ASDSO Northeast Conference: We’re Presenting and Exhibiting

Several of Schnabel’s dam and levee experts are attending, presenting and exhibiting at the ASDSO Northeast Regional Conference, held this year in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 4 to June 6.  You’ll find us at Booth 18 and participating in the following programs:

Tuesday, June 5 – Concurrent Sessions
1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
 Design of Spillway Upgrades/ Spillway Chute Joints – the Devil is in the Details/ John Harrison, PE

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Seepage and Internal Drainage/ High Mobility Grouting – It’s Not Just for New Dams/ Jesse Wullenwaber, PE
Hydraulic Modeling/When is Two Better than One? Lessons Learned from Using HEC-RAS 2-D for Inundation Modeling/ Nathan Young, EIT, and Daniel Schultz, EIT
A Historical Review of Dam Safety in the Northeast/ 20 Years of Hydrologic Modeling for Pennsylvania Dams – What Have I Learned?/ Greg Paxson, PE, D.WRE
A Historical Review of Dam Safety in the Northeast/
Panel discussion with veteran state regulators and consultants/ Greg Paxson, PE, D.WRE; Hal Van Aller, PE, (MD); John Moyle, PE, (NJ); Carl Montana (CJM Engineering, LLC); Alon Dominitz (NY)

Wednesday, June 6 – Concurrent Session
10:30 PM – 12:00 PM
Dam Safety Program Management and Regulatory Issues/ Dam Rehabilitation Permitting in Pennsylvania: Avoiding Costly Delays/ Sharon Krock, PWS, and Joshua Fair, PA Department of Environmental Protection

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.  

VDOT’s Route 29 Solutions Project Wins ACEC Virginia Pinnacle Award


The Route 29 Solutions design-build project, led by RK&K, has won the 2018 Pinnacle Award from ACEC Virginia. As the highest honor given by the chapter, it recognizes projects demonstrating innovation, complexity, achievement, and value to the industry. Project manager Nate Dumas, PE (second from left) represented Schnabel, which was one of three major subconsultants on RK&K’s team. Nate and Jim Seli, PE, both based in our Richmond office, were instrumental to the success of the geotechnical and geostructural portions of the work and were well-supported by an in-house team of engineers and scientists.

RK&K worked in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation and the contractor LANE/Corman Joint Venture to deliver the Route 29 Solutions project which consisted of three distinct project elements: Route 29 and Rio Road Grade Separated Intersection (GSI); Route 29 Widening from four lanes to six lanes for approximately 1.8 miles from Polo Grounds Road to Towncenter Drive; and Berkmar Drive, an extension of 2.3 miles on new alignment from Hilton Heights Road to Towncenter Drive.

The 2018 Pinnacle Award focused on the Rio Road GSI, for which RK&K was the design leader.  The innovations developed during design led to early completion and opening of the intersection and has led to improved safety and mobility in this heavily traveled corridor. The $69.7 million Rio Road grade-separated intersection project was completed in December 2016. Replacement of the existing at-grade intersection with a grade-separated intersection accomplished VDOT’s goals of easing congestion and improving safety for motorists in the area. The Rio Road grade remained essentially unchanged, whereas Route 29 was reconstructed to separate through traffic and local traffic exiting at Rio Road. Four through lanes (two each direction) were constructed underneath Rio Road to carry traffic with destinations north or south. Local lanes were built to the outside of the through lanes so traffic with local destinations can leave Route 29 onto Rio Road or access the businesses near the intersection.

The Pinnacle Award is one of several that the overall project has won. Others are a Grand Award from ACEC Virginia, and Overall Winner, Transportation Engineering Awards, presented by the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance.

Dreaming Big with Villanova’s College of Engineering

“DREAM BIG: Engineering Our World” was presented at ASCE’s GeoFrontiers 2017 conference attended by Chairman of the Board Allen Cadden, who envisioned it as a local event sponsored by the West Chester office. Mia Painter, who heads the office’s geoscience group and chairs our Women’s Initiative Network, ran with the concept and invited Villanova University’s College of Engineering to partner. It all came together at an invitation-only screening at the UA King of Prussia (Pa.) IMAX-RPX theater on Saturday, January 20.  DREAM BIG, made by MacGillivray Freeman Films in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers and Bechtel Corporation, reveals how engineers have changed both everyday lives and entire societies. The 40-minute film wowed the all-ages audience of 300 people with engineering innovations past, present and future, and made a compelling case for advancing STEM education for the good of the planet.