EPA Deputy Chief Bob Perciasepe Departs Agency To Lead Climate-Change Think Tank
Robert Perciasepe, deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 2009, will start on Aug. 11 as president of The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a Washington, D.C., climate-change and energy policy think tank. A 21-year EPA management veteran, he also had been the Maryland secretary of the environment and chief operating officer of the National Audubon Society. Perciasepe succeeds Eileen Claussen, who founded the non-profit group in 1998. At ENR press time on Aug. 8, an EPA spokeswoman confirmed that Lisa Feldt, associate deputy administrator, would replace Perciasepe in an acting capacity, but she did not say if Feldt would be the permanent White House nominee for required Senate confirmation, or if there is another candidate.
But the process will be lengthy, particularly with looming mid-term elections this fall. "Nothing EPA-related gets a benign reception in the Senate, and it’s unlikely the White House will have an easy time getting the votes to fill the agency’s No. 2 spot," says political website Politico. "Any nominee will undoubtedly face a tough time getting through the Environment and Public Works Committee, which offered an extremely tough nomination fight for Administrator Gina McCarthy last year. And if the GOP takes back the Senate in November, Senate confirmation of any new deputy administrator tapped by President Barack Obama may become impossible."
Brendan P. Bechtel was elevated to president and chief operating officer of Bechtel Corp., the company said on July 31. The son of Chairman Riley Bechtel and fifth generation of the family in the giant contractor’s top ranks, he became president of its oil, gas and chemicals unit in February. Bill Dudley had succeeded Riley Bechtel as CEO at the end of 2013, due to the latter's announced health issues. According to an online biography, Brendan Bechtel also was a senior project manager on Bechtel Corp.'s Queensland Curtis liquefied-natural-gas project, one of three LNG projects totaling about $60 billion the firm is building on Curtis Island in offshore eastern Australia to extract natural gas from underground coal seams. The Queensland Curtis project is set for completion this year, but there is speculation that some labor issues could impact the schedule. Bechtel, 33, completed combined master's degree programs in business and construction engineering in 2007 at Stanford University, says the biography.
Philip N.A. Todd joins U.K.-based Atkins as group managing director for its major global projects. Based in Abu Dhabi, he was a Fluor Corp. program director on the $20-billion Abu Dhabi Integrated Public Transport Network project. Atkins also named Abdeljabbar Ben Salem head of rail systems in the Middle East. He was senior business development manager at Bombardier.
New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio has named Rick Chandler, assistant vice president of facilities at Hunter College, City University, as commissioner of the city’s Dept. of Buildings. A structural engineer, he also had been borough buildings commissioner for Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
Jeff Butler was promoted to senior vice president of power and utility development at TRC Cos. Inc., Lowell, Mass. The firm also has hired Lauren O’Donnell as vice president for oil and gas. She was director of the division of gas-environment and engineering at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. O'Donnell was a principal developer of the FERC’s pre-filing process for interstate natural-gas pipelines and LNG facilities and has managed the evolution of the process since 2002. Also, Kevin Maher, formerly a TRC office practice leader in Lyndhurst, N.J., has joined AKRF Inc., New York City, as a senior vice president and energy practice leader.
Jane Duncan, director of Jane Duncan Architects, Buckinghamshire, England, was elected president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the U.K. governing body for the architectural profession. Her two-year term starts in 2015.
POWER Engineers has elevated Gerry Murray to generation-division executive vice president, following the Hailey, Idaho-based firm’s June acquisition of Burns and Roe Enterprises, the power-and-energy engineering unit of Burns and Roe Group, Oradell, N.J. He will lead the enhanced powerplant consulting practice, based in Meridian, Idaho.
Dewberry, the Fairfax, Va., professional services firm, has named Rachel Vandenberg vice president and national director of its ports and intermodal sector work, based in the Los Angeles area. She is formerly a vice president at AECOM Technology Corp. and a 22-year veteran of that firm, according to her LinkedIn profile. Vandenberg also is an executive board member of the California Transportation Foundation. Dewberry is ranked at No. 45 on ENR's list of the Top 500 Design Firms, with $307.8 million in 2013 revenue.
Michael Corbett has joined PC Construction, Burlington, Vt., as senior vice president and chief financial officer, from a previous role as director of finance and corporate services for PENTA Building Group LLC, Las Vegas. He also is a trustee of the Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston.
Kishia L. Powell has been named public-works director for the city of Jackson, Miss., the first woman to hold the position. Powell, who previously served as water-resources associate at AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, replaces Charles E. Williams Jr.
Skanska USA, New York City, has elevated Mike Smithson from project executive to vice president of underground operations for the company’s western region, based in Riverside, Calif. Skanska USA is No. 7 on ENR’s Top 400 Contractors list, with $6.7 billion in revenue last year.
Bobby G. Russell, former division engineering manager of B&W Pantex, a unit of Babcok & Wilcox, has been named chief engineer of Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services LLC, a Lexington, Ky.-based joint venture firm formed by B&W and URS Corp. in 2011 to operatie the U.S. Energy Dept's depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities in Paducah, Ky. and Piketon, Ohio.