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North Carolina Section - Eastern Branch

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Please join us for our next meeting for dinner on August 21, 2014 at 1705 Prime at 1705 East Millbrook Road in Raleigh, North Carolina.  You can register online right now!


About Us

Welcome to the ASCE, North Carolina Section Eastern Branch website. The best way to join us is to come to our regularly scheduled meetings on the 3rd Thursday of each month (except December).  All upcoming events will be posted below.  Please visit the calendar to view event dates through 2014.  You can follow us on Twitter at @ASCENCEast and subscribe to our online schedule to be automatically notified of upcoming events.

Monthly Branch Luncheon Announcement

You are invited to the next
American Society of Civil Engineers
North Carolina Section
Eastern Branch
Dinner Meeting

Register online right now

Deadline to RSVP is Tuesday, August 12th, 2014, at noon.

Speaker: Dr. Vikram Rao, Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium Date: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Topic: Sustainable Energy for North Carolina Time: Networking: 5:30 PM - 6:30PM, Program: 6:30 PM - 8:00PM

Summary: Two new sources of energy in North Carolina are shale gas and liquid fuels from woody biomass.  Sustainable development of shale gas will be facilitated by rules currently being formulated by the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission.  We will discuss in particular the environmental risks and the measures to minimize these.  The controversial chemicals disclosure issue will also be examined.

North Carolina is one of the largest producers of woody biomass.  Much of this is a byproduct of logging.  Catalytic pyrolysis holds promise for the conversion of this material to liquid fuels.  Recent advances will be discussed and in particular the one ton per day pilot plant at RTI International.

Vikram Rao is Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium, www.rtec-rtp.org, a non-profit in energy founded by Duke University, North Carolina State University, RTI International and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Its mission is to illuminate national energy priorities, and those of the world by extension, and to catalyze research to address these priorities.

Dr. Rao advises the non-profit research institute RTI International, venture capitalist Energy Ventures AS, and firms BioLargo Inc., Global Energy Talent Ltd. and Integro Earth Fuels Inc. and serves on the Science Council of Royal Dutch Shell plc.  He retired as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Halliburton Company in 2008 and followed his wife to Chapel Hill, NC, where she is on the UNC faculty.  Later that year he took his current position.  He also serves on the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission and chairs the Water and Waste Management Committee.

Dr. Rao’s book, Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril was released in 2012 by RTI Press and can be found at www.rti.org/shalegasbook.  It is written for general audiences and is intended to inform on the heated debate on fracturing for shale gas. The Second Edition is slated for release in August, 2014.

Dr. Rao holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in Chennai, India, along with a master’s degree and a doctorate in engineering from Stanford University.  He is the author of more than 50 publications and has been awarded 40 US patents and foreign analogs.

We will hold August's dinner meeting at 1705 Prime at 1705 East Millbrook Road in Raleigh in Raleigh. You can contact 1705 Prime at 919-850-2340 if you need assistance locating their establishment.
The dinner rates are $35 for ASCE Members, $45 for Non-ASCE Members, and $20 for ASCE Life Members, Students, and Unemployed ASCE Members. If you are paying at the door, please bring cash or a check made out to "ASCE NC Eastern Branch".  The cost includes 1 drink ticket.
You can register and pay for the event online right now using your credit card. There are no additional fees, and no accounts or magic passwords needed either. You will be able to specify your meal preference during registration. Upon arrival at the luncheon, just check-in at the registration table using your name.

We understand your schedule may change and you might not be able to make it to the event. Cancellations with refunds can be honored up until 48 hours before the event starts. If you are neither able to attend nor cancel in time, you may send a replacement. To help Professional Engineers in attendance acquire 15 Professional Development Hour (PDH) units per license renewal period in accordance with 21 NCAC 56.1703, we offer one PDH certificate after the presentation.

Our online system handles all registrations and payments.  Even if you don't want to pay online, you still use the online system to register. The online system will also allow you to specify your meal preference (Omnivorian or Vegetarian). Upon arrival at the dinner, just check-in and pay at the registration table using your name.

This meeting is sponsored by Falcon Engineering

Falcon Engineering Logo


You can view this calendar in your web browser:  ASCE NC Eastern Branch Calendar.html. Better yet, you can subscribe to the live-updating ASCE North Carolina Eastern Branch public calendar in your desktop or mobile calendar application of choice.  Select the option that best matches your needs:

Subscribe using Outlook 2007/2010
  • Click ASCE NC Eastern Branch Calendar.ics
  • At the prompt, Add this Internet Calendar to Outlook and subscribe to updates, click Yes.
  • Subscriptions can be added, changed, or removed by going to Tools->Account Settings->Internet Calendars.
  • For versions before Outlook 2007, you will only get a non-updating snapshot of the event calendar.
Subscribe using iPhone
  • Tap and hold on ASCE NC Eastern Branch Calendar.ics and copy the web address to the clipboard
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  • Tap "Add Account"
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  • Paste the web address in the field and tap "Next" to complete.
Subscribe using Android
  • Tap and hold on ASCE NC Eastern Branch Calendar.ics and copy the web address to the clipboard
  • Go to your GMail/Google Apps account and view list of calendars on left.
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  • Select "Add", then "Add by URL" and paste the link.


• North Carolina's 2013 Infrastructure Report Card

The North Carolina Section has released the 2013 Report Card for North Carolina’s Infrastructure.  Visit the ASCE Infrastructure Report Card site to review the North Carolina-specific report card.

• Upcoming YMG Events

Check back for additional information on these upcoming YMG Events:
7/26 – Durham Bulls Game
9/4 & 9/5 – Wade Avenue Pump Station technical tour
10/11 – Adopt-a-Stream

• September 2014 Luncheon

Here's a preview of our September luncheon:
Speaker: Mr. David Evans, NCBELS
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2014
Time: 12:00pm to about 1:30pm
Location: NC University Club @ 4200 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27606
Visit here to register in advance.

• October 2014 Luncheon

Here's a preview of our October luncheon:
Speaker: Forthcoming
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2014
Topic: Environment
Time: 12:00pm to about 1:30pm
Location: NC University Club @ 4200 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27606
Visit here to register in advance.

• November 2014 Luncheon

Here's a preview of our November luncheon:
Speaker: Mr. Mark McIntire, Duke Energy
Date: Thursday, November 20, 2014
Topic: Energy
Time: 12:00pm to about 1:30pm
Location: NC University Club @ 4200 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, North Carolina, 27606
Visit here to register in advance.

• Is the Eastern Branch Your Primary Branch?

We've learned that many of the engineers in the Eastern Branch haven't updated their profile with ASCE National to state that the Eastern Branch is their "Primary Branch". The establishment of a person's Primary Branch is typically done during the renewal process, but often times people let it stagnate to a former state, old employer, or old residential address. When this happens, the Eastern Branch loses funding which limits the number and size of events we can have each year. How can you help? Visit your profile at ASCE National and update your mailing address (Go to "My ASCE, login, then go to "Edit Personal Information"). Optionally, you can call ASCE National at (800) 548-ASCE (2723) or contact them via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . They're awesome and love to help!

• ASCE's 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure

Every four years, ASCE grades the performance and condition of America's infrastructure. ASCE’s 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure is available now on the web and in a new digital format for Android tablets and smartphones, Apple's iPod Touch, iPhone, and a version optimized for Apple's iPad.  The app comes complete with the grades, ASCE’s vision for infrastructure, and more content than ever before with 16 infrastructure categories, over 100 infrastructure success stories, and infographics on every state. In this new app, the 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure puts the most comprehensive and clear reference available on America’s infrastructure right into your pocket. ASCE Infrastructure Report CardBringing you expert advice in videos and interactive content, this app truly shows how America’s infrastructure and your state’s infrastructure are doing and what needs attention. Share ideas for action and your thoughts along with any part of the app with friends, coworkers or professional groups, local leaders, or even your member of Congress. Visit http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org to review the grades.

Past Presentations


Speaker: Majed Al-Ghandour, PhD, PE, CPM Date: Thursday, July 17, 2014
Topic: Using Earned Value Management (EVM) in Project Management Presentation: Forthcoming...

Summary: The Project Management Unit (PMU) is part of the Program Development Branch of the North Carolina Department of Transportation. PMU is responsible for the authorization of federal and state for various State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Projects which include Preliminary Engineering, Right-of-Way Acquisition, Utility Relocation, Construction, Mitigation and Landscape Development Phases. The PMU utilizes state of the art of the project management concepts that monitor and control the successful delivery of STIP Projects. Applying the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) standards enables us to track the life cycle through the Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring, Controlling and Closing Process. This presentation will quickly demonstrate how PMU uses PMBOK on STIP Projects and we can provide project performance measurement such as an Earned Value Management (EVM).

Majed received a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the North Carolina State University. Dr. Al-Ghandour currently serves as the Assistant Branch Manager with the Program Development Branch, NCDOT.  In this role, he oversees and directs program activities of the program management, the state and federal policies, and the projects funding (not limited to the latest  State Law House Bill 817- Strategic Transportation Investments) for all projects modes. His 20 years work experience with the department include the areas of transportation planning, regional transportation modeling, traffic forecasting, travel demand modeling, traffic studies analysis, and project management and scheduling. Dr. Al-Ghandour published 18 papers in published journal and conference proceedings and as an adjunct Professor teaches Information Technology.


Speaker: JD Solomon and Kim Colson, North Carolina State Water Infrastructure Authority Date: Thursday, May 15, 2014
Topic: Funding, Priorities, and Innovation: The New State Water Infrastructure Authority (SWIA) and the State of North Carolina's Water Resources Download: Presentation

Summary: The new State Water Infrastructure Authority was formed by legislation passed in the 2013 session of the General Assembly.  SWIA in responsible for working with the NCDENR Division of Water Infrastructure to prioritize and approve the state's loan and grants program's related to water resources, as well as such things as developing  a master plan for the state's water resources, providing information related to utility best management practice, and providing recommendations related to the potential use of public-private partnerships.  The Board began meeting in January 2014 and has already implemented consolidation of the state's loan application process and consolidating the priority criteria for applications.

JD Solomon, PE is a VP, Area Manager for CH2M HILL in North Carolina.  He serves as the firm's Eastern US Leader for the Strategic Consulting Platform that focuses on water utility management.  He has a Professional Certificate in Strategic Decision and Risk Management from Stanford, an MBA from the University of South Carolina, and a BS Civil Engineering from NC State.   He is a licensed Professional Engineer in 3 states.

Kim Colson, PE received his B.S. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in North Carolina. He has been in the water resources industry for over 25 years and has been with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). In his role as acting director for the Division of Water Infrastructure in DENR, he manages the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, the infrastructure program within Community Development Block Grants, and state-funded water infrastructure fund programs.


Speaker: Ms. Sepi Saidi, PE, President & Owner Date: Thursday, April 17, 2014
Topic: Importance of Culture in Growing a Business Download: Presentation (2MB)

Summary: Ms. Saidi is the President and Owner of Sepi Engineering.  She discussed how she grew her business in very challenging times. What does an authentic, visionary leadership mean to the value and importance of company culture? Why is it important and how can it add value?


Speaker: Mr. Mark Landis, PE, PG, Principal Engineer Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Topic: Rehabilitation of Stoney Creek and Lake Cammack Dams, Burlington, NC Download: Presentation (11MB)

Summary: The dams are owned by the City of Burlington. The presentation discussed the overall project description, engineering problems, the engineering analyses and results, and construction.

Mr. Landis has 30 years of experience as a Civil Engineer/Engineering Geologist for projects involving dam design and rehabilitation, geotechnical engineering, geological and hydrogeological evaluations, and geophysics. Mr. Landis has performed evaluations, design, and routine dam inspections for small to large earthen and concrete dams in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho, California, and Maine. His recent focus has been associated with the design of new large earthen dams for offline water supplies. He has also performed engineering for power plant ash handling to include dike design for as sluice ponds, slurry wall design, and quarry/mining permitting/evaluation for large roller compacted concrete(RCC) dams. Mr. Landis is currently the Lead Engineer in the Greensboro dams office of Schnabel Engineering. He obtained his B.Sc Geology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981 and got his M.SC (Civil) from the NCSU in 1990.


Speaker: Mr. John E. Skvarla Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014
Topic: Changes at NC DENR No Presentation

Summary: Mr. Skvarla is the Secretary of the NC Department of Natural Resources. He discussed the new changes at NC DENR and the impact of those changes to engineers across the state.

Mr. Skvarla came to DENR after a successful career in business. He most recently served as CEO for Restoration Systems, an environmental mitigation firm based in Raleigh that helps improve and restore wetlands and waterways. His past environmental experience also includes his work as chairman with Wilkinson Hi-Rise, a world leader in manufacturing new products such as waste management and automated recycling systems. Skvarla previously served as chief operating officer for The Aviation Group, Inc., a company that emerged as the world's largest all-cargo airline during his tenure. He also has been managing director of an investment banking office in Raleigh and owner of a Sandhills golf course community. An attorney, Skvarla in 1978 founded and served as senior partner to the Raleigh-based Skvarla, Wyrick, and Robbins law firm, where he specialized in corporate and tax matters, as well as public and private capital formations.


Speaker: Craig M. Newton, PE Date: Thursday, November 21, 2013
Topic: The Planning Process for the Union Station Project Download: Presentation (31MB)

Summary: The first Raleigh Union Station was built in 1892 and still stands at the corner of Dawson and Martin Streets, though it was abandoned as a train station in 1950.  Since then, multiple plans and studies identified the Boylan Wye as the best area for a new union station or Multi-Modal Transportation Center.  The City of Raleigh, NCDOT, and Triangle Transit recently aligned their efforts to develop plans for a new Raleigh Union Station, which will adaptively reuse a 1960’s-era industrial building.  The $73 million project is partially funded, design teams have been selected and began work in January 2013, and completion is scheduled for 2017.  This session will review the project history, feasibility, costs, funding, schedule, and benefits.

Mr. Newton is a native of Raleigh, and a 1988 graduate of NC State University with a BS in Civil Engineering.  He began working with the NCDOT Rail Division in 2000, and oversees the NCDOT Train Station Improvement Program, and other Rail Facilities projects.  He has also worked in municipal government and in private sector engineering.


Speaker: R. Jason Herndon Date: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Topic: Mechanics’ Liens in North Carolina Download: Presentation

Summary: Mechanics’ Liens in North Carolina – Where have we been, where are we now, and where are we going? Substantial changes over the course of the last year have dramatically altered the mechanics’ lien “playing field” for engineers and all other construction project participants. This presentation will discuss the evolution of those changes, what those changes mean for engineers who want to protect and enforce their rights, and what additional changes may be on the horizon.

Jason Herndon is a construction law attorney with Parker Poe in Raleigh, where he represents a diverse group of clients including design professionals, public and private owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and construction sureties. He has litigated a wide variety of construction issues including scheduling disputes, delay/disruption claims, design defects, construction defects, cumulative change impacts, payment and performance bond claims, mechanics’ lien prosecution and defense, and contract disputes. Mr. Herndon currently chairs the Lien and Bond Law Revision Committee for the NC Bar Association’s Construction Law Section, and has been named a “Rising Star” in construction litigation by Super Lawyers each year from 2010-2013.


Speaker: David Demo Date: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Topic: An Introduction to Tensioned Fabric Structures Download: Presentation

Summary: The presentation covered the fundamentals of tensioned fabric structures including the materials, fabrication, structural characteristics, and design. Additionally, Mr. Demo discussed the environmental considerations and performance related to energy use, daylighting, acoustics, fire safety, maintenance, and operating costs. Finally, he discussed the applicability of this construction type.
Dave Demo, principal of David A. Demo, PLLC, has over 45 years of experience in structural engineering and construction project management. Twenty-five of those years have been spent in the analysis, design, and construction of tension fabric structures. He has contributed to a number of major fabric structures; most notable are the Denver International Airport, Inchon Stadium in Korea, and BC Place in Vancouver, Canada. He is has a BSCE from the University of Pittsburgh, a MSCE from Lehigh University, and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Life Member of ASCE and a registered Professional Engineer in North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania.


Speaker: Greg Lucier, Laboratory Manager, Constructed Facilities Laboratory, NCSU Date: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Topic: Development of a Rational Design Procedure for Precast Concrete Spandrel Beams Download: Presentation,
MP4 #1 | AVI #1, MP4 #2 | AVI #2

Summary: Precast concrete slender spandrel beams are commonly used in parking structures to transfer vertical loads from deck sections to columns. In addition, slender spandrels often serve as a railing or barrier around the exterior edge of the parking structure. The main objective of this research program was to develop rational design guidelines for precast concrete slender spandrel beams. These design guidelines are expected to simplify the reinforcement detailing required for slender spandrels. The results of the research can be read in "Behavior of precast, prestressed concrete sandwich wall panels reinforced with CFRP shear grid" and "Development of a rational design methodology for precast concrete slender spandrel beams: Part 2, Analysis and design guidelines".


Speaker: Beth Howey of HDR Engineering, Inc. Date: Thursday, May 16, 2013
Topic: Bonner Bridge - History and Replacement Structure Foundation Design Aspects Download: Presentation,
MP4 #1 | AVI #1, MP4 #2 | AVI #2

Summary: The replacement of the 50-year-old Bonner Bridge has been studied for over 20 years and the presentation provided a brief glimpse of the history of the bridge as well as some of the foundation design aspects the Design Build team tackled in working on the replacement structure.


Speaker: Dr. Reza Jafari Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Topic: Roundabouts vs. Signalized and Unsignalized Intersections: Safety and Operation Concerns Download: Presentation, MP4 | AVI
Summary: Mr. Jafari discussed the advantages and disadvantages of roundabout design versus signalized and unsignalized intersections. Traffic and transportation engineers are responsible for safety and ease of travel for all modes of transportation including pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorist. He reviewed the overall delay, back of queue, and other measures of a roundabout’s effectiveness by discussing case studies in North Carolina.


Speaker: Mr. James Rispoli Date: March 21, 2013
Topic: Practical Lessons Learned For Engineers Managing Projects Download: Presentation
Summary: Mr. Rispoli is a professional engineer and a Board Certified Environmental Engineer. He provides expert engineering management services to clients engaged in project and construction management. He is currently a Director at Large for ASCE, a Senior Executive Advisor at PT&C Inc., and a Professor of Practice at NCSU's Center for Nuclear Energy Facilities and Structures. He presented several projects and discussed their potential and actual pitfalls. He also presented ways to anticipate, avoid, or mitigate potentially adverse outcomes. He showed how to mitigate risk in the planning and the execution phases, and discussed his view of essential approaches to optimize outcomes.


Speaker: Nico Sutmoller, Insulfoam Geofoam Specialist Date: February 21, 2013
Topic: Geofoam - A Lightweight Fill Alternative Download: Presentation
Summary: Mr. Sutmoller spoke about the utilization of Geofoam as a light weight fill alternative. EPS Geofoam is a large block, rigid foam plastic material that has typical densities between 12-46 kg/m³ (0.7-2.85 ft³) making it up to 100 times lighter than soil. It is one of the only truly engineered fill materials that has predictable, consistent physical properties. He also spoke about the manufacturing process of EPS, the history of Geofoam, recent trends, some design considerations, specifications, and installation considerations.


Speaker: Mr. Wade Kirby Date: January 17, 2013
Topic: Engineering Challenges in a War Torn Country Download: Presentation
Summary: Wade Kirby is a licensed Professional Engineer and Geologist in North Carolina.  He earned his Masters degree in Environmental Science and Engineering from Virginia Tech, a Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M, and a Bachelors degree in Geology from North Carolina State University.  He recently completed a one year contract with the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan through L-3 Communications.  Prior to his work in Afghanistan, Wade worked for several large consultant firms as well as the NCDOT, NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the City of Wilmington.

The 2012 - 2013 Officers

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Past President
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President Elect
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Branch Representative
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Branch Representative
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Younger Members President
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NCSU Practitioner Advisor
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Government Liaison
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Duke Practitioner Advisor
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Eastern Branch Web Director
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