PRESS RELEASE: Employee-Owned HNTB Expands Expert Tunnel Team

For Immediate Release:

October 3, 2011

Home News PRESS RELEASE: Employee-Owned HNTB Expands Expert Tunnel Team

(Kansas City, MO) – Two nationally recognized tunneling experts have joined HNTB Corporation to lead and enhance its firm-wide tunnel practice. Nasri Munfah and Sanja Zlatanic bring extensive national and international technical experience in planning, designing and managing complex underground mega projects. The firm’s growth, as well as its success in attracting such talent, is attributed in part to being an employee-owned private company, or “S corporation employee stock ownership plan” (S ESOP).

“HNTB’s culture of ownership not only ensures our team’s commitment to the firm’s continued growth, but also attracts the best and the brightest in the industry,” said Ken Graham, PE, CEO of HNTB Infrastructure. “These experienced hires will enhance and expand our firm’s ability to repair and improve existing, aging tunnel infrastructure as well as address the promise that even more impressive, modern underground structures hold to help solve pressing congestion and development challenges.”

Nasri Munfah, PE, joins HNTB as a senior vice president and chairman of tunnel services. Munfah, who also is an adjunct professor in Columbia University’s civil engineering department, has 30 years of experience in all phases of international transportation, transit and underground engineering projects. His work includes the East Side Access Project in New York, the Windsor GreenLink in Ontario, Canada, the Istanbul Strait Road Crossing tunnel in Turkey and the Central Subway Project in San Francisco. He also was the principal investigator and one of the main authors of the first tunnel design manual in the United States.

Sanja Zlatanic, PE, joins HNTB as a vice president and chief tunneling engineer. With more than 20 years experience, she has gained widespread experience managing complex transportation, transit and underground mega projects, including work as the project manager and the chief structural engineer on the No. 7 Subway Line Extension, the East Side Access Project, the Trans Hudson Express (ARC) Project, and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit Project’s Weehawken Tunnel and Bergenline Avenue Station in New York. She has extensive experience managing multidisciplinary joint venture staff, from feasibility and conceptual engineering through final design and construction.

According to a University of Pennsylvania study, S ESOP companies like HNTB create not only employee motivation and success, but also $14 billion in new savings and retirement security for workers that they otherwise would not have. This is because profits of the company flow into the ESOP (retirement) accounts of the workers. Moreover, most S ESOP employees have retirement account balances three to five times higher than the average 401 (k) or other defined contribution plans. This helps to explain why S ESOP owners like those at HNTB are so successful, as compared with most working Americans who—a recent Gallup poll found—think they will lack enough money to live comfortably in retirement.

“Employee owners like those at HNTB work smarter and harder because of their commitment and investment in the business” said Greg Klein, chairman of the board of directors of the Employee-Owned S Corporations of America. “The dedication of HNTB’s employee owners has enabled the company to grow and thrive as an industry leader — something that moves our entire economy forward.”

HNTB has in-depth experience providing innovative solutions and managing risks on tunneling projects in the highway, transit, rail, aviation and water resources markets. Projects range from small-diameter excavations to the largest machine-bored tunnel in the world. Some of the nation’s most complex underground projects have benefited from the firm’s award-winning planning, design and support services, including the Devil’s Slide Tunnel in San Mateo, Calif., the Washington Dulles International Airport tunnels and the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Replacement project in Seattle.

Munfah and Zlatanic will be located in HNTB’s New York City office.


The Employee-Owned S Corporations of America (“ESCA”) is the Washington, DC voice for employee-owned S corporations.  ESCA’s exclusive mission is to preserve and protect S corporation ESOPs and the benefits they provide to the employees who own them.  These companies have an important story to tell policymakers about the tremendous success of the S ESOP structure in generating long-term retirement savings for working Americans and their families.  ESCA provides the vehicle and the voice for these efforts.  ESCA represents employee-owners in every state in the nation.

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