They are top performers in their fields—expanding how their employers confront challenges such as infrastructure resilience, changing software and technology, project efficiency, public-private project management and creating a more diverse workforce.

ENR New York’s Top Young Professionals for 2019 also are organizational leaders, delivering major projects, cultivating innovative practices, taking charge of teams and internal initiatives and mentoring junior colleagues.

The Top Young Pros were selected by a diverse panel of judges (who recused themselves where there was a conflict of interest). Bruce D'Agostino, now retired, was president and CEO of Construction Management Association of America for two decades. Danei Cesario is an associate at Array Architects and the diversity chair of the American Institute of Architects' New York chapter. Aine O'Dwyer is CEO of Enovate Engineering. The latter two are from the 2018 cohort of Top Young Pros.

Those selected in the following pages are working at many of New York and New Jersey’s largest, most complex and important projects—including such multibillion-dollar efforts as the LaGuardia Airport renovation and the East Side Access transit link, both in New York City. Their achievements also extend nationally and as far as Malaysia and Israel.

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ENR New York's 2018 Top Young Professionals

This year’s group of young professionals also are deeply dedicated to supporting and serving many organizations across the architecture, engineering and contracting markeplace, but they also find time to benefit local community charities, civic groups and religious institutions, or to volunteer their time and design and construction expertise to improve the quality of life for many around the world.

Whether they’ve spent a large portion of their careers so far at one employer or have opted to create their own companies or non-profits, these industry notables signal a bright future for the design and construction sector in the New York and New Jersey. region. Meet this year’s Top Young Professionals:


Jeffrey Benjamin AlperJeffrey Benjamin Alper
Engineer simplifies problems
36, Senior Associate
Severud Associates
New York City

With expertise in designing arenas, airports and high-rise construction, Alper has tackled big renovation jobs such as the $2.5-billion 1568 Broadway project in Times Square and Delta’s Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport. He now is a project manager, focused on complex structures and solving difficult design problems by simplifying them into smaller and more manageable tasks.

Alper also is quality control officer for the special inspection services group and has written numerous articles on technical solutions. He applies his skill through involvement with the Structural Engineering Association of New York, the N.Y.C. Code Revision Committee, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the ACE Mentor program and Engineers Without Borders.

John BarryJohn Barry
Melds engineering and the arts

37, Vice President
Thornton Tomasetti
New York City

On his first project at Thornton Tomasetti, Barry designed the porte-cochere drop of canopies and convention center glass wall at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. He has since worked on boutique structures and billion-dollar jobs alike. Current assignments include serving as project manager on Terminal B at LaGuardia Airport and technical lead for master plan engineers working on Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road’s 179-acre Sunnyside Yards. His skills include integrating advanced design software into projects.

Barry also has designed several off-Broadway building sets, including a rain-making pump system for a production of “The Night of the Iguana.”

Sofia BergerSofia Berger
Infrastructure pro

39, Senior Vice President
Louis Berger
New York City

Across five continents, Berger has absorbed every nuance of infrastructure development—technical, financial, social, economic and various other facets of these projects. Armed with a civil engineering degree, a Harvard Business School MBA and years of construction and management experience, she now applies her knowledge to public and private U.S. transportation projects. The engineer focuses on P3 projects and innovative efforts like a driverless vehicle transportation system in Jacksonville, Fla.

Berger helps clients plan better for the impact of natural events on assets. She also has dedicated time and energy to industry groups such as the International Road Federation, the Women’s Transportation Seminar, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association and the Berger Charitable Foundation.

Ethan CottonEthan Cotton
Global perspective

33, Associate
LERA Consulting Structural Engineers
New York City

Cotton’s structural engineering career began in 2011 at LERA as a design engineer. He later added pre-stress concrete special inspector and ACI concrete construction special inspector certifications, and earned a promotion to associate in 2015. He has been on projects including the Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center at Columbia University; a mixed-use high-rise in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; the M3M Golf Estate in Gurgaon, India; and the United Nations capital master plan.

Cotton’s volunteer endeavors also span the globe; he has led an Engineers Without Borders NY chapter program to design and build a 30-ton, 1,600-sq-ft maize storage facility in Rubaya, Rwanda.

Sony DavidSony David
Top demolition and site engineer

39, Associate
Langan Engineering & Environmental Services
Parsippany, N.J.

From launching Langan’s national demolition practice in 2009, to taking the lead on design-build projects in New Jersey, David has spent much of his 15-year career at the firm executing complex assignments. With specialties in site, civil, demolition and water resources engineering, David manages large, multidiscipline projects with teams of five to 25 staffers on high-profile jobs such as the Giants Stadium demolition. He contributes to Langan initiatives including firmwide training on cost estimating and its mentorship program.

David’s professional service contributions include working with NAIOP New Jersey’s programs and education committee, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the ACE Mentor Program.

Ania DeVitaAnia DeVita
Company leader
39, Cost Control Manager
AECOM Tishman
New York City

A native of Poland who learned English in New York working for Citibank and studying college courses by night, DeVita found her place in the industry with a role on the Goldman Sachs headquarters for Tishman Speyer in 2007. She moved to other signature projects such as 200 West St. and 4 World Trade Center, and today serves as senior cost control manager for AECOM Tishman on 3 World Trade Center.

DeVita developed well-regarded tools for tracking guaranteed maximum price contracts and a system for standardizing trade submissions, She trains junior employees on cost control and the importance of financial discipline on projects. DeVita also works to benefit the community, including fundraising for the Jewish Heritage Museum and supporting the Polish Cultural Foundation.

Guillermo Diaz-FanasGuillermo Diaz-Fanas
Expert on earthquakes, diversity

30, Senior Geotechnical Earthquake Engineer
New York City

Earthquake engineering is Diaz-Fanas’ specialty. He has served as a deputy project manager on geotechnical, structural and earthquake engineering projects—supporting work at critical Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dams in Tennessee, the U.S. National Institutes of Health headquarters and New York’s Second Avenue Subway project.

Beginning his career in his native Dominican Republic, which included work on Santo Domingo’s second subway line, Diaz-Fanas came to the U.S. as a Fulbright Fellow before joining WSP. His volunteer work focuses on earthquake awareness and industry diversity, particularly inclusion for marginalized groups. Qu-AKE, a nonprofit he co-founded, empowers LGBTQ+ individuals in civil engineering.

Joseph GoodJoseph Good
Leads on environmental projects

34, Senior Project Manager
New York City

Learning is core to Good’s professional growth. He has built deep expertise in environmental remediation, presenting papers at conferences on an urban remediation specialty and developing a technical literature review group. At Langan he is a senior project manager, working on major jobs such as Hudson Yards, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and MetLife Stadium.

Good also is active in the American Society of Civil Engineers, God’s Love We Deliver, Xavier Mission, New York Cares and the Caldwell Temple Soup Kitchen. While a graduate student in 2011, he was part of a team that helped clear 360,000 tons of silt from homes damaged by the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Heather GroffHeather Groff
Interiors and management pro

39, Director, Interior Architecture & Design
Ware Malcomb
New York City

Groff’s specialty in interiors architecture has taken her from San Francisco —where clients ranged from dot-coms to retail giants like L’Oréal—to New York City. She brought her experience in 2014 to Ware Malcomb’s new location in Manhattan, where she now directs interior architecture. Groff leads its design, management and operations while also contributing greatly to the firm’s workplace strategy and mentorship programs.

She’s active with professional organizations including the International Interior Design Association and the International Facility Management Association. Groff also gives time to community groups such as Hope for New York and CSA, a farm co-op organization.

Kevin HickeyKevin Hickey
Expert on water systems

36, Associate Vice President, Principal Engineer, Water/Wastewater Technical Group Leader
CHA Consulting
Syracuse, N.Y.

As an engineer dedicated to developing sanitary and efficient water and wastewater systems, Hickey has become a key CHA executive on projects such as an evaluation of water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure as part of a planned upgrade of John F. Kennedy International Airport. Hickey leads a team of 40 as group leader for CHA’s water and wastewater technical group. He also has gained recognition as an industry leader on drinking water supply, treatment, distribution, storage and hydraulic modeling, and was elected to the Water Environment Federation’s Water Leadership Institute last year. 

His work in the industry and community includes service as a volunteer adjunct professor of environmental engineering at Clarkson University and working with Meals on Wheels in Potsdam, N.Y.

Dana KfirDana Kfir
Military and civilian credentials

34, Project Manager
Enovate Engineering
Cranford, N.J.

When Kfir arrived in the New York City area in 2014, she already was an accomplished project manager and executive, rising to the rank of major in the Israel Defense Forces and managing design and construction of jobs at its central command, including as lead on master planning and execution on mission-critical assignments.

Kfir brought those skills to the U.S. as an engineering manager at Conti Professional, where she contributed on scoping, feasibility studies and early design on the $2-billion Anaklia Deep Sea Port in the Republic of Georgia. In 2018, she helped found Enovate Engineering, and she remains active on industry initiatives such as Professional Women in Construction and the Future City 2019 engineering competition.

John KrukJohn Kruk
Drives NYC transportation projects

36, Project Manager, Resident Engineer & Technical Principal
New York City

Kruk has held key roles on major projects in New York City, making his way into senior roles as project manager, resident engineer and technical principal. His first effort on the Fulton Street Transit Center involved four major projects over three years across heavy civil, building and architectural finish work. This was followed by a rehab of the Metro-North Railroad Harlem River Lift Bridge, upgrades to nine city bridges including the 59th Street Bridge, and extensive interior improvements at Grand Central Terminal. Along the way, he has led teams of up to a dozen inspectors and six project managers, acting as a mentor to junior staff and winning company performance awards.

Kruk has worked on numerous home rebuilding efforts after regional storms and has volunteered and raised funds for Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Shravya MarkandeyaShravya Markandeya
Cutting edge planner

34, Senior Engineer
Michael Baker International
White Plains, N.Y.

Transportation design is fast evolving. Markandeya applies her experience on a wide variety of projects—such as the George Washington, Bronx Whitestone, RFK and Henry Hudson bridges, as well as work at JFK, LaGuardia and Stewart airports—making an impact with her forward-thinking mindset.

She has specialized in engineering and planning with a focus on transportation management plans, artery and intersection traffic analyses, feasibility and traffic impact studies, traffic signal design and control devices, safety systems, and work zone traffic control.

Her professional contributions entail work with the American Council of Engineering Companies, where she completed its leadership institute program, and with the Transportation Research Board, where she has served on various committees.

Mike MartelloMike Martello
Accomplished bridge engineer

32, Professional Associate
New York City

Two years into his decade at HDR, Martello started a four-year stint as chair of the bridge and structures technology group that serves as a resource helping the firm’s bridge engineers solve design challenges. He has been an in-house technical leader contributing to big jobs such as the replacement Tappan Zee Bridge and the Durham Orange light rail transit project in North Carolina. In 2017, Martello became group lead for HDR’s New York-New Jersey bridge structure section. He manages 45 engineers on a team he has helped stock with experts in BIM, and geotechnical and wind analysis.

Beyond the firm, Martello shares his knowledge as a graduate structural engineering professor at Manhattan College, his alma mater, and as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Lisa MartuscielloLisa Martusciello
Roads, parks, public works pro

34, Senior Engineer
New York City

With her work on roadways, parks and public works, Martusciello has civil engineering experience across the board. Her résumé includes work for industry firms such as HDR, HAKS and STV, and a client list that includes New York City’s departments of transportation, design and construction, and parks and recreation as well as the city’s Economic Development Corp. After joining STV in 2017, she contributed to various jobs such as design work on the Amtrak Gateway Hudson River rail tunnel and as senior project engineer on a $23-million road reconstruction program on Staten Island.

As a top water and sewer civil engineer, she also supports groups like the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Women’s Transportation Seminar and the ACE Mentor program.

Guinevere NgauGuinevere Ngau
National projects manager

37, Associate Vice President
New York City

Major transportation projects are a prominent part of Ngau’s résumé. She has handled engineering, financial management, scheduling and controls on big jobs such as the $4-billion, two-span replacement for New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge, the $3-billion Gordie Howe International Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, and a $1-billion project to replace 558 structurally deficient bridges in Pennsylvania. Her experience spans leadership on public-private partnerships and coordinating dozens of design subconsultants.

Ngau also has brought her dedication to groups like the Society of Women Engineers and the Women Builders Council as well as to the Blessed Sacrament Parish Choir in New York and the St. Basil’s Music Ministry in Toronto.

Andrew NigroAndrew Nigro
Boosting NYC rail projects

35, Construction Manager
The LiRo Group
Syosset, N.Y.

One of New York City’s most ambitious transportation projects has Nigro’s fingerprints on key elements. After starting out as a bridge designer, he joined LiRo as a project engineer, and in 2010 began work on the MTA’s $10-billion East Side Access project.

While earning numerous promotions, Nigro has taken on multiple East Side Access assignments ranging from $5 million to $100 million. With current and upcoming contracts, he will have served as construction manager on all three of its mainline tunnel approach structures.

Off the clock, he’s an active volunteer, assisting the development of minority, women and veteran-owned businesses; helping to guide finances for his church and his residential cooperative board; and partnering with an aid group for needy children in the Americas.

Alexandra SchmidtAlexandra Schmidt
Industry leader

38, Senior Project Manager
Turner Construction
New York City

Leadership is a hallmark of Schmidt’s 17-year industry career. She joined Turner in 2004, contributing quickly to megaprojects such as Yankee Stadium and JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK Airport as well as an extensive rehab of the historic New York Times building. She currently leads a team of nearly three dozen entry- and mid-level engineers and superintendents on interior renovation projects, including a $600-million effort on Citigroup’s headquarters.

Schmidt’s leadership extends to hosting a bimonthly lunch-and-learn series for her team. She also contributes to in-house employee activities, to industry groups such as the U.S. Green Buildings Council and the ACE Mentor program; and in her community as a neighborhood association trustee.

Anita Woolley NelsonAnita Woolley Nelson
Industry growth story

38, Senior VP, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
New York City

As AECOM has grown into an $8-billion construction services business, Woolley Nelson  has led development and implementation of its strategic plan and been a key contributor to operations management, global expansion, major acquisitions, staff development and performance standards. She has served in five regions globally, opening an Abu Dhabi office. For the $8-billion, 18-million-sq-ft CityCenter project in Las Vegas, she managed contract compliance, cash flow projections and staffing.

Woolley Nelson took her current post in 2014 and oversees 50 professionals. She also serves on the Women Builders Council board and spearheads the Women Build New York event to promote women’s advancement in construction.

Connie ZambianchiConnie Zambianchi
Building a new firm

34, President and Founder
Amaracon Testing and Inspections
Hicksville, N.Y.

A veteran of STV, Conti Construction, RC Dolner and Materials Testing Group, Zambianchi took her industry experience to a new level in 2015. She founded Amaracon Testing & Inspections, relying in part on her credentials as a professional engineer with a master welding certificate and master special inspections license.

With projects that include an open road toll project at the Whitestone Bridge, she’s built out the business to include a high-tech testing lab, a digital reporting matrix and a team of inspection professionals.

Zambianchi also contributes to industry endeavors, such as the ACE Mentor Program and Professional Women in Construction, and she mentors Manhattan College engineering students.

CLARIFICATION: A prior version of this piece did not include information about the judges who selected this year's Top Young Professionals. Their names, titles and companies have now been added.