Welcome to Insights, a monthly podcast series with noted civil engineering industry leaders discussing their perspectives and insights into the successful practice of civil engineering. Featuring honest, straightforward viewpoints, based on unique experiences and interests, these discussions tackle a wide range of compelling issues. The series is sponsored by the ASCE Industry Leaders Council.

Insights is presented as a series of discrete episodes -- audio files that can be downloaded for listening anytime from portable devices such as iPods or from any personal computer.



Featured Guest

J. Richard Capka (BG, USA-Retired), P.E., M.ASCE, F.SAME, Chief Operating Officer, Dawson & Associates

Posted on: 01-15-2014

Rick Capka is the Chief Operating Officers for Dawson & Associates the leading water resources consulting and government relations firm in Washington, DC which continues to assist clients successfully meet the prerequisite federal requirements in advance of undertaking significant projects.
He joined Dawson and Associates in 2008 after more than 2 ½ years serving as the Federal Highway Administrator, the Nation’s top highway official, and more than 36 years of managing projects and overseeing federal and state-level infrastructure programs.
Having served in the Federal Highway Administration since 2002, he helped to prepare the Bush administration’s transportation policies, shaped the management of highway mega-projects nationwide and in 2003 was the first U.S. Department of Transportation official to deploy to Iraq. Additionally, he successfully led both the Federal Highway Administration’s response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the highly acclaimed federal response to the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis.
From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Capka was Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA) where he oversaw the Boston Central Artery and Tunnel Project. There he brought financial stability to the nation’s largest infrastructure project by both establishing a federally approved finance plan and budget that remained unchanged for more than five years after his departure.
In 2000, he retired from the U.S. Army, having served the nation for almost 30 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and achieving the rank of Brigadier General. While wearing the uniform he commanded the Corps’ Baltimore District, the South Pacific Division and the South Atlantic Division
He is a United States Military Academy (West Point) graduate and holds a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters in Business Administration from The Chaminade University of Honolulu. He was the ASCE Civil Government Award winner in 2005 and a member of ASCE’s Advisory Councils for the 2009 and 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure. He is to be recognized in March as ASCE’s 2014 OPAL Winner for “lifetime achievements and accomplishments in Management”.
He and his wife, Susan, have two sons, David and Rick, and seven grandchildren.

Download MP3 (10:56min, 10MB)

Archives

Peter J. Zipf, P.E., F.ASCE, Chief Engineer, The Port Authority of NY and NJ

Posted on: 10-03-2013

As Chief Engineer at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Mr. Zipf is responsible for managing the Engineering Department’s day-to-day operations that provide the design, structural integrity, construction management and quality assurance services for the Port Authority’s Capital and Operating programs. The programs involve major projects at the Port Authority facilities, which include airports; tunnels, bridges and terminals; ports; and the PATH rail system.

Mr. Zipf has been with The Port Authority for twenty-seven years and has worked on a wide variety of large capital and operating programs, in addition to implementing several technology applications that enhanced the Engineering Department’s overall operation. Mr. Zipf served on the MTA Blue Ribbon Panel for Construction Excellence and serves on the Port Authority’s Ethics and Safety Board.

Prior to The Port Authority, Mr. Zipf worked for six years at Gibbs and Hill, Inc. where he was a Structural Engineer and Project Engineer on several major power and transportation projects.

Mr. Zipf received his Civil Engineering degree from Manhattan College and his Masters Degree in Construction Management from Polytechnic Institute of New York University. He mentors students at Manhattan College and Polytechnic Institute of New York University.

He is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York and New Jersey and a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, a member of The Moles, the National Society of Professional Engineers, Project Management Institute and the Society of American Military Engineers. Mr. Zipf has published several articles on Engineering Technology.

Download MP3 (4:07min, 4MB)

Thomas W. Smith, III, CAE, M.ASCE, Deputy Executive Director & General Counsel, American Society of Civil Engineers

Posted on: 08-21-2013

Tom Smith is a member of ASCE and serves as its Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel. His responsibilities as Deputy Executive Director include managing ASCE’s Corporate Division, which includes affinity programs, business development, customer service, educational activities, human resources, international affairs, member communities, professional activities and sustainability initiatives. His responsibilities as General Counsel include legal consultation in the areas of employment, tax, corporate, contract, antitrust, intellectual property, real estate, and construction law. Mr. Smith also oversees ASCE’s professional conduct and construction contract documents committees.

Prior to joining ASCE, Mr. Smith practiced law from 1990 to 1997 with the firm of Hazel & Thomas, P.C. in Northern Virginia. Mr. Smith’s experience at Hazel & Thomas, now merged with Reed Smith, LLP, included commercial, construction and land use litigation in federal and state courts, as well as the preparation and processing of land use permits, including rezonings, special exceptions, special permits and site plan applications for commercial, industrial and residential development.

Mr. Smith received his law degree from Washington & Lee University (1990), where he was an associate editor of the Washington & Lee Law Review. Mr. Smith received his Master of Engineering and Bachelors of Science degrees in civil engineering from the University of Virginia (1987 and 1986, respectively).

Mr. Smith is a member of the Virginia and District of Columbia bars. He is a member of Chi Epsilon and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Institute for Engineering Ethics. He is a past chair of the Legal Section Council of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and continues to serve on its Association Law Symposium planning committee. Mr. Smith is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and has written publications on engineering ethics, construction site safety, local government law, and mechanics lien priority rights for design professionals. In addition to ASAE, Mr. Smith is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, has served as a member and chair of the Virginia Bar Association’s National Moot Court Committee, and is currently serving as a member of the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals.

Download MP3 (15:15min, 14MB)


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