Alumni win national award in back-to-back years

Written by Kristie Reynolds on |
Pictured left to right are Ryan Berg and Van E. Komurka.
Pictured left to right are Ryan Berg and Van E. Komurka.

University of Wisconsin-Platteville graduates have been awarded the annual American Society of Civil Engineers Martin S. Kapp Excellence in Foundation Engineering Award for the past two consecutive years. Ryan Berg, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE was the 2021 recipient, and Van E. Komurka, P.E., D.GE, F.ASCE is the 2022 recipient.

Each year, the award is bestowed upon an individual on the basis of the best example of innovative or outstanding design or construction of foundations, earthworks, retaining structures or underground construction.

“It was an honor to receive a national ASCE award,” said Berg, who graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. He is currently a geotechnical engineer consultant at Ryan R. Berg & Associates Inc. and serves clients primarily in highway construction and land development industries.

“UW-Platteville provided a solid and broad-based foundation for my technical and professional growth and success as a civil engineer,” said Berg. “My civil engineering professors and instructors were great teachers, role models and mentors.”

“It is very gratifying to receive this particular award, because it is viewed within the industry as a practitioner’s award. Practical and pragmatic application of engineering principles should be at the heart of the discipline, to be an ‘engineer’s engineer,’ and this award symbolizes that,” added Komurka, who graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering with a double emphasis in structural and geotechnical engineering. “I’m honored and humbled to be included among such a distinguished list of past recipients.”

Komurka credits UW-Platteville for playing a role in his success, noting that class sizes were small and taught by professors with current or prior real-world consulting experience.

“Everything was tied to application in the industry,” said Komurka. “The class notes and example problems provided in our classes were beyond undergraduate-level material; my classmates and I studied off them in graduate school.”

Komurka is a geotechnical engineer/senior engineer at GRL Engineers Inc., where he serves clients by assisting in deep-foundation test programs, field instrumentation and execution, data reduction and analysis and reporting.

“UW-Platteville graduates have earned a great reputation in the workplace. Employers have echoed again and again that they like hiring Platteville grads, because as a result of their practical education, they are great problem-solvers and are immediately productive and valuable,” said Komurka. “Platteville’s curriculum also provides a solid basis for post-graduate studies. It’s a great place to earn an engineering degree.”