FHWA’s Jim Sorenson unexpectedly passes away

The industry has lost one of its dedicated leaders.

James (Jim) B. Sorenson, senior construction and system preservation engineer for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), unexpectedly passed away on Saturday afternoon while convalescing at the Cherrydale Rehab Center in Falls Church, Va. He was recovering from scheduled surgery on June 2.

Sorenson, 59, was moved to the rehab center mid-week, and though in surgical recovery, he continued to champion the industry. Sorenson immediately began calling his staff and leveraging federal funds as he was always known to do, according to Butch Wlaschin, director for the Office of Asset Management at the FHWA’s Office of Infrastructure.

Sorenson, who was born in Montana on July 28, 1949, worked in several FHWA field and headquarters offices. In his position as a senior construction and system preservation engineer, he was responsible for technical assistance, policy development and dresearch guidance in the areas of constructoin and maintenance operations, transportation system preservation, asset managemnt and FHWA’s external quality mangement program.

Michael R. Krissoff, executive director for Asphalt Emulsion Manufacturers Association (AEMA), Asphalt Recycling & Reclaming Association (ARRA) and International Slurry Surfacing Association (ISSA), says that the the organizations couldn’t have had a better friend than Jim at the FHWA. “Jim was truly…one of the good guys,” Krissoff writes in an e-mail. “He will be missed.”

Sorenson received his bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1976 from Montana State University at Bozeman, Mont., where he had worked as an engineering assistant to the city engineer after returning from four years in Vietnam in 1971.

He is survived by three daughters, Dana, Jamie and Amber, as well as 12 grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending but are expected to take place this week.

Sorenson’s family has put together a Web site on which memories, thoughts and condolences may be shared.

Daughter, Jamie, says this site “will allow us all to share our memories of Dad. What a great tribute to a man who meant so much to many.”

The site may be accessed by clicking here.