Mackinac Bridge Authority names UP native as new Chief Bridge Engineer

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 6:11 PM EST
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ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) has named its new Chief Engineer and he’s an Upper Peninsula native. Cole Cavalieri grew up in Iron Mountain. His interest in engineering took him to downstate East Lansing to study civil engineering at Michigan State University

“I chose civil engineering because to me, it was the engineering where you could get outside the most,” Cavalieri said. “In school, I focused on structures because I was always interested in bridges and buildings.”

Cavalieri worked for two engineering firms downstate before taking a job with the Michigan Department Of Transportation (MDOT). When the chance to work for the Mackinac Bridge Authority came, he said he couldn’t resist.

“I couldn’t pass it up,” Cavalieri said. “Growing up in the U.P. and then spending time downstate, the bridge was always important to me, not only as an engineer and what it means to Michigan but, personally, it was my connection to home for all those years when I was downstate.”

Now, Cavalieri is taking the helm as Chief Bridge Engineer for the MBA. The outgoing chief engineer, Julie Neph, is retiring at the end of the year after 30 years at the MBA. Reflecting on the history of the 65-year-old structure, Cavalieri says he’s honored to be a part of maintaining the Mackinac Bridge.

“It’s very humbling to be a part of that now, and hopefully maintain this bridge for generations to come and keep tying Michigan together,” he said.