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Member Spotlight: 

Michael Ozatalar, P.E.

Vice President and Manager of Engineering and Construction
Parsons Federal
Past President, MDSPE-Potomac Chapter

Posted August 2, 2018


Standing on Alaska’s North Slope, Michael Ozatalar watched as crawlers maneuvered eight-story high compressor injection modules into place at a new petrochemical plant.


Parsons’ ARCO-British Petroleum project had required Ozatalar – a young engineer with a degree in electrical engineering from San Diego State University – to immerse himself in the complexities of designing and engineering massive modules, manufacturing them in southern Louisiana, then loading them onto barges, shipping them through the Panama Canal and up the West Coast in time to meet a narrow weather window when installation was possible.

Following the project through every step from design to installation was both fascinating and an invaluable lesson about the practicalities of engineering and the critical importance of detailed coordination among project partners.

Ozatalar went on to work on numerous, massive projects, such as the multiyear initiative to destroy America’s Cold War stockpile of chemical weapons. 

“Those weapons were configured into projectiles, rockets and mines. We designed nine facilities to robotically dismantle the weapons and destroy the chemical agents and the explosives that were part of the munitions,” he said.

Now a Vice President of Parsons’ federal business unit, Ozatalar is responsible for professional engineering staff and services in the company’s federal business unit, which performs over $1 billion of work annually for the federal intelligence, security, defense, infrastructure and environmental markets. 

Ozatalar who spent years focusing on how to best integrate engineering with all other facets of large projects, has embraced 3D design tools, such as BIM, laser scanning, drones and virtual reality technologies.

“These are all game changers for our industry and I think we are still learning to adapt to these new tools and processes. I don’t think we have taken maximum value out of them yet,” he said. “I think the next big thing that is coming is using big data and analytics to automate or take some of the rudimentary elements out of the design process.”

Given the evolving and demanding nature of engineering, Ozatalar says it is important for engineers to build professional networks “so that you have colleagues to call upon when you have specific needs.”

Ozatalar was so committed to networking and professional development that when the Potomac Chapter of MDSPE stopped meeting years ago, he spearheaded an effort to revitalize it. He and a few others formed a committee, surveyed the membership, assembled a board and began organizing events. 

“We have had a fairly active couple of years with lots of good speakers and events,” he said. “I’m happy we accomplished our goal of getting the chapter back on a firm footing.”




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