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Making the Grade: The Future of America’s Infrastructure

April 22, 2021, 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

The American Society of Civil Engineers has published an infrastructure report card every four years since the late 1990s. Elected officials from both sides of the political aisle and at all levels of government regularly cite the Report Card. In 2017, the state of U.S. roads, bridges, and related infrastructure received a grade of D+.

The 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, released on March 3rd, found that the nation’s infrastructure earned a cumulative grade of a “C-.” Though it’s a slight improvement over four year ago, 11 of the 17 categories are still in the “D” range. The report also found a $2.59 trillion investment gap over 10 years between what we are currently projected to spend and what we must spend to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Join leading engineers and decisionmakers for a discussion on the state of America’s infrastructure, how it can be improved, and what it will take to get there.


Dan McNichol is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist, who writes and speaks on mega construction projects in the U.S. McNichol contributes to worldwide media outlets including: The New York Times, ABC World News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and BBC.  A former White House appointee, McNichol served the President on US policy issues surrounding transportation and infrastructure between 1991-1993. McNichol has worked in official capacities on the nation’s largest infrastructure projects: California High Speed Rail (2017), San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge Replacement (2013) and The Big Dig, a.k.a. The Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel Project (2000).



Aaron Attebery is the Director of Business Capture in the Telecom – Connected Communities business line at Black & Veatch. BV designs and builds the network, IT and transportation infrastructure essential to realizing our sustainable, resilient and connected future. Solutions include smart city/IoT infrastructure, community-owned broadband networks, city dedicated LTE/5G networks and intelligent transportation solutions. Aaron is a subject matter expert in microgrids, energy management and data analytics. He has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Missouri University of Science & Technology. His previous employers include John Deere and Ameren Corporation. Aaron has two U.S. patents, successfully built and exited a commercial product startup company and has served on the Kansas City Chamber Energy & Environmental Committee. He was a graduate of Leadership Overland Park in 2017 and currently serves on the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In addition, you may have seen Aaron cracking dad jokes as co-emcee of Good Morning Overland Park in recent years. Aaron is happily married and his wife also works in the Kansas City area for a Black & Veatch company, Diode Ventures, LLC.


Kenneth Gillingham is an Associate Professor of Economics at Yale University, where his research examines the adoption of new energy technologies, energy efficiency, quantitative policy and program analysis, and climate change policy. His primary appointment is in the School of the Environment and he holds secondary appointments in the Department of Economics and School of Management. In 2015-2016 he served as the Senior Economist for Energy and the Environment at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Dr. Gillingham received a PhD in management science and engineering and economics, as well as MS degrees in statistics and management science and engineering, from Stanford University. His undergraduate degree was an AB in economics and environmental studies from Dartmouth College.


Mary Joyce Ivers has been involved in public works for over twenty-seven years. In 2019 she was promoted to Deputy Public Works Director overseeing the operations activities within the Public Works Department in Ventura, California. Ivers has been very involved in fleet and facilities at both the local and national levels. At the local level, she is involved in the regional Gold Coast Fleet group and the Central Coast International Facilities Management Association. At the national level with APWA, she currently serves as president of the 30,000 member organization. She received the Certified Public Fleet Professional (CPFP) designation from APWA in 2008 and was recertified in 2013. In 2010, she was appointed to the Fleet Services Technical Committee and was appointed Chair in 2012. In 2011, Ivers served on the Education & Certification Strategic Planning Group as the Fleet Technical Committee member. Ivers has written many articles promoting success stories within fleet and facilities operations that have been published in the APWA Reporter, Government Fleet, American City and County, Roads and Bridges and other publications.


Maria Lehman is Director of U.S. Infrastructure for GHD, a multinational engineering consulting firm, and currently the national treasurer and a candidate for national president-elect of ASCE.  Maria has spent her entire career as an infrastructure advocate, using technical expertise leveraged with public policy and project finance experience. She retired as the chief operating officer of the New York State Thruway Authority and served as the Commissioner of Public Works and Chief Engineer for Erie County, NY. She has designed and managed projects from local $10,000 projects to infrastructure of national significance, such as project executive for the $4 billion Mario Cuomo bridge. Maria is a magna cum laude graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo in civil engineering and is licensed in several states.


Accessing the program

This free, livestream program will take place via Zoom. Registration is currently open and will remain open until the event has ended. After you register you will receive an email with a link to join the session.


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The Linda Hall Library encourages people of all backgrounds and abilities to participate in our public programs.  Closed captioning is provided.  If you require additional reasonable accommodations in order to participate, please contact events@lindahall.org or call 816.926.8753 at least 24 hours in advance of the event.

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Further reading at the Linda Hall Library


April 22, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Event Category:


Linda Hall Library
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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