Working for industry employers from Connecticut to Maine, this year’s cadre of Top Young Professionals recognized by ENR New England bring energy, determination and fresh approaches to solving challenges and improving their communities and the construction industry. Each of those selected this year offer a unique skill set that he or she has honed in their diverse career trajectories.
All under age 40 as of Jan. 1, the recipients were judged by a panel of industry leaders based on experience, education, leadership and community service.
Serving as judges this year were Sarah Marcone, vice president of business development at Select Demo Services LLC; Jeff Finitz, senior associate and transportation department manager at Dewberry; and Elizabeth Brownell, associate at Thornton Tomasetti/Becker Structural Engineers.
Three New England winners also earned places on the national ENR Top 20 Under 40 list. Ariel Greenlaw, recently promoted to section manager for HNTB’s northern New England traffic group, has been recognized for use of innovative technologies—including launching the first 48-volt DC advanced traffic cabinet and controller in Maine.
Manuel Hoyo quickly begin managing large and complex projects as a superintendentfor for Skanska USA Building. Technically savvy, he recently tested on Procore software the safety benefits of using a digitized form of crew review.
Daniel Roop is adept at finding solutions for complex water and wastewater infrastructure projects. As a Tighe & Bond project manager, he has helped 15 communities gain funding grants from the Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection & Clean Water Trust Asset Management Plan.
Please read on to learn more about each of the 10 leaders named to the 2022 ENR New England list.
30, Young leader driven to empower the underserved
Erica Blonde has committed herself to empowering those who are disenfranchised and seeks equitable opportunity for them through transportation and engineering decision-making. Her commitment to opportunity and inclusivity propelled growth of the firm’s community engagement practice, which operates “at the crossroad of equity and technology,” she says.
Today, she leads this practice and has received recognition for success from clients, especially for her dedication to transparent decision-making and open dialogue, which she considers key to achieving thriving project development.
Working with HNTB’s technology solutions team, she has collected data from transportation departments around the nation, illustrating how technology expands public participation. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Blonde presented technology-based concepts that increased public participation in transportation decision-making.
For a third year she is serving as HNTB project manager for deployment of the Massachusetts DOT’s Public Involvement Management Application (PIMA), a software platform for managing project-level public engagement. Blonde holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, receiving its 2015 Alumni Council Unsung Hero Award. She also holds a B.A. degree in American studies and ethnicity, race and migration from Yale University.
She has served as co-chair of the Women’s Transportation Seminar Boston Scholarships and awards committee since 2019, spearheading efforts to engage more local high schools and vocational schools, creating best practices for equitable scoring of applications and volunteering with the group’s Boston mentoring committee.
32, Leader tackles complex water projects
Senior Civil Engineer
Vanessa Borkowski’s passion for modern water systems has leveraged her industry experience and leadership to design and manage water projects that protect public health. She provided design and engineering services for the $122-million York Street Pump Station project in Springfield, Mass., set for completion in 2023. It includes design of a 62-million-gallon-per-day combined sewer pump station and three river crossings of 36 in. to 72 in. in diameter.
Borkowski designs deliverables, manages client relationships and generates business throughout New England for the Stantec North water group. Striving to boost business development, she chaired the group’s employee engagement committee from 2019-2021. Borkowski worked with the Stantec Institute for Water Technology and Policy to identify global megatrends and innovative client solutions for the water sector related to biosolids and bioenergy.
Borkowski participates in professional organizations, including the Water Environment Federation and New England Water Environment. A native of West Hartford, Conn., Borkowski serves on the town’s sustainability advisory task force and was chosen to participate in UNLEASH 2017, an innovation challenge that included 1,000 millennials from global locations. Her team worked on a sustainable development goal to ensure availability and sustainable management of water.
32, Engineer brings new life-sciences approach
When Nick Cassaro was 17 years old, he got a part-time job as an assistant estimator for drywall subcontractor New England Finish Systems in Salem, N.H. That led him to a variety of construction jobs in different sectors, but he craved more challenging work. In 2007, he was happy to land an internship in the health care and life sciences group at Wise Construction, which provided more complex engineering projects.
After earning his degree in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Cassaro refused commercial construction job offers in New York City, choosing instead to stay in Boston, where he began specializing in life sciences. Since then, he has continued concentrating on life sciences design and construction, which helped advance his career in project management and business development.
At Structure Tone, Cassaro has introduced new approaches to managing life science projects, including shifting processes, project management and reporting information in a more useful way. Cassaro’s passion for his work extends beyond his love of building things. He is driven to help life science firms find cures for diseases such as cancer, which have had a personal impact on his life. He is an active member of the life sciences community, including the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, which seeks to support the mission to find cures for disease.
Andre St. Germain
33, Strong project manager proves a valuable player
Deputy Department Manager – Structures
Rocky Hill, Conn.
Andre St. Germain’s strong project management ability and technical prowess have made him a valuable player at AECOM, with expertise that includes designing and managing bridge and infrastructure projects.
In design work for the $6.4-million rehabilitation of the Derby-Shelton Bridge, which spans the Housatonic River between Shelton and Derby, Conn., St. Germain and his team coordinated with stakeholders and community members to finish a crossing that will “maximize enjoyment and functionality for all,” AECOM notes. Construction began in 2021 and is set to finish in 2023. Due to ongoing construction at multiple sites, the team faced many challenges, including complex utility relocations and many coordination challenges.
After earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Connecticut, St. Germain joined AECOM as a structural engineer and began pursuing his M.S. degree there while working full-time. He impressed AECOM managers with his “dedication, consistency, and performance,” the firm says, which earned him an appointment as deputy department manager of the structures group. St. Germain then rose to become a project manager for projects of varying sizes and complexity.
Dedicated to mentoring young engineers at AECOM and at engineering career fairs, he also enjoys connecting with students after they land jobs, sometimes encouraging them to shadow him to observe a typical day at work. St. Germain stays connected with professional societies in his community and is an annual participant and donor for ACEC-CT scholarship functions throughout the year.
39, Finding innovative transportation technology solutions
Section Manager – Traffic Engineering
South Portland, Maine
Ariel Greenlaw’s determination and ability to consistently deliver quality work on time and on budget have helped her rise as an engineering professional. She has built strong relationships with HNTB’s core clients, including the Maine Turnpike Authority, the Maine Dept. of Transportation and other agencies.
Greenlaw, also named as one of ENR’s national Top 20 Under 40 this year, began as a project engineer and was recently promoted to section manager to address expanding needs for HNTB’s northern New England traffic group. Through her team's work with the turnpike agency, HNTB has gained recognition for use of innovative technologies— launching the first 48-volt direct current advanced traffic cabinet and controller in Maine as part of the Exit 47 project, with two more later added.
In work on the $110-million Portland Area Widening study completed last November, Greenlaw and her team got buy-in from all major stakeholders, including Maine DOT, the turnpike agency and the town of Falmouth. The team took advantage of reduced traffic during the pandemic on the $5-million Maine DOT I-295 Bridge Joint Replacement project to construct it faster and at a lower cost due to the decreased need for traffic maintenance.
Greenlaw serves as the office professional development manager and office onboarding manager as well as New England co-chair of HNTB’s traffic planning and modeler’s group for more than two years. She often mentors junior engineers on complicated traffic modeling projects.
35, Enthusiasm and technical prowess catapult superintendent
Skanska USA Building
Manuel Hoyo’s dedication and enthusiastic approach to work helped him quickly assume leadership roles for complex projects at Skanska.
After joining the firm as an intern managing quality assurance/quality control for slurry-wall construction, the young superintendent managed teams on the eight-year renovation of the Harvard Art Museums, including management of four frescoes created during the original construction.
Hoyo also supervised a $686-million, four-year project to construct a 30,000-sq-ft vivarium completed in 2015 for the Novartis Institute BioMedical Research expansion. He helped improve Skanska processes and shared his knowledge firm-wide. While working on a $27-million contract with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute Cell Manipulation Core Facilities project in Boston, he guided the firm’s adoption of lean construction and pull planning regionally, including the sequencing for building clean room space. An early adopter of environmental site sensors, he was first at his firm to use Vela/BIM360 for QA/QC and digital drawings, which led to the rollout of mobile tablets and field software across New England.
Hoyo, who also was named to ENR’s 2022 national Top 20 Under 40, recently piloted on Procore construction management software the safety benefits of using a digitized form of crew review. “Having the crew review form on Procore streamlined the process and allowed the conversation to be focused on genuine intent versus filling out a form and checking a box,” Hoyo said. He also volunteers at his alma mater, the Wentworth Institute of Technology, informing students about construction opportunities and giving guest lectures for the department of construction management.
34, Combining technical engineering with management
Project Team Leader, Project Engineer
CHA Consulting Inc.
While designing air quality control equipment as a chemical process engineer at Babcock Power in Marlboro, Mass., Jason Hutchins rose to senior engineer and then to manager of the air quality control department, where he led a team of eight as the youngest person in his department.
After joining CHA Consulting Inc. in 2020, Hutchins became a team leader in its generation and energy business practice, managing engineers in the U.S. and Canada. He quickly assumed key roles as lead process and design engineer for air quality control technologies on jobs that included a $14-million project for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Shawnee power plant in Paducah, Ky., completed in 2017; a $40-million project at the Sheboygan Power Plant in Sheboygan, Wis.; and a $120-million project for Louisville Gas & Electric in Louisville, Ky., completed in 2015.
Hutchins leads firm engineering teams on complex generation projects, including analysis and design-build projects for utilities, commercial facilities and government buildings. He is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering and the Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, and he has presented at the 2021 Electric Power Conference on microgrid power generation. In his hometown of Bolton, Mass, Hutchins supported community fundraisers including the Sharon Timberland 5L Race for ALS and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
39, Construction manager has breadth of experience
Shawmut Design and Construction
Dave Lyskowski landed a job working for a roofing contractor in Meriden, Conn., when he was a sophomore in college. He then took a CAD class and began exploring the architectural aspects of construction. Lykowski soon realized he was best suited for construction management, working with all the trades on site and handling project finances and business dealings.
Lyskowski launched his career in institutional work at Brown University and at the Pawtucket Armory in Rhode Island. A concentration in hospitality construction began with multiple California Pizza Kitchen projects. After relocating to Boston, his projects have included the recent multimillion-dollar renovation of the Langham Boston hotel, completed in 2021; the Boston Harbor Hotel John Adams Presidential Suite completed in 2018; and the Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport restaurants completed last year. Lyskowski also worked at nearly 30 Del Fisco restaurant locations in nine states and has worked on projects with chefs Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, David Chang and Gordon Ramsay in New York City and Boston.
Lyskowski’s experience includes complex structural and elegant fit-out projects. Leading the office and field team, he seeks to find the optimal and most efficient construction methods for clients. When adapting lean construction for hotel room work, he incorporates day-to-day accountability and a way to visualize and execute the work.
Outside work, Lyskowski shares his expertise with members of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and also presented to the Boston Society of Architects’ Women Principals Group.
30, Civil engineering leader emphasizes teamwork
Tighe & Bond Inc.
Joseph Popielarczyk has earned recognition as an outstanding leader in Tighe & Bond’s water and wastewater business, serving as a role model for young engineers aspiring to become project managers. He responds to the needs of his clients, guides team members and works closely with municipalities overseeing potable water and wastewater improvement projects.
Tighe & Bond senior members chose Popielarczyk to be part of the its leadership institute based on how he embraces teamwork and the connections he makes with team members as an effective project manager. In recent projects, he led the $4.2- million College Highway Water System Improvements in Southwick, Mass, which finished in November 2020, and the $7.9-million Wastewater Pumping Stations Improvements in West Springfield, Mass., completed in May 2021. Both were two-year projects.
Outside work, Popielarczyk continues to build on his water industry experience by participating in industry activities. As educational chairman of the Western Massachusetts Water Works Association, he stays current with trends and best practices and coordinates presentations and training. He is also a member of the New England Water Works Association Program Committee. At the Spring Learnapalooza in March 2021, he moderated water treatment learning sessions.
A native of western Massachusetts, Popielarczyk has served on the Northampton Youth Baseball Board and supports his alma mater, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, as a judge for science fairs for local high schools. Spending time with his wife, Katie, and their 20-month-old twin daughters helps Popielarczyk find balance in life.
Daniel O. Roop
33, Environmental engineer solves complex problems
Senior Project Manager
Tighe & Bond Inc.
Daniel Roop, elevated as well to ENR’s national Top 20 Under 40 list this year, relies on his broad range of expertise to lead teams in finding solutions to technically challenging water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
With specialization in coastal resilience for water and wastewater infrastructure, Roop designs pump stations and treatment facilities and manages assets. Communities he has helped gain utility management grants have used the funds to adapt to climate hazards and develop asset management plans.
In the past two years, Roop has assisted 15 communities with the Mass DEP & Clean Water Trust Asset Management Plan grant process, which has helped them with setting priorities for risk-based capital improvements and in meeting project costs.
In 2018, Roop began evaluation to develop hardening alternatives using 3D renderings for a critical 4.3-million-gallon-per-day wastewater pumping station in a coastal area. Preliminary engineering is ongoing while the team awaits notification of grant funding to support final design of the project, which aims to ensure the station is resilient to the 100-year-storm and 3-ft-flood elevations.
In 2020, Roop and his team helped the town of Ipswich, Mass., with the $2.6-million Ipswich River siphon and interceptor project to avoid “devastating environmental and economic consequences” from infrastructure failure, the firm says. He evaluated 450 linear ft of the sewer interceptor and siphon, cognizant of its location upstream from shellfish beds, and assisted with grant funding. Preventing the need for future repairs, the final design included a new triple-barrel high-density polyethylene siphon, which provided redundancy for the project. It was substantially completed in December 2021.
Aside from chairing the New England Water Environment Association’s asset management committee, Roop is a member of the New England Water Works Association and the American Water Works Association. He also participated in seven 192-mile PanMass Challenges in two days and individually raised more than $40,000 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.