California Department of Transportation

2007 Outstanding Management and Engineering in Transportation Awards


Douglas Failing, District Director
District 7

Douglas Failing has worked his entire 26-year career with Caltrans in District 7. Under his auspices, District 7 recently developed the Calmentor Program, in which large businesses partner with small businesses to mentor and coach them. The program has become a model for other Caltrans districts and has also caught the attention of Governor Schwarzenegger as a new strategy of reinvigorating business in California. For his countless contributions to improving transportation in the district, he was chosen by the Los Angeles Times’ West Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in Southern California. In addition, Los Angeles Magazine highlighted him in its December 2006 issue as one the most influential people in Los Angeles.

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


Jasvinderjit (Jesse) S. Bhullar, State Highway Safety Engineer
Division of Traffic Operations

Jasvinderjit S. Bhullar is nationally known and respected for his career-long, passionate commitment to the safety of the traveling public and the State highway system and for his outstanding efforts in bringing the national Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) to California. Jesse has been an active member in national safety efforts, representing California on National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) panels, American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) committees, and other national and State efforts.

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 Caltrans 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.


Bruce Behrens, Chief Legal Counsel
Legal Division

Bruce Behrens is responsible for managing Caltrans’ four-office, 250-employee Legal Division. The legal division represents Caltrans in approximately 2,200 active lawsuits and provides legal advice to Caltrans’ management and staff. He has appeared before the Superior Court of 22 counties and argued cases before the Court of Appeals representing the State. He also appeared before the Legislature, California Transportation Commission, Public Utilities Commission, Cabinet working groups, county boards of supervisors, city councils, planning commissions, San Francisco Port Commission, arbitrators, and administrative hearing officers. He represented Caltrans in negotiations to reform the State Transportation Improvement Program process, which funds transportation projects, resulting in passage of Senate Bill 45, reforming California’s transportation project programming and funding.

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 and the Legal Division for California’s highway program in the early 1960s. 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.


Thomas Ostrom, Supervising Bridge Engineer
Division of Engineering Services

Thomas Ostrom has made a significant impact through the implementation of bridge design policy, design methodology, and best practices used on Caltrans bridge projects. As the Seismic Committee Chair, he coordinated the development and publishing of the original Caltrans Seismic Design Criteria (SDC). He led the SDC development team and authored the displacement-based design criteria. The SDC is one of the first displacement-based bridge specifications ever developed, and has received attention from national and international engineering organizations. In addition, Tom participated on a research panel for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, where he co-authored the bridge engineering chapter of the McGraw-Hill Standard Handbook for Civil Engineer’s 5th Edition.

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 15 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.

Roberts Award Nomination Form [Word]
Roberts Award Guidelines [Word]

Moskowitz Award Nomination Form [Word]
Moskowitz Award Guidelines [Word]

Purcell Award Nomination Form [Word]
Purcell Award Guidelines [Word]

Rhyner Award Nomination Form [Word]
Rhyner Award Guidelines [Word]