PSEC Awards

Last Modified: November 7, 2017
by Stan Dyck

Engineer of the Year Awards

During Engineer’s Week each year, the Puget Sound Engineering Council (PSEC) conducts an Awards Banquet, to celebrate our engineering profession – a rewarding profession that makes the world a better place; and to recognize our colleagues who have excelled in their achievements.  The Awards Banquet is held every February during Engineer’s Week at the Museum of Flight.

It is essential that our Awards be made to truly outstanding engineers possessing strong histories of achievement, in order to make the celebration of our profession noteworthy and meaningful.

Each of our member Societies is aware of engineers whose achievements are worthy of recognition.  Please consider outstanding engineers known to your Society and nominate worthy candidates for the following awards:

Each Society may Nominate one candidate for each Award.

Current Award Recipients

The following award recipients were honored at the most recent Awards Banquet in February.

  • Academic Engineer of the Year, 2017

    Dr. H. David Stensel, P.E., University of Washington

    Dr. H. David Stensel, P.E.
    University of Washington

    2017 Award Recipient

    Nominated by the American Society of Civil Engineers

    Dr. H. David Stensel, P.E., University of Washington, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Academic Engineer of the Year Award in recognition of his exceptional career as an environmental engineering educator who integrated cutting edge research with engineering design and problem solving. An emeritus professor, he retired from the University of Washington in 2016 after teaching for 36 years at the University of Utah and University of Washington.

    His work as an educator has been focused on encouraging his students to learn basic fundamentals and analytical methods and to connect that knowledge with design applications and problem solving.  A key component of his classes has been to address local real-world project needs with students sharing their evaluations and design developments with engineers in the utility or firm involved in the local problem.  He has been a great mentor to graduate students and has involved them in many of his research projects.

    His research contributions have focused on microorganism selection and novel biological treatment processes.  He has been a leader in the application of novel full-scale treatment processes for biological nitrogen and phosphorus removal.  He was the technical leader for the for the first full-scale wastewater treatment facility in North America that removed phosphorus by biological means instead of chemical addition.  The biological option is not only less costly, but it enables phosphorus recovery and reuse.  He led the design of the first oxidation ditch systems for biological nitrogen removal that are now used at over 1,200 wastewater treatment plants in the United States.

    Prior to joining the University of Washington, he taught environmental engineering at the University of Utah and served as Director of Environmental Engineering Technology for Envirotech Corporation in Salt Lake City, Utah.


  • Government Engineer of the Year, 2017

    Alan Murray, P.E., Snohomish County

    Alan Murray, P.E.
    Snohomish County

    2017 Award Recipient

    Nominated by the American Society of Civil Engineers

    Alan Murray, P.E., Snohomish County Department of Planning and Development, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Government Engineer of the Year Award in recognition of his many contributions to improving the region’s wastewater infrastructure while serving as facility planner and a project administrator for Metro and for his service in the Department of Planning and Development for Snohomish County.

    During his work with Metro, he played significant roles in the secondary treatment plant expansions at Renton and West Point, the separation of stormwater from combined sewers to reduce inflow to the West Point wastewater treatment plant, new and upgraded pumping stations, construction of the downtown Seattle bus tunnel, and construction of numerous park-and-ride projects.  He led the team charged with revamping Metro’s consultant procurement process to emphasize qualifications and the participation of minority and women business enterprises.

    At Snohomish County, he ensures that project plans meet codes and standards and spends time mentoring consultants regarding improvements to their work products.  He has served on ad-hoc committees charged with reviewing engineering codes and design standards for various county agencies. He has been active in the Seattle Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) since 1973, serving as committee chair, director, and president.  He served on the planning committee for the Section Anniversary Galas in 1988 (75th) and 2013 (100th).  He also served as the liaison between the Section and the University of Washington Student Chapter.  He participated in the committee organized to revise ASCE’s Professional Practice Manual Quality in the Constructed Project.

  • Industry Engineer of the Year, 2017

    Majid Abab, The Boeing Company

    Majid Abab
    The Boeing Company

    2107 Award Recipient

    Nominated by the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers

    Majid Abab, The Boeing Company, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Industry Engineer of the Year Award in recognition of his many contributions to developing process improvements for Boeing production shops and assembly operations and for his development of simulation procedures to enable optimization of industrial processes.  During his 38-year career with Boeing Commercial Airplanes, he has had numerous organizational responsibilities and special taskforce assignments within all aspect of industrial engineering functions.  As the leader of the Core Industrial Engineering Organization, he was responsible for developing and deploying process improvements as well as developing strategic plans for utilization and career planning of industrial engineering employees.  In addition, he managed the Boeing Industrial Engineering Internship Program for many years.

    He created the Industrial Engineering Virtual University at Boeing that supports industrial engineers throughout the company.  This web-based information repository gives company engineers 24-hour access to detailed information about 14 major areas of industrial engineering.  He has used industrial engineering methods to help lead development of new production systems which improve environmental performance both at the factory and in the operation of commercial aircraft.  Under Majid’s coaching and guidance, industrial engineers at Boeing have worked on cross-functional team projects and airplane programs involving alternative fuels, improved navigation systems, cleaner burning engines, and improved aerodynamics. Each new generation of aircraft has reduced carbon dioxide and other emissions per passenger-mile flown.

    He is an active member of the industry advisory boards for industrial engineering programs at three major universities, participates in Junior Achievement programs at local high schools, coaches youth soccer, and volunteers with the American Red Cross.


  • K-12 STEM Engineering Teacher of the Year, 2017

    Noah Crofoot, Lynnwood High School

    Noah Crofoot
    Lynnwood High School

    2017 Award Recipient

    Nominated by the American Society of Civil Engineers

    Noah Crofoot, Lynnwood High School, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 K-12 STEM Engineering Teacher of the Year in recognition of his many contributions to the education of K-12 students by showing them about science and exciting careers in engineering. A graduate of Western Washington University, he employs hands-on learning experiences for his physics students.  He has adopted inquiry-based laboratory exercises and conceptual teaching models.  His students annually compete in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition.  He makes all of his students build their own bridges and holds a class competition to select the top students to participate in the ASCE competition.  In this way, each student must design and build a bridge. As part of the competition, engineers are invited to come to the school and talk to his students about careers in engineering.

    Working with another teacher, he started a Technology Student Association to create out of class opportunities for students to continue learning and growing in technology fields.  Students are required to go out and make real measurements and analyze real situations.  One example was a requirement to determine the ideal length of mud flaps for semi-trucks.  His required students to use kinematics to calculate the maximum angle a water droplet could leave a tire and not hit the car behind.

    Many of his students are considering career options, and he routinely invites engineers into his classroom to inform students what it is like to be an engineer.


  • Kenneth W. Porter Award, 2017

    Eset Alemu, P.E., Seattle Public Utilities

    Eset Alemu, P.E. Seattle Public Utilities

    2017 Award Recipient

    Nominated by the American Society of Civil Engineers

    Eset Alemu, P.E., Seattle Public Utilities, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Kenneth W. Porter Award in recognition of her many contributions to the education of K-12 students by showing them the exciting opportunities available in engineering.  She worked for seven years for several consulting firms as a hydraulic engineer developing management systems for major river basins across the nation.  In 2016, she transitioned into the public sector to serve as a project engineer on the Ship Canal Water Quality Program, a $420 million underground storage tunnel project.

    She has actively participated in numerous K-12 educational outreach events such as science fairs as well as middle and high school student competitions.  As Chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Seattle Section K-12 Outreach Program, she organized various educational events, recruited volunteers, and coordinated with local schools to provide resources to create science clubs.  She organized various K-12 educational events for ASCE such as the annual Engineering Rocks event at Southcenter Mall, the Puget Sound Engineering Council’s annual engineering fair at the Museum of Flight, and the A-STEM Family Night at Boeing Future of Flight.  These events feature popular learning activities such as a shake table where K-12 students get to test structures made of skewers and gumballs, loading pennies on an aluminum bridge, and purifying dirty water with cotton balls and sand.  She volunteers with the TechBridge Girl which conducts an after-school program for underserved middle schools and focuses on supplementary science education for girls.

    She serves as an outstanding role model for young students who are trying to find a path in STEM education.  She motivates others by illuminating the potential to make a social impact as an engineer.


  • Young Engineer of the Year Award, 2017

    Don Nguyen, P.E., COWI North America

    Don Nguyen, P.E.
    COWI North America

    2017 Award Recipient

    Nominated by the American Society of Civil Engineers

    Don Nguyen, P.E., COWI North America, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Young Engineer of the Year Award in recognition of his excellent work in the design of multiple high profile bridge projects across the United States and Canada.  Projects include a balanced cantilever bridge (St. Croix Approach Structures in MN), a cable-stayed bridge (Ohio River Bridges in KY – IN), a pedestrian bridge (Marine Education Center Bridge in Ocean Springs, MS), an arch bridge (Wellsburg, WV), and a retrofit bridge (Champlain Bridge in Montreal, Canada).

    He has been very active with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Younger Member Forum (YMF) and currently serves as the president-elect of the organization.  He served as co-coordinator of the 2015-2016 ASCE Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition for high school and middle school students and participates on the YMF scholarship committee to select recipients for the annual YMF scholarships.  For 2014-2015, he served as the YMF Secretary. As the YMF Community Service Chair for 2013-2014, he organized monthly volunteer activities including Seattle Works Day, Kiwanis Park Clean Up, Rebuilding Together, Farestart Kitchens, Habitat for Humanity, and Green Seattle Day.  He worked with the coordinating committee tasked with organizing the ASCE National Student Steel Bridge competition held at the University of Washington in 2013.  For his exceptional service to ASCE, he was awarded the 2016 Seattle Section Outstanding Volunteer Award and the 2016 Younger Member in Community Activities Award.

    He serves an engineering liaison to the Highline School District and coordinates engineers to visit their schools and project site tours for the students. He encourages participation in the ASCE Popsicle Stick Bridge Building Competition and helps organize student career fairs at Highline High School

  • Professional Engineer of the Year, 2017

    Mark D’Amato, P.E. S.E.
    DCI Engineers

    Mark D’Amato, P.E., S.E., DCI Engineers

    2017 Award Recipient

    Nominated by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineers Association of Washington

    Mark D’Amato, P.E., S.E., DCI Engineers, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 Professional Engineer of the Year Award for his outstanding service to the engineering profession and his lifetime of achievement in excellence and innovation in structural engineering. He  designs and manages projects for clients in the commercial, medical, residential, industrial, and marine sectors.  His expertise lies in the design of post-tensioned concrete and steel framed structures.  His special areas of interest include high-rise building design, seismic retrofit, and the design of brick and structural glass cladding systems.

    He has extensive project experience gained over his 38-year career as a structural engineer.  His engineering for low cost housing and municipal buildings are noteworthy for their economical and durable designs.  Many of his iconic structures have changed the skylines of cities while pushing the envelope of engineering and construction practice.  Throughout his career, he has advocated for advances in engineering techniques that contribute to building efficiency and streamlined construction.  The University District’s 47th + 7th apartment building was the result of nearly seven years of research and development into modular construction techniques.  Using pre-fabricated steel framed wall and floor systems containing plumbing, electrical systems, fire sprinklers, and interior cabinetry; it was assembled like an erector set.  The outcome was a highly sustainable and sleek, modern building that does not appear as a modular building.

    In addition to his engineering work, he is actively involved in his community.  He participated in Washington STEM and the Bellevue Downtown Association.  He hosts high school students to tour the Seattle Center to show the works of several great civil/structural engineers who contributed to the amazing structural legacy.  He often visits local high schools to encourage students to pursue careers in structural engineering.

Guide for Preparation of PSEC Engineer-of-the-Year Nominations

The PSEC awards program is intended to honor truly outstanding engineers possessing strong histories of achievement.  Please nominate worthy candidates for this honor. Present their qualifications completely, accurately without exaggeration, and consistent with the criteria presented on the Nomination forms.  Also attach their resume.

A panel of judges will evaluate the nominations to identify the best nominee for each award.  The judges are experienced engineers charged with identifying the best candidate for each honor; their deliberations are private; their decisions are final; if no candidate is found worthy of the honor no award will be made.

In grading Nominations for:

  • Academic Engineer of the Year
  • Government Engineer of the Year
  • Industry Engineer of the Year
  • The Kenneth W. Porter Award

The first and second requested information items encompass the award criteria items and will receive 75% of the grade.

  • Nominee’s demonstration of Award Criteria above
  • General biography and summary of qualifications

The additional requested information items are supportive and will receive 25% of the grade.

In grading nominations for Young Engineer of the Year, the following requested information items will receive the weighting listed:

  • Professional background including Society Affiliations             20%
  • Education/Engineering Credentials (PE/EIT progress)              20%
  • Professional/Educational achievements and awards                40%
  • Community, Civic and Charitable involvement                        20%

In grading nominations for Professional Engineer of the Year, the following Award Criteria items will receive the weighting listed:

  • Has made significant contributions in the application of engineering to meet community needs      40%
  • Has significantly advanced the art of engineering                                                                         30%
  • Has actively participated in community affairs & technical societies                                              30%

In grading nominations for K-12 STEM Engineering Teacher of the Year, the following Award Criteria items will receive the weighting listed:

  • Has actively worked in promoting and advancing STEM Engineering related education at the local K-12 level for 5 or more years       20%
  • Has worked closely with local engineering societies on STEM Engineering related education                                                             35%
  • Has performed exceptional activities towards improving K-12 STEM Engineering related education                                                  45%

It will help if you fill out the Nomination form electronically, and copy their resume into the same Word file.  Rename the file with the Nominee’s name & the Award name (for example:  John Smith – Young Engineer Award.docx). 

 Keep the Nomination submittals to a maximum of 8 pages.


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