Published: March 28, 2019

Jeff Martin (CivEngr’99) returned to campus recently to speak to Professor Angela Bielefeldt’s Introduction to Civil Engineering and Professional Issues classes about the importance of designing solutions that benefit society.

Martin is the project manager for the Gross Reservoir Expansion, a $464 million Denver Water project to expand storage capacity for their Northwater System by 77,000 acre-feet. The project will raise the height of the current dam by 131 feet and help to ensure that Denver has consistent water as Colorado’s climate changes and snowpacks become increasingly unpredictable.

Martin, who has volunteered his time twice over the past two years to speak to students,  focused on the longevity of civil engineering projects, most of which have design lifespans far exceeding those of humans. As projects such as new dams become increasingly difficult to permit, engineers need to focus on longevity, he said. The future will offer numerous social and environmental challenges that infrastructure will need to be designed to overcome.

Martin was excited about the opportunity to return to Boulder and give back to the department. His talks emphasized the far-reaching aspects of civil engineering, including considerations that extend beyond design and delivery, like ethics, sustainability and resilience. Since civil engineering projects are often utilized by all of society, it is just as important for engineers to consider these issues as it is for them to design good solutions, Martin said.

Martin can be seen speaking to students in a recent video produced by Denver Water: