|Maj. Gen. Todd T. Semonite|
President Obama has nominated Maj. Gen. Todd T. Semonite to be U.S. Army chief of engineers and commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, according to military communications and industry sources. Now deputy in both positions, he must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to succeed current chief Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, who is set to retire in May.
Semonite had previously commanded the Corps’ South Atlantic and North Atlantic divisions. He also had a 13-month deployment, which ended last October, to lead the Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan as the military mission there transitioned from combat to training local forces. “We’re pleased [about the selection], given General Semonite’s extensive civil-works experience,” noted Amy Larson, president of the National Waterways Conference, via email.
When confirmed, Semonite will have his work cut out for him. At a Feb. 24 congressional hearing, Bostick said that, to complete construction of projects already budgeted for, the Corps would need about $19.7 billion. With construction funding appropriated by Congress at just over $1 billion per year, “it would take us nearly 20 years to complete the current projects,” he told lawmakers on the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee.
The hearing was largely held to review the Corps’ second annual list of priority projects. Lawmakers were mostly unhappy with the first list, released in 2015, but many said the 2016 report was a significant improvement. “The Corps re-evaluated many of the projects rejected in the 2015 annual report and has included them for consideration as we move a [water-resources bill] forward,” said subcommittee Chairman Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio).
Barry Schulz, chief operating officer of Atkins North America, and David Quinn, the Tampa-based firm’s chief financial officer, will jointly lead ,it for the interim, following the departure in February of CEO L. Joe Boyer. A spokeswoman confirmed the executive changes to ENR on Feb. 25. Boyer was in the role since 2013, joining the firm from a previous position as Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Inc. federal division president.
France-based contractor Bouygues has named Fabienne Viala, CEO of the firm’s energies-and-services unit in the country’s western region, as chair of its U.K. operations. Set to take the role in the summer, she replaces Madani Sow, who left the firm. Lionel Christolomme was named to fill the U.K. unit’s CEO role, also formerly held by Sow. Viala has been with Bouygues for about 30 years. She also is chair of Welink, the contractor’s independent network for women managers that was begun in 2013 and has about 500 members, according to Bouygues.
Design firm Freese and Nichols, Fort Worth, has elevated Brian Coltharp to be president and CEO, as of Jan. 1, 2017. Currently chief operating officer, he will succeed Bob Pence, who has been in the role since 2002. Most recently, Coltharp was the company’s water practice leader. It ranks at No. 139 on ENR’s list of the Top 500 Design Firms.
The firm also said that James Nichols, former company president and chairman, died on Feb. 11 at age 92. He led design of the Richland-Chambers reservoir, the largest lake in the system that supplies water to Tarrant County, Texas, and played key roles in the firm’s work in the construction of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in the 1970s.