Missouri S&T Academy of Civil Engineers inducts 13 new members

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On April 20, 2023

Thirteen professionals with ties to Missouri University of Science and Technology were inducted into the Missouri S&T Academy of Civil Engineers during an induction ceremony held Thursday, April 13, in Rolla. 

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

New members are:

Jerry Beckmann of St. Louis, deputy director of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri S&T in 1987. In January 1988, he began work for Professional Services Industries in Memphis. In September of that year, he returned to his hometown to work for St. Louis Lambert International Airport, where he worked for 12 years before leaving to work as a consultant with St. Louis as his principal client for nine years. He returned to work at the airport in 2009 and has overseen all planning, engineering and environmental activities there since 2013. Beckmann played a major role in the recovery and rebuild of the airport after the 2011 tornado, which did approximately $30 million in damage to the facilities. Beckmann is engaged in St. Louis’ master planning efforts and looks forward to participating in the construction of new terminal facilities at the airport.

Tom Birkemeier of St. Louis, president of Keeley Construction, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering Missouri S&T in 1980. He has been with Keeley Construction since 2014, and also currently owns Seven Group Properties LLC. He has over 40 years of experience in commercial, institutional and healthcare-related construction, serving as senior vice president of McCarthy Construction and then president of L. Keeley Construction. Birkemeier is also active in the American Society of Civil Engineers and Associated General Contractors (ACG) and through service leadership, participating in many of the Keeley company philanthropic and service activities. He is also active with Urban Reach, A Seat at the Table and Pedal the Cause and supports the World Pediatric Project. Birkemeier’s honors include L. Keeley Person of the Year; leader of the second-place team in Falling Springs Primary Expansion; winner MSD Dellridge; 2020 second-place Construction Safety Excellence Award; CLO Learning Elite Award.

Daniel F. Conway of St. Louis, president and owner or Conway Contracting Inc. earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1985. He wrestled for S&T and was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, serving as kitchen steward, vice president and president. He also served as vice president of the Interfraternity Council and was a member of Theta Tau. Conway has spent his entire career in the design build construction industry, working for three St. Louis companies before opening his own firm, Conway Contracting, in 2002. The firm conceptually designed and built houses for Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Theta Xi and Sigma Pi fraternities at S&T. His conceptual design of Kappa Sigma won a national fraternity award. Conway is a board member of the St. Louis Rotary Club, the Missouri Athletic Club, the Kappa Sigma Alumni Association, St. Louis Engineers Club and AGCMO, and is a builder of and contributor to the Gene Slay Girls and Boys Club and the Sew Hope Community Center. 

Carrie Falkenrath of Webster Groves, Missouri, principal transportation engineer and planner for TTraffic and Transportation, earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri S&T in 1997 and a master’s degree from the University of Washington in 2000, both in civil engineering. Her career began with Sverdrup in St. Louis and continued with at DKS Associates, JACOBS, URS Corp. and CBB until 2016, when she founded transportation engineering firm: T2 Traffic and Transportation. A licensed professional engineer in nine states, Falkenrath is a certified Professional Traffic Operations Engineer, Professional Transportation Planner and Road Safety Professional. Falkenrath is a Fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and has held several leadership roles in the organization. She is a charter member of the St. Louis Chapter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar, the American Public Works Association, the American Planning Association and ITS Heartland. She has been an adjunct professor at both Saint Louis University and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and she serves on the city of Webster Groves traffic advisory committee. Falkenrath’s honors include the ITE Midwestern District Transportation Professional of the Year, ITE Missouri Valley Section Transportation Professional of the Year, and ITE Missouri Valley Section Young Professional of the Year.

Lloyd Flowers of Phoenix, Arizona, project director for McCarthy Building Companies, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1988. He began his career as an engineer at the Illinois Department of Transportation, then joined McCarthy Building Companies as project engineer in 1991. Flowers became McCarthy’s first Black superintendent in 1998 and its first Black project manager in 2001. During his 32-year career, Flowers has led 26 projects with a construction value of over $1.3 billion with experience that spans the education, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing and municipal sectors. His experience includes the $15 million air traffic control tower at Scott Airforce Base, the $55 million expansion to the Federal Reserve Bank, the $90 million South Campus addition for BJC HealthCare, the $1.2 billion William Beaumont Army Medical Center replacement project in El Paso, Texas; and currently a $50 million applied research facility for the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has earned several internal awards for skillful project leadership and received the Modern Day Technology Black Engineer of the Year award and the Associated Minority Contractors of Arizona 2022 President Advocated of the Year. 

Michael O. Geisel of Chesterfield, Missouri, Chesterfield city administrator, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1982 and holds an MBA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. A licensed professional engineer, he was recognized among the Top 10 Public Works Leaders in North America and has earned credentials as a Leadership Fellow. He is a two-time recipient of the Missouri Outstanding Engineer in Government and Engineer of the Year awards and has received the Spirit of Chesterfield Award from the Greater Chesterfield Regional Chamber. Following the flood of 1993, Geisel oversaw construction of a new public works facility, a new city hall, parks maintenance facility, acquisition and development of the Chesterfield Valley Athletic Complex, construction of the city’s aquatic facility, an amphitheater, and the implementation of an areawide wetland mitigation permit and wetland preserve. He has also been involved in the administration of the Chesterfield Valley TIF District and is executive director of the Chesterfield Valley Transportation Development District, a member of the North Outer Forty Transportation Development District board and serves as president of the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee District.

Kevin D. Hicks of Omaha, Nebraska, SVP and principal for TranSystems Corp., earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1993 after graduating from high school in Ash Grove, Missouri. He spent the first 25 years of his career with Union Pacific Railroad, where he progressed through their management training program and many other positions, finally serving as AVP and chief engineer – design, which took him to locations around the country, including Idaho, Oregon, California, Arkansas and Nebraska. Hicks moved to the consulting engineering field in 2018 when he joined TranSystems to lead their freight market sector. He leads business development and project execution nationally for clients in the railroad, ports and maritime, energy, and warehousing businesses. Hicks has been an active member of several industry and professional organizations, including the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance Association, serving on its board of directors; the Railway Tie Association, serving on its board of directors; the National Railway Construction and Maintenance Association, currently serving on the board of directors and as chairman of the policy and legislative committee; Missouri S&T Corporate Development Council; Inspire University Transportation Center at S&T; and the Missouri S&T Steel Bridge Team. His honors include the W.W. Hay Award from AREMA in both 2014 and 2015, the RTA Branding Hammer Award in 2021, and an ACEC Honor Award in 2015. 

Jon Jacobsmeyer of St. Louis, senior vice president of operations for McCarthy Building Companies, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1988. He began his professional career in project management roles at J.S. Alberici Construction Co. and Oscar J. Boldt Construction Co., then joined McCarthy Building Companies as senior project manager in 2002. Jacobsmeyer has participated in over $8 billion in completed construction projects across the U.S., including the $1 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Animal Disease Laboratory in Manhattan, Kansas; the $1.7 billion replacement campus for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s St. Louis facilities; the $1 billion Veterans Affairs Medical Center Replacement Hospital in New Orleans; and the $113 million Cornell University Physical Sciences Building in Ithaca, New York, which features some of the most noise-free, shielded, vibration-proof facilities in the world. Jacobsmeyer is an active leader of McCarthy’s internal “mega projects” team, which focuses on sharing best practices and lessons learned on large projects across the nation. And he regularly partners with the company’s National Learning and Development team to share his experience during management and leadership development programs. A member of McCarthy’s Central Region Leadership Team, Jacobsmeyer helps guide the region’s strategy and project operations and oversees the in-house scheduling and MEP departments. 

Jennifer Kuchinski of Columbia, Illinois, vice president of WSP’s Aviation National Business Line, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1995 and 2002, respectively. A licensed professional engineer in 10 states, she has worked for WSP for 22 years in numerous leadership roles. Under her leadership, WSP has continued to serve a trusted partner for the nation’s largest airports. She received a service award in 2017 for exemplary leadership in mentoring young professionals within WSP and in the overall engineering community. Her STEM focus has been to mentor others, volunteering to promote the industry and encourage young people to pursue careers in engineering. Kuchinski is a member of the American Association of Airport Executives, Airport Council International – North America, National Society of Professional Engineers, Missouri Airport Managers Association, Greater St, Louis Business Aviation Association and the Engineers Club of St. Louis.

Aruna K. Miller of Germantown, Maryland, lieutenant governor of Maryland and former Maryland state delegate, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1989. Miller was born in India and came to the United States at age 7 and grew up in Ballwin, Missouri. Upon graduation, she worked as a traffic engineer for the Los Angeles County public works in California. After marrying her college sweetheart, David Miller, a 1989 S&T electrical engineering graduate, they moved to Maryland where she worked for 25 years for Montgomery County Departments of Transportation and Permitting Services, retiring from Montgomery County government in 2015. Miller is a former two-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates, serving from 2010 to 2019. She served on the House Ways and Means Committee and in her second term, the House Appropriations Committee. In 2018, Miller ran for the U.S. Congress in Maryland’s 6th District and finished second in a field of eight candidates. On Nov. 8, 2022, Wes Moore and Miller were elected by a landslide as governor and lieutenant governor of Maryland, earning the most votes of any gubernatorial candidates in Maryland’s history. Moore is Maryland’s first black governor and Miller is the first Asian American, first immigrant, first woman of color, and first engineer to become lieutenant governor of Maryland. Miller previously served as a board member for the Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation, Round House Theatre, The Universities at Shady Grove, Montgomery Parks Foundation, Madison House Autism Foundation.

Honorary member Chris Nisbet of Des Peres, Missouri, project director for McCarthy Building Companies, earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering management with a civil focus from Missouri S&T in 1984. He started his career with McCarthy as a project engineer, then joined Druco Development as a project manager in 1993, returning to McCarthy as a superintendent in 1996. As project director with McCarthy, he holds the overall responsibility for preconstruction and construction services on his projects. His experience includes the $100 million Edward Jones Training Center, $90 million Cross County Metrolink Extension, 45,000 cy of concrete at Bissell Point Final Clarifiers and Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital addition. Nisbet led the setup and takedown of the Go! Marathon for 13 years and has completed five marathons. He is a trustee for the Construction Training and Advancement Foundation and has been active in the Associated General Contractors. He worked with S&T to advance the Hurst-McCarthy Professorship in 2018-19 and helped facilitate the advancement of the Missouri Consortium for Construction Innovation at S&T. Nisbet is also a member of the Missouri S&T Academy of Miner Athletics.

Paul W. Ridlen of Denver, president of U.S. operations for Knight Piésold, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Missouri S&T in 1989 and 1991, respectively. At Knight Piésold, he is responsible for operations in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Knight Piésold Group, a global mining and hydropower specialty firm founded in South Africa in 1921 and now based in London. Ridlen has worked for large engineering companies such as Woodward-Clyde/URS Corp., Stone & Webster and Tetra Tech, as well as the medium-sized firm S.H. Smith & Co. A recognized expert in the design and operation of tailings dams, Ridlen consults on several projects around the world and is the current U.S. representative for tailings dams to the International Commission on Large Dams and is active in several other professional organizations. He has authored several technical publications and is a lead author on the Unified Guidelines for Tailings Dam Safety being developed by the U.S. Society of Dams for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ridlen has been an invited lecturer for several short courses and conferences in the U.S. and Brazil. He has supported several charitable organizations throughout his career, including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Water.org, Engineers Without Borders and Christian Veterinary Mission.

Darcey Schumacher of Overland Park, Kansas, principal and shareholder with Wallace Design Collective, earned a bachelor’s degree from Missouri S&T in 2002 and a master’s degree from the University of Kansas in 2009, both in civil engineering. She joined the Kansas City office of Wallace Design Collective in 2003. She is passionate about the AEC community and is dedicated to her company’s mission to “Make Lives Better.” Schumacher was the first S&T graduate to be named both an associate and a principal at Wallace. Over her career, Schumacher has worked on four buildings designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects, often including the innovative use of metals and framing systems. A licensed professional engineer in 29 states, she has served either as the engineer-of-record or project manager on at least one project in 48 states, including serving as project manager for S&T’s Hasselmann Alumni House.  Schumacher was named one of Engineering News-Record’s National Top 20 Under 40 in 2017 and has received the Commercial Real Estate Women KC’s Excellence Award and an AIAKC’s Pillars Leadership Certificate. She is active in many organizations, including Commercial Real Estate Women KC, the National Council of Structural Engineers Association’s structural engineers equity and engagement committee and Women in Design–KC. Schumacher mentors others, participates in women’s leadership initiatives and promotes positive change within the AEC industry, regularly presenting nationally about equity and engagement within the structural engineering profession.

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