The purpose of this Civil and Environmental Engineering Friends Association (CEEFA) is to promote a close working relationship between civil and environmental engineering alumni and friends and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to serve in an advisory capacity to the Department, and to cooperate with the University in its service to the public.
Meet the board
Paul Ajegba, President
Paul C. Ajegba has 29 years of experience with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer as Director on January 1, 2019. He previously served MDOT for three months as Metro Region Eng
ineer, and before that as University Region Engineer. During his seven years in the University Region, Ajegba oversaw his team’s involvement in the planning, design and construction of several major projects, including the US-23 Flex Route – a project nominated for the America’s Transportation Award, landing among the top 12 national finalists. Other notable projects include the I-94 rehabilitation project in Ann Arbor/Jackson, the I-96/US-23 interchange, and the I-75 freeway project.
Ajegba holds a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Prairie View A&M University and a master’s degree in Construction Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Michigan. Paul is a member of COMTO (Conference of Minority Transportation Officials), and serves on the following boards: AASHTO, ITS America, M-City, University of Michigan College of Engineering, the Engineering Society of Detroit, and the Mackinac Bridge Authority.
Larry Brinker Jr., Director
Larry Brinker, Jr. is the President of Brinker – a family of five companies that provides a complete range of construction services for commercial developments and is a major player in the transformation of Detroit. Raising the bar for the depth and breadth of services one company can provide to clients, Larry continues to build upon the Brinker story that his father, Larry Brinker, Sr. started 30 years ago. Larry Brinker, Jr. is a progressive leader and catalyst for growth who has been involved in over $2 billion of construction projects.
Driven to learn from the best of the best and give back to those who need it most, Larry serves on several boards and is an active member of industry associations. He is hands-on when it comes to his charitable commitments, spending quality time mentoring and providing opportunities for young people in our community.
He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, an Entrepreneur of The Year® 2018 Michigan and Northwest Ohio Region Awardee and National Finalist, as well as a 2015 recipient of Crain’s Detroit Business “40 Under 40” and Detroit Business Magazine “30 In Their 30s” awards.
Tarolyn Buckles, Vice President
Tarolyn Buckles (BSCE ’93) is President and CEO of Onyx Enterprise, Inc. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, Onyx provides engineering consulting, project management and construction management services to local, state, federal government, engineering consulting firms and contractors. One of Onyx’s main clients is the Detroit Water and Sewer Department Board of Water Commissioners. As Technical Advisor to the Board of Water Commissioners, Tarolyn researches, analyzes and develops technical strategies on behalf of the Board and provides recommendations.
Steven Frenette, Director
Steven Frenette has over 30 years of engineering and consulting services experience, gained from work at every level of the concept development to project commissioning cycle. As Sali Group’s founder, he has provided extensive and specific knowledge of wastewater treatment practices in the consumer products and manufacturing industries. Mr. Frenette’s experience is the foundation of Sali Group’s offerings, which include specialization in industrial wastewater pretreatment facility evaluation and design, as well as development of Sali Group’s construction management program.
Jamie Gentoso, Director
Jamie Gentoso is the Chief Executive Officer for the US Cement organization of LafargeHolcim. An accomplished leader and a registered Professional Engineer, Jamie is responsible for all cement product lines, overseeing an organization of approximately 3,000 employees, 15 cement and grinding plants and more than 100 cement terminals across 43 states. Prior to her appointment as CEO of US Cement, Jamie was Senior Vice President of Concrete at Sika Corporation US. She holds a degree in civil engineering and a master’s in business, both from The University of Michigan. Jamie is passionate about the cement/concrete industry, enhancing its contributions to society and reducing its impact on our environment. She is a lifelong athlete, enjoys running, outdoor activities and spending time with her 3 school aged children.
Domenico Grasso, Director
Domenico Grasso is the sixth chancellor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He was appointed chancellor on August 1, 2018. He also serves as professor of public policy and administration and professor of sustainable engineering at UM-Dearborn and is a University of Michigan Executive Officer. He is responsible for leading 9,300 students and over 1,000 faculty and staff on the Dearborn campus. Prior to joining UM-Dearborn, Domenico served as Provost of the University of Delaware. He was Dean of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Vermont and the Founding Director of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College, the first engineering program at a women’s college and one of the few in a liberal arts college in the United States. He is currently chair of the National Academies Committee on Grand Challenges in Environmental Engineering & Sciences. Domenico is married to Susan, also a Michigan alumna and engineer. Together, they have four adult children: Benjamin, Jacob, Elspeth and Caitlín. He and Susan enjoy reading, cycling, hiking, skiing, and spending time outdoors with their dogs.
Andrea Hayden, Secretary
Andrea Hayden specializes in matters related to infrastructure, energy and environmental law as well as general business matters. Andrea started her legal career with Fausone Bohn in 2008. She then practiced in the Detroit office of a national law firm for five years. In 2016, Andrea joined DTE Energy to work on energy and environmental matters and also represented the company’s electric and gas utilities before the Michigan Public Service Commission. She recently returned to Fausone Bohn in July 2019.
Andrea is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan. Prior to her legal career, she worked for an environmental engineering firm for four years.
Kim Newsome, Director
Kim (Mai) Newsome (M Eng CEM / BSE CivE ‘05) is a Staffing and Development Advisor for ExxonMobil Global Projects Company. She joined ExxonMobil in 2009 and has supported energy projects across all of ExxonMobil’s business lines (Upstream, Downstream, and Chemicals). In her current role, she leverages her breadth of project management experience to provide career development counseling to a portfolio of over 600 employees worldwide. Kim served on the Houston area University of Michigan Campaign Council from 2015-2016; she has spent most of her career in Houston, with the exception of an overseas assignment in United Arab Emirates from 2017-2019. Outside of work, Kim enjoys spending time with her husband, two young daughters and two lab retrievers (Maize and Bo).
Lynn Stephens, Director
Lynn Stephens (MSE EnvE ’08) is a Principal Engineer with Brown and Caldwell (BC). BC is a national, employee-owned, environmental consulting firm that safeguards water, maintains infrastructure, and restores habitats to keep our communities thriving. Lynn’s work focuses on climate change resiliency, water supply planning, water quality characterizations, and treatment analysis and design for potable, recycled water, and wastewater systems. Lynn serves as BC’s Pacific Northwest 1Water Leader and she is also BC’s Client Service Manager for the Water Research Foundation. Lynn is passionate about water research and she has led eight Water Research Foundation projects as the Co-Principal Investigator. Lynn is very active in the American Water Works Association (AWWA), serving as chair of AWWA’s Biological Drinking Water Treatment Committee. In the Pacific Northwest section of AWWA (PNWS-AWWA), Lynn served on the Board as a Trustee-at-Large (16’-19’). Lynn likes to leverage her expertise to help disadvantaged communities. She is leading the PNWS-AWWA’s Community Engineering Corps initiative to help underserved communities with water resources problems. Lynn is the recipient of the 2017 AWWA Pioneer Award, 2017-2018’ Kenneth J. Miller Founder’s Award (Water For People), and the 2018 AWWA Community Engineering Corps Excellence Award.
Pat Wingate, Director
Walter (Wally) Alix, Past President
Wally Alix (BSCE ’75) has been married for over 30 years to his wife, Cindy, and has two children, Roland and Amy. Walter has worked for Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. for 30 years. HRC is a municipal engineering company that provides engineering services to cities, townships, counties and the state for various projects. He is an avid outdoorsman and a gentleman farmer.
John J. Hiltz, Past President
John Hiltz is the President of Orchard, Hiltz, & McCliment, Inc. (OHM Advisors), a 260-person architecture, engineering and planning (AEP) firm committed to advancing communities, with offices located in Michigan (Auburn Hills, Flint, Hancock, Livonia, Mt. Pleasant, Saginaw), Ohio (Gahanna, Columbus) and Tennessee (Nashville). John is an active board member of the Plymouth Road Development Authority and the Livonia Community Foundation; is immediate Past-President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan and, currently serves on its Executive Committee, where he is actively involved with the State’s DOT, DEQ and Attorney General’s offices, working on contract and legislative issues that affect the AEP industry and served as Honorary Co-Chair of the Detroit Zoo Walk for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan in 2013 and 2014. John and his wife Debbie live in Livonia and have three adult children: Danielle (U-M BSN ’09), Christine and Jack.
Jim Jacobi, Past President
Jim Jacobi, P.E. (BSCE ’75, MSE ’76) is a Senior Principal and Chief Information Officer for Houston-based Walter P Moore, one of the leading engineering consulting firms in the nation with offices nationwide. He is responsible for the firm’s overall information technology strategy and programs and has over 35 years of experience in engineering design, project management and construction, with a special expertise in application of information technology to this field. His areas of expertise include implementation of integrated project management systems, development of integrated business analytic systems, Building Information Modeling (BIM) and other related 3D CAD project delivery systems. He has led the implementation of Building Information Modeling delivery systems at Walter P Moore and the firm’s efforts in managing the interface with other members of the design, construction and owner teams in project collaboration and coordination in the BIM environment. He has led many multi-discipline BIM Coordination Services projects and has frequently spoken and published on the topic of BIM in the AEC Industry. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon engineering honor societies, and has served on a number of committees including chair of University of Houston’s Industry Advisory Board on Training in Advanced Plant Design Systems, the Electronic Data Management Task Force for the Construction Industry Institute, and the A/E Productivity Committee of the Construction Users Roundtable, and he is an Emeritus Member of the Advisory Board for the College Of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University. Jim and his wife, Karen, live in Houston and have four children, the youngest of whom is a Michigan alum (Jennifer, B.A. ’10).
Jennifer (Starrman) Macks, Past President
Jennifer Macks (BSCE ’94) is a Vice President of Business Development at Howard Shockey & Sons in Winchester, Virginia. Shockey provides construction and pre-construction services for new and renovated structures throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. She has been involved with CEEFA since 2004. Jennifer and her husband, Jeff, have two daughters: Cassie and Allison.
Dan Sinnott, Past President
Dan Sinnott (BSCE ’79; MSE ’80) joined Turner Construction Company upon graduation and has held numerous domestic and international positions with the firm over the past 30 years. He currently manages Turner’s West Michigan office. Dan and his wife Julie (Johnson) Sinnott, also a University of Michigan Civil Engineering graduate, live with their two children in Plymouth, Michigan.