Congratulations to K. James Taylor, Jr., Senior Project Manager and Mid-Atlantic Civil Group Leader, and David Small, Senior Consultant, for their 2021 American Society of Civil Engineer Delaware Section awards: Young Engineer of the Year, and Small Project of the Year, respectively. 

The honorees received their awards last night at the Section's Annual Crab Feast at White Clay Creek State Park in Newark, Delaware.

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Mark DeVore (pictured above, center), a client whom was nominated by the Verdantas team, was also named Delaware’s Engineer of the Year.

Small Project of the Year

David Small and his team received the Section's Small Project of the Year award for their COVID-19 Wastewater Epidemiology Sampling project with the State of Delaware to monitor infection hot-spots.

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The COVID-19 pandemic that gripped the world and is still impacting our health, economies and personal lives in many ways also presented a unique opportunity to integrate epidemiology and engineering to collect and analyze data about the extent of the virus in our communities. Building upon the recognition that people shed the virus through feces and urine and laboratory methodologies to detect the virus in wastewater, the project demonstrated the ability to successfully and economically deploy sampling equipment in strategic locations to collect data from both large and small catchment areas. The sampling covered populations as large as 480,000 New Castle County residents down to individual residence halls at University of Delaware. The initiative has helped raise the awareness of academia, state and local government and private industry about the potential use of wastewater monitoring to serve as part of a surveillance network for emerging health threats.

The project demonstrated that wastewater epidemiology sampling was able to monitor increases and decreases in clinical cases up to approximately 2 weeks in advance of clinical test results. This was due, in part, to the ability of the sampling to monitor asymptomatic cases. Data collected also assisted public health decision such as where in the community to offer clinical testing and vaccinations. The methodology is being used to track other public health challenges including the use of opioids and recent outbreaks of polio.

The project team consisted of David Small, Guy Marcozzi, Scott Hoffman, Jennalee Fede, Kate Bullock, Rick Beringer, Jeff Cox, Savannah Sipes, and Kim Schmid. The team partnered with New Castle County, the University of Delaware Center for Environmental Wastewater Epidemiology Research and Mid-Atlantic Area with support from BioBot, Delaware Data Innovation Lab, Christiana Care, Sussex County and Red Clay School District.

Clients were New Castle County and Sussex County.

Young Engineer of the Year

K. James Taylor, Jr. developed an interest in engineering at a young age through his mentor, lifelong friend, and co-worker Dwight Walters. Over his career, James has continued to grow from intern to licensed professional engineer to project manager, to now, his current role of Senior Project Manager and Civil Group Leader in our Wilmington, DE Department. Everyday James strives to seize each and every opportunity to continue to improve not only himself but his community and build up those around him by encouraging a high standard of excellence in their work, professional development and personal growth. He is a big-picture thinker and strategist, always thinking of how to increase operational efficiencies in order to meet project, client and company goals. Outside of Verdantas, James is an active member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and is currently the Director of New Professionals and NSPE-DE President. James is also an active member of his church and community service events such as the American Heart Walk and Adopt-A-Highway cleanups.

Dwight Walters, Senior Consultant and life long mentor of K. James Taylor, congratulates James on his award.

Pictured: Dwight Walters, Senior Consultant and life long mentor of K. James Taylor, congratulates James on his award. 

Thank you to all the honorees for making a difference in our industry and community.

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