November 2021 Vol. 76 No. 11



PPI Announces New Chair for Board of Directors 

Douglas Keller, technical lead-Americas for Equistar Chemical-Pipe Resins, was named chair of the Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), board of directors, a two-year appointment. PPI is the major North American trade association representing the plastic pipe industry and is dedicated to promoting plastic as the materials of choice for pipe and conduit applications. 

He has nearly 30 years of experience with polyethylene and polypropylene, and a bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

Keller has worked in various product development and technical service areas for Equistar Chemicals and its predecessor companies. He has two U.S. Patents for additive improvements to PP and PE resin, and has written and presented numerous papers on the use of high-density polyethylene in pressure pipe applications. 

His in-depth knowledge of PPI comes from being a member for 12 years, including involvement on several sub-committees and working groups, serving as vice chair for the past two years and previously as treasurer on the association’s Board. He has also moderated sessions for and/or participated on the organizing committee of Plastic Pipes XVII, XVIII and XIX.  


Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc., (469) 499-1044, 


Michels Strengthens Supplier Diversity Initiatives 

Michels has named two professionals to expand the strength and diversity of its supply chain by building and retaining mutually beneficial relationships with diverse, minority-owned businesses. 

Brian Mitchell, P.E., manager of supplier diversity, is a construction veteran with more than 35 years of experience as president and owner of two Wisconsin-based construction companies. He has also served as president of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) Wisconsin chapter and on the NAMC national board of directors. 

The Chicago native earned a bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison. 

Stephanie Mercado, supplier diversity specialist, is a community outreach professional who also has experience developing public policy campaigns, including the design and development of city and neighborhood plans, community events, and leadership programs for diverse business owners in the Milwaukee area. She is a current, founding board member of the Milwaukee County Parks Foundation, and volunteer coordinator at the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, Inc. 

She is a Milwaukee native and graduate of UW-Madison and Marquette University’s Future Milwaukee Leadership program. 

Michels, one of the largest, most diversified energy and infrastructure contractors in North America, based in Brownsville, Wisc., combines a cohesive collection of services and strengths to efficiently, correctly, and cost-effectively deliver proven construction solutions.  


Michels, (920) 583-3132, 


Charlie Cunningham Named Vacuworx VP of Sales 

Charlie Cunningham, senior director of Sales for Vacuworx’s North America region, was promoted to vice president of Sales. He now leads a global force of Vacuworx sales professionals focused on diversity of geographic location and diversified product lines of vacuum lifting equipment and material-handling technologies. 

With remarkable sales management experience and an intensive product training background, Cunningham has been influential in unlocking dealer markets. He has achieved this via the development of marketing initiatives with robust information flows – driving greater continuity of relationships among Vacuworx customers, dealer organizations and sales representatives. 

Vacuworx lifting systems cover a diverse range of market segments with versatile material handling solutions for the oil-and-gas-pipeline construction, utility infrastructure, steel fabrication, precast concrete, civil construction, hardscape and quarry, and concrete renovation industries. 

Based in Tulsa, the company serves these markets worldwide. 


Vacuworx, (918) 259-3050, 


Matt Churches joined Woolpert as a project manager to support the architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG) and strategic consulting firm’s new and existing clients in the energy industry. He has more than 17 years of experience in a variety of related roles – from business development manager to director of operations and sales. 

Doug Brown, P.E., vice president and federal market design practice leader, was promoted to federal market director. A Professional Engineer and Project Management Professional, he holds advanced certification in LEED AP Building Design + Construction. 

Brown assumes the position previously held by David Ziegman, senior vice president, who has moved into a program director position. 

Joseph Bissaillon, a registered architect, Project Management Professional and Green Globes Professional, with LEED AP BD+C credentials, was promoted to federal market design practice leader, filling Brown’s former role. 

Boshart Group 

Nick Farrara was named president of Flomatic Corporation, part of the Ontario, Canada, Boshart Group, succeeding Bo Anderson. With more than 25 years of service to Flomatic, most recently as executive vice president, Farrara has been instrumental in the solid execution of operational strategies and substantial growth in the U.S. and international markets. 


Jim Plasynski was appointed as chief revenue officer of KorTerra, Inc., market leader in damage prevention software for the utility industry. He is responsible for leading the sales and marketing operations, strategically influencing the company’s go-to-market strategy, and further propelling KorTerra’s growth. 


Two international tunnel experts have joined AECOM, the world’s premier infrastructure consulting firm, in the Metro Vancouver Regional District of British Columbia. 

Roberto deMoraes, director of tunnels, has more than 26 years of international experience in all forms of tunnels and underground structures, including rail,  
transit and hydropower tunneling. 

Mike Mains, senior tunnel design lead with -plus years of international experience, is an expert in the use of large-diameter tunnel boring machines (TBM) and the sequential excavation method (SEM) in tunneling. 

In addition, Gianpiero (“JP”) Vancheri, P.E., was appointed as operations manager for AECOM’s Greater Toronto Area Water business unit. A structural engineer, with over 18 years of experience, he is primarily responsible for day-to-day business leadership, oversight and direction for water projects and programs across the area. 

Darren Sokoloski was named vice president of public-private partnership (P3) advisory services for the firm’s Canada business, based in the Vancouver region. The seasoned infrastructure executive works with clients and partners throughout the country to foster an integrated owner-advisory team. 

T.D. Williamson 

Mike Kirkwood, Ph.D., director of Integrity Solutions for global pipeline solutions provider T.D. Williamson, was named president of the board of directors of the Pigging Products and Services Association (PPSA). Founded in 1990, PPSA is an international trade association serving the pipeline industry that aims to promote technical knowledge of pigging, and its related products and services, to its 120 members from all over the world. 


Rosendin, the nation’s largest employee-owned electrical contracting company, named Hank Brasch as its new chief administrative officer. In this role, he oversees several departments and provides legal oversight of contracts, licensing, ethics and compliance, and corporate governance. He brings over two decades of construction industry experience focused on creating long-term strategic plans, managing risk, and building diverse teams. 


Kevin Brown was selected as president of the American Concrete Pressure Pipe Association (ACPPA), following Richard Mueller’s retirement in early 2021. He brings experience and expertise that is extremely beneficial to water owners, engineering firms and contractors in the industry. 

McMillen Jacobs 

Emanuele Pellichero joined McMillen Jacobs, an environmental, engineering, and construction company, as associate hydrogeologist. He is widely recognized for  
his expertise in hydrogeologic interpretation and planning for underground and water resources, through planning and implementation of a wide variety of projects. 

McKim & Creed 

Steven W. Smith, P.E, was appointed as CEO of McKim & Creed, Inc., a Raleigh, N.C-based engineering and geomatics firm with offices throughout the U.S. Working in the engineering industry for more than 35 years, most recently he was managing director of WSP UK’s Transport & Infrastructure business. 

Brown and Caldwell 

Wendy Broley, P.E., of Brown and Caldwell, assumed the role of executive director at California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA), a non-profit corporation of 11 major urban water agencies responsible for serving drinking water to over two-thirds of California’s population. 

With 20 years of engineering and operations expertise and as Brown and Caldwell’s One Water leader, she has earned a growing reputation in evaluating alternative water uses and developing diverse and resilient water supply portfolios to meet 21st-century challenges. Also, a long-term CUWA staff member, she has assisted numerous committees, advanced technical studies for California water policy, and facilitated CUWA’s strategic planning workshops in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. 


Aaron Kraft joined global engineering, architecture, and consulting firm Stantec, as senior principal in the firm’s Las Vegas-based water practice, focused on supporting and growing the Nevada portfolio, and regional business development. With 25 years of experience, he is known as an energy champion in the design and implementation of high-efficiency equipment and operations for public and private water, wastewater, stormwater, and solid waste operations & maintenance, and capital projects. 


Thomas Schmidt was promoted to the newly created position  
of vice president-business development at Barbco, Inc, world-class manufacturer of capital equipment for the trenchless excavation, horizontal directional drilling, and underground manufacturing industries. A manufacturing veteran, he has many years of leadership experience in numerous plants around the company’s Canton, Ohio, headquarters.

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