CMA Director of Water Resources Brent Whitfield, P.E., ENV SP led the Joint Professional Societies Annual Legislative Breakfast today ‘Planning for a Resilient Florida’ at the Marriott Hotel in Palm Beach Gardens. CMA would like to extend a special thank you to our Florida State Representatives, Senators and Assistant County Administrator for listening to our fellow engineers and sharing your legislative goals prior to this year’s session: Rep. Katherine Waldron, Rep. Kelly Skidmore, Rep. Jervonte ‘Tae’ Edmonds, Senator Lori Berman, Senator Bobby Powell and Assistant County Administrator Todd Bonlarron. CMA also served as a sponsor for the event and our other staff members who attended included: Jose L. Acosta, P.E., F.ASCE, Suzanne Dombrowski, P.E., ENV SP, Shahin Hekmat, P.E., Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC, and Nilsa Zarcarias, AICP.
Karen RachlesCMA Staff Attended Joint Professional Societies Annual Legislative Breakfast
CMA staff members attended the FES Miami Legislative Breakfast on January 31. The event, held at the Biltmore hotel, hosted over 80 attendees including seven legislators. CMA Executive Vice President and FES Miami Chapter President Jose L. Acosta, P.E., F.ASCE and Director of Quality Assurance Shahin Hekmat, P.E. were on the planning committee for this event. Other CMA staff members who attended were Peter Moore, P.E., F.ASCE, FACEC, Gregory Mendez, P.E., Yulet Miguel, P.E. and Laura Vogel, Ph.D., P.E., ENV SP. CMA would like to extend a special thank you to our Florida State Representatives and Senators for listening to our fellow engineers and sharing your legislative goals prior to this year’s session: Rep. Daniel Perez (District 116), Rep. Vicki L. Lopez (District 113), Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin (District 118), Rep. David Borrero (District 111), Rep. Alina Garcia (District 115), Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (District 40) and Senator Alexis Calatayud (District 38).
CMA staff members Mike Bell, P.E., Ben Lehr, P.E., Jason Sutton, PLA, CA and Brad Wilson, P.E., attended the 4th Annual Northeast Florida Construction Career Days Clay Shoot on January 26 at Jacksonville Clay Target Sports. CMA served as a silver sponsor for the event that also includes an educational outreach program on February 28–March 2. CMA staff members Freeman Bass, P.E., Derrick Smith, P.E., Jennifer Smith, P.E. and Brad Wilson, P.E. will attend and volunteer as chaperones. The program is designed to introduce high school students to the wide range of career opportunities available to them in the construction industry in a hands-on environment. Home – Construction Career Days (nflccd.com)
Karen RachlesCMA Staff Attended Construction Career Days Clay Shoot as a Sponsor
CMA staff members Madeline Batey, E.I., Charmaine Emanuels, E.I., and Justin Tagle, P.E., LEED AP attended the ASCE Multi-Regional Leadership Conference (MRLC) January 20-21. The event, held in Charlotte, NC, allowed upcoming leaders a chance to gain Society and Region knowledge, interact with students, younger members, section, branch, and institute leaders, while gaining personal leadership training. https://regions.asce.org/region5/multi-region-leadership-conference
CMA Principal Engineer Jennifer Smith, P.E. attended the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University/Florida State University College of Engineering STEM Career & Internship Fair on January 24, 2023. https://eng.famu.fsu.edu/
Karen RachlesCMA Staff Attended FAMU/FSU STEM Career Fair
CMA, along with University of Florida’s College of Design, Construction and Planning (DCP), hosted a design charette to the Landscape Architecture students. CMA staff Tanya McCormick, PLA, AICP, Eric Harrison, PLA and John Gorham, PLA kicked off the charette on January 13th and concluded the charette on January 20th. The subject site used for the charette was Currie Park in West Palm Beach. The students were given certain parameters and site information and were asked to prepare site designs to present to CMA for a scholarship of $1,800. The students presented their designs to Tanya, Eric and Dan Manley of UF DCP. The designs were scored based on the inclusion of the provided program elements, observation of site constraints and the deliverables. CMA heavily weighed the creativity and quality of the presentations, and ultimately presented the scholarship to four deserving students. CMA is grateful to have been given this opportunity to begin building relationships with these amazing students and we look forward to seeing them again at the DCP career fair next month! https://dcp.ufl.edu/
Karen RachlesCMA Hosted Event With University of Florida DCP
Last week:I hope for a speedy and full recovery for Damar Hamlin. What baffles me is the obsession that people have had with the injury. It was the most watched Monday Night Football ever, but only after the injury. Stadiums across the country are showing their support. Scrutiny is running over sport journalists that didn’t immediately demand the game be canceled. That same day, though, a baggage handler was killed in Alabama when he was sucked through a jet engine. Dozens of construction workers are killed annually just doing their jobs. Where is the outcry for them?
To help celebrate the hard work of our employees throughout the year, holiday dinner parties were held for each CMA office during December. Our Fort Lauderdale staff celebrated at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale on December 2, our Orlando holiday office party was held on December 8 at Armando’s in Winter Park, our West Palm Beach office staff celebrated at the Canopy by Hilton in downtown West Palm Beach on December 9, our Miami office holiday party was held on December 10, graciously hosted at Casa Mendez in Palmetto Bay and our Jacksonville holiday party was held on December 15 at Town Hall Restaurant in Jacksonville. We wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!
Our CMA South Florida offices sponsored a single mother with children as part of the Adopt-A-Family (AAF) of the Palm Beaches program this year. AAF’s mission is to strengthen families with children in their efforts to achieve stability and self-sufficiency by providing access to all-encompassing services. Since 1983, AAF has grown into the largest service provider for homeless families in Palm Beach County – providing access to services for more than 2,000 families with children per year. Thank you to the community service committee for coordinating the drive. https://adoptafamilypbc.org/
Freeman Bass, P.E. is the Director of Energy for Chen Moore and Associates’ electrical engineering team and specializes in leading and managing electrical power, control, and lighting design, plan preparation, permitting and construction oversight projects. His experience includes collecting existing utility data; performing modeling and simulation; lighting design; communication design layout; substation physical layout; protection & control wiring; transmission system modeling; distribution design; and substation physical layout. Mr. Bass holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Florida.
Thomas Gardner, P.E. is the Vice President of Electrical Engineering for Chen Moore and Associates’ electrical engineering team and has experience in design and management of numerous electrical power, control, and lighting projects. He excels at client responsiveness and at dealing quickly and decisively with project concerns. His diverse experience allows him to anticipate obstacles on the front end of projects and creatively address complications all the way through construction. Mr. Gardner holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Florida and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas.
Chief Financial Officer
Sean Dannelly, CPA, is the CFO for Chen Moore and Associates and a member of our firm’s executive committee. In 2007, Mr. Dannelly founded Paladin Global Partners, LLC as a partner and in that role, he oversees the accounting and financial aspects of the firm including providing audit assistance, strategic development for clients, developing succession plans, mentoring finance management, and establishing internal controls and infrastructures to maintain audit compliance. He is also President of Dannelly, Monteleone & Associates, P.A. firm where he is dedicated to meeting the needs of small and medium sized businesses through tax planning, financial reporting, and financial planning services. Mr. Dannelly received his Master of Accounting degree and Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Florida.
P.E., LEED AP
Shareholder & Corporate Secretary
Safiya Brea, P.E., LEED AP, is Secretary and Sr. Project Manager for Chen Moore and Associates. Her experience includes large neighborhood improvement projects, including the design of roadways, sidewalks, drainage, water and wastewater infrastructure. She is currently the Project Manager and main client contact for the Broward County UAZ 110/111 & 113 Water Sewer Improvements (an estimated $60 million infrastructure improvement project). In addition, she has managed projects ranging from thousands of dollars to multi-million-dollar, large-scale neighborhood improvement programs. Ms. Brea has managed and designed streetscape improvements, roundabouts, lift station, stormwater improvements and master plans, and booster station basis of design reports. Her duties include construction management, design work, water sewer modeling and project management for municipalities throughout Florida. Ms. Brea received her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida. She is currently on the board for the Florida Engineering Management Corporation and is a graduate of Leadership Florida Connect Class 8.
Ray Monteleone is President of Paladin Global Partners, a business management consulting firm, and Partner with Dannelly, Monteleone & Associates, a full-service CPA firm. Ray focuses on strategic management, problem solving, mergers & acquisitions, compensation consulting, growing companies, and senior executive mentoring for clients worldwide in industries such as healthcare, high tech, manufacturing, education, financial institutions and not-for-profit organizations.
Peter serves as the President and CEO of Chen Moore and Associates, an approximately 100-person multidisciplinary firm in the Southeast US, particularly Florida. Having been with the firm for over 22 years, Peter helped grow the firm from three people to its current size of over 100 employees with a combination of strong vision and the highest quality consulting.
Peter is a two-time graduate from the University of Florida (BSCE and ME), where he serves on the Department Advisory Board for the Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and the Environment (ESSIE – Civil and Coastal Engineering Department and Environmental Engineering and Sciences Department). He serves on the Florida Atlantic University Foundation Board and is a member of the Nova Southeastern University Industry Advisory Board for the College of Engineering.
He has participated in many leadership programs, including Leadership Broward (lifetime member, served as Board Chair), Leadership Florida (lifetime member, served on both finance and audit committees), and the Florida Engineering Leadership Institute (lifetime member, program chair). He’s a past President of the Florida Engineering Society (FES) Broward Chapter, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC-FL) and has served as the FES/ACEC-FL Government Relations Chair for over a decade. Peter is a Fellow of ASCE, ASCE and FES, with numerous other individual awards throughout his career from engineering and civic associations.
Patrick Kaimrajh, P.E. is the Director of Land Development for Chen Moore and Associates and specializes in leading and managing civil engineering design, permitting, and construction oversight. Mr. Kaimrajh has worked for a variety of public sector clients at the City, County and State level, as well as private development clients in commercial, hospitality, healthcare, industrial, mixed-use and residential market sectors. Land development involves numerous engineering specialties to transform a plot of land to a built environment. Patrick has the expertise needed to complete complex land development projects. His experience includes preparation of final design packages including paving; grading; drainage collection systems with controlled outfalls and injection wells in coastal areas; water distribution systems; wastewater collection systems and lift stations; pavement marking and signage; traffic control and phasing; and erosion and sediment control plans. He is currently serving on the Civil Engineering Advisory Board for the University of Miami College of Engineering, as well as serving as Secretary-Treasurer for American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Florida Section. He is a graduate of the Florida Engineering Leadership Institute (FELI) and ULI SE Florida Leadership Institute, and an active member of Florida Engineering Society (FES) and Urban Land Institute (ULI). Mr. Kaimrajh holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Miami.
Jose L. Acosta
Jose L. Acosta
Executive Vice President
Jose L. Acosta, P.E., F.ASCE, is Executive Vice President of Chen Moore and Associates. Mr. Acosta is responsible for business development and strategic planning for the firm. He also serves as Principal-in-Charge and Senior Project Manager for several significant public and private sector Clients. Mr. Acosta has over two decades of experience in various types of public and private sector civil engineering infrastructure projects. He has lead design teams for land development, water/wastewater infrastructure, roadway/transportation, and education/institutional projects throughout Florida. Prior to joining CMA, Mr. Acosta served as the director of engineering for a multi-discipline firm in Florida. Mr. Acosta has been a long standing leader in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), serving as a local branch President, chairing various state committees, President of Florida Section and as a Region 5 Governor, where he represented Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Mr. Acosta also served as President of the Cuban-American Association of Civil Engineers (CAACE) and is currently on their board of directors. Mr. Acosta served on the Industry Advisory Board of the Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of Miami and has worked as an adjunct professor. He was the recipient of the Broward Branch’s 2003 and 2009 Young Member of the Year Award. In 2008, the Broward County Chapter of the FES named him the Young Engineer of the Year. In 2011, the CAACE named him their Young Engineer of the Year. In 2015, Mr. Acosta was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 by the South Florida Business Journal. In 2017, ASCE Region 5 named Mr. Acosta their inaugural winner of their Engineer of the Year award recipient. Mr. Acosta was a member of Leadership Florida’s Cornerstone 37 Class and currently service on its Southeast Region’s Board of Directors. Mr. Acosta has Bachelor Degrees in Civil and Architectural Engineering from the University of Miami and a Master of Business Administration from Auburn University.
P.E., LEED AP
Senior Vice President
Jason McClair, P.E., CFM, LEED AP, is Treasurer and Senior Vice President of Chen Moore and Associates. Mr. McClair is responsible for the project operations and resource management of the firm. He is also the Principal-in-Charge for several key clients and serves as a Senior Project Manager for several important public sector clients. Mr. McClair is an expert in stormwater management modeling in Florida and has been the lead engineer on various stormwater master plans throughout Florida. Mr. McClair also has over 20 years of engineering experience in utility infrastructure design, regulatory permitting, modeling for stormwater collection, water distribution, and sanitary transmission systems. Mr. McClair received his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Florida.
G. Benjamin Lehr, P.E., LEED AP is the Director of Transportation for Chen Moore and Associates. In his role, he is focused on business development and project execution for State of Florida Departments of Transportation (FDOT) and public sector clients in Florida and Georgia. Ben has completed a variety of projects for Cities, Counties, and State level government. His experience includes project oversight, management, workload planning, and structural design for numerous projects in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio. His responsibilities include project management, client management, staff management, workload planning, and marketing. Ben has been involved with the management of large-scale design-build projects ranging from a $66M new bridge over the intracoastal waterway to a $425M, 21-mile interstate widening. Ben holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and Master of Engineering Degree from the University of Florida in Civil and Structural Engineering respectively and is technically proficient in the design of highway bridges and miscellaneous structures. He is an active member of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), the Design-Build Institute of America Florida Region (DBIA-FL) and is a member of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC-FL) Transportation Committee.
Dr. Ben Chen
Dr. Ben Chen,
Dr. Ben Chen, P.E., BCEE, is the founder of Chen Moore and Associates (formerly Chen and Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc.) and serves as Chairman of the Board for our firm’s Board of Directors, where he is responsible for the long-term planning for the firm’s future. Dr. Chen has had a wonderful career, working on some of the most significant utility and neighborhood improvement projects in South Florida. Dr. Chen has also had a long-standing history of being a leader in the community as an advocate for infrastructure needs throughout Florida, but also as a philanthropist throughout Florida. He has a served organizations in leadership positions of all types, including the Florida Engineering Society, Workforce One (known as CareerSource Broward now) and on university civil engineering department advisory boards for Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University, and formerly St. Thomas University. Dr. Chen received his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Civil and Sanitary Engineering from National Taiwan University before immigrating to the United States to obtain his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Daniel Davila, P.E. is the Director of Water and Sewer for Chen Moore and Associates. Mr. Davila has assisted numerous private and public clients that range from residential developers, industrial developers, municipalities, counties, federal agencies, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions. His experience includes planning and design of water and wastewater facilities, utilities master planning, utility infrastructure renewal, stormwater systems, roadway design, and construction management. His true expertise comes in the design and permitting of complex large diameter pipelines including replacement and rehabilitation of infrastructure via Trenchless Technologies having worked on dozens of horizontal directional drills, pipe bursting, sliplining and swagelining projects in Florida, Central America and the Caribbean, these projects also entailed design of thousands of linear feet of pressure pipe ranging from six (6) inch to fifty four (54) inch in diameter as well as the design of several utility intracoastal crossings ranging from eight (8) inch to forty eight (48) inch in diameter. He is an active member of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Florida Engineering Society (FES), Florida Healthcare Engineering Association (FHEA), and American Association of Employment in Education (AAEE). Mr. Davila holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.
Vice President of Landscape Architecture & Planning
Cristobal Betancourt, PLA, is Vice President of Landscape Architecture and Planning for Chen Moore and Associates. He has experience providing planning and landscape architecture design solutions for public and private sector clients. Mr. Betancourt leads a team that has extensive experience on significant municipal streetscapes, parks (including master plans), transportation projects, campuses, facilities and land development projects throughout Florida (from northern Florida to Key West). Examples of such projects include the implementation of the Complete Streets Master Plan developed by the Broward County Metropolitan Planning Organization, master planning for SunTrax in Lakeland, segments of areas on the Florida Turnpike and the incorporation of an existing street in the pedestrianized Lincoln Road Mall in South Beach. In addition, Mr. Betancourt is the principal for our LA Department’s efforts for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) throughout the state. He and his team are well versed in designing for multiple modes of transportation including air, rail, roadway, and multimodal transit facilities. He has been the Project or Task Manager for districtwide landscape contracts, highway beautification projects and LAP funded projects. Mr. Betancourt completed his post graduate studies in urban design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture and his Bachelor of Science degree in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University.
Brent Whitfield, P.E., ENV SP is the Director of Water Resources for CMA. Mr. Whitfield has worked for a variety of public sector clients at the City, County and State level. His experience includes tasks as varied as hydrologic and hydraulic modeling related to environmental and flood protection studies and detailed engineering design and construction oversight for roadway, water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure. Mr. Whitfield has provided infrastructure solutions in various settings from residential neighborhoods to commercial airports. As a life-long resident of Florida, Mr. Whitfield has maintained a commitment to serving the community both professionally and personally serving as an appointed board member for a municipal advisory board with maintaining involvement in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Florida Engineering Society (FES) and Leadership Florida. He serves as the chair of the water resources committee for the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Florida. Mr. Whitfield holds a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida.
William “Bill” Thorp has decades of experience as a Certified Public Accountant, eventually specializing in the financial management of the transportation industry. He served as the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise (FTE) as well as the Assistant Secretary of Finance and Administration for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Mr. Thorp attended the City College of New York from which he holds a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Arts degree. He also attended the University of South Florida. Mr. Thorp is married and has three grown children and four grandchildren all of which he is very proud. His hobbies include fishing, photography and silversmithing.