Twenty years ago, the Atlanta Olympics had just ended and Microsoft was about to launch Internet Explorer 3. August 1996 was also a big month for Stewart as it saw the arrival of two engineers, David Ruggles and Roy Lorenzen, who joined the company and never looked back.
David Ruggles was already an experienced bridge designer when he joined Stewart to expand our Transportation Engineering offerings. Over his 20 years at Stewart, David has designed scores of bridges to get people and vehicles safely over roadways, train tracks and waterways.
According to David, one of his most memorable projects was the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina, a city located in one of the worst earthquake zones in the United States with very poor soil conditions. He was part of an international team made up of members from ten other engineering firms who designed the longest cable stayed bridge in North America at the time it was built.
Because the projected earthquake loads place huge loads on the bridge, the components had to be massive: some of the foundations had up to ten-foot diameter drilled piers that extend 90 feet into the ground. The end result is a beautiful structure that lingers in the minds of anyone who has driven across it, giving you the sensation of flying over the water and smoothly sailing into port on the other side.
While Roy Lorenzen’s work as a civil engineer is decidedly more grounded, his portfolio of projects while at Stewart is no less impressive. Roy was brought on to grow Stewart’s civil engineering practice, a group that has since grown to include more than 20 licensed professional engineers and engineering interns.
Thanks to all the work Roy has done across the UNC System campuses, he has earned the nickname “Mr. UNC,” and when his daughters were looking at colleges, they could hardly avoid seeing their dad’s work at all the campuses they visited.
Roy said he is most proud of three large projects that transformed the UNC Chapel Hill campus: the Sciplex, the Bell Tower and the Rams Head Development, two of which transformed mundane asphalt parking lots into integral parts of the campus with innovative stormwater treatment, challenging utility coordination, needed parking, pedestrian walkways, innovative teaching facilities and student life support facilities. The third project, the Sciplex, incorporated demolition of the Old Venable Hall and construction of a replacement building with an open courtyard and building additions to surrounding science buildings.
As coworkers, we’re glad to have these talented and humble gentlemen in our arsenal. As members of communities in which they’ve completed projects, we’re indebted to them for their projects of lasting impact. Congratulations David and Roy on 20 amazing years with Stewart!