News

Johanna Mikitka Simon Named a 40 Under 40 Honoree

Photo taken at SPiN Philadelphia by Jeff Fusco for the Philadelphia Business Journal

The Philadelphia Business Journal has recognized Johanna Mikitka Simon as one of this year’s 40 Under 40 honorees.  The 40 Under 40 award is one of PBJ’s most popular and successful features. It aims to identify and recognize current and future leaders in various industries and in the community. The criteria are demanding and competition was stiff; PBJ received more than 400 nominations this year. Johanna’s professional and personal achievements checked all of PBJ’s boxes, propelling her to the winner’s circle and May 10 awards event.

An innovative thinker who is not afraid to take on new and different challenges, Johanna is an accomplished geostructural project engineer with Schnabel Engineering, a leader in the planning and design of geotechnical, dam, and tunnel engineering projects across the United States and worldwide. During her 12-year tenure with the firm, she has combined creative design ideas with visible construction components to create the best solutions for ground improvement, foundations, retaining walls, and slope stabilization. Johanna actively promotes the role of women in STEM careers via the professional organizations to which she belongs and mentors young female engineers who are entering the industry. Currently she is leading Schnabel in the unification of its instrumentation and monitoring methods, including building and maintaining cloud-based automated data collection and reporting systems.

Johanna’s interest in engineering began in high school, when one of her teachers saw her potential and suggested she should consider it as a college major. The teacher sent her to an engineering workshop for girls at Widener University, which was the spark that ignited her career. With three scholarships (academic, athletic, music), she took on a double major at Drexel University and graduated in 2006 with Bachelor of Science degrees in civil engineering and architectural engineering. In her continuous quest for knowledge and to arm herself with the proper tools to excel in her field, Johanna earned a master’s degree in civil/geotechnical engineering from Drexel while working full-time at Schnabel.

In spite of being serious about her work, Johanna doesn’t quite fit the mold of the stereotypical engineer. She is one of those rare people who have a rational and analytical mind that coexists comfortably with more eclectic and artistic leanings. She is a trained soprano who has performed at Longwood Gardens, the Kimmel Center and sang in the 2015 Papal Choir for Pope Francis; a volunteer for the last 19 years at Musikfest; and a master pie-maker who celebrates Pi Day each year with a bounty of homemade pies, which she brings to the office—to her co-workers’ delight.  When she isn’t working or involved with professional and cultural activities, Johanna enjoys the company of her husband and two children and is looking forward to a third in October.

2018 USSD Annual Conference: Meet Us in Miami!

Fifteen of Schnabel’s dam and levee experts are attending the 2018 USSD Annual Conference and Exhibition held in Miami, Florida, April 30 to May 4. We are deeply involved as sponsors, exhibitors, presenters and moderators:

• Exhibitor at Booth #107
• Silver Sponsor, Scholarship Fund supporter and 5K FUNds Run/Walk participant
• Sponsor, Young Professionals Mentoring Lunch
• Presenting nine programs and moderating four

Tuesday, May 1 – Concurrent Sessions
3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Track 2, Session 2C: Not Giving Up Hope – Third Time’s the Charm with Hope Mills Dam / Corey Schaal
Track 2, Session 2D: Final Results of 3D Geologic Modeling at Boundary Dam: From Abutment Stability to Rock Block Stabilization/ Robert Cannon with Kimberly Pate and Andre Ball of Seattle City Light

Wednesday, May 2 – Concurrent Sessions
8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Track 3, Session 3E: Are You Looking Over My Shoulder? Independent External Peer Reviews of the USACE Dam Safety Program / Greg Paxson with J. Bianco and T. Tutka of USACE

10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Track 4, Session 4B: When a 2-Dimensional Dam Breach Model Leads to Floodplain Revisions, Risk Informed Urban Redevelopment, and Green Infrastructure Improvements / Kevin Ruswick with William Simcoe of the City of Albany
Track 4, Session 4F: Comparing Erodibility Measurements from JET Method to Those from Experimental Levee Breach Tests of Cohesive Soils /
Ali Asghari Tabrizi with M. Hanif Chaudhry of the University of South Carolina

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Track 5, Session 5B: Size-Scale Effects and Piano Key Weir Hydraulics / Nathan Young with Blake Tullis of Utah State University

3:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Track 6, Session 6A, Panel Discussion 3: Practicing for a Hurricane – A Gate Operations Simulation at Lake Brandt Dam / Laura Shearin-Feimster and Gerald Robblee with Steven Drew of the City of Greensboro
Track 6, Session 6C: Large Dam Removals for Renewal of the Klamath River / Tom Hepler with Seth Gentzler and John Roadifer (AECOM); Ben Swann (CDM Smith); Scott Wright (River Design Group); and Mark Bransom (Klamath River Renewal Corporation)
Track 6, Session 6C: Epic Efforts to Restore an Unique Place on the Rocky River / Laura Shearin-Feimster with Angela Allen of Wildlands Engineering and Chris Flowers of Unique Places, LLC

Representing Schnabel at this conference are the following people. Meet each person via LinkedIn by clicking on their name: Mike Canino, Robert CannonMelinda Dirdal, Emily GibsonJonathan Harris, Tom Hepler, Sharon Krock, Mark LandisGreg PaxsonGerald Robblee, Kevin RuswickCorey Schaal, Laura Shearin-FeimsterAli Tabrizi and Nathan Young.  

Team Richmond Runs in 10K

Schnabel’s Richmond office had a team in the 2018 Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K on April 14. Pictured are T.R. Fluker, Steve Winter, Kenny Megginson, Murdock Snarr, and Arya, Murdock’s Samoyed who watched the run from the sidelines. Rounding out the team were Michelle Bolding and Dom Snyder. We also placed second in the “Engineer’s Challenge,” an informal competition among some local engineering firms that also raced.

Superheroes for Children

In a team-building event at the 2018 Schnabel University Technical Workshop. eight teams discovered their inner artist and turned out brightly-colored paintings of superheroes. The 24″ x 36″ canvases were donated to our friends at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, where some would be displayed and others would be given to children to take home.

Thanks to all who participated and especially to Children’s Hospital, a positive force in the community and in the lives of the real superheroes: the children and families it serves. The art was delivered by Heather Baskin at right and Victoria Landrum (and Wonder Woman) next to her.

Bingo Night for Veterans

Our Glen Allen/Richmond office sponsored Bingo Night for veterans at the local VA Hospital in Richmond on Thursday, February 22. We supplied goodie bags, drinks, raffle and bingo prizes to help bring some cheer to hospital life for those who have given so much for our country! Thirteen Schnabel volunteers, including a few family members and client partners, served veterans throughout the night. Pictured (left to right) are Kyle Campbell, Jeff Sollinger and Robin Emanuele, Ellen and Randy Reaves, Alma and Kenny Megginson, Victoria Landrum, Heather Baskin, Craig Ponte, and Evan Morris. We are proud to support our veterans!