Carnegie Mellon University

CEE Graduate Seminar Series

Fall 2018

All seminars will be held in Mellon Auditorium in Posner Hall from 12:00-1:20 unless otherwise noted.

All seminars are open to the campus community. The use of electronic devices is prohibited during seminar. 

Engineering Careers in Aviation

Paul Hoback - Allegheny County Airport Authority
Senior Vice President, Engineering, Planning & Capital Development, Engineering & Construction

Tom Woodrow - Allegheny County Airport Authority
VP Engineering

Michael P. Bodek, P.E. - Jacobs
Program Manager | Aviation Services


The panelists will discuss their various educational and career paths, how they came to settle in the aviation industry, and the local and global opportunities for engineers to help shape the airports of today and tomorrow. Airports are the gateway to the fastest mode of commercial transport, helping to carry people and packages to anywhere in the world, and fueling significant economic activity annually. Whether working issues such as air traffic growth globally, or the unique challenges of enhancing air service and customer experience locally, maintaining a competitive airport advantage is a must for Pittsburgh and communities  worldwide. This need is driving exciting innovation and cultural shifts within the industry, resulting in a multitude of opportunities for the engineers of tomorrow. The Terminal Modernization Program at Pittsburgh International Airport is an example of all this and will be discussed.


Paul Hoback is the Senior Vice President, Engineering, Planning, and Capital Development for the Allegheny County Airport Authority. In this role, Hoback is responsible for leadership, oversight and strategic direction for Engineering and Construction, Planning, Sustainability and Natural Resources, and all Capital Development at Pittsburgh International Airport, as well as the Allegheny County Airport. Paul is responsible for Pittsburgh International Airport’s $1.1 Billion Terminal Modernization Program.

Hoback has been with the Allegheny County Airport Authority for 17 years, serving in many roles from Engineering Project Manager to Director of Maintenance and Capital Improvements, and most recently as SVP of Facilities, Engineering, and Maintenance.

He has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Geneva College. Paul serves on numerous aviation and construction industry committees, is a Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives, and has been honored by the state of Pennsylvania as the “Young Engineer of the Year” by the Society of Professional Engineers.

Hoback also serves in several leadership roles within the Pittsburgh community, including President of the local library, Past-President of the Heritage Foundation, Vice-Chairman of the local Water Authority, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the local Education Foundation.

Tom Woodrow, P.E., BCEE is the Vice President of Engineering for the Allegheny County Airport Authority. Woodrow is responsible for managing the design engineering, contracts, and construction for all capital improvement projects that take place at both the Pittsburgh International Airport and the Allegheny County Airport. Typical capital improvement projects include projects such as airfield pavement and lighting rehabilitation, fire & domestic waterline improvements, roof replacements, baggage handling upgrades and land development projects.

He has 29 years of professional experience including project management, engineering, construction, and operations management. He has experience in both the private and public sectors including aviation, automotive, iron and steel, midstream oil and gas development, and public water and sewer.

Woodrow holds an MBA from Robert Morris University, as well as a B.S. in Environmental Engineering Technology and an Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology from Penn State. He is also a registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia and is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer.

Michael Bodek has 25 years of professional experience in aviation program management and engineering, emergency management and planning, and security and protection services. He has worked at airports of all sizes, ranging from large international hubs to small general aviation airports.

Bodek has been with Jacobs Engineering Group (previously CH2M HILL, Inc.) for the past 13 years, where he has served in various roles ranging from aviation planning and design to construction and overall program management. His work has taken him around the northern hemisphere, from Asia to the Middle East, to the Americas, working at airports such as Mumbai, Dubai, Philadelphia, Chicago, and his home airport in Pittsburgh.

Currently, he serves as the Program Manager for the design and installation of Instrument Landing Systems at Naval and Marine Corps Air Stations worldwide on behalf of the Naval Air Systems Command.


Operations and Pricing in Air Transportation


The first part of the talk presents a passenger-centric approach to air traffic flow management optimization. Air traffic flow management aims to balance the flows of aircraft in capacity-constrained networks to minimize congestion costs. Existing research has focused on flight-centric delay minimization objectives but this may not result in most efficient outcomes from the perspective of air travelers. In contrast, this paper proposes an original approach that explicitly balances flight delay costs and passenger delays. We formulate a large-scale integer programming model to this purpose and implement a rolling algorithm that provides solutions in short computational times. Computational results  suggest that large reductions in passenger delays can be achieved at comparatively small increases in flight delay costs. 


The second part of the talk presents a field experiment conducted with a global leading airline on lead-in fares. The lead-in fare of an itinerary corresponds to the cheapest fare, typically offered months prior to departure. Commonly, airlines match their competitors’ lead-in fares, regardless of differences in itinerary characteristics (e.g., scheduled time, number of connections). We challenge this long-standing practice by differentiating the lead-in fare on selected itineraries. We propose an experimental design that estimates the treatment effect by exploiting temporal and cross-sectional variation across three types of control groups. Results show that lead-in differentiation increases revenue and yield, relative to lead-in matching, by 0.35–0.75 and 0.5–1.52 standard deviations, respectively (without decreasing market share).


Alexandre Jacquillat is an Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College, with cross-appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and at the Tepper School of Business.

His research develops and applies operations research and management science methodologies to promote more efficient, reliable, and sustainable transportation systems. His primary areas of focus are air traffic management systems and ride-sharing systems.

Alexandre is the recipient of several research and leadership awards, including the INFORMS George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award, the Best Dissertation Prize and the Best Paper Award  from the INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics section, and the L.E. Rivot Medal from the French Academy of Science.

 A View from Ten Years Out: Dam Engineering, Consulting, and Personal Growth


As a young engineering consultant in the dams and levees sector I will share my personal career path and the perspective it provides me 10 years into my career. This will begin with a brief personal history of my time with a series of diverse firms: Rizzo Associates, Freese and Nichols, HDR, and Black & Veatch. In addition to distinctions in company culture and approach, I’ll provide an overview of my own project work, the evolution of that work as my career has advanced, and highlights from my unique field experiences such as building a dam in Australia, managing a materials testing lab in Panama, and climbing bridges in the US. I’ll also provide a brief history of the dams industry, discussing the both its decline and recent resurgence.
Shifting gears to the broader topic of professional development, I’ll discuss the tactics, both successful and not, which I’ve employed to grow my career and “promote a personal brand” within the small and tightknit dams industry. Particularly I’ll focus on the three things I’ve found to be most important in the first five years of a career: field work, advocates, and professional organizations. I’ll also touch on some important issues that don’t often come up when approaching a technical career path, including but not limited to:

  • Leaving the CMU bubble
  • Weathering the workforce before, during, and after a recession (it could happen again)
  • How to find that next job. Spoiler: it’s a lot like dating
  • The impact of non-technical skills on career advancement
  • How much company culture matters to the individual

    Please come armed with your questions. I see this presentation as more akin to an open dialog between audience and presenter, since nothing more than time separates many of us. Come emboldened to ask anything you’ve ever wanted to know but been too afraid to ask about civil engineering. I’ll do my best to represent the wonderful complexity of our shared industry, in all its excitement and drudgery alike.


Emily Schwartz, PE, is a dam design and inspection engineer based in Austin, TX. She presently works within Black & Veatch’s geotechnically focused Heavy Civil group, concentrating on risk assessment, RCC dam design, and asset management. She is also growing both the group’s Texas dams program and its nationwide industrial rope access inspection program. In her nearly 11 years in private consulting, Schwartz has worked on water control, power generation, and transportation projects across the U.S. and abroad. Her work has taken her from the Panama Canal – overseeing material testing on the recently completed third locks expansion – to the top of the Calatrava-design Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge 400-ft above Dallas, and many unexpected places between.

For the last 7 years, Schwartz has enjoyed a steadily expanding role within the US Society on Dams (USSD). She is a founding member of the Young Professionals (YP) Committee where she presently serves as Vice Chair. She is also an active member of the Concrete Dams, Public Safety, and annual Conference Planning committees. As part of USSD’s YP leadership team, she has spearheaded a cultivation of YP participation throughout the organization and is now guiding other industry organizations, including the Association State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) and the National Hydropower Association (NHA), on the growth of YP-oriented initiatives.  

Schwartz is a licensed civil engineer in Texas, an NHI certified bridge inspector, and a SPRAT certified industrial rope access technician with nearly 200 hours of on-rope inspection to date. She obtained both her Bachelors and Masters in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2007 and 2011, respectively.

In her spare time, Schwartz is training as a certified therapeutic horseback riding (hippotherapy) instructor at Healing with Horses Ranch in Manor, TX.

Surrogate Models: a Potential Foundation for Simultaneous Structures/Materials Design

Lori Graham-Brady,  Professor and Chair
Department of Civil Engineering
Johns Hopkins University


Design of structural components is traditionally performed by first selecting a material and subsequently designing a structural configuration that meets the given requirements. With the onset of materials by design, there is future potential to engage in simultaneous design of materials and structures to maximize performance. The key step in this optimization will be to define an objective function that contains parameters that describe both the material (such as microstructural descriptors) and the structure (such as geometry).

While such an objective function can be formulated explicitly with multi-scale models, typically this approach would be computationally infeasible. Surrogate functions that provide a simplified representation of the material provide a much more efficient alternative. While surrogate functions provide a significantly more efficient path to represent the structural-scale behavior of materials, they can lead to a number of challenges. If the material is represented by a large number of microstructural parameters, then the high dimensionality of the surrogate function requires many samples in order to build an accurate surrogate.

Furthermore, some micro-scale behavior, such as sudden damage, can lead to discontinuities in the surrogate function, which makes it difficult to interpolate or collocate the results. This seminar will describe a number of approaches to building surrogates, including cases in which the micro-scale model provides key response values and/or gradients of key response values.


Lori Graham-Brady is Professor and Chair of the Civil Engineering Department at Johns Hopkins University, with secondary appointments in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering. Her research interests are in computational stochastic mechanics, multiscale modeling of materials with random microstructure and the mechanics of failure under high-rate loading.

She is the Associate Director of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute and previous Director of an NSF-funded IGERT training program with the theme of Modeling Complex Systems. She has received a number of awards, including the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, and the William H. Huggins Award for Excellence in Teaching. 


Automated Approaches towards BIM-based Intelligent Decision Support in Design, Construction, and Facility Operations

Fernanda Leite, PhD, PE, M.ASCE, Associate Professor
Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


The architecture, engineering, construction and facility management (AECFM) industry has been experiencing many changes since inexpensive networked, mobile computing devices have become ubiquitous. With the rising amount of information and data generated in the life cycle of capital projects, information modeling and data interoperability have become a critical element in design, engineering, construction, and maintenance of capital facilities.

Recent advances in Visualization, Information Modeling, and Simulation (VIMS) have the potential to address a number of these pressing challenges. The objective of this talk is to discuss challenges and ongoing research in three areas of study in VIMS: capturing experiential knowledge in building information modeling (BIM)-based design coordination; 4-dimensional modeling for site-specific safety planning; and automating the BIM upkeep process in the facility operations phase leveraging deep learning and computer vision.


Dr. Fernanda Leite is an Associate Professor in the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin. She has a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering, from Carnegie Mellon University.

Prior to her graduate education, she worked as a Project Manager in her home country Brazil, in multiple building construction and infrastructure projects. Her technical interests include information technology for construction, building and civil information modeling, collaboration and coordination technologies, and construction safety.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Leite teaches courses on Project Management and Economics, Building Information Modeling, and Construction Safety. Her funded research projects have focused on model-based benchmarking of capital projects; 3D modeling of construction work zone safety, autonomous safety monitoring; construction planning and work packaging through autonomous 3D model generation; and automated approaches towards updating 3D building information models of facilities in operation.

In Search of the Silver Bullet: Progress and Perspectives on Contaminated Subsurface Characterization and Restoration

Linda Abriola
University Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Director, Tufts Institute of the Environment
Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Chlorinated solvent contamination of aquifers is a recalcitrant problem that has challenged environmental engineering professionals, regulators, and site managers for decades.  When solvents are introduced to the subsurface, whether through accidental spills or leaking containment facilities, they create a persistent contaminant source to flowing groundwater, posing a long term health risk to downstream receptors. 

Over the past thirty years, a great deal of research has been undertaken to advance our understanding of the migration and fate of these chlorinated compounds (also known as dense nonaqueous liquids or DNAPLs) and to develop innovative methods for their destruction and/or recovery.  Despite these advances, however, it is now generally accepted that no single technology will result in complete mass removal.  In addition, future progress in the management of sites containing DNAPL source zones is hampered by the difficulties associated with characterizing the location and distribution of DNAPL mass, commonly termed ‘architecture’, which tends to control contaminant plume evolution and longevity.  

This presentation provides an overview of interdisciplinary research designed to improve our ability to predict the migration and fate of DNAPLs in natural subsurface formations and to develop improved methodologies for site characterization and management.  Numerical simulations and experimental observations are used to illustrate advances in our understanding of the hydrologic and abiotic and biotic transformation processes influencing DNAPL transport and persistence.  The presentation highlights the severe challenges, posed by the presence of natural heterogeneities, to reliable predictions of subsurface system behavior.  Recent research results demonstrate the potential utility of innovative statistical and machine learning methods for site characterization and risk assessment.


Linda M. Abriola is University Professor and Director of Tufts Institute of the Environment at Tufts University, where she holds appointments in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering.  She is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.  From 2003 to 2015, she served as the Dean of the Tufts University School of Engineering.  During her tenure as Dean, the Tufts Engineering School substantially expanded its administrative infrastructure, faculty, research activity, and educational programs in support of interdisciplinary education and research.  Prior to joining Tufts, she was the Horace Williams King Collegiate Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan.  

An expert in the multiphase transport, fate, and recovery/destruction of contaminants in the subsurface, Professor Abriola is the author of more than 150 refereed publications and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Association for Women Geoscientist's Outstanding Educator Award (1996), the National Ground Water Association’s Distinguished Darcy Lectureship (1996), designation as an ISI Highly Cited Author in Ecology/Environment (2002), the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program Project of the Year Award in Remediation (2006, 2012), Drexel University’s Engineering Leader of the Year Award (2013), and appointment as a US Science Envoy (2016).  Her numerous professional activities have included service on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, the National Research Council (NRC) Water Science and Technology Board, and the American Society of Engineering Education Engineering Deans Council Executive Board.  Current and recent professional activities include service as an elected member of the NAE governing Council, as well as membership on the National Science Foundation Engineering Directorate Advisory Committee, the National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, the National Research Council Division Committee on Engineering and Physical Sciences, the Stockholm Environment Institute USA Board of Directors, and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences Board of Trustees.

Dr. Abriola received her Ph.D. and Master’s degrees from Princeton University and a Bachelor's degree from Drexel University, all in Civil Engineering.