Selecting the Top Young Professionals of 2023 for the New York region was not an easy task for the judges, considering the many ways in which the nearly 80 candidates distinguished themselves as professionals, colleagues and community members. No doubt the winners found the competition an inspirational exercise as well—with their accomplishments clearly demonstrating that the industry’s future is in good hands thanks to the emerging leaders who are clearly ready to inspire the generations that will follow them.
ENR thanks the industry judges who undertook the selection challenge, diligently reviewing all entries to choose the final 20 winners for this year. They are: Mara Johnston, co-founder and managing principal of Keystone Global, a New York City-based construction financial advisory firm, and a member of ENR’s 2022 national 20 Under 40 group, and Tony Capasso, president of Capasso Enterprises Inc., a Middletown, Conn., consulting and estimating company.
Congratulations also to the three regional winners who also were chosen to be part of ENR’s national 20 Under 40 cohort for 2023: Catarina Carvalho, associate at Arup and planning and design leader for its Americas East cities unit; David Emmi, power group vice president at O’Connell Electric Co.; and Patrick Farnham, senior project manager at Langan.
ENR will recognize the awardees at the Top Young Professionals Conference set for March 8-10 in New Orleans. The event is a great opportunity for all industry professionals to learn more about construction sector challenges and gain insights on career development. It will include expert presenters, panel discussions and focused workshops on critical industry topics, plus many opportunities for networking with peers, management, clients and specialists. More information is at https://www.enr.com/top-young-professionals-conference.
Read on to learn more about the achievements of this year’s Top Young Professionals.
34, Associate Principal
Sustaining the cycle of education and experience
Adam Beckmann’s commitment to community service began as a student at Villanova University in the suburbs of Philadelphia where he co-founded an organization that introduces hands-on engineering principles to middle schoolers that motivates them to consider and pursue STEM fields in high school and college. The regional outreach program started with one school and has now expanded to six. Beckmann has also been involved with Villanova’s Career Compass Mentorship Program. Serving as a mentor to undergraduate students, he provides real-world examples that complement topics covered in their engineering classes. Beckmann’s professional career has provided no shortage of insights to share with his mentees. He has helped lead a wide variety of projects, including elements of the LaGuardia Airport Terminal B unification project, Pace University’s newest mixed-use academic and residence hall, two 25-story residential towers in Queens, N.Y., and Rolex USA’s new office tower in Manhattan.
37, Associate Principal
Delivering advanced cancer treatments on a global scale
BR+A Consulting Engineers
Culver City, Calif.
Botturi spent more than a decade in New York City, emerging as a recognized industry expert in the design of proton therapy facilities to treat cancer. She recently relocated to California to help build BR+A’s West Coast presence. Serving as a link between equipment manufacturers and hospital designers, Botturi has applied her expertise to optimize mechanical, electrical and plumbing system requirements and reduce operational load profiles, resulting in a more efficient process to deliver this life-saving therapy. A native of Italy, Botturi uses her multicultural background to work seamlessly with professionals globally, which has led to the development of many proton therapy facilities at hospitals across the U.S. and around the world. She has also shared her insights, speaking at a recent annual conference of the National Association for Proton Therapy, where she presented the case for carbon therapy to become the next generation of radiation treatment for cancer.
33, Project Engineer
Helping reshape mobility in New York
New York City
Alyson Brent has played a key role in several high-profile New York City infrastructure projects. For the $11-billion East Side Access project, she helped lead the completion and integration of nearly 30 systems that allow Long Island Rail Road trains to enter Grand Central Madison, the new terminal beneath the iconic rail station and first to open in the past half century. This monumental task involves integrating six other Metropolitan Transportation Agency contracts into the networks over a landscape that includes a 350,000-sq-ft terminal and 12 miles of tunnels in Manhattan and Queens. Brent also worked on the MTA 7 Line subway extension from Times Square to Hudson Yards and the Javits Center. Having lost both parents to cancer, Brent actively participates in events that benefit cancer research, including organizing teams to participate in 5Ks and half-marathons. She also has a long-standing interest in introducing young people, especially girls, to the engineering profession, leading tours and conducting seminars about the field’s many opportunities.
35, Associate, Americas East Cities Planning & Design Leader
Advises in creating city systems that benefit people and the environment
New York City
Having lived and worked in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America, Catarina Carvalho is inspired to leverage her engineering expertise to resolve real-world problems in global communities. She has worked in the energy, water, property and transportation sectors to create net-zero solutions, future-proofing technologies and circular economy systems for the urban environment. Carvalho now is responsible for growing Arup’s planning, urban design, intelligent mobility and logistics businesses to shape more resilient cities. As a member of the Cherie Blair Foundation, she helped woman-owned small businesses in developing countries find creative engineering solutions to thrive. Through Carvalho’s mentorship, a manufacturing start-up in Kenya was able to secure a consistent revenue source, while a Rwanda livestock farm unlocked knowledge and funding to overcome climate-change–induced dry soil challenges and transition into a trade business.
30, Director of Special Projects
Sharing knowledge across project teams and beyond
New York City
Just two years after joining Structure Tone, Marc DeLuca was named director of the firm’s special projects division, dedicated to tackling work that requires specific skill sets or strategic scopes of work. Along with applying both technical and managerial skills to these efforts, he continually works to enhance the company’s ability to deliver projects that are more efficient and that better serve clients. That includes collaborating with other department leaders to develop internal company software that will help fine-tune project communication and make it easier to share insights and ideas. In addition to his own industry involvement, DeLuca strives to educate students on career opportunities in construction. He has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America Explorer Program, which allows groups of high school students to interact with business professionals and learn about different industries first-hand. DeLuca has also volunteered with the ACE Mentor Program and donated his time and professional skills to a Make-A-Wish Foundation project to create an Avengers-themed room for a young sickle-cell anemia patient.
A trailblazer in architectural lighting design
Domingo Gonzalez Associates
New York City
Dodaj is a trained architect who transitioned to architectural lighting in 2007 when she joined Domingo Gonzalez Associates. As an architectural lighting designer with 15 years of experience in the field, Albanian-born Ilva Dodaj has led and managed the design of many notable, diverse and challenging projects across the U.S. and Canada. Among them, the recently opened Delta Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport, Moynihan Train Hall in New York City, interior of Toronto’s Union Station and Brightline's Miami terminal complex. In addition to winning numerous international and national awards for her projects, Dodaj was also selected as 2021 Architectural Lighting Designer of the Year by Designing Lighting magazine. At her alma mater, CCNY’s School of Architecture, she serves as an adjunct professor teaching environmental systems and the program's first elective in architectural lighting. She volunteers her time as a member of technical IES committees which set and publish lighting standards; she's often invited in award juries; and as a speaker in industry conferences and publications about her project experience, design views and lighting technology.
36, Project Manager
Leadership for a new era of aviation design and construction
Burns & McDonnell
New York City
Gerald “Jerry” Dunn’s leadership and team-building skills were showcased during his five-year stint as project manager for Delta Air Lines’ $4-billion terminal at LaGuardia Airport. In addition to facilitating consistent and transparent communication with the airline and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Dunn ensured that his team and more than 20 subconsultants remained in lockstep to bring 1.3 million sq ft of reimagined infrastructure to a successful, on-time completion last year, setting a new benchmark for sustainable aviation facilities. Recognizing the value of lessons learned from such a complex effort, Dunn is documenting case studies from the project so that Burns & McDonnell colleagues around the world can improve their own processes when faced with similarly challenging scopes. He also shared many valuable insights on sustainability with students at Lehigh University, his alma mater, and with area industry groups. Dunn regularly participates in fundraising efforts for charities dedicated to the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, which have directly affected close family members.
36, Vice President, Power Group
Spearheading company growth and productivity
O’Connell Electric Co.
Over the past decade, David Emmi has helped grow O’Connell Electric’s power group to $300 million in annual revenue—a nearly tenfold increase—and more than 320 employees. Along the way, he was instrumental in developing an equally successful telecommunications division and vegetation management group and helped formally establish a fleet department to better manage more than 1,000 company-owned on- and off-road vehicles and large pieces of equipment. These and other efforts have helped expand O’Connell Electric’s presence throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, with the firm opening an additional office in Pennsylvania. Emmi also has been heavily involved with many industry associations and local nonprofit organizations over the years. Two of his most notable contributions to his community are through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of western New York and the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester. He has also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and the St. John of Rochester Roman Catholic Church home repair ministry.
34, Project Manager
Engineering expertise expedites company’s growth
Since bringing his traffic engineering expertise to Enovate Consulting’s newly established transportation department in 2020, Gil Estupinan has helped the young start-up firm make an immediate impact on the region’s mobility systems. His work includes complicated, high-profile projects such as Newark Airport Terminal A, the John F. Kennedy Airport redevelopment program and improvements to the George Washington Bridge and Holland Tunnel. Always striving for a better solution, he is guided by the belief that a consultant’s job is to offer new and innovative suggestions for optimal performance. Of particular importance to Estupinan is ensuring that work zone traffic control plans give full consideration to pedestrian safety—an often-overlooked facet of projects in dense urban areas. A member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, Estupinan continues to improve his skills by attending seminars in traffic engineering and other disciplines to gain a more holistic understanding of transportation. He actively participates in ZogSports, a company that makes playing for charity a core part of the social sports experience.
33, Senior Project Manager
Tackling environmental and infrastructure challenges globally
New York City
Patrick Farnham manages environmental engineering projects at all stages of development. They include high-profile, complex efforts such as the Eastern Rail Yards portion of Hudson Yards—the initial phase of the $25-billion, 28-acre development. The work required extensive hazardous materials investigation and remediation oversight, including removal of more than 190,000 tons of soil and importing more than 25,000 tons of backfill material. Other projects include Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus and the Second Avenue subway. Farnham is also committed to using his skills to benefit underserved communities worldwide. As an undergraduate at Cornell University, he spent several semesters on a team that designed and constructed gravity-driven water treatment plants in Honduras. Upon graduation, Farnham joined Engineers Without Borders and has assisted with project coordination in Kenya, El Salvador and Rwanda. He also participates in mock interview events for Upwardly Global, a job placement agency for immigrants and refugees who are unemployed or underemployed due to credential, résumé and interviewing difficulties.
34, Alternative Delivery Resource Manager
A valuable resource for fostering project collaboration
New York City
In a short time, Elizabeth Fleming has established herself as an invaluable technical expert and communicative leader—valuable attributes for managing the highly collaborative environments of alternative project delivery. She has been instrumental in updating project tracking and reporting and developed a process to better monitor the financials associated with potential change orders. These tools are being applied to projects across HDR, including the $336-million Van Wyck Expressway Contract 2 design-build project. Fleming is project manager for the multifaceted effort to address critical deficiencies on the expressway to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport. She also helps others in her field grow their networks and knowledge base and is particularly active in groups such as the WTS Greater New York chapter where she has helped mentor women on their career paths. Fleming also is an adjunct assistant professor at the City University of New York, lecturing weekly on technology structural design topics and assisting up-and-coming engineers to better understand the industry.
39, Director of Construction Administration
Applying best practices to improve project processes
Spiezle Architectural Group Inc.
Melissa Garlatti has served as construction manager for a host of landmark projects throughout her career, including the Shubert and Friedman Pavilion projects at The Actors Fund Home. The $36-million reconstruction and repositioning project helped increase the community’s population and added valuable amenities that support rehabilitation and well-being. Another project, the $50-million Saint Peter’s University Hospital Bond Improvements program, renovated existing public and patient care areas at the 478-bed teaching hospital. Garlatti has consistently sought to apply her experience to improve construction administration processes throughout Spiezle Architectural Group. Her team leads a lecture series aimed to improve practices such as submittal reviews and change order processing. A weekly “Architectural Lesson of the Week” distributed firmwide also brings field lessons back to the office. In addition, Garlatti leads emerging professionals on weekly virtual tours through construction sites, helping expedite the learning process and enhancing design constructibility.
40, Project Executive
Orchestrating projects that create a better environment
New York City
Throughout her career, Joanna Hung has sought ways to interlace architecture’s vision of design, detail and form with the construction industry’s focus on practical implementation management. Her efforts can be found across New York City, including Manhattan’s High School of Arts & Design/PS 59 and the landmark Woolworth Building Tower Residences adaptive-reuse luxury residential project as well as Hung’s current assignment, the Halletts Point 7 affordable housing project in Queens, N.Y. Hung exemplifies a level of expertise far beyond her years, serving clients and the community with an impeccable sense of resolve. At the same time, she encourages her team to set boundaries between work and rest so that they can sustain and bolster their professional contributions with personal interests in a well-rounded dynamic. Hung hopes to further drive the success of projects that CNY undertakes and inspire young people entering the industry to leverage the power of hard work and dedication—regardless of age, background or tenure—to make New York City a more vibrant place to live and work.
Jessica M. Mandrick
An advocate for sustainable structures in a changing environment
Gilsanz Murray Steficek LLP Engineers and Architects
New York City
Jessica Mandrick relishes the opportunity to apply her structural engineering skills to a host of innovative building projects. They include vertical enlargement of the New York City Rescue Mission by reinforcing the existing building to double the number of floors while it remained in use as a shelter. Other projects include redevelopment of an 835,000-sq-ft 1960s-era office tower with new building systems, redesigned lobby and plaza and restored exterior, and the Yale Peabody Museum renovation and expansion program. In addition to providing structural engineering expertise to numerous art exhibits, including Guggenheim Museum installations, Mandrick seeks to create safer and more resilient buildings along waterfronts and other areas vulnerable to sea-level rise. She participates on several committees charged with improving New York City and national building codes. Mandrick also is a member of several American Society of Civil Engineers standards committees, including one tasked with the first major overhaul of flood load provisions in more than 20 years.
Christina M. Minkler
39, Vice President and Office Leader
A team builder on the job and in the community
Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson Inc.
Christina Minkler is a proven leader of complex engineering projects of major scope and importance. Among them is the I-787 Hudson Waterfront Corridor Planning Study, for which the project team developed an infrastructure life-cycle cost analysis and anticipated program timeline. She also serves as deputy project manager and design quality control engineer on the $460-million Hunt’s Point Interchange Access Improvement project in the Bronx, one of New York state’s largest design-build efforts. She was recently named her firm’s upstate New York area manager to oversees two offices of 45 professionals. Minkler’s passion is working with young people to build their future in STEM fields. She dedicates substantial time and energy to a variety of student programs, including the Future City Competition, Odyssey of the Mind and the Society of Women Engineers’ Collegiate Leadership Institute. As a co-leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout Daisy Troop, Minkler helped guide them toward earning a Toy Business Designer badge. She also had prepared a badge for her daughter’s Brownie troop focused on fighting hunger as a community issue.
35, Director, Development & Strategy
A model of business and industry leadership
E-J Electric Installation Co.
Long Island City, N.Y.
Katie Nilsen leads by inspiration, instilling confidence in those she manages by giving them freedom to creatively solve problems. As a member of E-J Electric’s management and operating group, she is responsible for pursuing and creating strategic opportunities by analyzing market trends, cultivating partnerships and enhancing collaboration among all team members. She also collaborates with the firm’s senior leadership team to set strategic direction for each business unit, identify potential clients and develop relationships with owners and others in the industry. Perhaps most important, Nilsen continually builds trust and long-term relationships with clients and business partners. She participates in a variety of industry organizations that work to support and uplift women in the industry. In addition to serving on the board of the Professional Women in Construction New York chapter, Nilsen co-chairs both the Council of Industry Women for the NY Building Congress and the Ambassador Council for Nontraditional Employment for Women.
35, Business Development
A model of multitasking who makes every minute count
Turner Construction Co.
Jhonatan Ocampo may well have the most crowded calendar of anyone in construction. During his career with Turner Construction, he has successfully pursued graduate degrees in civil engineering and business administration; represented the industry at numerous career fairs, résumé workshops and networking events; and participated in community outreach activities for Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together and the ACE Mentor program. At the same time, he has played a key role on teams that have delivered challenging commercial and health care projects across New Jersey. Prior to joining the contractor’s business development team, Ocampo was budget manager for a nearly $600-million project at Hackensack University Medical Center. In addition to managing change orders, approval letters and owner billings, he was tasked to train the construction joint venture’s engineers and project managers to use Turner systems and processes. As a firm regional innovation champion, Ocampo leverages his experience, knowledge and desire for continuous improvement to develop and implement innovation to enhance project quality and efficiency.
Kevin J. Peterman
Engineering expert advocates for those in need
L.K. McLean Associates PC
Kevin J. Peterman has established himself as an expert in providing innovative, cost effective and sustainably driven engineering solutions on municipal, industrial, institutional, commercial and residential projects. Recent examples on Long Island include a new residence hall at Stony Brook University, a large industrial subdivision in Yaphank, several redevelopment and upgrade projects on the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory campus and improvements to roads and retail centers. Peterman has volunteered his time and effort to several charitable organizations in his community. He founded and operated a nonprofit coffee ministry that sources high-quality beans from across the globe, with proceeds from sales donated to local charities. Peterman also has a long-standing interest in mentoring younger generations to pursue positions of dignity, self-worth and personal growth. On a 2017 mission trip to Nicaragua, he offered support to residents of a safe house for at-risk and abused women, providing encouragement as they sought to rebuild their lives.
34, Vice President
Putting technology to work to improve mobility
New York City
Just one decade into her professional career, Marissa Tarallo has established herself as a leader in the application of new transportation technologies. She specializes in microsimulation and innovative roadway and traffic signal design, including adaptive traffic control systems modeling as well as traffic impact studies for single- and multi-use development projects. Tarallo’s recent work includes the $150-million upgrade of State Route 17 in Orange County, N.Y., to interstate standards, including design of a diverging diamond interchange and use of the modeling approach for a critical segment of U.S. Route 1 in Stamford, Conn. She also has been involved in large-scale real estate projects such as the Adelaar Resort & Casino in New York’s Catskill Mountains area and the One Vanderbilt tower in Manhattan. Tarallo welcomes opportunities to share her knowledge and experience with fellow professionals at local and national Institute of Transportation Engineers conferences and events. An avid marathon runner, she regularly races to help raise funds for charities such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
35, Founding Partner
Entrepreneur committed to a better community
New York City
Three years after co-founding his construction management venture, Will Turton has led Turton Bond through the disparate challenges of intense competition and a global pandemic to become a recognized name in the industry with an impressive list of clients. The company has worked on more than 60 major projects and overseen approximately 12 million sq ft of corporate real estate. The Turton Bond brand has expanded across the country, with the firm opening a new office in Seattle. Turton has fostered a corporate culture that supports learning opportunities for all staff members, helping to ensure they are not limited by age or experience and that they have a true chance to rise in their careers. Philanthropy and community involvement are integral to that culture. Each month, a Turner Bond employee can select a charity to receive a donation from the firm. In addition, Turton is actively creating numerous mentorship opportunities to reach underserved communities and raise awareness of project management careers.