James Monsees, senior vice president and technical director for Underground Structures at Parsons Brinckerhoff, has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Tunnels & Tunnelling International magazine.
The magazine recognized Monsees for his extensive contributions to the tunneling industry, both in technical accomplishment and as an inspiration to future tunnelers.
An expert in the design and construction of underground structures and in soil and rock mechanics, Monsees' tunneling career has spanned a half-century. He has been a key participant on Parsons Brinckerhoff projects involving transit and water tunnels, water systems, power plants, highways, nuclear waste disposal in geologic media, geotechnical studies, tunnel and protective structure studies, and field and laboratory testing of soil and rock.
Monsees served as chief tunnel engineer for the Los Angeles Metro Red Line during the 1990s, responsible for the design of all underground facilities for the underground heavy rail system. More recently he served as a senior advisor for technical review of the Eastside Extension of the Los Angeles Metro Gold Line, completed in November 2009. In 2010 he was selected by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to lead the development of seismic design criteria for all tunneling projects to be undertaken by the agency as part of its new capital program.
Other projects to which Monsees has contributed his expertise include the Central Link light rail in Seattle; the extension of the No. 7 subway line in New York City; the West Side and East Side Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) projects in Portland, Ore.; the East Side Access project in New York City; and the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System in Singapore.
Monsees was one of the principal authors of the Technical Manual for the Design and Construction of Road Tunnels, prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff and published in 2009 by the U.S Federal Highway Administration. It has since been adopted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation officials. On behalf of a U.S. federal agency, Monsees is currently part of a key team developing guidelines for securing underground facilities against blasts as a result of terrorist attacks.
Monsees was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering in 1991 and is active in the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Underground Space Association, National Academy of Science, Underground Technical Research Council, American Rock Mechanics Association, The Beavers, and The Moles. A registered professional engineer in seven states and the District of Columbia, he holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering (soil and rock mechanics) from the University of Illinois, as well as M.S. and B.S. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Missouri.