Judith Nitsch, PE, Receives ASCE’s 2000 Parcel-Sverdrup Award

October, 2000; Boston, MA – Judy Nitsch was presented with the John I. Parcel-Lief J. Sverdrup Civil Engineering Management Award at the ASCE National Convention in Seattle, Washington. This award is given annually to a leader in the world of civil engineering management. The Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section (BSCES) Engineering Management Group nominated Judy for her phenomenal impact and success in breaking down the traditional barriers in a civil engineering world historically dominated by white males. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) selected Judy from a pool of high-profile candidates “For her contributions to the civil engineering profession through professional service, her ability to lead and inspire others including women and minority engineers and business owners, and her commitment, perseverance, and dedication.”

Judy commented as she accepted the award, “One thing which makes this award particularly meaningful for me is that Sverdrup Corporation was Nitsch Engineering’s first client to hire us for an exceptionally large project: the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. In 1993, they trusted us as a small firm to assist on this high profile, 17.6-mile project. We’ve been able to leverage that experience to obtain larger and more complex project assignments.”

The first woman and youngest person to be a recipient of this impressive honor, Judy was elated when she received the call notifying her that she was the next recipient of the Parcel-Sverdrup Award. Laughingly, Judy recalls, “I was literally shouting for joy in my office! I’ve won various awards throughout my career, but this has been one of the most wonderful and overwhelming experiences I’ve ever had. I was both flattered and privileged to be regarded in the same light as the previous award winners.”

First given in 1977, the Parcel-Sverdrup award is given annually to an ASCE member who “has made a definite contribution in the field of engineering management, evidencing high character and professional integrity and regional or national professional reputation.” Previous industry leaders to receive this award include Stephen Bechtel, Jr., Chairman Emeritus of Bechtel Group, Inc.; Henry Michel, Chairman Emeritus of Parsons Brinkerhoff International Inc.; Louis Berger, founder of The Louis Berger Group, Inc.; James Poirot, Chairman Emeritus of CH2M Hill Companies Ltd.; and James Caywood, Past President of DeLeu, Cather & Company.

Judy joined ASCE in 1973 and has served on its Public Communications and Urban Subsurface Drainage Standards Committees. She has been extremely active in BSCES, serving on its Board of Government from 1981-90, and became its first woman and youngest President from 1986-87.
Founded in 1852, ASCE represents more than 123,000 members of the civil engineering profession worldwide and is America’s oldest national engineering society. ASCE’s vision is to position engineers as global leaders building a better quality of life.