Grand Awards HDR Headquartered in Omaha since 1884, Kiewit Corporation is one of the largest contractors in the world. When the company decided to build a new headquarters, it decided on a north downtown location adjacent to its recently completed training center, Kiewit University, in part to encourage neighborhood redevelopment and reaffirm the company’s commitment […]
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HDRHeadquartered in Omaha since 1884, Kiewit Corporation is one of the largest contractors in the world. When the company decided to build a new headquarters, it decided on a north downtown location adjacent to its recently completed training center, Kiewit University, in part to encourage neighborhood redevelopment and reaffirm the company’s commitment to Omaha and Nebraska. The seven-story 180,000-square-foot building and connected parking structure houses 650 employees in a progressive workplace environment that fosters collaboration and interaction to support Kiewit’s global operations. In harmony with the surrounding city buildings, the ground floor is clad in brick, enlivening the street. The glass-clad office tower above features an enclosed, elevated walkway connecting to the training center. The building configuration incorporates covered pedestrian plazas and elevated exterior patios for gathering. The brick cladding evokes images of the turn-of-the-century warehouses that once filled downtown Omaha. Inside the building, the owner wanted a “loft” aesthetic to help recruit and retain younger employees. The steel framing remains exposed throughout most of the building as part of the “loft” look. Because of this, the team made significant efforts to provide a clean layout of all exposed mechanical, plumbing, electrical, and lighting systems. In the office tower, the owner wanted as open a floor plan as possible. By shifting the core elements to the building’s north side, the team provided a 60-foot-wide, 250-foot-long, uninterrupted bay on the south side of the building, allowing for maximum flexibility in laying out the office space.
Morrissey EngineeringThe Valmont Industries Headquarters is a three-story, 150,000-square-foot office building located in suburban Omaha. Morrissey Engineering is committed to design and services, which enhance the lives of our clients and communities and to do so in a sustainable manner. This focus made us an ideal industry partner for Valmont Industries, as their tagline of Conserving Resources, Improving Life is at the core of the products and services they provide to support sustainable infrastructure development. This project is a way to further demonstrate Valmont’s unwavering commitment to caring for employees, customers, communities, and the planet and we are proud to have been a part of it.
Honor and Merit Awards
CATEGORY B | BUILDING/TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMSHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
OlssonProject: Chadron State College Math and Science Center for Innovative Learning Client: Chadron State College / Nebraska State College System Originally built in the 1960s, the Math and Science Building at Chadron State College (CSC) had adequately served its purpose as a learning facility. However, the time had come for major upgrades. With this renovation, CSC wanted to install ultramodern learning and research while supporting accessibility and affordability for students. They chose the Olsson/BVH team to renovate and add to the existing building. HONOR AWARD
Alvine EngineeringProject name: Papillion La Vista Community Schools Ashbury Elementary Client: BCDM Architects Addressing a critical need for the quickly expanding community, Ashbury Elementary is the latest addition to Papillion La Vista Community Schools. Ashbury Elementary further improves upon the building design standards set by Papillion La Vista Community Schools, many of which were focused on increasing energy efficiency. Using geothermal energy in combination with insulated concrete for exterior walls is one of the biggest improvements, setting the standard for future Papillion La Vista Community Schools (PLVCS) facilities.
CATEGORY C | STRUCTURAL SYSTEMSHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
HDRProject: Kiewit Headquarters Client: Kiewit Corporation/Noddle Companies Headquartered in Omaha since 1884, Kiewit Corporation is one of the largest contractors in the world. When the company decided to build a new headquarters, they decided on a north downtown location adjacent to their recently completed training center, Kiewit University, in part to encourage neighborhood redevelopment and reaffirm the company’s commitment to Omaha and Nebraska. The seven-story 180,000-square-foot building and connected parking structure houses 650 employees.
CATEGORY D | SURVEYING & MAPPING TECHNOLOGYMERIT AWARD + Category Winner
R.W. Engineering & Surveying, Inc.Project: The Players Club ALTA/NSPS Survey Client: Concert Players Club LLC. In the early Spring of 2022, RW was approached about surveying the Deer Creek Player’s Club property. The catch was that the purchase date of the property was rapidly approaching. We came up with a workflow to utilize both our FAA-certified drone pilots as well as our licensed land survey team. In the end, we were able to provide our client with super high-resolution PDFs with surveyed boundaries, easements, and every square inch of the site shown in high definition.
CATEGORY E | ENVIRONMENTALMERIT AWARD + Category Winner
BeneschProject: Niobrara West Bridges Emergency Repair Mitigation Site Client: Nebraska Department of Transportation In March 2019, due to floodwaters west of Niobrara, Nebraska, the Highway 12 bridge over the Mormon Canal was completely swept away and the Highway 12 bridge over the Niobrara River was heavily damaged. Benesch was called upon for emergency response and then to assess and design solutions to offset environmental impacts for the repaired bridges and roadway. The result was the creation of a wetland mitigation site to compensate for multiple types of wetlands impacted and a recreational area. MERIT AWARD
Lamp RynearsonProject: 2019 Flood Recovery Project and Planning Study at Offutt AFB, NE. Client: Kenneth Hahn Architects In March 2019, Offutt Air Force Base experienced flood damage. As part of a master planning effort, the Sitework/Utility/Transportation Evaluation and Planning Study, 2019 Flood Recovery Project was completed to plan the redevelopment of this area of the Base. The goal of the study was to determine anticipated utility loads and vehicle counts for the newly planned buildings, as well as evaluate the existing site utility and roadway infrastructure for newly planned improvements.
CATEGORY F | WATER, WASTE WATERHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
HDRProject: North Wellfield Flood Restoration and Hazard Mitigation Client: City of Lincoln The City of Lincoln has wellfield facilities located in and along the heart of the Platte River near Ashland, Nebraska. The wellfields were severely impacted by the March 2019 flooding. HDR provided the city with design and construction of facilities to restore its North and South Wellfields to their previous capacity. HDR also delivered permanent mitigation measures to shield the wellfield from future events. MERIT AWARD
HDRProject: Wastewater Treatment Plant Laboratory, Operations Control Center (OCC), and Administration Building Improvements Client: City of Grand Island The City of Grand Island’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Laboratory, Operations Control Center (OCC), and Administration Building was nearly four decades old. The project included renovation of the existing Laboratory, OCC, and Administration Building as well as an addition attached to the south side of the existing building to provide space for a state-of-the-art Laboratory and Operations Center. The new addition added approximately 6,900 square feet bringing the building to over 10,000 square feet.
CATEGORY G | WATER RESOURCESHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
HDRProject: Columbus Recharge Project Client: Lower Loup Natural Resources District The $3.6 million Columbus Recharge project reduces the groundwater declines by providing two recharge locations: the downstream portion of Lost Creek channel and Christopher’s Cove. It has been showcased as a novel idea to restore intercepted groundwater and recharge it downstream and exemplifies various partnerships and interests coming together for the common goal to preserve a vital resource.
CATEGORY H | TRANSPORTATIONHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
HDRProject: Eppley Airport Terminal Drive Client: Omaha Airport Authority Eppley Airfield’s continued growth has heightened the airport’s need to expand. The Eppley Airport Terminal Drive project will transform the airport for a better user experience now and in years to come. The project reflects the vision of the Omaha Airport Authority’s Master Plan. This includes widening and realigning Terminal Drive, and relocating and reconstructing the intersection of Abbott Drive and Terminal Drive. The project met the federal funding-driven schedule requirements and was completed under budget. HONOR AWARD
OlssonProject: BNSF Bridge 7100-348.30 Client: BNSF Railway A fire erupted on a BNSF Railway Company bridge on Aug. 11, 2021, near Waynoka in Woods County, Oklahoma, destroying a 300-foot section of existing timber bridge. Olsson immediately mobilized to the site to support the 24-hour, around-the-clock operation. Olsson provided a survey of the existing bridge, layout of proposed h-piles, staked offsets, pile cut-offs, and additional survey support during construction. Additionally, Olsson provided construction management services. The track was successfully restored on Aug. 16, 2021. MERIT AWARD
Alfred Benesch & CompanyProject: Kearney Regional Airport, Taxiway ‘A’ & Connecting Taxiways Rehabilitation Client: City of Kearney Kearney Regional Airport’s parallel Taxiway A was identified for rehabilitation in the airports 2015 FAA Airport Improvement Program (AIP). At more than 20 years old, the existing asphalt pavement (concrete pavement with an asphalt overlay) had reached the end of its service life. The original pavement was constructed in 1942, for use by the United States Army Air Force and it has since been overlaid with asphalt in the 1960s and 1990s. Although typical pavement maintenance has been completed over the last 30 years, including crack sealing and asphalt patching, the asphalt was continuing to cause foreign object debris (FOD) and aircraft operation safety concerns. Early in 2020 Benesch completed a preliminary study to evaluate the existing airfield pavements for parallel Taxiway A and Taxiway connectors B, C, D and E to define the rehabilitation/reconstruction scope and the estimated costs. Upon completion of the preliminary geotechnical investigations, it was discovered that pavement sections varied drastically throughout the length of parallel Taxiway A and each of the connecting taxiways. To speed up the reconstruction process the pavement design alternative of an unbonded white top was selected. The four-phase project consisted of new subdrains (edge drains), low flow liners and storm sewer upgrades, nearly 250 new LED MITL’s, 29 new LED signs, new pavement markings, shoulder grading, erosion control measures and seeding. Benesch was responsible for preliminary design and bidding in spring 2020. Benesch was also responsible for construction observation, material testing and closeout in 2021. MERIT AWARD
OlssonProject: Old Potash Highway Webb Road to North Road, and Claude Road Extension from Old Potash Highway to Faidley Avenue Client: City of Grand Island Old Potash Highway enters on the western edge of Grand Island and primarily serves industrial and retail businesses. In recent years, traffic has increased as more businesses opened, and the post office relocated to the area from downtown. In addition, Hornaday Manufacturing, one of the city’s largest employers, is located along Old Potash Highway just west of U.S. Highway 281. Major changes were needed to efficiently keep people – and vehicles – moving. To make this happen, the project team agreed to convert Old Potash Highway to a half-mile-long, three-lane section from North Road to Claude Road and a half-mile-long, four-lane, divided section from Claude Road to Webb Road. Olsson proposed constructing single-lane roundabouts at North and Claude roads and a multilane roundabout between U.S. Highway 281 and Webb Road at Wilmar Avenue. Our team provided multiple services including: extensive traffic study and analysis, public involvement, urban roadway design, drainage design, utility coordination, and construction management. The completed roadway expanded growth in southwest Grand Island; improved safety; enhanced the area for pedestrians; and connected the regional north-south route to residential and school areas on the west side of the city. The $14.3 million project was completed in fall 2021, a year ahead of schedule, and came in under budget estimates from 2018. MERIT AWARD
The Schemmer Associates, Inc.Project Title: The Murray Viaduct Client: Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) The Murray Viaduct project was a transportation project that enhanced public accessibility and improved roadway assets on Nebraska Highway 1 near Murray, Nebraska. The overall project included replacing the highway from the intersection of US 34, proceeding west, crossing multiple Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) lines, and terminating inside the village of Murray. This entry is focused on the replacement of the viaduct over the UPRR. The existing viaduct was a multi-span steel girder bridge that had fallen into various degrees of disrepair. The bridge is a vital link to the welfare of the Village of Murray as it connects fire and emergency services east of the railroad to the village on the west side of the tracks. The bridge also provides safe crossing to many young drivers attending the local high school. This project was specifically designed to provide continuous access to emergency services and to residents and students throughout construction. The new viaduct is a two-span steel girder bridge allowing for longer clear zones for the rail lines underneath the bridge. In addition, the bridge includes a widened pedestrian sidewalk on the north side, providing even more accessibility and improved safety for the users.
CATEGORY I | SPECIAL PROJECTSHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
OlssonProject Title: Wandering Creek Mixed-Use Development Client: Matodol, LLC The City of Lincoln and developer Matodol LLC collaborated on a mixed-use development site near 88th Street and Van Dorn Street in Lincoln, Nebraska. Wandering Creek is 300 acres and includes 1,000 residential homes and 250,000 square feet of commercial and office space. Olsson provided survey; civil engineering; environmental services; floodplain remapping; construction observation; field services; roadway design; wastewater studies; structural engineering and design; site selection; and development representative and consulting services. HONOR AWARD
Lamp RynearsonProject Title: Omaha Public Schools Westview High School Client: OPS Omaha Public Schools’ Westview High School began as a new high school project located on vacant ground compiled from multiple residential lots. The plans, which housed a YMCA and the high school within the same building, challenged Lamp Rynearson’s design team to design a site plan and alignment that promoted visibility and safety at entrances and across the campus. Lamp Rynearson dedicated 7% of the design fee to small and minority-owned business contributors to meet bond economic inclusion requirements. MERIT AWARD
Ehrhart Griffin & Associates (EGA)Project Title: Western Douglas County Trail Client: Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District The new recreational pedestrian bicycle trail begins near the northeast corner of D.C. West Elementary School property and is approximately 1.7 miles long in total. The trail consists of connections to the Twin Rivers YMCA campus at the northeast terminus, via a long span pedestrian bridge, and the Mallard Landing residential development to the south. MERIT AWARD
E & A Consulting Group, Inc.Project Title: Ralston Granary Client: I See Adventures The Ralston Granary redevelopment is an adaptable venue that will bring new visitors and economic growth to the City of Ralston. Having the capacity to hold 2,100 people with additional buildings, if needed, this 3-acre space is located along Ralston’s Main Street and is a new leading attraction drawing in the public with its events. Planning for the project began in 2017. E&A performed the following services: entitlements, platting, ALTA survey, site due diligence, civil site design, PCSMP, landscaping, construction staking, construction observation, grading plan, and grading inspections. Kyle Vohl, PE, served as E&A’s project manager for this which happens to be located in his hometown of Ralston, NE. I See It Ventures is the owner of the project and had a goal of offering outdoor concerts and space for social and business events inside. The Ralston Granary is estimated to be valued at $30 million once completed. Exciting things are ahead for Ralston and E&A is honored to be part of this enhancement to the City of Ralston. MERIT AWARD
Felsburg Holt & UllevigProject Title: Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area Client: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission After spending hours traveling to your vacation destination and the lake is calling your name, the last thing you want to do is sit in long lines of traffic waiting to park and unload your boat. The boating access improvements to Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area, specifically Martin Bay Lakeside Boat Ramp and Cedar View Bayside Boat Ramp, are engineered to alleviate those frustrations and keep this Western Nebraska reservoir a prime travel destination. Felsburg Holt & Ullevig (FHU) worked closely with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to design improvements that met their long-term goals of expanding recreational opportunities, protecting natural resources, ensuring public safety, and increasing revenue. FHU led the project’s engineering, environmental permitting, and public outreach. Key elements included enhancing circulation on entrance roadways, reducing dangerous traffic back-ups, and improving boat ramp conditions and accessibility. In addition, expanded parking lots are now ADA accessible and feature wayfinding, striping and signage that make navigation simple and efficient. Site amenities such as updated restrooms and a fish cleaning station have transformed the entrances and made them more welcoming. The project also creates Nebraska’s first motorized water trail systems with marked routes on the lake for recreational users. Throughout the project, FHU navigated challenges like fluctuating reservoir water levels, stringent USACE permitting requirements, Threatened and Endangered species habitats, and construction phasing tied to peak park seasons. Today, visitors spend less time stressed out at the boat ramp and more time relaxing on beautiful Lake Mac. MERIT AWARD
HDRProject Title: Moving the Metro 2021 Campaign Client: Nebraska Department of Transportation Between March 2021 and November 2021, the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) conducted a traditional, digital and social media campaign to improve public awareness of roadway construction projects in the Omaha metro area. Ahead of and through the peak construction season, the “Moving the Metro” program let motorists know what to expect while out and about – increasing safety, awareness and mobility in the metro area. The goals of the campaign highlighted the need for an integrated media strategy to achieve widespread awareness among residents of Omaha, a diverse city that is home to approximately 1.1 million individuals (US Census, 2019). Large, complex communications campaigns are most effective when executed through an integrated approach – a phased, structured, strategic, and deliberate process for sharing the same thematic project content across various platforms. The Moving the Metro campaign was successful in distributing information to Omaha area motorists. More than 174,000 individuals were reached through social media during the nine-month campaign, and more than 6,000 unique visitors accessed the campaign’s website, which featured an interactive map with regularly updated project information. Following the successful campaign, key performance indicators related to sponsored content, and web and social media analytics were used to further refine strategy and tools for future campaigns.
CATEGORY K | ENERGYHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
Morrissey EngineeringProject Title: LinkedIn Omaha Headquarters | Solar-Charged Grid-Interactive Battery Energy Storage System Client: Gensler and LinkedIn at Sterling Ridge Development Morrissey Engineering developed a complete and innovative photovoltaic design at the LinkedIn Omaha headquarters. The design includes 1284 bi-facial solar panels mounted to seven parking canopy structures. The system is paired with an on-site battery energy storage system to offer peak-shaving to reduce the maximum electrical demand for the building. The building has 2 Star Fitwell and LEED Gold Certifications.
SMALL FIRMS CATEGORYHONOR AWARD + Category Winner
KPE Architecture Engineering ForensicsProject Title: Global 4 – AG Transload Facility Client: Union Pacific KPE was awarded a contract for engineering services by Union Pacific Railroad with the goal of designing a State-of-the-Art, highly automated grain processing and transporting facility. KPE designed an extensive cable tray routing plan to provide power and control wiring to all designed locations across the facility. KPE worked closely with multiple manufacturers, controls contractors, and the client to design an extensive automated system for the facility.
Doug Alvine Honored with ACEC NE’s Charles Durham Achievement AwardThe American Council of Engineering Companies Nebraska (ACEC NE) announced that Doug Alvine, PE, LEED AP, President of Alvine and Associates, is the recipient of the 2023 Charles Durham Achievement Award. The ACEC NE honors one recipient a year who, through leadership and advisory roles, has made major contributions to the consulting engineering practice. The award is a tribute to the pioneering spirit of Charles Durham, whose vision paved the way for holistic building design that keeps the community and environment at the foremost of importance. Additionally, the award recognizes leaders who foster collaboration and innovation that leave a lasting impact on the future of the built environment. Doug Alvine’s 36-year career as an electrical engineer has been monumental in shaping the landscape of America. He is a former National Director of ACEC and served as President of ACEC’s Nebraska Chapter. Doug is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society and the Architectural Engineering Institute’s Advisory Committee. In addition to serving the industry with multiple advisory positions, Doug has been influential in shaping engineering education. Doug has held a lengthy tenure with the University of Nebraska—Lincoln’s (UNL’s) Architectural Engineering Advisory Council and is currently a chairman of the Durham School Advisory Board. He is a former adjunct professor with UNL’s College of Engineering and developed the Raymond G. Alvine Memorial Scholarship fund that brings underserved students opportunities in the engineering field. The fund has awarded more than 30 scholarships with grants totaling over $300,000. Doug is the son of the firm’s founder, Raymond G. Alvine, who was recently inducted posthumously into the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) Hall of Fame.
Young Professional of the YearJon Markt, P.E., RSP, a traffic engineer/transportation planner from HDR, has been honored as the 2023 Young Professional of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies Nebraska (ACEC NE). The award recognizes accomplishments of Nebraska engineers under age 35 who have contributed to the engineering profession in the state and made a positive community impact. Since joining HDR nine years ago, Jon has become a leader in assignments related to transportation planning and analysis, including developing and refining transportation operations, safety and planning models. A graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Texas at Austin, he is a regional and national expert in dynamic traffic assignment models, predictive safety analysis models, planning for autonomous and connected vehicles and Transportation Systems Management and Operations. “Jon helps our clients understand the latest and greatest ways to improve their systems, looks critically at their needs and assists them in finding the right solutions,” said Mike Forsberg, Traffic/Transportation Planning Section Manager. He tackles and advances some of HDR’s most innovative and impactful transportation projects. Jon served as deputy project manager for the Interstate 80 Automated Corridor Study, which earned a National ACEC Honor Award for practical engineering in challenging circumstances. He led the development of two innovative analysis methods that have since been adopted by four additional DOTs. Serving in several industry organizations, Jon is a member of the Nebraska section Institute of Transportation Engineers with leadership in their Drive Smart teen driver safety program; Missouri Valley Section Institute of Transportation Engineers; the Institute of Transportation Engineers; and multiple Transportation Research Board committees. Outside of work, Jon is an active leader/teacher for his church and numerous community organizations.
Three UNL professors named Nebraska Champion for Engineering Award winnerUniversity of Nebraska Professors of Civil Engineering Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, George Hunt and Matthew Williamson were awarded the 2023 Nebraska Champion for Engineering Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies Nebraska (ACEC NE) for their collaboration with the association and dedication to the profession. “It was an incredible honor to receive this award,” says Bartelt-Hunt. “As chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, I have worked closely with ACEC Nebraska on workforce development. ACEC is critical in helping the state maintain and increase our engineering workforce, and it’s a great recognition to celebrate our department’s role in assisting with this initiative.” As part of their effort to support Nebraska’s engineering workforce, ACEC NE launched the Let’s MEET (Mentoring Emerging Engineers Together) Program in collaboration with the University of Nebraska College of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2022. MEET’s mission is to support engineering students through their undergraduate years with mentoring and educational opportunities. Professors Bartelt-Hunt, Hunt and Williamson were integral in liaising with UNL freshmen and sophomore engineering students and faculty and ACEC NE members to get the MEET program up and running. “This program shows how much support there is for Nebraska’s future engineers from the professional community – it’s just unparalleled,” Bartelt-Hunt says. “The mentorship for our students is invaluable, and I hope this program helps us to retain more diverse engineers to help us solve the state’s future engineering challenges.” ACEC NE Executive Director Jeanne McClure acknowledges that the association’s partnership with the College of Engineering is pivotal for solving the current workforce challenge. “The MEET program is a partnership that will help foster the development of students into professionals, and the engagement of the college’s leadership is invaluable. Our hope is that this program will soon be implemented in all areas of the College of Engineering,” McClure says. “We’re excited to continue growing our partnership and for the opportunity to recognize three faculty members who have helped us establish the program.” ACEC Nebraska established the Nebraska Champion for Engineering Award to recognize outstanding individuals and teams who have collaborated with the association to support the state’s engineering profession. The organization represents 48 consulting engineering firms in Nebraska, and its mission is to improve the quality of life in the state by strengthening the business environment for the consulting engineering profession.
Two Honored with Pillar Award
Roger Figard Honored for Service to State’s Engineering IndustryRoger Figard, Executive Director of the Railroad Transportation Safety District (RTSD), was awarded the 2023 Nebraska Engineering Pillar Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies Nebraska (ACEC NE) for his leadership and service to the profession. “I am humbled and appreciative for this award,” Figard says. “There are so many outstanding engineers in our community, and to be recognized in this light is extremely rewarding.” Figard graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. His career began with the Nebraska Department of Transportation where he served in a few roles. In 1979 he became an engineer for the Public Works and Utilities Department before becoming the superintendent of water production and treatment for the Lincoln Water System in 1985. In 1991, he was hired as the city engineer, a role he held until retiring in 2016. As the city engineer Figard also became executive director of the RTSD, a position he still maintains. “I’ve always felt blessed that I never questioned doing something different,” Figard says of his engineering career. “What I love about engineering is that it’s about caring for people, communities and assets. Engineering is about life, health and safety issues, and building things that make quality of life better and easier for people.” Over his years serving the City of Lincoln, Figard witnessed growth and many changes to the city, but he has also experienced the evolution of the engineering field. “The single biggest thing I have seen change in engineering is recognizing it takes public process to be successful in getting projects done,” he explains. “Engineering has evolved into public involvement and listening and evaluating different options by engaging with the public.” He adds that some things haven’t changed, though. “A commitment to ethics and building sustainable solutions has stayed the same,” Figard says. Figard has been involved in many critical and life-changing projects during his tenure, the biggest of which was the Antelope Valley revitalization project, which spanned 20 years and involved strategic planning between the City of Lincoln, UNL and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District. Tony Dirks, Division Manager for Benesch in Lincoln and Incoming ACEC Nebraska President, has known Figard as a pillar in the engineering community for nearly 20 years. “Roger has always been very passionate about serving the City of Lincoln with great infrastructure,” says Dirks. “He has been instrumental in building consensus within the community and navigating all the competing interests associated with private, public and regulatory groups. He’s truly a great engineer.” Figard credits his success to his personal faith, wife of 50 years and their four children and seven grandchildren, and the great relationships he has built over the years. ACEC Nebraska established the Nebraska Engineering Pillar Award to recognize outstanding engineers who have supported the organization and its mission, as well as contributed to the engineering community in the state. The organization represents 48 consulting engineering firms in Nebraska, and its mission is to improve the quality of life in the state by strengthening the business environment for the consulting engineering profession.
Dan Kutilek Recognized for Service to State’s Engineering IndustryDan Kutilek, Douglas County Engineering and Planning Manager, was awarded the 2023 Nebraska Engineering Pillar Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies Nebraska (ACEC NE) for his leadership and service to the profession. “I was totally surprised and swept off my feet,” says Kutilek, who has served as Douglas County’s engineering and planning manager since 1971. Kutilek was looking forward to his career in engineering when he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1969, but his plans were put on hold when he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. After serving for eight months, he was injured and returned to the US to finish his tour of duty at Fort Riley, Kansas. “Military experience changes you, and it’s something that made me appreciate life,” Kutilek explains. “It was a life changer for the better. It has helped me be a better person overall.” When he returned to Omaha in 1971, a friend of Kutilek’s recruited him for a job at what was then called the county surveyor’s office. Kutilek was willing to give it a try. Now, 51 years later, he’s grateful he accepted the position. “What’s interesting to me is at the county level you can make life changing experiences and projects and efforts that affect a lot of peoples’ lives quickly. What we do enhances lives for a lot of reasons, and that is rewarding.” Kutilek says. Over the years, Kutilek has been involved in many transformational projects for the city of Omaha, including the 84th Street tunnel in the 1970s, Sorenson Parkway in the 1980s and the recent completion of the 180th Street bridge. “Hundreds of other projects in between, some big and some small, all have a story, too,” he adds. Douglas County Engineer Todd Pfitzer first met Kutilek in 1990 and describes him as a quiet, modest leader. “He’s ethical, honest, hard-working, and he’s the type of guy who does whatever needs to be done, even if that is driving snowplows or doing maintenance work,” Pfitzer says of Kutilek. “Dan is an unsung hero, and I don’t think there is anyone else in our engineering community who would say differently.” Kutilek also earned a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UNO in 1980 and has been involved in many professional and civic organizations throughout his career, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, Institute of Traffic Engineers and the Nebraska Society of Professional Engineers. ACEC Nebraska established the Nebraska Engineering Pillar Award to recognize outstanding engineers who have supported the organization and its mission, as well as contributed to the engineering community in the state. The organization represents 48 consulting engineering firms in Nebraska, and its mission is to improve the quality of life in the state by strengthening the business environment for the consulting engineering profession.
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