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James "Jim" Rooney
James W. "Jim" Rooney was born in Michigan, and raised in the Detroit area. He has been involved with Alaska engineering and construction projects ranging from highways, airports, water and sewer systems, marine facilities, fish hatcheries, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), and the Alaska Northwest Natural Gas Transmission System route studies. He earned an undergraduate degree in civil engineering and a masters in geotechnical engineering, both from Wayne State University. He came to Alaska in 1963, after being offered a position with the Alaska State Highway Department in Juneau. After the Great Alaska Earthquake struck Valdez in 1964, he was relocated there to participate in the reconstruction of roads and bridges and was put in charge of the design and material evaluation efforts. He quickly became familiar with the frozen ground issues in the northern region. In 1965, Jim was transferred to the State Materials Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and then worked as the State Soils Engineer. In 1969, he and Ralph Migliaccio formed R&M Engineering and Geological Consultants, Inc., and became involved with route studies for TAPS, including route evaluation from Livengood to Prudhoe Bay, evaluation of two alternate pipeline routes either through Atigun Pass or Anaktuvuk Pass, and evaluation of subsurface soil conditions for potential pipeline burial. R&M also provided complete engineering services for the design and construction of the first segment of the Haul Road (Livengood to the Yukon River). Construction activities began less than 30 days after R&M was hired, and as consulting engineer, Jim provided both geotechnical and civil engineering consultation and helped the company mobilize its staff to the project site, determine the alignment of the road, perform subsurface soil investigations, complete the design of the initial construction segments of the road, and set slope stakes for control of the initial construction. Because of the short time schedule, all design work was performed in a field office on site, and was completed within a four-month period. Under Jim's leadership, R&M continued to support Alyeska for many years on tasks such as construction support, erosion control, revegetation, visual assessment and restoration efforts. R&M also began to diversify, providing surveying, engineering, geotechnical, planning and environmental services on projects throughout Alaska from offices in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau, Wasilla and Valdez. In 1974, the firm’s name changed to R&M Consultants, Inc. James Rooney retired from R&M Consultants in 2006.