California Department of Transportation



Raja Mitwasi, Chief Deputy Director
District 7, Los Angeles, Department of Transportation

The Charles H. Purcell Award recognizes valued contributions by Caltrans engineering managers to the field of transportation engineering and transportation program management. Purcell served as California’ State Highway Engineer from 1928 to 1943 and as Director of Public Works until 1951. Established California’s extraordinary record of leadership and integrity in transportation engineering and guided the construction of the San Francisco Bay Bridge and the State’s Freeway System.

Raja Mitwasi, District 7 Chief Deputy Director, instituted a project deliver methodology that earned the District the aware of #1 Project Deliver for the year 2000/01. For the year 2001/02, as a result of improvements implemented by Raja, the District was ranked within the top 3 for overall project delivery. Raja’s leadership with a project information reporting system led to an improvement effort that resulted in the District being selected for a TRANNY Award for project information and web-based applications.

Guidelines [Word] | Nomination Form [Word]


Ken Burkle, Supervising Bridge Engineer
Division of Engineering Services, Department of Transportation

The James E. Roberts Award annually recognizes outstanding contributions by Caltrans registered engineers to the field of transportation structures. Mr. Roberts served as a structural engineer and manager for over half a century, including fifteen years as California’s State Bridge Engineer. He spearheaded Caltrans’ $4.5 billion seismic retrofit program and oversaw nearly $50 million in seismic research projects. He was named to the National Academy of Engineering in 1996; the only state employed engineer to be so honored. Mr. Roberts retired in 2001 as Chief Deputy Director.

Ken Burkle, Division of Engineering Services Senior Bridge Engineer, has spent most of his 32 years with the Department working in Structure Construction and his name has become synonymous with falsework and shoring. Ken is noted for developing software that could perform the required falsework calculations that met the Office of Structure Construction practices and procedures. The user-friendly program he created has benefited many engineers by saving time and ensuring consistency throughout the Department.

Guidelines [Word] | Nomination Form [Word]


Nevin Sams, Senior Transportation Engineer
Branch Chief, Traffic Safety, Department of Transportation

The Karl Moskowitz Award annually recognizes contributions by Caltrans registered engineers to the field of transportation engineering. Mr. Moskowitz served as a traffic engineer for the State Department of Transportation for 27 years. Much of his work in freeway design and traffic flow appeared at the outset of the Interstate Highway program and was used extensively by planners and engineers nationwide, thus becoming national standards. He conceived the idea of computer-controlled lane metering systems.

Nevin Sams, District 5 Senior Transportation Engineer/Branch Chief, Traffic Safety, has worked for the Department for 22 years and has specialized in traffic safety for 18 years. Nevin has been recognized statewide for his expertise in traffic safety engineering. Through his noted experience, Nevin initiated safety improvements and projects that have significantly reduced accident rates at locations in five central California Counties.

Guidelines [Word] | Nomination Form [Word]


Brelend Gowan, Deputy Chief Counsel
Legal Division, Department of Transportation

The Emerson Rhyner Award annually recognizes contributions to the field of transportation by non-engineering Caltrans managers. Emerson Rhyner was Deputy Chief of the Division of Right of Way/Legal Division for California’s highway program in the early 1960’s. He represented the Department in legislative affairs, acting as a liaison to the Legislature as well as representing the State’s transportation interests in Washington D.C. His efforts helped define the relationship between state and national interests and established the roles of state and local governments in the early days of freeway system development.

Brelend C. Gowan, Deputy Chief Counsel for the Department’s Legal Division, has served the Department well for the last 33 years. Gowan’s contributions have run the gamut from defending the Department in numerous complex tort cases to streamlining and modernizing the Sacramento Legal Office. Gowan fundamentally ensured that the Department’s attorneys were able to represent the Department as well equipped and trained as their adversaries. Gowan specialized in multimillion-dollar government tort liability litigation from simple fender benders to major catastrophic injury cases.

Guidelines [Word] | Nomination Form [Word]