People
External Advisory Board

The external advisory board provides strategic advice on important department matters. The members of our advisory board are proven industry leaders within the civil and environment engineering field.

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William Baker

William F. Baker is a Structural Engineering Consulting Partner for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, where he strives to extend the profession of structural engineering through design, research, teaching, and professional activities.

A particular focus of Baker’s work is the design and engineering of supertall towers. He led the development of the “buttressed core” structural system for the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest manmade structure.

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Sofia Berger

Sofia Berger is a Senior Vice President and the National Business Line Leader for Transportation at WSP. In this role she oversees the strategic direction, business development performance, client management, and knowledge management of the U.S. transportation market, including highways, bridges, transit and rail, tunnels and aviation, as well as ports and marine. Previously, Sofia served as Deputy National Business Line Leader in the Advisory group with a range of responsibilities from strategic planning, operational management, and complex project management across all types of infrastructure. Sofia was Deputy Business Development Leader for U.S. Transportation as well as Managing Director for the Latin American and the Caribbean Division at Louis Berger, an international consulting engineering organization, which was acquired by WSP in 2018. She was particularly focused on rail and transit and public-private partnerships, as well as overseeing the strategic direction of the regional operations as well as all client management, project delivery and business development activities. As a third-generation engineer, Sofia has a unique background that informs her approach to leadership and delivering for clients. She has 20 years of infrastructure experience spanning project management of construction projects in the field and management consulting for private sector clients and governmental transportation agencies around the world. Sofia holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering and economics-operations research from Columbia University.

 

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Carole Braverman

Dr. Carole Braverman is the Regional Science Liaison to EPA’s Office of Research and Development with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 Office in Chicago, Illinois.  She also serves as regional science advisor.  Her areas of responsibility include management of regional environmental research programs, facilitation of science communication between the regional office and EPA Headquarters, and identification of science needs for research planning.  She co-chairs the Regional Science and Technology Council and represents the Region on EPA’s Science and Technology Policy Council Steering Committee. 

Dr. Braverman has a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from University of Michigan and PhD in experimental pathology from Northwestern University.

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John D. Brock

John D. Brock is a Senior Professional with Poggemeyer Design Group (PDG), a Kleinfelder Company. Kleinfelder is a Top 100 ENR Design Firm with over 2,400 employees and 80 office locations. PDG is an award winning, multi-discipline, A/E firm that provides innovative engineering, architecture and planning solutions to governmental, commercial, industrial, and private sector clients. Prior to the firm’s acquisition by Kleinfelder, Mr. Brock was Vice President of PDG’s Integrated Facilities Division, with responsibility for overall structural engineering and management of the Division’s projects.

Mr. Brock has both B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University, and over 35 years of structural design and project management experience with nationally recognized firms such as U.S. Gypsum Company, Chicago Bridge & Iron, and Walker Parking Consultants. His diverse resume of successful projects encompasses everything from a bauxite ore processing facility in the Australian outback to the College of Pharmacy building on the medical campus of the University of Toledo.

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Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns is a Managing Principal in Thornton Tomasetti’s Chicago Office and has more than 40 years of experience.  He was a member of Thornton Tomasetti’s board of directors and has overseen the firm’s practice areas as well as its operations in Europe, the Middle East, India and Brazil.  Joe is a passionate advocate for the deeper integration of architecture and engineering, which he promotes through technical innovation in the design of structural systems, collaboration in practice and leadership in building science education.

Joseph earned his Bachelor’s in Architecture from the University of Notre Dame. He earned his M.S. in Architecture and his M.S. in Civil Engineering from MIT. He has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Maryland and University of Washington, among others.

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Brett Gitskin, P.E.

Brett Gitskin, P.E. serves as the Executive Vice President of ECS MIDWEST, LLC, after serving as President for 16 years and has been with ECS since 1998. Mr. Gitskin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University, and a Master of Science degree in Geotechnical Engineering also from Northwestern University. 

Mr. Gitskin is a licensed professional engineer in Illinois and 15 other states. Mr. Gitskin has over 37 years of progressive professional experience including geotechnical, environmental, construction materials, and facilities engineering. Mr. Gitskin has been the geotechnical engineer of record for numerous high-profile projects in the Chicago Metropolitan area and throughout the Midwest.

Mr. Gitskin is the author of several papers and serves as an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern University in the Civil Engineering Department and the Masters of Project Management Program.

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Issam Khoury

Issam Khoury is the Vice President of NSCC International. Issam joined NSCC International at the start of his career in 1993. NSCC International is a specialized design & build contractor in the field of foundation engineering, ground improvement, onshore marine works and horizontal directional drilling (HDD). He currently leads the regional expansion drive in several markets outside the company’s core GCC market. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Robert Kudder

Dr. Kudder is a Principal with Raths, Raths & Johnson, Inc.  His career encompasses structural engineering, evaluations and testing, and structural repairs.  He is also a nationally recognized consultant on exterior wall leakage and condensation performance problems and has undertaken many exterior wall investigations, tests and repairs.  He served as Chairman of the ASTM E06.55.15 taskgroup which developed a standard for the evaluation of building wall leakage.  He  has participated in and chaired international symposia of building wall performance issues, as well as published and presented seminars on the topic.

Dr. Kudder has a Bachelor of Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from Northwestern University.

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Mark Lillie

Mark Lillie is an adjunct professor within Northwestern's Master of Science in Energy and Sustainability (MSES) Program.

Mark Lillie was appointed Chief Counsel of the Federal Highway Administration on January 8, 2018 and served through November, 2019. As FHWA's head legal officer, he advised the Administrator and other agency leadership on the full portfolio of matters that arise within this operating mode of the U. S. Department of Transportation. The Chief Counsel is responsible for a team of over 50 lawyers and other professionals who provide advice on grant administration, legislation, appropriations, regulatory affairs, environmental compliance, and all related litigation. Mr. Lillie also served as FHWA's principal liaison with the DOT's Office of General Counsel.

Prior to joining federal service with FHWA, Mr. Lillie was a senior partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago, where he regularly represented clients such as ExxonMobil, BP, Dow Chemical, General Motors, and 3M in a wide variety of commercial and environmental matters throughout the United States for over 30 years.

Mr. Lillie graduated from Northwestern University in 1981 with a degree in environmental engineering and earned his law degree from the University of Denver in 1984. He is active in the Northwestern University Leadership Council, and serves on various non-profit boards and professional committees.

 

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Carol Post

Carol Post is Chief Quality Assurance Officer at Thornton Tomasetti and is the leader of the firm's higher education market sector, quality assurance/quality control committee and the standards committee. She joined Thornton Tomasetti in 1997 and has 30 years of structural engineering experience.

Carol is also the Structural Engineer of Record for several Northwestern buildings, including the Global Hub-Kellogg and SQBRC on the Chicago campus.

Her credits span a spectrum of projects including education, healthcare, residential, commercial, and cultural facilities.

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Jeff Riemer

Mr. Riemer was the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Lend Lease Great Lakes Region. He is a Registered Professional Engineer with more than 40 years of experience in the construction industry and is currently retired.

Jeff earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Northwestern University in 1973, and received his MBA from the University of Chicago. 

Jeff brought a high level of experience and knowledge in providing a full range of preconstruction and construction services to his clients, possessing wide experience in both renovation and new construction of office buildings, residential facilities, school campuses, research facilities, airport terminals, medical buildings, mixed-use complexes, and retail facilities. He has worked around the world, living in London for six years and leading projects such as Broadgate at Liverpool Street Station and the expansion of Heathrow Airport.  In Asia Pacific, he helped develop the new airport at Macau, and expansion of Osaka Kansai Airport.  In the US, Jeff’s project experience includes construction of the Trump Tower Chicago, the Hyatt Center, and McCormick Place North Hall.

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Richard L. Rodriguez

Richard L. Rodriguez is the CEO of Acero Schools, one of the largest and highest performing public charter school networks in Chicago. With 15 schools serving nearly 7,800 K-12 students across the city, Acero partners with students, families and colleagues to cultivate achievement, community, excellence, resilience, and optimism at all network schools.
 
Prior to leading Acero Schools, Rodriguez was the vice president and business development director at Lendlease Corporation, a leading global property and infrastructure solutions provider. He was also the vice president at Res Publica Group, an award winning strategic communications firm. Serving in a number of public sector leadership roles as commissioner, Rodriguez oversaw three city departments, including the Chicago Department of Buildings, Department of Aviation, and Department of Environment. He also served as president of the Chicago Transit Authority, oversaw strategic sourcing programs for the Chicago Public Schools, and managed operations during the historic, “Plan for Transformation,” spearheaded by the Chicago Housing Authority.
 
An attorney, Rodriguez began his career as legal counsel at the Office of the Attorney General of Guam. He later served as deputy director of the Guam Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office and ultimately joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
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Richard Tilghman

Richard H. Tilghman is the Senior Vice President of New Business Development at the Pepper Construction Group.

Rich received a Civil Engineering Degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1971, and a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University in 1973. He has more than 40 years of project management experience and is a Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois. Rich is also an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University and has taught a variety of courses in project management at Northwestern for 30 years. He has also taught classes at Purdue University for five years.

Rich is currently retired from Pepper Construction Company, where he held various management positions for 36 years.