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Dufalla Receives ASHE Robert E. Pearson Person of the Year Award

Michael H. Dufalla, P.E., P.S. was recently chosen as the recipient of the 2003 Robert E. Pearson Person of the Year Award. The ASHE Robert E. Pearson Person of the Year Award is presented annually to a person who has impacted the highway industry, is active in highway related societies, has given personal time for the good of the industry and is well respected by his/her peers. The award was presented at the Past President’s Luncheon held at the 2003 ASHE National Conference in Akron, Ohio.

Michael has held the position of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 12 Engineer since 1993. As District Engineer, he has been instrumental in developing and successfully implementing numerous project management and teamwork strategies. Under his leadership, the District continues to explore new ways to improve the operational processes for PENNDOT and their business partners.

PENNDOT District 12 is responsible for the design, construction, administration and maintenance of 3,682 miles of roadways and 2,350 bridges over a four county area in southwestern Pennsylvania. Michael administers the District with a comprehensive staff of 794 employees in addition to a number of consultants and private contractors.

Over the past eight years, District 12 has let 364 construction contracts totaling approximately $658 million. During that same time frame, Michael administered over $200 million in major highway construction projects involving State Route 22, Interstate 79 and Interstate 70. The State Route 22 contracts included the first urban single point interchange in the state.

Michael established a number of research partnerships between PENNDOT and regional universities and private industry. The partnerships have provided funding for research to develop and improve new technologies related to highway design, construction and safety.

Michael’s planning experience involved him in the “2000 Transit Plan” for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission. He also assisted in designing the “Skybus Rapid Transit System” into Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle for the Allegheny County Port Authority.

His other experiences are mining site design, land development and site aesthetics, recreational facilities, municipal engineer positions, construction management and waterline and sanitary sewer design.

Michael holds a registered professional engineer’s license in Pennsylvania, Florida and West Virginia. He is registered as a professional land surveyor in Pennsylvania. Michael’s education includes four degrees from the University of Pittsburgh; BSCE (1966), BSMinE (1968), MSCE (1970) and MPW (1972). He has also earned an Associate Degree from the Pennsylvania State University (1962). He is currently completing work on a doctorate degree in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

Michael is an active member of the ASHE Southwest Penn section and serves on the section Board of Directors. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Professional Engineers and American Public Works Association.

Michael lives in Washington County, Pennsylvania with his wife, Penny and his three children, Michele, Nicole and Jacqueline.

Local sections provide nominations for the award to the National Board following the guidelines in the ASHE Section Operating Manual. The National Board selects the award recipient from the nominations received. The ASHE Person of the Year award was first presented to Jacob Kassab, Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation, at the 1974 conference in Pittsburgh. Past winners include former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, retired Georgia DOT Commissioner Wayne Shackelford and former U.S. Representatives Doug Walgren and Bud Shuster. The award has also been bestowed to several members of ASHE who have been instrumental in promoting the organization in addition to their contributions to the highway industry.

The award was renamed in 1999 in honor of Robert E. Pearson. Bob’s career spanned more than forty years in the transportation field and included roadway design and project development for a number of projects for the Highway Trust Fund of North Carolina. Bob was a charter member of the Carolina Triangle Section and served as Section President. He was instrumental in forming new sections in Charlotte, Tampa and Atlanta. Bob served as National Director, National Second Vice President and National First Vice President. Mr. Pearson succumbed to an illness in 1998, and the National Board voted to rename the award in his honor for his devotion to ASHE.

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