Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Jan 27 2021

ASCE student chapter hosting ‘Legends’ event on Jan. 27

January 27, 2021

7:30 PM - 8:30 PM


Online via Zoom


Chicago, IL 60607

The UIC student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers is hosting its fifth ASCE Legends event with M. Frank Avila on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m. on Zoom.

Avila will be discussing how he ended up in politics as an engineer with his position as commissioner for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). He also answering questions from the attendees.

Avila, the son of Mexican immigrants, was born and raised on the Near West Side of Chicago. He has a B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.S. in finance from the University of Arizona. With more than 59 years of combined experience as a professional engineer and land surveyor in Illinois, he understands the technical, environmental, and financial side of MWRD projects. He also understands the hard work and difficulties small business owners face from his experience as a minority and small-business owner.

Avila was elected to the MWRD for a six-year term in 2002 and re-elected in 2008 and 2014. One of his first jobs out of engineering school was at the MWRD, where he was inspired by the ambitious civil engineering projects that improved the health, welfare, and environment of the Greater Chicago area. In 1975, Avila started his own engineering company, Avila & Associates, Inc., but he never forgot his early formative experiences working for the MWRD. After 26 successful years in his engineering business, Frank sold his company and decided to lead a life of public service, by returning to the agency that started his career. Since his election in 2002, he helped the MWRD stay on the forefront of fiscally sound and environmentally forward policy. As former chairman of finance, he ensured that the MWRD maintains AAA bond ratings, undertook pension reform, created local jobs, and added billions to the local economy.

Avila received many awards including the following: “Citizen Engineer of the Year 2012” award from the Illinois section of the American Society of Civil Engineers; “President's Award” (2013) from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers for his work to protect the health and safety of the public and protect the quality of water in the Chicago area waterways; 2015 Water Environment Federation Public Officials Award; and the “Paul Harris Fellow Award 2016” from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

The first ASCE Legends event was held in February 2020 at UIC with a large panel of professional engineers. The monthly series started in August and the events are being hosted on Zoom. The Legends events are a national ASCE initiative designed to pair seasoned and retired civil engineers with younger members and students in a collective effort to share expertise, experiences, and wisdom as part of the national ASCE’s Diversity and Inclusion best practices.

Additional meeting information:
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 892 4710 0943
Passcode: =cv0J9?!



Date posted

Apr 27, 2021

Date updated

Apr 27, 2021