Volume 51, No. 3
Spring 2017
n e w s
President’s Message
2017 has continued to be a busy year for your Minnesota Section
of ASCE! In addition to a full slate of Section Meetings, including
our annual awards banquet in April, we hosted a seminar regarding
ethics in engineering, using ASCE’s Ethicana video and presented
by KN Gunalan, the 2016 recipient of ASCE’s Professional Practice
Ethics and Leadership Award. Now we are preparing for our summer
planning meeting which will set the stage for what I am sure will be
another successful year of events for our Section.
Two events that I would like to highlight from the past three months
have to do with awards. Our section annually nominates two members to receive awards
at the Minnesota Federation of Engineering, Science and Technology Societies (MFESTS)
dinner. This year, we nominated Dr. Arturo Schultz from the University of Minnesota for
the Charles W. Britzius Distinguished Engineer of the Year Award, and Kevin Peterson
from the Washington County Transportation Department for the Young Engineer of the Year
Award. Both represent our industry well and were well deserving of being our section’s
award winners and MFESTS representatives this year. In April, we presented our section’s
rst Outstanding Engineer of the Year Award to Derrick Dasenbrock from MnDOT. I have
worked with Derrick in the past, and his nomination was tting given his involvement in
ASCE, as well as both the academic and professional practice sides of the civil engineering
industry. If you know or encounter any of these three individuals, please offer them your
congratulations! I know there are many other members worthy of consideration for these
awards, so please consider nominating someone next year.
Another exciting development for our section is that the Science Museum of Minnesota has
agreed to show ASCE’s Dream Big IMAX movie on their Omnitheater screen, exclusively,
from February through September in 2018. We are working with the Science Museum to
hold engineering-related events during the movie’s run, so please let us know if you would
like to help in any way.
Finally, I must remind you to vote in the current election for ASCE’s National President.
It was a great pleasure to have the current President-Elect, Kristina Swallow, visit with the board and student chapter prior to our
awards banquet, and then present some of her thoughts regarding the future of ASCE to our membership at the banquet. Our chance
to have a say in choosing the next leader of the society is happening right now, so please cast your vote.
I wrote in my previous newsletter messages that our meetings and these other activities are only successful when we all participate,
and it bears repeating. We invite you, as members of the Minnesota Section of ASCE, to do your part to make these events successful
for our Section. So please, let us know if there is a topic you would like to see covered at a future meeting or if you have other ideas
for membership engagement. And, don’t forget to renew your membership. Get involved. Stay involved. We look forward to seeing
Jim Hall, P.E.
Minnesota Section President
Jim Hall
Upcoming Events
September 28. The Wisconsin Northwest Branch is hosting the Wisconsin Section Annual Meeting in La Crosse on September 28.
Please save the date and consider a journey across the river! To be added to the meeting invitation list please contact Andy Walters at
Jim Hall, PE
First Past President
Joe Bentler, PE
President Elect
Bruce Holdhusen, PE
Jason Staebell, PE
Dr. Jia-Liang Le, PhD
Director of Awards
Andrew Nordseth, PE
Director of Commuications
Michelle Williams, PE
Director of Events
Tim Lamkin, PE
Director of Outreach
Lisa Breu, EIT
Minnesota Section ASCE
Board of Directors
Become a Sponsor of ASCE-Minnesota
The Minnesota Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE-MN) offers corporate sponsorship to any ofcial or em-
ployee of a governmental agency, manufacturer, vendor/supplier, contractor, or consulting rm that serves the eld of civil engineering.
Sponsors will have their company logo featured in the ASCE-MN newsletters (published quarterly). Logos will also be displayed with
a website link on the ASCE-MN website and are displayed on boards at Section Meetings.
Please visit http://www.ascemn.org/Become_a_Sponsor.html for further information.
I-94: a corridor of complexity
By Bob Filipczak
If you cut a cross section out of a highway or interstate, the rst thing you will notice is that it is made of many layers—
various types of gravel combined with asphalt or concrete, binding agents you can even see, and even grinding and paint.
Likewise, a road that goes through a community affects a huge cross section of diverse people, organizations, religious
groups, and cultures.
You would be hard pressed to nd a more culturally complicated road than Interstate 94 as it goes through Minneapolis
and St. Paul. It affects six major communities that speak nine different languages, and it includes multiple immigrant
communities who are not at all familiar with government processes here in the U.S. Add to that the history of I-94 and the
Rondo neighborhood, and you begin to realize how complex the layers of this road are.
MnDOT has embarked on a study called Rethinking I-94 and it is a departure—a somewhat radical departure—from the way
roads are usually studied by the Transportation Department. Under the banner of public engagement, MnDOT decided to
study the I-94 corridor and nd out how to get previously under-represented populations involved in the planning process.
This study is not attached to any particular project and will study I-94 from Broadway Ave. in Minneapolis all the way to
Hwy 61 in St. Paul.
The Planner
Brian Isaacson is the Planning Director for the project. He
says the rst thing that’s different about Rethinking I-94
is that the public engagement occurs much earlier in the
process, during scoping and budgeting. He wants to create
“real dialogue when it’s meaningful during the shaping of
the project,” said Isaacson. In the past, public engagement
happened after MnDOT had already made important deci-
sions about how a construction project would commence.
Not this time.
Finding the people who normally don’t comment on
transportation issues is the biggest challenge, said Isaacson,
but the payoff could be great. “If you were able to do that kind of engagement while you were developing a project rather im-
mediately before construction, there might be some real benets to the overall process to have built those relationships” said
One reason for this is simple. Conicts over construction are much easier to avoid if you’ve got people involved proactively,
early in the project. Likewise, the more people you’ve heard from early in a project the more apt they are to buy in to
transportation decisions.
“Our community members are asking for more opportunities to engage with us. They want more input,” said Isaacson.
The Public Affairs Guy
Nick Carpenter is the Community Engagement/Public Affairs professional for the project. With the help of an anthropologist,
he is working on early engagement with those hard-to-nd populations. Renters, said Carpenter, are particularly hard to nd
and difcult to get involved in the process. To date they have had 65 listening sessions with folks that normally wouldn’t be
talking to MnDOT.
At least two things will come out of the study of I-94: a cultural prole of the corridor and a set of tools that other MnDOT
planners will be able to use as they develop other projects, both on I-94 as well as other corridors.
One partner Carpenter has worked extensively with is the West Bank Business Association. “They’ve done engagement work
in their community. They know what works and what doesn’t work. It’s about partnering with them and building a relation-
ship and getting an understanding of what we can do to get better turn out,” said Carpenter.
The nal goal of course is better feedback and more input from the community most directly affected by the highway.
The Anthropologist
Emilie Hitch is an anthropologist with Rabbit, a cultural consulting group, and one of the leads on this project. If it seems odd
to be employing an anthropologist on a transportation project with a bunch of engineers and planners, it is. Hitch has been
instrumental in the listening session and developing a historical map of the corridor.
She also gets to do a lot of translation work, but not the kind you might think. One of her challenges is to translate cultural
analysis and communication into something that ts with the processes and mindsets of the engineer-minded folks inside
MnDOT. She begins with empathy, which she calls “be comfortable being a little uncomfortable.”
Then she nds the common ground, which for her and MnDOT employees is problem solving. That’s a language both groups
understand. She calls it a shared DNA of problem solving. Finally, it’s about curiosity, learning and understand the common
goal both the engineers and the anthropologist share: better roads for a better community.
Said Hitch, “it’s not just about how do civil engineers survive in this world where we have anthropologists and public
engagement, but it’s about how do we work together. The folks that I’ve have the most fun with are those who appreciate that
I’m trying to move in their direction.”
This is not MnDOT’s rst foray into a different kind of public engagement for construction projects, but it is the most
advanced and most complex. It’s is also probably the future for road construction in Minnesota.
Committee Updates
Construction Committee
Anyone interested in being added to our email list can contact Mark Snyder at Mark.Snyder@ConstructionResults.com.
Environmental Engineering & Water Resources Committee
Anyone interested in being added to our email list can contact Brett Staeden at bjstaeden@terracon.com.
Geotechnical Committee (Minnesota Geotechnical Society)
The Geotechnical Committee wrapped up their meetings for the year on May 10 with a presentation on Soil Characterization
and Modeling of Cut-and-Cover Excavations for a Low-Head Hydroelectric Facility by Mr. Augusto Lucar. Be on the lookout
for the MGS fall meeting schedule on their website (http://www.mngeotechnicalsociety.com/). To get involved please contact
Joe Bentler at jbentler@amengtest.com.
History & Heritage Committee
Anyone interested in being added to our email list can contact Melanie Fiegen at megen@amengtest.com.
Legislative Committee
The Legislative committee members have been busy this year as the Legislation is in session. Members have been working
with and partnering with other organizations, Minnesota 2050, ACEC, and APWA, pursuing the same cause, namely infra-
Are you a Key Contact? Stay up to day on important public policy issues and on goings. Become an advocate for ASCE and
your future today. Here are some of the issues Key Contacts get involved in:
Licensure • Qualication-based selection • Sustainability
• Resilience • STEM education • Infrastructure funding
Join today at http://www.asce.org/keycontacts/
If you are interested in getting involved in Legislative Committee and/or participating in future ASCE Fly-ins, contact the
Legislative Committee for more details.
Outreach Committee
Build ‘Em & Bust ‘Em 2017
This year the ASCE young member group held the Build ‘Em & Bust ‘Em event on March 3,
a toothpick bridge competition for middle schoolers. Four local schools brought students to the
University of Minnesota for a day to learn about civil engineering. The students got to meet
University students studying civil engineering, who gave tours of the civil engineering build-
ing and lab spaces. We put on a few presentations introducing civil engineering and exploring
some of the bridges around the Twin Cities. The activities ended with load testing of the bridg-
es the students brought. The bridge breaking was, as always, epic. Students received awards
for high efciency, high strength,
and top aesthetics. Thanks to our
volunteers from ASCE, MNSEA
young member group, and the
ASCE student chapter at the Uni-
versity of Minnesota who helped
make this possible. We plan to
hold the event again, next year,
and are exploring options to move
the event to the Fall. We are also
looking into ways to grow the
event to serve a lot more students.
Dream Big
Dream Big: Engineering Our World is coming to St Paul! The Science Museum of
Minnesota will premiere the lm in the Omnitheater in February 2018, and offered
ASCE a special free preview of the lm on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Dream Big
will be playing in the Omnitheater from February-September of 2018. ASCE is
working with the Science Museum to hold engineering-related events throughout
this time. Planning is just getting underway. ASCE will be providing more informa-
tion and requests for volunteers as we get closer to 2018. In the meantime, be sure
to check out the ofcial IMAX trailer for Dream Big on Youtube, and look for more
information at ASCE’s website: http://www.asce.org/dream-big/.
Structural Committee/SEI Chapter
Anyone interested in being added to our email list can contact dbaxter@mbakerintl.com.
Report Card Committee
In March ASCE released the 2017 report card on American infrastructure. The 2017 report card can be found at http://www.
infrastructurereportcard.org/. There are 16 categories that were graded, overall the national grade was a D+.
This year the Minnesota section has started the process of developing a state level report card with the goal to release it in the
summer of 2018. The effort is just starting and the committee has decided to focus on the following categories for the state
report card: Aviation, Bridges, Dams, Drinking Water, Energy, Roads, Transit, and Wastewater. If you are interested in helping
the effort please contact Jason Staebell at reportcard@ascemn.org. We are especially looking for help with Aviation and Dams.
Transportation Committee
The transportation committee hosted the ASCE MN Section Meeting this May with the event topic of Automated Vehicles.
There’s quite a bit of interest developing amongst engineers, planners, and transportation agencies on how automated vehicles
will impact transportation planning, design, operations, and sustainability. There used to be a time when this topic was
considered futuristic. Today, it’s very tangible and the technology is out to become mainstream. Ray Starr is currently the
Assistant State Trafc Engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and he was the guest speaker to talk about
Automated Vehicles. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and he has
occupied key roles at MnDOT’s central ofce for Intelligent Transportation Systems development.
If you would like to be added to the email list for transportation committee events please contact us at transportation@ascemn.
org. You can also check out the calendar on our website (http://www.ascemn.org/Transportation_Committee.html) for upcoming
Student Chapters
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities student chapter enjoyed a fullling 2016-2017 school year with professional
events, educational activities, and competitions. They hosted their annual Civil Engineering career fair with nearly 40 compa-
nies in attendance. Students prepared for the fair ahead of time at ASCE’s “Engineer Your Career” evening with personalized
resume and interview advice. Throughout the year, students also had opportunities to learn about the industry from companies
who hosted monthly student chapter meetings and brown bag lunches. Then, per tradition, students hosted a networking night
at Stub and Herb’s in early March.
For opportunities to apply classroom learning to real life, the chapter organized two site tours, including one of the new Bell
Museum in St. Paul. Students also had a chance to appreciate their education and pay it forward by volunteering in K-12
Students performed in the Steel Bridge, Ethical Paper, and Concrete Canoe competi-
tions. Jacob Mages won third place in the Ethical Paper, and the Concrete Canoe team
earned rst place in Racing, second place in the Design Paper, and third place Over-
all. The students have already started planning for the competitions next year and are
always open to advice from professional ASCE members.
If you or your company are inter-
ested in connecting with the student
chapter, please email the president,
Josh Pierce, at pierc434@umn.edu.
The chapter would like to thank all
of the sponsors and professional
support they have received this past
year, and they look forward to see-
ing you next year.
Younger Member Group
The ASCE MN Younger Member Group (YMG) is open to anyone age 35 or
younger. Our goals are to host events that allow you to make connections in the
civil engineering profession, provide opportunities to grow your careers, and
develop leaders in the communities where we live and work.
We hope to see you, your coworker, signicant other, friend, etc. at any and ALL
of our upcoming YMG Events! If you’ve never been to a YMG event and you are
looking for a reason to do so, your next event registration is on us if you mention
this article! (Please email ymg@ascemn.org to redeem your free registration.)
Back in February, our
YMG had a great time
curling with the Duluth
YMG at Superior
Curling Club. While
the competition was
erce on the ice, all
were allies at the end of
the day after enjoying
some cold beverages
out on the town after
the event.
This May, YMG and the ASCE Emerging Professionals enjoyed an evening at the
ballpark networking and watching the Twins battle the Rockies. Though the Twins
lost, we had a great time talking with both past and new acquaintances and growing
our young engineer network.
Upcoming Events
June 23: “Friday After College” Event
ASCE YMG’s networking event on the U
of M campus with college upperclassmen
and recent grads. The event will start at the
Court International Building (2550 Univer-
sity Ave W, St Paul). Watch your email for
our event invite that will contain additional
June YMG Planning Meeting
Date & Location TBD
Looking to get more involved, or just stay in tune with YMG activities? Join us at our monthly planning meeting, which is
open to all YMs. This month we’ll focus on planning for our upcoming “Friday After College” event. Follow our calendar
updates on ascemn.org or email ymg@ascemn.org for more info.
YMG Board
Ariel Christenson
Jimmy Bennet
Vice President
Neil Ramdhan
Jordan Horejsi
Alysa Johnson
Media Chair
Robert Lee
Networking Chairs
Prateek Sangal & JuanMa Salguero
Education & Outreach Chair
Marie DesHarnais
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Section of ASCE named Dr. Arturo Schultz and Kevin Peterson their Distinguished and
Young Engineers of the Year, respectively. As a result, Dr. Schultz and Kevin were honored at the annual MFESTS banquet
along with their counterparts from other professional societies.
Dr. Schultz was nominated for Distinguished Engineer of the Year in recognition of his scientic achievements, his
contributions to engineering education, and his activity in technology transfer. He is a world-renown expert in the area of
masonry and concrete structures, as well as in the area of earthquake engineering. He is the author of important scientic
publications and a contributor to technical codes development, who has been an invited member of international panels
investigating damage caused by earthquakes and wind in various countries, including Peru, New Zealand, and Nepal. He also
led a group of experts investigating tornado-related damage in Saint Peter, Minnesota.
Professor Schultz’s sustained contributions to the profession
and to the society at large, as well as his outstanding repre-
sentation of the University of Minnesota and of our State,
eminently qualied him for this honor, which resulted in his
receiving the Charles W. Britzius Distinguished Engineer of
the Year award at the banquet.
Kevin was named ASCE-Minnesota’s Young Engineer of the
Year due to his keen ability as an engineer to address project
and engineering challenges while successfully engaging the
public and policy makers that inuence design and project
development. Already in his career Kevin has worked on a
number of projects involving key links in the Twin Cities’
transportation system, such as TH 36 in Oak Park Heights
and Stillwater approaching the new St. Croix Crossing, and
the TH 610 completion to I-94 project in Maple Grove that
has nally linked TH 610 to I-94. He has also successfully worked on smaller, more “local” projects that mean a great deal to
the communities in their own rights, such as the Downtown Lake Elmo Old Village reconstruction project.
Kevin has also dedicated himself to the enhancement of our profession by becoming an active member in a number of
engineering organizations. In addition to previously serving as a board member of ITE, he has recently become a co-chair of
the ASCE Minnesota Section Transportation Committee, responsible for bringing emerging trends in transportation design
and construction practices, as well as real-life project experiences from throughout the state, to our members at bi-monthly
Separate from these awards, which align with MFESTS award presen-
tations, ASCE-Minnesota also named Derrick Dasenbrock as its Out-
standing Engineer of the Year at the April Awards Banquet. Derrick,
an ASCE Fellow, works for MnDOT and also is an adjunct faculty
member at the University of Minnesota. He is known and respected for
his work related to engineering evaluations and recommendations re-
garding geotechnical systems and solutions for transportation projects,
including such high visibility design-build projects as the TH 169/I-
494 Interchange and the TH 169/9 Mile Creek projects.
Congratulations to the recipients of our awards! All three of these
awards are presented annually, with this being the rst year that an
Outstanding Engineer of the Year award was presented. Look for nomi-
nation solicitations in future newsletters.
The Minnesota Section ASCEnews is published four times a year by the Minnesota
Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Michelle Williams, Editor Teresa Kes, Assistant Editor
communications@ascemn.org tkes@barr.com
Awards Banquet and Ice Cream Social with President-Elect
Special thanks to our section sponsors
become a sponsor by going to the following site