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Zia Alavi Name: Mohammad "Zia" Alavi
Degree: Ph.D. 2014
Hometown: Reno, NV

Bio: Mohammad "Zia" Alavi is PhD candidate of Civil Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). He joined the University of Nevada, Reno in spring 2010. Earlier, he gained his master degree in Civil Engineering from Sharif University of Technology, Iran. His current field of research spans three main areas: advanced characterization of pavement materials; computational mechanistic model for pavement response under thermal and traffic loads; and sustainable road materials, design, and construction techniques. He gained his interest in the field of pavements/materials from his father who is a successful road engineer in their home country, Iran.

For his doctoral research, he has been working on development of a comprehensive model for thermal crack initiation in asphalt pavements. This project involves advanced asphalt mixture testing, computational modeling, and software development. Furthermore, he worked on additional projects in collaboration with other universities and institutions. These research projects were directly related to the characterizations of recycled asphalt pavement materials and warm asphalt mixtures.

Based on the findings from his research, he has been able to publish several papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented the findings at several noticeable conferences and meetings. He has been awarded scholarships for the International Outstanding Graduate Student and distinguished international student for the academic year of 2013-2014.

This past academic year, he was the main instructor for the undergraduate Civil Engineering course, "Construction Materials". Currently, he is working on completing his doctoral degree requirements. Zia is looking forward to continuing his research and his professional career in academia.


 Name: Alvaro Ulloa Calderon
Position: Project Engineer
Degree: Ph.D. 2013
Hometown: Costa Rica

Bio: Alvaro is a project engineer at Dynatest Consulting, Inc. He has been involved in several pavement non-destructive testing evaluation projects. He has conducted pavement evaluation involving structural performance (using Falling Weight Deflectometer and material characterization), functional performance (using Roadway Surface Profiler and Friction Tester devices), and pavement management and design.

Alvaro is bilingual, English and Spanish, having gained the Civil Engineering Post Baccalaureate Licensure in Civil Engineering at the University of Costa Rica, followed by a Master of Science in Pavement/Materials and Doctor in Philosophy in Civil Engineering from University of Nevada, Reno.

Alvaro has been involved in pavement/material engineering since 2006. His background includes state-of-the-art pavement material characterization, tire-pavement interaction, Mechanistic-Empirical pavement design, pavement modeling using dynamic viscoelastic analysis, and geotechnical engineering. He has published over 10 journal papers, and research reports, along with several conference podium presentations.

Alvaro was also an instructor at the university level, and he is currently providing pavement engineering and deflection backcalculation training (Dynatest Elmod 6.0), in both English and Spanish, for cities, research centers, and consultant companies throughout United States and Latin America.


Jose Corrales Name: Jose Corrales
Position: Graduate Research Assistant, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Degree: M.Sc. 2010
Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica

Bio:After graduating from UNR, Jose worked for two years at the National Laboratory of Materials and Structural Models in Costa Rica, performing research under Dr. Luis Loría (UNR alumni).

Since 2013, he has been working as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, pursuing a doctorate degree in Pavements.


Cristian Diaz Name: Cristian Diaz
Position: Research Engineer at Probisa-Bitumix CDI
Degree: M.S. 2013
Hometown: Santiago, Chile
LinkedIn Profile

Bio: Mr. Diaz is a Research Engineer at Probisa-Bitumix (Company) Center of Research and Development (CDI) in Chile. He has been involved in several applied research projects for CDI and for the National Road Laboratory (LNV). He is involved in Performance Grade (PG) System implementation for the Company, use of Reclaimed Asphalt Pavement (RAP) in hot mixtures and use of Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) technologies. He is also in charge of various R&D tasks on asphalt binder and mixture for the Company.

Mr. Diaz is bilingual, English and Spanish, having gained the Civil Engineering Post Baccalaureate Licensure in Civil Engineering at the University of Chile, followed by a Master of Science in Pavements/Materials in Civil Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Mr. Diaz has been involved in pavement/material engineering since 2003. His background includes soil, asphalt binder and mixture characterization, quality control (QC) program, management of pavement division. Mr. Diaz was also in charge of upgrading asphalt mixtures standards for Chilean state.


Adam Hand Name: Adam Hand
Position: Vice President Quality Management, Granite Construction Inc.
Degree: B.S., 1993; M.S., 1995; Ph.D., 1998
Hometown: Reno, NV
LinkedIn Profile

Bio:Dr. Hand has B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering and is a registered Professional Engineer in Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon. He has been with Granite Construction for about 15 years serving in various roles and is currently the Vice President of Quality Management.

Prior to joining Granite, Dr. Hand was a Civil Engineering Professor at Purdue University and a Research Faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno. He actively serves the industry and community via numerous technical committees, advisory panels/boards, and board of director appointments including several non-profits.


Luis Loria-Salazar Name: Luis Loria-Salazar
Position: General Director, Transportation Infrastructure Program, University of Costa Rica
Degree: Ph.D. 2011
Hometown: Cartago, Costa Rica
LinkedIn Profile

Bio: Dr. Loria-Salazar earned his master's degree in pavement/materials and Ph.D. in civil engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. Currently, he is the Director of the Transportation Infrastructure Program of The University of Costa Rica. The program has 90 employees and 40 assistant and performs materials/pavement research, pavement evaluation, road safety analysis, bridge evaluation, full scale testing, all the Costa Rican technical specs. The research performed includes various scale ranges from nano-scale to full scale testing in the PaveLab. The major full scale pavement experiment in the Latino American region.

Currently, he has around 80 papers published in various topics as pavement maintenance, pavement preservation techniques, reflective cracking, recycled asphalt pavement, thermo characterization of asphalt, modified asphalt binders, and pavement design. Also, he is leading the development of the empirical-mechanistic pavement design guide for Costa Rica.


Name: Fady Mehanna
Position: Director of Project Engineering at Paramount Petroleum
Degree: M.S. 2001
Hometown: Reno, NV


Name: Kandiah Pratheepan
Position: Geotechnical/Pavement Engineer
Degree: M.S. 2008
Hometown: Jaffna, Sri Lanka


Selvaratnam Sanjeean Name: Selvaratnam Sanjeevan
Position: Staff Engineer, HVJ Associates Inc.
Degree: M.S. 2013
Hometown: Reno, NV

Bio: Selvaratnam works at HVJ Associates, Inc. as a Staff Engineer. His areas of expertise include geotechnical investigation, pavement design, pavement analysis, foundation engineering, slope stability and seepage analysis, earth retaining structures.


Mena Souliman Name: Mena Souliman
Position: Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Tyler
Degree: Post-Doctoral Scholar, 2012-2014
LinkedIn Profile


Sathanathan Thileepan Name: Sathanan Thileepan
Position: Sr. Geotechnical/Structural Engineer, P.E., Houston Offshore Engineering
Degree: M.S. 2010
Hometown: Houston, TX

Bio: Sathanan came to the University of Nevada, Reno from Sri Lanka to pursue an M.S. in civil engineering through pavement/material engineering program. He has been practicing as a civil engineer for over 4 years, currently in the oil and gas industry.


Mahendran Thivakaran Name: Mahendran Thivakaran
Position: Transportation Engineer, TxDOT
Degree: M.S. 2004
Hometown: Jaffna, Sri Lanka