M.C. Dean of Tysons, Va., has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 56th annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) for the replacement of the automatic train control (ATC) system at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s Metrorail train yard in Alexandria, Va.

M.C. Dean provided electrical and automation and controls services to replace the existing 30-year-old system. The project team developed a new zone-based system comprised of four modular systems rooms containing fully automated train controls, telecommunications, and fire safety equipment. Also incorporated were an integrated electrical backbone and infrastructure for wayside ancillary assemblies, including switches, signals, track circuits, and snow-melting equipment.

An innovative project delivery approach enabled a seamless phase-out of aged legacy systems with minimal disruption to day-to-day operations. Dividing the centralized system into controllable zones allowed the rest of the train yard to continue normal operations during the phased systems upgrade. This approach provides future resiliency of the system in the event of an outage or emergency maintenance.

The project is among 179 EEA entries this year representing engineering excellence from throughout the nation and the world. Judging for the awards program—known industry-wide as the “Academy Awards of the engineering industry”– took place in March and was conducted by a national 27-member panel of built environment leaders, along with experts from government, the media and academia. Award criteria focused on uniqueness and originality, technical innovation, social and economic value, and generating excitement for the engineering profession.

Recognition of all 2023 award winners, including top winners—16 Honor Awards, 8 Grand Awards and the prestigious “Grand Conceptor Award” for the year’s most outstanding overall engineering achievement—will take place at the annual EEA Gala Dinner and Awards Program, a black-tie event to be held Tuesday, June 13, 2023, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) is the business association of America’s engineering industry, representing more than 5,200 independent engineering firms and more than 600,000 professionals throughout the United States engaged in the development of America’s transportation, water and energy infrastructure, along with environmental, industrial and other public and private facilities. Founded in 1906 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., ACEC is a national federation of 52 state and regional organizations.