Think fast: What does a science director who contributed to a search for life on Mars have in common with a thoroughly immersed water expert in the tunnels of New York, or a lighting specialist with an eye on the Louvre Abu Dhabi?

They are all winners in ENR New York's latest Top 20 Under 40 rising stars competition.

Ranging in age from 30 to 38, this year's honorees were chosen by an independent jury from a field of 80 contenders who either nominated themselves or were nominated by colleagues. They span a range of disciplines in the A/E/C industry, holding positions ranging from senior associates to vice presidents. Some are even at the helms of their own firms. All, however, have been successful at differentiating themselves from the pack.

As in previous years, the honorees have shown leadership skills in their profession and a commitment to give back to their communities. All have community outreach experience, and many, like last year's winners, are deeply involved in mentoring programs.

Related Links:

ENR New York's 2014 Top 20 Under 40
ENR New York's 2012 Top 20 Under 40

To qualify for this competition, nominees had to be located in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut and be under the age of 40 as of Jan. 1, 2013. They had to specify their current job responsibilities, educational endeavors and explain why they should be considered a top contender in their field. They were also asked to list and describe their community service activities.

The five judges for this year's competition are themselves distinguished in their fields. The judges, who recused themselves from judging applicants from their own firms, were asked to review contenders in terms of demonstrated excellence and leadership qualities, their involvement in the industry and their contributions to landmark or sustainable projects. They also considered factors such as industry certifications, professional licensures and/or accreditations currently held or in progress.

To learn more about the judges and the 2013 winners, read the following brief profiles.



Erich Arcement
Engineering ways to strengthen business
37, Senior Vice President
Sam Schwartz Engineering
New York

Two years after starting his career as an intern with Sam Schwartz Engineering in 1995, Arcement became a full-time junior engineer and has been steadily promoted ever since. Under his tenure as senior vice president and general manager of the New York City office, staff increased to 70 employees from 40 and revenue grew. Arcement directs large projects including logistics work for the World Trade Center reconstruction. A graduate of NYU Polytechnic with a master's degree in civil engineering, Arcement's honors include winning the Young Engineer Award in 2008 from New York State Society of Professional Engineers. A presenter at numerous conferences including an emergency evacuation conference in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Arcement has mentored high school and college students interested in engineering. Most recently, Arcement has been volunteering to assist those affected by Superstorm Sandy.



Sarika Bajoria
Making her dream come true in another country

35, Founding Principal and Architect
Per-forma Studio
New York

Bajoria grew up in Calcutta, India, and since the age of 15 dreamed of becoming an architect. At 18, she left home to study in the U.S. and began to make her dream come true, earning a master's of architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Today she has her own firm and more than 11 years of experience in all phases of design, execution and management in architecture, master planning, urban design, interior design and exhibition design. Her projects include a meditation center in New York and a high school in rural India. Currently, she is leading the design and execution of a 700,000-sq-ft hotel tower and retail development in Mumbai, India, and a 20,000-sq-ft high-end lifestyle store in Dubai. Before establishing Per-forma Studio in 2010, Bajoria worked in design leadership roles at firms including Skidmore Owings & Merrill. She has taught and juried at several institutions including the University of Pennsylvania and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and Columbia University. Bajoria has also served as elected director for Architecture for Humanity's New York chapter.



Michael J. Borda
Overseeing R&D while helping NASA with Mars project
35, Associate and Senior Geochemist
Golder Associates Inc.
Mt. Laurel, N.J.

From 2007 to the present, Borda has acted as science director overseeing research and development efforts of Golder's nano-scale, zero-valent iron practice and is working on implementation of this emerging technology at sites worldwide. With a Ph.D. in geochemistry from Stony Brook University, Borda is considered an expert in remedial design, with an emphasis in areas including in situ and ex situ engineered bioremediation and development and implementation of bench and pilot-scale studies. He is currently the group leader for his firm's Philadelphia area remediation practice, where he continues to test the capabilities of technologies. He says he is dedicated to increasing the use of sustainable solutions in the design of remedial systems, and he and his colleagues from Stony Brook and Temple University developed a novel technology in 2000 to limit the impact of acid rock drainage in the environment. His other activities include raising funds and developing initiatives as part of the Golder Trust for Orphans. His published peer-reviewed work at Stony Brook includes an article on the generation of radical oxygen species on metal sulfide minerals that, Borda says, revolutionized the understanding of acid rock drainage generation in the environment. This led Borda and a research team to Yellowstone National Park and Lassen National Park to study the geochemistry of hot springs as part of the NASA-funded astrobiology initiative to understand earth environments. It was this research that would instruct the search for life on Mars during the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission.



Jeffrey Callow
Using his talents to mentor younger staff
33, Senior Associate
Thornton Tomasetti Inc.
New York

Throughout his 12-year career with Thornton Tomasetti, Callow has managed design teams on numerous large complex projects that include The New York Times Building in New York; the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford; and the Palazzo Lombardia in Milan, Italy. More recently, Callow served as project manager for the design and construction of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where he led a team of about 15 engineers. His other industry contributions include working on software development to optimize building performance under lateral loading for Thornton Tomasetti, and he has helped spearhead the firm's building information modeling (BIM) services. A Princeton graduate with a bachelor's degree in civil and environmental engineering, Callow became a licensed New York state professional engineer in 2006 and is LEED Accredited Professional BD+C certified. His industry-related activities include serving as a judge at Pennsylvania State University for its pilot BIM thesis program. Callow "has always excelled among his peers at whichever position he's held and is a standout at the firm," says Michael J. Squarzini, senior principal at Thornton Tomasetti. "As he has grown into a managerial roll, Jeffrey is using his talents to teach and mentor younger staff." Outside of work, Callow brought his love of running to the office by organizing Thornton Tomasetti's involvement in the annual JP Morgan Corporate Challenge for several years.



Amanda Carroll
Making big strides in a short time
30, Associate/Project Interior Designer & Northeast Regional Workplace Practice Area Leader
New York

With a range of projects for major clients that include British Airways and IBM, Carroll's experience includes programming and strategic planning, space planning and design and client management. She has moved up the ranks quickly since joining Gensler in 2008 and has been promoted to senior associate since the results of this contest were determined. She is also one of the firm's workplace practice area leaders. With a bachelor's degree in interior design from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Carroll advocates for sustainable design. She is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and is a LEED Certified and licensed interior designer. At Gensler, she continues to make strides and last year was selected from more than 300 applicants to be a member of its inaugural Gensler University NextGen Class, an internal program that focuses on cultivating leaders. Carroll has been active in several organizations including CoreNet, for which she became co-chair of its Young Leaders Committee in 2012, the same year she won the New York chapter's Young Leader Star Award.



Kelly Chorba
Taking the lead in water and beyond
34, Civil Engineer
Black & Veatch
New York

Chorba's experience spans both engineering and construction management of wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities and distribution systems. She has extensive knowledge of New York Dept. of Environmental Protection (NYDEP) procedures, IT reports and presentations, applications and permits tracking, onsite inspections, verifications and project controls. Chorba serves as office engineer for the NYDEP's Water Tunnel No. 3, the city's largest capital construction project ever. With a civil engineering degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Chorba began her career as an engineer at the Black & Veatch corporate headquarters in Kansas City before relocating to New York, where she became actively involved with the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA), the New York American Water Works Association (NYAWWA), and Water for People. She is now the chair of the Humanitarian Assistance Committee for NYWEA and the chair for the NYAWWA Water for People Committee.



Amy Burpee Cordone
Putting together 'the right teams'
36, Vice President, Operations and Administration
Tishman Construction, an AECOM Co.
New York

Hired in 2000, Cordone has worked in various positions at Tishman and at the time of this contest's judging she was a vice president with responsibilities that include working with the management team to oversee departmental operations, strategic planning, the implementation of business initiatives, managing integration efforts and liaising with the parent company. She was recently promoted to first vice president of operations and administration. In that position, she will continue to lead efforts to streamline financial reporting systems and augment the firm's processes. Cordone "anticipates problems and puts together the right teams to solve them before the rest of us are even aware," says Paul Praylo, Tishman COO of finance and administration. With a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, along with a certificate of international business from Erasmus University's Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, Cordone's work includes helping project teams manage fee proposals and monitoring activities for many projects. These include Weill Cornell Medical College's East 61st Street Research and Administration Building in New York and One Court Square Place in Queens. Cordone has also completed courses in construction law, site supervision and project management at New York University. Her other interests include mentoring women in the workplace, especially new mothers, and helping them improve networking skills.


Di Capua

John M. Di Capua
Sparking a long career in several disciplines
33, Vice President
Tishman Construction, an AECOM Co.
New York

Hired at 25 by Tishman as one of the youngest certified professional engineers in New Jersey, DiCapua is said to have an aptitude for mastering a variety of construction management disciplines. He began to acquire industry-related experience even before he finished college by, for example, starting his own elevator consulting company. After receiving a bachelor's degree in engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, he began the process to become a master electrician in New York and a licensed electrical contractor in New Jersey. He attended night school to earn his master's degree in construction management and, within three months of joining Tishman, Di Capua was the electrical superintendent on the $1.3-billion Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Di Capua returned to New Jersey to become the MEP/vertical transportation project manager of Borgata's Phase 2 expansion and continued to lead the team as senior project manager for the $400-million boutique hotel tower for the Borgata's Phase 3. He was also the project director of Tishman's largest overseas project, the Eastern Mangrove Development in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Returning to New York in 2011, he currently manages Tishman's largest clinical construction project, New York University's Langone Ambulatory Care Center. "John does whatever it takes," says Bob Accardi, Tishman executive vice president. "He's willing to delve into new market sectors or move to the far side of the world to ensure our projects are delivered with the highest quality standards, on time and within budget." Di Capua also has a long history of volunteering during crises, including helping with cleanup efforts after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.



Cindy Feinberg
Breaking away to make her own way
34, Chief Operating Officer
Jacob Feinberg Katz & Michaeli Consulting Group
New York

After graduating from the University of Rochester with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 2000, Feinberg began her career at engineering firm JB&B. She says she was given the opportunity there to develop a distinctive and diversified portfolio. Her major projects include 30 Hudson Street in Jersey City; New York by Gehry, a 1.1-million-sq-ft mixed-use tower; the State University of New York at Stony Brook Bio-Technology building; and the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum. Five years ago, she teamed with Michael Jacob, Edward Feinberg and Jonathan Michaeli to found MEP engineering design firm JFK&M, where she is the majority partner. "Starting a new engineering firm at the beginning of a long recession is no simple feat," says Edward Feinberg. But, he adds, under Cindy Feinberg's leadership, the firm has grown to 50 engineers and has "been involved in large scale and highly complex projects with critical operations and in diverse industry segments." The firm has received Anchin's 2011 MWBE Building the Future award for Fastest Growing MWBEs. Feinberg's other activities include participation in the American Institute of Architects, the Association of Real Estate Women and serving as a New York state board member of the American Council of Engineering Companies. Outside of work, Feinberg has received the Women of Valor Award from St. Francis Food Pantries for her participation at soup kitchens and has run a half marathon for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals