Within the highly competitive mid-Atlantic market, young design and construction professionals are forging paths to leadership. ENR's Top 20 Under 40 competition—now in its third year—showcases the impressive Class of 2013, representing a broad spectrum of executives and staffers under the age of 40.
Some winners have flourished in the family business, while others reached leadership roles with no formal background in the industry. Keen understanding of emerging technologies and techniques helped many of the featured professionals find success.
Although they are all based in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia or the District of Columbia, many are making a difference far beyond the mid-Atlantic region.
More than a third of the winners are women, including some who have broken new ground in their respective design and construction firms.
All contestants in the competition either nominated themselves or were nominated by colleagues. Each winner was selected by an independent jury on the basis of his or her career experience; industry leadership; community service; and other factors.
The jury was made up of Ken Aducci, department manager, senior vice president, HDR Inc.; Pam Ho, human resources manager, SmithGroupJJR; Jennifer Macks, vice president and account manager, Skanska USA Building; Glenn Pearson, water services manager, mid-Atlantic, Dewberry; Louyse Poirier, senior vice president, human resources, Balfour Beatty Construction; Kenneth Terry, project executive, Grunley Construction.
Developing analytical models for global infrastructure projects
33, Senior Structural Engineer
Birdsall first honed his professional skills from 2002 to 2004 with Parsons' long-span bridge practice in New York City. In 2004, he took a leave of absence to earn a doctorate at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. The results of his research are being used today to improve the management of Switzerland's railway networks. In 2009, he returned to Parsons, where his duties include developing and implementing analytical approaches to complex infrastructure systems. He has streamlined development and deployment of global and local analytical models to maximize accuracy and transparency on projects including the First Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey, the Messina Strait Bridge in Italy and the Dubai Creek Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Bridge design project in Dubai.