2019 Young Engineers of the Year


Swarup Bade P.E is a Senior Process Engineer/ Safety Consultant working for Lloyd’s Register. He has more than 12 years of experience in the field of Chemical process engineering and process safety. He moved to Houston more than a decade ago and loves being part of his friends groups “Parrots” and “UNITED”. He has been active with local and national professional organizations including the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). He has served in various roles and is currently serving as the Chair for AIChE-STS Young Professionals.

Swarup graduated with a Masters in Chemical Engineering from IIT, Chicago and Bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from GMRIT, Rajam. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer (P.E) in the State of Texas. He has won the “Power of You”, “Bronze Star Performance” and “Safety Superstar” awards for his role in various engineering and safety projects over the years. He loves being outdoor and enjoys spending time with his daughters, listening to music, cooking, and running. He is a huge fan of footballs, NFL and so called soccer and follows Texans, Bears, and Chelsea FC. He participated in Chevron marathon and BP MS-150 few times over the years.


Manik C. Mitra, P.E., CFM, CPESC is a Project Engineer with over 6 years of civil engineering experience including expertise in drainage, hydraulics and hydrology, site development, and project management in both private and public sectors.

Since 2014, Mr. Mitra has held many leadership positions with the ASCE Houston Branch, including Secretary two years ago. He is currently VP of Education and a Practitioner Advisor at University of Houston.  He has been an inspiration to the future engineers at University of Houston.

Mr. Mitra obtained his Bachelors of Science in Water Resources Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2011. He also obtained a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2013. Mr. Mitra is a licensed professional engineer in Texas as well as a Certified Floodplain Manager.  In addition, Mr. Mitra received his Certified Professional in Erosion & Sediment Control (CPESC) license in March 2017.

Mr. Mitra began his career with HR Green, Inc. in January 2016. He has provided engineering services for various clients and works closely with the Coastal Water Authority, City of Houston, and Harris County Flood Control District. Mr. Mitra excels at many types of analytical software such as HouStorm/Winstorm, HY8, HecHMS, HecRAS, ArcHydro Tools, TR55, ArcGIS, AutoCAD & Civil 3D software.


Brandon Circle was born just outside the bay area in Northern California, but he calls Las Vegas home.  Mr. Circle has had multiple business ventures and owned an mobile auto detailing company at one point.  He also began working as an EMT, then met his now wife and moved to Arizona. While he was in Arizona, Brandon pursued a goal he had in the 4th grade and majored Civil Engineering at Arizona State University.

After graduating Cumma Sum Laude in 2014, Mr. Circle was given the opportunity to begin his career in civil engineering in Houston. With his wife and daughter, he moved to Cypress and has since been blessed with another daughter.  Mr. Circle has worked for several public agencies, including TxDOT, HCTRA, City of Houston, HCFCD, Houston Parks Board, and Fort Bend County.

Mr. Circle is currently a part of the program management team for Grand Parkway, Segments H and I. Brandon is grateful to be an honorary Texan and for his friendly colleagues and engineering community.


Chaitanya Gampa is a Vice President and Senior Project Manager at Huitt-Zollars, Inc. a full service design firm. She has her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India and has a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Kansas. She has over 15+ years of diversified experience as a civil engineer and has provided design and project management expertise for public agencies and private clients. She is also extremely well-versed in roadway design, utilities, traffic control plans, and construction issues relating to urban street and drainage projects.  Ms. Gampa has demonstrated knowledge, diligence, and leadership on projects she has managed, and with her ability to quickly analyze problems and outline necessary courses of action assures projects are delivered on time, on budget, and of high quality. Because of her technical expertise and knowledge in transportation project design, she is popular in the community and is recognized as a top engineer by the City of Houston and Houston METRO.  Ms. Gampa is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas and a Project Management Professional (PMP).  Ms. Gampa has been an active member of ASCE , ASIE , NSPE  / TSPE for several years. She served as Membership Chair for ASIE in 2017. She has also served on the Scholarship and Fundraising Committee in 2017 and currently serves as a Secretary for 2018.


Ariel Mejia Jr., P.E is an Assistant Project Manager with over 5 years of civil engineering experience focusing on Municipal Utility and Levee Improvement Districts.

He currently serves as the secretary for HHAE and has been an active member of our organization since graduating from the University of Houston in 2013.

At Costello, Inc, he has led design teams and participated on major land development projects, large master planned communities and subdivisions in and around Fort Bend County. As a professional engineer, he feels a commitment to always finding the best solutions for his clients. Outside of work, Ariel strives to find ways to serve others and to give back to his community.


Bradley Updyke, PE. is a project engineer at Telios. In his career to date, he has provided electrical design and engineering on many real estate projects ranging from small office renovations to new educational campuses in Texas and across the United States. In addition to educational facilities, Bradley has worked on electrical utilities, healthcare facilities, and commercial office development. Bradley earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. He earned his PE license in 2018. Bradley’s involvement in IEEE began while still a college student; he has been an active member of the IEEE Houston Section since 2014 and has served on the board as social media chair since that time. He has also been an active volunteer and received the IEEE Volunteer Appreciation award in both 2014 and 2015. While in college, Bradley received the Engineering Student of the Year award from the Florida Engineering Society (“FES”) Tampa chapter. Outside of work, Bradley enjoys snowboarding, traveling, and spending time with his wife and their dogs.


Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, LeChell Honorat is a proud graduate of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. She is also a certified Engineer-in-Training, working as a Cost & Schedule Engineer in ExxonMobil’s Research and Engineering Company. As a part of the Regional Projects Division, LeChell leads the development for several cost estimates and schedules for multi-million dollar projects in the United States. She is serves as Vice Chair tp the NSBE Houston Professionals Chair and Advisor to the Cy-Fair NSBE Jr. Chapter. Additionally, LeChell completed her MBA at Texas Women’s University, in December 2018 .

When not hard at work or serving the community, LeChell enjoys anime and manga, writing, reading, photography and sports. She is a mother to a beautiful daughter and has been happily married for 5 years.


Janelle Reiher is currently a Project Manager at Halff Associates, Inc. After graduating in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Cornell University, she began working for the Houston Public Works team where she gained experience in both water and storm water engineering sections. Through her time in the private sector, she has gained knowledge in hydraulic and hydrology and MUD engineering.  Janelle has recently joined Public Works team at Halff Associates and is passionate about serving the surrounding cities and counties through public infrastructure improvement projects.

She has served numerous roles within the SAME Houston/Galveston Post over the last several years, including Assistant Treasurer, Young Member Initiative Young Member Committee Chair, Streamers and Wordpasser Committee Chair, and Golf and Clay Tournament committee member. In 2018, she served as Treasurer for the Post, and continues this role in 2019.

Outside of SAME, Janelle enjoys cooking and baking with her husband, reading, and playing with their dog.


Adrienne Sanchez, is a project manager at New Tech Global Environmental (NTGE) where she develops soil and groundwater remediation solutions for oil and gas clientele. At NTGE she leads a Greenspoint outreach initiative aimed to provide support to local communities through events such as STEM night aimed to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Originally from Houston, Texas, she’s earned a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Texas Tech University.

Adrienne currently serves as Vice President for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) where she has raised thousands of dollars towards scholarship and chapter funds. As Community Outreach Coordinator she’s led and mobilized volunteers on K-12 STEM events impacting over 1,000 students and parents.

Adrienne is a 2018 graduate of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Emerging Leader Institute and strives to continue serving as a passionate advocate for STEM awareness among Houston’s youth.


Mojtaba Shahri, Ph.D., P.E., is a Senior Scientist at Apache Corporation in Houston, Texas. In his current role, he is developing and implementing advisory solutions on Apache Drilling Real-Time Package (Drilling Intelligence Guide – DIG) by leveraging both physical and data analytics modeling capabilities. He is also developing different coupled physics-based and analytical solutions for completion and production optimization.

Mr. Shahri has been selected as Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Distinguished Lecturer for 2017-2018. He has authored more than 50 technical papers and holds 8 US patent applications. Shahri received SPE Star (2012), SPE Henry DeWitt Smith (2012), SPE Nico van Wingen (2013), SPE-GCS Exemplary Volunteer (2016 and 2018), and SPE Regional Young Member Outstanding Service (2016) Awards. He served on SPE-GCS Drilling Study Group for the last 3 years and is the chair of SPE-GCS Annual Drilling Symposium. He also served as committee member in different SPE conferences and as technical editor in different petroleum-related journals. He holds a Ph.D. degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Tulsa.


Victoria Herman, P.E is licensed in 38 states and works as mechanical design engineer for Jacobs where she designs HVAC systems, plumbing systems and energy models for buildings. She has 10 years of experience with HVAC and plumbing systems for sustainable buildings. Victoria is certified as a LEED Professional, Green Globes Professional (GGP) and Guiding Principles Compliance Professional (GPCP). She holds a degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Victoria has been an active member of SWE since 2008 and is passionate about empowering young girls and women to pursue goals in engineering.  She has been a valuable member to both the SWE Rocky Mountain and SWE Houston section. In Houston, Victoria has served as a Section Representative, has held multiple terms as SWE Houston’s VP of Career Guidance, and has led the section’s annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Program. Victoria also serves as the Historian of the Houston chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). She lives in the Houston’s Near Northside Neighborhood with her husband Michael and their two dogs.

Texas AWWA – Southeast Chapter

Ms. Lizanne Douglas has been an active leader with TAWWA since 2007.  For more than a decade, she has been contributing to TAWWA outreach and community services through various roles. She currently serves as the Program Chair on the Southeast Chapter of TAWWA.  Lizanne works in the Water and Wastewater industry and is currently a Project Manager for BGE, Inc. Her responsibilities include management of various projects for Municipal Utility Districts (MUD’s) and working on City of Houston projects. Her experience includes project management and design work related to wastewater treatment, lift stations, sewer lines, transmission pipelines, pump stations and permit renewal.

She has been the Young Professionals (YP) Chair for the Southeast Chapter of TAWWA.  As the YP Chair, she coordinated various volunteer activities at Houston Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Buffalo Bayou clean-up events, Toys for Tots, and the BEARing Gifts Program and during Houston Water Week. As part of the local Chapter, she has been involved in planning the Water for People fundraising event to solicit sponsorships for the “Water for People, Beer for Us” annual event. She has also organized and participated in technical meetings and social events for the Houston Area Young Professionals. She has helped plan multiple TAWWA/ WEAT Half Day Seminars and TAWWA local membership meetings.  Lizanne received her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Kentucky, and her Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from Oklahoma State University.


Da Li, P.E., PTOE, has nine years of experience in the field of traffic engineering and planning and currently works as a Project Manager in Cobb, Fendley and Associates, Inc. She received her Bachelor and Master of Civil Engineering in China. She moved to Houston in 2010 and started to pursue her second Master degree in Transportation Planning from Texas Southern University (TSU). She has been an active member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers since then.

For ITE Texas Southern University Chapter, she served as the public relations coordinator during 2010-2011, and the President 2011 – 2012. During her tenure, she successfully increased student member enrollment by organizing many luncheons with engineers/planner presenters. She organized ITE TSU Chapter members to donate coats and blankets to Star of Hope for helping women and children in need. Due to her involvement and contributions to the ITE society, she received the ITE Outstanding Student of the Year Award in 2012. After she works as a consultant Da still occasionally guest spoke at the TSU Chapter regarding career development. She is actively joining the Houston District for luncheons, shrimp boils, and workshops.

Da is passionate about working on projects that provide people more safe, accessible, efficient, aesthetic transportation facilities. Her experience includes microscopic traffic simulation modeling, traffic signal design, minor roadway geometric design, signing and pavement marking design, sidewalk design, traffic operation study, traffic signal timing optimization, and various traffic studies. Besides working on projects that improving the transportation system in Texas, Da also enjoyed teaching students and young engineers on professional programs such as Visto, Vissim, and Synchro. She always believes data-driven analysis could lead to problem solving.

Da’s life goal is to contribute on improving people’s transportation experiences. She plans to evolve more in the upcoming ITE activities and she will utilize her experience and leadership skills to serve the ITE society.


Jeremy Austin, PE, LEED AP is a Project Manager of Infrastructure for Binkley & Barfield. His experience includes water, wastewater, facilities, paving and drainage projects for a variety of public entities and private clients. Within the company he serves as his department representative for the ESOP Awareness Committee and as an officer for the Young Professionals Group.

Jeremy is an active member of the TPWA Southeast Branch. He currently serves on the board as Secretary, his third year to hold office. His contributions include coordination of all monthly meetings and events, as well as being heavily involved in National Public Works Week.

He is a licensed Professional Engineer in Texas, a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction, and has completed the University of Houston Project Management Certificate Program. Jeremy is a proud graduate of the Zachary Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University. He resides in Houston with his wife and their two daughters.


Candyce Ward, PE, CFM, GISP has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and an Master’s of Engineering in Water Resources from Texas A&M University.  She is a Senior Hydrologist at Cobb Fendley in Houston with 11 years of experience in hydrologic and hydraulic modeling.  Her experience includes impact and mitigation analysis, floodplain and floodway analysis, and storm sewer design, serving such clients as HCFCD, City of Houston and Harris County. Candyce has also testified as an expert witness on behalf of TxDOT in various legal cases.

Candyce is an active member of TSPE.  She currently serves as the Secretary and Chair of the Bowling Tournament, which raises money for college scholarships.  Candyce led the effort to change the fall scholarship fundraiser from a golf tournament to a bowling tournament.  In the Bowling Tournament’s inaugural year, it doubled participation from the previous year’s golf tournament.


Kristin O’Neill is a Water/Wastewater Process Engineer and Senior Project Manager at Stantec Consulting, Inc. with approximately 8 years of experience. She is a professional civil engineer in Texas and has worked on a variety of projects in drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, biosolids, and collection systems. Kristin has a B.S. and M.S. in environmental engineering from Drexel University in her hometown of Philadelphia, PA.  (Go Eagles!)

Kristin is the President of the southeast section of the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT). She has worked with WEAT team and the City of Houston to double the section’s membership this year. During her time with WEAT, Kristin has served in several different leadership positions and has worked on WEAT event committees. Kristin is also serving on the 2019 Texas Water Conference planning committee. In her free time, Kristin likes to camp, hike, bake, and hang out with her friends.


Liza Amar, AICP is a Transportation Planner at CDM Smith with over 12 years of experience in multimodal transportation planning. Her technical specialties including traffic forecasting, corridor feasibility studies, and preparing transportation plans. Ms. Amar is particularly skilled at developing and applying travel demand models including script development and customization of models. Ms. Amar is a regional team leader at CDM Smith managing technical staff of the Texas transportation group. Ms. Amar received a BS in Civil Engineering and a MS in Transportation Planning; both degrees were obtained from North Carolina State University.

Ms. Amar is an active member of the Houston Chapter of WTS. She currently serves as the Sponsorship Chair for WTS Houston and has served in this capacity since 2013. Ms. Amar is responsible for securing sponsors to support WTS and its mission, ensuring that sponsors are appreciated and receive sponsor benefits, and hosting a sponsor appreciation reception. Ms. Amar is an active member of the Transportation Research Board and has served as a member of the Transportation Planning Applications Committee (ADB50) since 2007. Currently, Ms. Amar is serving as the Conference Chair for the TRB Transportation Planning Applications Conference held in Portland, OR in June 2019. Ms. Amar is committed to the transportation industry and community.


Rebekkah Sandt, PE, is a Project Manager and Group Leader for HR Green’s Water and Wastewater group in Houston, Texas. She is a professional engineer in Texas with over 13 years of experience designing wastewater and potable water projects including wastewater collection lines, lift stations, and treatment processes, potable water lines, ground storage tanks, and booster pumps for a variety of public municipalities. Rebekkah has also assisted clients with grant applications and projects through Texas Community Development Block Grant and the Hazard Mitigation Program, to obtain funding and complete projects for needed infrastructure improvements; and she was the project manager on one of six selected projects for the TWDB’s Asset Management Program for Small Systems pilot program. Within HR Green, Rebekkah co-chairs HeR Green, an outreach and retention group for women within the company.

Rebekkah graduated with a BS in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University in 2006. She is an active member of the Texas Chapter of APWA, Southeast Branch and currently serves as Secretary; she has served as Assistant Secretary and participated as a member of the CIP Briefings Committee and Scholarship Committee. In her free time, Rebekkah enjoys birding, camping, and baking. She volunteers and serves on the PTA board at Pine Shadows Elementary.


Emily Jackson is a Process Engineer at INVISTA.  She has 9 years experience as a process engineer and currently is the Subject Matter Expert for Pressure Relief Devices within INVISTA.  She has held lead process engineer roles and supports major capital projects.  Emily has been active within AIChE South Texas Section since 2012, when she first moved to Houston, and held the 2019 AIChE South Texas Section Young Professionals Chair position.  She will continue to support the YPs as Past Chair in 2020.

Emily has a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Engineering degree from McNeese State University.  She is an Engineer in Training and is planning on applying for licensure in the next year.  Emily enjoys spending time with her twin boys and getting outdoors and away from the city when she can.  She enjoys reading, crafting, and fitness.”