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Connecting a Rural Community in Panama

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Theodore (Tad) Molas and Adrian Moon are participating in Bridges to Prosperity’s (B2P) Industry Partnership Program, joining a team of nine other volunteers from April 9 to 22 to build a 167 foot suspension bridge in the village of Lura, in Churuquita Grande, Coclé, Panama.


bridge building in PanamaThrough participation on this bridge project, the team is serving a rural community of 500 people lacking access to essential services—such as education, healthcare and market opportunities—that routinely become inaccessible when the Lura River floods in the rainy season.

In addition to Molas and Moon, the diverse volunteer team—made up of public, private and industry association members—includes Jeff Carlson (National Steel Bridge Alliance), Rafael Davis (Arizona DOT), Jonathan Hirschfeld (Hirschfeld Industries LP), Mike Keever (California DOT), Jessica Martinez (Colorado DOT), Curt McDonald (HDR, Inc.), Nate Neilson (Utah Pacific Bridge and Steel), John Rohner (CH2M) and Josh Sletten (Utah DOT). The team is working with Lura residents and B2P staff, who have spent months collecting local materials, preparing the site and building the substructure prior to their arrival.

The suspension bridge—crossing the Lura River—will allow approximately 200 children to attend school and not miss class when the river rises. A largely agriculturally-based economy, local farmers will be able to get their products to market year-round with this new infrastructure.

The local municipality has acknowledged the importance of this bridge and has committed to contributing nearly all of the building materials for the project. The team will be working with resident volunteers—in conjunction with B2P’s in-country staff—to continue developing the most locally appropriate construction methods and safety protocols.

Our Volunteers:

Tad Molas has 18 years’ experience in the transportation industry, with a primary focus on bridge design. He has been with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff for 16 years and is the mountain region leader of the Structural Technical Excellence Center. Molas has served as project manager and deputy project manager on several large bridge projects which required the assemblage of bridge design teams from multiple offices throughout the country.

Adrian Moon has more than 23 years of experience in public engagement, concept development and project visualization. He has been with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff for the last 19 years, currently serving as senior pursuit manager for the transportation sector. Moon has worked on a wide variety of highway and bridge projects, helping owners, stakeholders and the community-at-large conceptualize infrastructure projects and bring their visions to life.

About Bridges to Prosperity:

B2P envisions a world where poverty caused by rural isolation no longer exists. They work with isolated communities to create access to essential economic, educational and health care opportunities by building footbridges over impassable rivers. Through local engagement, from regional governments to members of each partner community, B2P is committed to a sustainable model that puts the focus on people and the opportunities that make it possible for them to thrive. In 2016, B2P will build 40 new footbridges, increasing the overall total to more than 200 bridges and raising their cumulative impact to one million people worldwide. To learn more about B2P, how you can become a volunteer or industry partner, or to support their mission visit www.bridgestoprosperity.org/what-you-can-do.



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Unknown Unknown Senior Vice President | Director, U.S. Communications