Celebrating the New Year

UCA of SME chair Erika Moonin (right) presents a plaque to Victor Paterno in recognition of his efforts as Fox Conference chair.
UCA of SME chair Erika Moonin (right) presents a plaque to Victor Paterno in recognition of his efforts as Fox Conference chair.

Traditionally the U.S. tunneling industry inaugurates the new year with the annual awards dinners of The Beavers and The Moles, two fraternal organizations with roots in the heavy civil and underground construction industries. This year was no different as approximately 2,000 people kicked off what promises to be an eventful year in the tunneling industry by attending the dinners and celebrating the award winners.

The Beavers held their annual awards dinner on Jan. 19 at the J W Marriott at LA Live in Los Angeles, CA. Honorees were G. Michael Hoover of Sundt Construction (Leadership Award), Bob Adams of Guy F. Atkinson Construction LLC (Management Award), Dave Nielsen of Manson Construction Co. (Supervision Award), and Jake van Baarsel of Skanska USA Civil West USA (Engineering/Service and Supply Award).

The Moles held their annual awards dinner on Feb. 8 at the New York Hilton Midtown. The honorees were Gary A. Almeraris of Skanska USA Civil (Member Award) and James C. “Jim” Maxwell of Hub Foundation Co. Inc. (Non-Member Award).

Congratulations to the award winners. As Moles president Al Daloisio Jr. said during the awards presentation, these awards present the pinnacle of these individuals outstanding careers and dedication to the U.S. underground industry.

Fox Conference Attracts New Record Turnout

The UCA of SME hosted its annual one-day George A. Fox Conference Feb. 7 with a record turnout of more than 500 in attendance at the New York Hilton Midtown. The mark surpassed last year’s total attendance of 480.

The keynote presentation was given by Laura Mason, Executive Vice President, Capital Delivery for Amtrak. Amtrak is involved on two major projects – the Gateway/Hudson Tunnel Project in New York and the Frederick Douglass Tunnel in Baltimore. Fittingly, her topic was “Building a New Era of Passenger Rail in America.”

Highlights of the conference included in-depth discussions of the Gateway/Hudson Project and the Frederick Douglass Tunnel, as well as the $7-plus billion Second Avenue Subway Phase 2 project in New York. Other projects discussed included the RiverRenew Tunnel in Alexandria, VA; the West Seattle and Ballard Link Extensions in Seattle, the VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension in San Jose, CA; and New York DEP’s Shaft 17B and Shaft 18B Project. Also discussed were presentations on ground freezing, drill-blast tunneling and a tunnel industry update.

The conference began in 2000 as a regional conference and featured George Fox, former president of Grow Tunneling, as the keynote speaker. When the event was held again in 2002, it was renamed the George A. Fox Conference in honor of Fox, who passed away in 2001. The Fox Conference is traditionally held the day before the annual The Moles Awards dinner.

Victor Paterno, Project Executive Skanska USA, served as the chair of the program committee, finishing his two-year term. Sanja Zlatanic, Senior Vice President and Chief Tunnel Engineer for HNTB’s National Tunnel Practice, is the incoming chair.


Jim Rush, Editor/Publisher, TBM

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