ENR New England's 2019 Top Young Professionals
As New England’s design and construction market continues to hum along at a high pace, young professionals are finding ways to make their mark in the region.
This year’s diverse group of honorees display not only exceptional levels of professional and technical aptitude, but they are also committed to giving back to the industry and to their communities.
In addition to amassing a portfolio of work that includes more than 2,000 buildings, Benjamin Markham of Acentech helped develop a predictive listening technology that allows architects, engineers, construction managers and end-users to hear how design decisions will affect the sound in a space. Markham was also recently named to ENR’s national Top 20 Under 40 list.
Sarah McGillicuddy, Markham’s colleague, is also a New England Top Young Professional this year. The marketing and business development director has volunteered on several boards, including serving as past president of the Society for Marketing Professional Services Boston.
Xinan Jiang left China to attend Northeastern University, learning English while laying the groundwork for becoming a virtual design and construction expert at Structure Tone.
Through her work on multi-use trails, Stantec’s Aleece D’Onofrio helps people discover new ways to explore their communities.
AECOM’s Chris Chaffee is helping New England departments of transportation research the future demands on infrastructure for connected vehicles and automated vehicles.
Eudad Gonzalez won Turner Construction’s first National Diversity and Inclusion Award for his commitment to ensuring that people of different backgrounds and points of view are valued at the company.
Lynne Bregman of Thornton Tomasetti is involved in programs that focus on the empowerment of women in the firm.
Read on to learn more about this impressive class of future leaders in the region.
Proven leader in utility work
Vice President, Industry and Energy Group Operations Manager
CHA Consulting Inc.
South Burlington, Vt.
Since early in his 14-year career at CHA, Andriano has held leadership roles. On his first assignment, he quickly emerged as the leader of the CHA team’s work with National Grid to implement a reliability improvement program at the electric utility. He helped determine the design criteria, oversaw the design process, coordinated the schedule with the work plan management group and worked with construction crews to ensure an accurate final product. By 2010, the electric utility work at CHA had grown to the point that it required a group dedicated to supporting that work.
Andriano became CHA’s first director of technical services for utilities. Under his leadership, the group grew to more than 70 engineers, project managers and designers throughout the East. In 2015, Andriano was promoted to vice president and operations manager for the firm’s industry and energy (I&E) group. The I&E group generates over $40 million in revenue annually. In his current role, the 35-year-old is responsible for the group’s resource management. He ensures technical staff are effectively utilized, works with project managers and technical leaders to staff projects and monitors overall group staff levels. Additionally, Andriano helps provide financial oversight and coordinates annual processes such as performance appraisals, career development discussions and budgeting.
Helps others foster their own talent
Bregman, 36, has amassed a diverse professional skill set while helping others develop their own talents. She spent the first four years of her career in the Atlanta office of CH2M Hill, working initially with its government facilities and infrastructure group. She then moved to the firm’s water business group in Chantilly, Va. Bregman next joined Hinman Consulting Engineers, a protective design-focused firm in Washington, D.C., where she worked her way to associate managing engineer. For three years, she managed projects for federal agencies such as the Dept. of Defense as well as private clients.
In 2015, Bregman became a senior project engineer in Thornton Tomasetti’s Weidlinger Protective Design Practice in D.C. She was promoted to associate in July 2018 and soon after moved to the firm’s Boston office. She was on the young member’s board of the Structural Engineers Association of Metropolitan Washington for five years. Bregman is actively involved in the Society of American Military Engineers at the local and national level and helped to develop and deliver a society-wide webinar on the incorporation of protective design on DOD projects while limiting impacts to design and construction. She was selected as one of ten D.C.-area professionals for SAME’s 2017 Leadership & Mentoring Program, a year-long program during which SAME fellows and AEC leaders in the government and private sector offer mentorship and leadership advice. Bregman is also involved in programs at Thornton Tomasetti, including Women@TT, which is focused on the empowerment of women in the firm.
Leader in connected vehicle and automated vehicle infrastructure
New England ITS Lead
As AECOM’s New England intelligent transportation system (ITS) lead, 31-year-old Chaffee manages projects across the region and is also responsible for all the firm’s ITS business development in the region. Chaffee says he is drawn to projects involving new technologies with practical transportation benefits. For example, he is working with the New England Transportation Consortium, conducting a research project for connected vehicle/automated vehicle cross-border issues in New England. The report presents a road map of initiatives for the region so it may best prepare for these new technologies. The project involves interacting with stakeholders from all six New England states and facilitating a workshop for 30 individuals.
Chaffee also worked with the New Hampshire Dept. of Transportation to develop concepts for connecting New Hampshire’s traffic signals with its Transportation Management Center. Currently, signal technicians are required to travel, sometimes multiple hours, to traffic signals to troubleshoot issues in person. This project defines the processes necessary to connect traffic signals so that troubleshooting can be handled remotely.
Chaffee serves as president of the New England Intelligent Transportation Society, where he organizes and participates in educational exchanges in the region. He is also involved in the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and Young Professionals in Transportation. This past year, he volunteered to set up connected vehicle training for the Massachusetts ITE Chapter’s annual meeting.
Committed to the community
D’Onofrio, 34, has displayed both a professional and personal commitment to the communities she serves. In her role as a senior transportation engineer, she is driven by her ability to design facilities that give people the opportunity to explore their communities in new ways. Her experience, all with Stantec, includes technical design for roadways, shared-use paths/trails and utility improvement projects.
Her project experience features an extensive list of trail system projects in Massachusetts, including rail trail projects in Swampscott, Tewksbury, Fall River, Methuen, Fitchburg and Leominster.
Judges were impressed by “her community service, both within the industry and within her community.” D’Onofrio has been particularly active in the Boston Society of Civil Engineers Section, including serving on its newsletter editorial board and contributing 13 articles to local and national engineering publications. Her community service activities include volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans to rebuild a neighborhood destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; volunteering for the Dept. of Children and Families; and being a camp counselor at Camp to Belong – Massachusetts, which aims to reunite siblings separated by the foster care system. In 2013, she was honored as the American Council of Engineering Companies’ national Young Professional of the Year.
Strives for diversity and inclusion
Senior Project Manager, Special Projects Division
Turner Construction Co.
Gonzalez, 38, has displayed a commitment to promoting an inclusive environment and ensuring that people of different backgrounds and points of view are valued at the company. Last year, he was the first recipient of the company’s National Diversity and Inclusion Award during Turner’s national community and citizenship workshop. “Eudad is a true ambassador of diversity and inclusion,” says Rubens Boursiquot, who serves with Gonzalez as a member of Turner’s Boston inclusion focus group. “He not only believes in the fundamental benefits of diversity and inclusion—it’s ingrained in his personality and shows every day in his character.”
Turner project executive Van Duros, who worked with Gonzalez on the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center project in Holyoke, says Gonzalez led the way in getting the team involved with a local student group that was interested in learning about possible careers in engineering and construction.
“Some of these kids came from depressed areas, with not the greatest of support systems to help them,” he adds. “There is no doubt in my mind that his energy and leadership in our getting to know these kids changed the trajectory of several of their lives.”
Gonzalez was also instrumental in launching the ACE Mentor Program for Turner’s Boston business unit. His efforts in community outreach extend to the Caribbean as well as Central and South America. He was one of the first of Turner’s staff to participate in Bridges to Prosperity—an organization that provides isolated communities access to essential health care, educational and economic opportunities.
Chinese native develops VDC
Jiang was raised by her grandfather in China after her mother died when she was a child. With few resources, she worked her way through school to earn her undergraduate degree in civil engineering. She wanted to pursue her education further and applied to engineering schools in the U.S. Speaking little English, she moved to Boston to attend Northeastern University with no family, friends or connections. Despite these challenges, Jiang worked her way through school and taught herself English along the way.
During an internship, she began working in building information modeling, which soon became her professional focus. Jiang didn’t enjoy sitting at a desk, conceptually building. Wanting to be in the field, she found a job as a project engineer, which eventually led to a job at Structure Tone.
With her understanding of how building infrastructure works in the field, Jiang is able to see how all the pieces come together and creatively recommend how to bring the intent of a design to life in ways that can also save time and costs. Her approach simplifies what would otherwise be seen as a complicated construction effort. According to Structure Tone, a major children’s hospital executive once said that their multimillion-dollar project never would have been built without Jiang’s help.
Acoustical consultant creates predictive listening technology
Director, Architectural Acoustics Group
At 39 years old, Markham is among the country’s most accomplished acoustical consultants, participating in the design of more than 2,000 buildings and teaching acoustics at three of the top architectural schools in the country. From the headquarters for a Fortune 500 company to world-class music education facilities, Markham’s engineering skill can be seen on a variety of projects across New England. During his tenure as acoustics group director, the firm’s acoustics practice has more than doubled in revenue and has nearly doubled its staff.
Markham helped develop 3DListening —a predictive listening technology that allows architects, engineers, construction managers and end-users to hear how design decisions will affect the sound in a space. The tool has been used to determine ideal room finishes for spaces inside the Museum of Fine Arts, TripAdvisor’s global headquarters and Harvard University’s new $1.2-billion Science and Engineering Center.
Markham has presented hundreds of AIA-accredited courses at A/E/C firms across the country and has presented to such organizations as the Performing Arts Managers Conference, International Building Performance Simulation Association, International Facility Managers Association, the Society for College and University Planning, the Boston Society of Architects, International Congress on Acoustics, Acoustical Society of America, and Internoise. Markham’s accomplishments also earned him recognition on ENR’s national Top 20 Under 40 list.
Marketing pro gives back
Director of Marketing and Business Development
As director of marketing and business development at Acentech, McGillicuddy leads the business development, marketing, advertising and communications efforts of the firm’s seven vertical market teams in the areas of architectural acoustics, audiovisual, information technology/security system design and environmental noise and vibration. Her emphasis in collaborating with strategic partners has helped expand the firm’s business profile while fostering valuable client relationships.
McGillicuddy’s work has earned numerous honors from the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Boston, including three first-place Marketing Communications Awards for Acentech, as well as two People’s Choice awards. Last year, the 37-year-old was named SMPS Boston Marketing Professional of the Year. She is a past president of SMPS Boston and has served on the board of directors for the awards committee and program committee. Other industry organizations she is involved with include CoreNet, CREW Boston, Professional Women in Construction Boston, the Women’s Exchange for Leadership and Living Boston and NAIOP. She has presented business development panel discussions to the Boston Architectural College and several of SMPS Boston’s Business Development Live events.
McGillicuddy serves as a council member for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. She is also active with the Holliston food bank and regularly participates in A/E/C industry charitable drives. McGillicuddy was a co-founding member of Community Connect, which brings together varying industry associations across Massachusetts’ built environment for a day of service.
Technical expert collaborates
As a leader on Stantec’s bridge team, Scenna has extensive experience managing large technical teams of Stantec staff and subconsultants on complex contracts with accelerated schedules, strict scopes and budget constraints. With experience in both construction and design, Scenna is regularly selected to work on complex bridge and transportation projects involving coordination between project partners, subconsultants and Stantec team members.
He has 16 years of experience in transportation planning, design, construction, inspection, rating and management of various structure types and has worked in the public and private sector for state agencies, municipalities, the railroad and private owners. Most recently, Scenna managed two high profile bridge construction contracts for the Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation—one of which was Stantec’s first major design-build transportation project in the state.
Focused on professional growth and development, Scenna has made professional certification and training a priority. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Massachusetts and certified in National Bridge Inspection Standards. Additional certifications and training include the Federal Highway Administration/National Highway Institute—Safety Inspection of In-Service Bridges; AMTRAK Roadway Worker Protection Training; Keolis Roadway Worker Protection Training; Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Right of Way Safety Training; and OSHA 10-Hour Construction Training Course.
Scenna helped create the Boston Society of Civil Engineers’ CI-Day, a full day seminar and trade show for owners, contractors and engineers. Now in its third year, the annual event brings together industry leaders for a day of thought leadership, collaboration and learning.
Navigates complex regulations
A former public advocate for the state of Maine and now general counsel at Tilson, Schneider has spearheaded innovative solutions to complex regulatory, corporate, consumer and litigation matters. Tilson, a national network deployment and IT professional services firm, has 16 offices nationwide and has been recognized for eight consecutive years on the Inc. 5000.
Schneider, a graduate of Harvard University and New York University Law School, joined Tilson in 2017 as a member of the senior leadership team. He oversees and provides guidance on all legal matters related to Tilson, including contracting, licensing and regulation.
As the state of Maine’s public advocate, a four-year gubernatorial appointment, Schneider represented Maine consumers before the Public Utilities Commission to ensure affordable and high-quality utility services. During his tenure, he played a central role in establishing forward-looking broadband policies for the state.
Schneider is a frequent speaker on utility pole attachment and broadband policy. Recently, the 37-year-old leveraged his telecommunications and energy regulatory expertise to position Tilson as an industry leader on infrastructure consulting and network deployment services. He overhauled and professionalized the firm’s contracting and subcontracting processes, mitigating risk while keeping operational velocity high. Schneider also draws on his regulatory experience to help Tilson’s telecommunication clients and its own team navigate complex regulatory requirements.