2012 Alumni Award Winner Bios

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association is pleased to announce the 2012 recipients of its Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award and Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award.  The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award recognizes professional accomplishments or unique contributions to society by alumni of the department.  The Young Alumnus/Alumna Achievement Award recognizes a recent graduate who has achieved distinction in his or her field and reached a level of accomplishment significantly greater than that of other recent graduates.  The honorees will be recognized at the CEE at Illinois Alumni Dinner in Chicago on March14. 

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association annually presents awards to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of CEE alumni.  Nominations are accepted throughout the year. To nominate, please fill out and submit the appropriate form on the CEEAA Award page.

The 2012 Distinguished Alumni are: 

Ralph E. AndersonRalph E. Anderson
(BS 77)
Project Manager
Fehr-Graham & Associates
Springfield, Illinois
For outstanding commitment to the advancement and implementation of bridge design concepts in the state of Illinois; for extensive dedication to research in the areas of design, seismology and bridge capacity; for superior technical and administrative leadership as State Bridge Engineer; and for exemplary service to the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Illinois.
Ralph E. Anderson’s interests in engineering were nurtured through discussions with his father, who instilled in him a sense of responsibility to users. The University of Illinois gave Anderson the tools that underpinned his career in bridge engineering and had a significant impact on bridge design in Illinois and throughout the U.S.
Joining the Illinois Department of Transportation in 1977, Anderson advanced his engineering skills by completing a wide variety of bridge designs. He held the position of Bureau Chief of Bridges and Structures for 21 years and sealed over 1,000 bridges as the Engineer of Record.
Anderson served on several national committees addressing issues such as rotational capacity for elastomeric bearings, fatigue resistance for modular expansion joints, gusset plate design and rating concepts, and using elastomeric bearings as seismic isolation. He also represented the U.S. on two international bridge scanning tours to Asia and Europe. 
The confidence in his Illinois education gave Anderson the respectability required at the highest level to shape solutions for our nation’s bridges.
Gary J. KleinGary J. Klein, P.E., S.E.
(BS 73, MS 75)
Senior Principal and Executive Vice President
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc.
Northbrook, Illinois
For significant and lasting impact on research and practice in the fields of failure investigations and structural assessments, and for outstanding contributions conveying knowledge from these investigations to the structural engineering community.
Gary J. Klein is Senior Principal and Executive Vice President of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. in Northbrook, Illinois. For more than 30 years, Klein has studied and delivered solutions for buildings and bridges suffering from deterioration, distress or failure. He has investigated several major collapses, including the 1981 collapse of the Kansas City Hyatt Regency Hotel skywalks and the 1996 collapse of the KB Bridge in the Republic of Palau.  He has also researched behavior of precast spandrel beams and volume change of precast buildings.
Klein is a fellow of the American Concrete Institute and an active member of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute. Since 1995, Klein has been a member of the American Concrete Institute building code committee, ACI 318, and several other ACI committees.
Klein is a Licensed Structural Engineer in Illinois and a Licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois and several other states. He has received numerous awards, including a 1987 CEEAA Young Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois, and has authored more than two dozen papers related to his structural investigation practice and research work.
Starr D. KohnStarr D. Kohn, Ph.D., P.E.
(BS 76, MS 78)
Awarded posthumously, for outstanding leadership in the development of innovative solutions in pavement engineering in the areas of pavement management, non-destructive testing, improved long-term pavement performance, forensic studies and construction troubleshooting, and for dedicated service to the civil engineering profession.
Starr D. Kohn began his career with the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Ill., where he was involved in the development of the internationally accepted Pavement Condition Index (PCI) and the Paver System for managing military pavement facilities. Kohn continued his affiliation with the Corps of Engineers at the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory in Vicksburg, Miss., where he conducted research on heavily loaded airfield pavement performance. At the time of his death in 2009, he was a Senior Vice President and Principal at Soil and Materials Engineers Inc. in Plymouth, Mich., where he also served on the board of directors.
Kohn dedicated more than 30 years to pavement evaluation, design, management and research. He was a specialist in the structural design of heavily loaded airfield pavements and an early pioneer in the field of nondestructive evaluation of pavement systems. He worked on many nationally important programs including the Strategic Highway Research Program, the FHWA Long-Term Pavement Performance Study, and several Airfield Structural Evaluation Programs. He conducted numerous studies on factors affecting pavement smoothness and became a national expert in this field. He served in leadership roles on the pavement related committees of the Transportation Research Board, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the American Concrete Institute.  He was an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan, where he earned his Ph.D.
He continues to be fondly remembered and greatly missed by his family, coworkers and friends.
David A. SabatiniDavid A. Sabatini, Ph.D.
(BS 81)
David Ross Boyd Professor & Sun Oil Company Endowed Chair
of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
For outstanding leadership and pioneering contributions in the field of hazardous waste remediation using surfactants and the development of appropriate and sustainable technologies for addressing water quality issues in remote villages of developing countries.
David Sabatini is the David Ross Boyd Professor and Sun Oil Company Endowed Chair of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at the University of Oklahoma, where he is also the Director of the Water Technologies for Emerging Regions (WaTER) Center.  His research focuses on sustainable drinking water systems for developing countries such as Cambodia and Ethiopia, surfactant-based environmental and biofuel technologies, and understanding/characterizing contaminant fate and transport in the environment. 
Sabatini is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Contaminant Hydrology and Editorial Board member of the Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development  and has coauthored or coedited four books and more than 160 refereed journal publications. Recent awards include the Water Environment Federation Award of Merit for Work in Developing Countries (2011) and the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence (2010). In 1997-98, he was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the Universitaet Tuebingen, Germany.
After graduating from Illinois, Sabatini briefly worked for the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad (Chicago and Memphis). He completed his M.S. at Memphis in 1985, his Ph.D. at Iowa State in 1989, and joined Oklahoma University in 1989.
He and Frances, his wife of 27 years, live in Norman, Okla., as do their children, Caleb and Peggy.

The 2012 Young Alumna is:

Adrienne MennitiAdrienne Menniti, Ph.D.
(MS 03, PhD 08)
Process Engineer
Portland, Oregon
For technical expertise and leadership in the evaluation, modeling and design of wastewater treatment facilities, and for outstanding performance in teaching and training of process principles to wastewater treatment operations personnel.
Adrienne Menniti finished her Ph.D. at Illinois in December 2008 and joined CH2M HILL in Portland, Ore., as a wastewater process engineer.  She has performed process designs and evaluations for a variety of wastewater technologies including processes for wet weather treatment and sludge settleability control, integrated fixed film-activated sludge, sludge reduction with the Cannibal® process and the new sludge reduction digestion concept post-aerobic digestion.
Menniti fosters an ongoing interest in sludge reduction technology development.  She is working with colleagues at CH2M HILL and Eawag in Zurich, Switzerland, on a project to understand the mechanisms of Cannibal® and post-aerobic digestion and is leading CH2M HILL’s efforts to develop and verify a new mathematical modeling approach for designing these systems. She is a National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Alumna and was the Task Force Vice-Chair of the recently published Water Environment Federation Membrane Bioreactor Manual of Practice. 
In her free time, she hikes with her husband, Jeff, and practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.