TechCentury - Fall 2023

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ESD Construction and Design Award Winners ESD’s New President: Bob Richard Emerging Trends in Construction Technology 37 57 33 Fall 2023 THE ENGINEERING SOCIETY OF DETROIT FEATURE A Legacy of Success:
THE ENGINEERING SOCIETY OF DETROIT Technology Century® 3 PUBLICATION NOTES 5 PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 7 PAST PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 12 IN MEMORIAM 13 MEMBERS IN THE NEWS 15 ESD CORPORATE MEMBER: UCA 16 ESD CORPORATE MEMBER: GRESHAM SMITH 17 ESD CORPORATE & SUSTAINING MEMBERS 18 EVENTS AND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES 21 UPCOMING DEADLINES FALL 2023  V.28 | N.2 FEATURES 22 Networking, Mentoring, Career Growth 23 Companies Connect with Students 24 ESD Golf Outing 26 ESD Girls in Engineering Academy 28 ESD Annual Dinner 33 Bob Richard Takes the Helm of ESD 34 A Career Improving the Air We Breathe: John G. Petty Image Award Recipient Sonya Pouncy 37 ESD Construction & Design Awards 50 Book Review—Acoustical Materials: Solving the Challenge of Vehicle Noise by Dr. Pranab Saha BY PANKAJ MALLICK 52 The Future of Transportation 54 The Impact of Capstone Projects BY OLIVIA
57 Building the Future: Emerging Trends in Construction Technology BY
THE ENGINEERING SOCIETY OF DETROIT |  1 Cover: BlueOval City in Stanton, Tenn., built by Walbridge COVER FEATURE 8 A Legacy of Success: Based on Experience, Talented Team, and Partnerships BY
Members of ESD’s Student Chapter at Michigan State University attended ESD’s Annual Dinner. More starting on page 28.

We’re Walbridge. We Build.

We build generations of diverse, talented innovators. We build relationships with world-class partners. We build a culture of opportunity and leadership. And with all that in place, we’ve built an unequaled reputation in the construction industry. So, whatever the future demands from here, one thing is certain –Walbridge will be there to build it.


tech century

V.28 I N.2 Fall


20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450 • Southfield, MI 48076 248–353–0735 • 248–353–0736 fax • •


CHAIR: Karyn Stickel, Hubbell, Roth & Clark

Utpal Dutta, PhD, FESD, University of Detroit Mercy

Linda Gerhardt, PhD, FESD

Richard, Hill, PhD, University of Detroit Mercy

Dana Marie LeFevre, Student, Michigan State University

William A. Moylan, Jr., PhD, PMP, FESD, Retired, Eastern Michigan University

Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD, FASHRAE, Retired, Lawrence Technological University

Olivia Racette, Student, Oakland University

Matt Roush, Yellow Flag Productions

Rajiv Shah, PE, ACSCM

Michael Stewart, Fishman Stewart Intellectual Property

Cyrill Weems, Burns & McDonnell

Yang Zhao, PhD, Wayne State University


PRESIDENT: Robert A. Richard, DTE Gas

VICE PRESIDENT: Marc Hudson, Hum Internet

TREASURER: Alex F. Ivanikiw, AIA, LEED AP, FESD, OAC Advisers, LLC

SECRETARY: Robert Magee, The Engineering Society of Detroit

PAST PRESIDENT: Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Steudle Executive Group

Paul C. Ajegba, PE, Infrastructure Engineering, Inc.

Carla Bailo, ECOS Consulting, LLC

Katherine M. Banicki, FESD, Testing Engineers and Consultants

Michael Bassier, Stellantis

Jeffrey L. Baxa, Barton Malow Company

Mike Boss, Dürr Systems, Inc.

Steven L. Ceccio, PhD, University of Michigan

Louay Chamra, PhD, Oakland University

Sean P. Conway, LIFT

Ronald R. Henry, AIA, NCARB, Sachse Construction

Leo C. Kempel, PhD, FESD, Michigan State University

Dan Milot, ZF Group

Claude Molinari, Visit Detroit

Scott Penrod, Walbridge

Sergio Pujols, DENSO International America, Inc.

Trevor Sherts, Ford Motor Company

Kristen M. Siemen, General Motors

Jasmine L. Sisson, PE, FESD, WSP USA Inc.

Terry J. Woychowski, FESD, Caresoft Global


PUBLISHER: Robert Magee, ESD Executive Director

MANAGING EDITOR: Nick Mason, ESD Director of Operations

EDITOR: Susan Thwing

Pub Notes

Hello to all our readers! As summer winds down and we head into the fall, I hope everyone stays healthy.

In this issue, we are excited to profile Walbridge, the presenting sponsor of our recent Annual Golf Outing. Over its 107-year history, the company’s people and culture have supported expansive growth—led largely by the company’s foothold in the automotive, EV, and missioncritical markets.

We are also exploring emerging technologies in construction and design, and this issue includes our Construction and Design Award winners.

We are pleased to introduce the new ESD President, Bob Richard, who is President and COO of DTE Gas. Look for a profile on him inside the issue, as well as a profile of the 2023 John Petty Image Award winner, Sonya Pouncy.

Our Student Writing Contest is under way again, with entries due on December 1. Olivia Racette, a past winner, has an article in this issue on her Senior Capstone Project at Oakland University. We hope to continue to incorporate student voices in future issues.

Our book discussion, which we started last issue, continues with ESD member Pankaj Mallick, Ph.D. reviewing a book on acoustical materials by Dr. Pranab Saha.

Postmaster, please send changes to: ESD, 20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450, Southfield, MI 48076. Technology Century®, also known as TechCentury, is published by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD). The authors, editors, and publisher will not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made in this publication. The publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Advertisements in TechCentury for products, services, courses, and symposia are published with a caveat emptor (buyer beware) understanding. The authors, editors, and publisher do not imply endorsement of products, nor quality, validity or approval of the educational material offered by such advertisements. ©2023 The Engineering Society of Detroit.

We hope you enjoy this issue. You can continue help support TechCentury—while taking advantage of the industry and business exposure you will receive—by advertising in future editions. By doing so you can share your industry expertise with our 22,000 engineers and technical leaders in Michigan.



Hello to our Engineering Society of Detroit members! As I take on my new status as president, I am genuinely excited to serve in this role.

I am looking forward to continuing to embrace ESD’s core mission: linking the expertise and in-kind service of the engineers in our area to the needs of society, communities, and industry.

The Engineering Society of Detroit and DTE Energy began their relationship when Alex Dow, one of DTE’s earliest leaders, served as the society’s president from 1900 to 1902. I’m proud to say that DTE, which can trace its roots back to 1848, has been instrumental in the development of Detroit and surrounding areas. DTE was the company responsible for lighting Detroit and our legacy in the communities we serve drives everything we do. It is why our involvement in the Engineering Society has always been a vital priority for us. Together, we are a powerful partnership bringing technology, growth, resources, and support to our beloved region.

One of our joint initiatives that I am most proud of is the Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA). Through the GEA, we are guiding cohorts of girls through an engineering path taking them from the sixth grade into college. It is a high-yield and high-success pro gram that I encourage every member to join and stand behind. You can support the GEA—and the future of women in engineering—in the form of money, time, mentorships, and co-op positions. All are welcome and would make a significant difference in many lives.

I am also very proud of the inclusivity and welcoming atmosphere of ESD. It is a place of great diversity and support where we can all mentor others, network and learn about new industries, and find new roles or careers. We are here to support one another in any way we can.

I am very much looking forward to serving as your president.

Bob Richard Above: DTE supports ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy by hosting field trips and activity days where DTE engineers engage students in fun learning activities. Ask about how your company can get involved with the program.


Thank you, Engineering Society of Detroit members, for allowing me to serve as your president for the past two years. It has truly been my honor. As Bob Richard takes over this role, I know you and ESD are in remarkable hands.

I’ve enjoyed meeting so many of you and interacting with colleagues across the many engineering disciplines. And I have enjoyed learning from you. Thank you for allowing me this tremendous opportunity to collaborate and exchange ideas.

I want to also thank ESD Executive Director Robert Magee and the staff at the Society. Under Robert’s leadership, this organization has grown and reached unbelievable heights. ESD is leading the way in collaborating with universities on the future of our engineering workforce, promoting new technologies, and keeping the best and brightest engineers right here in Michigan.

I want to give special kudos to ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy. Through this amazing program, ESD is helping girls to excel at science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and eventually pursue successful engineering careers.

Please remember over the coming years that it is essential for us to continue to embrace this type of collaboration and enthusiasm among our various expertise to solve problems and create strong solutions. Now is the time in our history for engineers to make a concerted effort to work across all industries to develop solutions, grow ideas, and create the foundation of our world.

We have the technology. We can communicate globally. We have information at our fingertips. We have AI and imaging to see our results before a physical step has been taken. We have everything we need to better our projects, our disciplines, and, ultimately, our communities.

And that’s what ESD is about. I call on each of you to share your experiences as an ESD member with your colleagues and associates—with every engineer you meet— and encourage them to join ESD as well. Tell them what we can accomplish together.

Thank you, again, for the honor of being your president for the past two years.


Gifts to The Engineering Society of Detroit support outreach activities like the ESD Girls in Engineering Academy, University Student Chapters and the Michigan Future City Competition.

To join ESD’s Legacy Society, simply include the Society in your estate planning and let us know.

To talk more about legacy gifts, please call 248-353-0735, ext. 127, or email

To make a one-time gift online, visit



Over its 107-year-long history, two things stand out at Walbridge: the people and the culture that have helped its continued success.

The team’s history, growth and adaptability have also supported expansive growth over the past five years—led by Walbridge’s foothold in the automotive, manufacturing and mission critical markets.

“In a five-year period, we’ve experienced five times growth and our teams have stood up to every challenge thrown in along the way,” Walbridge President John Rakolta III said. “When you look back, it’s shocking how quickly everything happened. As our major markets adapted to the needs of the world, Walbridge was right there to support our customers.”

Managing projects with budgets ranging from several million dollars to multi-billion-dollar mega projects, Walbridge’s reliable, proven processes drive the organization, as estimators, designers, engineers, and operations personnel work together to find the best solutions for customers. “We’ve leaned on our heritage as the nation’s number one constructor of automotive and manufacturing facilities and

our ability to integrate the building facility and process exceptionally,” Walbridge Group Vice President Dave Robson said, adding that success stems from the predictable, positive outcomes Walbridge offers. “Customers are waiting in line for our services because we focus on being best in class in our core markets and services rather than spreading ourselves too thin, trying to be everything to everyone.”

This true and steady commitment is paying off.

A leadership in transition, holding to tradition

Founded in Detroit in 1916, just eight different individuals have led Walbridge in the past century. These leaders held true to the key attributes established by founders George Walbridge and Albert Aldinger: honesty, integrity, safety, trust, and a passion for building. This solid tradition of experienced leaders and structural processes has transitioned both in knowledge and leadership from one generation to the next.

John Rakolta III, a third generation Rakolta leader at Walbridge, has championed new initiatives at Walbridge, including diversity, equity and inclusion, while playing a lead role in developing the enterprise’s market diversity, growth and financial performance. He was named president in 2021, providing a new era of leadership for the enterprise while still learning from those who have supported decades of continued growth.

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Mike Haller , current Chief Executive Officer for Walbridge, John Rakolta III Dave Robson Mike Haller The Ford Motor Co. Dearborn Building built by Walbridge (1926).

is an example of the longevity of service and commitment Walbridge experiences with its staff. Haller joined the company in 1973 as a co-op intern while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Detroit. For more than 50 years, Haller has been an integral part of and led Walbridge teams in constructing hundreds of significant projects in eight countries and thirty-five states. “What’s been amazing to me is that Walbridge continues to grow leaders that work collaboratively, learn from previous generations and continue to innovate,” Haller said. “The ideals we’ve built on have been a critical factor in our continued success in automotive, commercial, manufacturing, mission critical, real estate services and more.”

This level of loyalty and staying power is not unusual at Walbridge. In fact, 93 percent of all vice president level and above positions have been filled internally; team members at a manager level or above have an average tenure of nearly 14 years with the company; and the company’s intern employment acceptance rate is at 88 percent, compared to an industry average of roughly 65 percent.

“We are a family-owned and operated organization. We are very loyal to our team members,” Walbridge Executive Vice President Randy Abdallah said. “Recently, we had 39 positions that, through normal attrition, people had retired. Thirty-eight of those positions were filled from internal placement...We’ve only had to go to the outside for one individual, which speaks to our culture and our commitment.”

Growth from within starts at the onset of many Walbridge employee careers. “I think one of the fascinating things about Walbridge is that many of our leadership began as interns. We have several executive leadership team members who started out as interns and just grew through the ranks. Their growth was literally hands-on,

learning from the people in the company,” Abdallah said. “As we’re growing, we’re bringing in some very strong individual players that have a strong future with Walbridge and can grow alongside us.”

Walbridge also pursues inclusiveness and diversity in staffing. “In 2018, we kicked off a comprehensive community engagement initiative as well as a Women in Construction peer group in Southern Virginia to focus on attracting, retaining talent, and ultimately improving the percentage of women on a very remote job site,” Robson said. “They lead many initiatives around training, recruiting, and community and philanthropic activities and have improved overall female participation onsite by over 10 percent.”

Currently, with a solid support system and room for career growth, Walbridge has women in leadership roles across the enterprise and provides opportunities for women to “shake up the business and help the industry make strides through our Women of Walbridge (WoW) resource group.” A voluntary, team member-led WoW group serves as a support system by fostering a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with Walbridge’s mission, values, and goals. WoW is designed to build an engaged network of members and contributors to share best practices, encourage new ideas, and optimize learning while championing technical thought leadership by amplifying the voices of women in STEM roles.

EV projects supporting growth

As the automotive market has evolved to battery electric vehicles, Walbridge has supported customers nationwide in the shift. A perennial automotive construction leader in the nation, the company has led automotive projects

Walbridge is making strides in diversity and staffing through programs like the Women of Walbridge resource group.

since before air conditioning was a feature in vehicles. But the company and its teams have innovated alongside the automotive industry—supporting new battery facilities and the new design needs for battery electric vehicle assembly.

“This is such an incredible moment for our teams to delve into the intricacies of battery and EV automotive facilities—translating blueprints into reality while supporting a new era in the automotive industry,” Walbridge Group Vice President Mark McClelland said. “There’s a noticeable excitement across our EV projects right now and it’s great to see.”

Recent new projects include the conversion of GM’s Factory ZERO in Detroit and the Orion Assembly Plant from internal combustion engine facilities to electric vehicle production. Walbridge is also the lead contractor for Ford’s BlueOval City, a mega-factory in Stanton, Tennessee, which will be Ford’s largest in the world.

As Walbridge has taken on mega-projects such as Ford’s BlueOval City and others, one of the focuses has been building strong partnerships with subcontractors and vendors. These strategic partnerships have proved invaluable, especially on massive sites such as BlueOval City, located more than 50 miles from Memphis, in a remote area.

“When a project is in a remote location, getting equipment and supplies expeditiously to the site is critical. Lowe’s Pros on site, as well as Walbridge’s equipment rental partners, saved time and money,” McClelland said.

“We needed them on site, so workers did not have to spend time running back and forth to Memphis to get drill bits, gloves, and hammers from the store.”

Mission-critical focus

In recent years, Walbridge has been setting deep roots and growing a familiar base in Central Ohio, Southwest Texas, Southern Virginia, Central Mexico, and Indiana, especially in the mission-critical data center industry. The company’s attention has been centered on growth regions with mega campuses that provide upwards of ten years of repeat builds.

Boasting strong relationships with top-tier customers, the company has built massive, hyper-scale data centers, working with some of the world’s largest tech companies to support efficient and complex systems, including Cloud-based enterprises. The company’s diverse, in-depth teams have been pivotal to delivering numerous successful projects, including a hyper-scale mission-critical facility in Virginia that delivered 74.6 of computing power across 500,000 square feet of building.

Fifty-two percent of a mission critical project centers on the electrical system, followed by the complex mechanical equipment necessary to cool the server space. Walbridge’s legacy expertise integrating and installing owner furnished equipment has brought massive value add for clients that expect capacity on a guaranteed launch date. Additionally, Robson said, the company’s knowledge of developing sophisticated electrical solutions for sprawling automotive, advanced manufacturing and power clients has greatly helped.

“When you look at hyper-scale data center owners, this is an incredibly fast-growing market. As companies work

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BlueOval City in Stanton, Tennessee (left) will be Ford’s largest factory in the world. Workers (right) pick up supplies at Lowe’s. Mark McClelland

remote, share more information and develop AI, more Cloud capacity is required,” Robson said. “We also design colocation, financial services and enterprise data centers. These facilities though often smaller in size, also have complex electrical as well as cooling systems that need to be designed in detail.”

But also important, Robson said, is that when approaching each project, the Walbridge team understands the importance of delivering on time and within budget.

“Every day that a data center is not launched is millions of dollars of lost revenue for that company. It’s the same way we approach our automotive, or other customers. Walbridge excels at getting it right, but also meeting deadlines,” he said.

Staying sustainable along the way

While keeping up with the company’s immense growth and ever-evolving technology, Walbridge leadership has also maintained a commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility by providing constructionrelated techniques and solutions to reduce CO b , CO b equivalent and other environmental impacts.

“Our customers are 100 percent behind our commitment to sustainability and the environment,” said McClelland, adding, “This commitment extends to all aspects of the project—in our material choices, how to transport materials, and the amount of times trucks are coming and going. We look at how many times you drive by a site, and whether or not the lights are on—is there a need for putting lighting on timers? It’s the whole package.”

Walbridge’s GreenWISE 2.0 program was designed to support these sustainable practices. The program follows the company’s commitment to be good stewards of sustainability throughout all facets of Walbridge’s enterprise including:

 reducing emissions of COb and waste

 minimizing any impact the construction operations have on the environment

 reducing environmentally undesirable outputs, greenhouse gas discharges, avoidable pollution, and other environmentally negative results from project activities

 protect, preserve and conserve the natural environment where possible, minimizing impacts on natural resources

 ensure the awareness of all team members to understand Walbridge’s environmental, sustainability, and business ethics policies

The company also uses CarbonCure and Mass Timber Hybrid solutions in structural materials. CarbonCure, introduced in 2012, creates carbon removal technologies that introduce recycled CO b into fresh concrete to reduce its carbon footprint. Utilizing mass timber-hybrid systems allows for a reduction of the energy demand and carbon dioxide expenditure during construction.

“By constructing with high-quality mass timber-hybrid, we’re deploying an attractive, sustainable option,” Robson said. “This is a massive step forward in construction, which can lead to better lead times and cost reductions to customers. We’re continuing to work with our customers to utilize the positives of this option.”

What’s next on the horizon?

With its 107-year history—during which the country went through monumental changes in technology, culture, and priorities—Walbridge has proven that the company will always stay one step ahead. “We’re working on new market playbooks,” said Robson. “Whether it is missioncritical centers, pharmaceutical facilities for research and manufacturing, or the future of power, we are maintaining our traditional customers while looking ahead. And we’ve proven we can excel at this.”

Next up is a continued focus on balancing the company’s traditional values with ever-changing methodologies. “We’ve always been very focused on long, outstanding relationships with our customers—it’s something that resonates with all of us,” McClelland said. “And some of the keys to continuing those relationships are continued innovation, transparency, commitment and communication.

Adding that for 107 years, Walbridge has been about slow, steady growth, Robson thinks the struggles during COVID-19 were a wake-up call for the future. “You don’t grow through the good times, you grow through adversity, and we did. We came through. We realized our supply chain was volatile, and that we need to bring manufacturing back home,” he said. “In addition, the market said we’re taking the climate seriously … and everyone’s now working from home, meaning AI and the Cloud are much more important. We’re taking all of this into account as it happens synergistically.”

It is all part of the Walbridge plan: the plan that takes Walbridge’s past five years of intense growth and propels it forward. “The last five years have proven the depth of our talented team across the board,” Abdallah said. “That’s very exciting as we continue to develop new skills, add new services and explore new markets.”

For more information about Walbridge construction, visit

In recent years, Walbridge has focused growth regions with mega campuses.

The contributions of these recently deceased members will not be forgotten:


President, Castaing & Associates, Inc.

Retired, Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, Chrysler Corp.

Engineer, American Motors Corp.

Rackham Award Recipient

Member since 1985


President, John Dziurman Architects Ltd.

Straub VanDine Dziurman Architects

Wade Trim & Wade Trim Dziurman

Giffels Associates

Meathe Kessler Associates

Recruiters Committee

C & D Award Nomination Committee

Member since 1973


Retired, Fuqua & Associates

Retired, Executive Deputy Superintendent, Distinguished Administrator and Executive, Detroit Public Schools

Member since 1981


Retired, Director of Laboratories, City of Detroit Health Dept.

Member since 1967


Retired, VP, Quality & Reliability, General Motors Corp.

Senior Project Engineer, Oldsmobile BorgWarner Research Center

Member since 1986


Retired, Greenfield Die & Mfg. Corp.

Marx Mfg.

United Metal

Karmazin Mfg.

Apprentice, Cadillac Motor Car Division

ESD and ESDF Donor Committees

Member since 1948


Member since 1967


Lederer Associates

Retired, Director, City of Detroit, Bldgs. & Safety Eng. Dept.

Commissioner for the City of Detroit

ESD President, 1983-1984

Member of the College of Fellows

Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Council of Past Presidents

College of Fellows Board of Advisory, Florida Chapter

Member since 1972


Consultant/Writer, Philemon-Joy & Associates

Member since 1990


Retired, Exec. Director, Michigan Road Builders Association

Civil Engineer, Michigan Department of Transportation

ESD Board of Directors

Member of The College of Fellows

Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Director, Metropolitan Detroit Science and Engineering Fair

Member since 1954


Retired, President, General Motors Corp.

Member of The College of Fellows

Rackham Award Recipient

Honorary Member Member since 2001


Co-Founder & Partner, Honigman Law Firm

Member since 2009


Retired, President, Werenski & Co.

Membership Committee Member since 1966

IN MEMORIAM 12  |  TechCentury FALL 2023


Michael Vinarcik, PE, FESD , Digital Craftsman and Director, Engineering Innovation Factory at SAIC , was named the 2023 Modeling Individual of the Year in the World Championships of Systems Architecting and Modeling. The 2023 Most Innovative Solution prize went to Team SAIC ( Daniel Scoggin and Derek Hughes ). The 2023 Modeling Team of the Year award went to Team Noblis (Tara Rhodes, Patrick Meharg, and Matt Johnson).

In the 2023 World Championships of Systems

Architecting and Modeling contestants walked into the competition cold at 8 a.m., received a 30-minute briefing on the problem statement, and then had 5 1/2 hours to develop a comprehensive solution. Participants had to respond to the needs of the fictional city of Mesa Cerveza and were faced with the scenario of working for Ecosystem Solutions LLC, a consultancy hired by the city, to develop a holistic systems solution to their multi-dimensional challenge: to provide adequate water and power to all residents and businesses of the city as it grows in population while respecting the natural environment as much as possible.

The contestants were provided a comprehensive SOW from the City of Mesa Cerveza and informed that their proposals were due at 2 p.m. that day with in-person briefings to the town manager and associates.

“We walked in cold, they gave us a problem, and we had a limited time to solve it,” Vinarcik said, who specializes in systems architecture, systems engineering, and the creation of system models using SysML. “It was a great way to show how model-based systems can work to solve challenges. I am thrilled to be a part of bringing attention to tools that can be used to create solutions in a short period of time.”


Michigan State University has named Judd Herzer as the director of MSU Mobility to help amplify and focus the university’s vast research activities in the smart vehicle landscape. ESD Fellow Satish Udpa, PhD, FESD, University Distinguished Professor in the College of Engineering at MSU and co-founder of MSU Mobility, has been fulfilling the duties of this newly created role in an interim capacity while the university looked for the ideal candidate. Mobility is among MSU’s principal areas of research and innovation. In his new role, Herzer will lead university-wide initiatives under the MSU Mobility umbrella to advance knowledge and practice around next-generation transportation technologies. Herzer will be responsible for coordinating mobility-related projects across the MSU colleges that contribute to MSU Mobility: Agriculture and Natural Resources; Business; Communication Arts and Sciences; Engineering; Law; and Social Science. In addition to the six colleges, he will work to establish and grow collaborative partnerships with industry, government, and other academic partners with the goal of fortifying MSU as a premier ecosystem for mobility research and development.


Matt Lentini, Senior Vice President of Energy + Industrial at Barton Malow Company , has been named one of Crain’s 2023 Notable Leaders in Energy. The honor is given to those who have made an impact in energy and continue to effect change while being a role model to others in the field. Honorees were nominated by their peers and then selected by Crain’s Detroit Business editors based on their career accomplishments, track record of success, and contributions to their fields and communities. Matt began his 25-plus year construction career as a millwright in the Union Building Trades, eventually working his way through the ranks as a superintendent, project manager, director, and vice president.

Judd Herzer Matt Lentini Satish Udpa ESD Fellow Michael Vinarcik (second from left) received the 2023 Modeling Individual of the Year in the World Championships of Systems Architecting and Modeling.


Lawrence Technological University (LTU) has secured an 18-month, $76,818 federal grant from the National Science Foundation’s GRANTED program to enhance its scientific research infrastructure. This grant, named “Strategically Engaging Private Institutions at Building Research Infrastructure, Networks, and Knowledge (BRINK) in the Emergence of Research,” will support seminars aimed at improving the grant-securing effectiveness of smaller private institutions. According to Kathryn Wrench , LTU’s executive director of sponsored research, the grant’s goal is to mentor around 100 individuals in facilitating discussions and strategic changes that promote research growth, fostering sustainable administrative support within Michigan’s institutional network. Matthew Cole , interim dean of the LTU College of Business and Information Technology, highlighted its benefits for the Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities (MICU) consortium, comprising 25 private non-profit institutions. The initiative’s centerpiece is the BRINK Conference scheduled for June 2024. Then, in 2025, the grant will fund another conference to share best practices.


Fishman Stewart managing partner Michael Stewart was again recognized among the world’s best patent professionals in IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals 2023 . The annual guide, now in its 12th year, is considered a definitive resource of world-class, private practice patent professionals and law firms, and leading expert witnesses in the United States. As co-founder of Fishman Stewart and a master’s level engineer, Stewart is a valued strategic adviser to CEOs and senior executives across the globe. He develops IP management strategies for U.S. and foreign-based companies, from middle market to Fortune 500, to safeguard their business assets throughout the world.


The Engineering Society of Detroit has brought on Heather Crowley to fill the new position of Director of Growth and Engagement. In her role, Crowley will cultivate strategic partnerships with Michigan companies and build support for ESD initiatives. Crowley brings years of development experience to her new role, having worked at the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau and at the American Cancer Society, where she oversaw a $600,000 fundraising portfolio.


Ruby+Associates, Inc. , a constructability-focused structural engineering firm, has received the 2023 A/E/C Building a Better World Award from PSMJ Resources, Inc., the world’s leading authority on effective and profitable architecture and engineering firm management practices.


ESD Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) Student Courtney Wright was featured on Channel 4’s segment “Rhonda’s Brag Book.” Courtney was in the GEA program from middle school through high school. She graduated from Cass Tech as Salutatorian. She also received the College Board’s African American Achievement Award. She is attending Columbia University this fall, majoring in engineering. The GEA program accepts girls who are entering sixth grade and provides intensive summer and school year experiences to prepare them for engineering careers.

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Matthew Cole Kathryn Wrench
Heather Crowley Michael Stewart


Supports Customers’ Energy Savings and Sustainability Goals

plexes and manufacturing sites; however, these systems are not a core business technology area. And because the customer’s focus is not always on this system, we find that when we come into a new area, the compressed air system isn’t always maintained well—especially in older facilities.”

Energy savings, maximizing efficiency, minimizing costs, and reducing carbon footprint are all factors that come into play when Universal Compressed Air (UCA) begins the conversation with new customers.

UCA, a privately owned and thriving, high technology business, who developed the trademarked PIPELINE AIR™ system, focuses on compressed air as a utility for numerous industries. UCA became a division of Universal Industrial Gases in 2013 and brings decades of industrial gas expertise to compressed air supply systems. UCA is based in Center Valley, Pennsylvania and has full North American reach with plants currently in Michigan, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, and Ontario, Canada.

Compressed air is used for everything from powering machinery, operating equipment, supporting industrial processes, and facilitating various tasks in manufacturing industries such as steel, glass, chemicals, automotive, and electric car batteries. In the construction industry, compressed air can power a vast range of tools because of its high output and efficiency with applications from digging trenches, hoisting materials, and painting automobiles.

“We began to see the parallel of what we were accomplishing in the needs of many other industries, “said Rick Kowey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at UCA. “Whether it is heavy machinery, mining, glass production, food and beverage, or even now the EV battery market, we’re expanding and growing.” Kowey said the systems are optimized to deliver compressed air as a productive, cost-efficient utility.

“Our catchphrase is ‘Air as a Utility’ because it is basically the fourth utility in industry,” he said. “Compressed air is a core requirement—just like electricity, water, etc. —for most manufacturing and production plants,” he said. “Air compression and drying systems are critical to the operation of many industrial com -

UCA will then work with customers to determine where they can save money as well as develop a known monthly spend on the compressed air as a utility. “We design, build, own, operate, and maintain the customer’s complete compressed air system over a long-term agreement with predictable monthly expenses for the customer. We design with energy savings, capital improvements, and reducing the carbon footprint in mind,” Kowey said. “We guarantee power savings, we guarantee 100 percent product availability, and we guarantee complete performance of the system.”

UCA’s trademarked PIPELINE AIR™ is designed for users to benefit from a solution tailored to their specific requirements. “Every system is customized, optimized, and designed to deliver an efficient and reliable solution,” Kowey said. “We have even extended the PIPELINE AIR™ business model to nitrogen supply, blower, and also vacuum applications.”

Sustainability is an increasing concern among UCA’s customers, and the company delivers solutions, such as in the use of energy-conserving heat of compression dryers.

“A lot of times the dialogue begins with the sustainability question,” he said. “We only use oil-free compressors, and our N+1 reliability designs all meet precise safety, environmental, and business continuity objectives that also assist companies in benefiting from environmental and sustainability incentives.”

For more information on Universal Compressed Air, visit


Gresham Smith expands into Metro Detroit

Gresham Smith, a top-ranked national architecture and engineering firm with more than $290 million in annual gross revenue, expanded its operations into the Detroit metropolitan area in December 2022. The firm’s office is in the Southfield Town Center.

The firm serves in eight market sectors, including building engineering, land planning, industrial markets, transportation, water and environment, healthcare, aviation, and life and work places, said Michelle Wright, Industrial Market Vice President at Gresham Smith.

With a longstanding history of serving automotive clients, the move to Michigan just made sense, she said.

“We’ve been serving clients in the area for many years, including a lot of joint ventures with OEM clients on battery and energy storage solutions, so it made sense to develop a presence here,” Wright said. “Things have taken off quickly in this first year in Detroit that we’re already considering a bigger space.”

The firm is currently designing facilities for numerous premier automotive lithium-ion battery manufacturers and suppliers, including Ultium Cells, a joint venture of General Motors and LG Energy Solution; NextStar Energy,

a joint venture of Stellantis and LG Energy Solution; L-H Battery Company, a joint venture between Honda and LG Energy Solution; Envision AESC; Duksan Electera America; and LG Chem.

Additionally, Gresham Smith has delivered projects in Michigan for a variety of other clients, including Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Jackson National Life Insurance Company and McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital (see pages 44-45).

Gresham Smith is actively hiring local professionals for architectural, engineering and program management positions. “Surprisingly we saw significant growth during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. We are hiring a dynamic team that can work from anywhere,” Wright said. “This is a company that puts people first—clients, community, and staff—so it is a great place to work…we’re seeing a lot of very talented people in the area, many who are embedded in the area and want to stay with all that Michigan has to offer.”

Rodney Chester, CEO and Board Chair of Gresham Smith, also stated, “Loving where you work, who you’re working with, and what you’re working on is important to us, which is why we strive to create a culture that fosters collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity.” He added, “Detroit’s legacy as a center of manufacturing excellence, as well as the area’s strong colleges and universities, means there is tremendous talent in the region, and we hope to attract professionals who share our values and want to design world-class projects that create healthy and thriving communities.”

The Southfield office is led by Charles Poat, AIA, LEED AP, a vice president who recently joined the firm’s Industrial market. He has more than 25 years of experience advising clients on high-profile projects, including the Ford Rouge Industrial Complex; the Harley Davidson Sportster Plant and Visitor Center; automated vehicle test track facilities at M-City and Willow Run; and most recently the Ford Global Technology and Business Center Mexico. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Engineering Society of Detroit, and he previously served as Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council Detroit Chapter.

Learn more about Gresham Smith’s career opportunities at

16  |  TechCentury FALL 2023
A joint venture called Ultium Cells, GM, and LG Energy Solution invested up to $2.3 billion to build a 2.8 million-square-foot lithium-ion electric vehicle battery cell manufacturing plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Gresham Smith delivered full design services as well as engineering and commissioning via the Integrated Project Delivery model for the project. Michelle Wright, Industrial Market Vice President at Gresham Smith


ACS, Michigan


AKT Peerless Environmental Services

Alberici Constructors, Inc.

Albrecht Engineering, LLC

American Society of Employers

Aristeo Construction

AUCH Construction

AVL Mobility Technologies

Barr Engineering

The Bartech Group

Barton Malow Family of Companies

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Blue Care Network


Center for Automotive Research

Central Michigan University

The Christman Company

Christman Constructors, Inc.

Chrysan Industries

Citizens Insurance

Clark Hill, PLC


CMS Enterprises

Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC


Dale Prentice Company

Dearborn Mid-West Company

DENSO International America, Inc.

Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau

DTE Energy

DTE Energy Gas Operations

Dürr Systems, Inc.

Eastern Michigan University

Electro-Matic Products, Inc.

Energy Sciences


Farbman Group


Financial One, Inc.

Fishman Stewart PLLC

Fusion Welding Solutions

Gala & Associates, Inc.


General Dynamics

General Motors Company

George W. Auch Company

Ghafari Associates, LLC

Global Auto Mobility

Global Information Technology

Golder Associates Inc.

Gresham Smith

GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

Harley Ellis Devereaux

Hartland Insurance Group, Inc.

Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc.

Huntington National Bank

IBI Group

Ideal Contracting

JNA Partners, Inc.

Innovative Engineered Solutions, Inc.

JNE Consulting

Kettering University

Knovalent, Inc.

Kolene Corporation

Kostal North America

Lake Superior State University

Lansing Board of Water and Light

Lawrence Technological University

Limbach Company, Inc.

Link Engineering Co.

LTI Information Technology

Macomb Community College

Maner, Costerisan & Ellis, PC

MEDA Engineering & Technical Services

Michigan State University


Michigan Technological University

Midwest Steel Inc.

Mitsubishi Motors R&D of America, Inc.

Neumann/Smith Architecture

Newman Consulting Group, LLC

Northern Industrial Manufacturing Corp.

NTH Consultants, Ltd.

Oakland University

Original Equipment Suppliers Association

Project Performance International

ROWE Professional Services Company

Rumford Industrial Group

Ruby+Associates, Inc.

Saginaw Valley State University

Savills Detroit



Step Up Recruiting, LLC

Talascend, LLC

Testing Engineers & Consultants

Tetra Tech


Troy Chamber of Commerce

Universal Weatherstrip & Bldg. Supply

Universal Compressed Air

University of Detroit Mercy

University of Michigan

University of Michigan-Dearborn



Wayne State University

Western Michigan University

The Whiting Turner Contracting Company


ZF Group


Employers: ESD’s job fair draws hundreds of tech professionals eager to find their next opportunity. Meet in-person with qualified candidates seeking full and part-time positions, as well as internships and co-ops.

Job Seekers: Enjoy the opportunity to meet face-to-face with representatives from Michigan’s leading companies. Employers will be recruiting for full and part-time positions, internships, and co-op opportunities.


October 6, 2023

Join ESD for a technical tour of UM Dearborn’s new Engineering Lab Building, which opened in 2021. Registration is $25. For more information, contact Elana Shelef at or 248-53-0735, ext. 119.



Third Wednesday of Each Month

ESD established the Affiliate Council to encourage cross-society cooperation and communication between engineering, scientific and allied professional societies. ESD members are invited to attend. Meetings include a technical presentation, and the topics change every month. Continuing education certificates are available upon request.

Meetings are currently being held hybrid (online and inperson) from 6–7 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month.

For more information or to register, contact Elana Shelef at or 248-3530735, ext. 119.

October 18 & 19, 2023

The 2023 Michigan Cyber Summit, now in its 12th year, will bring together experts to provide timely content and address a variety of cybersecurity issues impacting the world. Attendees will hear from government and industry leaders on the latest developments and gain insights into managing today’s cybersecurity challenges.

New this year, the first Michigan High School Cyber Summit will be held on October 19, 2023. Over 500 high school students will learn about cybersecurity trends, best practices, career opportunities and the path to land those jobs.

The event will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. For more, visit or contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.

ESD’s Engineers Get Hired job fair will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

Visit To exhibit, contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.


October 26, 2023

Join instructor Dr. Michael J. Cloud for a 2-hour Ethics class for professional engineers to meet their new mandatory continuing education requirement necessary to maintain licensure with the State of Michigan.

Engineering is a true profession, and the modern engineer needs more than just technical and business knowledge in order to thrive. Today’s complexity raises frequent ethical questions that call for a strong background in ethics as well. The working engineer must carefully consider and try to balance the demands of a spectrum of constituencies. This twohour course is designed as a concise treatment of the concepts, theory, and practice of engineering ethics. It touches on the foundations of ethics, explores the relationship between ethics and engineering, and proceeds through application to case studies.

Michael J. Cloud, PhD served as a faculty member for 35 year at Lawrence Technological University before retiring in 2023. He has coauthored eleven books on mathematical engineering.

Cost is $75 for Members or $124 to join ESD and attend the class—a savings of $50. Certificates of participation will be provided after the class. To register, contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.



Competition Day: January 23, 2024

This fall, middle school students began work on the Future City Competition; a project-based learning program where students work as a team with an educator and volunteer mentor to design a city of the future. Students will tackle this year’s challenge—Electrify Your Future. Teams will design a city completely powered by electricity generated from sources that keep their citizens and the environment healthy and safe. There are many opportunities to get involved and help inspire students:

Mentors: Spend an hour or two a week between now and January coaching and advising a team. Share real-life experiences, offer technical guidance, and help translate academic concepts to the real world of engineering and city design. Contact Allison Marrs at or 248-353-0735, ext. 121.

Judges: Draw on your expertise to evaluate our team’s efforts. Judges are needed to review essays in December and January and/or on competition day at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi to evaluate physical models and oral presentations. Visit for registration information.

Sponsors: Show your support for the next generation and increase business exposure. There are many opportunities to sponsor a component of competition day. Contact Elana Shelef at or 248-3530735, ext. 119.




Holding a PE license sets you apart. Adding PE initials after your name provides many benefits including a higher salary, faster career advancement and the ability to sign and seal contracts and drawings. For over 75 years, ESD has helped thousands of engineers pass the State licensing exam. ESD’s review courses will prepare you to pass the exam on your first try. Learn in a small group setting from academic and industry professionals who have first-hand knowledge of the course material. Courses will be held via Zoom.

Visit for more information or contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.


Monthly online (check for dates)

Learn more about PE licensure at an online session via Zoom. Sessions are held on the second Tuesday each month from 6–7 p.m. There is no coast to attend, but preregistration is required. Visit for dates and to register online. Once registered you can hop into ESD’s Zoom Room on any of the dates listed. Or email Elana Shelef at to schedule a personalized session.






Golf Outing: June 3

Get ahead. Earn your PE.



Nomination Deadline: December 8, 2023

At a special reception each March, the ESD Affiliate Council (made up of 90+ societies) presents its most prestigious tribute, the Gold Award, to honor an outstanding engineer or scientist. Each society may nominate one individual; all nominations received are then judged by a group comprised of past Affiliate Council presidents. The 2024 Gold Award Recognition & Reception will be held on March 20. Nomination forms can be found at For more information, contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.


Nomination Deadline: February 29, 2024

Help us recognize leaders by nominating a Fellow, one of the highest recognitions that ESD bestows. Candidates are selected based on outstanding professional accomplishments, leadership and service. They must be members in good standing for at least five years at time of application deadline. Full details and instructions are at For questions, contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.


Entry Deadline: February 29, 2024

ESD’s John G. Petty Image Award recognizes individuals who have promoted, publicized and enhanced the engineering and technical professions to the public-at-large through public engagement, mentoring, public speaking, authoring articles, and other publicly visible activities.

Nominees do not have to be ESD members, but nominators must be. Nominations are due by February 29, 2024. Nomination requirements and additional information can be found at or contact Susan Thwing at


Entry Deadline: February 29, 2024

ESD’s Construction and Design Awards honor the three primary members of the building team—owners, designers, and constructors—and recognize outstanding team achievement and innovative use of technology. At least one of the primary members of the project team must be an ESD member. For more information, visit or contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.


Deadline: December 1, 2023

Attention college students: we want to hear from you! ESD’s writing contest is open to all students at Michigan universities and studying engineering or related fields. The top three entries will be published in the Spring issue of TechCentury. The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by Fishman Stewart, LLC. Choose from topics including Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT, emerging technologies, or climate change. For full contest rules and to obtain the application form, visit Questions? Contact Susan Thwing at


Applications Due: February 20, 2024

Outstanding Young Engineer of the Year

This award recognizes a young professional under the age of 35 who has best distinguished him/herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include education, work experience, and professional and community activities. Applicants must be members of ESD.

Outstanding College Student of the Year

This award recognizes an undergraduate student who has best distinguished him/ herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include academic background, extracurricular activities, and employment experience. The winner(s) will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Outstanding High School Student of the Year

This award recognizes a graduating high school senior. To be considered, applicants must have a least a 3.0 GPA, plan on pursuing a career in the field of engineering or the life sciences, and participate in volunteer activities. The winner(s) will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Applications will be available in December at For more information, contact Sue Ruffner at or 248-353-0735, ext. 117.


Networking, Mentoring, Career Growth


Are you an engineering student at one of Michigan’s universities? The Engineering Society of Detroit currently has Student Chapters at 14 universities and colleges that offer exceptional opportunities to network with other students, practicing engineers, and business leaders as well as give back to young students just exploring their own options.

Chapter members learn the “21st-century soft skills” they need to succeed, from resume writing to interviewing skills, and ESD corporate members help chapter members with internship and co-op opportunities. Chapter membership helps students close the gap between their technical education and the realities of the modern engineering workplace.

In addition to hosting chapter-specific events, ESD Student Chapters help members with:

 networking skills

 opportunities to meet executives at engineering firms

 visiting successful companies

 attending events such as Industry Preview Day at the Auto Show

 finding internships that meet career goals

ESD has student chapters at the University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Oakland University, Kettering University, Central Michigan University, Calvin University, Michigan Technological University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan State University, Lawrence Technological University, the University of Detroit Mercy, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University, and Saginaw Valley State University.

For details on Student Chapters, please contact Heather Lilley at 248-353-0735, ext. 120, or

22  |  TechCentury FALL 2023 STUDENT CHAPTERS
Members of the Central Michigan University ESD Student Chapter at the Industry Preview Day at the Auto Show with chapter faculty Ben Ritter with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II.


ESD held its annual Link in the D on August 2, 2023, for engineering students and ESD’s corporate partners. It’s a chance for industry executives and engineering students to get to know one another in a fun, casual setting. Over 385 students registered and 35 companies attended. Partners

included Detroit Intern Experience, MEDC’s Talent Action Team, and MSU. Sponsored in part by Delta Dental, Downtown Detroit Partnership, MEDC, MSU, MSUFCU, SUFCU, and OneMagnify. If interested in participating, contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.


ESD Golf Outing

Thank you to all those who supported ESD’s 12th annual Golf Outing on June 12, 2023 at Oak Pointe Country Club. Proceeds from this event fund merit-based scholarships for high school and college students pursuing engineering. They also support ESD’s student outreach efforts, including the Future City program for middle school students, and our intensive Girls in Engineering Academy for middle and high school students, mostly from under-represented minority groups. Additionally, funds help ESD Student Chapters at 14 Michigan colleges and universities with engineering programs.

The team from OCC Systems took first place on the Honors Course, with the Midwest Steel team again coming in second. On the Championship (Champs) Course, the Tri-Tec team came in first, while the Sorensen Gross Construction Services team placed second.

The Closest-to-the-Pin winners were Tracy Dubuque and Eric Carr on Honors and Cassie Mayrand and Marc Steinhobel on Champs. Longest Drive prizes went to Madelyn Putz and Drew Spooner on Honors and to Teresa Farnell and Jon Larson on Champs. The winner of the 50/50 raffle was Mike Ryan of Ghafari who very generously donated his winnings to the Society. Finally, Jack Hallman won an office chair donated by Castell

For more coverage of the event, including all photos, please visit

Special thanks go to our Presenting Sponsor, Walbridge, who sent the two foursomes pictured above. Teresa Farnell accepts her prize for longest drive on Champs from ESD Executive Director Robert Magee (left) and committee chair Mike Ryan from Ghafari.
24  |  TechCentury FALL 2023
From left: Timothy Rogers and Joe Bosio from AECOM Hunt, ESD’s newest corporate members and sponsors of the outing, with ESD’s Heather Lilley and Robert Magee.







Dedicated to Building Excellence


Affiliated Engineers, Inc.

Aristeo Construction

Black & Veatch Corporation


Commercial Contracting Corporation

Design Systems, Inc.

Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc.

IMEG Corp.

Link Engineering Co.

North American Dismantling Corp.


Ruby + Associates, Inc.


Jack Hallman (seated) in the chair he won, donated by Castell. Bruce Bullard from Castell (right) and Mike Ryan are standing. From left: Robert Magee, Eric Carr (accepting his award) and Mike Ryan.
ESD Fellows Yousif Ghafari and Kouhaia Hammer at the networking reception.

Girls in Engineering Academy

ESD’s Girls in Engineering Academy held its seventh summer session, with nearly 150 middle- and high-school girls participating. Adding one cohort every year since 2017, the Academy now has seven cohorts of up to 30 girls each, representing 6th through 12th grades.

This year, the month-long summer programs divided the cohorts among four universities: Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Lawrence Tech-

nological University and Oakland University. The cohorts at the CMU campus spent one week of their 4-week program at CMU’s Biological Station on Beaver Island, and another week doing an engineering capstone project at LIFT in Detroit.

To find out more about the program, contact program director Dr. Gerald Thompkins at 248-353-0735, ext. 139, or See more photos at

26  |  TechCentury FALL 2023
Among the field trips the students took this summer was one to ThorSport Racing. Fridays are corporate field trips in the GEA Program. Students at Eastern Michigan University took a 3D CAD course as part of the summer curriculum. Students in the 2017 and 2018 cohorts, spent one week at CMU’s Biological on Beaver Island.

Students explored bridges at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.







General Motors

Hazen & Sawyer Lear


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ESD HAPPENINGS
At Oakland University, students learned chemistry. In DNA class, students created models using fun materials. THE HOLLEY FOUNDATION

ESD Annual Dinner

The Engineering Society of Detroit’s Annual Dinner was held on June 27, 2023, at St. John’s Resort in Plymouth. A special congratulations goes to the recipient of the Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award, David C. Dauch, Chairman of the Board and CEO of American Axle & Man-

ufacturing and to our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Vincent DeLeonardis, Retired CEO, AUCH Construction. The ceremony also marked the start of a new presidency at ESD. The Society thanked Kirk Steudle for his leadership and welcomed Bob Richard as the new President.

28  |  TechCentury FALL 2023
ESD’s Annual Dinner brought together over 225 people at St. John’s Resort in Plymouth for an evening of fun and celebration. Kirk Steudle, PE, FESD (left) hands Bob Richard, President and COO of DTE Gas, the ESD President’s gavel. Daniel E. Nicholson, PE, FESD, addressed attendees before stepping off the Board of Directors as Immediate Past President.

Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award

David C. Dauch

David C. Dauch is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM).He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of AAM which include nearly 85 facilities in 18 countries.

Dauch has served on the Board of Directors of AAM since 2009 and currently serves on several boards, including the Detroit Economic Club and the Detroit Regional Chamber, the Detroit Regional Partnership, the Detroit Mayor’s Workforce Development Board, the Great Lakes Council Boy Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Amerisure Mutual Holdings, Inc. and the Amerisure Companies. He is also a member of the General Motors Supplier Council, Stellantis Supplier Advisory Council, the Sustainability Leadership Council of Michigan, and the Miami University Business Advisory Council.

Previously, Mr. Dauch was a member of the Board of Directors at Collins & Aikman, Horizon Global, Original Equipment Supplier Association, and also served on the FCA NAFTA Supplier Advisory Council.

Mr. Dauch obtained a bachelor’s degree in management from Miami University and an MBA from Michigan State University. He and his wife, Anita, reside in Bloomfield Hills and have four adult children and four grandchildren.

Chairman of the Board & CEO, American Axle & Manufacturing David C. Dauch, Chairman of the Board and CEO of American Axle & Manufacturing, speaking after receiving the Rackham medal. Steve Grigorian, President & CEO, Detroit Economic Club (center), with Robert Magee (left) and Kirk Steudle (right). Lifetime Achievement Awardee Vincent DeLeonardis, Retired CEO, AUCH Construction, with Melody DeLeonardis.

Awardees at the Dinner

Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award

 David C. Dauch, Chairman of the Board & CEO, American Axle & Manufacturing

Lifetime Achievement Award

 Vincent DeLeonardis, Retired CEO, AUCH Construction

Honorary Membership

 Steve Grigorian, President & CEO, Detroit Economic Club

College of Fellows Inductees

 Ashley Lesser, PE, LEED AP, BD+C, FESD, Environmental Quality Analyst, EGLE

 Charles Stahl, PE, FESD, Retired, Director of Engineering, SKF-TCM

 Susan Wellman-Smith, FESD, Product Development Engineer, Ford Motor Company

Emerging Young Professional Award

 Mark Pollard, Mechanical Design Engineer, SWXHWE, Stellantis

John G. Petty Image Award

 Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, CMVP, LEED AP, Partner, Building Vitals, LLC.

Nonprofit Partner of the Year


University Partners of the Year

 Lawrence Technological University

 Michigan State University

Distinguished Service Awards

 John Dignan, EdD, Superintendent, Wayne-Westland Community Schools

 Elvana Hammoud, PMP, Manager, DTE Energy

 Cedric Flowers, Vice President, Gas Operations, DTE Gas

ESD Construction & Design Awards

 Huntington Bank Tower

Owner: The Huntington National Bank

Designer: Neumann/Smith Architecture

Contractor: Colasanti/MiG Joint Venture

 McLaren Greater Lansing Medical Services Building & Karmanos Cancer Center

Owner: McLaren Health Care Corporation

Designer: SmithGroup

Contractor: Granger Construction Company

 McLaren Greater Lansing Replacement Hospital

Owner: McLaren Health Care Corporation

Designer: HED

Contractor: Barton Malow/Christman Joint Venture

 Richard & Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education

Owner: Lake Superior State University

Designer: SmithGroup

Contractor: Spence Brothers

 Thomas B. Hagen Building, Erie Insurance

Owner: Erie Insurance

Designer: Albert Kahn Associates, Inc.

Contractor: PJ Dick

 University of Michigan Ford Robotics Laboratory

Owner: University of Michigan

Designer: HED

Contractor: Devon Industrial Group

30  |  TechCentury FALL 2023
The ESD College of Fellows gathered for a photo with their newest members: Ashley Lesser, Charles Stahl, and Susan Wellman-Smith.

Thank you, Sponsors!




Former MSU Student Chapter leader Sydney Hickmott (left), now at Comerica Bank, and chapter faculty liaison Garth Motschenbacher of MSU, were on had to receive MSU’s University Partner of the Year award. MSU was a sponsor of the event. ESD Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) graduate Courtney Wright gave the welcome at the dinner. Courtney is attending Columbia University for engineering beginning this fall. She has participated in GEA since middle school. ESD Members David Douglas and Elizabeth Hernandez, from the Lansing Board of Water and Light. Richard Heist (second from left) and Dr. Sibrina Collins, both from Lawrence Technological University, accept their University Partner of the Year Award from Robert Magee (left) and Kirk Steudle (right).



Recognizing and supporting the future of our profession is key to our mission. This year, The Engineering Society of Detroit awarded four college and six high school students with $2,000 merit-based scholarships. Thank you to all of our donors who helped fund these scholarships. If you would like to fund a scholarship, visit or contact Nick Mason at or 248-353-0735, ext. 127.

For more on the program, contact Sue Ruffner at or 248-353-0735, ext. 117.


ESD Welcomes New Board Members

ESD’s Annual Dinner marks a time of transition on the Society’s Board of Directors. This year, ESD welcomed new board members Michael Bassier , Chief Module Engineer for the STLA Brain Electrical/Electronic Architecture at Stellantis; Steven L. Ceccio, PhD, Interim Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan; Kristen M. Siemen, Vice President of Sustainable Workplaces & Chief Sustainability Officer at General Motors; and Sergio Pujols, Vice President of Energy Management Engineering at DENSO.

Those directors leaving the board were Denise Carlson from DENSO; Alec Gallimore, PhD from the University of Michigan (now at Duke University); Lori Gatmaitan from the SAE Foundation; Thomas McCarthy from Stellantis; and outgoing Immediate Past President Dan Nicholson, FESD from General Motors. We thank them for their years of service on the board.

Bashhar Byrouthy Michigan State University Samuel Lobert Central Michigan University Alessandra Pontoni University of Detroit Mercy Ben Toaz Michigan State University Ivanna Brigido Torres Churchill High School, Livonia Jacob Fenbert Dundee High School, Dundee Vedanth Kallakuri Washtenaw International High School, Ypsilanti Grace Liu Washtenaw International High School, Ypsilanti Joseph Mazor Grand Haven High School, Grand Haven Declan McGrath Brother Rice High School, Bloomfield Hills
32  |  TechCentury FALL 2023
Michael Bassier Steven Ceccio Kristen Siemen Sergio Pujols

Bob Richard Takes the Helm of ESD

engineering minds at Michigan universities to come up with new technologies to reduce energy waste at commercial and industrial facilities in DTE’s service territory.

Richard has been with DTE Energy since 2003. Prior to his current role, he was executive vice president of IT, Customer Service, and Corporate Services. He has also served as senior vice president of Major Enterprise Projects and Customer Service where he was responsible for overseeing the Customer Service organization, along with the company’s major projects in power generation, electric distribution, renewable energy, gas distribution, and midstream platforms.

At The Engineering Society of Detroit’s Annual Dinner in June, Bob Richard, President and Chief Operating Officer at DTE Gas, was officially handed the gavel as President of ESD.

“I’m truly excited to serve in this role,” Richard said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to embrace The Engineering Society of Detroit’s core mission: linking the expertise and in-kind service of the engineers in our area to the needs of society, communities, and industry.”

As the president and chief operating officer for DTE Gas, Richard is responsible for all utility gas operations, including gas sales and distribution and storage services. With longstanding partnerships with ESD, Richard is looking forward to working together for the betterment of the engineering profession and the community.

“I have been fortunate to serve roles in engineering, maintenance, and operations for nearly 40 years. I am most happy and intrigued in my role when I am able to dissect problems experienced by my customers and employees and develop solutions that make their lives better. And, like a true engineer, I love math!” he said.

Partnering with The Engineering Society of Detroit and DTE on programs like the Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) and the DTE E-Challenge, Richard is dedicated to promoting engineering in Michigan and beyond.

The Girls in Engineering Academy is designed to improve academic achievement and increase the interest in engineering among girls. GEA encourages middle and high school girls to explore STEM careers and supports them with programming along the way.

Since 2012, DTE has partnered with ESD to recognize and support scientific excellence and technological innovations at Michigan universities through the DTE E-Challenge. E-Challenge seeks to tap the best and brightest

Looking at the emerging technologies in the industry, Richard believes great things are to come. “I am currently overseeing the natural gas part of the company, DTE Gas. I’m excited right now with the new technologies we’re exploring such as high-efficiency natural gas, carbon reduction, hydrogen applications, and renewable energy,” he explained. “Since I’m a chemical engineer, the rapidly evolving opportunities these areas present make me eager to explore them each day with our great teams at DTE.”

Prior to joining DTE Energy, Richard was vice president of operations and process improvement at Bethlehem Steel. He also spent 13 years at General Electric where he served in a variety of leadership roles.

Richard earned a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University. At Ohio State, his graduate work was in coal technologies, which included liquefaction, gasification, and the microbial desulfurization of coal. Richard is a graduate of the Nuclear Reactor Technology course at MIT and he is a certified Master Black Belt from GE and the Six Sigma Academy. He received the Whitney Award for technical achievement at GE. Richard is a member of the Engineering Advisory Boards for Central Michigan University and Oakland University. He also is a member of the board of directors of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS) and is a lifetime member of the National Eagle Scout Association.

All of these experiences and connections bring Richard to his forward-thinking and supportive goals for the work of ESD. “My experience in the society reminds me of a bit of wisdom my Uncle Phil once shared with me, that my career would be over the very second there isn’t someone above me reaching down to pull me up,” he said. “The Engineering Society has been that for me—a group of diverse leaders and engineers who truly make a difference in Michigan and Northern Ohio. My colleagues at DTE and I are proud to be part of The Engineering Society of Detroit.”

ESD President Bob Richard at the Annual Dinner

A Career Improving the Air We Breathe


Sonya M. Pouncy, CEM, CMVP, LEED AP, and Principal of Building Vitals, has been awarded the 2023 John G. Petty Image Award.

The annual honor, presented by The Engineering Society of Detroit and TechCentury, is presented to individuals who have helped promote, enhance, or publicize the engineering and technical professions through involvement in the community. This can be done through mentoring, public service, and presentations to various groups as well as engagement in their professional societies by serving on committees or in leadership roles.

A mechanical engineer with more than 20 years of experience in the energy management and HVAC equipment industries, Pouncy is the founder of Building Vitals, a business that supports clients in proactive energy management by providing strategic solutions such as energy auditing, commissioning, measurement and verification, and technical education.

Pouncy graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and from Central Michigan University with a master’s degree in English. She began her career with an equipment manufacturer for which she initially developed residential furnaces and later sold chillers, air-handlers, and other commercial equipment. During that time, she came to understand and value quality assurance concepts such as continuous process improvement and statistical process control.

“I feel like I didn’t pick my career, that it picked me, because I was always so curious about how buildings worked. I often asked, ‘Where’s the air coming from?’ and ‘What is affecting its quality?’ I was very much aware that the air we were breathing didn’t just happen to be there and I wanted to know how to make it better,” she said.

A Cass Tech graduate, during the mid-80s, Pouncy was working with Carrier Corporation in Indianapolis when former President Bill Clinton declared Detroit an

Empowerment Zone. She transferred with the company to return to her home state and be a part of the rebirth. During that time, she also worked as a representative for DTE Energy.

She also became involved in the Detroit Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Airconditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), serving in various roles including Newsletter Editor and Program Committee Chair. Eventually, in 2008 she worked her way up to Chapter President. She was the third woman and the first AfricanAmerican to do so.

“I was very honored to be elected president,” she said. “ASHRAE is the premiere professional society in the HVAC industry and ASHRAE Chapters are here to help the members contribute to the profession and also to make a difference in their local communities.”

One way that Pouncy made a difference was by being named in 2014 to the National Institute of Building Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council. The Council developed the Better Buildings Workforce Guideline, a national, voluntary compliance guide to improve the quality and consistency of building workforce training and certification programs for commercial building energy auditors and energy managers.

That year, she also launched Building Vitals, LLC, a Detroit-based, woman-owned consultancy, to provide support services to those responsible for operating and maintaining buildings and creating conducive indoor environments for people to live, work, learn, and play in. But within a year, she would mothball the company and accept a full-time position, though she stayed in the industry.

“In Detroit, we have a lot of old buildings that could benefit from upgrades to today’s standards in efficiency and environmental concerns. Even with new buildings, we need to be aware of what we should be doing long-term with energy and air quality. We can’t be distracted by what is new and shiny,” she said. “Think of it in terms of owning a wonderfully sleek Mercedes Benz. If you don’t take care of maintenance, change the oil, and check the tires, you might end up with a new, shiny and expensive car that doesn’t go anywhere.”

Pouncy reopened Building Vitals in 2020 and today the firm works with clients to synthesize their building performance goals with their business goals, creating “complementary, cohesive programs that provide measurable results of reduced energy use, increased net operating income, and enhanced indoor environments.” This includes facility assessments, strategic planning, education and training, and project implementation.

Over the course of her career, Sonya has commissioned new construction projects, developed and managed utility rebate programs, led building energy audit teams, and developed and delivered technical training programs.

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Sonya M. Pouncy

Additionally, she has authored several blog articles and presented at local and international conferences on aspects of building performance management. She is a recognized developer and instructor of high-quality educational seminars on topics including HVAC technologies and applications, the role of maintenance in building energy performance management, and the MI Energy Code (ASHRAE Standard 90.1), which she has enjoyed teaching since 2006.

As her Image Award nominator states “As an engineer in the HVAC industry, who has reached out to better the community throughout her career, Sonya exemplifies the type of individual this award was created to honor. Her service accomplishments involving outreach are many.”

Within the international ASHRAE community, Sonya has served TC 7.3, the Technical Committee on Operation, Maintenance and Cost Management since 2009. As the TC Program Subcommittee Chair, she oversaw and managed its programs for the bi-annual ASHRAE Conference. As the TC Handbook Subcommittee Chair, she was the lead author for its chapter “Operation and Maintenance Management” in the 2015 ASHRAE Handbook. Eventually rising to TC Chair, she led the committee in repositioning maintenance and operations alongside design in importance to sustainable buildings. Currently, she serves as the Education Subcommittee Chair for TC 7.3 and Communications Coordinator for the Society’s Government Affairs Committee. Recently she was appointed as one of ASHRAE’s representatives to the newly formed International Network of Women in Cooling.

In what she feels is her most significant contribution to the community to date, Pouncy led, a group of 25 volunteers from Michigan’s two ASHRAE chapters, known as the COVID-19 Task Force. This group was created when she suggested ASHRAE could assist the community in mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 in buildings.

“This is one of the things I am most proud of, and it happened, sadly because I found out the son of my mom’s best friend had died of COVID. He was only in his 40s,’ she said. “I felt that we weren’t taking it seriously and if we had, many people would not have died. So, I reached out to my ASHRAE friends to join me in this very important effort. Many of them had been looking for a way to help out, too. So, it really has been a group effort. I just happen to be the one leading the charge.

As Pouncy stated in a Detroit ASHRAE newsletter in 2020, “It has been said that to engineer is human, meaning that it is in our very nature to address life’s challenges with solutions that continually improve the quality of our existence.” She went on to develop a plan of action and to execute it.

The COVID-19 Task Force, which has now been incorporated into the Detroit Chapter’s Government Affairs Committee, supports local building owners and

managers—and particularly Michigan K-12 schools—with guidance and assistance for operating, and maintaining HVAC systems to mitigate the transmission risks of COVID-19 and other infectious aerosols. Pouncy’s group worked with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education, as well as the U.S. EPA Region 5 to offer this assistance to school facility managers and others. Under Pouncy’s direction, engineers volunteered their time to develop technical guidance documents; provide a 5-part webinar series; produce 3 video case studies; and assist school facility staff in completing pre-assessment surveys with a free hour of consultation on what they could change in their HVAC systems to protect occupants from COVID-19. Currently, the Committee is working to help Michigan K-12 schools access funding from the state and the U.S. DOE to train school energy champions and to upgrade school buildings in general and school HVAC systems in particular.

Pouncy is also an adjunct professor at Lawrence Technological University in the College of Engineering, and a proud supporter of STEM outreach. She has participated in several school “career day” and Earth Day events, and since 2009, she has faithfully judged the annual Science and Engineering Fair of Metro-Detroit on behalf of the Detroit ASHRAE Chapter.

Notably, Ms. Pouncy received the 2021 Detroit Chapter of ASHRAE Award for Distinguished Service and a 2022 ASHRAE Government Affairs Award for these and her other contributions. She is well respected for her activities within ASHRAE from the Chapter and Region to the International level where she serves on various technical committees and often presents at conferences. As part of her outreach, she also serves on the Board of Directors of Michigan Power and Light. This non-profit group promotes energy conservation and the adaptation of renewable energy for houses of worship.

Sonya is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), and a Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP). But energy engineering is not Pouncy’s only passion. She is also a poet. A Callaloo Fellow with a Master of Arts from Central Michigan University, her poetry has appeared in journals including Callaloo, Temenos, Aunt Chloe: A Journal of Artful Color, Drum Voices Revue, and in the anthologies Respect, Poet in the House, and Abandon Automobile

“I hope to someday retire and write full-time,” she said. “It’ll definitely be poetry, but there’ll be some engineering mixed in there, too.”

To learn more about Building Vitals, visit For more information about nominating an individual for the 2024 John G. Petty Image Award, visit


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Historical preservation … community building … employee inspiration … safety … All of these factors came into play in the construction and design processes of the winning entries in the 49th Annual Engineering Society of Detroit Construction & Design Awards. Highly diverse in their project focus, all of our recipients exhibited creativity, effective use of modern technology, and exemplary engineering teamwork.

Evaluated by an impartial panel of industry judges, representing owners, designers, and constructors, the awards are among the premier recognitions presented to members of the construction industry and their projects. These awards are unique in that they honor the three primary members of the building team—owners, designers, and constructors— and recognize outstanding achievement and innovative use of technology.

Here’s a brief look at this year’s recipients.


Huntington Bank Tower

OWNER: The Huntington National Bank

DESIGNER: Neumann/Smith Architecture

CONTRACTOR: Colasanti/MiG Joint Venture

The Huntington Bank Tower is located where Detroit’s historic and entertainment districts intersect. This prominent location posed a unique opportunity to bridge the two zones with a design that complements the historic district while looking toward the future with a crisp, modern design.

The design concept focused on the tenant’s primary goal to become the “Hometown Bank” for current and prospective Detroit clients. So Neumann/Smith Architecture and Colasanti /MiG joined together for the first time to complete a high-rise workspace building designed to embrace the community both inside and out.

Despite numerous setbacks—such as scope shifts and the COVID-19 pandemic—the team came together to create the first post-tension concrete high-rise office building in the city of Detroit.

This project is also one of the first to adhere to new life safety codes that align with updated building code language for Fire Service Access Elevators and Fire Command Centers, and its design will be a template for future Detroit projects requiring Fire Command Centers.

Completed in September 2022, the team used a structured process to help all parties stay organized, pivot design standards in the midst of three tenant changes, and improve the environmental footprint.

They’ve created a 21-story building that unifies approximately 750 Huntington team members in their headquarters in Detroit.


Richard & Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education

OWNER: Lake Superior State University

DESIGNER: SmithGroup

CONTRACTOR: Spence Brothers

Lake Superior State University (LSSU) approached SmithGroup seeking to build a new “Center for Freshwater Research and Education” in Sault Ste. Marie on a site adjacent to a historic hydroelectric power plant, where the school’s freshwater hatchery is currently located.

Each year, the hatchery raises and releases approximately thirty-thousand Atlantic salmon into the St. Marys River to help increase the dwindling fish population. LSSU envisioned the new building to support its mission with three main goals:

 Create an innovative research facility that attracts, educates, and retains students, faculty, researchers, and donors.

 Provide place-based educational opportunities for pre-K through 12th graders, Career Technical students, and university students in a hands-on learning environment that emphasizes the importance of Great Lakes resource management and conservation.

 Provide community outreach via a Great Lakes Discovery and Visitor Center with interactive displays connecting science and research to the public.

The Center for Freshwater Research and Education building sits along the St. Marys River at Alford Park in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan on a formerly contaminated industrial site which was restored to capture all the rainwater on-site and filter it through a stormwater detention system before releasing it back into the St. Marys River.

As a center for freshwater research and education, it was imperative that the building be placed on this site to reinforce its significance and connect students and visitors with Michigan’s key economic and ecological resources.

The site is designed for future public access to a boardwalk, public park, and docking stations. In all the project includes a two-story exhibition space, a program and classrooms for education, and laboratories for research.

The resulting plan is both highly efficient and acutely supportive of the specific programmatic goals. The exterior design of the building captures the essence of the Upper Peninsula, incorporating wood and masonry materials that make their way into the interior and highlight the natural resources the Great Lakes Basin has to offer.


McLaren Greater Lansing Medical Services Building & Karmanos Cancer Center

OWNER: McLaren Health Care Corporation

DESIGNER: SmithGroup

CONTRACTOR: Granger Construction Company

Completed in February 2022, ahead of its original schedule, the new 175,000-square-foot Medical Services Building and Karmanos Cancer Center includes comprehensive and innovative spaces for cancer care.

Organized as a series of ecosystems at different scales, the clinics are located and arranged to support neighboring clinics. For example, the cardio suite is located just across the connector from the hospital’s cardiovascular unit and the women’s clinic, while independent from the cancer center for non-cancer patients, is located in proximity to the cancer center as well as endoscopy and cardio.

The new comprehensive healthcare campus is set to be home to over 1,000 physicians, researchers, educators, and other members of the academic and medical team. The completion of the project was aligned with the opening of the adjacent replacement hospital in order to support the key service lines and provide the designed synergies between all departments and spaces for staff and patients.

Environmentally conscious decisions were implemented through off-site construction and materials selection. Not only did the off-site construction of the building envelope,

mechanical distribution, and electrical distribution result in a more efficient construction schedule, but it also generated 13% less onsite construction waste.

As much as possible, materials were procured from local sources including concrete masonry units with customized finishes/blends. These efforts supported local manufacturers and contractors while minimizing carbon footprint through shorter shipping/travel distances.


McLaren Greater Lansing Replacement Hospital

OWNER: McLaren Healthcare Corporation


CONTRACTOR: Barton Malow/Christman Joint Venture

McLaren made a once-in-a-lifetime decision to invest in consolidating two hospitals into a new greenfield hospital to better serve the state. In May 2018, McLaren Health Care launched a community input survey to obtain feedback on the new hospital’s design, which allowed the public to offer suggestions regarding the design phase of the project. Those suggestions were incorporated in the design, and ultimately, the construction phase.

This project consolidates two existing Lansing hospitals into a new 562,000-sq.-ft. facility adjacent to Michigan State University. The nine-story, 240bed hospital is nestled within a 39-acre, $601 million healthcare campus. With the goal of becoming the destination of choice for health care in mid-Michigan, McLaren’s innovative healthcare campus transforms the experience for patients and their families, physicians, caregivers, and the community in terms of access to care, ease of receiving services, and patients through quality outcomes, cost, and service.

The campus houses a 240-bed state-of-the-art hospital, cancer center, ambulatory care center, and other facilities

to support health care delivery, educational opportunities, and medical research.

The comprehensive healthcare campus is home to more than 1,000 physicians, researchers, educators, and other members of the academic and medical team. The project team implemented the use of virtual reality models to provide realistic views of the future space and seamlessly coordinated a variety of building systems including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing. Rather than viewing it on a computer screen, the team could walk through the model using HoloLens virtual reality glasses and see piping clearances, locations of valves, and other key information. This is also another way that the team had been able to gain valuable feedback from end users, as doctors, nurses, and staff had a chance to view the model and walk through the space, ensuring that the final facility was effective and efficient.

From the beginning, the new McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital was going to be a game changer—for McLaren Health Care and the Lansing community. The 240-bed hospital marks the largest capital project in McLaren’s history, representing a new era for community care.


Thomas B. Hagen Building, Erie Insurance

OWNER: Erie Insurance

DESIGNER: Albert Kahn Associates, Inc.


Erie Insurance wanted to provide a space within their current downtown campus that creates an environment that inspires employees and promotes collaboration across teams. The Thomas B. Hagen building achieves those goals with a flexible floorplan that accommodates future growth and changing needs of employees.

Located next to Perry Square, the building’s stepped profile—with four stories on the west side and seven stories to the east—connects to its predecessor facilities nearby. The seven-level section placed away from the square provides expansive views of Lake Erie. The staggered height reduces the overall mass of the building at the park area fitting into the urban scale and texture of the surrounding community.

Exterior design reveals the balance between fixed concentrated office work areas and collaborative zones, accommodating work preferences.

Environmental and sustainability features were prominent in the plan, including lighting systems designed with daylight harvesting to take advantage of natural light and reduce overall energy consumption. In addition to daylight harvesting, vacancy sensors and timer switches

are provided throughout the facility to reduce overall energy consumption.

Overall, the building envelope, HVAC, and lighting systems reduce building energy use by about 30% compared to the energy code requirements for a similar building. These elements allow EI to reduce costs, energy use, and impact on the environment while creating a space where employees feel comfortable and inspired.


University of Michigan Ford Robotics Laboratory

OWNER: University of Michigan


CONTRACTOR: Devon Industrial Group

The new Ford Robotics Building at the University of Michigan brings all parts of the robotics enterprise together for real-world results. The project represents a singular new home bolstering the university’s relationship with Ford and acts as a showcase for robotics research, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and innovative partnership between industry and education.

Located on the University’s North Campus, the project is an interdisciplinary center that supports faculty and researchers focused on mathematics, engineering, and computer programming to create innovative robotics.

The facility is home to researchers that were previously spread across 23 separate buildings. The building was planned and designed to promote proximity and spontaneous interaction between students, faculty, researchers, and visiting industry professionals.

The building includes the new hub of the U-M Robotics Institute on the first three floors and Ford’s robotic and mobility research lab on the fourth floor; the first robotics facility to co-locate with an industry team (Ford’s mobility research center).

Composed of large bands of fritted glass with its rhythm of deep sunshades, the south-oriented glass wall allows diffused daylight to penetrate deep into the building interior. The façade also changes from day to night and allows visitors to see the energy and activities occurring within.

Made possible by innovative structural engineering, the building features cantilevered “wings”, serving as one of the most prominent design elements of the building. The upper floors cantilever off the east and west ends of the building, and to structurally support these areas, the back end of each “wing” utilizes a three-story truss system, in which floors are hung, integral in the success of keeping the building flexible and open to accommodate a wide variety of uses and special events.

Through thoughtful mechanical and electrical engineering, the atrium is heated and cooled through displacement ventilation, and lighting is controlled through occupancy and daylight sensors, which are key components to the sustainable goals set for this project.

The building is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification.


Acoustical Materials: Solving the Challenge of Vehicle Noise

Published by SAE International in 2021

Noise and vibration issues in vehicles have existed since automobiles became the mode of transportation on roads.

In internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, their source is the engine and transmission, brakes, road surface, tires, wind, and also the climate control and power accessory systems. In electric vehicles, engine and transmission systems are replaced with electric motors and inverters, and thus, even though they may feel quieter, they still produce noise and vibrations that need to be addressed at the vehicle design stage.

Indeed, noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) control has become one of the key design features in automobiles, since it affects the ride quality, drivability, and occupant comfort. Many publications, including several books, are now available that automotive engineers can use to learn more about vehicle NVH. However, to my knowledge, there is no one publication that addresses not only the basic mechanics of noise and vibrations, but also the materials that can be utilized to mitigate them for improved vehicle design and performance. Dr. Pranab Saha’s book, Acoustical Materials: Solving the Challenge of Vehicle Noise, does both and will become a very valuable addition to the automotive design and materials literature.

This book has ten chapters. The first four chapters present the fundamentals of vehicle acoustics and understanding of noise, instrumentation and measurement of vehicle noise and vibrations, hearing parameters, and vehicle noise sources and noise control methods. The next three chapters discuss the materials for sound absorption, barrier materials for sound transmission and vibration damping materials. This is followed by a chapter on case studies which explains with practical examples how acoustic materials and sound packages are applied in vehicles to reduce and abate noise generation and transmission. The final two chapters present test methods, standards and specifications and design of test facilities for vehicle sound measurement.

to the readers who are either selecting or developing acoustical materials and their roles in vehicle noise and vibration control. The book is replete with colorful illustrations, graphics and photographs explaining the concepts presented in the text.

As mentioned in the preface of the book, it is written to serve both as a reference book and a self-learning book. Each chapter starts with the basics and then moves onto topics that are more advanced in nature. Many of the topics are explained with necessary equations that will not overwhelm the readers.

The materials covered in the book fall into the categories of sound absorbers, sound barriers and vibration dampers. Explanations are given about how each category of materials works and factors that influence their performance. The case studies chapter includes examples of various sound package and vibration damping alternatives applied to various vehicle components to reduce both airborne noise and structure-bone noise.

The chapters on sound measurement and testing include different test methods, test equipment and specifications as well as test standards. The test methods can be applied at the material level, component level and vehicle level. The design of test facilities needed for proper NVH studies, such as a reverberation room and an anechoic chamber, is also described. These chapters are complemented by an earlier chapter on instrumentation

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in which various sound and vibration measurement instruments are discussed.

References are listed at the end of each chapter for the reader to research further on the topics covered in the book.

Overall, this is an excellent book for learning processes and techniques that can be used for mitigating sound and vibration not only in automobiles, but also in many other products, such as heating and cooling equipment.

The author, Dr. Pranab Saha, has more than 40 years of experience in automotive noise control, vehicle interior design and sound packaging systems. As the principal consultant at Kolano and Saha Engineers, Inc., he leads noise control programs in automotive, commercial vehicles, appliances, and other industries. He has also directed and actively participated in many noise control engineering programs and training sessions for various OEMs and supplier companies worldwide. He has authored numerous technical papers on noise control, helped develop several SAE standards on acoustics, is a leading faculty member of the SAE Vehicle Interior Academy, and serves as an associate editor of the SAE International Journal of Vehicle Dynamics, Stability and NVH.

It is also worth noting that in 2022, Acoustical Materials: Solving the Challenge of Vehicle Noise received the Gold Medal Award in the Professional Reference category from the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the largest book publishers’ association in USA. It was recognized for its excellence in book editorial and design.

P. K. Mallick, PE, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. His research is in the areas of mechanical properties, design, joining, and manufacturing processes of polymers, polymer matrix composites and lightweight automotive materials. He has published numerous journal and conference articles in his areas of research and authored several books and book chapters on composite materials. He is a Life Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Fellow of the American Society for Composites. He is also a Professional Engineer in the State of Michigan.

Thank you to our clients, employees, and for elevating us to CRAIN’S Fas you ar Builders since 1908
Acoustical Materials is written to serve both as a reference book and a self-learning book.”

The Future of Transportation


What does it mean to have safe, reliable transportation for all? To answer that question, early last year, Department of Transportation directors from numerous states in the nation came together to look at not only how to improve the efficiency and safety of interstate highway travel, but how to make all aspects of transportation—be it accessibility, safety, reliability, or sustainability—more effective.

The why

The first automobile hit the streets nearly 140 years ago, and the first interstate highway systems were built about 70 years ago. It is an understatement to write that technology—as well as societal needs—have changed since then.

Kirk Steudle, PE, FESD, President of Steudle Executive Group, recently led a national effort for the National Academy of Science with these state departments of transportation, to develop a National Vision for Transportation. Steudle was the Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation from 2006-2018. He was President of ESD from 2021-23 and a board member since 2009.

“The purpose of the initiative was to gather input from experts and stakeholders from all 50 states. Our goal— over 100 years after cycling advocated for good roads and automobiles hit the streets—was to set the vision for the next era of transportation and to develop individual and collective actions that state departments of transportation can take to create and deploy a community-centered transportation program,” Steudle said. “It’s a huge project, and it requires deep, effective, continual collaboration with multiple groups who have never before been invited to help develop a vision for how we effectively move people and goods around the country and or communities.”

As the mission of the project states “ is time for us to set the vision for the next era of transportation, including individual and collective actions state departments of transportation (DOT) can take to achieve that vision.

The framework report notes that while the United States remains the largest economy in the world, more than

two out of five households struggle to afford basic necessities and increasing numbers of Americans have limited access to jobs, health care, education, and healthy food.

“Our transportation system faces a confluence of challenges. We are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic with significant uncertainty about how people will live, work, and travel and rolling disruptions to global supply chains. We also face the largest increases in traffic fatalities in more than 70 years and continued increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather and other disaster events.”

The goal of the project is to tap into the unprecedented opportunities that come with technological change—from automation to connectivity to energy—to transform how and when people travel. As Steudle succinctly explains, reliable transportation is more than roads free from potholes. “More than 30 percent of Americans are working poor,” he said. “We have a term called ALICE. It stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. People at an ALICE level earn above the Federal Poverty Level, but make less than what’s needed to afford basic essentials.”

Specifically, there are 37.9 million Americans living in poverty, accounting for 11.6% of the total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Michigan, a United for ALICE report indicated that 525,754 Michigan households were living in poverty and another 1.04 million families were defined as ALICE homes.

“The ability to count on transportation to get to work is essential. Reliable transportation is one step to help solve poverty,” Steudle said. But that is just one aspect of the plan. Safety, sustainability, and public health are other areas the vision plans to tackle.

Creating the vision

State DOT chief executive officers and partners culminated Phase 1 of the project in October 2022 with a vision framework report. That framework was presented to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) board at its annual meeting in January 2023.

The framework was the result of research by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) 20-24 (138), including:

 a synthesis of external trends and uncertainties shaping the future of transportation;

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Kirk Steudle, PE, FESD

 interviews with state DOT leaders, partners, and thought leaders from other industries;

 and a two-day Vision Retreat involving 17 state DOT chief executive officers and 29 thought leaders from partner organizations and other industry sectors.

The Phase 1 plan also includes input from chief executive officers or leadership teams of all 52 state DOTs, as well as briefings to the AASHTO Board of Directors and the boards for the four AASHTO regions.

Steudle said a broad range of agencies and organizations, such as light and power organizations, the United Way, and community groups were also involved.

“Transportation is more than roads and bridges. It is people, goods and services. We had to ask ‘How do we support the communities and create a plan that benefits them?’” he said.

Implementing the plan

Phase 2 is now underway and includes developing specific “moonshots” and a range of implementation actions state DOTs can take to realize the vision. The “moonshot” term is used to describe bold actions that are reminiscent of President John F. Kennedy’s vision of exploring the moon—a goal that seemed out of reach at first but was successfully achieved.

The vision presented includes six aspirational goals that describe how the transportation system should function. The goals are focused on community-centered transportation that is “connecting communities, moving people and goods, and meeting customer needs at all scales, from local to global—delivered as a partnership between state departments of transportation and other public, private, and civic sector partners.”

“These goals are intended as shared values for all state DOTs but not necessarily a one-size-fits- all. Each state DOT will need to define their state’s success and what means progress in their unique way,” Steudle said.

The goals and outcomes outlined in Phase 1 include transportation being:

 Safe and secure No fatalities or serious injuries to people using all modes of the transportation system; the transportation system has limited vulnerability to criminal activity, terrorism, and cyberattacks and is not a conduit for human trafficking, smuggling, or the spread of disease.

 Accessible and affordable Affordable and convenient transportation options to access jobs, health care, education, food, recreation, and other services for all people and families, regardless of geographic location, age, ability, or socioeconomic status.

 Seamless and reliable Convenient, human-centered choices available on demand to move both people and goods from origin to destination, with minimal delay

and quick transfers between modes and systems.

 Healthy and thriving Transportation investments that help grow prosperity and improve the health of all Americans.

 Clean and sustainable Zero net emissions of greenhouse gasses and air quality pollutants, and enhancement of the natural environment.

 Agile and resilient Communities protected against and able to adapt to and recover from extreme weather and climate trends, service disruptions, and other risks; transportation agencies are able to adapt to risks, disruptions, and uncertainties.

What’s the next step?

The vision framework offers each state actions its DOT can take to advance the vision in ways that work for them today and in the future. The plan outlines a checklist that states can use asking “What if we…” “What might we do…” and “Goals Supported” with specific steps and possible outcomes.

“The key to this vision framework is that it is not a federal bureaucratic mandate. It is a self-score card that states can use to develop their plans; a roadmap to see where they are and what they can do,” Steudle said, adding that funding for the projects will come from the state’s own resources and other individually identified sources.

In addition, the vision framework identified a “spectrum of actions” that defines various “levers of change”— both external and internal actions—to make changes ranging from modest to transformative in Phase 2.

“For some DOTs transformative change is already happening; for others, a modest change may be a challenge. Through these levers of change, each individual state DOT will advance the vision, producing a collective national impact.” the framework document states. “It ends up with each state working from the same playbook,” Steudle said.

Moving ahead, the National Vision of Transportation Project will choose 10 pilot projects in October 2023 and form a timeline.

“We will then take a deep dive with those states into securing funding, outlining the action steps to get the pilots off the ground,” Steudle said. “I’m looking forward to using the experience that I developed leading Michigan’s Department of Transportation in order to work with other states and bring them together to move these ideas forward.”

As the framework committee states in its report: “This generational investment in infrastructure provides the opportunity not only to repair Americans’ roads and bridges but also to restore Americans’ faith in the institutions that deliver this system. A collective vision maximizes the impact of taxpayer dollars and demonstrates how states large and small can work together to improve lives.”

For more information about the National Vision of Transportation Project, visit:



College education for an engineer consists of hundreds of hours sitting in lectures and over twice that commitment in study time. While material covered in these classes prepares students for potential careers, they are unable to learn everything from a book. That is why there are engineering lab classes, designed to provide students with a hands-on learning experience while incorporating problem solving and communication skills. When a student has refined these skills after a few years, they demonstrate their newly acquired capabilities through a senior design project, also known as an engineering capstone project.

Engineering capstones are projects completed by students that consist of researching a topic, performing a study, and writing a report. At Oakland University, all engineering students complete a capstone project, typically during their senior year. These projects are completed in teams, as working with peers is an essential skill to prepare students for future careers. While these projects are open to a multitude of ideas, their purpose is to synthesize the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the past three years and utilize them to find a solution to an engineering-based problem. Therefore, the projects are required to include several components including identifying and analyzing a problem, presenting a solution, communicating and collaborating effectively with peers, and demonstrating an appropriate ethical and/or social awareness when needed.

As a bioengineering student with a minor in orthotics and prosthetics assistant studies (OPA), I was hoping to develop a project that incorporates both fields. The project started by forming a group with Ann Marie Falor, a bioengineering student also minoring in OPA, and Sydney Reimink, another bioengineering student. A class focusing on Clinical Assessments introduced Ann Marie and myself to an individual who was an idiopathic toe walker (ITW). This diagnosis proved to be an excellent fit for our project permitting us to apply our engineering design knowledge to the O&P field.

Under the guidance of several faculty members, we began to construct our project. The faculty consisted of Tamara Treanore, OPA Program Director and Certified Orthotist, Dr. Daniel Goble, Director and Associate Professor of the Exercise Science Program, Dr. Joshua Haworth, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, and Dr. Shailesh Lal, Professor of the Bioengineering Capstone class and Chair of the Bioengineering Department.

Toe walking is defined as when an individual walks and stands on their toes or the ball of their foot without ground contact from the heel or midfoot. While toe walking can be common in children as they are learning to walk, a child is diagnosed as an idiopathic toe walker if they continue to toe walk beyond three years of age. During class, we were testing balance on the Balance Tracking System (BTrackS™), which is a product developed by Dr. Goble that consists of the BTrackS Assess Bal -

ance software on a laptop connected to a portable force plate. A subject stands on the plate to measure the center of pressure and postural sway, or movement of the center of mass, of the individual while they are standing. The software contains several balance tests to be used for different purposes. The subject is placed into a percentile for each test according to their age and sex. The percentile rankings are computed from the BTrackS Normative Database which comprises over 20,000 results from individuals 5 years old to 100 years old.

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Figure 1. The subject’s posture while standing reveals a considerable forward lean.

In our project, the subject demonstrated poor balance during several tests, placing her into a low percentile. My group decided to study this further and create custom heel wedges that would hopefully offer more plantigrade support. Our project included developing a plan to compare the subject’s balance after the addition of heel wedges, researching current treatments for ITW to confirm that this project has not already been performed, deciding the best materials to use for the heel wedges and how to make them, carrying out the plan, and analyzing the results in a written report.

A visual analysis of the subject while standing was performed first. It was noted that the subject significantly leaned forward while standing, illustrated in Figure 1. The red dashed line indicates the approximate mid-coronal plane, or where the subject would be divided into equal anterior and posterior halves, if they had a completely

straight posture while the solid yellow line is the subject’s actual mid-coronal plane. As shown, almost the entire body is anterior to the red line.

Examining the feet from the side illustrated the characteristics of a toe walker. As depicted in Figure 2(a), the subject places the body weight on the forefeet and a visible gap is evident between the heels and the ground. The subject tends to supinate, shown in the right foot in Figure 2(b), however the left foot presents with calcaneal eversion, commonly associated with pronation, but this is likely due to compensating for balance. The subject confirmed that they felt more comfortable in supination and resting their body weight on the lateral borders of their feet.

Afterwards, tests were conducted to determine the subject’s range of motion at the ankle joints. The degree of dorsiflexion, or ankle flexion, was limited, which is consistent with ITW since the calf muscles and Achilles tendons are tight after years of walking on the forefeet.

The next task was to create Harris Mat impressions, which consist of an ink infused screen suspended over a paper. The subject was directed to stand normally on the Harris mat. This created a plantar pressure distribution map of the contact areas of the foot, which determined the parts of the feet that require support to increase the weight-bearing surface area. The ink impression on the paper has areas of light and dark shades of ink, with the darker spots indicating a higher amount of pressure in that area of the foot. As seen in Figure 3, the subject only stands on their forefeet and has no ground contact with their heels.

Lastly, a series of tests were conducted on the subject using the BTrackS. The first test was the Weight Distribution Test, where the subject’s standing posture was assessed. The subject stood still and their center of mass location was calculated. The Balance and Fall Risk Test was completed next. The subject was directed

to stand on the BTrackS balance board with a relaxed stance, hands on their hips, and with their feet shoulder width apart. Once they were situated, the subject was told to stand as still as possible for twenty seconds. Based on the path length, or how much the subject moved, they were placed in a percentile that displays the risk they have of falling.

Then, the modified Clinical Test of Sensory Interaction on Balance (mCTSIB) was performed (Figure 6). This assessment consisted of four rounds, with the subject positioned as described in the Balance and Fall Risk Test. In the first round, the subject stood still for thirty seconds with their eyes open. The second round was the same but with their eyes closed. For the third round, a foam pad was placed on the balance board. The subject stood for thirty seconds with their eyes opened and then for the fourth round, with their eyes closed. The BTrackS system analyzed the movement of the center of balance, then displayed the percentile the subject was in based on their path length in each round.

After collecting and recording the data, the heel wedges were fabricated. When the heel wedges were complete, the subject used them to perform the four BTrackS balance

Figure 2. (b) A posterior view of the subject that illustrates the subject’s foot positioning. Figure 2. (a) A lateral view of the subject shows the body weight entirely placed on the forefeet with no heel contact. Figure 3. The subject’s Harris Mat impressions while standing show that contact is not being placed on the heels. The ink impressions clearly define the forefeet as the only part of the foot in contact with the ground.

tests again. The new results were compared to the original results to see if the balance improved, and if so, by how much. The expected result was that the subject’s balance improved while using the heel wedge. This was proven if the subject’s percentile for the BTrackS tests increases from the original tests.

The heel wedges, displayed in Figure 4, were made with a polyethylene foam called Plastazote®, a P-Cell® EVA foam middle layer, and a cork middle layer and base. Plastazote® is heat moldable so it can provide a close, custom fit to the subject’s heels. Along with P-Cell® EVA foam, Plastazote® is easy to clean and disinfect, due to being a closed cell foam, which is essential for a material that will be confined in a shoe. Cork is well known for its antimicrobial properties against bacteria such as E. coli, which will prevent the wedge from becoming contaminated by sweat or other substances. In addition, cork has many other positive characteristics, such as being shock absorptive, odor resistant, durable, and grindable, so it can be easily modified while withstanding everyday wear. Together, these materials will create durable, shock absorbing, and supportive heel wedges that will widen the subject’s base of support.

The Weight Distribution Test measured left/right and front/back asymmetries found while the subject stands with their normal posture. The ideal left/right and front/back distribution is 50/50. The subject’s left/right distribu-

tions before and after implementing the heel wedges were both close to the optimal 50/50 distribution, however the heel wedges marginally improved the left/right distribution, seen in Figure 5 by the “X” position being slightly closer to the center midline than the “O” position. It is also noted that the “X” is much closer to the horizontal dashed line that represents the ideal 50/50 front/back distribution. The heel wedges offered the subject greater heel contact, allowing them to put more weight on the posterior aspect of their feet, and shifted the subject’s weight distribution from a large forward lean to a more moderate forward lean.

The mCTSIB Test evaluates how different senses affect balance based on the center of pressure path length. The “Standard” Test was eyes open while standing on a firm surface, which allowed the subject to use all their senses to stand as still as possible. The baseline results showed a decrease in path length from 24 cm to 13 cm, which was a 61% increase in percentile ranking. The “Proprioception” Test forces the subject to rely on their body’s ability to sense movement, as they cannot have their eyes open. The subject presented with a path length decrease from 36 cm to 15 cm for standing eyes closed, displaying a 78% percentile ranking jump. These results demonstrate how the heel wedges helped the subject have better balance while standing and also improved their proprioception.

Overall, the study has helped me to develop and refine the skills crucial to conducting research projects, beginning with identifying where research was insufficient, creating a plan to address the gap, executing the plan, and analyzing the results. This project has expanded my experience, not only in working with hands-on research, but also in designing and producing a custom treatment for a patient. The skills and knowledge that I have gained throughout my research journey will provide a robust foundation for my future career.

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Olivia Racette , from Rochester, Michigan, is an Oakland University student studying bioengineering. She plans to graduate with her degree in Spring 2024. Olivia was the first-place winner in TechCentury’s 2022 Student Essay Writing Competition. Figure 4. Custom heel wedges fabricated for the subject. The wedges are composed of four layers of shock absorbing and antibacterial materials designed to support the subject’s heels. Figure 5. The Weight Distribution Test measured the left/right and front/back asymmetries of the subject while they stood naturally. The “O” marks the baseline test and the “X” marks the post-baseline test. Figure 6. The modified Clinical Test of Sensory Integration and Balance evaluated the subject’s path length in different conditions with eyes open/closed.



The construction industry is undergoing a technological evolution that is reshaping the way buildings are designed, constructed, and maintained. As the demand for infrastructure and real estate grows in our state—and the world in general—construction technology is playing a crucial role in improving and enhancing efficiency, sustainability, and safety in the industry.

The time is now to embrace technology. According to a Contractor magazine survey, 82 percent of general contractors and 80 percent of subcontractors planned to grow their businesses in 2023. In the same survey, since 2021, a 324 percent increase was seen in the number of general contractors posting their first projects, and projects with strong activity increased by 231 percent.

The construction industry is investing in technology. “IT budgets are set to increase in 2023, reaching a worldwide total of $4.6 trillion, a 5.1 percent increase over last year,” according to Gartner projections released in October 2022. In addition, 26 percent of builders plan to invest more money in software in 2023 than they did in 2022, according to the State of Residential Construction Industry annual report.

The Engineering Society of Detroit’s membership— highlighted in our Construction and Design Awardees and our featured corporations like Walbridge, Gresham Smith, and UCA—are at the forefront of using this technology.

Some of the emerging trends in construction technology are driving innovation and transforming the sector are:

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

While Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been used for years, its effectiveness and resourcefulness are growing rapidly. BIM—a digital representation of a building’s physical and functional characteristics—enables architects, engineers, and construction professionals to collaborate often before a single brick has been laid. This technology facilitates better project planning, visualization, and risk management, ultimately reducing costs and improving project outcomes.

BIM technology creates precise digital models of buildings. It can also span into the operation and management of buildings using data that allows governments, municipalities, and property managers to make informed decisions based on information derived from the model.


3D Printing and Prefabrication and Modular Construction

Originally designed to create models that could be discarded and reprinted in order to perfect an architectural design, 3D printing is now being used in new construction. Using specialized printers, it is now possible to create complex building components and even entire structures using various materials, including concrete and metal. 3D printing offers the potential to reduce construction time, waste, and costs while enabling greater architectural freedom and design flexibility.

In a similar fashion, prefabrication and modular construction methods are gaining popularity due to their ability to streamline construction processes and increase efficiency. Off-site fabrication of building components allows for better quality control, reduced construction time, and minimal site disruption. Modular construction, in particular, is being used for projects ranging from housing to commercial buildings, showcasing its versatility and sustainability benefits.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are transforming the way construction projects are visualized, planned, and executed. AR and VR can provide immersive experiences that help architects, engineers, and construction workers better understand complex designs and construction processes. These

technologies also support virtual walkthroughs, training simulations, and maintenance planning.

Augmented reality allows workers to analyze problems and visualize solutions.

Virtual reality is a strategic part of the preconstruction process itself as a way to visualize an entire project and make critical changes. Virtual reality tools help prevent problems or disasters before construction begins. It’s a good way to increase efficiency before all the more significant investments. It also opens doors to greater creativity during the design phases.

In addition—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, AR/VR technology has been used in various remote site inspections. It also enables greater safety, collaboration, and communication.

Drones and Aerial Imaging

Drones are here to stay. Having found a niche in the construction industry, drones are invaluable tools in the construction industry used for creating site surveys, mapping large areas, and assisting in safety inspections. Compiling this information while the architects, contractors, and crew remain on the ground is a boon for improved decision-making.

Drones have the capability to capture high-resolution images and create detailed 3D maps, allowing project managers to make informed decisions and identify

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Structures can be 3D printed in concrete using a CNC machine.

potential issues early in the construction process. This aerial imaging technology is improving efficiency as well as reducing risks associated with traditional site inspections.

IoT and Smart Construction

The Internet of Things (IoT) has its own vital role in creating smart construction sites. According to a BusinessWire report, “The global IoT in construction market was valued at $11.15 billion in 2021, and is projected to reach $44.21 billion by 2031, registering a CAGR of 14.6% from 2022 to 2031.”

The benefits of incorporating IoT in construction include using sensors and connected devices to monitor important aspects of a construction project. This can include equipment performance, environmental conditions, and worker safety. Real-time data analysis and automation improve decision-making, increase safety, and reduce operational costs.

Sustainable Building Practices

Sustainability is a growing concern in the construction industry, leading to the adoption of eco-friendly technologies and practices. In fact, the Global Green Building Material Market size accounted for $285.4 billion in 2022 and was projected to surpass around $768.8 billion by 2032. This includes the use of renewable energy sources, energy-efficient building materials,

green construction methods, and the implementation of green building certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Sustainable construction technology is vital in reducing the industry’s environmental footprint.

Robotics and Automation

Investment in construction robotics was forecasted to increase from 99.7 million U.S. dollars in 2022 to 113.1 million in 2023 and all the way to 242.4 million by 2030, according to Next Move Strategy Consulting.

Robots are being deployed in construction for various tasks, from bricklaying to excavation. These machines can work efficiently, tirelessly, and with precision, reducing the need for human labor in physically demanding and repetitive tasks. Automation also helps improve safety and reduce labor costs.

The construction industry is embracing a wave of technological advancements that promise to revolutionize the way we build our cities and structures. From digital modeling and 3D printing to augmented reality and sustainable building practices, these emerging trends are driving innovation, improving efficiency, and enhancing sustainability in construction. As these technologies continue to mature and become more accessible, the construction industry will undoubtedly evolve, creating safer, more sustainable, and more efficient built environments for the future.

Drones are invaluable tools for site surveys, mapping and safety inspections, to name a few applications.

Join ESD’s Annual Fundraising Campaign

Every fall, The Engineering Society of Detroit launches its annual fundraising campaign to support and grow its outreach programs. Those programs include Student Chapters at 14 Michigan universities, the ESD Michigan Future City Competition, the ESD Girls in Engineering Academy, and our merit-based scholarship program. All of these programs are thriving and growing thanks to our generous donors. We hope you will consider joining those who support us!

Visit to participate.


Air & Waste Mgmt. Assn.–East MI Ch. (EMAWMA)

Am. Chemical Soc.–Detroit Section (ACS)

Am. Concrete Inst.–Greater MI Ch. (ACI-GMC)

Am. Council of Engineering Companies–MI (ACEC)

Am. Foundry Soc.–Detroit Windsor Ch. (AFS-DW)

Am. Inst. of Architects-Detroit Ch. (AIA)

Am. Inst. of Architects-MI (AIA)

Am. Inst. of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)

Am. Inst. of Constructors–MI Ch. (AIC)

Am. Nuclear Soc. (ANS)

Am. Polish Engineering Assn. (APEA)

Am. Soc. for Quality–Greater Detroit Section 1000 (ASQ-DETROIT)

Am. Soc. for Quality–Saginaw Valley (ASQ-SAGINAW)

Am. Soc. of Agricultural & Biological Engineers–MI Section (ASABE)

Am. Soc. of Body Engineers Int’l (ASBE)

Am. Soc. of Civil Engineers–MI Section (ASCE)

Am. Soc. of Engineers of Indian Origin–MI Ch. (ASEI)

Am. Soc. of Heating, Refrig. & Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Am. Soc. of Mechanical Engineers–MI (ASME)

Am. Soc. of Plumbing Engineers–Eastern MI Ch. (ASPE-EMC)

Am. Soc. of Safety Engineers–Greater Detroit Ch. (ASSE-DETROIT)

Am. Soc. of Sanitary Eng. for Plumbing & Sanitary Research (ASSE)

Am. Water Works Assn. (MI-AWWA)

Am. Welding Soc. (AWS-DW)

Arab Am. Assn. of Engineers & Architects, MI (AAAEA)

Armenian Engineers & Scientists of America–MI Section (AESA-MI)

ASM Int’l–Detroit Ch. The Materials Soc. (ASM-INT-DETROIT)

Assn. for Facilities Engineering (AFE)

Assn. for Iron & Steel Technology (AIST)

Assn. of Business Process Mgmt. Professionals–SE MI Ch. (ABPMP)

Assn. of Soil & Foundation Engineers (ASFE)

Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Assn. (AASA)

Biomedical Engineering Assn. (BMES)

Building Commissioning Assn.–Central Ch. (BCA)

Construction Specifications Inst. (CSI)

Council of Supply Chain Mgmt. Professionals (CSCMP)

CREW Detroit–Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW)

Detroit Chinese Engineers Assn. (DCEA)

Detroit Soc. for Coatings Technology (DSCT)

ElectroChemical Soc. (ECS)

Engineers Without Borders (EWBUSA)

Great Lakes Renewable Energy Assn. (GLREA)

Heavy Duty Manufacturers Assn. (HDMA)

Illuminating Engineering Soc. of North America (IESNA)

Inst. of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Inst. of Environmental Science & Technology (IEST)

Inst. of Industrial Engineers Greater Detroit Ch. (IIE)

Inst. of Mathematical Sciences (IMS)

Instrumentation Systems & Automation Soc. (ISA)

Int’l Council on Systems Engineering–MI Ch. (INCOSE)

Japan Business Soc. of Detroit (JBS)

Mechanical Contractors Assn. (MCA-Detroit)

Mechanical Inspectors Assn. of MI (MIAM)

Metropolitan Mechanical Inspectors Assn. (MMIA)

MI Ch. of Am. Soc. of Landscape Architects (MASLA)

MI Assn. of Environmental Professionals (MAEP)

MI Assn. of Hazardous Materials Managers (MI-AHMP)

MI Chemistry Council (MCC)

MI Interfaith Power & Light (MIPL)

MI Intellectual Property Law Assn. (MIPLA)

MI Rural Water Assn. (MRWA)

MI Soc. for Clinical Engineering (MSCE)

MI Soc. of Professional Engineers (MSPE)

MI Soc. of Professional Surveyors (MSPS)

MI Water Environment Assn. (MWEA)

MI!/usr/group (MUGORG)

National Assn. of Corrosion Engineers (NACE)

National Assn. of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

Nat. Soc. of Black Engineers–Detroit Alumni Extension (NSBE-DAE)

Net Impact Southeastern MI (NISEM)

North Am. Soc. of Chinese Automotive Engineers (NACSAE)

Project Mgmt. Inst.–Great Lakes Ch. (PMI)

SAE Detroit Section (SAE-Detroit Section)


SAE Int’l (SAE-Intl)

Safety Council for SE MI (SCSM)

Saginaw Valley Engineering Council (SVEC)

Soc. for Industrial & Applied Mathematics–Gr. Lakes Sec. (SIAM)

Soc. for Marketing Professional Services–MI (SMPS)

Soc. of Am. Military Engineers (SAME)

Soc. of Am. Value Engineers–Greater MI Ch. (SAVE-GMC)

Soc. of Applied Engineering Sciences (SAES)

Soc. of Fire Protection Engineers–MI Ch. (SFPE)

Soc. of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

Soc. of Manufacturers’ Representatives (SMR)

Soc. of Manufacturing Engineers–Detroit Ch. No. One (SME)

Soc. of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)

Soc. of Plastics Engineers–Automotive Division (SPEA)

Soc. of Plastics Engineers–Detroit (SPE-DETROIT)

Soc. of Tribologists & Lubrication Engineers (STLE)

Soc. of Women Engineers (SWE)

SE MI Facility & Power Plant Engineers Soc. (SEMPPES)

SE MI Soc. for Healthcare Engineering (SMSHE)

SE MI Sustainable Business Forum (SMSBF)

Southeastern MI Computer Organization, Inc. (SEMCO)

Structural Engineers Assn. of MI–Am. Inst. of Steel Const. (SEAMi)

Student Environmental Assn.–University of MI, Dearborn (SEA-UMD)

TiE–The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE)

U.S. Green Building Council–Detroit

Call 800-682-6881 for a quote. Be sure to mention that you are with ESD. * Policies are underwritten by the Citizens Insurance Company of America and/or Citizens Insurance Company of the Midwest, companies of The Hanover Insurance Group. Participation in the group auto and home insurance program is based upon group membership and company underwriting guidelines. Hartland Insurance Group, Inc. 691 N. Squirrel Rd., Suite 190 Auburn Hills, MI 48326 248-377-9600 Save Money on Auto and Home Insurance Engineers and technical professionals are among the lowest-risk demographic groups. Because of this, you can take advantage of big group discounts.* Take advantage of your profession! SAVINGS AVAILABLE TO ESD MEMBERS AND MEMBERS OF THESE AFFILIATE SOCIETIES:
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