Advisory Committee Profiles

Roberto Ballarini

James L. Record Professor and

Head of the Department of Civil Engineering

University of Minnesota

Dr. Roberto Ballarini is James L. Record Professor and Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at University of Minnesota. He joined the University of Minnesota after having served for twenty years on the faculty at Case Western Reserve University, where he was Leonard Case Professor of Engineering.

Dr. Ballarini’s multidisciplinary research focuses on the development and application of theoretical and experimental techniques to characterize the response of materials to mechanical, thermal, and environmental loads. He is particularly interested in formulating analytical and numerical models for characterizing fatigue and fracture of materials and structures. His multidisciplinary research, which has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Office of Naval Research, the United States Air Force, NASA, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the State of Ohio, has been applied to problems arising in civil engineering, mechanical and aerospace engineering, materials science, electronics, biological tissues and prosthetic design. He has published over seventy refereed papers in the top refereed journals, including Science and Nature, and has given invited lectures at universities around the world. Several of his research projects have been featured in the popular press, including the New York Times Science Times, American Scientist, Science News, Business Week, Financial Times, Geo, Pour La Science and Industry Week. His current research involves theoretical, computational and experimental studies of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and of nanoscale biological and synthetic materials, bioinspired design of composites, and the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis. He served as associate editor of the ASCE Journal of Engineering Mechanics, and currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of the American Ceramic Society and the Journal of Nano Research.

Dr. Ballarini’s teaching and mentoring excellence has been recognized throughout his academic career. While at Case Western Reserve University he was the recipient of the University-wide John S. Diekhoff Award for Distinguished Graduate Teaching, and was nominated for several undergraduate teaching awards. Dr. Ballarini has taught undergraduate courses in statics, dynamics, and strength of materials, and graduate courses on advanced elasticity, plasticity theory, fracture mechanics, advanced strength of materials, and mathematical methods in structural mechanics.

Dr. Ballarini was a visiting professor of structural engineering at Politecnico di Torino, visiting professor of mathematical physics at the University of Pisa, the Materials Testing Services Visiting Chair of Geomechanics at the University of Minnesota, and the F.W. Olin Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.



Daniel Dicker, EngScD, P.E.

Professor of Engineering Emeritus

Stony Brook University

President CCNY Alumni Association

Dr. Dicker is Professor Emeritus at Stony Brook University, where he was Professor of Engineering and Applied Math for many years.
He holds degrees in civil engineering and engineering mechanics from CCNY, NYU and Columbia. He has been a visiting Research Fellow at Harvard and MIT and Visiting Professor at Imperial College of Technology in London and the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
Professor Dicker holds a number of awards and distinctions most notably the gold medal (the Norman Medal), and the Arthur Wellington Prize, from the American Society of Civil Engineers, for his analyses of the 1940 aerodynamic collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and the 1967 non-aerodynamic collapse of the "Silver Bridge" over the Ohio River. In 1969 Professor Dicker was elected Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Prior to his career in academia he was associated with firms in New York City including C.L. Bogert, a consulting environmental engineering firm for which he worked on water and sewage treatment plants, and with Praeger-Kavanagh Engineers (now URS) for which he did structural engineering for the Sprain River Parkway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Cleveland subway, and he managed the engineering design and construction for the Praeger­ Kavanagh role in the land reclamation and construction of the Dorado Beach Country Club in Puerto Rico.

Since his retirement from Stony Brook Dr. Dicker has served as a board member and consulting director for facilities, planning and design & construction for the Clearview Octagon Corp. which owns and operates four nursing and health care facilities with over 1,000 beds for long term, subacute, rehabilitation and ventilator care.

John M. Dionisio, P.E.

CEO and President


John M. Dionisio leads AECOM (NYSE: ACM), a global company with over 41,000 employees and revenue of more than $4.7 billion. Prior to being appointed to his current role in 2005, he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and earlier as the Chief Executive Officer and President of AECOM operating company DMJM Harris.

During Mr. Dionisio’s 30-plus-year career at AECOM, his leadership has helped advance the company’s transportation and energy infrastructure business in the Americas. While in operations, he also oversaw the combination of three AECOM business units – Frederic R. Harris, DMJM Infrastructure, and Holmes & Narver Infrastructure – to form DMJM Harris in 2000.

While heading DMJM Harris, Mr. Dionisio was involved in the advancement of many notable projects. These include the Second Avenue Subway in New York, Tren Urbano transit rail system in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the State Highway 130 toll-way in Texas, Southern California’s Metrolink Commuter Rail System, and the new World Trade Center PATH Terminal in Lower Manhattan.



Ira A. Levy, P.E.

Northeast Region Chief Executive


Ira Levy is the Northeast Region Chief Executive for AECOM. In this capacity he is responsible for all operations within AECOM’s Northeastern Region, which encompasses more than 3,000 staff members within the transportation, water, design, environment and energy business lines.

The former President of DMJM Harris, a legacy AECOM company, Mr. Levy brings a successful career in leadership and project execution to his new role. Over the course of his 36-year career Mr. Levy has been responsible for delivering such landmark projects as the $17-billion Second Avenue Subway, the first new subway in Manhattan since the 1930s; the $2-billion World Trade Center Hub, where AECOM is working in association with renowned architect Santiago Calatrava and others; as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico’s world class public transit system, Tren Urbano.

A licensed Professional Engineer, Mr. Levy’s background includes extensive experience in the execution of diverse projects with a strong emphasis on public interface, environmental issues and alternate delivery methods. Active in representing AECOM and the industry, Mr. Levy has held leadership roles in technical, charitable and industry associations as well as on public boards.

AECOM is a global provider of professional technical and management support services with 41,000 people in more than 100 countries. The firm is a leader in the delivery of engineering, design, environmental, and infrastructure services.


Dr. Khaled M. Mahmoud, P.E.


Bridge Technology Consulting

 Dr. Mahmoud is an internationally recognized bridge engineer with diversified hands-on experience in the design, research, management, analysis, and rehabilitation of major cable-supported bridge projects. He is the President and founder of Bridge Technology Consulting, a firm that specializes in the design, modeling and inspection of bridge structures. Throughout his career, he has held key positions in the design and rehabilitation of a number of long-span, short-span and movable bridge projects. Dr. Mahmoud is a pioneer in the design, modeling, and design of bridge cables. His work on the assessment of the remaining strength of degraded bridge cables is funded by MTA Bridges & Tunnels, New York State Bridge Authority, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the New York State Department of Transportation. Dr. Mahmoud has developed the BTC Cable Strength Method, a proprietary peer-reviewed statistical-based methodology for the assessment of degraded bridge cable strength. The BTC method is currently being applied on many major suspension bridge cables in the United States. Dr. Mahmoud is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bridge Structures. He is the Chairman of the Bridge Engineering Association, organizer of the New York City Bridge Conference. In 2002, the Association for Bridge Construction and Design has named him Bridge Engineer of the Year. Dr. Mahmoud is the editor of “Advances in Cable-Supported Bridges” published in August 2006, “Recent Developments in Bridge Engineering”, published in October 2003, and “Innovations in Bridge Engineering Technology” published in August 2007. He is a member of the PTI Committee on Cable-Stayed Bridges and the former Chairman of the ASCE Committee on Cable-Supported Bridges. Dr. Mahmoud was invited as keynote speaker in France, Egypt, Italy, the Netherlands, and Scotland. Dr. Mahmoud has published numerous technical papers on modeling degradation in bridge cables, and the fatigue and fracture behavior of bridge details in peer-reviewed journals and international conferences and seminars.

Dr. Mahmoud holds a Masters Degree in Structural Engineering from the City College of New York, and a Doctorate in Fracture Mechanics, from the City University of New York and is a Licensed Professional Engineer in the States of New York, California and Washington. 

Dr. Mahmoud is an Adjunct Professor of Fracture Mechanics, Structural and Bridge Engineering at the New York Polytechnic University.

Fotios Papamichael, P.E.

Vice President and Regional Office Manager

Gannett Fleming, Inc.

Born on a small island, Nisyros, in the Aegean on October 16, 1948 and migrated to the United States with his mother and his three siblings on April 30, 1960.  His father and older brother had arrived in the United States earlier in the mid 1950’s. 

Fotios lived with his family in the Washington Heights area through 1965 when the family moved to Astoria, Queens.  He married Mary Costidis in April 1972 and currently resides in Little Neck Queens with his wife and son, Peter.  His daughter Tina married Sam Molos in June 2003 and Fotios has three grandchildren, Maria Andrea, Yiannis Sotirios and Fotios Molos.

From his youth, Fotios was active in his community.  He was active with the Nisyrian Youth Organization and later with the Greek Orthodox Hellenic Youth Organization in his church, St. Demetrios of Astoria.  He continues to serve his Church’s Parish Council since 1976.  Due to his years of service to the Church and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, the Church bestowed the highest honor to a lay person electing Fotios to Archon of the Order of St. Andrew the Protector of the Ecunenical Patriarchate of Orthodoxy.

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Bruce E. Podwal, P.E.

Senior Vice President

Parsons Brinckerhoff

Bruce Podwal is a 1959 graduate of City College of New York where he received a B.C.E.  He earned an M.S.C.E. from Polytechnic University in 1963.

Bruce has been with Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) since 1961 where he started as a Highway Engineer and is a licensed Professional Engineer in New York and other states.  Over the years, he served in such positions as Chairman and President of several PB subsidiaries, Country Manager for Turkey, and Manager for major projects in several states, Guam, Hong Kong, Canada and Turkey.  Bruce has been a Board Director of PB since 2004, where he chairs the Governance & Nominating Committee.

Mr. Podwal is also a past Director on the Board of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), where he served on the Audit and Finance Committees and chaired the International Activities Committee.  He represents ASCE on the multi-engineering society Hoover Medal Board of Award, which recognizes an engineer for outstanding service to humanity.  Bruce was President of the Metropolitan Section (NYC area) of ASCE, a member of its Scholarship Committee and winner of its Thomas C. Kavanagh Award.  He was a Director on the Board of the American Road & Transportation Builders’ Planning & Design Division and chaired its Highway-Bridge and Energy Committees. 

Bruce served as guest lecturer at the University of Houston and the Middle East Technical University in Turkey and conducted a two-week seminar on the design and financing of highways, tunnels, and bridges at the Beijing Municipal Engineering Design and Research Institute.  He co-authored “Highway Engineering,” in McGraw-Hill’s Standard Handbook for Civil Engineers, 2nd and 3rd Editions.


Dr. Joseph M. Sussman

J. R. East Professor

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Dr. Joseph M. Sussman is the JR East Professor (endowed by the East Japan Railway Company) in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Engineering Systems Division at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),   where he has served as a faculty member for 35 years.  He is the author of “Introduction to Transportation Systems”, a graduate text, in use at a number of universities in the U.S. and abroad, published in 2000 by Artech House of Boston and London.  Sussman received the Roy W. Crum Distinguished Service Award from TRB, its highest honor, “for significant contributions to research” in 2001.


Dr. Sussman specializes in the study of “complex, Large-Scale, Integrated, Open Systems” (CLIOS), working in many applications areas.  He has worked extensively n Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), helping to build the U.S. national program.  While serving as the first Distinguished University Scholar at IVHS AMERICA (1991-92), he was a member of the core group that wrote the Strategic Plan for IVHS in the U.S., a twenty-year plan for research, development, testing and deployment which has shaped the U.S. ITS program.  He has worked on the development of an “intelligent corridor” in Bangkok, on a comparison of ITS programs in Western Europe, Japan and the U.S., on commercial vehicle operations, on building regional ITS architectures, and on institutional issues concerning ITS.  He was the program chair of the ITS America Annual Meeting in 2000, and has conducted short courses in ITS for practicing professionals in the U.S. and abroad.  In 2002 ITS Massachusetts named its annual “Joseph M. Sussman Leadership Award” in his honor.


Dr. Sussman has focused recently on developing new methodology for regional strategic transportation planning, called ReS/SITE (Regional Strategies for the Sustainable Intermodal Transportation Enterprise), integrating ideas from strategic management, scenario-building, technology architectures and CLIOS analysis, based on cases in the U.S. and abroad. Currently his wok in this area deals with transportation and sustainability in Mexico City and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


His research in railroads focuses on service reliability, rail operations, maintenance, high speed rail (HSR), and risk assessment; he has had a major impact on the railroad industry in the U.S. and abroad, and has several prize-winning papers. He heads a three-year project with the Union Internationale des Chemins de Fer (UIC), initiated in 2000, dealing with technology scanning for the international freight and passenger railroad industry.


Dr. Sussman chaired the TRB Committee overseeing the Federal Railroad Administration’s R&D program from 1996 to 1999 and currently hairs a TRB panel reviewing the federal transportation strategic plan for R&D.  Further, he chaired a TRB Task Force which produced a major report entitled “Airport System Capacity –Strategic Choices”.


He has worked on the application of computers to engineering problem-solving, specializing in simulation methods and their application to the transportation area, and he contributed to the development of ICES (Integrated Civil Engineering system), among the most widely-used computer systems in the engineering field.   In 1997 he won the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s Effective Teaching Award.  In 2002 he won the Technology and Policy Student Society “Faculty Appreciation Award” for his design and teaching of a new required subject called “Introduction to Technology and Policy”.  He has served on review panels for transportation programs at Northwestern, the University of Toronto, Cornell, and the University of Michigan (chair).  He currently serves on advisory committees at CCNY’s School of Engineering, the University of California at Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, and Cal-IT2, a joint venture of UC-Irvine and UC-San Diego.


Dr. Susssman earned a B.C.E. from City College of New York in 1961, an M.S.C.E. from the University of New Hampshire in 1963, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering Systems form MIT in 1967.  He joined the MIT faculty in 1967. From 1977 to 1979, Professor Sussman served as the Associate Dean of Engineering for Educational Programs  From 1980 to 1985, he served as Head of the Department of Civil Engineering at MIT.  In that period, the Civil Engineering Department developed new programs in infrastructure and construction systems, computer-aided engineering, resource extraction from the Arctic environment, hazardous waste and materials characterization.  From 1986 to 1991, he serves as Director of the Center for Transportation Studies (CTS) at MIT.  During his term, research volume grew by 400%, to more than $4 million annually at that time, reflecting and important expansion of CTS’ research agenda.  Also, CTS grew to 50 affiliated faculty, adding colleagues from all five of MIT’s schools.


Dr. Sussman is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Transportation Research Forum, Transportation Research Board (Executive Committee chair in 1994; member, 1991-1998), ITS America (Board of Directors, 1995-2001) and ITS Massachusetts Board of Directors, 1996-2001), and is a member of the Editorial Board of Transportation Research.   He is a founder of Multi-systems of Cambridge, MA

Vincent Tirolo, Jr., P.E.

Chief Engineer

Skanska USA Civil NE, Inc.

 Vince is a 1966 graduate of City College of New York in Civil Engineering.  He also has a Masters of Civil Engineering degree from City College.  Vince is licensed as both a professional engineer and a licensed contractor in four states and the District of Columbia.  After serving two years as a lieutenant in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, including a year in Vietnam, he began his professional practice.  He has been a Project Engineer or Project Manager for major consulting engineering firms including Parsons Brinckerhoff, Jacobs Engineering and Mueser Rutledge.  For the last 11 years, he had been the Chief Engineer of Skanska USA Civil NE, Inc. the largest heavy construction contractor in the New York Metropolitan Area.  Vince is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers; the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute; the Society of Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration; and the Moles.  He is author and coauthor of more than 25 technical papers. Vince is a former President of the Metropolitan Section of ASCE. Vince has also been an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Pratt Institute and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering both at the City College of New York and at Columbia University.  Vince married and has two children. His spouse Mary is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Brooklyn, New York.

Emmanuel E. Velivasakis, P.E., F.ASCE

Managing Principal

Thornton Tomasetti

It was said of the great English builder and designer Sir Christopher Wrenn, “If you seek his monument, look around you.”  One can find monuments to the engineering contributions of Emmanuel Velivasakis in places far and near.  From the restoration of the United States Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C. to the World’s tallest buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or the Taipei Financial Center in Taipei, Taiwan, to his work at the ruins of the 1999 Istanbul earthquake in Turkey and those of the World Trade Center disaster site after the 9/11/01 terrorist attack. One can also find monuments less physically tangible, but no less important, in his work to bring and educate young people into the engineering and architectural fields.  As notable as his contributions to creation of structures, Emmanuel Velivasakis has participated in many of the nation’s major forensic investigations, adding to the sum of the professional knowledge and assuring continued progress in the prevention of disaster. Born in Greece, Mr. Velivasakis received his primary and secondary education there.  After serving the Greek Army, he came to the United States for university studies, receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Civil/Structural Engineering from the City College of the City University of New York with Honors. Mr. Velivasakis is a licensed Professional Engineer practicing in the United States and around the world. He is a Managing Principal of The Thornton-Tomasetti Group, an internationally acclaimed Architectural-Engineering Design firm and President of its LZA Technology Division. The Architect of the US Capitol selected Velivasakis’s design firm to lead the Engineering effort for the Engineering evaluation and rehab design of the Dome of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.  This prestigious assignment involving the most notable symbol of our Nation represented a tremendous honor, for Mr. Velivasakis and his engineering team. An article on the Structural Analysis and Evaluation of the U.S. Capitol Dome was featured on the cover-page of Civil Engineering magazine in 1999. In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attack on the WTC, Velivasakis’s firm was summoned by the City of New York to lead the technical effort to provide technical assistance to the search and rescue teams at “Ground-Zero”. He participated and directed the multi-disciplinary WTC team of nearly 300 engineers, in the first critical weeks after the terrorist attack. Mr. Velivasakis has served as an adjunct professor of Architectural Engineering at the New York Institute of Technology.  Currently he teaches graduate-level courses to Architects and other Construction professionals at the Institute of Design and Construction, in Brooklyn NY. Over the years, he has also lectured in several other colleges and universities, including Pratt Institute, Columbia University and California Polytechnic Institute. For his professional accomplishments, Mr. Velivasakis has been awarded numerous awards of excellence, including:

  • Diamond Award of the US Consulting Engineers Council for the Istanbul Airport Seismic Modernization project.
  • Silver Award of the James F. Lincoln Engineering Foundation.
  • Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  • City of New York Certificate of Appreciation for his service at Ground Zero.