Rhiannon Parmelee
Engineer pursues creative solutions to difficult environmental projects


32, Senior Environmental Engineer
Highlands Ranch, Colo.

Rhiannon Parmelee has earned four promotions since starting her career at ARCADIS US Inc. as an entry-level engineer in 2006. She is the technical lead and client manager on many sediment- and waterfront-related projects. Parmelee handles client interface, leading teams on complex, multifaceted projects, developing study plans, providing field program oversight and issuing technical reports. Her key work has included the Questa Mine Eagle Rock Lake project and the Billings Refinery and Mayflower Pipeline.

"There is an expectation to bring comprehensive solutions and yet be mindful of the larger picture," she says. "As the industry has evolved, it's challenging to balance complicated drivers and varied stakeholders to find quality answers to today's tough problems."

Kelli Jo Preston
Company innovator develops new mentoring and internship programs


32, Senior Hydrogeologist, Certified Project Manager
Highlands Ranch, Colo.

ARCADIS hired Kelli Jo Preston as an entry-level employee in 2007 and soon assigned her to work on a technically challenging remediation. Based on her performance, the company asked Preston to participate in a technical-excellence training program with other top-performing staff. Preston has since provided technical support for some of the firm's most difficult, high-profile projects. In 2012, she helped develop the pilot for a company-wide innovation program. Preston built a business plan and guided creation of the program's web-based platform. The firm is using the U.S.-based program as a model at other ARCADIS companies around the world. Preston has also overseen development of an internship program and supervised five interns. Three of them eventually became full-time ARCADIS employees.

"Our industry is always looking for innovative ways to improve existing processes," Preston says. "The difficulty lies in identifying opportunities to use unproven tools without jeopardizing the outcomes."

Sara Richardson
Design-builder takes on new staff management role


38, Principal Engineer
Parsons Transportation Group

Sara Richardson began her career in transportation design during college, working part-time for the Iowa Dept. of Transportation. She helped with construction inspections, materials testing and evaluated bridge scour, eventually working in IDOT's bridge-design group before moving to Colorado. At Parsons, Richardson analyzes hydrology and hydraulics for roadways and light rail systems on large design-build projects, including the I-25 Transportation Expansion project (T-REX). She also worked on E-470 Segment IV in Denver; I-15 NOW in Ogden, Utah; and Pioneer Crossing in American Fork, Utah.

Recently, she has transitioned to the business operations manager role for the Denver Parsons Transportation Group, where she manages staffing and general office operations for the 45-person team.

"With the fast pace of innovation, young professionals are challenged to adapt to new design methods, project delivery models and construction techniques," she says. "That involves constantly changing software, project organization and management while still applying fundamental engineering skills."