S&T Academy of Civil Engineers inducts 11 new members

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On September 28, 2020

Eleven professionals with ties to Missouri University of Science and Technology were inducted into the Missouri S&T Academy of Civil Engineers during a virtual induction ceremony held Friday, Sept. 18.

The academy recognizes outstanding alumni for their professional achievement and success, and it provides support and experience to help the civil, architectural and environmental engineering department at Missouri S&T to reach its collective mission and vision.

New members are:

Ronald Colas, of Miami, Florida, vice president of WSP USA Inc. and managing executive for south Florida and the Caribbean, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1987. He has managed and completed engineering projects in California, Florida, and the Caribbean working in both the public and private sector for more than 32 years. His list of projects runs the spectrum of transportation-related engineering, ranging from highways to waterway ports to airport projects. Colas is an active member of several technical societies, including Florida Engineering Society, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Society of Civil Engineers, International Society of Soils Mechanics and Foundation Engineers, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Enterprise Association, and the National Society of Professional Engineers. He is also active in community service and philanthropic organizations such as the Transportation and Expressway Authority of Florida, Florida Airport Council and Engineers without Borders (EWB), and he has volunteered in Haiti to rebuild after an earthquake. He also coaches youth soccer. Colas, a registered professional engineer in seven states, has received accolades and awards for his contributions to the field of engineering including Florida Engineering Society’s Engineer of the Year award. He and his wife, Gaye, have three children — Isabelle, who works is in global public health, is married and lives in Los Angeles; Reginald, who works in the pharmaceutical industry lives in Boston; and Richard, who will be a freshman in college this fall, studying to become be an occupational therapist and an attorney. Colas is fluent in several languages, enjoys traveling with family, flies radio-controlled scale helicopter models and plays golf.   

Jason Dohrmann of St. Louis, vice president and regional director for H.R. Green’s transportation group, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1999. He began his career at Parsons Brinckerhoff, then left in 2003 to help HR Green start up an office in St. Louis. His career has included the technical design, planning, project management and construction management of many significant transportation and infrastructure projects across the Midwest. Dohrmann has served as chapter vice president, secretary and treasurer for the St. Louis chapter of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE) and serves on the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Advisory Council. He is also a director and past chairman of the engineering excellence, Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) and St. Louis County liaison committees for the American Council of Engineering Companies-Missouri. He has served on the national awards committee for the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and chaired the American Public Works Association (APWA) National Awards Committee. He is also an active member of the Engineer’s Club of St. Louis. Dohrmann has been active in community organizations, including the United Way of St. Louis, St. Alban Roe Catholic Church and Archdiocese of St. Louis Annual Catholic Appeal Council. He is a member of Sigma Pi fraternity’s alumni board, which recently raised funds for the design and construction of a new fraternity house. Dohrmann has received numerous accolades, including St. Louis Business Journal’s 30 under 30, St. Louis Chapter’s MSPE Young Engineer of the Year, MSPE’s State Young Engineer of the Year, the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department’s Exemplary Young Alumni Award, MSPE’s Outstanding Service Award and the APWA Public Works Leader of the Year in Private Practice. Dohrmann and his wife of 14 years, Karen, have three amazing boys. In his spare time, he enjoys watching and coaching the boys in their various sports. 

Daniel Ellis of Bella Vista, Arkansas, senior vice president of Northwest Arkansas infrastructure for Crafton-Tull, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1999. He began his career with Crafton-Tull as an entry-level civil engineer and rose through the company’s ranks to his current position, senior vice president for infrastructure and manager of the Rogers, Arkansas, office. He has helped Crafton-Tull become one of the largest engineering firms in Arkansas. He has managed projects ranging from retail developments and apartment complexes to schools, roads, football stadiums and hospitals. Ellis has been active in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), serving in several leadership positions, culminating in the presidency of both the Northwest Arkansas Branch and Arkansas Section of ASCE. He has been an active mentor for S&T students, actively assisting them in their capstone design projects and providing career information and guidance. He was named the Civil Engineering Exemplary Young Alumnus in 2014. Ellis is active in his church, serving as sound production leader for Sunday services as well as many other events. He has put his civil engineering skills to work on a volunteer basis in Arkansas and on numerous mission trips to Africa. He has also been an active volunteer in various capacities for youth sports in both his and other communities. His son, Zechariah, is a freshman at Arkansas State University and a member of their football team. His daughter, Abigail, is a freshman at Bentonville High School and plays guitar and signs for their church. He is a man of long-term commitment and loyalty, as an example, wedding rings were not an adequate symbol commitment, so he and his wife, Chauna, have coordinating Mickey and Minnie mouse tattoos on their ring fingers. Also, he will never be able to leave Crafton-Tull since the corporate logo is tattooed on his body. Ask him to show you where! In the little free time he has, he enjoys fishing in north central Arkansas. 

Steve Ford of Franklin, Tennessee, vice president of Garney Construction, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Missouri S&T in 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He received the Outstanding Civil Engineering Senior Award from S&T by the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE). Ford estimates, bids and manages operations for multiple projects and is responsible for the organization and management of Garney’s Mid-South and Mid-Atlantic operations. These projects include major water and wastewater pipeline and facilities construction and rehabilitation. Since 1979, Ford has managed major infrastructure projects throughout the United States. He is also an active member of the American Water Works Association and the National Utility Contractors Association. Ford has been active in the Franklin Rotary Club at Breakfast for more than 20 years. His drive to help his club and charities in the form of fundraising for annual events like the annual charity golf tournament is such that in his club of 97 members, he singlehandedly raised 17 percent of their funds for 2019. Because of his help, his Rotary was able to build Habitat for Humanity homes; build ramps and make home modifications for children with special needs; fund programs for local Boys and Girls club; provide clean water systems for children’s hospitals and stoves for feeding stations in Guatemala; furnish supplies for a local domestic violence shelter; and give support for many other local services for the less fortunate. In his hometown of Jackson, Missouri, Ford established the not-for-profit Legacy Preservation Enterprise to preserve precious historical and natural resources for future generations in Jackson, Byrd Township, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri. This effort includes the preservation and restoration of the Abraham Byrd house (ca. 1827), the Frizel-Welling house (ca. 1818/1838), and the Criddle House (ca. 1815). Ford’s passion for native plant restoration and re-establishment led him to design and install the Taylor Twins Memorial Garden in Jackson, planted with only native plants, and the work-in-progress to establish a native plant nature preserve, the Charles Shelby Ford Conservation Area, on the 50-acre farm where he was raised. Ford also supported establishing the Garney Undergraduate Scholarship in Construction Engineering and Management (CEM) through the Missouri Consortium for Construction Innovation (MO-CCI).

John George of Overland Park, Kansas, vice president and managing director of Oil & Gas Americas-Europe for Black and Veatch, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1981. He provides leadership to deal with innovative solutions to clients in matters of capital and strategic planning, operational effectiveness, project execution, change management and operational and business excellence. George ensures that Oil & Gas teams’ activities guarantee successful solutions implementation, quality that meets or exceeds clients’ expectations, predictable project execution and high customer satisfaction. George has worked for Black and Veatch for a total of 29 years. He also worked for Hovensa LLC, managing projects and serving as vice president of technology for oil and gas operations in the Virgin Islands, where he lived from 2005 to 2011 before returning to Black and Veatch. George has been a mentor and role model for Miners working at Black and Veatch. He has helped many engage professionally and has volunteered his time to come back to Rolla to speak with students about professional responsibilities and about being a supportive alumnus. He has shared his unique path in leaving consulting to run a major industrial facility in international locations and then returning to his consulting career. 

Brady Hays of Overland Park, Kansas, vice president and director of strategy and risk management for Black and Veatch, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1998. He also holds a master of science degree in civil engineering and an MBA from the University of Kansas. Hays works in the oil and gas business line, where in addition to strategic planning and risk management, he is also involved with mergers and acquisitions; market intelligence; market and client segmentation; strategic sales and account development programs; marketing analysis; and client relationship management. In past roles in the water business line, he worked across multiple functions, continents and business units on projects and corporate assignments to promote global growth and value contribution. Hays served as the project director for seawater desalination projects with a focus on major mining accounts and the TKO Project in Hong Kong. He served as the P&L director for the water-mining and Latin America region, contributing more than $3 million EBT annually. He held business development roles in Water UK for the AMP5 capital program period for the water utilities; corporate development roles for strategy and mergers and acquisitions with identification, valuation and preliminary due diligence for Gleeson acquisition; and corporate strategic planning roles with the 2020 team. Hays, a licensed professional engineering in Missouri, served on the advisory board for Missouri S&T’s College of Engineering and Computing and frequently returns to speak to students in civil, architectural and environmental engineering. 

Michael Hermesmeyer of Highlands, North Carolina, retired senior vice-president for Boyle Engineering Corp., earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1971. He began his career with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago and then joined Chicago Fly Ash Co. He moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, when he joined Parkson Corp. in 1978 as a process engineer. Born and raised in Quincy, Illinois, he fell in love with the east coast of Florida and continued his water and wastewater career with three engineering consulting firms. He joined the third firm, LBFH, in 1989 and rose to president and CEO of the 300-plus employee, six-office firm before he negotiated its sale to Boyle Engineering Corp. There he served as senior vice president and a member of the board of directors until the firm was sold to AECOM. Hermesmeyer has received several honors including Engineer of the Year for the Treasure Coast Chapter of the Florida Engineering Society (FES) in 1990 and in 1992 he was named an FES fellow. In 1997-98 he was the Business Person of the Year for the Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce. He was an active member of FES serving on its board for many years and as the founding president of the Treasure Coast Chapter. He was also active in the Water Pollution Control Association and the Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE or ACEC-Florida) both on the board of directors for many years and then served as its president. Hermesmeyer has served his community in many capacities, including serving on the boards of the Martin County Council for the Arts, Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the board and president of the Martin County Economic Council. He was chairman of the Martin County Industrial Development Board and the Environmental Quality Control Board. As a student he served on the Student Union Board and was president from 1970 to 1971. Hermesmeyer enjoys boating, golf, fishing and spending time with family and friends. He and his wife, Susan, have retired to the mountains of North Carolina where they enjoy visits from their daughter, Robyn, and three grandchildren.

David “Dave” Kemper of Tampa, Florida, senior principal for Stantec, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 1979 and a master of science degree in engineering management in 1984, both from Missouri S&T. He began his career in the consulting engineering field and spent his entire career in the industry. He earned his master’s degree attending part time in the evenings through the St. Louis extension program. After working five years in St. Louis, he and his family relocated to Tampa, Florida, in 1985. Kemper leads Stantec’s Tampa office with approximately 150 staff members and is a discipline leader for its community development practice in Florida. He served as principal or project manager on many of the largest urban redevelopment and land development projects in the region. Kemper has been active in numerous professional organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Florida Engineering Society, the Society of American Military Engineers, Urban Land Institute and Real Estate Investment Council. He also serves on various committees and holds multiple officer positions. Kemper is active in various charity organizations and fundraisers, including many years of coaching children’s youth sports teams and being the top fundraiser for an autism cycling event for the past six years. Kemper enjoys following Tampa Bay Rays baseball and riding his mountain bike on the off-road trails located in the former phosphate strip mines east of Tampa. He and his wife, Barb, and adult children Christopher, Courtney and Douglas, live in Tampa.

Mike Pappas of Austin, Texas, associate director of the Construction Industry Institute, earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1989. He also holds master of science and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, where he works as a lecturer in civil engineering. Pappas served eight years as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer, managing projects for the Navy and Marine Corps in the U.S., the Caribbean, and the Western Pacific. He also designed and managed infrastructure projects for the Farnsworth Group in central Illinois. He currently works with companies to implement CII research into their project management practices. Pappas is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, and the State Bar of Texas Construction Law Section and is a professional engineer in Missouri. As a self-employed project management consultant for more than 15 years, Pappas helps clients develop effective solutions in various areas of front-end development, execution, and dispute prevention and resolution. He has taught professional development courses for almost 4,000 project professionals in 16 countries. His experience includes heavy industrial, infrastructure and utility projects from need identification and scope definition through operation and maintenance. Pappas and his wife, Barbie, a 1990 electrical engineering graduate of Missouri S&T, have two sons – Jim, a firefighter in Corpus Christi, Texas, and John, a mechanical engineering sophomore at the University of Arkansas. Pappas serves on his church’s security team, is a shooting sports instructor with the Boy Scouts of America, and was the public address announcer at Regents School of Austin for football and lacrosse games. He is a member of the advisory board for Advanced Work Packaging conferences and for One Day Academy. He enjoys hunting and firearms competitions.

Ty Sander of St. Louis, vice president of Crawford, Murphy and Tilly Inc., earned a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1998. A dedicated aviation professional, he has worked for Crawford, Murphy and Tilly Inc. since 1999. He was recently named vice president and has served as civil engineer, group manager and regional group manager of Aviation Services. A member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Sander is a member of the American Association of Airport Executives, the Missouri Airport Managers Association, MoSAC, MSPE and ASCE. He has served as the Missouri Airport Managers scholarship chairman for the past five years and has given numerous presentations at FAA, ACl and AAAE conferences throughout his career on aviation-related topics. In 2013, Sander co-authored an analysis and recommendation of a long-term rehabilitation program on Runway 12R- 30L at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, “2013 Airfield and Highway Pavements Specialty Conference Publication, Transportation and Development Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers,” which was a published technical paper. He truly has a love of pavement engineering work at airports. His dedication, relationships with regional and national aviation administration, airport directors, managers, airlines, and innovations in pavement design has saved operational downtime and critical funding for many airports across the country, including Lambert-St. Louis-International Airport. Sander was the project engineer on both the partial rehabilitation of the primary runway for Columbia Regional Airport in Missouri and Keel Section Replacement, Runway 30R, for Lambert St. Louis International Airport, which both won national paving awards from the American Concrete Paving Association. Sander has been a volunteer and supporter of the United Way for more than 15 years. He is the father of two wonderful young ladies, Brooklynn, 14, and Lillian, 10, and enjoys spending time with them. He regularly volunteers at their schools and in their competitive dance, serving as a “Prop Dad” building and moving scenes as needed for performances. Sander is also active with Lillian’s Girl Scout troop, serving as a volunteer, leader and instructor for events and activities. He attends, supports and volunteers at events for his fraternity and also enjoys golfing, hiking, biking and reading.

Brian Swenty of Evansville, Indiana, professor of mechanical and civil engineering at the University of Evansville, earned bachelor of science and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1976 and 1989, respectively. He earned a master of science degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida in 1977. Swenty served on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a senior civil engineer with a consulting firm in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and as director of Missouri’s Dam and Reservoir Safety Program. Since 1993, Swenty has been at the University of Evansville, where he served 21 years as chair of mechanical and civil engineering and 1.5 years as interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He is a licensed professional engineer in California, Florida, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana and works as a consultant on projects involving the design and construction of new dams, modifications to existing dams, and the investigation of dam failures. Swenty has been active in several professional organizations, most notably ASCE, ASDSO and ABET. He was appointed to ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission in 2013 and recently completed a five-year term as commissioner. He has made numerous accreditation visits as both a program evaluator and a team chair during his 20-year involvement with ABET. He served as Missouri’s representative to the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) for 10 years and chaired the liability and legal issues committee. He is an active member of his church and has been involved in children’s ministry activities for almost 40 years. He and his wife, Connie, enjoy traveling, bicycling and spending time with their three adult children, Matthew, Melissa and Michelle, and their eight grandchildren.

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