Events, College of Engineering

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  • 2023 Schnabel Engineering Lecture: History of Dam and Levee Safety in the United States
    Paul, David (Virginia Tech, 2023-10-24)
    Since the failure of Teton Dam in June 1976 that led to the enactment of dam safety legislation, the United States dam engineering profession has established a robust and active dam safety program to monitor the approximate 90,500 dams registered in the National Inventory of Dams (NID) maintained by the USACE. Efforts are underway by the USACE to establish a national levee safety program to monitor the approximate 150,000 miles of levees in the United States. Risk Informed Decision Making (RIDM) was implemented about 25 years ago at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). As it has evolved over time in the dam/levee engineering world, it has produced positive impacts on these programs and focused continued safe operation of this critical infrastructure sector. The presentation will review the history of these programs and the evolution into risk-based dam assessments and new technology that are being used in current practice and will explore what is possible in the future. This management of critical infrastructure will continue to evolve for dams and levees as well as other civil engineering infrastructure, thus impacting your future careers.
  • From Hokie to CEO, Sharing a Few Experiences and Lessons from the Journey
    Rabe, Walter (Virginia Tech, 2020-11-09)
    Schnabel Engineering is pleased to bring you our Chief Executive Officer, Walter Rabe, PE. as our fifteenth lecture of this series. Following completion of his Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech, he gained field geotechnical and construction management experiences with Bechtel before joining Schnabel 20 years ago. Throughout his career he has worked on major commercial and infrastructure and government facilities around the world.
  • 2021 Schnabel Engineering Lecture: Performance of the Federal Flood Control Systems from 2010-2020
    Snorteland, Nathan (Virginia Tech, 2021-10-26)
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for flood risk management across the United States. The agency has more than 740 dams and is responsible for more than 15,000 miles of levees. Since 2008, USACE projects have prevented more than $1.2 Trillion in damages from flooding. Although some of this came as a result of dozens of smaller floods, much of that protection came during three events within the last ten years. From 2010 through 2020, the U.S. has had three major inland floods and two coastal events where federal flood protection exists: in 2010 on the Cumberland River, in 2011 on the Missouri, Ohio, White, and Mississippi Rivers, in 2015 on several rivers in Texas and Oklahoma, and in 2017 along the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and its territories in the Caribbean. For many of these locations, these events produced record rainfall and the flood of record. Although the large facilities overall performed as expected, USACE also experienced some operational issues, did a substantial amount of flood fighting, had several incidents, and several failures. We will talk about how dam and levee engineering has changed over the past 20 years by focusing on how increased flooding has affected our approach to flood risk management. We will also discuss how we have changed standard design approaches to accommodate this new approach.
  • 2019 Schnabel Engineering Lecture: Understanding and Developing Geotechnical Performance Requirements
    Gunalan, K. N. (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2019-10-24)
    Major projects are being delivered using alternative methods such as public-private partnership in which the whole life cycle cost -- including maintenance -- is factored into the final assessment and award. Understanding how to define and monitor long-term performance of geotechnical elements is therefore a critical component in pricing these projects.
  • 2018 Schnabel Engineering Lecture: Where Engineering Meets The Law (Or How Engineers Help Put My Kids Through College)
    Vella, Brian (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2018-11-06)
    Engineers face a daily concern: “What if something goes wrong?” This is an inevitable fact about our engineering and construction profession. Things will go wrong and when they do, Attorneys become our allies and our nemesis. Problems arise and somewhere in your career, you will face the unenviable challenge of trying to explain what happened and trying to figure out how to mitigate the pain. Mr. Vella has seen many of our foibles and will share some insights about the state of our practice, the law, and through examples, some lessons we can learn from to help mitigate future challenges. Join us as Mr. Vella explores legal questions of risk allocation and, in particular, how challenges of design-build construction processes require us to think a little differently. For over 30 years, Mr. Vella has focused his practice on heavy and commercial construction matters. From contract formation and interpretation issues to the resolution of disputes through litigation, arbitration, and mediation, he has represented contractors, engineers, and owners through all phases of the construction process, on projects across the United States and overseas. Issues in dispute on those projects have included defective specifications, differing site conditions; acceleration, delay, and inefficiency claims; and payment and performance bonds. Mr. Vella has written numerous articles and book chapters and is a frequent speaker on construction-related topics. In addition to his law practice, he is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Virginia School of Law and serves on the Architecture Technology Curriculum Advisory Committee for Northern Virginia Community College. Mr. Vella is a member of the bar of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. He served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Construction Law Section of the Virginia State Bar, and is an active member of the Associated General Contractors of America, the Associated Builders and Contractors, and The MOLES. We are honored that Mr. Vella joins our past 12 lecturers here at Virginia Tech.
  • Underground Engineering: Opportunities, Challenges and Innovation
    Mazzalai, Paolo (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2017-10-30)
    UNDERGROUND ENGINEERING: Opportunities, Challenges and Innovation. Complexity, sustainability, safety, security, versatility, creativity, and innovation are essential themes driving engineering science today. The world is changing rapidly and although the content and methods of engineering are evolving with it, an engineer's professional mission remains the same: to solve problems and make decisions. The application of new software such as BIM, Digital Project and Advanced TBM is shaping the landscape of underground design and construction, particularly for mass transportation and water conveyance. This lecture will demonstrate the successful use of technology to improve project design and management via project examples from around the globe. A particular focus will be Italy, which presents unique geographic and geologic challenges for the development of sophisticated underground infrastructures. Underground works will remain a massive market all over the world for at least the next two decades, and the bright light at the end of every tunnel will be the new and exciting opportunities these projects present for engineers across multiple disciplines and locations. About Paolo Mazzalai, P.E. A native of Italy, Mr. Mazzalai earned a Master of Science degree in civil engineering in 1973 from Padua University, where he has taught as an associate professor for many years. The field has been his laboratory on advanced engineering projects: the dam of Valda in the 1980s, the road tunnel of Martignano in the 1990s, and into the 21st century with record-setting infrastructure such as the Brenner Base railway tunnel connecting Italy and Austria through the Alps. An international planner of major infrastructure projects in transport and water, Mr. Mazzalai is the author of over 100 scientific papers and a member of several scientific and entrepreneurial professional associations. He joins Alan Rasband, Kord J. Wissmann, Karen Durham-Aguilera, Edward J. Cording, Donald A. Bruce, Jerry A. DiMaggio, S. Scot Litke, James Morrison, Douglas Boyer, Don Deere, and Ray Martin in the pantheon of Schnabel Lecture Series speakers.
  • Technology Advances in the GeoFoundation World: Or, Better Late than Never!
    Rasband, Alan (Virginia Tech. University Libraries, 2016-10-17)
    The civil construction world has been slow to evolve over the past century, in large part due to slow equipment and materials development particularly in the foundation construction world. More recently, we have moved away from every project being founded on local timber piles or other readily available material that can be driven into the ground. We have come a long way. This presentation will explore the genesis of the geofoundation industry and its evolution to the point where we can install foundation elements with diameters and depths that have never been seen before. We will also share the advancements in innovative earth retention technologies allowing us to extend excavations to depths that were never contemplated. Further, we will explore the latest options, methods and technologies of ground improvement that dramatically improve what Mother Nature gave us, facilitating construction where nothing could have been attempted in years past. Although the past is exciting in retrospect, the key is the future opportunities and advantages that are available for engineers, construction managers, operating engineers or laborers joining the specialized world of our geofoundation industry that is unique and different every day. Schnabel Engineering is pleased to bring you Mr. Rasband as our 11th lecturer of this series. Al Rasband spent 15 years as a general contractor and the past 27 years in the foundation drilling construction arena. He is the President and Chief Operating Officer for Malcolm Drilling Company, Inc. (MDCI) based out of Malcolm’s Corporate Office in San Francisco, CA. Malcolm is the 2nd largest foundation drilling, earth retention, ground improvement and slurry wall companies in the United States. Al recently completed his term as President of the International Association of Foundation Drilling (ADSC).
  • Schnabel Engineering Lecture: Entrepreneurship in Civil Engineering
    Wissmann, Kord J. (Virginia Tech, 2016-01-25)
    Have you ever wondered why there aren't many start-up companies in our world of Civil Engineering? Dr. Wissmann explores this question and delves into the drivers, key ingredients, and fundamentals needed to run a successful Civil Engineering business.
  • So You Get to be An Engineer…!
    Durham-Aguilera, Karen (2014-11-04)
    Ninth Annual Schnabel Engineering Lecture by Karen Durham-Aguilera, P.E., Director of Contingency Operations and Office of Homeland Security U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “So You Get to be an Engineer…!” Consider yourself fortunate if you GET TO be an engineer. It can be an exciting, challenging and rewarding career. A career as an engineer can take numerous very different paths. Engineering curriculum teaches us the foundational principles of engineering practice and critical analysis. The engineering profession is about applying this foundational knowledge, skills, and engineering principles to new situations so you can be a problem-solver and arrive at solutions. The 2014 Schnabel lecture will illustrate the myriad of choices and career paths taken by a practicing engineer and reflect on how the skills you are learning now are applied by one engineer in innovative ways and in a variety of situations, including mega-construction programs, program management and disaster Schnabel Engineering is pleased to bring you Ms. Karen Durham-Aguilera, P.E., as our ninth lecturer of this series. Ms. Durham-Aguilera has over 34 years of experience in the engineering profession. As she describes her career: "I get to do a lot of different things!”. Her career in private industry and largely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has taken her to numerous areas of the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. She has worked as: a designer (geotechnical); in construction, from a field engineer to the lead program manager for multi-billion dollar construction programs; to leading reconstruction in Iraq, and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; as a programs director for water resources infrastructure stretching across major river basins, balancing navigation, flood control, and environmental stewardship. For nearly the last four years, Ms. Durham-Aguilera has served as the emergency manager leading the federal engineer disaster response to major hurricanes, floods, and tornados. She has also delivered numerous public speaking, technical forums, and multimedia events especially on controversial projects. She demonstrates that "Yes, Engineers can talk!" Ms. Durham-Aguilera holds a BS (civil), and a MEng (civil/geotechnical), both from the University of Louisville, and is a registered Professional Engineer (Civil). We are honored that Ms. Durham-Aguilera joins our past lecturers Dr. Edward Cording, Dr. Donald Bruce, Mr. Jerry DiMaggio, Mr. Scot Litke, Mr. James Morrison, Mr. Douglas Boyer, Mr. Don Deere, and Dr. Ray Martin.
  • Schnabel Engineering Lecture
    Cording, Edward (2014-01-13)
    Schnabel Engineering is pleased to bring you Dr. Edward J. Cording as our eighth lecturer of this series. Dr. Cording is Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he has taught and performed research in geotechnical engineering, focusing on rock mechanics, soil-structure interaction, and underground construction. The field has been his laboratory, on engineering projects; beginning in the 1960's with large deep caverns in weak rock in Nevada; in the 1970's with subway tunnels, braced excavations, and rock caverns on the Washington, DC Metro; and continuing with deep tunnels in squeezing ground in the Uintah Mountains, urban tunneling in soft, consolidating Chicago clay, and investigations of the effects of urban tunneling and excavation on building distortion and damage. Dr. Cording has consulted on numerous underground projects for subways, rail, wastewater, highways, water supply, mines, liquefied gas storage, high energy physics, nuclear waste, and hydro-electric power. Recent projects have included subway and rail tunnel projects in Manhattan, including a proposal for placing LIRR terminal in deep rock caverns beneath Grand Central Terminal. He currently serves on the Tunnel Advisory Panel for the Los Angeles Metro for their light and heavy rail subway extensions. He is a consultant to Seattle Tunnel Partners, the design-build team for the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, preparing procedures for monitoring and controlling ground movements as a 57.5-foot-diameter tunnel boring machine, is driven in glacial soils in downtown Seattle. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has been honored by many for his career contributions including: ASCE Martin S. Kapp Award; Moles Non-member Award; Geo-Institute Harry Schnabel, Jr. Award for Career Excellence in Earth Retaining Structures; Outstanding Educator Award of the Underground Construction Association of SME; and the Beaver's Engineering Award for Outstanding Achievement in Heavy Engineering Construction. This lecture will describe the revolution that allows tunneling deep beneath waterways without inflow of water or soil and at shallow depths below urban structures without damage. Recent transit tunnel projects driven with pressure-face tunnel boring machines (EPBMs) in Toronto and Seattle will be used to demonstrate how ground is controlled and building damage prevented by monitoring ground movements and ground water conditions and linking them with the electronic readout of tunnel boring machine functions. Increasingly, the civil/geotechnical engineer must rely on these readouts to determine how the ground is being controlled. However, the civil/geotechnical engineer also builds on the precedents and experience gained over many years of observing the ground and how it "behaves" as the tunnel is excavated and supported. This knowledge is being applied as Bertha, the world's largest tunnel boring machine at 57.5 feet in diameter, starts its drive under hundreds of building in downtown Seattle. We are honored that Dr. Cording joins our past lecturers, Dr. Donald Bruce, Mr. Jerry DiMaggio, Mr. Scot Litke, Mr. James Morrison, Mr. Douglas Boyer, Mr. Don Deere, and Dr. Ray Martin. Please join us: Wednesday, November 6th 2013 3:30pm Owen's Banquet Hall Reception to Follow