Engaging Minnesota Engineers in Critical Infrastructure Discussion

Thursday, January 24, 2013 (8:30 AM - 12:30 PM)

Join us and earn 4.0 PDHs

Date & Time: Thursday, January 24, 2013, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Great River Energy in Maple Grove.

Due to the workshop nature of this seminar, there will be no webinar registration.

Great River Energy will provide beverages and breakfast-type snacks in the morning. Due to the length of this seminar, attendees may choose to order a boxed lunch that will be delivered on a break prior to the question & answer panel discussion at the end, or bring their own lunch.

This program will consist of four separate presentations followed by a Q&A and discussion session by all of our panelists.

Program Overview: Public works engineers and other professionals knowledgeable about the State of Minnesota's infrastructure are concerned about the lack of priority given to this critical investment. Other important needs, like health care and education, have much more effective advocates. Why not infrastructure?  What is lacking in policy making? Is it merely a matter of funding or lack of resources? What is being done to credibly document the situation? What can Minnesota engineers offer to change direction?

This half-day seminar will cover:
  • An understanding of what is at stake if state infrastructure is not kept up
  • Efforts that are underway to address this issue by state government and concerned professionals
  • What Minnesota's professional engineers can do now to improve the situation

1.) The Effects of Decaying Infrastructure on National Security and Culture

This presentation by Professor Roberto Ballarini of the University of Minnesota Department of Civil Engineering will highlight the effect of our nation’s infrastructure on our national security, as well as our quality of life, culture and pride. Professor Ballarini will showcase the amazing infrastructure of roads, bridges, schools, museums and national parks we once had in the United States and the impact of deferred maintenance. He will give examples from competing nations and offer solutions for the future.

Presenter: Dr. Roberto Ballarini is the James L. Record professor and former head of the University of Minnesota Department of Civil Engineering. He joined the University of Minnesota after serving for 20 years on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University, where he was the Leonard Case Professor of Engineering. Dr. Ballarini’s multidisciplinary research focuses on the development and application of theoretical and experimental techniques to characterize the response of materials to mechanical, thermal and environmental loads. His current research involves theoretical, computational and experimental studies of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoscale biological and synthetic materials, bioinspired design of composites, the mechanics of concrete structures and pavements, and the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis.

2.) Minnesota 2050: A Cooperative Effort to Educate the Voting Public

The condition of our state infrastructure affects the state economy, public safety and overall quality of life. Elected officials recognize a need for more investment in and attention to public infrastructure, but they are not hearing it demanded by constituents. Fourteen Minnesota professional societies and associations have organized a long-term effort to educate the public about the importance and wisdom of making timely investment in public facilities. They recognize that the engineering profession must take a strong lead in making the case to a variety of publics. The group is partnering with Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) to produce educational videos highlighting the problem.

This presentation will cover an overview of the Minnesota 2050 group's mission, goals and activities.

Learn more about Minnesota 2050 here.

PresentersDan Gage, Executive Vice President, MacQueen Equipment, which sells contractor and municipal equipment in the Midwest. Mr. Gage is the founder of MN 2050 and serves as its chair. MN 2050 operates as an arm of the MN Public Works Association.

Tom Eggum, PE, is a senior consultant with TKDA and former Director of Public Works/City Engineer for the city of Saint Paul. He holds a BSCE from the University of Minnesota and MSCE and Master of Public Works degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.  Mr. Eggum represents the Minnesota section of ASCE in MN2050, serves on the steering team, and led the rail documentation work. He is also active in the ASCE peer review program for public agencies, is a leadership fellow in the American Public Works Association and an MnSPE member.

3.) The MnDOT Approach to Managing State Transportation with Limited Revenue 

MnDOT is currently updating its capital allocation process. The 20-Year Minnesota State Highway Investment Plan 2013-2032 (MnSHIP) will support the guiding principles from the Minnesota GO vision and link the policies and strategies from the Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan to improvements on the state highway system. Highway systems' needs have increased since the last 20-year plan and will continue to grow. Estimates suggest that the investment needed to simply maintain highway assets, without addressing safety, mobility or local issues, would require all projected revenue over the 20-year period.

MnDOT’s obligation to balance revenue constraints, legislative requirements, increasing needs and reduced buying power requires priorities for capital investments. The current MnSHIP update will incorporate risk management to establish these priorities by developing multiple potential performance levels for each statewide priority and solicit feedback on different combinations of investment levels and strategies that manage risks to the highway system.

Presenters: Ryan Wilson, PE and certified planner with MnDOT's office of Capital Programs and Performance Measures, is project manager for the 20-year State Highway Investment Plan 2013 update. He has worked at MnDOT in areas of highway planning, investment analysis, construction, maintenance and design. He has prior experience in research and construction.

hawn Walding is an investment analysis engineer in the office of Capital Programs & Performance Measures at MnDOT. His focus is on the definition and implementation of investment priorities on the state's highway system. He is currently working on the development of the next statewide 20-year highway investment plan. Previously, he has worked for the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council as a community outreach coordinator during the construction of the central corridor light rail line. Mr. Walding holds an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University, and a Master's degree in Urban & Regional Planning from the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. 

4.) State Investment Prospects Ahead

Presented by Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL) District: 66B, Chair, House Capital Investment Committee

Rep. Hausman just resumed her previous role as head of the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee, which will oversee the upcoming state bonding bill. With a Governor and both houses of the legislature led by the DFL, state priorities may change and decision-making may be clearer. Rep. Hausman will address the ways in which Minnesota's engineers can support legislative decision-making.

Presenter: Rep. Alice Hausman has been a MN State Representative since 1989. She sits on the Capital Investment and Transportation Policy and Finance committees. Rep Hausman holds BS and MS degrees in education from Concordia University.

5.) Question & Answer Panel Discussion

Following the first four presentations, there will be a short break for attendees to gather pre-ordered boxed lunches (you may also bring your own lunch) and gather back in the meeting room for a question & answer session and panel discussion.

Registration Deadline: Monday, January 21, 2013.
All registrations submitted after 1/21 will incur a $10 late registration fee.

Registration Fees:
*Separate registration option to purchase a boxed lunch.

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