2017 Young Professional of the Year Award Winners

Elizabeth Avelar, Civil Engineer
Kjeldsen, Sinnock & Neudeck, Inc., West Sacramento, Calif.

Elizabeth, 27, is the project manager for a $3.1 million suite of integrated projects designed to address deficiencies in flood preparedness and flood emergency response for a nine-county region of northern California. She has also been responsible for coordinating the efforts of a multi-discipline team of engineers, planners, and GIS specialists who are developing new cutting edge GIS-based flood emergency planning tools. She plays a key role in client management, agency coordination, and community outreach. She volunteers with the Society of Women Engineers’ Engineering Awareness Program for Girls, coordinating civil engineering workshops, obtaining corporate sponsorships, and donating her photography services.

 

 

 

Ashley Evans, Assistant Project Manager
Arcadis U.S., Inc., Austin, Texas

Ashley, 28, is leading efforts across the country to address manganese breakthrough across biofiltration, combat cyanotoxins, optimize filtration operational strategies, improve distribution system water quality, and manage zebra mussel infestations. She is also working with Texas municipalities to protect local watersheds and implement aquifer storage and recovery. In partnership with the Water Research Foundation, she’s leading biofiltration and nitrosamine research to develop new tools for utilities. Additionally, through the American Water Works Association, she led the biofiltration committee in drafting new sections of the Ten State Standards, completed a webinar on zebra mussel control, and is the current Biological Drinking Water Treatment Research Subcommittee Chair.

 

 

 

Patrick Farnham, Senior Staff Engineer
Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, New York

Patrick, 27, is currently working on Columbia University’s Manhattanville Campus expansion, a 17-acre site that will include 6.8 million square feet of teaching and research space and transform the Morningside Heights neighborhood. He previously provided environmental oversight as the field lead, coordinating with various contractors engaged in large-scale drilling, mass excavation, and dewatering operations. Patrick’s experiences also include the Hudson Yards development project and the Second Ave. Subway Extension. Since 2012, he has worked with Engineers Without Borders on a water distribution system for a small village in Kenya and currently serves as vice president of the Engineers Without Borders—New York Professionals Chapter.

 

 

 

Colleen Heath, Environmental Engineer
CDM Smith, Boston, MA

Colleen, 27, works primarily on the design of municipal drinking water projects and programs. Colleen has developed programs with water audits to pinpoint areas of water loss within distribution systems and has worked with several communities to develop strategies to mitigate losses and reduce the amount of water withdrawn from the environment. She was recently an instructor for a Massachusetts Water Works Association class on water audits. She also serves on a workgroup that provides input into the newest revision of the Massachusetts Water Conservation Standards. She was selected as the New England Water Works 2016 Young Member of the Year for her outstanding contributions, including serving as Chair of the Young Professional Committee.

 

 

 

Amanda Lai, Project Engineer
Kleinfelder, San Diego, Calif.

Amanda, 27, recently worked at San Diego’s North City Water Reclamation Plant, assessing the health of the existing infrastructure with the ultimate goal of implementing upgrades to meet the city’s ambitious goal of producing one-third of its drinking water supply locally by 2035. Amanda serves as the president of the San Diego Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders and helps to oversee three active international projects; a water project in El Salvador serving a community of 100 people; a water and housing project in India for 4,000 people; and a sanitation project in Senegal serving 900 people. She also volunteers at a local middle school, helping to introduce students to the possibilities of a career in engineering.

 

 

 

For additional information or questions, please contact Daisy Nappier, dnappier@acec.org.

 

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