Giving props to industry employees who are making strong impressions in the opening chapters of their careers is the hallmark of ENR MidAtlantic’s Top Young Professionals competition.
After considering more than 40 entries from across the region, a panel of industry judges selected 20 winners in the contest previously known as Top 20 Under 40. Working in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, the winners were all younger than 40 as of Jan. 1. The nominees themselves or one of their advocates submitted online forms about their experience, education, career and industry leadership. The submissions also outline each candidate’s community service.
This year’s judges were: Cheryl Browne, creative and brand manager at W.M. Jordan Co.; Julie Evans, transportation systems engineer at ITS Roads; Shane Lippert, project executive at Clark Civil, a division of Clark Construction Group LLC; Brian Martin, senior associate at CallisonRTKL Inc.; and Geoffrey Pelletier, associate vice president, MidAtlantic construction services at HNTB Corp.
This year’s winners worked on high-profile projects such as the $15.5-million U.S. Capitol Exterior Stone and Metal Preservation in Washington, D.C.; the $80-million Liberty Bridge renovation in Pittsburgh; and the ongoing $1.2-billion Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, which runs from Arlington, Va. to Loudoun County, Va.
Giving back to their communities through pro bono building and design programs as well as volunteering for nonprofits that help people from all walks of life are priorities for this year’s honorees. They also volunteer to serve on industry boards and committees.
The winners of ENR’s regional competitions will be candidates for ENR’s national contest, which will determine the 2019 Top 20 Under 40 class later this year.
Childhood dream comes true for bridge specialist
Senior Bridge Engineer
The 37-year-old has been fascinated by bridges for as long as he can remember, and they have become the focus of his career. Burdette has had important technical and management roles on a variety of challenging projects in the U.S. and overseas.
As assistant project manager for the $80-million Liberty Bridge renovation in Pittsburgh, Burdette helped lead HDR’s emergency response to an inadvertent construction fire that severely damaged 30 ft of chord truss subject to substantial loads. Thanks to the project team’s concerted efforts, the project’s completion was delayed by only four weeks. HDR says Burdette’s ability to take on critical new responsibilities at a moment’s notice complements his willingness to explore new approaches to bridge construction.
Burdette’s recent work also includes the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge—the replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge—in New York state and the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge replacement on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. On both projects, accelerated bridge construction techniques were used to help speed delivery of safe, reliable structures.
J. Patrick Castelvecchi
Engineer fosters relationships to ensure clients’ operational readiness
Design Corps Manager
Burns & McDonnell
As mechanical engineer and design corps manager for Burns & McDonnell, the 37-year-old leads a 60-person multidisciplinary team that focuses on critical projects.
One of his most recent efforts can be found at Naval Station Norfolk, where communications operations that had been dispersed among eight outmoded buildings have been consolidated into a modern 163,525-sq-ft facility. Castelvecchi ensured that building systems were designed for efficiency, reliability and resilience under all conditions, Burns & McDonnell says.
Recognizing the mission-critical requirements of government and military projects, Castelvecchi works to make sure in-house knowledge and skills related to those projects are retained and shared as new work gets underway. He has established specific communications channels to capture lessons learned and make them available for future application.
Castelvecchi also continually looks for ways to inspire the next generation of science, technology, engineering and math professionals. For example, he organized and hosted a Big Brothers Big Sisters’ event at Burns & McDonnell that provided children with STEM-related activities, tours and presentations that aim to capture their interest.
Engineer brings innovation across borders and his own backyard
Crilly has literally taken engineering excellence to new heights in Mexico with Torre Koi, a 67-story, 915-ft-tall, mixed-use tower that his firm says is now the country’s tallest building.
As project manager, Crilly, 38, led structural engineering for developing and implementing a virtual outrigger system and innovative design and analysis processes.
Crilly has also led structural design for two 2014 ENR MidAtlantic Best Projects winners in Washington, D.C.—the Marriott Marquis hotel and CityCenterDC, a $700-million, 2.5-million-sq-ft mixed-use redevelopment on a 10-acre former convention center site.
Crilly has long been active in the Structural Engineering Association of Metropolitan Washington, holding several leadership positions. In 2019, he will chair the organization.
Crilly created the organization’s young members group to provide community service and professional development opportunities for young engineers. He is a regular participant in the organization’s Rebuilding Together team, which assists elderly and disabled local residents with minor repairs to their homes.
Brenden D. Frederick
Company leader aims to energize firm’s growth
Becker Morgan Group Inc.
Since joining design firm Becker Morgan Group in 2004, Frederick’s enthusiasm for engineering has had a positive influence at all levels of the company, according to the firm.
Combining project management with mentoring, he assists co-workers in building their knowledge and skills while also providing the highest level of quality for clients, the firm says. Frederick also plays an integral role in shaping Becker Morgan’s future, leading its intern development program while contributing to the firm’s long-term strategic planning.
The 37-year-old also has worked to advance the architectural profession through his involvement in local and national activities of the American Institute of Architects.
He currently is president of AIA’s Maryland chapter, and he has represented the industry during state legislature hearings on proposed construction legislation. Along with leading many of Becker Morgan’s community service events, Frederick is president of the Rotary Club of Wicomico County.
He is also a longtime member of the Salisbury Historic District Commission.
Renovation specialist preserves national landmarks
Grunley Construction Co.
Helton’s renovation project portfolio could easily be mistaken for a list of landmarks in the nation’s capital—the White House, Pentagon, Treasury Dept., Eisenhower Executive Office Building and, most recently, the U.S. Capitol. Grunley says Helton’s involvement in these and other high-profile projects demonstrate his valuable combination of business acumen and project management skills.
Helton, 39, also has built extensive experience in the intricacies of executing complicated, multiphased projects in occupied facilities without compromising operational efficiency, according to the firm.
A member of the Construction Management Association of America’s National Capital chapter, Helton has been a judge for the organization’s awards program and volunteers as a construction manager-in-training mentor. He regularly visits local public schools to advise and encourage aspiring engineers. Helton also is a construction team leader for Youth with a Mission, a Prince George’s County, Md.-based program that facilitates home renovation projects through domestic and international missionary outreach. Helton also brings his leadership and team-building background to youth sports as a volunteer coach for boys and girls basketball teams.
Published researcher advances engineering practices
Senior Project Manager
Virginia Beach, Va.
Kimley-Horn says Khambhammettu is a prolific researcher who has contributed significantly to civil and environmental engineering. Kimley-Horn says his master’s degree thesis on up-flow filtration for stormwater treatment at critical source areas fundamentally changed the way catch basin inserts operate—at a fraction of the cost of large-scale treatments. Launched by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s small business innovative research initiative, the 39-year-old’s ongoing work in this field has been published widely in peer-review journals. Complementing his investigations is a nationwide portfolio of successful water and wastewater projects and the distinction of being a recognized authority in water distribution modeling and master planning.
Facilitating knowledge sharing is another of Khambhammettu’s passions, the firm says. He regularly helps organize Virginia’s annual water and wastewater conference called WaterJAM and is vice chairman of the community advisory board for Hampton Roads’ public radio and television stations. Familiar with the challenges of maintaining a work-life balance, Khambhammettu teaches mindfulness and meditation practices through structured programs and free community workshops.
Architect develops sustainable structures and communities
As MidAtlantic region manager for STV’s buildings and facilities architecture practice, Kramer is skilled at seamlessly adapting his technical and leadership skills across a diverse range of project types, STV says. The 35-year-old recently led the design of 14 stations for Richmond’s new 7.6-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) system and then pivoted to manage renovation and expansion of two historic Baltimore public schools. Kramer is now at work on another BRT project in Northern Virginia while also overseeing STV’s facilities services for the Maryland Port Administration.
Kramer has a master’s degree in architecture from Virginia Tech and also earned an MBA from Frostburg State University while working full time. Kramer is a member of Smart Growth Network, which includes government, business and civic organizations. He also regularly volunteers at Habitat for Humanity’s Baltimore ReStore, which sells new and used furniture, appliances, home accessories and building materials.
Transportation specialist focuses on community mobility
Leven’s focus on the future of mobility began as a civil engineering undergraduate at the University of Maryland and continued at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned master’s degrees in city planning and transportation systems. As a transportation consultant, Leven, 37, has addressed issues that range from emergency evacuation of pedestrians, travel demand forecasting and multimodal planning in projects across the U.S.
In 2016, Leven was selected as one of the 33rd class of Robert Bosch Fellows, a professional development program focusing on fostering transatlantic relations through technical expertise. During an eight-month program in Berlin, she worked with German professionals on community transportation issues and conducted research on the long-term effects of connected and automated vehicles. Leven has applied that experience to develop scenario-planning to help communities prepare for that potentially transformative technology. An active member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar in Washington, D.C., Leven regularly shares her skills and experiences with high school girls as they continue their own educational and career paths.
Self-described ‘momma bird’ promotes staff development
In 17 years with Kimley-Horn, Lickliter has become an integral part of its transportation consulting services, according to the firm. Kimley-Horn says that besides managing contracts for multidisciplinary on-call/annual services, the Virginia Tech graduate has participated in $200 million worth of traffic operations and multimodal transportation, Intelligent Transportation Systems and transit design projects across the U.S.
The 39-year-old’s experience makes her a valuable resource throughout the organization on project and contract management, a role she eagerly embraces, the firm notes. The energetic Lickliter refers to herself as a “proud momma bird,” watching her team members grow and establish their own careers.
She is also a driving force behind Kimley-Horn’s women’s initiative, called LIFT (Lasting Impact for Tomorrow). Lickliter regularly hosts presentations and webinars for women employees on a variety of management and career topics. This year, Lickliterco-chairs an annual joint meeting of regional International Transportation Engineers chapters, an event expected to attract more than 700 attendees from 15 states and the District of Columbia.
Gerard (Jerry) Mrykalo
Engineering leadership influences internal and external policy
Senior Associate and Transportation Engineer
Mrykalo, 35, invests in the growth of Dewberry’s MidAtlantic traffic engineering group through programs that improve both employees and managers, the firm says.
Drawing on 13 years of industry experience, he supervises seven transportation engineers and has been engineer of record on about 35 projects that together are worth more than $1 billion. Myrkalo’s work on design-build projects such as the ongoing $1.2-billion Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project (Phase 2) and involvement on the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance Design-Build Committee has allowed him to help guide Virginia Dept. of Transportation policy for design-build procurement and advance design-build delivery, according to Dewberry.
He developed a work zone safety training program and best practices by working with leaders in other Dewberry departments, and has participated in connected and automated vehicle-related events with industry colleagues in Fairfax County.
Mrykalo’s volunteer work includes involving students in model bridge projects and organizing an annual food drive for a regional food pantry.
Strong leadership skills give lift to young engineer
Pourciau’s strong leadership and ability to complete tasks has allowed him to rise quickly to senior engineer after just five years in the industry, according to Parsons.
The 26-year-old leads a team of engineering and other technical professionals as well as subcontractors. Currently, his projects range from the more than 2,000-ft-long Southeast/Southwest Freeway in Washington, D.C., to numerous Virginia bridge projects, such as the $409.6-million design-build job for the Interstate-64 Southside Widening and High-Rise Bridge.
Pourciau has become adept, the firm says, in using tools that speed production and that improve project delivery, including employing new methods to improve CAD plan production at the Virginia Dept. of Transportation that have led to time and cost savings. He also mentors younger structural engineers in the Parsons D.C. office.
As a board member for the Northern Virginia-East Odyssey of the Mind competition, he helps organize the contest for elementary through high school students that centers on creative problem-solving. He is an active member of the ASCE Capitol Chapter and also volunteers at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in D.C.
J. Michael Riemann
Leadership and technical competency spur advancement
Becker Morgan Group Inc.
Becker Morgan says Riemann’s leadership and technical competency has helped expand the firm’s presence in Delaware, including helping it open one of its newest offices, in Newark, Del.
In his 17 years in the industry, the 39-year-old has developed strong project management skills that assist with helping clients quickly navigate the complicated permitting and approval process.
Beginning as an intern at Becker Morgan, Riemann quickly advanced. He became a full-time civil designer in 2001 and by 2016 was an associate principal. Two years later, he was promoted to principal. The firm says he is responsible for growth and development of the Newark office and the land development market sector besides managing all of its civil engineering operations in Delaware.
As a member of ACEC Delaware, Riemann has assisted with reviews related to land-use regulations and zoning ordinances. He also spent four years with the Rotary Interact Mentor Program for high school students and was named the Downtown Dover Rotary’s 2014 Rotarian of the Year.
Deep foundation engineer positions staff for success
Branch Leader/Senior Project Manager
Robinson’s focus on mentoring, identifying young colleagues’ strengths and positioning them for success has benefited GEI Consultants, the firm says. Currently, Robinson, 39, is leading her branch to meet or exceed profit goals while improving staff development and client service, GEI notes.
With more than 16 years of design and construction experience, Robinson provides engineering services and project management for geostructural designs, including micropiles, soil nails, drilled shafts and cofferdams and shallow foundations. She is co-author of a February 2015 Federal Highway Administration Soil Nail Reference Manual.
Robinson supports the mission of the DFI Educational Trust as a trustee, helping the organization provide scholarships and opportunities to work with industry leaders in deep foundations.
She also helped create a Facebook page called Underground Gals where women in geotechnical engineering and geology share advice on careers, motherhood and work-life balance. As a five-year leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, Robinson has emphasized new STEM badges, including “Think Like an Engineer,” which involved building and launching model rockets. Robinson also volunteers with her son’s Cub Scout troop.
Designer teaches best practices for building preservation
Barton Ross & Partners LLC
In his 14 years practicing architecture, Ross has worked on designs for some 1,000 projects, including award-winning master plans for the Virginia State Capitol, the U.S. Capitol and Princeton University.
Ross, 39, enjoys teaching best practices for preserving significant buildings, including writing lime-based mortar specifications for masonry repointing, providing correct details for wood window muntins or demonstrating how to properly install a wood shake roof over spaced purlins.
While working on the $60-million restoration of the Corbin Building in New York City, built in the late 1880s, Ross served as the masonry contractor’s restoration architect, assisting with replicating exterior terra cotta panels. The project received 16 design awards after its 2014 completion. Ross is currently working on the restoration of the Shady Rest Golf & Country Club, a 1740 building in Scotch Plains, N.J. According to advocacy group Preservation New Jersey, it was the first African-American owned and operated country club in the U.S.
Ross also volunteers, especially in small towns with limited resources and project opportunities.
Bridge designer brings knowledge management into digital age
Senior Associate and Business Unit Manager
A Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation inspector put Sanno to work on a bridge project during his summer internship there. The mechanical engineering major at Penn State has been designing bridges ever since.
With 16 years of industry experience, the 39-year-old Sanno was recently promoted and now is responsible for leading 45 employees.
In an award-winning project, Sanno helped design the Little Muncy Creek Pratt Truss, a 1904 truss bridge replication in northeastern Pennsylvania. The bridge is one of 30 state-owned Pratt trusses that still carries traffic. Using modern materials to withstand current traffic loads, his team maintained the I-bar (steel girder) and pin connection functionality. In emergency on-call contract work for PennDOT, Sanno is overseeing one bridge washout and four slide repair projects that occurred in September 2018.
Dewberry says that Sanno is helping to bring the firm’s knowledge management into the digital age by developing a bridge community of practice to capture critical company information. He also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and offered pro bono design and construction services of a pavilion for a local church.
Interior designer becomes youngest design manager
Tysons Corner, Va.
Sterling, 35, joined Hensel Phelps in 2006 as a tenant fit-out coordinator on the $1.7-billion Pentagon Wedges 2-5 Renovation project before being promoted to tenant fit-out manager.
Two years later, she became the firm’s youngest design manager at 24 and its first African-American woman in a management position. She was one of only four employees to work on all four “wedges” of the 4.5-million-sq-ft, design-build Pentagon project, which the firm says is the largest low-rise renovation project in history. Along with her design team, she received a certificate of appreciation from the Pentagon.
Currently, Sterling oversees coordination and communication between both inhouse and external team members for design-related activities. During a project’s design phase, she is the primary representative for Hensel Phelps with the owner.
Since taking over Hensel Phelps’ community giving program for her district, Sterling helped coordinate more than 6,200 volunteer hours and almost $500,000 of in-kind donations. She also helped expand relationships with numerous MidAtlantic charities and provided outreach to local public schools.
Proactive manager leads water/wastewater team
Southeast Water/Wastewater Section Manager/Senior Engineer
CHA Consulting Inc.
Cross-training and knowledge-sharing are high priorities for Swain, 33, who leads a team of 15 engineers, designers, inspectors and interns on complex water/wastewater projects. In her position, Swain ensures that training and professional development occur regularly for all employees, while also emphasizing work-life balance.
In her seven years in the industry, Swain has gained experience in areas such as hydraulic analyses and modeling, water/wastewater infrastructure and process design and utility design and relocation management during transportation projects. In a peer-reviewed international journal, Water Research, she is listed as the primary author of an article on biological manganese removal.
Swain is active in community service and professional industry organizations. In collaboration with Radford University, she participated in the Summer Bridge Program, which provides outreach to female high school students interested in STEM. She has also organized and participated in Habitat for Humanity volunteer days.
Drive for quality and innovation propels career
Senior Project Manager/Office Manager
Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc.
While studying at Bucknell University, the 34-year-old Threet pursued innovative research on anaerobic digestion, earning her a McKenna Foundation environmental research grant.
After graduation, Threet joined Herbert, Rowland & Grubic to design water and wastewater systems. Within two years, Threet was promoted to project manager and six years after that, at 28, she was selected to be manager of the firm’s Lewisburg office. With 12 years of industry experience, Threet now manages nine people as well as the Lewisburg office.
The Lewisburg office contributed nearly $1.5 million in revenue to the firm last year. Threet worked on such high-profile projects as system upgrades for the Milton Regional Sewer Authority and wastewater treatment plant upgrades for the Kelly Township Municipal Authority
As a member of the Pennsylvania American Water Works Association and the national Water Environment Federation, she helps advance industry knowledge while participating in community service, such as a recent tree planting hosted by the Water Environment Federation. She is also a member of her church counsel and missions committee.
Mechanical engineer paves way for complex building projects
Clark Construction Group
Umbriac, 38, is passionate about working in the field and has paved the way for some of Washington, D.C.’s most complex high-rise buildings, Clark Construction says.
In his 17 years in the industry, Umbriac has worked on many important projects, always striving to improve project-related company operations, the firm says. Managing $30 million in work on the Nationals baseball park garage led to awards from the U.S. Green Building Council and other organizations.
He is currently leading construction for The Wilson and The Elm, a $270-million, mixed-use project over an active Metrorail and light rail station in Washington, D.C.
After graduating from college, Umbriac became a field engineer for Clark on the National Institute of Standards and Technology Advanced Measurement Laboratory and was promoted to project engineer on the job. He developed the project’s quality and commissioning plan and helped lead the field development group for the past decade.
Active in community outreach, Umbriac collaborated in building a tree house for a 10-year-old brain cancer patient for the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, including a 14-ft spiral slide, firefighter’s pole and stargazing platform.
Former first responder leads by example
WG Construction Inc.
Caring for the community has been an integral part of Yergin-Doniger’s life for more than two decades.
A former emergency medical technician and crew leader for a local volunteer fire and rescue squad, the 39-year-old has applied his organizational skills to a variety of professional and nonprofit efforts.
In January, Yergin-Doniger began a term as president of the Heavy Construction Contractors Association (HCCA). Drawing on experiences in several professional and leadership development programs, he created in 2013 HCCA’s leadership development institute, called HLI. The eight-month program trains emerging and established industry leaders to manage and execute high-profile community service projects. Since its founding, HLI has donated more than $700,000 of work.
Yergin-Doniger, who was named president of his firm less than 10 years after he joined the company in 2007, also aims to use his position as head of WG Construction to advance the industry in Virginia.
In addition to collaborating with legislators to secure sustainable transportation funding, the company says he provided valuable input to the state’s newly updated road and bridge standards.
He has also delivered guest lectures to classes at George Mason University’s civil environmental and infrastructure engineering program.