2015 Alumni Award Winners - Bios

The Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association is pleased to announce the 2015 recipients of its Distinguished Alumnus Award and Young Alumnus Achievement Award.  The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes professional accomplishments or unique contributions to society by alumni of the department.  The Young Alumnus 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 March 11. 

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 2015 Distinguished Alumni are:

John CarratoJohn L. Carrato (BS 79, MS 80)
President and CEO
Alfred Benesch & Company

For an outstanding career of progressively increasing responsibility demonstrated in multi-million dollar projects in urban infrastructure, complex railroad crossings and major river bridges; for technical expertise and commitment to the profession that have earned him a reputation as an industry leader; and for the commitment to quality and engineering excellence that defines his vision for Alfred Benesch & Company.

Mr. Carrato began his professional career at Alfred Benesch & Company (Benesch) 35 years ago. As an engineer, he specialized in the design and inspection of railroad bridges, and managed a number of complex transportation projects. 

From Structural Designer to Chicago Division Manager, he consistently proved to be an effective leader in the firm. In 2009, Mr. Carrato became President and Chief Executive Officer of Benesch.

Benesch is a multi-disciplined professional services firm, providing a range of services including civil, structural, construction management, geotechnical, environmental consulting and landscape architecture. Under Mr. Carrato’s leadership, Benesch has grown from 220, to over 500 employees in 25 offices throughout the country. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Benesch has offices in 14 states.

Mr. Carrato’s accomplishments also extend past professional achievements, as he is an active member within his professional and local communities. Currently, he is the President for ACEC-Illinois; Director of Structures Function Group for AREMA; a member of the Board of Directors for the Structural Engineering Institute; and a member of the Building Code Review Board for the Village of Arlington Heights. He is also a Past President of the University of Illinois’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni Association.  

Gennaro G. MarinoGennaro G. Marino (PhD 85)
Marino Engineering Associates Inc.

For an outstanding career as a recognized expert in geotechnical engineering, particularly in mine subsidence, including backfilling of abandoned mine workings to protect structures; and for his approach in his civil engineering practice to solve technical problems and provide workable designs but also to research the underlying mechanisms of ground/structure behavior, thereby contributing to the civil and mining engineering professions.

Dr. Gennaro (Jerry) Marino is the President of Marino Engineering Associates, Inc. (MEA), a Geotechnical Engineering firm which specializes in geoforensics, geotechnical and mine subsidence engineering in Urbana, Illinois. He has been in practice for 33 years. 

Dr. Marino is widely recognized as an expert in the field of subsidence engineering and is licensed in 23 states. 

In 2011, Dr. Marino received the Central Illinois Civil Engineer of the Year from the ASCE and in 2013, the ASCE Geo-Diplomate Award. He is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association and Chairman of the ABA’s Expert Witness Civil Engineering Subcommittee.

His achievements include founder and chairman of the Geotechnical Engineering Division of ASMR, development of design methodology for softening of mine floors, author of two Earthquake Damage Insurance Claims Courses and a Borehole Logging Course, developer of a TDR system for sinkhole detection and of retrofit methods for foundation damage. 

Dr. Marino has authored over 90 papers, articles and research publications and a textbook on Earthquake Damage. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1985, M.S. from Rutgers University and B.S. from the University of Dayton. Over the years Dr. Marino has hired and mentored numerous University of Illinois engineering students who have gone on to successful careers of their own.

Tony RiccardiTony Riccardi Sr. (BS 65)
William A. Randolph Inc.

For a demonstrated high degree of competence and leadership in the civil engineering profession through long and hard work; for his achievements in successful projects including retail, special use, hospitality and hotel, residential, design build, institutional, industrial and office, healthcare, and nuclear power plants; and for proven leadership as a man of faith whose philanthropy, though great, often goes unnoticed.

Tony Riccardi Sr. is President and owner of William A. Randolph Inc. and one of the founding members and driving forces for the growth and success of the company. Tony’s strong work ethic and values including honesty, direct communication and excellence, set the tone for the organization and have helped William A. Randolph become a leading General Contractor Commercial Builder serving the retail, hospitality, office, education and industrial construction markets.

Tony’s vision has guided William A. Randolph throughout his tenure. From the late 1960s through the early 1990s, the firm concentrated on Illinois infrastructure construction. This included potable water and sewage treatment plants, water reservoirs, pumping stations, nuclear and fossil fueled electric generating stations, bridges, all types of work related to oil refineries, chemical plants, manufacturing plants and heavy industrial buildings, Category 1 work in existing and new nuclear power plants.

As infrastructure spending declined, William A. Randolph refocused its attention to building construction. In the early 1990s, the firm built everything from hotels, convention centers, parking decks, schools, office buildings, prisons, restaurants and retail centers. Now considered one of the premiere commercial contractors in the Midwestern United States, William A. Randolph continues to grow and expand under Riccardi’s tutelage.


The 2015 Young Alumni are:

Fabian BombardelliFabian Bombardelli (PhD 04)
Associate Professor
University of California, Davis

For an outstanding academic career at the University of California at Davis in research, teaching and service; for his leadership in multi-phase flows for environmental applications; for his unparalleled set of research skills in theory, numerical computations, laboratory observations and field work; and for his active role assisting the United Nations and the government of Argentina on diverse projects in Latin America.

Fabián Bombardelli was born in Argentina; he obtained a Hydraulic Engineering degree at the National University of La Plata, and a Master degree at the University of Buenos Aires. He moved to Illinois in 1998 to undertake Ph.D. research under Prof. García. Concurrently with obtaining his Ph.D., Bombardelli became faculty of the CEE Department at the University of California, Davis (2004), where he is presently a tenured Associate Professor.

At Illinois, Bombardelli implemented three-dimensional models of flow in the Chicago River, connected one-dimensional models of bubble plumes with theories of multi-phase flows, and developed three-dimensional models and experiments for bubble plumes. In addition, he provided a derivation for an important equation of fluid mechanics. Bombardelli received awards as a student by the ASCE and the ASME. He was also nominated, by the UIUC CEE Department, for the Straub Award for the most meritorious thesis in Hydraulics.     

At California, Bombardelli addresses theoretically, numerically and experimentally, diverse multi-phase flows such as stream sediment transport and entrainment, air entrainment in channels, and inlet closures. He received recently two awards from ASCE and IAHR. Bombardelli assists the Government of Argentina on issues of water quality, and has participated on projects for the United Nations.

Manish KumarManish Kumar (MS 00, PhD 10)
Assistant Professor
Pennsylvania State University

For technical excellence and outstanding contributions in the new area of developing water treatment membranes that utilize biological water transport proteins and that promise to revolutionize water treatment by decreasing the amount of energy required for desalination; and for his studies to optimize synthesis of hybrid membranes and produce them in a flat sheet format, essential steps on the path to commercialization of this technology.

Manish Kumar had the pleasure of attending graduate school twice at Illinois, graduating once with a MS in Environmental Engineering in 2000 and then with a PhD in 2010. Between the two degrees he spent time in a small consulting firm (NCS Engineering) in Phoenix, AZ and at MWH Global’s Applied Research Department in Southern California. He was involved in a variety of cutting edge projects on implementing membranes for water and wastewater treatment. This exciting research experience and stimulating interactions with students and colleagues eager to learn about membranes convinced him that a career in academia would be most satisfying. He also decided to “do something original” with his PhD and arrived back in Urbana in 2006. His idea was to integrate biological channels that transport water very efficiently into water treatment membranes. This idea was quite radical at that time but the idea proved feasible with some persistence and lot of excellent support from his advisors (Mark Clark and Julie Zilles). Since this initial work, the area of biomimetic membranes for water purification has become widely studied and there is already a product on the market based on this idea.  

After completing his PhD, Kumar moved to Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow and worked on determining the atomic structure of protein channels using electron microscopy. He moved to The Pennsylvania State University as an Assistant Professor in 2011. His group is pioneering the use of artificial water channels for synthesizing membranes for applications, using synthetic biology to prevent fouling of membranes and continuing to develop methods to characterize and utilize protein channels in engineering and healthcare applications. 

Manish enjoys long distance running and spending time with his wife Anu and twins Arun and Sierra. Arun and Sierra were born in Urbana and let everybody know that they are from Illinois.  

Abouzar SadrekarimiAbouzar Sadrekarimi (PhD 09)
Assistant Professor 
University of Western Ohio

For his significant academic and professional contributions to understanding the behavior of sandy soils during landslides, liquefaction failures, and in-situ field tests; for developing and performing advanced soil mechanics laboratory testing and studying earthquake damage to seawalls and port structures through geotechnical physical model experiments; and for his significant research and technology development contributions.

Dr. Abouzar Sadrekarimi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Western University. Dr. Sadrekarimi received his Ph.D. in 2009 in Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Thereafter, he joined Golder Associates (Burnaby, BC) where he was involved with the engineering analysis and design of piles, offshore structures, building foundations, and slopes. 

Dr. Sadrekarimi’s research interests include soil dynamics and geotechnical earthquake engineering, in-situ soil characterization, advanced soil testing, and consolidation behavior of soft soils and he has over 40 published conferences and journals papers in these areas. Dr. Sadrekarimi has received many awards including the prestigious Ralph B. Peck Fellowship Award, Mavis Memorial award from the University of Illinois’s department of civil engineering, the best paper awards at the 2008 GeoCongress Conference, the New Madrid Chapter of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Award and the 2009 Dam Safety Conference. Dr. Sadrekarimi is a member of the Canadian Geotechnical Society, International Society of Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). 

Since his employment at Western University, Dr. Sadrekarimi has taught courses in “soil mechanics”, “geotechnical engineering”, “geotechnical site investigation” and “ground anchoring systems” for undergraduate and graduate students as well as supervising the research thesis of many MESc and PhD students.