Welcome to CDM Smith.

Insight

CDM Smith's Rising Stars of 2019

We're honored to introduce CDM Smith's next generation of trail­blaz­ers in the second installment of our Rising Stars program. Find out how this year's class is bringing a new perspective to solving some of the industry's oldest problems, while actively collaborating with clients and mentoring the next generation of thought leaders. 

Forward Perspectives

Meet our Rising Stars

 

Lauren Buser
 
Trans­porta­tion Engineering

Hometown: Green, Ohio
Office: Seattle, Washington
Education: BS and MS in Civil Engineering, University of Akron, 2015 and 2016.

What has been your favorite project?
The Madison Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was my first project and I still work on it today. It encompasses everything that we’re striving for with BRT and complete streets. It’s involved some partic­u­larly challenging inter­sec­tions and required lots of collab­o­ra­tion with my more senior-level colleagues to make the roads better for bikes, buses and cars. It’s cool to see how the process worked and to have played a hand in its success.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I design bus routes that make people want to ride the bus, incorporate bike lanes, and generally make it easier for everyone to use the roads.

What do you like to do on a day off?
I enjoy being outside, running and going to a local brewery at the end of the day.

Kimberly Kaster, PE
 
Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering

Hometown: Born in Las Vegas, Nevada. Raised in Laguna Vista, Texas
Office: Woodbury, New York
Education: BS in Civil and Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering from MIT, 2011.

What are your favorite hobbies?
Kayaking, hiking and pottery. I work on pottery projects in a studio on Sundays. Yes, we use the wheels! When I moved out of my old place, I made a point to get rid of all my old dishware and challenged myself to make a dinner set.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I usually ask people, "Have you seen the movie Erin Brockovich? That’s basically what I do."

What's something people might be surprised to know about you?
I’ve been to Mexico more times than I’ve traveled to places in the U.S. I grew up right near the border in Texas. I am Mexican and speak Spanish. My dad used to go to dentist appoint­ments in Mexico, that's how close we were. It used to be much easier to get across the border.

Kyle Kennedy
 
Construc­tion

Hometown: Byram, New Jersey
Office: Woodbury, New York
Education: BS in Civil Engineering from Manhattan College, 2015. ME in Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering from Manhattan College, 2016.

What are your favorite hobbies?
Being outdoors and hiking on the weekends, meeting up with friends after work downtown, cooking and baking.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I oversee contractors to ensure they build the job safely, efficiently and correctly. I serve as the middle man between the engineers, contractors and owners.

What's something people might be surprised to know about you?
I taught myself how to knit.

Adam Khalaf
 
Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering

Hometown: Lima, Ohio
Office: Portland, Oregon
Education: BS in Ecological Engineering and MS in Biological Engineering from the Ohio State University, 2014 and 2016.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I work on a wide range of envi­ron­men­tal engineering projects, including things like restoring streams and wetlands, managing water resources, and cleaning up cont­a­m­i­nated sites. I also get to work with our team of envi­ron­men­tal scientists to conduct plant and wildlife surveys, delineate wetlands, and monitor envi­ron­men­tal restoration projects.

How do you define success?
Developing rela­tion­ships that colleagues and clients value and can depend on to deliver good work. I think this results from doing your best to deliver quality work, making the best decisions for the circum­stances at the time, contin­u­ously learning and building off previous experiences, all while maintaining your core values.

What is one of your favorite hobbies?
Birding. It’s where you find and identify birds based on their appearance, traits and calls. I have identified 157 species so far in 2019, and I’m aiming for 200 by the end of this year.

Anna Ness
 
Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering

Hometown: Madis­onville, Tennessee
Office: Jack­sonville, Florida
Education: BS in Biosystems Engineering from the University of Tennessee, 2015. MS in Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering from the University of Florida, 2017.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I work on improving our water infra­struc­ture and operating drinking water plants. If you asked my mom what I do, she would say, "she's into the dams and sewers."

What do you like to do outside of work to give back to your community?
I’m a Chair in the AWWA Region II Model Water Tower Competition, where 100 middle schoolers build mock water towers that need to meet certain criteria. It’s so fun to see how artistic and creative the students get!

What's something people might be surprised to know about you?
When I moved from Tennessee to Florida, the first thing I did was get my scuba certi­fi­ca­tion. It's good for a lifetime, but you need to take refresher courses every now and then. Dives are as deep as 60 ft.

Laurel Schaich
 
Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Office: Kansas City, Missouri
Education: BS in Chemical Engineering from University of Nebraska, 2015.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I work in wastewater design and I look for ways to recover energy from the wastewater process.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Playing the piano and violin. I love that playing requires you to tap into a different part of your brain than working or studying does. My husband and I both play instruments and we perform on the side in a freelance wedding band. I also really enjoy musical volun­teer­ing: caroling at retirement homes or volun­teer­ing for special events in my community.

What's something people might be surprised to know about you?
I have “read” over 20 Stephen King books—they were all audiobooks. I listen to them on my commute, while I’m working out or when I’m traveling.

Jacky Welborn
 
Construc­tion

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Office: Houston, Texas
Education: BS in Construc­tion Management from the University of Houston, 2016.

What are your favorite hobbies?
I like to do improv comedy, write short stories in different genres and make short films.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I work on construc­tion of plants or facilities that treat water and wastewater.

What's something people might be surprised to know about you?
I was very briefly the under-14 national chess champion of Kenya.

Andrea Zimmer, PhD
 
Water Resources Engineering

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Office: Los Angeles, California
Education: BS & MS in Civil Engineering from Rice University, 2005 and 2007. PhD in Civil and Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering Hydrosys­tems from the University of Urbana-Champaign, 2014.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I work in water supply, so I look at supplies like the Colorado River or legislation on the California Bay Delta and then I summarize what both of these mean for water supply in Los Angeles.

Which of CDM Smith’s core values do you value most?
Integrity. When it comes to water resources—no matter what’s going on—you need to stand by what you think is the best or most technically accurate depiction of the future. Our clients might not like the answer, but it is our respon­si­bil­ity to be truthful and transparent with them.

What's something people might be surprised to know about you?
I have had parakeets since I was 7 years old.

Bridget Wlosek
 
Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering

Hometown: Born in Ontario, Canada. Raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida
Office: Charlotte, North Carolina
Education: BS in Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering from the University of Florida, 2016.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I work with trash—or I do landfill design.

What involvement do you have in profes­sional orga­ni­za­tions?
I’ve been on the SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America) Young Profes­sion­als Steering Committee for about a year. This has allowed me to go to conferences. I’ve gotten really involved with the student design competition. This year’s focus is all about recycling and how to market recycling programs to communities and figure out what works best for each munic­i­pal­ity.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Gardening (I recently moved into a house with garden beds), learning to sew, hiking/being outdoors, cooking and visiting breweries.

Katie Young
 
Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering

Hometown: Honeoye Falls, New York
Office: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Education: BS & MS in Civil/Envi­ron­men­tal Engineering from Virginia Tech, 2012 and 2013.

How do you describe to your friends and family the work that you do?
I clean up cont­a­m­i­nated sites.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Rock climbing and backpacking. I’m heading to Peru soon for a 3-week trip; we’ll be carrying 10 days’ worth of food in a backpack!

What's something people might be surprised to know about you?
I play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons). We just started a campaign. My husband played, and I just moved to Chattanooga and wanted to play to make more friends.

 

Ingenious Conversations

Our Rising Stars have problem-solving minds, game-changing expertise and passion for what they do. Whether it's finding new ways to reuse water and resources, innovating trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture in the Sunshine State, or handling public outreach on complex remediation projects—learn more about how these emerging leaders are tackling the trickiest challenges they can find.

 

What is different at CDM Smith?

Questions in a Jar Capture Who We Are

We brought our Rising Stars into the studio and challenged them to answer random questions from our jar. Their answers were pretty cool...and help bring to life what is so different about CDM Smith.

Careers at CDM Smith Careers at CDM Smith
Ready to join our team?
Our employees are the heart of our company. Find out more about the exciting opportunities that are available today!