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Member Awards

Walter Okitsu
Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
David Schwegel
Individual Excellence Award Recipient

This award was previously titled Classic Engineer Award. However, this year, the board unanimously voted to change the title to Lifetime Achievement Award to broaden the category and align it more with the District award. This award is presented to an ITE SoCal Section member whose career has demonstrated outstanding professional leadership. This can be in the form of noteworthy professional achievements, commitment to ITE, and the mentoring of younger engineers.

Walter Okitsu is the co-founder of Katz, Okitsu & Associates, now known as KOA Corporation, one of the largest firms specializing in traffic engineering in Southern California. He has also served as the long-time President of the firm.


Walter has served as either an officer or chairperson in ITE’s Southern California Section from 1996 through 2010, serving as Professional Engineering Liaison, Secretary-Treasurer, President, and Legislative Analyst. He served as a chairperson of Licensing & Certification in ITE’s District 6 (Western District) from 1996 through 2010. He chaired the Technical Program on behalf of ITE’s Hawaii Section for the District 6 Annual Meeting in Honolulu in 2006. He co-chaired the Technical Program for the Joint Western and Mountain District Annual Meeting based in Honolulu (but held remotely) this year and helped immensely in putting together/hosting the program. It is notable that he has attended every Western District Annual Meeting since 1993 (Las Vegas). As of 2020, 28 years in a row (among current streaks, second only to Ray Davis).


Walter gained in-depth experience in municipal traffic operations, traffic signal timing, and transportation planning working at LADOT. He founded the Registered Traffic Engineers of America to serve as active lobbyists for legislation related to licensing for traffic engineers. His papers include “Simulation-Free Railroad Grade Crossing Impact Analysis” and “Sight Distance to Prevent Right Hook Collisions on Separated Bikeways.”


He continues to teach undergraduate and graduate students at UCLA’s Civil & Environmental Engineering on the topic of traffic engineering and transportation engineering. He also serves as faculty advisor for the ITE Student Chapter of UCLA.

The Individual Excellence Award is given to an ITE SoCal member that has obtained noteworthy accomplishments in the field and has been an active member of ITE. More specifically this award honors outstanding efforts, encourages member creativity, and celebrates the achievements of ITE members serving our section.

David Schwegel has been serving as Co-Newsletter Editor for ITE SoCal since 2009 publishing articles on topics such as High-Speed Rail, Station Area Development, and the New VMT Metric. Over the past decade of volunteer effort for the Section, David has put together monthly newsletters and has worked earnestly to keep our Section members well informed with insightful articles.

He is currently working for APEX Civil Engineering providing traffic engineering services to Fresno County while meeting with the Assembly Transportation Committee Consultant, the Senate High-Speed Rail Consultant, and the Governor’s Office to discuss expediting the High-Speed Rail project to accelerate the benefits for California residents.

Prior to APEX Civil Engineering, he served as HighSpeed Rail Change Order Manager for Arcadis on CP 2- 3, and on the Regional Consulting Team on the Merced to Sacramento Section of the High-Speed Rail project for Precision Civil Engineering.

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