When Anthony Yacobucci joined CEC Cleveland early in 2022, he brought with him 34 years of experience and expertise in managing transportation projects from conceptual planning through construction.
His strong technical background in structural engineering includes experience with specialized structures, such as concrete and steel arch structures, various types of movable bridges, through and deck truss structures, curved girders, and complex framing layouts. He has also garnered experience in parking structures, building complexes, toll roads, and coastal facilities. Yacobucci is a Professional Engineer in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia and is a member of the American Society of Highway Engineers, the Association for Bridge Construction and Design, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio.
Anthony Yacobucci joined CEC in January 2022.
Before joining CEC, Yacobucci served as the chief engineer of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission (OTIC). In this capacity, he was responsible for the daily operation, maintenance, preservation, expansion, and capital improvements of the Ohio Turnpike, which is comprised of 1,395 lane miles of roadway, more than 1,000 bridges and culverts, 14 service plazas, eight maintenance buildings, two administration buildings, and 31 toll plazas.
He also oversaw OTIC’s Over-Dimensional and Overweight Vehicle Permit System, Long-Combination Vehicle Permit System, overhead and underground utility crossing permits, Stormwater Management Program, as well as the development and maintenance of standard drawings and specifications. Anthony also assisted in negotiating, managing, and administering the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the maintenance personnel.
In addition to serving as chief engineer, Yacobucci served as the Program Director for OTIC’s Toll Collection System Modernization Project. The $450 million program included the complete replacement of the Toll Collection System, a revitalized Customer Service Center, and a new Unpaid Toll Processing system.
That knowledge is utilized every day as he serves as a Vice President in the civil engineering practice in the Cleveland office and as the firm’s Public Sector Transportation Lead. Yacobucci coordinates CEC’s efforts to enhance and expand the firm’s services to the public sector transportation market.
Here, he shares his journey to CEC and his progress since his arrival, reminisces about the “old days,” and looks ahead to what might be on the horizon for the future of transportation.
After having spent more than a decade as the chief engineer of OTIC, what spurred your decision to join CEC?
“I actually did consulting work for 22 years prior to my turnpike work. The early mornings and late nights while trying to maintain a quality family life took its toll. My wife and I had a kindergartener and a sixth grader. I was coaching baseball and basketball. It just wasn’t how I wanted my family life to be. The turnpike job was appealing with its consistent schedule, affording a more normal home life. My whole goal was to be there for my family and be able to raise our children. I knew I wasn’t going to retire from the turnpike. Fast-forward to late last year, our son was in medical school and our daughter committed to Division I Wright State University on a volleyball scholarship. I thought it would be a good time to get back into consulting and pursuing my passion to work with a variety of clients again.
I had heard about CEC’s reputation as a people-first company. It’s an organization clearly making changes for the betterment of its employees. I met with Dan Szwed (Chief Operating Officer), John DiNunzio (Vice President of Operations for the Cleveland office), Dustin Kuhlman (CEO), and Ken Miller (President/Chairman) and knew this was the place for me. In my conversation with Dustin, he said ‘I wouldn’t miss my daughter’s events and I don’t want you to miss yours.’ That sealed the deal for me, as I knew they shared my belief in family-first culture combined with the exciting proposition of optimizing my experience with a wide range of clients. It’s an employee-owned company and we all have a stake in the success.”
What has been your focus since your arrival in January?
“I’ve been working extensively on our Department of Transportation pre-qualifications … where we are pre-qualified and where we need to get pre-qualified. We are working with DOTs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, West Virginia, and looking to get pre-qualified with South Carolina. Transportation projects require the engagement of CEC employees in collaborative efforts in a number of areas, including bridge design and inspection, roadway engineering, survey, geotechnical services, ecological and environmental services. We have the depth and breadth of experiences to pursue the big, complex projects. I am looking to continue to establish relationships within the nationwide CEC offices, as well as with our clients. We have done so much work in a short time.”
What have been the biggest changes in transportation over the course of your 30+ year career?
“Without a doubt, it’s the advancements in technology. Thirty-four years ago, there were two computers in the office. We had to make an appointment to use one. Five years later, Auto CAD had taken hold, so we staggered our work days so every one was able to use the computers. Now we can’t do business without them. Technology is also changing things out on the road. Historically, the blinking changeable message roadside signs (warning of slowdowns or constructions, etc.) are rendered useless once you pass, because you would not see any updated information. With apps like Pennsylvania’s 511PA, drivers are alerted to traffic and road condition updates continuously and in real time via smart phones, and in-car applications like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.”
How are the technological advancements going to affect the roads of the future?
“I think some of the biggest changes we will see in the future will deal with electric cars. There’s been advancements of the ‘vehicle electrification’ in roads. In other words, electric cars will be charged as they travel along certain portions of a highway. That brings more questions: ‘How fast can a vehicle travel and still be charged? How will drivers pay for the charge? What is the life expectancy of the road and the charging system?’ Long-haul trucking companies are very interested in this concept, as it would save them both time and money. As technology changes, the associated jobs will also change. As a people, we are always adapting to change. If I were to venture a guess, the transportation industry will take the baton and keep moving ahead. And I plan on being part of that transformation for a very long time.”