2017-18, p. 29.