Engineering as Stewardship - Geneva College
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Engineering as Stewardship

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It's easy to take for granted the miles of road many of us travel each day. The foundation under our wheels keeps us stable, and one Geneva alumnus is primarily responsible to make sure the roads are passable in all kinds of weather through wise stewardship of state funds and good decisions. Ben DeVore ‘05, PennDOT’s Allegheny County Maintenance Manager, says, “It's very challenging, but it's also amazing, the work our folks do with the limited resources and equipment we have to keep the roads safe for the traveling public.”

DeVore earned his Geneva engineering degree with a concentration in civil engineering, and he also played football, a collegiate combination that requires careful time management and a skill that has helped him achieve career success.

“I had to learn how to balance being an engineering student and playing football,” he explains.

Engineering at Geneva is accredited at the general level and designed to provide graduates with a broad understanding of key engineering principles. This approach sets the program apart and enables Geneva engineers to grow and adapt.

DeVore says, “The well-rounded perspective that Geneva's engineering program gave me was very beneficial, because it prepared me for the many different engineering jobs I've had. They required knowledge across the spectrum of engineering - electrical, mechanical, structural, pavement analysis, and speed limits.”

He became manager of the Fort Pitt, Liberty, Squirrel Hill and Stowe Tunnels in Pittsburgh for PennDOT in 2016 after working various positions within the Traffic Unit where he started his career right out of Geneva in 2005.

“Nowhere out there prepares you to operate a tunnel,” he says. “So, you've got to understand the concepts and know how they work. At the same time, you must be able to adapt to whatever comes to you.”

He now manages all the roads in Allegheny County, becoming acting maintenance manager in 2021, assuming much greater responsibility.

“I went from managing our tunnels in Pittsburgh, which are the probably the most complex structures that PennDOT owns, but at the same time, they're only six miles of road,” says DeVore. “In my current position, I'm responsible for every other mile of a state highway in Allegheny County; that’s 1,484 miles of roadway that we service.”

Along with a broad engineering background, DeVore brings with him another key distinctive of Geneva’s engineering degree – a biblical foundation of ethics and stewardship.

DeVore’s work involves wisely using the transportation funds from the people of Pennsylvania. It involves managing in order to do the right thing at the right time.

He says, “Maintenance is about maximizing the life of roads, bridges, et cetera, and we also want to spend our dollars wisely by making improvements at just the right time. Ethically, it's how you manage

your budget, when you take certain actions to be efficient, because if you don’t have enough money, you're going to have to neglect something.”

Ethics also come in to play when considering public safety. DeVore feels the responsibility of his vocation and the duty to ensure the safety of all roadway users. In fact, safety improvements he’s made are some of his proudest professional accomplishments.

“My involvement with the Pittsburgh Tunnels Traffic Incident Management Team has helped improve safety for Tunnel staff, First Responders & motorists. We have developed coordinated responses with Pittsburgh Bureaus of Fire and EMS to incidents in the tunnels & on interstates. Our biggest safety improvement was sending crash trucks to protect incident scenes for all First Responders. We respond to over 2400 incidents yearly, so we want everyone to go home safe every day,” he says.

Good stewardship and a flexible set of engineering skills are hallmarks of Geneva engineers. As one travels the highways and roads of Allegheny County in rain, snow, or sun, it is appropriate to thank God for professionals like Ben DeVore who steward well both our persons and property.

Jul 20, 2022

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