CE Academy inducts seven new members

Posted by
On April 24, 2017

Seven professionals with ties to Missouri University of Science and Technology were inducted into the Missouri S&T Academy of Civil Engineers at a dinner and induction ceremony held on Friday, April 21 at Hasselmann Alumni House in Rolla, Missouri.

The academy recognizes outstanding alumni for their professional achievement and success, and it provides organized assistance to the civil engineering department at Missouri S&T.

New members are:

Becky Baltz, southwest district engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), earned bachelor of science degrees in civil engineering and engineering management from Missouri S&T in 1984. With MoDOT, she progressed through various engineering jobs in St. Louis and Springfield, Missouri, and was named district engineer in 2006 in Joplin, Missouri. In 2011, she was named southwest district engineer in Springfield, where she restructured the district as part of MoDOT’s reorganization. A highlight of her career is the 2012 conversion of U.S. Highway 71 to Interstate 49 between Joplin and Kansas City. Other projects she directed in the southwest district include the region’s first design-build project, first six-lane freeway, MO 249/Range Line Bypass in Joplin, and several diverging diamond interchanges — one of which received the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2015 “Best Use of Innovation” Award in the small projects category. She is the only person to receive “Most Influential Woman” recognition in both Joplin and Springfield. She also received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from the Ozarks Chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (OCITE), as well as the 2016 Woman of the Year Award from the Kansas City Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS).

Claudia Hoeft, national hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1990 from Missouri S&T. She started her hydraulic engineering career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Columbia, Missouri. She worked at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas, and since 2005 Hoeft has served as the NRCS National Hydraulic Engineer in Washington, D.C. She provides critical direction for engineering practice with specific leadership for hydrologic and hydraulic analysis of watersheds, floodplains, wetlands, agricultural and urban lands, and streams for NRCS water resource projects. She oversees and coordinates with other NRCS engineering specialists on policy regarding earthen embankment dams constructed through the NRCS Watershed and Flood Prevention Program as well as other hydraulic structures constructed with assistance provided to landowners through various NRCS-administered programs. She authored, co-authored, or served as editor for portions of the NCRS National Engineering Handbook (NEH) on Hydrology and NEH on Snow Survey and Water Supply Forecasting. She is a Fellow of ASCE.

Paul Kronlage, vice president of engineering for EFK Moen LLC, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1983 from Missouri S&T. For 14 years with MoDOT, he worked and managed highway corridors in the St. Louis area, such as 11 miles of widening of Interstate 55 south of Interstate 270, 10 miles of widening of Highway 141 from Highway 30 to Interstate 64, and 10 miles of widening of Highway 21 in Jefferson County. In 1998, Kronlage and three friends founded EFK Moen LLC. As partner and director of engineering, he has helped grow the company from its original four employees to a firm with offices in St. Louis, Chicago and Fairview Heights, Illinois. EFK Moen supports large firms and has acquired its own large projects, such as the 11 miles of widening of Highway 65 in Taney County, Highway 364 in St. Charles County from I-64 to I-270, and the first consultant-designed diverging diamond interchange at James River Freeway and National Ave. in Springfield, Missouri. Kronlage is a longtime member of the Engineers’ Club of St. Louis, Missouri Society of Professional Engineers, American Council of Engineering Companies and International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers.

Mary Lamie, executive director St. Louis Regional Freightway, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1989 and a master’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1998. She worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation for 22 years, and her last assignment was deputy director of highways for Region 5. While at IDOT, she was responsible for the region’s transportation program, including engineering, management and budgeting. Her project management experience includes the high-speed rail corridor between St. Louis and Chicago and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge (I-270) across the Mississippi River. Since 2015, she has served as executive director of St. Louis Regional Freightway, a business enterprise of Bi State Development. She is responsible for public-private partnerships to optimize the region’s freight transportation network, creating a foundation for the bi-state region as a national freight hub. She received the 2008 (Illinois) Southwest Leadership Council Salute to Leadership Award, the 2008 Winning Women Public Service Award, the 2004 Woman of the Year by the WTS Metropolitan St. Louis Chapter and the 1992 IDOT State Engineer of the Year Award.

John Priest, who is semi-retired in Littleton, Colorado, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1952. During the last six decades, he has managed staffs and successfully implemented water resource, environmental, policy and institutional programs in the U.S. and for international lending agencies and government ministries. Between 1959 and 1986, he went from planning engineer to vice president and group manager for the eastern hemisphere at Harza Engineering Company in Chicago. Subsequently, as senior vice president and president, he directed global operations of Engineering Consultants Inc. in Englewood, Colorado. Priest managed and directed environmental and engineering projects in Argentina and Chile for Black & Veatch International. While rebuilding five countries that were devastated by war and natural disaster from 2004-09, he oversaw the strengthening of Afghan contractors through rebuilding infrastructure, accompanied by the reintegration into society of combatants after 30 years of war. He led financing studies for the $20 billion Tunnel and Reservoir Program for Greater Chicago to capture storm water runoff that contaminated Lake Michigan, and for the preparation of a Congressionally mandated report to secure the 1979 appropriation for construction of the Garrison Diversion Project. During the last 20 years of reserve service in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps, he was promoted to captain and was action officer on the staff of the chief of Naval operations for strategy, plans and policy with a focus on the global maritime strategy that was designed for peaceful defeat of the Soviet Union.

Dr. Tom Wolff, senior associate to the engineering dean at Michigan State University, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1970, a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1974 from Oklahoma State University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1985. Upon graduating from Rolla, he worked for the St. Louis District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a geotechnical engineer. After 15 years with the Corps, he earned a Ph.D. and joined the civil and environmental engineering department at Michigan State University. At Michigan State, he has been associate dean of undergraduate studies, interim chair of the civil engineering department and his current position. At Michigan State, he received three department teaching awards and one from Chi Epsilon. Wolff was the principal investigator on 12 funded research projects, graduating seven Ph.D.’s. He has written chapters in four different engineering textbooks and written articles in refereed journals and publications from conference proceedings. At Michigan State, he was the Chi Epsilon faculty advisor, and he served on ASCE committees related to geotechnical engineering. Wolff was involved in three post-Katrina task groups and currently serves as the national president of Chi Epsilon Honor Society. From the Corps of Engineers, Wolff received the Corps of Engineer’s Commander’s Award for Public Service, MSU’s College of Engineering’s Withrow Distinguished Service Award and the MSU ASCE Student Chapter William A. Bradley Award for outstanding faculty members.


Dr. Shamsher Prakash, professor emeritus of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at Missouri S&T, joined the civil engineering department in 1978 as an associate professor in geotechnical engineering and has since influenced a generation of graduates and peers. He retired in 2000. Prakash is a pioneer in the liquefaction of silts and clays and soil-pile-structure interactions. His books, reports and publications serve as a mentor to students in his field. Among his many recognitions are Distinguished Member of ASCE; Gold Medal, Kazakistan Society for service to Geotechnical Engineering Worldwide (2013); Distinguished Alumnus, Indian Institute of Technology for contributions to earthquake engineering; and Distinguished Alumni, University of Illinois. Prakash developed and chaired five international conferences on recent advances in geotechnical earthquake engineering and seven international conferences on case histories in geotechnical engineering. These conferences, sponsored by S&T, were held in various locations through the United States. In 1988, Prakash and his wife, Sally, established the Shamsher Prakash Foundation with the purpose of “uplifting mankind through yoga, geotechnical engineering, education and peace.” Their foundation makes 10 cash awards in geotechnical engineering research, teaching, practice and for creative design and for achievement in soil dynamics. Their foundation also funds a primary school for children of immigrant workers in India.

Share this page

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *