Tunneling expert joins HNTB

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Mike Wongkaew

Mike Wongkaew, Ph.D., PE, SE, PMP, has joined HNTB Corp.’s National Tunnel Group as National Tunnel Practice Lead-Northwest and Associate Vice President.

Based in Bellevue, Wash., Wongkaew oversees all tunneling work on the Sound Transit West Seattle and Ballard Link Extension Project. He also serves as “an accomplished resource to the firm’s clients and projects across the nation,” HNTB said. “In his previous capacity, Wongkaew served as chief tunnel engineer for research and development of an innovative underground transportation system.”

Wongkaew’s experience in structural and tunnel engineering and project management includes designing the first single-pass steel fiber reinforced precast concrete segmental tunnel lining in the U.S. for the City of Portland’s East Side CSO Tunnel Project; leading design for 22 route-miles of high-speed train tunnel in California through difficult ground conditions; and providing technical oversight for Washington Department of Transportation’s SR99 Bored Tunnel, the world’s largest soft ground bored tunnel design-build project.

Wongkaew is experienced in project development, from feasibility studies through final design for multiple procurement environments. His high-profile, complex underground projects expertise includes Hawthorne Test Tunnel in California, Sound Transit’s East Link Extension; Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Regional Connector Transit Corridor Design-Build Project and Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor; California High-Speed Rail; and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority’s Silicon Valley Rapid Transit/BART project in San Jose, Calif.

Wongkaew earned a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Purdue University, as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees with distinction in civil engineering from Purdue’s Lyles school. He is a licensed professional engineer in multiple states and active in the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Project Management Institute. In addition to the practical experience, he has published papers on seismic design of underground structures and has been regularly invited to serve as a referee for international technical journals.

“Our clients in the tunnel and underground industry, especially in transit, transportation and water/wastewater markets, recognize Mike as a technical expert and accomplished project manager,” said Sanja Zlatanic, PE, HNTB Chair-National Tunnel Practice, Senior Vice President and HNTB Fellow. “He is a strong team leader and an outstanding collaborator capable of arriving at solutions on the most complex tunnel issues. We are pleased to welcome him to HNTB in this new leadership role. His ability to deliver creative and impactful results on complex underground engineering and design management challenges is a valuable addition to the firm’s impressive tunneling expertise.”

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