National civil engineering society honors lifetime achievements

April 6, 2005
The American Society of Civil Engineers chose five distinguished civil engineers to receive Outstanding Projects and Leaders awards for their lifetime contributions to the profession. The awards will be presented on April 13 at ASCE's sixth annual OPAL awards gala at the Sheraton Premier in Tysons Corner, Va...

RESTON, VA, April 4, 2005 -- The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) chose five distinguished civil engineers to receive Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) awards for their lifetime contributions to the profession.

The five honorees are:
-- Lou Silano., P.E., F.ASCE, senior vice president for Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. (PB);
-- Ralph R. Peterson, P.E., M.ASCE, chairman, president and CEO of CH2M Hill Companies Ltd.;
-- C. Michael Walton, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE., Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin;
-- Retired Rear Adm. Michael R. Johnson, P.E., F.ASCE, associate vice chancellor for the University of Arkansas; and
-- Jack K. Lemley, P.E., F.ASCE, director and senior vice president for Lemley & Associates, Inc. (LAI).

The awards will be presented on April 13 at ASCE's sixth annual OPAL awards gala at the Sheraton Premier in Tysons Corner, Va.

"OPAL award winners contribute to the advancement of the civil engineering profession, but more importantly, their work contributes to the improvement of the world's health, safety and economy, which elevates quality of life for people everywhere," said ASCE President William P. Henry, P.E., F.ASCE. "The creativity, vision and leadership of this year's honorees are an inspiration to all civil engineers."

Lifetime achievement in design: Silano is senior vice president with Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc. (PB). Silano has spent his 50-year career at Parsons Brinckerhoff, where he has been involved in every major bridge project undertaken since 1951. He managed the design review of the continent's longest cable-stayed span, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Fla.; the design, preparation of specifications and construction erection of the world's largest three-span, tied-arch bridge, the Fremont Bridge in Portland, Ore., which received the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Prize Bridge Award in 1974; and the design and preparation of contract plans for New England's largest suspension span, the Newport Bridge in R.I. He was also a leader in the creation of the Baldwin Bridge, among the heaviest and widest precast segmental concrete bridges in the country for cantilever construction.

Silano has also worked on notable tunnel projects, including the multibillion-dollar Central Artery/Tunnel Project in Boston, where, as engineering manager, he was responsible for the design of land-based tunnels, open-boat structures, interchanges and other elements. His work as project manager and project engineer for the Second Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel Crossing in Virginia included a 7,000-foot-long immersed tube tunnel, two ventilation buildings constructed on manmade islands and 1,500 feet of open approaches.

Lifetime achievement in management: Peterson is chairman, president and CEO of CH2M Hill Companies Ltd. In 1965, he started working for CH2M Hill as a student, and today leads the global engineering and construction project company with $3 billion in annual revenue and 14,000 employees. He manages consulting engineering, project development, design, construction management and facility operations services in the water, transportation, industrial facilities, telecommunications, environmental and energy sectors. The company, which operates on five continents, serves infrastructure and environmental needs of both public and private clients.

Peterson is a member of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change's Business Environmental Leadership Council, a group of companies demonstrating leadership by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, investing in efficient technologies and supporting international action to lower emissions. Through CH2M Hill's corporation-wide sustainable practices program, he pursues concrete measures to mitigate the impact of business on the global environment. He applies his expertise in waste, energy and water management to seek sustainable solutions for clients. With measures such as meeting 5 percent of regional power loads with renewable energy, and adding alternative fuel vehicles to its fleet, CH2M Hill is "dedicated to environmental stewardship," says Peterson, "not just as a corporate business, but as a global citizen."

Lifetime achievement in education: Walton is the Ernest H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on intelligent transportation systems and intermodal freight logistics, in addition to transportation systems engineering, planning, operations and policy analysis. His distinguished career in transport policy and engineering analysis spans more than 3 decades and is highlighted by his contributions to many transportation professional societies and technical publications. He has published more than 200 articles and reports, and has presented more than 250 technical lectures, presentations and keynote addresses.

Walton was instrumental in creating the first intelligent transportation system program for commercial vehicle operations. This public-private partnership began as a research and development initiative in integrating advanced sensor and computer technologies with wireless communication through the creation of a large-scale, real-time database management system to improve the efficiency of freight movement nationwide. Currently this research and development program, now a public corporation, consists of an operating system involving 25 states and approximately 300,000 trucks, and generates over $5 million in monthly revenue. He also served as chairman of the Advisory Council for ASCE's 2005 Report Card for America's Infrastructure, which called for a comprehensive, long-term infrastructure plan to ensure a better quality of life for Americans.

Lifetime achievement in public works: Adm. Johnson serves as associate vice chancellor for facilities at the University of Arkansas. Previously, he commanded the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) and was Chief of Civil Engineers from 2000-2003, was a triple-hatted commander of the Atlantic Division of NAVFAC, commander of the Second Naval Construction Brigade and staff officer to the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va.

As NAVFAC commander, Johnson headed a global organization responsible for acquisition, planning, design and construction for the Navy and Marine Corps, and for select Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and federal activities. He was responsible for all real estate and a range of environmental, public works, transportation, utilities, base closures and Seabee (Naval Construction Forces) projects--employing more than 2,200 Civil Engineer Corps officers, 22,000 enlisted Seabees and more than 13,500 civilians engaged in $7-$8 billion of revenue-producing projects annually. Johnson helped create a world class Navy and Marine facilities management organization around the globe through the growing partnership between NAVFAC, the Commander of Navy Installations, the HQMC/Marine Corps Installations and the Navy Supply Systems Command. He also headed a multi-year and ongoing effort to transition a huge number of closed Navy and Marine bases--more than 90 that encompass 120,000 acres in the U.S.--back to contributing elements in their communities.

Lifetime achievement in construction: Lemley is director and senior vice president with Lemley & Associates, Inc. (LAI). He served as chief executive officer of a consortium of French and British companies that designed and built the Channel Tunnel rail system, allowing for the first time destinations across Europe to be connected directly by rail. The centerpiece of a high-speed rail link between London and Paris, the 31-mile-long railroad connection running under the English Channel connects Folkestone, England and Sangatte, France.

During his career, Lemley has managed international infrastructure construction encompassing a broad cross section of engineering and construction work, including heavy civil construction, mining, power generation and industrial and institutional building. He has worked with public and private clients worldwide on a variety of services, focusing on tunneling and underground activities and including consulting, cost estimating, schedule analysis, constructability, value engineering and program management. Currently, his firm, LAI engages in expert witness and litigation support.

The OPAL awards honor outstanding projects and professional civil engineers for lifelong contributions in five categories--public works, construction, management, design and education. The awards were inaugurated in April 2000.

Founded in 1852, ASCE ( represents more than 137,000 civil engineers worldwide, and is America's oldest national engineering society. The society celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2002.


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