Local engineers earn lifetime achievement award

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) bestowed one of its highest honors, the Outstanding Projects And Leaders (OPAL) Lifetime Achievement award, on two New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) alumni who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the field of engineering.

The awards, given annually, recognize engineering leaders who have made a significant difference in one of five key areas, including construction, design, education, government, and management.

Edward Schmeltz ‘71, of Riverside, senior vice president and director of maritime and special projects for AECOM Technology Corp., won the 2015 OPAL award for design for his marine engineering work around the globe.

Mr. Schmeltz was recognized for designing some of what ASCE deems “the finest and most iconic and leading-edge projects,” including the Pier 400 Development for the Port of Los Angeles.

He has been responsible for projects in a variety of ports and harbors in the U.S. and internationally, including his work with the U.S. Navy in designing berth and support facilities for the battleships U.S.S Iowa in New York Harbor and U.S.S. Missouri in Pearl Harbor.

His coastal engineering projects include the restoration of Whiskey Island, one of the barrier islands that protect New Orleans.

In 2010, Mr. Schmeltz was an inaugural inductee into ASCE’s Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port & Navigation Engineers, and he was recently appointed to the Academy’s Board of Governors. In 1988, he was presented with the Admiral Frederic R. Harris Award for Professional Excellence.

“I’ve been doing great projects with great people all over the world, from Europe to the Middle East, to China and Australia. I’ve now worked on six of the seven continents,” Mr. Schmeltz said, adding, “It’s our firm’s motto that we “make the world a better place.” From my end, I feel the projects I’ve done have major impacts in terms of driving economies and quality-of-life issues for people around the globe.

Nicholas DeNichilo ‘73 ‘78, the president and CEO of Hatch Mott MacDonald, also received the 2015 OPAL award for management for his dynamic leadership of one of the country’s largest and most influential engineering firms.

Both men have deep ties to NJIT, where they have played key roles in university governance and strategic planning. Mr. DeNichilo is a longtime member of NJIT’s Board of Overseers, the governing body that oversees the Foundation at NJIT, the university’s fundraising arm. Mr. Schmeltz has served on the advisory board of Albert Dorman Honors College for more than a decade. Both are generous supporters of the university.

Mr. Schmeltz noted, “I enjoy my interaction with the students. They are really sharp people. I always say I’m glad I don’t have to compete with them. In the long run, it’s an issue of ‘giving back’ for the education and opportunities that NJIT provided to me. I feel this is time well spent.”

NJIT President Joel Bloom called both men “giants in their professional achievements “who are also generous and highly engaged alumni who have supported their alma mater “with their time, talent, and treasure.”

“Ed’s tireless commitment to the Board of Albert Dorman Honors College, his leadership of its strategic planning process, and his pursuit of a partnership between NJIT and AECOM has resulted in significant benefits for his alma mater, its students and his company,” Mr. Bloom said. “His professional achievements are extraordinary and on behalf of the NJIT community, I heartily congratulate him.”

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