The 20 individuals selected for recognition as ENR MidAtlantic’s Top Young Professionals likely never imagined that their careers would coincide with a protracted international health crisis that would upend nearly every facet of daily life and present new and continually evolving challenges for their fields. 

Yet this year’s honorees—all of whom were under the age of 40 as of Jan. 1—have risen to the occasion. Amid the day-to-day issues of dealing with the pandemic, they have applied their skills and ideas to keep large, complex projects moving as quickly and safely as possible. They also have remained focused on long-term—often interrelated—needs associated with climate change, evolving work and lifestyle preferences, local and regional mobility and resource scarcity. And they have applied their understanding of technology to find ways to facilitate better decision-making and share those insights with fellow professionals.

Perhaps most important, this year’s group of young leaders understands that they each have a role to play in shaping their communities’ well-being both as design and construction industry professionals and as individuals. Despite hectic schedules and increased responsibilities, they seek ways to contribute time and energy to a wide range of causes, including acting as models for the next generation of professionals who will inherit the built and natural environments that this year’s Top Young Professionals are helping to shape. 

This year’s winners are based in the region comprising Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Nominations—submitted by candidates themselves or advocates who testified to their experience, education, career and industry leadership—were evaluated by a panel of industry judges. 

This year’s judges were Susan McCann, marketing manager at Allan Myers, and Kristen Pucci, chief executive officer at KRAE Consulting. 
Profiles of this year’s ENR MidAtlantic Top Young Professionals appear on the following pages.


Christina Alito

Christina Alito
36, Drinking Water Treatment Lead
Bringing a holistic approach to addressing complex water issues
Vienna, Va. 

As a leader in HDR’s One Water research program, Alito is helping to shape research that looks at water and wastewater issues through a holistic lens that focuses on reliable supplies and being mindful of environmental and social impacts. Her work ranges from helping utilities address contamination from PFAS—synthetic compounds found in thousands of everyday items—to biofiltration applications in potable reuse and drinking water treatment. 

Through this work, Alito and her colleagues often find their research is ahead of state and federal regulations. That puts her in a position to influence industry guidance to make water and wastewater safer for communities and also to advise local utilities to be prepared for future changes in treatment. Alito’s passion for advancing community health has led to meaningful partnerships and leadership roles in water research organizations, including the American Water Works Association, the Water Research Foundation and the Water Environment Federation.

>Brent Amos

Brent Amos
38, Principal, Secretary and Treasurer
Technical facility design expert keeps projects in step with evolving needs
Cooper Carry
Alexandria, Va.

Amos has experience in creating research and educational facilities necessary for today’s brightest minds to come together and do critical work across a variety of technical disciplines. He led the design of the six-level, 220,000-sq-ft Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education Facility at the Universities at Shady Grove in Rockville, Md. The LEED Platinum building combines a biophilic design, living walls and outdoor classrooms with state-of-the-art labs and classrooms. As co-leader of Cooper Carry’s science + technology studio COVID-19 rapid response team, Amos joined other building systems specialists in developing a guidebook of design solutions for researchers and lab owners to operate effectively while adhering to new safety recommendations. 

In his community, Amos has participated in AIA Virginia’s Architecture in the Schools initiative and ULI Washington’s Young Leadership program. While pursuing his MBA, Amos led a leadership development program in Belize, mentoring and advising business students.

Laura Bendernagel Laura Bendernagel
31, Project Manager
Green infrastructure expert applies innovation to industry issues
Washington, D.C.

Using her extensive experience in water quality and flood control infrastructure, Bendernagel has helped DC Water build its acclaimed Clean Rivers green infrastructure (GI) program from the ground up. She has worked as designer and construction manager to establish more than 100 neighborhood GI facilities, setting the foundation for subsequent project phases. 

Bendernagel also manages concurrent stormwater projects for several other area jurisdictions as well as for the Virginia Dept. of Transportation. She is described as passionate about moving the civil engineering industry toward embracing sustainability, diversity and inclusion and serves on several internal workgroups responsible for developing training and awareness programs. 

An active member of the Virginia Water Environment Association, Bendernagel demonstrated her acumen last year when COVID-19 threatened the organization’s annual fall workshop. Rather than subject members to yet another webinar-style event, she and her co-lead developed a series of podcasts featuring interviews with local municipal, legal and regulatory leaders.

Jordan Carrier Jordan Carrier
34, Director
Sharing expertise to ensure clean water for the future
Garney Construction
Fairfax, Va.

Among area engineers and contractors, Carrier is viewed as a go-to source of information in pipeline design and constructibility. During his 12-year career, Carrier has managed water and sewer pipeline operations of various sizes in a wide range of urban, suburban and rural settings. He also has tackled many types of challenging ground conditions. Carrier’s contributions are guided by his belief in unifying the engineering and construction worlds into one process that results in clean water for all. 

That commitment extends to the industry as a whole and beyond. As an active member of the Water Environment Federation, the American Water Works Association and the National Utility Contractors Association, Carrier seeks to promote responsible environmental stewardship and adherence to sound engineering principles. 

He has also participated in watershed cleanup days around the Chesapeake Bay and recently traveled to Guatemala as part of an Engineers Without Borders project to assist with the installation of a new clean water system.

Sara Casado Sara Casado
31, EHS Director
Creating a sustainable culture of continual improvement and caring
Skanska USA Building Inc.
Rockville, Md.

That Casado quickly and skillfully adapted workplace health and safety protocols to the COVID-19 world is a testament to what colleagues say is her dynamic, adaptive leadership style. They say she has the ability to dive into the minutiae of project requirements. She also strives to communicate a philosophy that safety is more than following proper procedures and encompasses caring for the well-being of others. As a result, Casado has led and participated in several internal safety initiatives, including knowledge-sharing, working groups and a recent revamping of Skanska’s environment, health and safety program. 

She also founded the D.C. Metro General Contractor EHS Leadership Team, which seeks to provide consistency in EHS communication and training. During the pandemic, Casado and her industry colleagues have shared best practices for keeping workers safe by providing hand-washing stations without a need for running water and safely bringing food trucks to jobsites.

Caitlin A. Daley Caitlin A. Daley
34, Principal
Dedicated to service and an empathetic approach to architecture 
BKP Architects P.C. 

Daley’s ability to understand how clients relate to their spaces shapes an approach to architecture that colleagues say is both empathetic and empowering. Through her work with Gallaudet University, Daley investigates principles of spatial experience through the lens of individuals with different levels of ability. She presents options and tests with students who are deaf, blind or vision- or hearing-impaired that can lead to incorporating, for example, a tactile surface for a transition area that might help someone with a cane know a point of sale is nearby. 

Daley also strives to cultivate similar skills and talents among aspiring professionals. She participates in the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Philadelphia and similar programs sponsored by the local AIA chapter and alumni of Penn State’s architecture programs. 

Daley also has held leadership roles in the Philadelphia Falcons, a coed, primarily gay and lesbian nonprofit soccer club that aims to provide participants with an environment that supports equality, team dynamics, self-empowerment and recreation.

Denaz Green Denaz Green
39, Project Manager
Fostering positive environments to advance projects and the profession
Hensel Phelps
Tysons Corner, Va.

During his 14-year career, Green has been involved in more than $2.6 billion worth of complex projects that have expanded his experience beyond building construction. 

He currently leads a $304-million federal office building renovation in Washington, D.C., that involves complex structural and system modernization issues. His project portfolio also includes the $1.6-billion renovation of Pentagon Wedges 2-5, the $208-million Social Security Administration National Support Center and a $45-million LEED Platinum laboratory. 

Green chairs Hensel Phelps’ MidAtlantic district diversity, equity, inclusion and community group, which aims to foster inclusive environments that respect and welcome diverse perspectives and supports community needs. He also coaches aspiring student engineers through the ACE mentorship program and is a local leader of North Carolina A&T University’s Alpha Nu Alumni Network Inc., which provides financial support to students. 

Green recently participated in the Smithsonian Folklife Tech-Teach Program, introducing participants to new building construction principles and technologies.

Jason Kerns Jason Kerns
36, MidAtlantic Wastewater Market Sector Leader
A leader in applying water infrastructure technology 
Newport News, Va.

Kerns has led some of the MidAtlantic region’s largest water infrastructure projects, many of which involved hydraulic, site planning and system design issues. At the Virginia Initiative Plant Project in Norfolk, Kerns oversaw design of a versatile, one-of-a-kind bioreactor to handle wet weather flows of more than 100 million gallons per day while also reducing the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus discharged into the Chesapeake Bay. 

Kerns also recognizes that these water infrastructure facilities should be community assets. For example, the structure for the Bridge Street Pump Station, which the team says is the largest-capacity collection system pump station in eastern Virginia, blends with a historic neighborhood to promote positive viewsheds throughout the area while concealing all process equipment from public view. 

Kerns has published numerous papers and given presentations focused on sharing knowledge with industry professionals to benefit the environment. His extensive involvement with professional associations includes the Hydraulic Institute, a worldwide organization that develops standards for pump station design and operation. 

Jeff King Jeff King
37, Vice President
An eye for innovation overcomes project obstacles
Clark Construction Group LLC
Bethesda, Md.

King’s skills in creative problem-solving have served him well throughout his career. Recently, as project executive on the 1770 Crystal Drive renovation project in northern Virginia’s  National Landing development, site constraints precluded erecting a tower crane, a factor that threatened to derail critical precast operations. 

King’s solution called for installing a crane on the structure’s roof. That allowed the team to gain access to all sides of the building from a central location, which ultimately facilitated maximum efficiency. Nearby, King is tackling his latest challenge—Metropolitan Park, the urban campus that will be the future home of Amazon’s second North American headquarters. 

To help future engineers hone their thought processes, King mentored two high school seniors through the first half of 2021 as part of the Urban Alliance Program. In June, after their high school graduation, King welcomed the students to full-time positions at the Metropolitan Park project so that they could apply their classroom knowledge in the field. 

King was also named to the 2022 ENR National Top 20 Under 40. 

Stephanie L. Kunkel Stephanie L. Kunkel
32, Senior Associate / Project Engineer
Shaping the future through healthier interior environments
Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson Inc.
Hunt Valley, Md.

Kunkel traces her commitment to creating comfortable, sustainable work environments to an early-career winter site visit to an elementary school at which she observed students and teachers wearing heavy coats and hats in the classroom. Since then, she has sought to encourage the use of energy-efficient, cost-effective HVAC technologies that help encourage learning and improve occupants’ health, productivity and well-being. 

Kunkel is currently a project manager for building systems projects at BWI Marshall International Airport and Baltimore’s World Trade Center. 

Kunkel also enjoys helping co-workers and colleagues succeed. A member of ASHRAE since her undergraduate days, Kunkel has traveled around the world to promote leadership skills and professional development tactics for young engineers. She coordinated, managed, organized and devised the specific elements of each conference, including the seminars and technical site visits. In addition, Kunkel has garnered industrywide recognition for contributing to the success of multiple engineering recruitment and retention programs.

Elizabeth (Liz) Lackey Elizabeth (Liz) Lackey
33, Team Leader | Water & Wastewater
Applying engineering skills to enhance communities 
Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc.
Cranberry Township, Pa.

Lackey’s longtime passion for data analytics, streamlining environmental practices and designing ways to improve community infrastructure has helped preserve the balance between the built and natural environments in western Pennsylvania. 

Lackey played an important role in supporting the Western Butler County Authority’s Act 537 plan through the use of comprehensive evaluations and modeling to resolve the wastewater treatment system’s development-related inflow and infiltration issues. 

Lackey also crafted a wastewater treatment plant replacement strategy for the nonprofit Mountain Pines Campground, consolidating stakeholder desires into a cost-effective solution that ensures long-term protection of adjacent waterways. 

Lackey is an active member of HRG’s OPT-IN team, a small group of young professionals that has shown exemplary growth and that seeks to improve HRG’s operations, resources and technology. Her active support of various regional recreational and conservation organizations include the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s park and trail development efforts as well as the Western Pennsylvania Water Pollution Control Association’s annual Ohio River Sweep.

Joshua Lehman Joshua Lehman
33, Senior Engineering Operations Manager
Setting an example of organizational leadership and values

Whether applying mechanical engineering skills for specialized projects or supervising the construction of military facilities overseas, Lehman strives to bring the best out of an organization, colleagues say. At STV, he has worked on offices, warehouses and maintenance facilities for compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. 

For one such project, Lehman collaborated with other trades to develop a highly sophisticated CNG monitoring system to safeguard occupants, providing a benchmark for similar facilities in the region. 

As a platoon leader in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lehman was a project manager and lead mechanical engineer for construction projects at locations in the Middle East. Now a captain in the Army Reserve, Lehman has applied his leadership and training skills to significantly increase his company’s key performance indicators. 

Lehman currently serves as the lead mechanical engineer for a Forward Engineer Support Team located in Fort Dix, N.J., that supports brigade-level engineering operations. 

Brandon LeRoy Brandon LeRoy
28, Structural Engineer
Structural engineer brings energy and innovation to his profession
Morgantown, W.Va.

Just months after graduating from West Virginia University’s engineering school, LeRoy was elected president of the North Central West Virginia Section of the American Society of Highway Engineers. 

Inheriting an organization with a limited budget and shrinking membership, LeRoy worked to revitalize the group into what colleagues describe as one of the region’s leading professional associations. 

LeRoy has led civil and structural design for dozens of transportation infrastructure projects across the region. He recently became preliminary engineering lead for CSX’s railroad projects in West Virginia, heading a team of project reviewers throughout the design phase and into construction. 

LeRoy regularly returns to West Virginia University to lecture on engineering topics and recently served as a consultant professional for the WVU Civil Engineering Senior Capstone course, where he helped educate and mentor a group of students in the design of a campus rail trail.

Andrew Li Andrew Li
32, Area Manager, Transportation Construction Services
Data-driven management specialist brings global perspective to his job 
Gannett Fleming
Fairfax, Va.

Li’s background in applying predictive analytics and other data-driven project management tools has consistently helped him improve efficiencies while maximizing the public’s investment in transportation infrastructure, colleagues say. 

His skills are illustrated through his leadership of several complex, high-profile projects, including the I-270 Progressive Design-Build, the Maryland Route 4/Suitland Parkway Interchange, the Canton Viaduct and the I-95 Express Toll Lanes Northbound Extension. 

As an immigrant, Li says he understands the importance of global exchanges to help foster cultural understanding and to promote mutually beneficial exchange and growth across different industries. 

He is an executive director with the American Medical Global Exchange, which promotes international collaboration in advancing medical education, life sciences and health care. Li has also worked with the University of Maryland Medical School System to develop potential exchange programs with Chinese medical schools. 

Li is a member of the Chinese American Civil Engineers Society, which helps Chinese American civil engineers enhance their professional development and career adaptability.

Danielle List Danielle List
39, Assistant Vice President, Marketing Director – MidAtlantic District
“Can-do” marketing leader is a boundless source of energy

List’s outside-of-the-box approach to team building has taken WSP’s teams from the conference rooms and helped to diversify pursuit teams by means of industry outreach events and a variety of community activities. 

Colleagues say her infectious “can-do” approach, energy and sense of humor have enabled the area’s client business development and marketing teams to regularly surpass anticipated goals for the past several years. List is also a prominent member of the transportation industry in western Pennsylvania, with leadership roles in multiple organizations and a  number of community service roles. 

List has held leadership positions with local chapters of the Society of Marketing Professional Services, WTS and the American Society of Highway Engineers as well as being a troop leader for the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania and a Cheer Sponsor for the Brighton Township Bears Twerps Cheerleading squad. She also finds time to compete in half-marathons locally and across the country.

Leslie Mantiply Leslie Mantiply
29, Project Engineer
An expert in sustainable systems promotes community growth
Danville, Va.

Mantiply’s extensive portfolio of municipal infrastructure projects has proven vital in providing southern Virginia’s economically distressed communities with a critical foundation to support new business and industrial development. 

For the city of Martinsville’s Smith River Interceptor sewer-rehabilitation project, Mantiply played a critical role in securing state and federal grant funding and designing emergency measures to protect the river’s use for recreation and as a drinking water source. She also helped execute long-term repairs that continue to serve the city’s businesses and industries. 

Mantiply also contributed to the design of water and sewer infrastructure to support the 3,500-acre Southern Virginia Megasite in Pittsylvania County and helped to upgrade the infrastructure supporting Microsoft’s Mecklenburg County data center. Besides mentoring interns and young engineers-in-training, Mantiply is active in community organizations such as the Danville-Pitt and the Junior Wednesday Club, a women’s philanthropic organization focused on local fundraising for charitable causes.

Joshua D. Pudleiner Joshua D. Pudleiner
36, Senior Structural/Resident Engineer
Focused on preserving bridges and building communities

Pudleiner is viewed as a leader in the design and construction of suspension bridge main cable and anchorage dehumidification systems, a cutting-edge technology that extends the life of landmark bridges around the world. 

Pudleiner was resident engineer for the rehabilitation of the Delaware Memorial Bridge and CSX Transportation’s 25th Street Viaduct in Philadelphia. He now leads the five-part, $217-million rehabilitation of suspended spans and anchorages on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. 

He has also provided technical expertise on the rehabilitation of the iconic George Washington Bridge in New York City as well as the Anthony Wayne Bridge in Toledo, Ohio, and the South Tenth Street Bridge in Pittsburgh. 

A decorated Eagle Scout, Pudleiner says he has had a lifelong passion for enhancing the quality of life for communities. As an undergraduate, he helped establish Villanova Community Action by New Engineers, an organization that has since grown to support technical education and mentoring at six Catholic middle schools.

Jason Reither Jason Reither
38, Vice President
Versatile structural specialist skilled in creative space design
Thornton Tomasetti

With more than 15 years of experience in the structural engineering of commercial sports and residential projects, Reither is proficient in a wide range of framing designs and construction support services. 

He currently oversees steel connection design for the General Dynamics Electric Boat Facility in Groton, Conn., a 200,000-sq-ft, 140-ft-tall submarine manufacturing facility that includes 230 ft of clear-span roof trusses. 

Reither was also project manager for the 21-story, 480,000-sq-ft Roberts Center for Pediatric Research for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Free Library of Philadelphia renovation project, which involved the transformation of the building’s six-story library stack configuration into three new levels of public resources. 

Reither holds memberships in the American Institute of Steel Construction, the Delaware Valley Association of Structural Engineers and the Philadelphia chapter of the General Building Contractors Association. He is also a ready volunteer for his children’s sports teams, coaching youth soccer, baseball and softball.

Sebastian Smoot Sebastian Smoot
33, Mechanical Process Engineer
Committed to developing smart solutions for clients and colleagues 
Fulton, Md.

Smoot believes an engineer’s role is to share knowledge, especially when it comes to helping fellow engineers and nontechnical audiences comprehend the complexities of water and wastewater treatment subjects. 

He turned his experience in the new  BioMag treatment technology into a holistic, unbiased design guidance overview that fellow Water Environment Federation members could use to better understand key project issues, lessons learned, operational issues and implementation risks.Small wonder that the WEF’s annual technology conference has featured Smoot’s cutting-edge work in nine of the last 11 years. Future presentations are sure to include projects such as the $429-million improvement program at the city of Baltimore’s Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant, a project that includes one of nation’s largest headworks facilities in years. 

Smoot also enjoys teaching K-8 students about the cycle of drinking water  and encouraging students of all backgrounds to pursue careers in infrastructure engineering. 

Kate Williamson Kate Williamson
35, Senior Project Engineer
Structural engineer achieves balance in the built environment 
Thornton Tomasetti
Washington, D.C.

Williamson has led structural design teams for many landmark projects in metropolitan Washington, D.C., including two post-tensioned concrete residential towers at Reston Town Center, two office buildings totaling 525,000 sq ft at CityCenter DC and the 2.1-million-sq-ft first phase of Metropolitan Park, Amazon’s new headquarters complex in Arington, Va. Each project has provided Williamson an opportunity to identify ways to enhance design quality, efficiency and environmental benefit. 

She helped develop an AIA-accredited presentation on prestressed concrete with the goal of educating architects on design basics and the opportunities and challenges of building with the material. Williamson also is active in many of Thornton Tomasetti’s cultural, social and volunteer initiatives.

Williamson fosters relationships and networking among women leaders and leads a committee dedicated to helping employees and office managers improve their work/life balance. For the past six years, she has been an office leader in helping to implement companywide carbon footprint reduction measures.