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Digging Deep: STV’s Tunneling and Geotechnical Engineering Group Grows

Jan 11, 2022
Digging Deep

“If it’s on the ground or in the ground, we come in.”

That’s how Frank Pepe, Jr., P.E., STV senior vice president and national director for tunneling and geotechnical engineering, describes his team’s vital work.

After serving various clients with tunneling and geotechnical engineering services for years, STV formally established a national practice by bringing aboard Pepe last spring. A renowned expert with more than 40 years in the industry, Pepe has worked all over the world, leading projects throughout the United States and as far away as Taiwan, Turkey and Venezuela.

“We’re taking STV’s tunneling and geotechnical engineering services to the next level,” Pepe said of the group’s goals. “We are getting into a position to better support the organization and our clients, to ultimately make the firm a major player in tunneling projects nationally.”

To help reach this goal, in just a few months, the group has expanded with the addition of five new vice presidents:

STV team meeting
Frank Pepe (fourth from left) is building a first class tunneling and geotechnical engineering team at STV. Recent hires include Harshad Pandit (second from left) and Jim Morrison (third from left).

These key leaders augment the team’s existing expertise that includes legacy STV professionals like Joseph John F. Pizzi, P.E., D.G.; Vince Tirolo, P.E.; and Mrutyunjay (Jay) Vajirkar, P.E., ENV SP.

Together, the group is building upon a long-standing track record of success. STV has extensive design and construction management experience as it relates to challenging subsurface construction projects that involve tunnels, caverns and shafts. Notably, STV, in joint venture, is providing multidisciplinary engineering services for the second phase of the Second Avenue Subway on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. As overseen by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Capital Construction Company, Phase 2 will extend the existing tunnel approximately 1.6 miles and will consist of three new stations.

In the west, STV is serving as the lead designer as part of the design-build team led by the Frontier-Kemper/Tutor Perini joint venture for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation’s Purple Line Extension Section 3 Tunnels component (as well as the Section 3 Stations contract which is being led by Tutor Perini/O&G Industries). This project is part of the larger $9.3 billion LA Metro Purple Line Extension connecting the Koreatown and Westwood neighborhoods via subway. It entails the design of guideway tunnels, segmental standard tunnel linings and special seismic fault crossing tunnel linings, cross passages and connections to seismically resistant stations.

“Projects like these are part of the foundation that is helping us to become a world-class group that can deliver any type of geotechnical or tunnel engineering solution,” Pepe said. “We help solve problems. That’s why we all got into this line of work in the first place.”

For more information about STV’s rail transportation experience, visit