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HDR Transportation YP Trailblazers Impress and Inspire in their Communities

2021 ENR Regional Top Young Professionals Honored for Their Extraordinary Leadership and Talent

With expertise, integrity and leadership, our recently honored Top Young Professionals have shown themselves to be well deserving of the industry accolade.

Six of our transportation experts were named Top Young Professionals by Engineering News-Record’s regional publications. The competitive program honors individuals under 40 years old in each region who have shown extraordinary leadership and capability in the industry. Our transportation-focused honorees represent ENR California and Northwest, ENR Mid-Atlantic, ENR Mountain States, ENR Southeast and ENR Midwest. One other HDR employee, Water/Wastewater Section Lead Meredith Welle, was also honored.

Many in the group pointed to an interest in transportation from a young age and in turn they’ve also made time to foster the next generation of transportation leaders. Angie Kung, for instance, serves on WTS-Orange County’s Mentor-Mentee Committee, which helps pair 25-30 mentors and mentees each year. She discovered the program when she participated as a mentee and then returned to the program as first a mentor then a committee member as well.

They were chosen for this latest honor by a diverse group of industry leaders and previous winners, who judged them on three primary criteria: industry experience and education, career and industry leadership, and community service and involvement.

The group has worked on projects worth hundreds of millions — or billions — of dollars, while helping manage costs for clients and implement the latest transportation technology. As proven performers, they tackle some of our clients’ most complex challenges and bring strong expertise and know-how to the custom-fit teams we deploy.

About the Leaders

Angie Kung, Environmental Sciences Highway Section Manager
Irvine, California | ENR California & Northwest

Angie Kung
Angie Kung

As a daughter of immigrants, Angie was amazed from a young age at how the freeways, highways and roads of Southern California were able to connect such a wide range of communities and cultures. Years later, that interest led to a career in environmental planning for transportation projects. She leads multidisciplinary environmental teams for a wide range of highway and roadway projects. She's successfully led environmental clearance for projects ranging from small bridge and roadway improvements, to complex major highway widening and express lane projects — delivering for clients including LA Metro, Orange County Transportation Authority, Caltrans and the City of Long Beach. A committed mentor for younger staff, she also volunteers her time with WTS-Orange County, helping to inspire the next generation of women in transportation through in-depth student programs and presentations.

Connor Christian, EIT, Transportation BIM Program Manager
Minneapolis, Minnesota | ENR Midwest

Connor Christian

Connor has been working with digital twins of projects since his first model — a pile of dirt — in 2003. Beyond creating virtual models of projects using advanced building information modeling software, Connor focuses on improving the design and construction process, leading to more efficient and effective project delivery and creating accurate as-built information. As BIM program manager, he is the BIM lead or principal BIM advisor on many of our most complex BIM projects in transportation, including the high-profile Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, AASHTO BIM for Bridges and Structures Pooled Fund Study, and the ongoing Ontario Line Subway Technical Advisory Services (one of the largest projects in North America). He is among a handful of nationally recognized subject matter experts in BIM for Infrastructure, and as such, he is often personally sought out to provide BIM support for national efforts, project technical support and industry presentations.

Andy Osvalds, AIA, Freight Rail Area Leader
Irvine, California | ENR California & Northwest

Andy Osvalds
Andy Osvalds

Looking back, it’s no surprise that Andy ascended as a leader in freight rail engineering so early in his career. As a teen, Andy spent summers moving and repairing semi-trailers in intermodal yards as part of his family’s business in Chicago. After architecture school, he worked on a variety of high-profile international building projects before returning to the freight rail industry. As our freight rail market sector lead in Newport Coast, California, Andy consistently delivers large-scale projects on time and under budget for some of the industry’s largest clients. A problem solver, he goes above and beyond to discover the root cause of challenges and fix it for good. “He always does what he says he’s going to do, so that generates trust from the client,” said Bill Hjelholt, HDR freight rail director. In his free time, he helps raise money for causes such as pediatric brain tumor research, through his role as vice president of the Ducati Riders of Orange County.

Tara Bettale, Strategic Communications Section Manager
Denver, Colorado | ENR Mountain States

Tara Bettale
Tara Bettale

Rather than following the traditional outreach methods to simply "check the box," Tara has developed progressive, effective and game-changing outreach strategies for public engagement throughout her 13 years. She believes in amplifying voices often unheard on projects and is an expert at managing public outreach on projects that can become contentious. With experience managing public involvement efforts on projects throughout the Denver area, Tara leads a team that provides clients the full range of services, including social and political research and assessment, graphic design creation, messaging management, event planning and stakeholder facilitation. In addition, she is an active member of WTS International and a graduate of the American Public Transportation Association Emerging Leaders Program.

Tim Ward, P.E., Aviation Lead
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | ENR MidAtlantic

Tim Ward
Tim Ward

Although not everyone would say a massive paving project is something they love, Tim does — and he’s got 13 runway projects to prove it. His expertise makes him a go-to resource within our company and for our clients when planning and developing airfield pavement projects. Serving as our Pennsylvania/Ohio/West Virginia aviation lead, Tim has been a leader in developing a technical center of excellence in Pittsburgh that has successfully delivered projects throughout the East Region. He has been responsible for everything from airfield paving, hydrant fueling and baggage handling to restroom restoration and roof replacement projects. Tim also dedicates his time and talents to the industry. He is a member of the Airport Consultants Council Engineering Technical Committee, serves as the webinar coordinator for the American Society of Civil Engineers Airfield Pavement Committee and is an engaged member of the Aviation Council of Pennsylvania. In addition to ENR’s honor, he was also recently named to the Airport Business Top 40 Under 40 list.

Riley Birmingham, P.E., Rail Section Lead
Charlotte, North Carolina, ENR Southeast

Riley Birmingham
Riley Birmingham

Riley began her career nearly 14 years ago as a roadway engineer then transitioned quickly into freight rail design. Today, she leads the rail (freight and transit) section for our South Atlantic area. Riley’s ability to develop innovative solutions and provide consistent communication with clients is unparalleled among her peers in the industry. With experience on projects from a mega site development to major grade separations with interstates/freeways, she’s become a leading rail design resource for both clients and our professionals. Active in the industry, she participates in the Charlotte and statewide chapters of WTS and the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association.