Outstanding Management and Engineering in Transportation Awards

The Outstanding Management and Engineering in Transportation Awards, also known as the Moskowitz, Purcell, Rhyner and Roberts awards, recognize valued contributions to the field of transportation by Caltrans registered engineers, engineering managers and nonengineering managers.

The Karl Moskowitz Award

Allen Chen Chief, Office of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS)
Caltrans District 7 Division of Operations

Allen Z. Chen

Allen Z. Chen brings many years of experience successfully managing multiple complex and innovative projects and has been at the forefront of the development and deployment of multiple ITS projects. Under his leadership, District 7 has implemented one of the largest Advanced Transportation Management Systems in the country. In implementing this system, Mr. Chen managed the planning, design and construction support of the Los Angeles Regional Transportation Management Center Project. These projects help reduce travel time for travelers, make for a smoother commute for motorists, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide transit parity to public transportation, and reduce impacts and duration of recurring and non-recurring congestion.

The Karl Moskowitz Award recognizes outstanding Caltrans engineers. Mr. Moskowitz served as a Caltrans traffic engineer for 27 years. Much of his work in freeway design and traffic flow was at the start of the Interstate Highway Program and was used extensively by planners and engineers nationwide.


The Charles H. Purcell Award

Jesse Bhullar Division Chief
Caltrans Division of Traffic Operations

Jesse Bhullar

Throughout his career, Jesse Bhullar’s mission in Caltrans has been to move Toward Zero Deaths on California’s public roadways. From his first assignment in District 10 where he managed the District Traffic Safety Program to his current position as the State Traffic Engineer, he has worked diligently to make the safety of the traveling public the Department’s No. 1 priority. In each of his roles over the last 30 years, he has found ways to make our roadways safer, better manage our assets and maximize the use of our limited resources. Through Mr. Bhullar’s efforts, he has been able to completely revamp the safety monitoring programs, the traffic safety investigation processes, the programming of millions of dollars of safety projects and setting the strategic vision for safety in California.

The Charles H. Purcell Award recognizes Caltrans engineering managers. 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 original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the State Highway System.


The Emerson Rhyner Award

Bruce April, Deputy District Director Environmental
Caltrans District 11

Bruce April

In partnership with SANDAG and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bruce April led an effort to develop and implement the San Diego region’s Environmental Mitigation Program (EMP), which provides funding to mitigate habitat impacts from regional and local transportation projects and provides funding for regional land management and biological monitoring. To date, 40 sites have been preserved, totaling 8,780 acres of land. The EMP is a major contributor for an evolving transportation system culture to bring more balanced relations between transportation and the environment. Under Mr. April’s leadership, the EMP not only streamlined delivery of critical transportation projects, it resulted in a net benefit to the environmental resources in the county.

The Emerson Rhyner Award recognizes non-engineering Caltrans managers for their contributions to transportation. Emerson Rhyner was Deputy Chief of the Division of Right of Way and the Legal Division for California’s Division of Highways in the early 1960s. His efforts as a Caltrans legislative liaison 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.


The James E. Roberts Award

Michael J. Lee, Senior Bridge Engineer
Caltrans Division of Maintenance, Structure Maintenance & Investigations

Michael Lee

For nearly 30 years, Michael J. Lee has been the California Department of Transportation’s leading bridge design engineer in Structure Maintenance & Investigations (SM&I) producing bridge repairs in emergency situations and implementing cost-effective and innovative bridge maintenance, preservation and repair strategies to ensure the safety and dependability of California’s state highway bridge inventory. A nationally recognized engineering expert in the field of structural design, Mr. Lee has played a critical role in preserving more than 12,000 structures for the past three decades. Through his dedication, hard work, and understanding of bridge design specifications and their development, he has made sustained and outstanding contributions in advancing the knowledge and practice of bridge design engineering.

The James E. Roberts Award recognizes Caltrans' registered engineers' outstanding contributions in transportation structures. Mr. Roberts was a structural engineer and manager for more than half a century, including 15 years as California’s State Bridge Engineer. He spearheaded Caltrans’ $4.5 billion seismic retrofit program, oversaw nearly $50 million in seismic research projects and was the only state-employed engineer to be named to the National Academy of Engineering. He retired in 2001 as Chief Deputy Director.

The Karl Moskowitz Award

Rodney Oto, Senior Transportation Engineer
Caltrans District 4 Division of Operations

Rodney Oto

Rodney Oto pioneered the Bay Area’s ramp metering mass implementation in the 1980s, when public acceptance of ramp metering strategies was low. He worked to overcome that resistance and illustrated that freeway operations could be substantially improved through proper control of ramp volumes. He is one of a few elite traffic engineers in the nation with experience and knowledge in designing and operating toll bridge approaches and designing and operating FasTrak lanes. Rodney authored the original District 4 Ramp Metering Design Guidelines, which were the basis for Caltrans’ Statewide Ramp Metering Design Guidelines and Caltrans’ ramp metering policy and procedure.

The Karl Moskowitz Award recognizes outstanding Caltrans engineers. Mr. Moskowitz served as a Caltrans traffic engineer for 27 years. Much of his work in freeway design and traffic flow was at the start of the Interstate Highway Program and was used extensively by planners and engineers nationwide.


The Charles H. Purcell Award

Jesus Paez, Project Director
Caltrans District 8 Design

Project Director District 8, Jesus Paez
Jesus Paez

Jesus Paez has successfully pioneered a new way of doing business by managing multidisciplinary teams using innovative delivery methods to demonstrate their benefits and ultimately add more tools to Caltrans’ toolbox. Jesus’ approach to project delivery is the true innovation. He works diligently with stakeholders in a collaborative way that values their contributions and diverse views. Proof of the value of Jesus’ approach is the successful completion of the I-15/215 Devore Interchange design-build project on time, within budget, with no claims and with enthusiastic support from a community that was previously skeptical of the project.

The Charles H. Purcell Award recognizes Caltrans engineering managers. 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 original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the State Highway System.


The Emerson Rhyner Award

Coco Briseño, Deputy Director
Caltrans Planning and Modal Programs

Coco Briseño

Coco has tirelessly championed Enterprise Data Governance within Caltrans. Her leadership led to creating the Caltrans Geospatial Data Office, the newly formed Data Governance Council and Data Governance Board. Her contributions also include several transportation plans, and she was instrumental in negotiating the multi-state procurement of clean-burning diesel locomotives and rail cars for Caltrans. Coco oversaw development of program guidelines and delivery of SB 1 programs under Planning and Modal Programs, and the development and implementation of the Research Prioritization Methodology tool to prioritize research projects based on their strategic alignment with Caltrans Goals.

The Emerson Rhyner Award recognizes non-engineering Caltrans managers for their contributions to transportation. Emerson Rhyner was Deputy Chief of the Division of Right of Way and the Legal Division for California’s Division of Highways in the early 1960s. His efforts as a Caltrans legislative liaison 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.

Cris Rojas, Deputy Director
Caltrans Administration

Cris Rojas

Cris’ significant contribution to Caltrans’ workforce and organizational health includes restoring and reinvigorating components of Caltrans’ Workforce Planning program and Caltrans’ Diversity and Disability Awareness Day. In 2017, Cris received the Women in Transportation Society’s Rosa Parks Award for Diversity and Inclusion. Her idea to provide a workplace where all employees can grow resulted in the Caltrans Scholar Program, a plan to provide employer-funded AA degrees to Caltrans employees. Cris supported the launch of Caltrans’ Division of Safety and Management Services’ new mobile safety vans and Caltrans Career fairs across the state, which were attended by over 1,500 job seekers.

The Emerson Rhyner Award recognizes non-engineering Caltrans managers for their contributions to transportation. Emerson Rhyner was Deputy Chief of the Division of Right of Way and the Legal Division for California’s Division of Highways in the early 1960s. His efforts as a Caltrans legislative liaison 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.


The James E. Roberts Award

Ron Bromenschenkel, Senior Bridge Engineer
Caltrans Division of Engineering Services, Structure Policy & Innovation

Ron Bromenschenkel

Ron Bromenschenkel has demonstrated 30 years of sustained excellence in bridge design and earthquake engineering and has delivered more than 30 high-profile projects. Ron is nationally recognized as a subject matter expert in the design and development of seismically resilient bridge components and connections. Working with universities across the nation, Ron led multiple projects to develop seismically resistant connection details that allow Caltrans to use accelerated bridge construction methods. In 2014 Ron was asked to lead a seismic assessment of the Coronado San Diego Bay (Coronado) Bridge because of his expertise in designing and retrofitting complex long span bridges.

The James E. Roberts Award recognizes Caltrans' registered engineers' outstanding contributions in transportation structures. Mr. Roberts was a structural engineer and manager for more than half a century, including 15 years as California’s State Bridge Engineer. He spearheaded Caltrans’ $4.5 billion seismic retrofit program, oversaw nearly $50 million in seismic research projects and was the only state-employed engineer to be named to the National Academy of Engineering. He retired in 2001 as Chief Deputy Director.

The Karl Moskowitz Award

Sean Campbell, Senior Transportation Electrical Engineer (Specialist)
Caltrans Division of Research, Innovation and System Information

Sean Campbell

Sean has been a tireless champion for ensuring that Caltrans’ Intelligent Transportation System field elements are operating and well-maintained. Sean’s contributions have been crucial in enabling the traveling public to receive accurate, timely and reliable information about highway conditions and has allowed Caltrans to better manage the existing system by giving the Department the tools and information it needs to make more informed decisions. Sean is also one of the founders and key organizers for the Western States Rural Transportation Technology Implementers Forum, an annual event that attracts participants from the western United States.

The Karl Moskowitz Award recognizes outstanding Caltrans engineers. Mr. Moskowitz served as a Caltrans traffic engineer for 27 years. Much of his work in freeway design and traffic flow was at the start of the Interstate Highway Program and was used extensively by planners and engineers nationwide.


The Charles H. Purcell Award

Adnan Maiah, Deputy District Director, Capital Outlay Support Program
Caltrans District 12

Adnan Maiah

Adnan has dedicated more than a quarter of a century to strengthening the engineering profession by mentoring fellow engineers and playing a role in developing and implementing innovative transportation projects in Orange County. Throughout his career, Adnan has been a strong advocate for continued education of Orange County’s engineers. He leads a team of more than 350 engineers, technicians, environmental planners and administrators with a shared vision. Adnan’s expertise has been key in successfully delivering numerous high-profile and complicated projects in Orange County, including the first design-build project completed on an active California freeway.

The Charles H. Purcell Award recognizes Caltrans engineering managers. 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 original San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the State Highway System.


The Emerson Rhyner Award

Clark Paulsen, Chief
Caltrans Division of Accounting

Clark Paulsen

Clark understands all financial aspects of Caltrans’ complicated financial structure and establishes strong partnerships with local, state and federal agencies. His financial expertise, leadership, integrity and impeccable work ethic has earned the trust and respect of transportation stakeholders who have had the pleasure of working with him. Providing accurate and timely financial services and information are vital for projects needed to keep our transportation system safe, reliable and sustainable for the traveling public. Clark’s leadership has helped Caltrans ensure that transportation projects are delivered and fiscal accountability is maintained.

The Emerson Rhyner Award recognizes non-engineering Caltrans managers for their contributions to transportation. Emerson Rhyner was Deputy Chief of the Division of Right of Way and the Legal Division for California’s Division of Highways in the early 1960s. His efforts as a Caltrans legislative liaison 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.


The James E. Roberts Award

Dr. Lian Duan, Technical Specialist
Caltrans Division of Engineering Services

Dr. Lian Duan

Dr. Duan’s contribution to California transportation is threefold: solving highly technical problems for the Seismic Retrofit Program; managing, editing and reissuing Caltrans’ Bridge Design Practice Manual; and providing tireless support for steel bridge-related innovations. Dr. Duan’s contribution to the field of structural engineering was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2001 with the coveted Arthur Wellington Prize. Leaders across the nation know Dr. Duan for providing thorough and expert comment, and he has proposed and guided research leading to time and material savings in seismic retrofit and to cost-effective seismic-resistant new steel bridge designs.

The James E. Roberts Award recognizes Caltrans' registered engineers' outstanding contributions in transportation structures. Mr. Roberts was a structural engineer and manager for more than half a century, including 15 years as California’s State Bridge Engineer. He spearheaded Caltrans’ $4.5 billion seismic retrofit program, oversaw nearly $50 million in seismic research projects and was the only state-employed engineer to be named to the National Academy of Engineering. He retired in 2001 as Chief Deputy Director.