Maritime Thought Leaders

  • Jeff MassengillDirector Ports & Maritime, Senior Vice President

    Leads our ports & maritime program, providing strategic and technical guidance
    Expertise in planning, design and construction of marine and waterfront structures, ship and barge terminals, shore protection and offshore facilities
    Past president of ASCE and ACEC Corpus Christi chapters and ACEC Texas board of directors; member of ASCE Ports & Harbors Technical Committee; member of American Association of Port Authorities

    Q. Our ports & maritime clients have a lot of choices when it comes to consultants. Why choose HDR?

    A. As an employee-owned company, we all have a stake in performing well. One thing we can do to ensure our own success is establish lasting relationships with our clients. From our highest level of leadership on down, our approach is to do the best possible work for our clients so that they keep coming back. We do that by putting the right people on the job — people from ports & maritime, freight rail, economics & finance, and others — and maintaining an open dialogue among ourselves and with the client. By doing this, we've forged a culture of teamwork that allows us to provide the cross-sector cooperation and depth needed to identify and deliver the solution that is best for our clients.

  • Wes Dortch, P.E.Ports & Maritime Area Business Class Leader

    Specializing in marine and coastal facilities
    Experienced in maritime and backlands infrastructure, industrial facility design, and transportation structures including: port cargo terminal wharf, quay and yard facilities; coastal and flood  protection structures; bridge design; and construction administration
    Project manager for PortMiami Wharf Strengthening

    Q. How is the Panama Canal expansion affecting the maritime industry?

    A. The Panama Canal expansion will make a resounding change to the landscape of the worldwide maritime cargo shipping industry, paving the way for canal passage of Post-Panamax vessels and providing a compelling new facet to the shipping and logistics equation. Seaports and private interests in North America, the Caribbean and Latin America are jockeying for position to reap the anticipated benefits. For example, we are helping PortMiami conduct a wharf strengthening project scheduled for completion in the first half of 2014. Combined with other planned improvements, this project helps set the stage for PortMiami's bid to lure the Post-Panamax market.

  • Bryan N. Jones, P.E., D.PENortheast Ports & Maritime Lead

    Experience in above and underwater condition assessment, design and repair/rehabilitation of waterfront structures
    Expertise in coastal engineering design and construction of marine works for shoreline protection
    Participated in ASCE/COPRI damage surveys of coastal structures in Japan after the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami
    COPRI Ports & Harbors Committee Member and Chairman of the Engineer-Diver Subcommittee

    Q. How do you see the engineer's role has changed with clients' growing concern about climate change and incorporating sustainability and resiliency into coastal engineering design?

    A. Scientific studies estimate sea-level rise over the next several decades with varying estimates ranging from only a few centimeters to over a meter. Engineers must account for this uncertainty to mitigate the effects of climate change over the service life a project – in both the short and long term. Integrating this sustainability on maritime projects is a dynamic effort requiring flexibility and continuous improvement. I believe this trend for greater integration of sustainability and resiliency on the waterfront creates an opportunity for engineers to take a much larger role in decision making at the onset of the project. Through our experience and the application of our customized decision-assistance models and tools, we can help our clients and their stakeholders manage the risks and make good decisions.

  • Brent Moore, P.E.Gulf Coast Ports Program Manager

    Structures expert and member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Concrete Repair Institute and the Marina Association of Texas
    Co-presented on "Accelerated Delivery for Retrofit of Existing Navy Pier to a Crude Dock" at Ports '13

    Q. How is the gas and oil industry shaping the needs of maritime clients?

    A. The discovery and subsequent recovery of natural gas and oil reserves in the United States has reinvigorated the maritime industry. Many of our clients are embracing the notion that the United States could become energy independent within the next 10 years and are investing in the infrastructure to make it happen. We collaborate internally between our Maritime, Mining, Freight Rail and Oil & Gas business groups to identify and meet the cross-sector needs of our clients.

  • Frank Proctor, P.E.Ports & Harbors Section Manager

    Structural designer experienced in planning/design of bulkheads, piers, wharves, docks and mooring/breasting dolphins
    Project manager/lead designer on multiple JAXPORT projects

    Q. What are some of the key challenges owners face when implementing repair and retrofit projects?

    A. The deterioration and declining condition of our nation's infrastructure is well documented. At the same time, owners face tighter budgets compounded by an ever-increasing need to keep up with evolving industry standards and technological advances. For these reasons, owners are constantly looking to squeeze as much value as possible from their investments. A good example of this is the Blount Island Marine Terminal at the Port of Jacksonville. In 2010, a facilities inspection revealed severe deterioration of the concrete deck, which resulted in restrictions to live loading and tenant operations. We developed a rehabilitation approach and phasing plan that fit the owner's budget and schedule while minimizing disruption to ongoing tenant operations.

  • Alejandro Solis, Ph.D.Senior Economist II

    Expertise in industrial organization and applied economics
    Leads high-profile transportation and logistics management projects in Mexico, Latin America and the United States, including several port-related projects
    Performs feasibility studies and develops business case models to support the entire maritime logistics chain
    Program Manager for multiple business case studies for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

    Q. How are owners of maritime facilities using economics to plan for the future?

    A. The maritime shipping industry is experiencing significant changes as a result of both fluctuating market conditions and strategic moves by key players in the industry. To attract shipping businesses and remain competitive, maritime facilities need to provide clients with value-added services that have not been offered in the past. We use our expertise in market assessment and financial analysis to create business cases for the owners of maritime facilities. For example, we performed business case and financial feasibility analyses in the areas of container terminals, inland waterways barges and roll-on/roll-off facilities for the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in support of their business diversification strategy. These kinds of analyses help port authorities identify the services that are more likely to attract shippers and provide a better return on investment.

  • Thomas Kim, P.E.Southern California Transportation Director, Senior Vice President

    Leads Southern California Ports and Maritime program and is our client manager for the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles
    Specializes in planning, design and construction of complex goods movement and on-dock support facility projects
    Project manager for the Port of Long Beach Pier B on-dock support facility and national-award-winning Colton Crossing project
    Past president of ACEC Los Angeles Chapter, member of CMANC (California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference), ASCE Civil Engineer of the Year

    Q. The Port of Long Beach is investing more than $4 billion of its infrastructures to upgrade and modernize its facilities. How can the port stay competitive while meeting the Green Port Policy?

    A. To stay competitive and comply with the aggressive Green Port Policy, the port is planning on meeting a goal of 50 percent on-dock rail. Currently, the existing on-dock rail is at 23 percent. To meet the goal, the port is undertaking and planning $1 billion of rail-infrastructure improvements over the next three years. One of the key rail infrastructure improvements is the Pier B on-dock, rail-support facility project with which we have been involved since 2007. We have been providing preliminary engineering and environmental support for this $600 million railyard expansion, which will accommodate on-dock rail volumes for all the port marine terminals. This includes the new $1.3 billion mega terminal, Middle Harbor. The proposed Pier B on-dock rail will support: arrival and departure of 10,000-foot trains, delivery of railcars to and from the marine terminal, storage of eastbound cars by railroad-destination block, assembly of eastbound blocks into trains, air testing of assembled, eastbound trains and storage of westbound cars by terminal. The railyard expansion will also meet the port's Green Port Policy in that one full 10,000-foot train can eliminate up to 750 truck trips. This will reduce significant emissions and traffic congestion on local roads and freeways.

  • Ronny McPherson, P.E.Alaska Ports and Maritime Lead

    Leads the Ports and Maritime program in Alaska
    Experienced in analysis, design and construction of coastal and maritime projects including shoreline protection, marine-facility protection, dredging, passing vessel analyses, structural wave and current loading analyses, propeller scour analyses and coastal processes
    Highly skilled coastal numerical modeler for waves, currents, passing vessels, wave-structure interaction and sediment transport

    Q. What are some of the key challenges for the maritime industry, and for coastal communities in Alaska?

    A. Alaska offers some of the most extreme and dramatic coastal processes in the world, with some tides cresting above 30 feet. Unforgiving waves of the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska combine with the fact that many locations experience shoving and shore-fast ice during the winter months. The maritime industry must continue working in these environments, which means designing and maintaining infrastructure that can handle severe conditions. In addition, Alaska has seen a trend of decreased ice coverage during winter months—ice coverage that historically protected coastal communities from extreme wave attack during the harsh winter months. With less protection, entire communities are literally being eroded into the sea. These communities must take quick and effective action, tailored to the community's financial resources and ability to perform the work.