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Engineer of the Year Nominees


Every year nominees from local engineering professional societies are recognized and considered for the Alaska Engineer of the Year Award. These nominees are judged by representatives from each of the respective societies based on five main areas of consideration:

  • Significant engineering contributions and experience
  • Publications and professional presentations
  • Active participation in professional organizations
  • Other service to the professional community
  • Service to the wider community


These areas highlight the values of the engineering profession to underscore the promotion of health, safety, and welfare of the general public through good design, by sharing knowledge, and by service to the profession and the community.

The pioneering spirit of Alaska is alive and well in our engineering community! Our engineering community is internationally known as cold-climate experts, with their innovative design solutions used throughout the world. This year’s nominees are no exception.

As last year’s Alaska Engineer of the Year, it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the 2016 Alaska Engineer of the Year nominees and the professional societies they represent!


Duane Anderson, PE

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Alaska Section

Duane Anderson is a civil engineer who has been working in Alaska since first graduating from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1975. Anderson received an MBA from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 1993. His experience is varied and diverse, but has largely been focused on structural engineering aspects of waterfront, bridge, military, utility, and school projects throughout Alaska. Recent marine related projects include structural design of 4,000 lineal feet of sheet pile shore protection for the Kotzebue Shore Avenue project and the Kodiak Ferry Terminal Pier featuring a design to the new ASCE 61-14 Seismic Design for Piers and Wharves. Anderson is currently working on a design build Request for Proposal package for replacement of a pier at Palmer Station Antarctica and design of the Biorka Island Pier Replacement southeast of Sitka. Anderson has managed a competitive term contract for the Port of Anchorage Engineering Services “As-Needed” for twenty years. He is also supporting other R&M design groups for design of the new small boat harbor in Valdez. Recent significant building projects include Fire Station No. 9 in Anchorage. Anderson is an active member of the Structural Engineers Association of Alaska and the American Institute of Steel Construction. He was recognized in 2016 as a Fellow by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Anderson is the Structural Group manager for R&M Consultants in their Anchorage office. He sits on R&M’s Board of Directors. Anderson is an avid skier who volunteers his time teaching people with disabilities how to ski with Challenge Alaska Adaptive Ski and Snowboard School, this being his 22nd season.

ASCE represents more than 150,000 members of the civil engineering profession in 177 countries. Founded in 1852, ASCE is the nation’s oldest engineering society.


Mak Kampen, PE

Alaska Chapter of the American Society of Heating and Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Matthew “Mak” Kampen, PE, is a senior mechanical engineer with ConocoPhillips in Anchorage. Kampen’s current focus as the Greater Kuparuk Area Infrastructure Facility engineer is to lead multi-discipline engineering efforts to ensure that the existing life safety systems in-place are appropriate for each existing facility’s operation. He also leads engineering efforts for new facilities being developed to support future developments including a new wastewater treatment plant and a new oil laboratory. Kampen is the HVAC technical authority for the ConocoPhillips Alaska Business Unit and supports its larger project portfolio including the new CD5 Drill Site, the new DS2S Drill Site, and the upcoming GMT1 Drill Site throughout the HVAC design efforts.

A lifelong Alaskan, Kampen earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2006. Prior to joining ConocoPhillips, he spent five years working at H&K Sheetmetal Fabricators managing the mechanical portion of design-build projects. This role included providing mechanical HVAC and plumbing designs, providing scheduling and procurement activities, and providing commissioning/start-up activities. A few projects of note from this experience are the Embassy Suites Anchorage Hotel, APU Glenn A. Olds Hall Office and Laboratory Facility, and the MGM Medical Building.

Kampen stays very active within the community. He is currently the President of the ASHRAE Alaska Chapter and prior to this position held the student activities position for a few years where he could promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) in elementary student classrooms. He was able to take two University of Alaska Anchorage students to the ASHRAE Winter Conference in 2014 and helped one of those students secure a $10,000 scholarship through ASHRAE.

This past year Kampen utilized his Ironman Lake Placid triathlon as a platform to raise more than $5,000 for a nonprofit organization called Pencils of Promise. This money will be used to build schools in less fortunate Third World countries.

Kampen’s work with ConocoPhillips also provides opportunity for community service. He has led teams of ConocoPhillips employees at the Alaska Zoo for the United Way Day of Caring over the past two years. These teams have assisted in setting up the Zoo Lights display and have also painted the Polar Bear exhibit. Most importantly, Kampen has recently coached his two older boys’ soccer team. He and his wife are raising four young children, so it’s likely to see them volunteering time to help our younger generation grow.

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration, and sustainability within the industry.


Joseph Taylor, PE

Alaska Society of Professional Engineers (ASPE) Anchorage Chapter

Joe Taylor, PE, is a professional civil engineer with CH2M Hill’s Transportation Business Group in Anchorage. He has more than twelve years of experience working on civil engineering projects across Alaska. His experience includes working on projects ranging from small, rural roadways and environmental remediation projects to large scale, urban infrastructure projects. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Portland State University and his Master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Taylor has served as design manager and civil engineer of record for many challenging projects over his career with CH2M Hill. In addition to numerous projects in Southcentral, Taylor’s project work has taken him all across Alaska including the Aleutian Islands, the North Slope, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, and Southeast Alaska. His cold weather design experience includes work in Greenland and Antarctica. Taylor’s expertise is in site civil development and roadway design, with an emphasis in high speed, controlled access interchange projects. Notable projects that Taylor has been involved with include the Kulis Air National Guard Relocation Program, the recent Seward Highway Reconstruction from Dowling Road to Tudor Road, the Anchorage Port Modernization Program, and the design of Seward Highway Reconstruction projects from O’Malley Road to Dimond Boulevard.

Taylor is an active member of ASPE and the Alaska Engineering Education Foundation, serving as a Board Member for both organizations. He volunteers annually with Anchorage Engineer’s Week, an organization that distributes tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship monies to local area students pursuing engineering educations. He is passionate about promoting engineering education at the local level, believing that local engineering students are one of Alaska’s most valuable resources.

A lifelong Alaskan, Taylor spends his free time in the outdoors fishing, hunting, and boating the North Gulf Coast with his wife and Labrador retriever.

ASPE, as part of the larger National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), stands today as the only national organization committed to addressing the professional concerns of licensed PEs across all disciplines.


Robert J. DeVassie, PE, STP

Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE)

Rob DeVassie earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a Graduate Certificate in Design and Construction Management from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is also a Greenroads® Sustainable Transportation Professional.

DeVassie began his engineering career as a college intern in the 1990s where he started working in a succession of increasingly responsible engineering positions in design and construction. In 2000 he was hired by the State of Alaska and is currently serving at the Department of Transportation & Public Faculties (DOT&PF) as a highway design project engineer.

DeVassie has been instrumental in the successful completion of more than sixty projects at DOT&PF. Some substantial projects under his responsibility range from $50 million to $70 million in construction costs. These projects included design features of upgrading two-lanes to four-lane divided highway with frontage roads, complete streets, signalized intersections, separated multiuse pathways, wildlife crossings, vegetative swales and rain gardens, noise walls, and bridges. DeVassie significantly contributed to West Dowling Road Phase II that became Alaska’s first Greenroads Pilot Project. This project is now paving the way for other projects to use Greenroads, a sustainability rating system.

DeVassie is very passionate in helping and benefiting the community. He volunteers for many different youth programs; a few of these include supporting Alaska Youth Soccer special needs program as TOPSoccer Chair, coaching in the Arctic Winter Games, and running an All Pro Dad’s chapter at his kids’ school. He mentors at the University of Alaska Anchorage in the senior design class, elementary schools, and at DOT&PF. He is actively involved with the Anchorage Trails Initiative, one of the seven areas of focus for Live.Work.Play. He sits on the AMATS Air Quality Advisory Committee and on the Greenroads International Advisory Council. He served on the ITE Alaska Section Board of Directors for five years and continues to be an active member with ITE and other professional societies.

DeVassie has been a public servant to the State of Alaska for more than eighteen years. He has spent his years designing and constructing projects that benefit the public through service and infrastructure, while giving back to the community in multiple ways so that his children’s children can appreciate the many resources Alaska has to offer.

ITE is a professional society of more than fifteen thousand transportation engineers, planners, and other professionals in some eighty countries. The Institute facilitates the application of technology and scientific principles to research, planning, functional design, implementation, operation, policy development, and management for all modes of transportation.


​Capt. Ted J. Labedz

Society of American Military Engineers (SAME), Anchorage Post

Captain Theodore Joseph Labedz is the executive officer, 673d Air Base Wing, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER), Alaska. He is the principal advisor to the Joint Base Commander, executes command decisions and policy, and oversees programs impacting fifteen thousand Airmen and Soldiers. Additionally he is the primary liaison for the commander to 11th Air Force, two Wings, four group commanders, US Army Alaska, and Alaska NORAD Command Region Staff.

Labedz was born in Omaha, Nebraska, entered the US Air Force in May 2007, and has been privileged to serve as an officer for the past five years. He has held a myriad of positions including two times as an Emergency Management Flight Commander, deputy, operation support officer, and project engineer. Most recently he commanded the eighty-four member bi-national construction of a school in Central Luzon, Philippines, for more than 2,300 children. The project was completed two days early and $125,000 under budget.

Labedz is an avid outdoorsman and alpinist. He speaks fluent Spanish and is an active member of the Language Enabled Airman Program. He has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from the United States Air Force Academy (2011) and has been selected to complete his master’s degree in residence at the Air Force Institute of Technology beginning in fall 2017.

SAME grew from our nation’s experiences in World War I, when more than eleven thousand civilian engineers were called to duty as the United States entered “The War to End All Wars.” Upon their return, many feared the collective knowledge and the cooperation between the public and private sectors that proved vital to combat success would be lost. Industry and military leaders vowed to capitalize on the technical lessons and camaraderie shared during their battlefield experiences. The Anchorage Post of SAME was established in 1943.


Kelly Kilpatrick, PE

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Greatland Section

Kelly Kilpatrick is a civil engineer and project manager, specializing in transportation engineering at DOWL. She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 2001. Throughout her undergraduate career, Kilpatrick was active in numerous student organizations, often holding officer roles, and participated in the yearly steel bridge competitions. She received her PE in 2005 and the majority of her engineering career has been with DOWL, just passing her seventeenth year with the firm.

Kilpatrick grew up moving around the world, in a military household, but fell in love with Alaska and decided to stay to attend college. After a short “college try” in computer science, Kilpatrick, with the urging of her father, pursued an engineering degree while also joining the Alaska Air National Guard. In the Alaska Air National Guard,Kilpatrick trained as a radio operator and later cross-trained into engineering, as it paralleled her schooling. Kilpatrick’s desire to learn, travel, and experience different challenges helped her narrow in on her passion of engineering, problem solving, managing change, and promoting teamwork.

Kilpatrick’s experience ranges from design engineer, value engineer, project engineer, and project manager to mentorship roles, all of which have helped her accomplish a variety of high profile projects in Alaska. Her most recent success is Alaska’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange, a $45 million project which is under construction and replacing the existing interchange at Glenn Highway and Muldoon Road in Anchorage. Kilpatrick led and mentored a team from preliminary design through final design in just ten months. Other notable projects include Elmore Road Extension (Abbott Loop Extension), West Dowling Road Phase I, and the Glenn/Bragaw Interchange.

Kilpatrick believes passion is extremely important and a key ingredient to becoming successful. However, simply being passionate is not enough. It’s the collective effort of trusted teammates, each with their own strengths. This synergy of collective learning, various strengths, and teamwork affects every individual by enhancing their ability to grow, develop, and become future leaders in our engineering community.

Kilpatrick enjoys spending time with her family—husband Brice, son Tyler, and their pets. She is passionate about cooking, family time, and helping animals in need. Her family is involved with fostering animals with special needs. Working with local rescue groups, Kilpatrick and her family give the rescued animals the TLC they need and deserve until they find a loving home.

Founded in 1950, SWE is a nonprofit educational service organization dedicated to the advancement of women in the engineering profession. SWE aims to encourage women into engineering and leadership, expand the image of engineering as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity. The Greatland Section is the only professional section in Alaska so our members are spread across our great state. SWE Greatland is passionate about service and is active in engineering outreach events and partnering opportunities and continues to expand scholarship offerings each year.


Daniel B. Robertson, PE

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Alaska Chapter

Dan Robertson currently serves as a petroleum engineering advisor within BP, advising on petroleum engineering related issues both locally within Alaska and globally. He grew up in Alaska and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he earned BS degrees in Petroleum and Mechanical Engineering. Robertson has held roles in several petroleum engineering disciplines throughout his twenty-nine-year career with BP, including reservoir, production, facilities, and drilling. Much of the first thirteen years of his career were spent in a variety of North Slope field engineering based positions in the Prudhoe Bay, Milne Point, and Endicott Fields. In more recent years he has been based primarily in Anchorage, with consulting roles on projects in Azerbaijan, Russia, India, the Middle East, North Sea, Trinidad, and Angola. He has been a licensed petroleum engineer in Alaska since the mid-1990s. He has authored or co-authored a number of technical publications in various technical journals.

Robertson has been involved with university recruiting for the past twenty years, both at Alaska and Lower 48 universities. One of the more rewarding aspects of his career has been recommending many dozens of students for hire over the years and later mentoring them to develop successful careers in the industry. He is also involved in delivering technical training for BP.

Robertson has been an active member of SPE since the early 1980s. He is also a member of the American Association of Drilling Engineers and a past member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. In 2015 he volunteered to serve as the technical program chairman for the Alaska-based 2016 SPE Western Regional meeting. Despite the challenging oil price climate, the technology exchange event was well attended and successful. He has also been involved with several volunteer activities such as United Way, Day of Caring, Habitat for Humanity, and the Boy Scouts of America. Robertson spends his off work time with his wife and two teenage children and on hobbies such as remodeling, fishing, racquetball, and skijoring.

SPE is the largest individual member organization serving managers, engineers, scientists, and other professionals worldwide in the upstream segment of the oil and gas industry. The SPE Alaska chapter has the mission to collect, disseminate, and exchange technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas resources, and related technologies for the public benefit; and to provide opportunities for professionals to enhance their technical and professional competence.



This article first appeared in the February 2017 print edition of Alaska Business Monthly.

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