Many engineers designing transmission structures are recent graduates with relatively few years of experience, and designing these foundations is an “extremely critical part of the integrity of electric transmission design,” according to Anthony DiGioia. “It requires significant judgment gained through experience.”
But DiGioia is helping these young engineers get up to speed. His courses are meant to accelerate engineers’ learning and knowledge of the foundations for transmission lines.
This week, he is teaching the Design of Transmission Lines, Structures and Foundations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. DiGioia is the president of DiGioia, Gray & Associates, which he cofounded in 2004. DGA provides consulting services in geotechnical, structural and environmental engineering.
“The University of Madison program is an excellent and comprehensive study of transmission design principles,” DiGioia said. “It is a good venue for my course because in a short time, students can gain a very good understanding of the overall principles of the design of transmission lines, structures and foundations, and we can accelerate their knowledge on the overall interactions between the lines, structures and their foundations.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Engineering Professional Development offers more than 400 continuing education courses in engineering, design, operations, production, maintenance, management, and planning.
DiGioia will also present the Design of Transmission Line Structure Foundation at ASCE’s Electrical Transmission and Substation Structures Conference on Nov. 8-12. He has taught courses on various subjects as assistant professor of civil engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, such as soil mechanics, foundation engineering, and bridge foundation design. He is currently an adjunct professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of CMU, and a member of SAME, ASTM, and CIGRE.
DiGioia emphasizes to students that a good engineer combines expertise in creating analytical models with the extensive use of engineering judgment. “I also like to remind students that they learn by doing, so they need to get out there and dig in.”
Another trend that DiGioia recognizes is the use of prepared computer software in engineering design projects, but students still must understand the analytical basis of any program they use in design, he said.
DiGioia’s students learn from his leadership and experience in the development of structural loading criteria for the design of electric transmission lines. He has conducted extensive foundation research and has been a leader in the development and use of reliability-based design and analysis concepts as applied to transmission line structures and foundations. He manages major projects in various areas of civil engineering, including soil mechanics, foundation engineering, and probabilistic analysis and design of transmission lines and structures, and foundations.
“I have had the opportunity to be involved in extensive research with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).” DiGioia said. “I have also been able to manage many new EPRI projects involving the design and construction of foundations for transmission lines, including developing software for the Foundation, Analysis and Design (FAD) of electric transmission lines. It has been exciting to participate in the effort to prepare this software and the accompanying manuals that will establish a new standard of practice in designing foundations for electric utility transmission line structures.”
DiGioia is also a founder, past president and past chairman of the Board of Director’s of GAI Consultants, Inc., an engineering and environmental consulting firm, where he served as president for 38 years.
DiGioia always liked building things and learning how things worked as a child, so it was only natural that he would continue to pursue structural and civil engineering opportunities throughout his life. He said that when he was young, he discovered through friends that civil engineering involved the building of “just about everything that I saw around me, including highways, bridges, buildings, transmission lines, and pipelines.”
He currently enjoys the opportunity to work with and mentor the next generation of engineers, as well as his 19 grandchildren. “Hopefully, we may have a few budding engineers there,” he said.