2013 Rising Stars in Civil Engineering

April 2013 » Exclusive

This second annual 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. CE News and Structural Engineer editors selected the civil engineers highlighted on the following pages (in alphabetical order) from an impressive group of nominees from both the private and public sectors. Limited space allows only a brief summary of each Rising Star's many accomplishments, projects, and activities to date.


Jason Brinkman, P.E., (age 34) transportation systems manager, Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), Boise, Idaho, has worked for ITD for 12 years in a variety of engineering management positions. His communication, leadership, management, and technical skills have helped deliver ITD's $829 million GARVEE program – the largest infrastructure program in Idaho history – on time and under budget, which improved the department's credibility and accountability with the public, elected officials, and the contracting community. Required to regularly brief the Idaho Transportation Board and Idaho Legislature on progress and issues, Brinkman's professional communication style allowed him to resolve problems and build trust and respect. What began as a hotly contested program, ended up with wide support in the legislature. Through his leadership, more than 20 innovative strategies were identified and implemented, some of which have become standard business practices on all ITD projects.


J. Camilo Daza, P.E., (age 37) senior project manager, Walter P Moore, Houston, has more than 12 years of experience managing projects in transportation, civil engineering, and planning, including design of streets, highways, utilities, and master planned improvements for a variety of municipalities, counties, states, and private entities. With a passion for sustainable infrastructure and low-impact design, Daza has taught sessions at state and local conferences as well as mentored young staff and led in-house technical workshops. He is program manager for the first registered Greenroad project in Texas. During the last six years, Daza has been involved in projects for the Texas Medical Center, including reconstruction of key access points to the center and design and construction of utilities that serve member institutions. As an active member of the American Public Works Association (APWA) Southeast Branch, Daza currently is the 2013 president-elect and will be acting president in 2014.


Mark D. Haberer, P.E., (age 38) firm principal, Parkhill, Smith & Cooper Inc., Lubbock, Texas, has proven his ability to lead design across diverse project types including airfield design, municipal streets, site development, utility infrastructure, drainage, and municipal waste. He serves as program manager for the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport, overseeing all work including recent design and construction of a multi-year $47.8 million runway and taxiway reconstruction project that involved coordination of nine subconsultants and at least 15 team members. As the firm's Aviation Team leader, Haberer helps coordinate the team's vision and direction while managing project staffing and client marketing. Honors include selection as Young Engineer of the Year by the South Plains Chapter of the Texas Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) and inclusion in the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce's "Top 20 Under 40." Haberer serves as an elder in a local church and a leader and coach for youth sports teams.


Matthew Hammond, P.E., (age 38) executive vice president, Traffic Planning and Design Inc., Pottstown, Pa., began his career with his current employer in 1995 as a co-op data collection technician and has worked his way up to executive vice president and member of the board of directors, currently overseeing private-side projects throughout the firm's six offices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. His leadership has extended beyond the firm, serving as chairman of the Institute of Transportation Engineers Parking Council, volunteering on his township and county planning commissions, and teaching as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Drexel University. Hammond received Drexel's "Young Alumni of the Year" award in 2004. Recently, he participated in or oversaw traffic planning, expert testimony, roadway design, access design, stormwater design, traffic signal design, and county and state traffic-related approval coordination for the new, $300 million Albert Einstein Hospital in East Norriton, Pa.


Adnan Javed, P.E., CFM, M.ASCE, (age 35) project manager/stormwater engineer, Sarasota County, Fla., has been responsible for development and prioritization of the county's Stormwater Infrastructure Repair and Replacement Program (SWIRP) processes, criterion, and related solutions and is the lead in development of the county's first SWIRP manual. His current responsibilities include program planning and management related to the county's aging stormwater infrastructure and he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Public Works at the University of Florida. In 2012, Javed was named "Government Engineer of the Year" by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Suncoast Chapter, for which he served as president in 2009. He recently founded the Suncoast Chapter of the Environmental & Water Resources Institute. Javed was lead author for updating the Coastal Areas and Flood Control Systems sections for the ASCE Florida Section's 2012 Infrastructure Report Card.


Maj. Cullen A. Jones, P.E., (age 36) assistant professor, Department of Civil & Mechanical Engineering, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., has demonstrated exceptional ability in the practice of civil engineering through diverse assignments as both a combat engineer and educator. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering at West Point, among other assignments Jones served in Kosovo, overseeing demolition of a Soviet-era bridge and design and construction of a concrete girder deck bridge; in Iraq, conducting force protection engineering/vulnerability assessments at 48 Forward Operating Bases; and in Afghanistan, designing and overseeing construction of more than 35 kilometers of combat roads and trails and numerous combat outposts along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. In 2010, he earned a Master of Science degree in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At West Point, teaching responsibilities focus on concrete and masonry structures and soil mechanics and foundation design.


Matthew G. Rempfer, P.E., PTOE, (age 38) senior civil engineer, Collins Engineers Inc., Chicago, is "a natural communicator," a skill that has been important in projects where community involvement and outreach played a critical role. As deputy project manager for the $990 million reconstruction of I-90/I-94 (Dan Ryan Expressway) that cuts through the south side of Chicago, Rempfer led the engineering effort to reconstruct 11 miles of 14-lane expressway carrying an average daily traffic volume of 300,000 vehicles. Design of a new interchange with I-90 (Chicago Skyway) received several awards including the 2007 ASCE Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement of the Year award. Rempfer is managing the $22 million reconstruction of the Ohio Street interchange with I-90/94 in Chicago and is developing a demolition method using a self-propelled modular transporter to shorten a bridge closure from four days to 16 hours. As a mentor to grade school children, he extols the merits and career paths of an engineer.


Christian Roche, P.E., LEED AP, (age 29) project engineer, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Lawrenceville, N.J., has worked across five states and on U.S. Embassies in Brazil, Morocco, and Kyrgyzstan. In 2008, he was one of three employees to relocate and start Langan's Arlington, Va., office, which has since quadrupled in size. In 2011, he took leadership of the site/civil group in Langan's Lawrenceville, N.J., office. He has managed more than 20 projects with Rutgers University including a $10 million expansion to the music school, a $40 million solar project, a $60 million new business school, a $100 million new chemistry building, and expansion of Rutgers Stadium, including site layout, grading and drainage design, stormwater management, and utility design. Roche volunteers his time with the Rutgers Civil Engineering Department, assisting students with senior Capstone Design Projects related to stormwater management and participating in the Engineering Mentorship program to guide senior engineering majors.


Robert Rodden, P.E., (age 30) director of technical service and product development, American Concrete Pavement Association (ACPA), Rosemont, Ill., daily assists consultants, contractors, agencies, material suppliers, academics, and others around the world with concrete pavement design and construction issues ranging from common specification practices to investigations on probable causes of early-age cracking. He has contributed significantly to the concrete pavement industry's body of knowledge by authoring more than 750 pages of published text and 12 journal or conference papers during the last six years, providing references that have been the impetus for specification changes in many states. Rodden served as project manager and head developer of ACPA's App Library, a free repository of more than 30 web-based tools to make designing and constructing concrete pavements easier. He also served as project manager and developer on ACPA's StreetPave, WinPAS, and PerviousPave software and ACPA's seven iPhone apps.


Pamela P. Salas, P.E., LEED AP, QSD, (age 28) project manager, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, San Francisco, has worked on projects spanning the globe, from a Kaiser Permanente Medical Campus in Redwood City, Calif., to the Hudson Park and Boulevard in New York City, to overseas developments in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Higuerito, Honduras. Salas, a Peruvian native, twice traveled to Honduras with Engineers Without Borders (EWB), leading a team to design and implement a potable water system for 250 households. Salas has continued her involvement with EWB as Executive Council secretary of the San Francisco chapter, overseeing six projects around the world. As leader within Langan's recently formed West Coast site/civil practice, Salas successfully obtained one of the first City Ordinance Stormwater Management Permits in the City of San Francisco. Additionally, she was one of the few engineers accepted into the Urban Land Institute San Francisco's Mentor Group.


E. John Schaap, P.E., (age 40) principal engineer, vice president, Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, Fresno, Calif., has more than a decade of civil and agricultural engineering experience with involvement in a wide range of design and permitting projects. He has been at the forefront of sustainability and biodiversity in design for agricultural systems, particularly dairies and feedlots. He is currently leading and advocating for a consortium of 19 irrigation districts in the Kern sub-watershed to address the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program requirements, addressing surface and groundwater quality. Schaap was honored in 2009 with the "Engineer of the Year" award presented by the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers California/Nevada Section, and the "Outstanding Civil Engineer in Private Practice" award by the ASCE San Francisco Section, Fresno Branch. Volunteer activities have included serving four years as Kings County Planning Commissioner.


Matthew T. Stone, P.E., (age 38) Civil Department manager, senior associate, and senior civil engineer, PDC Inc. Engineers, Fairbanks, Alaska, was recognized as Alaska Society of Professional Engineers (Fairbanks Chapter) "2011 Young Engineer of the Year." After serving four years as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, earning two Achievement Medals and one Army Commendation Medal, Stone joined PDC Inc. Engineers and within six years was made a senior associate. Stone is the civil designer of record and project manager on a number of high-profile projects within the Fairbanks area and Northern Alaska Region that require combining sound engineering with socially and environmentally sensitive solutions to develop a practical design. As an alumnus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Stone routinely gives presentations to the Senior Design class and often serves as a mentor to Senior Design group projects. He is currently on the UAF Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Board.


Shoots Veis, P.E., (age 38) project engineer, Engineering West, Billings, Mont., has a long history of working in, for, and cooperatively with governments. At the age of 30, he was appointed to fill a one-year vacancy on the Billings City Council, Montana's largest city. While Shoots served on the city council he used his experience as a civil engineer to provide leadership in infrastructure funding and construction. He was the point person for the council for a large urban road reconstruction project with eight consecutive roundabouts. In 2011, he was chosen as a delegate to the American Council of Young Political Leaders exchange program to Pakistan, as well as a 2009 delegate to Indonesia, a 2008 delegate to South Africa, and a 2007 appointment as an American Marshall Fellow. Each summer he hosts a group of young European leaders in Billings. He was named the "Outstanding Young Engineer" by the Billings Engineers Club in 2008.


Eric L. West, P.E., (age 38) principal and Public Works Team leader, Parkhill, Smith & Cooper Inc. (PSC), Midland, Texas, was named a corporate associate for PSC in 2005 based on his technical skills, ethical standards, marketing, and management abilities. He is the Site Development Team leader in the Public Works Sector and the office manager for civil engineering staff in the Permian Basin Office of PSC. As a team leader, he is a project and client manager for projects including municipal stormwater studies and reports, residential developments, architectural site design, roadway relocations, and major highway studies. West was instrumental in the development of a QA/QC program for the firm called PSC Square One. The TSPE awarded West the "Texas Young Engineer of the Year" in 2009 and the National Society of Professional Engineers followed with the "National Young Engineer of the Year" in 2010.


Jonathan Ziegner, P.E., (age 39) corporate associate and Transportation Team leader, Parkhill, Smith & Cooper Inc. (PSC), Lubbock, Texas, exemplifies the importance of professional and civic involvement. In the field of engineering, he is an active member of the local TSPE chapter, a board member of the TSPE statewide political action committee, and regularly attends meetings of the Lubbock Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee, which he chairs. Professionally, Ziegner is a member of the Young Professionals of Greater Lubbock (YPGL), and in 2008 was selected by YPGL as a recipient of Lubbock's "Top 20 Under 40" award. Ziegner has effectively managed new engineers in training (EITs) in the development of roadway design projects, having delegated design responsibility directly to the EIT, providing coaching and design oversight when needed, and by getting the young employees to be fully invested in their projects.


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