Though he’s now one of CDM Smith’s top pipeline experts, David Tanzi started his engineering career as an engineering technician with the firm during his junior year of college. Since then, he’s gone on to lead projects and provide project management support for a wide range of services for water and wastewater treatment and conveyance facilities. He is a leader in the planning, design and construction management of pipeline projects, particularly those involving trenchless techniques. Described by clients as responsive, detail oriented and consensus-driven, David’s attention to detail and commitment to getting the job done right are monumental. During his tenure with CDM Smith, David has completed award-winning projects, given presentations around the country and continues to be a leader who clients turn to with their most complex project problems.
Why CDM Smith? I started working at CDM Smith during the summer before my junior year of college as an engineering technician. I came back the following summer and even continued working part-time throughout my senior year to finish up a wastewater management planning project I was involved in. I appreciated that I had the flexibility to take on real projects—not just minor intern tasks—and to take on responsibility so early in my career. After graduation I was approached with a job offer and started my official career here as an entry environmental engineer. Working on high-profile projects with senior employees when I was so young allowed me to prove myself and continue taking on responsibility.
What inspires you? The work I am able to do and the client satisfaction as a result of that work. CDM Smith allows me and others to work on once-in-a-lifetime projects and opportunities. Then, once you’re done with that, you get to work on yet another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Because we do these projects well and work hard, clients trust us to take on the next one. It’s like a friend or a relative trusting you with their kids, that you’ll take care of their most precious asset. Clients trust us to do the right thing from an ethical and technical standpoint which provides additional opportunities in the future.
What projects are you most proud of? I was the project manager and engineer for a project in New Jersey that replaced about 5,400 linear feet of an existing 24-inch cast iron water main originally constructed in 1904. It wasn’t the largest project, but it was technically challenging, extremely successful and won a number of local and national awards. Another project is the replacement of existing water siphons in New York City. It’s a huge project—still in construction—and required alternative methods for constructing a new large-diameter tunnel across the New York Harbor.
What’s something people might be surprised to know about you? I coached an U16 boys' soccer team that won two state cup championships in New Jersey. My sons, 15 and 17, are both involved in the sport and over the years I’ve spent about 10 years coaching and managing their teams in one form or another. At one point I was even a division director for our local soccer club.