Rising Stars in Civil Engineering

March 2012 » Exclusive
CE News recognizes exceptional professionals 40 years old or younger.
Bob Drake

This inaugural Rising Stars in Civil Engineering recognizes 15 professionals, 40 years old or younger working in the United States, who have shown exceptional technical capability, leadership ability, effective teaching or research, or public service benefiting the civil engineering profession, their employers, project owners, and society. Selected by CE News and Structural Engineer editors from an impressive group of nominees from both the private and public sectors, the civil engineers highlighted on the following pages (in alphabetical order) have, in a short period of time early in their careers, demonstrated exceptional ability and professional accomplishments related to civil engineering as well as leadership and public service. Following is only a brief summary of each Rising Star's many accomplishments and activities to date.


Matthew Dawson, P.E., PTOE, (age 33) transportation engineer for Hanson Professional Services Inc., Peoria, Ill., manages and guides junior-level engineers and technical staff during the design and production of final construction documents and provides quality control review. Dawson completed his Master's degree in civil engineering while working full time and also earned PTOE certification. Significant project involvement includes I-74 reconstruction in Peoria, Ill.; the Halsted Street/I-294 interchange south of Chicago; and construction staging and planning for the proposed I-74 Mississippi River Bridge replacement in the Quad Cities. Dawson has served on the executive boards of the American Society of Civil Engineer's (ASCE) Illinois Valley Branch and Central Illinois Section. He has been involved in outreach efforts in local schools to promote the engineering profession and served as practitioner advisor to the Bradley University ASCE Student Chapter.

Scott Dreher, P.E., (age 39) civil engineer and senior associate, David Evans and Associates Inc. (DEA), Portland, Ore., serves as Client Development Team Leader for one of the firm's largest clients, coordinating dozens of staff members while applying his experience in development of design alternatives, contract document development, and construction engineering services. He has managed multiple municipal, county, and state road projects and currently is task leader for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project —€“ East Segment in Portland. Dreher is involved with DEA's co-op program with Oregon State University by participating in interviews, hiring, and then mentoring student interns. His professional affiliations include the ASCE, the American Public Works Association, and the Westside Economic Alliance.

Diane Fiorelli, P.E., LEED AP, (age 34) senior project manager, Geotechnical and Environmental Engineering, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services Inc., began her career with Langan in New York City but was instrumental in the firm's establishment of a Southern California office. Now as a leader in the firm's small but growing Irvine, Calif., office, she not only handles multiple foundation design, site acquisition, and site remediation projects – including invoicing, collections, and client relations in addition to the technical aspects – but also serves as office manager. Recent projects of note include the Fontainebleau Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and a pump station on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in New Orleans. Professional affiliations include the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Orange County, the Deep Foundations Institute, Structural Engineering Association of Southern California, and the Urban Land Institute.

Andrew Harris, P.E., LEED AP, CESCL, (age 26) professional engineer, David Evans and Associates Inc., Tacoma, Wash., began administrating $2 million construction projects during his second year, including running weekly meetings with city and contractor representatives, resolving construction issues, and managing payment. During the last two years, Harris has been mentored in project management and has actively managed a team through multiple project lifecycles. He is working on obtaining his PMP certification. Projects include wetlands mitigation, a feasibility study for a stormwater drainage facility, street and neighborhood improvements within the Puyallup Reservation, and an interstate drainage system. Harris is an active member of the Cascade Land Conservancy, which operates throughout the Puget Sound Region to manage urban growth and to conserve pristine forests, shorelines, and farmland.

Thomas M. Henaghen, P.E., (age 37) director of civil engineering, SGC Engineering LLC, Westbrook, Maine, manages oversight and coordination of a group of seven civil engineers and three additional designers and drafters. He also frequently manages projects that involve all of SGC's internal disciplines, as well as outside specialty consultants. His experience in civil engineering design and project management includes utility system improvements and site development and improvement projects for clients in the commercial, industrial, municipal, utility, and residential development sectors. He has served as project manager on multiple wind farm projects, coordinating both electrical and site design, including stormwater management. He also has managed site design for multiple residential and commercial developments in the Northeast. Henaghen is a member of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and ASTM.

Kristin Holmes, P.E., LEED AP, (age 33) senior project manager, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Doylestown, Pa., began her career as a land development engineer, involved in a variety of complex and challenging projects that provided a fast-track rise to project manager in just six years. With an "on-the-project" management style of mentoring, Holmes approaches daily interactions with her staff as learning opportunities, which has helped develop talented engineers with strong abilities. As project manager, she has led multiple engineering teams to simultaneously design six retail "lifestyle centers" that have included multiple development, permitting, and scheduling challenges. Her responsibilities included staff management, technical design and oversight, invoicing, budget management, and client relationships, as well as expert testimony during the public approval process. Holmes is active in ASCE, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) of Buck County, and CREW Lehigh Valley Chapter.

Gregg W. Hudock, P.E., (age 38) senior consultant and associate, Golder Associates Inc., Atlanta, oversees the integration of water resources management and geotechnical engineering into geoenvironmental projects, primarily dam design and flood control capital projects. With this niche, Hudock is routinely one of the top sellers in Golder's Atlanta office. He developed and currently leads the roller-compacted concrete dam design practice at Golder, he is the Natural Resources Conservation Service Client Service Team Leader, and was recently asked to lead Golder's Water Client Sector in the United States. Hudock has worked on the investigation, design, or construction of more than 40 dams in the last 13 years. He has authored numerous magazine and technical articles and given more than 30 technical presentations. He is active in the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, ASCE Georgia Section, Georgia Mining Association, and volunteers in support of the Georgia Safe Dams program.

Andrew Komor, P.E., (age 37) vice president —€“ Environmental Water Division, Pacific Advanced Civil Engineering Inc., Fountain Valley, Calif., successfully performed engineering design, project management, and field services on more than 20 completed water resource projects worth more than $120 million during the last eight years. He is sought after as a technical consultant and designer on water resources projects for water storage and distribution, pump stations, and water treatment, but most often for his strong expertise in water quality. Komor developed a mobile drinking water treatment system in response to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan to provide clean drinking water to areas where water was contaminated with radioactive materials. He is developing a process to convert large volumes of contaminated, agricultural runoff water into a source of clean potable water. He is active in the American Membrane Technology Association, National American Lake Management Society, Orange County Water Association, and Water Environment Federation (WEF).

Jason P. Loar, P.E., (age 36) principal, Davis, Bowen & Friedel Inc., Salisbury, Md., joined the firm as senior engineer, bringing with him five years of experience as a project manager in the areas of water, wastewater, stormwater engineering, and planning. Because of his engineering abilities and successful track record with projects and clients, he made partner within just six years with the firm. With expertise in municipal grant and loan funding, Loar serves as on-call engineer for several municipalities and, as director of municipal engineering for the firm's Maryland offices, he oversees all municipal engineering projects and manages several design teams simultaneously. Loar has provided project design and management for several wastewater treatment plants on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to assist the state in its effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. He is a member of ASCE, WEF, and American Water Works Association.

Captain Alan Morris, EIT, GSWCC Lev 2, (age 26) battalion construction officer, U.S. Army, 11th Engineer Battalion, Fort Benning, Ga., has provided a renewed purpose and direction for his section by establishing regular meetings with Fort Benning's Department of Public Works, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other customers. Morris' project management and civil engineering skills saved Fort Benning and the Army nearly $1 million in fiscal year 2011 and is tracking to save even more in fiscal year 2012. Morris also created Construction Standard Operating Procedures, which lay out in detail all of the planning, execution, reporting procedures, QA/QC measures, and post-construction activities that the battalion is expected to accomplish at all levels of responsibility. He is involved with SAME and volunteers as an engineer, project manager, and coordinator for House of Heroes, assisting veterans with home renovations, and for Habitat for Humanity.

Timothy Onderko, P.E., LEED AP, (age 31) senior project manager, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, New Haven, Conn., leads multiple engineering teams, providing engineering design for land development projects in Connecticut and New York. Projects have involved site feasibility studies, site layout, grading and drainage design, stormwater management analysis and design, utility design, regulatory permitting, development of technical specifications for construction documents, construction inspection, project management, and coordination. Onderko is a founding member of both the Young Professionals Council of the Construction Institute in Connecticut and the Next Generation Forum at Langan. He has mentored local high school students through the ACE Mentor program for the last seven years; is the technical lead and lead educator for an Engineers Without Borders project in Nepal; and has mentored Yale University students competing in a national competition to develop a business plan for a sustainable business for application in third world and developing countries.

Jennifer L. Peek, P.E., PTOE, PTP, (age 37) principal/managing director Houston Traffic Engineering Services, Walter P Moore and Associates Inc., Houston, has been involved in a variety of transportation-related projects including conceptual roadway designs, intersection improvements, engineering studies, due diligence reports, intelligent transportation systems, signing/pavement markings, and master planning. She has developed traffic master plans for large campuses as well as street and traffic safety improvements for congested urban areas such as Uptown Houston. As a firm principal and member of the board of directors, she is one of the youngest employees to be awarded such. Additionally, Peek is the project manager and engineer of record on the majority of projects that originate from the Houston Traffic Engineering Services Group. She has taken an active role in a variety of internal advisory committees and is a participant in the ACEC's Senior Executive Institute Class 16.

Michael R. Pelletier, P.E., (age 40) associate and project manager, Dewberry-Goodkind Inc., Boston, has more than 18 years of experience in the environmental/water resources field and currently is responsible for project management and business development. He has performed primary engineering and management work on major water transmission and distribution projects for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC), and Chicopee, Mass. One MWRA project received an Engineering Excellence Gold Award from ACEC-Massachusetts; two Chicopee projects have received Engineering Excellence Gold and Engineering Excellence Small Firm Awards from the state ACEC chapter. Pelletier is involved in the New England Water Works Association, Boston Society of Civil Engineers section of ASCE, and American Consulting Engineers Council, Massachusetts.

Scott Rowland, P.E., LEED AP, (age 34) senior project manager, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Pittsburgh, worked for six years in the firm's New York City office, progressing in a short time from staff engineer to senior project manager, before relocating to Langan's Pittsburgh-area office to manage the land development group in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio regions. The group supports the Marcellus shale gas exploration industry as well as provides traditional land development services. While in New York, Rowland served as project manager for design of the 35-acre New York Police Academy training facility campus in Queens, N.Y., overseeing multiple disciplines including civil engineering, geotechnical, and environmental. Rowland is active in the AIA Pittsburgh chapter as an affiliate member and in the ASCE Pittsburgh Chapter.

Chuck Warbington, P.E., (age 40) executive director, Gwinnett Village Community Improvement District, Norcross, Ga., helped form and directs the largest commercial, self-taxing district in Georgia. Since 2006, the organization has raised more than $12 million in local revenue, leveraged to more than $100 million in federal and state infrastructure funding. Warbington has championed transportation improvements as the catalyst for economic change for a struggling community. He also is serving in his ninth year on the Gwinnett County (second largest county in Georgia) Planning Commission and began his third year as chairman of the commission in 2012. Warbington has been one of the driving forces in metro Atlanta to reign in sprawl in the outer suburbs by connecting land use and infrastructure together for a more sustainable growth pattern. He is a member of ASCE, Council for Quality Growth, and the local Redevelopment Task Force.

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