Alan Krause, CEO of firm that designed new $5 billion Panama Canal, to lecture Thursday

Mackay School of Mines alumnus featured in public Discover Science Lecture Series talk

2/4/2014 | By: Mike Wolterbeek  |

Alan Krause, chairman and CEO of MWH Global, whose engineering firm is the lead on the massive $5 billion Panama Canal Third Set of Locks expansion project, will be the speaker Thursday, Feb. 6, in the College of Science Discover Science Lecture Series.

Krause, who holds a master's degree in geological engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno's Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, will present his talk, "At the Forefront of Trade, Technology and Environment: Designing the new Panama Canal."

"This is the largest, single, heavy civil construction project in the last century," he said. "The lock structures are completely new. They're the largest gates ever built, which will enable ships three times larger than those currently using the canal to pass through Panama. The trade equation is immense, with the amount of worldwide trade passing through the canal expected to double to 10 percent."

"It's exciting to see such tremendous success from a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno," College of Science Dean Jeff Thompson said. "To hear about those successes and the construction, engineering, scientific and business challenges Alan has faced with this project should be enlightening and entertaining."

Krause's lecture and multi-media presentation will include slides and videos of the construction of the new Third Set of Locks project.

"What challenges me the most are goals that most would say are unachievable," Krause said. "I get no greater satisfaction than moving myself and MWH through great step changes instead of more gradual linear improvements. Our work on the Third Set of Locks Project at the Panama Canal is an example of a project that was a reach for many giants in the engineering industry, including MWH. I marveled at how our integrated team took up the challenge of this iconic project, and applied our unique sustainable solutions to a work of such global importance."

Now in its fourth year, the annual Discover Science Lecture Series features several presentations a year and has brought some of the world's leading scientists to the Reno-Sparks community to share their knowledge. This year, the final presentation in the series features Robert Ballard, professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, underwater and maritime archaeology and most well-known for his discovery of the Titanic wreckage.

Admission is free. Lectures are held in the Redfield Auditorium in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Free parking is reserved for the event on the upper level of the Brian J. Whalen Parking Complex. For more information, call 775-784-4591 or visit the College of Science webpages at


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