Introduction to Infrastructure Projects Presented by Irwin Weinbaum
Presented by Irwin Weinbaum

Welcome to the class on Infrastructure Projects. I am a retired civil engineer. I began my career a very long time ago in a design office, working on very interesting projects. The practice at that time consisted mostly of work on the interstate highway system. But it also included many recreational areas Performing Arts Centers public parks, those sorts of facilities, and it made for a very interesting mix. It was an excellent learning experience for me. I really enjoyed it completely.

However, I was concerned that we were making decisions as designers, which really required knowledge of the construction process. There was no one in the office that really had that kind of experience and could advise us on the best way to design our facilities. After some time, I decided that to be an effective designer, I needed some experience in the field at a construction site. I simply needed to fill that gap in my knowledge. So I left the design office and went to work for a contractor. And that is certainly the most effective way to get the kinds of hands-on experience that I was looking for.

I fell in love with the construction process. To this day. I love to see a concrete truck depositing concrete into a set of forms. There's something enormously satisfying about doing that. And I spent my entire career building public works projects.

Of course, in today's terms, they are called infrastructure projects. The work is fascinating and while I'm not urging any of you to go out and make your careers in the construction industry, even though that worked out very nicely for me, I truly believe that you need a foundation of this knowledge in order to be effective, however you pursue your careers.

When I began designing highway projects, they were relatively straightforward in terms of construction. They were in wide-open areas and while there are always challenges, they were modest compared to what we face today in today's environment.

We are usually building in built out downtown urban areas, either building new facilities or modifying existing facilities. And in that environment, the construction know-how is absolutely the key to the success of any project.

So my intent here is to give you, at the very least, a background in the fundamentals, so that you'll be better prepared during the planning, the design and the construction. You'll be able to attend meetings and feel at ease when these issues are being discussed. And in fact, you'll be able to effectively participate. That's what I hope to achieve.

I have excellent photos and videos to make it more interesting for you, and because the material is very visual, I think you're going to remember this forever. I hope you do. And I hope that you find on many, many occasions that this has been extremely helpful and useful to you. So good luck with the course, enjoy the course. And I wish you every success in your careers.