Welcome to Rising Stars 2019, presented by Civil + Structural Engineer magazine. The eighth annual celebration of the AEC industry’s top talent features 10 Civil and 10 Structural engineers, all under the age of 40 at the time of their nomination. Though they come from different parts of the United States and the world, went to different schools, and have honed different specialties, they all share a few things in common – leadership, technical ability, and service to their professions, firms, and communities. These 20 recipients have distinguished themselves in an oftentimes thankless world of intense competition, impossible deadlines, confounding problems, and unrealistic client demands. Instead of being undone by obstacles, they overcome them. Their reward? The respect of their peers.

Rising stars in civil engineering

Jeff Roman

Partner, Engineering Practice Leader
Little
Charlotte, North Carolina

Roman has led the Engineering Practice at Little to six years of profitable growth, quadrupling staff and revenue while expanding engineering to all offices and adding new service offerings. He created a vision and core values and successfully implemented a culture change to build Little’s national engineering practice. In 2018, he became the first engineer to join the partnership and is currently the youngest partner. In 2019, he was selected for a three-year term on Little’s Board of Directors.

Accomplishments:

  • Civil engineer of record for multiple projects at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
  • Civil engineer of record for most projects within the Forum at Fort Myers, a 700-arce mixed-use development.
  • Client relationship manager and project manager for new construction and renovations for automotive dealerships nationwide for Sonic Automotive.

Public/Professional Service: Jeff gives back to the engineering profession with his passion for STEM education. His outreach efforts have impacted well over 1,000 students during the last 15 years. Jeff speaks in K-12 and college classrooms presenting about engineering and facilitating fun hands-on activities. He leads Little’s efforts to host students for field trips and job shadowing, host teachers for externships, and created an Engineering Explorers Post.

Education: BS Civil Engineering, Lawrence Technological University | Executive MBA, University of Florida

Sharareh Kermanshachi

Assistant Professor and Director of the Resilient Infrastructure and Sustainable Environment (RISE) Lab
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, Texas

Dr. Kermanshachi has received several prestigious national and regional awards including the UESI Fellowship, ASCE Outstanding Reviewer, Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, ASCE Professional Service Award, ASCE Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd), OER Research Fellowship, and the Graduate Climate Award. Kermanshachi was the only recipient of the 2018 Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) Distinguished Leadership Award from the Faculty category. Kermanshachi’s areas of expertise are risk management, performance optimization, and post disaster reconstruction.

Accomplishments:

  • Currently leading the RISE lab, which has more than a dozen Ph.D. and master’s students and teaches various graduate and undergraduate level courses in civil engineering.
  • Peer reviewed publications – over 326 citations.
  • Has published more than 80 books, scholarly articles, conference proceedings, and research reports and has conducted several national- and state-level research projects with a value of more than $2.3 million.

Public/Professional Service: An extensive record as an advisor, organizer, and mentor.

Education: Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University | MS, Civil Engineering, Mississippi State University | MBA, Eastern Mediterranean University | BS, Architectural Engineering, I.A. University of Tehran

Lambrina Tercala

Project Manager, Environmental & Water Resources Group
OHM Advisors
Detroit, Michigan

Tercala, PE, ENV SP, is one of the firm’s newest shareholders, elected in November 2018 to the now 42-member group of employee owners. Tercala was elected to this important position – a role in which she will contribute to the firm’s leadership and success, elect board members and future shareholders, and exercise voice in the future direction of the company – in just four years since joining OHM Advisors due to her sharp business acumen, eye for advancement opportunities, and candor in strategic conversations.

Accomplishments:

  • Developed an odor-control system using new technology in the Midwest for one of the firm’s important, long-term municipal clients.
  • Co-manages the oversight and administration of the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority, a 13-community co-operative serving more than 350,000 people.
  • Balances the myriad multitasking responsibilities of parenthood with a robust career that includes substantive client work, heavy involvement in the firm’s Project Manager Forum, and active representation in professional organizations.

Public/Professional Service: Analyzed the results of a firm-wide PM survey collecting ideas and information on how managers can best perform and engage their teams.

Education: BS, Engineering, Civil and Environmental Studies, University of Michigan

Mark Origer

Head of Environmental Services Group
ISG
Mankato, Minnesota

A gifted civil engineer driven to improve water quality in rural Minnesota, Origer works closely with public agencies and private landowners alike to implement projects that provide a marked improvement on water quality. Despite being relatively young in his career, Origer has already established himself as an equally talented designer, project coordinator, and committed mentor to his fellow employee owners. With unique hydrologic and hydraulic modeling expertise with softwares such as HydroCAD and XPSWMM, Origer is able to examine alternative practices and select the most advantageous option tailored to serve each individual project. This technological expertise also allows Origer to perform large-scale hydraulic and hydrological analysis across multiple watersheds.

Accomplishments:

  • Serves as a project team member for numerous projects within the Heron Lake Watershed located within portions of Nobles, Jackson, Murray, and Cottonwood Counties in southwestern Minnesota, extending approximately 472 square miles.
  • Led hydrological and hydraulic analysis on the 18,000-acre Line Creek Watershed in Chippewa and Swift Joint Counties in Minnesota.
  • Led hydraulic analysis on a portion of Limbo Creek in Renville County, Minnesota, to determine the flood damages to the area and the public safety concerns of road crossings. The watershed consists of 9,300 acres of open channel and wetland complexes that serve as an outlet to public drainage systems.

Public/Professional Service: Has led tours at the International Drainage Symposium, frequently presents at water quality workshops and Drainage Authority meetings, was a contributor to the University of Minnesota’s Fields to Streams: Managing Water in Rural Landscapes publication, and serves as a mentor for lucky engineering students at his alma mater, Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Lee Daigle

Senior Project Manager
Cornerstone Environmental Group, A Tetra Tech Company
Madison, Wisconsin

Daigle is a project manager with 12 years of experience in the landfill gas industry. He has managed the design, construction, operation, and monitoring of landfill gas extraction and treatment systems at municipal solid waste landfills throughout North America. He has led the initial start-up and monitoring of collection and control systems and has performed data analysis and interpretation to assist in optimizing overall landfill gas system performance.

Accomplishments:

  • Project manager for a multi-disciplinary team on a unique landfill gas to renewable natural gas (LFG-to-RNG) facility at the Dane County Rodefeld Landfill, the first of its kind in the US.
  • Has registered numerous landfills for compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s mandatory rules for greenhouse gas reporting. He has also performed construction management and construction quality assurance services during the installation of numerous landfill gas extraction and treatment systems.
  • Served as project manager overseeing routine operation and maintenance activities for landfill gas collection and control systems at four landfill facilities with the San Bernardino County Solid Waste Management Division.

Public/Professional Service: Presented at numerous local, regional, state and national conferences and events, including the Global Waste Symposium and the Engineering Society of Detroit.

Education: BA, Environmental Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic University

Todd Abrams

Principal-in-Charge, Civil Engineering
WT Group
Hoffman Estate, Illinois

Abrams joined WT Group right out of college as a Project Designer. He rose through the ranks to Project Manager and Vice President, and was then named the youngest President/Principal-in-Charge in the history of the civil engineering division at only 35 years old. His work ethic shows in the number of projects he has successfully completed. In just 15 years he has accumulated experience on projects that would take other professionals decades to acquire.

Accomplishments:

  • Regularly hired by the Illinois Department of Transportation as an expert witness.
  • Site Design: 10+ residential developments; 20+ truck and trailer facilities; 100+ gas stations throughout the Midwest; 60+ commercial projects; 50+ park district projects; 55+ educational institutions; Eminent Domain Analysis – over 300 reports for State/County and 250 for private owners.
  • Redesign of Springfield Park baseball complex in Bloomingdale, Illinois to solve long-standing drainage problem.

Public/Professional Service: He supports the Children’s Advocacy Center, which is dedicated to serving the needs of abused children. He also volunteers with the local park district, painting old playgrounds and making them safe for children. Todd reaches out to young engineers, mentoring them and teaching them how to find the path to success.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, Valparaiso

Laura Casset

Associate, Floodplain Management and Project Funding Specialist
Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN)
Austin, Texas

Casset has more than a decade of experience serving public clients in stormwater and floodplain management. Her background includes civil engineering design of flood mitigation projects, surface water hydrology/hydraulics, identifying project funding opportunities, grant application development, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) map revisions and studies, as well as site development, utility relocation, and transportation drainage projects throughout Texas.

Accomplishments:

  • An expert on FEMA grant funding and travels throughout Texas meeting with cities and counties to discuss funding solutions for infrastructure planning and construction.
  • Erosion Hazard Zone Mapping & Geomorphic Assessment of Eastern Watersheds, Austin.
  • Riverfront Bank Stabilization and Disaster Recovery Funding, Beaumont.

Public/Professional Service: An avid activist for refugees, Casset volunteers with the Refugee Center of Austin. Volunteers collect donations for refugee families and victims of sex trafficking. Donations include used items, monetary donations, and skill training. She has prepared apartments for refugee families that arrive in Austin with no belongings.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, University of Texas

Steven Abendschein

Senior Principal
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
New York, New York

Abendschein has always been a driven individual. It is this drive that put him on the leadership fast track from his first days at Stantec. His engineering expertise and leadership style were first noticed early on in his career, as demonstrated on the Route 9A Redevelopment project. Stantec was working to get the roadway to working order after the devastating September 11th terror attacks. Abendschein led the simulation development for West Street, which illustrated various construction alternatives and their impacts. He  was recognized by the client for his professionalism, technical expertise, and sensitivity. Shortly thereafter, he obtained his professional engineering license.

Accomplishments:

  • At the age of 28, was promoted to managing leader of a 30-person group responsible for traffic engineering and national traffic and revenue studies in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.
  • Leads Stantec’s Transportation Technology group, focusing on Intelligent Transportation Systems and self-driving vehicle initiatives across the world.
  • Since June 2013, has been responsible for 43 investment-grade traffic and revenue studies that have raised $13 billion in revenue bonds.   

Public/Professional Service: Active in ACEC NY and is currently the Chair for the chapter’s Scholarship Committee. He organizes and oversees the committee, and reviews and scores scholarship applications. Since the program’s inception in 2002, the council has awarded $770,500 collectively to 280 high-achieving engineering students attending New York State colleges and universities.

Education: Master of Engineering, Engineering Management, Cornell University | BS, Civil Engineering, Cornell University

Cheryl Bornheimer-Kelley

Design Engineer
McClure
Lenexa, Kansas

Bornheimer-Kelley is constantly pursuing and improving her knowledge of transportation engineering, specifically her passion for traffic and safety engineering. Now as lead PTOE for the Kansas City area offices of McClure, she heads the authoring of traffic studies, alignment and safety studies, interchange justification reports (I.J.R.) as well as designing transportation projects. Currently she is managing the design study of improvements to Kansas & Spruce Avenues in Olathe, Kansas. These improvements are spurred from her traffic study for the new Johnson County Courthouse.

Accomplishments:

  • Safety expert for the Ford County Safety analysis for the Kansas Department of Transportation.
  • Project manager on the bridge replacement on Highway K-9 in Norton County, Kansas.
  • The Highway 76 project in Branson, Missouri, where Bornheimer-Kelley worked on the safety features involved with sidewalks, American with Disabilities ACT (ADA) ramps and other appurtenances intended to allow non-vehicular stakeholders to coexist with very congested vehicular traffic.

Public/Professional Service: Heavily involved with the Engineer’s Club of Kansas City, a philanthropic society that provides scholarships to engineering students in the region. The group typically awards over $95,000 in scholarships annually. She is on the Board of Directors as Secretary, and is scheduled to be President in 2021.

Education: MS, Civil Engineering, University of Kansas | BS, Civil Engineering, University of Kansas

Abelardo A. Salinas (Abe)

Associate Vice President; Chief Innovation Officer
LNV, Inc.
San Antonio, Texas

LNV’s first ever CIO, Salinas is responsible for leading and carrying out a critical component of the organization’s Innovations Program by providing decisions and recommendations capable of impacting extensive professional and related activities for the company. He is also LNV’s Stormwater/Flood Control Techincal Specialist, and developed career track planning worksheets for the firm.

Accomplishments:

  • Edwards Aquifer Authority Director, District 3. The Authority is a political subdivision and regional water management agency that regulates the use of the Edwards Aquifer, one of the most prolific artesian aquifers in the world that serves over 2 million South Texans.
  • Project lead for the Multi-modal Transportation plan for Laredo, a project featured in Texas Architect Magazine.
  • Project manager and design lead for design of a dam and reservoir that will restore an irrigation network that provides water for approximately 33,000 acres of farmland in the Medina River Valley.

Public/Professional Service: Appointed to the San Antonio Airport Technical Advisory Committee to represent the interests of the Edwards Aquifer.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, Rice University

Rising stars in structural engineering

Jian Li

Chair’s Council Assistant Professor
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas

Li is a Chair’s Council Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) at the University of Kansas and has been selected for promotion to Associate Professor. His research focuses on both theoretical and experimental developments of advanced sensing and health monitoring techniques to improve the resiliency and sustainability of civil infrastructure under operational and extreme loading conditions. His specific research interests include vibration-based damage detection, uncertainty quantification, innovative sensing techniques and wireless smart sensor networks, computer vision, fatigue and fracture, earthquake risk assessment and mitigation.

Accomplishments:

  • Since 2013, has served as principle investigator of research projects with a total funding of $1.52 million, of which he is responsible for $1.06 million as PI.
  • Has made significant contributions to advanced structural inspection by creating innovative algorithms for detecting various structural defects such as fatigue cracks and bolt loosening using computer vision. This work has so far led to three provisional patents and one international patent application.
  • Has published 38 journal papers and 37 conference papers, and has delivered 13 invited seminars and 25 conference/workshop presentations.

Public/Professional Service: As the secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of the US-China Earthquake Foundation, Li has been actively involved in promoting cooperation between the US and China in earthquake engineering. The foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2002 in Pasadena, California.

Education: Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne | MS, Civil Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology | BS, Civil Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology

Benny Lujan

Project Manager
CTL | Thompson
Denver, Colorado

Lujan joined CTL | Thompson in 2006 while still a student at the Colorado School of Mines and is now a project engineer and manager in its Denver office. He performs preliminary and design-level geologic and geotechnical investigations and consultations, as well as post-construction geotechnical engineering consultations. During his tenure, he has authored more than 1,000 engineering reports for a variety of structures and has been the engineer of record on nearly 30 significant CTL projects, designing structural engineering solutions that have improved geotechnical project design and management practices.

Accomplishments:

  • Successfully co-managed the effort, that included a team of geotechnical and environmental engineers, to transform a city block into the foundation for 1144 15th, a 42-story, 603-foot-high office tower in Denver.
  • Helped design a passive dewatering system for a new development at the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball stadium that saves the team $200,000 per year throughout the life of the building.
  • Denver-area projects include: Denver World Trade Center; Globeville Landing Park/40th Street Outfall; Latino Cultural Arts Center; Metro State Sports Complex; Colorado School of Mines Elm Hall; and CU Systems Biotechnology Building.

Public/Professional Service: Lujan is actively involved in causes supporting Hispanics and Hispanic-owned businesses. He is a member of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and works alongside the Latin American Educational Foundation and the Denver Hispanic Coalition. He is the geotechnical engineer for the new six-story Denver Latino Cultural Arts Center.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, Colorado School of Mines

Ali Ashrafi

Associate Principal
Thornton Tomasetti
New York, New York

Ashrafi joined Thornton Tomasetti in 2006 and is now an associate principal with extensive experience in structural design, investigation and demolition, emergency response to structural failures, façade preservation of historic structures, renovation, and performance-based design for earthquake, fire and wind. Through active participation and leadership in a wide range of projects, membership in professional associations, active research, publication of papers, presentation at conferences, organizing mini-symposia, teaching, and mentorship of young professionals, Ashrafi consistently helps shape the direction of the AEC industry and provide leadership for his profession.

Accomplishments:

  • Led performance-based seismic design for Soyak Tower, a 550-ft high-rise with eight basement levels in Turkey. The building’s concrete core was designed to withstand the forces of a dramatic seismic event in a highly earthquake-prone region.
  • Led the complex analysis of the seismic soil-structure interactions for the Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco. Because of the structure’s long length, deep basement and different soil structures, seismic movements of the ground at one end of it can be very different from the other end.
  • Led the fire modeling and structural analysis for the Shed at Hudson Yards, showing that the wheels carrying it could resist the effects of fire without fireproofing.

Public/Professional Service: Ashrafi teaches Earthquake and Wind Engineering at Columbia University, serves on two committees on the Engineering Mechanics Institute, reviews papers for several professional journals, and mentors engineers and students inside and outside the company to help build the next generation.

Education: Ph.D., Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University | MS, Civil Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology | BS, Civil Engineering, Sharif University of Technology

Taylor Perkins

Senior Structural Engineer
Stantec Consulting Services Inc.
Lexington, Kentucky

Perkins has developed a diverse project portfolio focused on evaluation and design of long-span and complex bridges, including post-tensioned segmental bridges, curved steel girders, trusses, tied arches, cable-stayed structures, and long span suspension bridges, as well as evaluation and retrofit of large concrete gravity dams. He serves as a corporate expert in advanced numerical modeling and simulation. His finite element modeling expertise extends to non-linear, dynamic, soil-structure interaction, time-dependent, and staged construction considerations. For complex bridge and dam projects, he has performed non-linear simulations incorporating geometric and material non-linearity based on both elastic and plastic theories. His dynamic analysis experience ranges from simple modal analysis to explicit time-history simulations. Perkins is familiar with a wide variety of structural analysis software packages and serves as a Stantec corporate resource for the use and implementation of these programs.

Accomplishments:

  • Serves as the structures discipline lead for the quality assurance management team on the Wellsburg Bridge, a $131 million design-build project constructing a new Ohio River crossing in Wellsburg, West Virginia.
  • Serves as deputy project manager and lead designer for the $50 million US 60 Cumberland River Bridge Replacement in Smithland, Kentucky.
  • He has inspected over 35 bridges, the majority of which are major crossings requiring rope access techniques. Perkins has completed SPRAT Level 1 rope access training.

Public/Professional Service: Perkins is a mentor to several junior structural engineers in his office and several students at the University of Kentucky. Early on in his career, Perkins had an excellent mentor that helped him grow professionally and personally. To pay it forward, he has taken on this mentor role to provide invaluable lessons and structural knowledge to help foster growth in the young engineers he works with.

Education: Ph.D., Structural Engineering, University of Kentucky | MS, Civil Engineering, Structures, University of Kentucky | BS, Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky

Michael Mendenhall

Structural Engineer
Hanson Professional Services Inc.
Springfield, Illinois

During his nearly 17-year career, Mendenhall has provided engineering, planning and design services for numerous bridges, structures and retaining walls across Illinois and the U.S., including Alaska. Award-winning Alaskan projects Mendenhall has been involved with include the $42.5 million Glenn Highway capacity improvements in Eagle River and the $187 million Tanana River Bridge in Salcha. He also has performed project management responsibilities for multiple projects, including the $315 million Springfield Rail Improvements for the city of Springfield, and the $75 million Illinois Route 104 bridge over the Illinois River in Meredosia, for IDOT.

Accomplishments:

  • As Hanson’s lead structural engineer responsible for studying the effect of skew and continuity of reinforced concrete slab bridges for IDOT, Mendenhall has used his experience to develop structural engineering equations and design code that is used to design reinforced concrete slab brides throughout Illinois.
  • Helps drive Hanson’s largest market, infrastructure, which earned $37 million in gross revenue in 2018. Clients include DOTs in Florida, Illinois, and Missouri, the city of Springfield, Illinois, and the Illinois Tollway.
  • Provided Phase I and II engineering services for replacement of the McClugage Bridge in Peoria and Tazewell counties, Illinois. For the $200 million project, he was the lead structural engineer and task manager for the east bridge approach unit design, main span foundation design, vessel collisions study, and independent review of the 650-foot-long, tied-arch main span.

Public/Professional Service: As an active member of the Illinois Society of Professional Engineers since 2006, Mendenhall has served as the chapter’s president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. He was also chairman of the chapter’s annual fish fry committee for six years, as well as MATHCOUNTS and Engineers Week.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne

Ross Stuart

Structural Division Manager
Pennoni
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stuart has more than 12 years of experience in the structural engineering profession. He has assisted with the design, coordination, administration and management of the structural engineering for a diverse spectrum of projects, including new construction, rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, inspection, condition assessment, construction engineering and repair projects covering a wide range of project types and materials including cast in place, precast and post tensioned concrete, structural steel, cold formed metal framing, masonry, and timber. Since 2007, Stuart has been involved with more than 339 individual projects and is licensed in 11 states.

Accomplishments:

  • As Division Manager, Stuart is responsible for the technical and financial performance of the structural department, managing work load, networking, client development, proposals, billing, and evaluating employee performance. The structural division is consistently recognized as one of the firm’s Top 10 financially performing groups.
  • Project Engineer for the design, documentation and construction administration of an $18 million, 70,000-SF office building with composite steel framed mezzanine and 145-foot span of 66-inch deep glue laminated arches supporting SIP roofing system on glulam purlins. Building achieved LEED Platinum certification.
  • Project Engineer and manager responsible for the structural design of the $90 million, 235,000-SF Paul VI High School West.

Public/Professional Service: Stuart is a member of the Delaware Valley Association of Structural Engineers and the Structural Engineers Association of Pennsylvania, a local and national member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a national member of the American Concrete Institute, the American Institute of Steel Construction and the National Council of Structural Engineers Association. Stuart also volunteers his time as an ACE Mentor.

Education: BS, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Rutgers University

Lauren Wingo

Senior Structural Engineer
Arup
Washington, DC

Wingo is a licensed structural engineer in Arup’s Washington, DC office. Her experience includes both conventional and innovative structural materials, with a focus on incorporating sustainable strategies into structural design. She has worked on a number of large scale renovation projects, further influencing the sustainability of projects by adaptively reusing existing structures. Wingo is deeply involved in structural sustainability within the design profession. She is an expert in and an early adopter of whole building life cycle assessment. She advocates for considering environmental impacts embodied within structural materials equally alongside operating impacts when evaluating the overall sustainability of a project. She has performed whole building life cycle assessment for several projects, including a new airport terminal and a high-rise timber residential building.

Accomplishments:

  • Lead project engineer for Whittle School & Studios located in Washington, DC. In this capacity, she leads the delivery of the structural work for this large-scale renovation spanning over 900,000 square feet, managing a team of engineers.
  • Lead project engineer for the Concourse Modernization project at Union Station in Washington, DC. This project, also a large-scale renovation, includes numerous structural interventions that interact with different historic phases of construction and span numerous material types.
  • Was the lead project engineer for Washington Latin Public Charter School, the first cross-laminated timber building in the District of Columbia.

Public/Professional Service: Wingo’s volunteer work focuses on promoting STEM fields for younger students. She volunteers with ACE Mentors through Arup’s involvement at Dunbar High School. Wingo recently participated in a day-long workshop Arup put together for the Design Like a Girl mentorship program. The program is designed for girls in the DC metro area aged 11-13, who are passionate about architecture to learn about the profession first-hand from successful women mentors in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields.

Education: MS, Civil Engineering, George Washington University | BS, Civil Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

Vartan Chilingaryan

Associate Vice President, Director of Structural Engineering
HDR
Los Angeles, California

Chilingaryan has accomplished a great deal in a short amount of time. He started with HDR 15 years ago in the Los Angeles office as a structural intern. He joined the firm when he was only a junior in college and balanced school and work in a very pressurized schedule. By the time he graduated college, he was already independently leading small structural projects. During his professional career, he has successfully led highly technical projects through design, engaged in project management, and taken on different leadership roles within the firm.

Accomplishments:

  • Recently named HDR’s National Director of Structural Engineering, making him the youngest person ever to hold the position at HDR.
  • Project Structural Engineer: Fort Bliss Replacement Hospital, a 1.13 million SF medical facility replacing the current William Beaumont Army Medical Center (WBAMC) in Texas.
  • Project Structural Engineer: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a 1.8 million SF underground parking structure located directly below the main tower. Project was awarded a 2015 Merit Award in the Built category from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Middle East.

Public/Professional Service: Chilingaryan is very active within his local community. For the last few years he has served on the planning board for Art Swagger, which is a well-recognized annual walking art gallery hosted by a handful of architectural design firms, located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. He is also active with the Structural Engineering Association of Southern California.

Education: BS, Civil Engineering with emphasis in Structural Engineering, California State University, Northridge

Joelle Nelson

Practice Leader, New York Downtown Construction Engineering
Thornton Tomasetti
New York, New York

Nelson joined Thornton Tomasetti in 2004 and quickly rose to project director, taking on complicated projects such as the Roosevelt Island Tramway Rehabilitation Project, the U.S. Capitol Dome Restoration Project, and the 95-foot high pivoting doors at U.S. Bank Stadium. She has investigated major structural collapses, lending her expertise in wind loads and cranes. Now a partner at Thornton Tomasetti, she established and leads the firm’s crane and erection engineering practice in New York City, opening doors for women in a typically male-dominated sector. With her experience from forensic investigations of crane collapses, she is working to get in front of the problem and improve site safety.

Accomplishments:

  • Restoration of the U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C.: Performed the structural analysis of the existing cast iron dome structure and analyzed it for modern code prescribed loading requirements and for loading applied from the scaffolding.
  • Rehabilitation of the Roosevelt Island Tramway in New York City: Designed new head frames to support the replacement tram, rope, and mechanical/electrical system and analyzed the existing towers for the new increased loading.
  • U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings: Performed the structural design and kinetic coordination for the stadium’s operable glass panels, the tallest pivoting glass doors in the world.

Public/Professional Service: Serves on the Wind Load Subcommittee for the referenced standard ASCE 7: Design Loads and Associated Criteria for Buildings and Other Structures. Served on the subcommittee for the published ASCE 7-16, and continues to serve on the subcommittee for the in-progress ASCE 7-22. She also currently serves on the committee for the referenced standard ASCE 37: Design Loads on Structures During Construction.

Education: MS, Civil Engineering, Columbia University | BS, Civil Engineering, Columbia University

Matthew Murray

Project Manager
CE Solutions, Inc.
Carmel, Indiana

Murray brings a unique, research-based perspective to CE Solutions. His graduate research gave him hands-on experience in the design, construction, and testing of reinforced concrete beams, and was published in the January 2018 edition of the ACI Structural Journal. Murray demonstrates a commitment to his projects and a deliberate approach in making important decisions and anticipating obstacles. Due to his outstanding technical capabilities, he serves as Project Manager on the firm’s more challenging projects. His depth of experience with various materials is a great asset for teaching young and seasoned engineers. When Murray shares his knowledge, people listen.

Accomplishments:

  • Project Manager for two high-profile pieces of public art: “VOSS” (Visiting our Solar System) at Purdue University in Indiana, and “Rocket” in Richardson, Texas.
  • Project Manager for Hooverwood (assisted living), CityWay Phase II Building D (mixed use), and Hinge (mixed use). Murray used his technical expertise to provide structural systems to support a green roof, increased loading and removal of load-bearing walls, and custom bracing systems on a pedestrian connector bridge.
  • Project Manager for the Duke Energy Central Stores Building. The unique challenge was the need to strengthen the existing floor to double its load-carrying capacity. This creative solution involved a combination of additional columns in the basement and welding new headed studs on existing steel beams. A new composite slab was poured, and the overall capacity of the floor system was increased.

Public/Professional Service: Murray has given his time and talents to various community organizations and initiatives. He has volunteered for Canstruction, an event where teams build a structure using only food cans. The cans are then donated to a local food pantry. He has also volunteered for the annual Passport to Hi-Tech, an event that introduces young children to the STEM fields. He and his family also volunteer their time preparing and serving monthly meals at Neighborhood Fellowship, a church that provides for the homeless in downtown Indianapolis.

Education: MS, Civil Engineering, Purdue University | BS, Civil Engineering, Purdue University

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