top of page

ASCE MLAB 2023 Individual Awards

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Civil Engineers are a vital component of what makes Los Angeles one of the best cities in the world. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Metropolitan Los Angeles Branch (MLAB) is excited to honor these Individuals for their great contributions to the Civil Engineering Community and Los Angeles.

Outstanding Civil Engineer in Public Sector

Mark Vicelja, PE

Mark Vicelja, Chief Airports Engineer for the Los Angeles World Airports, was awarded the Outstanding Civil Engineer Award by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for his contributions to the career of civil engineering and the infrastructure development of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Mr. Vicelj has over 35 years of experience designing, developing, and delivering airport and heavy civil infrastructure projects. He has led programs and projects from concept through planning, entitlement, procurement, design, construction, commissioning, activation, and close-out. Mr. Vicelja joined the City in 1988 and has worked for LAWA since 1992. He has been responsible for delivering a variety of airfield, building, terminal, and infrastructure improvements throughout his career, including projects at Van Nuys Airport, the former LA/Ontario International Airport, and Los Angeles International Airport. Mr. Vicelja progressively increased his responsibilities and positions over the years before officially taking the helm of the Airports Development Program in October of 2022.

The best way to define Mark that encapsulates his leadership is stated best by his colleagues, and the overall consensus “Mark is like Britannica of airport engineering. From flatwork subgrade prep to roof trusses and insulation of buildings, from drafting contract language to project commissioning, from scheduling to budget control, Mark knows it all.

He leads by example and expects excellence in performance from his team members. He challenges you on all decisions and encourages you to reach the best possible solution.

It takes years to earn his trust, but he will mentor and support you along the road. He won’t let you fail; he will help you whenever needed, even if it means the light in his office stays on till late at night.”

Outstanding Civil Engineer in Private Sector

Pouya Banibayat, PhD, PE

Pouya Banibayat, PhD, PE, is a Principal Bridge Engineer at Gannett Fleming, where he leads the bridge group in the Los Angeles office. With extensive experience in the analysis and design of civil structures and bridges, Pouya has worked on a wide range of projects in the US and Canada. These include major cable-stayed and extradosed bridges, as well as highway bridges and geometrically challenging post-tensioned and steel rail bridges. He has successfully developed and delivered structural projects for bridges, highway interchanges, transit systems, and railroad infrastructure, collaborating with local agencies such as LA Metro, Caltrans, OCTA, Metrolink, Port of Long Beach, and City of LA BoE.

In his recent projects, Pouya has served as the structures lead for two significant undertakings in Southern California: the East San Fernando Valley LRT and the Inglewood Transit Connector. Additionally, he has taken the lead in replacing the Gage Avenue Bridge over the LA River in the City of Bell.

The Inglewood Transit Connector Project, commissioned by the City of Inglewood, is a 1.6-mile people mover to connect the Metro K Line with the area's newest sports and entertainment venues, including the Kia Forum, SoFi Stadium, Intuit Dome (the future home of the Clippers), as well as emerging housing and commercial centers in South Los Angeles. This elevated guideway system will feature three stations and traverse Market Street, Manchester Boulevard, and Prairie Avenue. By enhancing transit access and mobility for residents and visitors, the people mover will link popular destinations to the Metro Rail system.

The East San Fernando Valley LRT Project aims to improve connectivity and accessibility to key destinations while integrating transit users into the growing network in the San Fernando Valley. The Southern Segment of this project spans 6.7 miles at-grade and includes the construction of 11 new transit stations, 10 traction power substations, and a new Maintenance & Storage Facility.

Outstanding Civil Engineer in Community Service

Ingrid Spielbauer

Ingrid Spielbauer is a Civil Engineering Associate at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). As part of the Eastern Sierra Environmental Group, she manages Eastern Sierra ground and surface water to sustainably support LA’s potable water supply. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering Major, Environmental Systems and Society Minor, and she recently completed her Master of Science in Engineering Online at UCLA with a focus in Sustainable Water Engineering.

Ingrid first recognized the disproportionate impact of infrastructure failure on disadvantaged communities when she was in high school. As a junior, she traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana nearly a decade after Hurricane Katrina to help under-resourced neighborhoods rebuild homes with Project Homecoming. This trip helped inspire her field of study in college and reminded her of the intrinsic link between environmental justice and civil engineering throughout her career.

While studying civil & environmental engineering at UCLA, her interest in sustainability and the environment grew and became a major driver for her extracurricular pursuits: she became involved in on-campus environmental engineering research as part of Dr. David Jassby’s Lab, pursued a minor focused on environmental justice and policy, and co-authored a published paper about the impact of sustainability and nutrition education on student diets with Dr. Jenny Jay’s Lab. It also led her to become involved with ASCE through the Environmental Design project. During her senior year, she led the project as one of two Co-Project Managers.

After college, Ingrid began working on community service efforts and K-12 education at LADWP to become more connected with her coworkers and surrounding community. During the pandemic, she coordinated several socially-distant donation drives for water system employees to provide specialized goods to women, children, and unhoused people.

More recently, she became the ASCE Los Angeles Younger Members Forum’s (LA YMF) Inclusion, Belonging, and Diversity (IBD) Chair. As IBD Chair, Ingrid has created a plethora of events and messaging that celebrates diversity in YMF and fosters an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members. Outside of ASCE, Ingrid is also involved with the LADWP Water Employees Club as its President and provides some support to LADWP’s AAPI employee resource group, ASPIRE.

Growing up as the daughter of a Vietnamese refugee made Ingrid cognizant of the support her family received from their greater community and how many opportunities it gave her. This awareness has been a driving factor when doing community outreach in her adult life.

Outstanding Civil Engineer in Legislative Activities

Nicole (Cunxiang) Mi

Nicole Mi is the founder of Aquifer PE, a startup that aims at addressing the hottest issue in civil engineering industry today, the workforce issue. Although it’s unrealistic to expect the total numbers of engineers increase near term when civil engineering is not the “sexiest” and best paid STEM field to attract talents, Nicole believes having a proper incentive system in place can make the workforce more elastic and achieve higher productivity. Aquifer PE is a freelancing platform that allows specialty engineers to take on projects and get paid by project delivery with 2x-3x of pay comparing to a salary job with fixed salary, OT no pay and no reward disregard productivity. On the other hands, engineering firms can supplement their workforce with contract hiring instead of employee hiring when employers can afford to pay higher hourly rate without employee benefits and liability. Nicole was inspired to solve the industry problem when she did her Executive MBA at UCLA (2020-2022).

Nicole’s passion in making positive changes in the industry brought her to ASCE MLAB board, serving as Government Affairs in the past year. During the service, she met outstanding leaders in the city engineering industry, learn about how changes are made, and joined force among other leaders in the making of it. For example, she did a great job advocating for infrastructure to congress offices at DC Fly-in event in March, when she also met a new mentor who she always looks up to as an industry leader, Ms. Rossana D' Antonio. She took lead of bringing training to the ASCE MLAB board and organized 6 successful advocacy meetings with Los Angeles City council districts. Her well-rounded experience and knowledge in both civil and traffic disciplines allowed her to speak effectively on multiple subjects.

Nicole is currently a civil engineer for Los Angeles County Public Works where she has been working as a public servant for 9 years. Before this, she was working in the private sector for 2 years as a traffic engineer. She received her “booth camp” traffic engineering training from the City of Santa Ana TMC as a student intern during undergrad.Nicole feels blessed with a productive and fulfilling career so far. Transitioning from traffic engineering, she got the chance to work on a lot of civil engineering projects when she started with the county. The biggest project that she was the PE for was a multi-benefits stormwater capture project at Gates Canyon Park in Calabasas which was constructed in 2018 for $9M.She also became a guardrail expert at one point, and she would never forget the moment of joy and fulfillment that she felt when she saw the crash site of a guardrail that she designed, she literally, saved someone’s life by preventing the car from running off a cliff.

There’s one thing that Nicole would always make time for each year disregarding how busy she gets, which is the annual STEM conference at Rio Hondo College. She believes in the value of education. Most importantly, she believes that’s the best way for her to give back. She started her education at Rio Hondo College while working to make a living when she first moved to the US. Later, she successfully transferred to UC-Irvine where she earned her BS and MS degrees from. She wants students in similar shoes in Rio Hondo College today to believe that’s possible through the sharing of her story. She is committed to help the college with the event by bringing in more quality STEM speakers. Feel free to contact Nicole if you are interested.

Outstanding ASCE Branch Officer

Metehan Gumustekin

Metehan Gumustekin is a very passionate Civil Engineering Professional who's currently serving his duties as an Associate Engineer at TKE Engineering, Inc. He's been involved in various design-build projects, and has contributed to the design of many of his company's projects. His persistence, work ethic, and resilience have been recognized by his employer. Outside of his employment, Metehan is an active advocate of professional development for students and young professionals within the civil engineering field. Metehan is heavily involved in well known engineering organizations where he is currently holding board positions. He's preparing for his California P.E. License, and aiming to get his license in early 2024.

Metehan's primary focus in ASCE entities is to help create outlines, and organize professional development events to educate, inspire and serve the engineering communities in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He has successfully helped organize technical webinars, site visits, workshops and in-person tours for students, younger members, and experienced professionals. He has been involved in the ASCE Los Angeles YMF for the past three years, and has organized more than 25 professional development, and sustainable engineering events that reached an average attendance of 30 people. More than 700+ students, and professionals have attended the professional development events that he helped put together.

Through his leadership and communication skills, he has been able to connect with professionals who worked on large infrastructure projects, and in return have them host invaluable technical presentations that are well received by ASCE members. The 6th Street Viaduct Project, LAWA Automated People Mover Project, California High-Speed Rail, Florida’s Collapsed Condominium, Hyperion Water Reclamation Facility Tour, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Virtual Tour are some of the professional development webinars, and site tours to name a few. In addition to ASCE LA YMF, Metehan is also on the board of ASCE MLAB where he serves as the Membership Chair. His primary responsibility is to help the branch keep track of its membership database, and promote membership activities to keep member retention.

Outside of ASCE, Metehan has been a proud member of Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Honor Society for the past 6 years. He's currently serving as the President of the San Diego Chi Epsilon Alumni Association which requires extensive work and planning. He's successfully organized two events which generated revenue for the organization. Metehan is also serving as a member-at-large for Earthquake Engineering Research Institute in which he helped organize the first and second Kenji Ishihara Geotechnical Engineering Colloquium.

Outstanding ASCE YMF Officer

Matthew Jacobson, EIT, ENV SP, A.M.ASCE

Matthew Jacobson, EIT, ENV SP, A.M.ASCE is a Civil Analyst with Kimley-Horn, in Los Angeles working on development services and transportation projects across California. He has worked on projects through data collection, design, and construction. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona in 2021.

During his undergraduate journey, he was a part of the inaugural ASCE National Student Ambassador Program, Chaired the ASCE Student Presidential Group (SPG), was named one of ten 2020 ASCE New Faces of Civil Engineering - Collegiate Edition, and one of six to receive the 2020 ASCE Student Leadership Award. He also served as the CPP ASCE President leading the student chapter to receive the 2021 ASCE Region 9 Distinguished Student Chapter Award. Matthew is now involved locally with ASCE LA YMF, ASCE LA Branch, and serves nationally on the ASCE Committee on Younger Members and ASCE Committee on Governing Documents with the Society-Level ASCE.

When transitioning to a working professional he wanted to continue developing relationships with young engineers, help others with their careers, and advance the profession of civil engineering through ASCE. Last year, he co-chaired the return of the first in-person Annual ASCE LA YMF Student Night and Job Fair since 2020. There were 17 companies and over 130 students that attended the job fair followed by the banquet where over $25,000 in scholarships were presented!

Outstanding ASCE Practitioner Advisor

Sam Potts, PE, M.ASCE

Sam Potts, P.E., M.ASCE, is one of the practitioner advisors at the California State University, Northridge ASCE student chapter. During the 2022 calendar year, Sam first and foremost advised efforts in the planning on the Pacific Southwest Symposium (PSWS). For PSWS, Sam worked with the PSWS Chair and several committee chairs in preliminary planning and goal setting, finance, organizational development, competition development, and event logistics.

During PSWS, Sam held several support functions, including soliciting sponsors and judges, coordinating equipment storage, tabling for YMF, arranging awards, leading the business meeting, setting up canoe buoys, and spearheading both the Transportation and DeCADthalon competitions.

Sam’s recent work with directly the student chapter during 2022 included assisting with the officer transition camp, advising at board meetings, advising the concrete canoe, providing best practices in organizational conflict management, coordinating collaborative events with ASCE LA YMF, and hosting his classic value-of-a-resume workshop.

For his dedication to the CSUN ASCE chapter, Sam was recently honored with the Outstanding Alumnus award from CSUN’s Matador Involvement.

Professionally, Sam is a Project Engineer at MNS Engineers, Inc., working to make safer and friendlier streets in beautiful Southern California. Within ASCE, Sam is the president-elect of LA YMF and the vice chair of ASCE’s Committee on Student Conferences and Competitions.

Outstanding Younger Civil Engineer

Andrea Mosqueda Gonzalez, PE, QSD, ENV SP

Andrea Mosqueda Gonzalez, PE, QSD, ENV SP, M.ASCE is a registered professional engineer in the state of California and is currently a Project Engineer with Ardurra. With over 5 years of experience, she has contributed to and led design efforts for numerous general civil, transportation, stormwater, and structural engineering projects in Southern California.

Andrea has contributed to several large-scale public works infrastructure projects including Phases II, III, and IV of the City of La Canada Flintridge I-210 Soundwall Improvement Project, the John Anson Form Park Infiltration Project, and others. She has assisted on projects such as the North Hill Complete Streets Project in the City of Pasadena; led design efforts for the Century Villages at Cabrillo Phase VI affordable housing development, the Cove; and played key roles in the design of stormwater BMPs for projects in the cities of Buena Park, Santa Ana, and Long Beach.

An active member of ASCE, Andrea has advanced the profession through her commitment to professional and community activities including K-12 and college student outreach. She has held several leadership positions including Co-Chair for the 2023 Engineers Week which featured 5 days of K-12 outreach for more than 700 participants. In addition to her involvement in ASCE, Andrea is a proud Rotarian and serves as the Youth Service Chair for the Rotary Club of Placentia. In this capacity, she facilitates a group of high school students as they initiate and organize service events in their community.

Andrea received her B.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University in 2017 and her M.S. in Civil Engineering with a Structural Emphasis from California State University at Long Beach in 2022.

Outstanding ASCE Faculty Advisor

Jonathan Stewart, PhD

Dr. Stewart is a Geotechnical Engineering Professor at UCLA with a Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley. He joined ASCE as a student member in 1985 and was part of the Berkeley concrete canoe teams that won national championships in 1988 and 1989. At UCLA, he is the ASCE Faculty Advisor, Member of UC Seismic Advisory Board, member of the Building Seismic Safety Council Provisions Update Committee, and was previously the Chief Editor of the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering. Former honors include Erskine Fellowship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2020; Outstanding Paper Award for Vol. 33 (2017) of Earthquake Spectra, EERI, 2019 (with Kioumars Afshari and Christine Goulet); and Bruce Bolt Medal, Cosmos, EERI, and SSA, 2018.

Jonathan Stewart is an outstanding faculty advisor for his student chapter. He attended the chapter's end of the year banquet and encouraged the chapter as the year went on. His chapter was recognized as being in the top third of ASCE student chapters, and it placed well in the 2022 Pacific Southwest Symposium. Results from his research group are widely utilized in engineering practice, including a 2012 NIST guidelines document for soil-structure interaction, ground motion models used for the USGS National Seismic Hazard Model, ASCE-7 (for new structures), ASCE-41 (existing structures) and additional guidelines documents for landslide risk and tall building design.

His primary research interests are in geotechnical earthquake engineering and engineering seismology, with emphases on seismic soil-structure interaction, earthquake ground motion characterization, seismic ground failure, and the seismic performance of earth structures including structural fills and levee embankments. His research has involved: interpretation of earthquake strong motion data to gain insight into soil-structure interaction effects, characterize site effects, and to produce practical models for the prediction of ground motion intensity measures; cyclic field testing of earth structures and full-scale foundation components including shallow foundations, drilled shafts, and bridge abutment walls; advanced dynamic testing of soils in the laboratory; and case history studies of the seismic field performance of infrastructure in California, Taiwan, Turkey, Japan, Greece, Italy, and India. He is a registered P.E. in California and maintains an active consulting practice to assist engineering firms and government agencies with problems in geotechnical engineering and earthquake engineering.

Outstanding Civil Engineering Student

Jacqueline Lim

Jackie Lim recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. She is going to work full time as a Project Engineer for DPR Construction later this year in LA. Jackie joined the ASCE at UCLA chapter in her sophomore year after switching her major from Materials Science & Engineering where she earned positions of Career Fair Intern, Secretary, Vice President and finally President for her senior year. Jackie was also heavily involved with the projects of ASCE. Most notably, she joined the Construction Management Mixed Use Competition Team her sophomore year and continued on to serve as the Team Lead her senior year. In addition, she was a part of the Sustainable Solutions Team her junior and senior year. Her team won first place both years at the Regional Level at the Pacific Southwest Symposium and placed 2nd and 3rd at Nationals in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Never experiencing ASCE in person her freshman year, gave Jackie had a very unique perspective when serving as an officer through many different phases of the pandemic. This allowed her to lean on best practices of previous officers while still adding new ideas and details when planning events in order to bring back the spirit of the in person ASCE experience. As UCLA fully returned to in person learning, their chapter was able to collaborate with multiple different organizations this year, including the ASCE LA YMF Branch for Girl Scouts Day as part of their Engineers Week and the Architecture, Construction & Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program for University Day. For Girl Scouts Day, 100 Girl Scouts from the greater Los Angeles Area gathered on the UCLA campus for a multitude of activities such as hearing from a UCLA student university panel about their lives as engineering students and later going into hands-on break out sessions to earn their badges. This event was especially meaningful for Jackie as she was once a Girl Scout herself, even earning her Gold Award in her senior year of high school. After attending similar events growing up in Girl Scouts, Jackie recognizes the importance of female representation in STEM and hopes to help inspire future young women to follow their dreams and pursue anything they set their mind to.

ASCE at UCLA has been one of the most impactful organizations throughout Jackie’s UCLA experience and being able to lead this chapter that has given her countless opportunities and endless memories has been such a privilege. With the hard work and accomplishments of her Officer Board as well as the rest of the ASCE at UCLA members, their chapter earned an Honorable Mention for their activities in their 2022 Annual Report, therefore ranking in the top one third of ASCE chapters nationwide again. Jackie is so grateful and thankful for this organization and can’t wait to see it continue to grow in all of the years to come!

State Legislator of the Year

Luz Rivas

Luz M. Rivas was born in Los Angeles to an immigrant family and grew up in the Northeast San Fernando Valley. She attended LA Unified schools before earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical

engineering from MIT and a master’s of education from Harvard. Luz has built her career at the intersection of engineering and education before entering public service. She worked as an electrical design engineer at Motorola before founding DIY Girls, a nonprofit that provides enrichment programs focused on encouraging young girls to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology. In 2016, she was appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti to the Los Angeles Board of Public Works.

Luz was elected and sworn into the California State Assembly in June 2018. Since then, Luz has been appointed as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and currently serves on the Assembly Committees on Budget; Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation; Communications & Conveyance; Revenue and Taxation; and the Joint Legislative Committee on Emergency Management. She is also the Chair of the Select Committee on the Non-Profit Sector and serves on the Select Committee on Latina Inequalities and Select Committee on Coastal Protection and Access to Natural Resources.

During Luz’s time in the Assembly, her priority has been to uplift and empower underrepresented communities. She has been extraordinarily successful as a leader in delivering substantive policy, such as reforming the state’s response to homelessness, providing universal school meals to all K-12 students, creating the California Youth Empowerment Commission to increase youth civic engagement, and advocating for environmental justice through her role as the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources. Luz believes it is her highest honor to represent the community she grew up in.

Excellence in Journalism

Howard Fine

The 2023 ASCE MLAB Excellence in Journalism Award goes to Howard Fine of the LA Business Journal, where he has been an accomplished staff reporter for 26 years, since 1997. He has also been honored with Best Body of Work for a single reporter from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers and Distinguished Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists. Howard attended the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bates College. Howard has written several articles on engineering and infrastructure with relevance to Los Angeles. He has also covered local health care companies as well as how state and local government policies have impacted local business. His coverage of infrastructure is a service to his readers and to society. Articles of his from 2022 include "Next Year to See Major Infrastructure Project Milestones," "Tetra Tech Snags Pair of Federal Contracts Worth $158M," "Drought, Delays, Not Drying Investor Appetite for American States Water," "Special Report: Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure” and more.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Rossana D'Antonio

Rossana D’Antonio serves as Deputy Director for Los Angeles County Public Works. She provides executive leadership for the development of sustainable communities, resilient housing, private sector commercial market-places and jobs, and emergency management.

A 30-year Department veteran, Rossana has extensive background in many disciplines of engineering, management, operations and business processes. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Fresno State and an MBA with emphasis in leadership and organizational development from Pepperdine University. In 2020, Rossana was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the California Board of Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists where she currently works to ensure protection of the public and the environment with competent and ethical professional services. She is a passionate advocate for equal opportunity in the workplace through recruitment, mentoring, outreach, and diverse advancement. Currently, she serves on the ASCE Board of Direction and the Government Engineers Council.

Outstanding Infrastructure Advocate of the Year

Ben Baker, PE

Benjamin Baker graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a bachelor’s of science in civil and environmental engineering. He went on to obtain a master’s of science in engineering and project management from UC Berkeley, where he was a graduate student instructor and researcher. He then worked for the California Public Utilities Commission and KPFF Consulting Engineers. He has accomplished impact in industry on LA County Metro Rail projects such as the $2 billion design-build Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Transit Corridor. He worked over eight years as a project engineer and civil project manager as part of the Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors (WSCC) joint venture, as well as in Walsh Group’s Southern California estimating department. He coordinated third party utility relocation design and construction, managed subcontractors’ installation of new services, and oversaw self-performed roadway restoration to substantial completion and beyond. Benjamin now works for Gannett Fleming on the design of the Metro Rail East San Fernando Valley Project.

After graduating, Benjamin Baker has contributed to the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) department at UCLA by serving on the CEE Alumni Advisory Board (AAB). He has reviewed and scored requests from student groups for funding from the Engineering Alumni Association (EAA). He has spoken at past UCLA open houses (now branded as Discover UCLA Engineering) with prospective students. He also spoke to freshmen about his professional experience in a CEE 1 Introduction to Civil Engineering course.

Benjamin Baker has a history of mentorship as a practitioner advisor for the UCLA student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He is currently serving as 2022-2023 President of the ASCE Metropolitan Los Angeles Board of Direction, having served in the past as Treasurer and Los Angeles Younger Member Forum University Outreach Chair. He first became an ASCE student chapter member in 2006 and he has been involved with ASCE ever since. Each year he meets with students to provide constructive feedback on resumes and mock interviews. He was glad to attend one of the chapter’s career fairs as a company representative. He gave an “Alumni Day-in-the-Life” presentation to the chapter. He reviews the chapter’s weekly meeting minutes and makes an effort to attend meetings as his schedule allows. He encourages the chapter to strive for excellence in each year’s ASCE Pacific Southwest Symposium, and he makes students feel welcome at various ASCE conferences and events held throughout the year, such as the Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders. Each year he encourages students to apply for scholarships, and in 2022 he co-hosted LA YMF’s Student Night and Job Fair at the Petersen Museum, one of the first in-person events after the start of COVID-19 while face masks were still required. He has attended several of the chapter’s end-of-the-year banquets.

Outstanding Younger Member in Leadership

Claris Purasinghe

Claris Purasinghe is a Civil Engineering Associate at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Project Management Office where she manages the scope, budget, and schedule for water system capital improvement projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars. She graduated from CSUN with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science in Structural Engineering.

As a freshman, she first became involved with ASCE through the student competitions and eventually branched out to other aspects of ASCE by becoming Fundraising Chair, Secretary, and President during her four years at CSUN. With all of Claris’ ASCE student experience, she knew that she wanted to give back to the students and share everything that she had learned. A year later, Claris was selected as one of the University Outreach Co-Chairs for the ASCE Los Angeles Younger Member Forum (YMF). As a University Outreach Chair, she was able to organize social and professional events that helped students grow their network and learn more about our civil engineering profession. Claris also served as the Engineers Week High School Day Chair from 2019-2021 where she coordinated technical presentations and hands-on activities for over 200 students. With all the ASCE experience that Claris has gained over the years, she currently serves as the President for ASCE LA YMF. Claris also serves on the ASCE society-level with the Committee on Student Members, helping oversee all 380+ student chapters in the world.

Outside of ASCE, Claris is involved with the Asian American Architects and Engineers (AAa/e) Foundation. She currently serves as the Vice President and Scholarship Co-Chair. As a Scholarship Co-Chair, she is responsible for the scholarship and grant program where over $60,000 of scholarships and grants is awarded to students and professionals. In 2019, she served as one of the Student Outreach Co-Chairs that coordinated networking and professional development events for students and young professionals. Claris is also involved with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power - Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Professional Chapter as the Communications Co-Chair.

Outstanding Organizational Manager in Leader

William Goodin, PhD

Dr. William Goodin serves as alumni advisor, and previously as Practitioner Advisor, for the UCLA ASCE Chapter, where he provides guidance and support for career fairs, company info sessions, alumni career panels, scholarships, and student awards. He was honored with the ASCE Outstanding Practitioner Advisor award from Region 9 (State of California) in 2014 and 2017.

Dr. Goodin has worked at UCLA in both corporate and alumni relations for most of his career. First, at UCLA Extension presenting technical courses for industry partners around the world, and later at the UCLA School of Engineering enhancing relationships among corporate partners, faculty, students, and alumni. Prior to joining UCLA, he was a Senior Environmental Engineer at Dames & Moore (now part of AECOM), where he developed air quality simulation models for government and industrial customers in the US and abroad, testified at government hearings, and developed new business. Prior to that, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Environmental Quality Laboratory at Caltech.

He also serves as advisor for the UCLA chapters of Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Tau Beta Pi. He has been recognized by SWE with the Rodney D Chipp Memorial Award in 2010 for his support of women in engineering and by Tau Beta Pi with the McDonald Mentoring Award in 2011 for his mentorship of students.

Dr. Goodin holds a BA in applied mathematics (SJSU), MS in computer science (UCLA), and a PhD in environmental engineering (UCLA).

Outstanding Digital Influencer

Christine Rice, PE

Christine Rice is currently a Project Engineer with Wood Rodgers, Inc. in their Water Resources Department. Christine has been an active member of ASCE since attending Sac State University where she captained the Water Treatment Team for the ASCE Mid-Pac competition. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, she served as the Junior and Senior Director for the Sacramento Section and the K-12 Outreach Chair for the Sacramento Younger Member Forum.

In 2019, she applied for an LA YMF Board position a month before moving to Los Angeles and immediately jumped into her role as Professional Development Chair upon arrival. During the pandemic, she served as the Social Chair for LA YMF and organized over 15 virtual social events. In 2022 and 2023, she helped host LA YMF’s annual Engineer’s Week event as A Day Lead for Elementary School Day and Girls Day, respectively. In 2020, Christine joined the Region 9 Board of Governors as a Governor At Large and also serves as the Region’s Awards Committee Chair where she organized and emceed the Region’s Awards Banquet alongside the Region 9 Infrastructure Symposium. At the Society level, Christine sat on the Board Strategic Advisory Committee in 2021-22 which facilitates strategic discussions, planning, decision-making and execution with ASCE Board of Direction and helped produce the new ASCE Strategic Plan. Christine is also a dedicated volunteer with Engineers Without Borders and the Community Engineering Corps.

In the last few years, Christine has started creating digital content on Instagram to showcase her engineering career. It started with aesthetic photos of her work from home desk space and now includes humorous reels. Her most popular reel used audio from The Office to highlight how often women engineers get mistaken for secretaries in the field and has over 4,000 likes and 16,000 views. In fall 2022, Christine worked with Gamology, a popular gaming YouTube channel with 2 million followers, to create two videos as part of their "Expert's React" video series. As a professional engineer, Christine provided commentary on the civil engineering aspects of the games "Cities Skylines" and "Fallout 4" and the two videos have a combined half a million views, 13k likes, and 760 comments.

Outstanding Civil Engineer in Emergency Response

Kaitlin Hannon, PE

Kaitlin Hannon, ASCE MLAB’s current Vice President, is a Civil Engineer at Los Angeles County Public Works and serves as a Structures Specialist on the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team. Following devastating earthquakes in February 2023, Ms. Hannon was deployed to Türkiye for two weeks with the USAR team to provide aid. Soon after her return from Türkiye, she was sent on a one week deployment to Mammoth Lakes following the severe winter storms in March 2023.

Within Public Works, Kaitlin is currently working on the Equity in Infrastructure Initiative, focused on improving how communities are served by prioritizing equity in infrastructure delivery and services. Throughout her career, she has worked on various projects and efforts including the development of the Cogswell Reservoir Post-Fire Emergency Restoration Project, assisted residents impacted by the Dominguez Channel Odor Incident, provided post-fire engineering advice to residents following several wildfires, and assisted with the operations of spreading ground facilities during rain events. She also recently concluded her 3-year term as Co-Chair for the Public Works Women’s Leadership Council. She looks forward to continuing to serve the community through Public Works and ASCE.

Outstanding Professor

Dragos Andrei, PhD, PE

Dragos is a Professor of Civil Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona. He is known for generously giving extra credit and for encouraging his students to travel in spacetime: from the iconic Pantheon in Rome to the record-breaking concrete pour at the Wilshire Grand in Los Angeles, and further to ASCE’s Mega City 2070.

Drawing from his own experiences in the geotechnical and pavement laboratories at the University of Maryland, Arizona State University, Fugro Consultants in Austin, and MACTEC in Los Angeles, Dragos likes to remind students that “hands-on” learning is not a mere metaphor. His lectures can be boring but are never the same, because every lecture is an opportunity in itself, and every student is unique.

At Cal Poly Pomona, Dragos has introduced new courses to the curriculum, including Civil

Engineering Materials, Pavement Design and Construction, and Sustainable Buildings and

Infrastructure. More than 150 of his students have obtained Envision, LEED, or Greenroads

sustainable professional credentials prior to graduation, and many of them are actively shaping the future of our built environment.

Dr. Andrei also lectures at UCLA, and was awarded a Visiting Erskine Fellowship from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand in 2022. He is the advisor of the newly established Cal Poly Pomona ACI Student Chapter, and leads the Pavement Recycling and Reclaiming Center at Cal Poly Pomona.

289 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page