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AACE Seattle Section September 8th, 2011 Meeting
Best Western Plus Executive Inn
Seattle, WA
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AACE Seattle Section September 8th, 2011 Meeting


As one of the fast growing countries in the world, Panama is feeling the pains of growth.  While it is becoming the financial center of Central America and northern South America, it ironically is one of the least educated countries in the world per capita.  The Panamanian government has an ambitious plan to invest over US$13.6 billion over the next five years to make infrastructure improvements throughout the country, which includes a focus on schools.  The country suffers from having a small pool of skilled labor, creating a large challenge to keep people employed and avoid importing workers.

Yet, the country continues to experience increasing net revenues every year with very few strings attached.  The golden goose that nets the greatest revenue by far is called the Panama Canal.  The canal is a 50 mile stretch of waterway from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Ocean used primarily for cargo ships traveling between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.  In 2010 alone, the canal's revenues were approximately US$2 billion, easily becoming this country's most profitable export.  

As the global market expands, the need for the transport of more goods has increased between countries around the world.  Ocean-going ships are one of the most cost effective ways to move goods, but they are also a slower option compared to others.  For a shipper that wants to travel between the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, the length of the trip can easily be several weeks shorter by way of the Panama Canal.  In recent years, to take advantage of the efficiency of ships, ship builders are now building mega-ships too big to get through the locks of the Panama Canal.  The government of Panama recognized this rising problem as an opportunity to improve what was already a good thing, but to add a larger and technologically more advanced set of locks to the two existing sets.  The existing two sets of locks have now been operating continuously for nearly 98 years and are engineering marvels in their own right.

This presentation will primarily focus on the current expansion program taking place on the Panama Canal, but will also touch briefly on the history of the canal and the country of Panama.

Stephen P. Warhoe, PE CCE CFCC CCM PhD(c), has over 25 years experience in the project management and construction management fields, primarily in the areas of heavy civil, and manufacturing.  He has worked on several domestic and international mega programs including the new construction of nuclear power plants, green field airports, public school construction programs, major transportation programs, and most recently, the Panama Canal Expansion.  Over his career, Steve has developed a diverse array of project and program management expertise including construction scheduling, earned value management, risk management and construction management.  Because of his expertise in project management and project controls, Steve is also an accomplished claims and disputes resolution consultant, previously one of the primary testifying experts for one of the largest architect-engineers in the world.

Steve is a licensed civil engineer, graduating from the University of Colorado.  He has an MBA from Colorado State University, and is currently completing his PhD addressing the impacts of changes on construction labor productivity.  Steve is an adjunct professor at SKEMA Business School, located in Paris, France, where he lectures on topics in project management and project controls.  Lastly, he has been a member AACE International for nearly twenty five years, culminating in becoming the association's president during 2008 and 2009 and being recognized as a fellow earlier this year.  Steve has his own company, SP Warhoe LLC, (, and lives on Bainbridge Island.

All are welcome, so please be sure to invite any colleagues that might be interested in learning more about managing global programs such as the Panama Canal Expansion.  You must register online to reserve a seat.

AACE Seattle meets the 2nd Thursday of each month.   Each section meeting with technical presentation qualifies for .25 points toward your CCC/CCE/PSP/EVP/CEP/CFCC recertification continuing education requirement.


Best Western Plus Executive Inn
200 Taylor Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109
United States

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