• Corporate HQ, NY
  • Melville, NY
  • Iselin, NJ
  • Ossining, NY
  • Mount Laurel, NJ

Corporate Leadership

Husam Ahmad, P.E.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

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Husam Ahmad, P.E.


Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Husam Ahmad established the firm as a partnership in 1991 and incorporated it in 1994. Under Mr. Ahmad’s leadership, HAKS has grown steadily to become a leading, mid-sized consulting firm in the New York metropolitan area with a multi-disciplined staff of over 600.  

Mr. Ahmad has over 30 years of diversified experience in design and construction management for bridges, roads, and various facilities. He plays a lead role as a board member of numerous professional societies, including the Concrete Industry Board, ACEC, CMAA Metro NY/NJ Chapter, and the New York Building Foundation. Mr. Ahmad is an expert in QA/QC and Safety and oversees all corporate-wide initiatives, including the HAKS mentoring program for M/W/DBE firms. He is also responsible for developing and directing HAKS’ strategic plan.

He has served as principal-in-charge on a wide array of firm projects, including the HAKS-led CM joint venture for the Gilboa Dam Reconstruction for the NYCDEP, which received a 2015 ACEC New York Gold Award for Engineering Excellence and a 2014 Concrete Industry Board New York Award of Merit; the Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant, recipient of a 2014 ACEC New York Diamond Award and National Recognition and CMAA Honorable Mention; NYCHA CM as Agent for five housing developments and a separate contract for CM/Build services; PANYNJ on-call CM and technical services from 2001-2014; SCA Emergency CM services for the New York City public school system; the final construction phase of the Manhattan leg of the Third City Water Tunnel in joint venture for the NYCDEP; and the award-winning St. George Ferry Terminal Ramp Reconstruction for the NYCDOT, for which HAKS provided REI services.

Mr. Ahmad is a professional engineer in ten states and the District of Columbia.

Shahid Akhtar

Chief Financial Officer

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Shahid Akhtar


Chief Financial Officer

Shahid Akhtar is a senior executive with more than 16 years of experience managing the finance and administrative departments of engineering and architectural firms. As Chief Financial Officer of HAKS, he is responsible for assessing organizational performance against the company’s annual budget and long-term strategy, and overseeing long-term budgetary planning and cost management in alignment with the company’s strategic plan. Mr. Akhtar plans and manages HAKS’ entire financial system, including cash flow, capital structure, banking relationships, budget and revenue forecasts, internal control and financial procedures, analysis and reporting, profitability improvement, tax and regulatory compliance, and coordination of various governmental audits. He is also responsible for negotiating contracts, risk management and insurance compliance; directing various IT initiatives; and overseeing the Human Resources Department.

As CFO, Mr. Akhtar manages HAKS' annual budget, improves financial operations and cash management by integrating various accounting systems into a unified financial management system, develops a project reporting system to monitor profitability and budget performance; established a centralized, unified banking system under one financial institution to increase control and draft security; and streamlines the overhead cost structure to reduce expenses.

Alberto Villaman, P.E.

President

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Alberto Villaman, P.E.


President

Alberto Villaman directs the daily operations of HAKS' 675-person national and international offices. Most recently Executive Vice President and head of the Construction Inspection Department, Alberto is a skilled and versatile professional who has served in the positions of principal-in-charge, project executive, project manager, construction manager and resident engineer on some of the area’s largest infrastructure improvements. Since joining the firm in 2000, projects under his purview have included the $191 million NYCDOT design-build rehabilitation of the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, recipient of the 2014 ACEC NY Gold Award, the 2013 ASCE-Met Design-Build Project of the Year Award and the 2012 Municipal Engineers of New York Project of the Year Award. The NYSDOT $214 million Gowanus Expressway Emergency Repair received the 2016 ACEC NY Diamond Award and the ConnDOT $42.5 million I-95 Interchange 14 and 15/Route 1 Improvements received the Platinum Award in the same year.

Alberto has also led resident engineering inspection services for the $350 million Superstorm Sandy restoration of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel for MTA Bridges & Tunnels; the $400 million Gilboa Dam Reconstruction and the $203 million activation of the Third Water Tunnel, both for NYCDEP; the $85 million Catenary Replacement on the New Haven Main Line for ConnDOT; the $28 million South Brooklyn Marine Terminal Infrastructure Rehabilitation for NYCEDC; and the $28 million Fulton Street Improvement project for NYCDDC.

Prior to joining the firm, he served as Engineer-in-Charge for the NYSDOT. He is a professional engineer in seven states and the District of Columbia.

Regional Leadership

Franco Balassone, P.E., CCM

Executive Vice President, New England Region

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Franco Balassone, P.E., CCM


Executive Vice President
New England Region

Franco Balassone is in charge of all operations and business development in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He has more than 25 years of experience in marketing and managing construction services for high-profile and complex transportation projects.

Mr. Balassone led the third consecutive round of Connecticut bridge inspections, including the Arrigoni Bridge Inspection and Evaluation, which received the 2012 ACEC-CT Engineering Excellence Award, and the inspection and evaluation of gusset plate connections on the Gold Star Bridge, which received the 2011 ACEC-New York Platinum Award. Mr. Balassone also oversaw HAKS’ critical construction engineering and inspection services for the $85 million Catenary Replacement on the New Haven Main Line between Fairfield and Bridgeport, Connecticut, also for ConnDOT, and is performing the same role for the $78 million catenary replacement on two busy sections of the New Haven Line through the towns of Norwalk and Westport and then through Bridgeport and Stratford, a total of 11 miles.

Mr. Balassone is a professional engineer in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

Brian J. Novelline, P.E.

Senior Vice President, Massachusetts Regional Manager

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Brian J. Novelline, P.E.


Senior Vice President
Massachusetts Regional Manager

Brian Novelline is a Senior Vice President with responsibility for all operations, marketing and business development efforts in the Boston/Massachusetts region.  His experience includes 25 years of leadership in the New England/Northeast US markets with significant expertise in project and program management; engineering consulting and construction, sales, marketing, business and client development/management; strategic business planning and execution; contract negotiations and execution; compliance, risk/liability and safety control; new business roll-out/launch, start-up, turnaround, expansion, and M&A. Mr. Novelline has successfully managed and expanded business units for regional and national/international engineering consulting firms in the ENR Top 500.

He most recently served as the Vice President for the Northeast US for a national, multi-disciplined ENR Top 100 Firm, which provides services to both public- and private-sector clients, and includes horizontal and vertical construction projects. He began his career as an engineer for the Connecticut Department of Transportation and advanced through increasing managerial roles for industry-leading A/E/C firms. 

Mr. Novelline has led multi-disciplined horizontal and vertical design and construction projects, working for federal, state, regional, and municipal public agencies, as well as private-sector owners, developers, and owner’s representatives. Project types have included infrastructure, utilities, roadways, and bridges; telecommunications; power and energy; commercial/office; institutional; biotech/biomed/lab/health sciences; K-12 schools; single- and multi-family housing; and mixed-use developments ranging in value from less than $100,000 to $14 billion.

Mr. Novelline is licensed as a Professional Engineer in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine; holds a Massachusetts Construction Supervisor’s License – Unrestricted; and is Project Management Certification Program certified.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Professional Certification in Telecommunications from Northeastern University, and has studied Business Management at Harvard University (Extension School).

SOPHIE BORESHE, P.E.

Senior Vice President, South Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager

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SOPHIE BORESHE, P.E.


Senior Vice President
South Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager

Sophie Boreshe, PE, is in charge of operations, marketing and business development for our Maryland; Washington, DC; and Virginia operations. Her wide-ranging responsibilities include overseeing the firm’s construction management/inspection services for DC Water’s massive Clean Rivers Project, including work on the Anacostia River Tunnel and Blue Plains Tunnel CSO projects.  Sophie’s diverse skills encompass program management, operations management, planning, environmental impact analysis, design, project management, contract administration, financial management and strategy formulation and evaluation.


Accomplishments during her 30-year career include Program Manager in the District DOT’s Transportation Operations Administration, where she managed a unit responsible for delivering technical services based on citizen requests. The responsibility areas of her team included traffic signals and lights, work zone safety, traffic calming and safety, and parking and traffic operations. During her tenure, response rate dramatically improved. As East Sector Business Manager for a large engineering services firm, she monitored the performance of all projects for 22 offices and reviewed and approved execution for all contracts in the sector.   These offices worked on DOT projects in 12 states from New York to Florida. Early in her career, as Project Manager in ConnDOT’s Consultant Design Unit, she oversaw major infrastructure projects with a total construction value of more than $300 million.


Sophie has designed a variety of projects for numerous clients and jurisdictions, including the Connecticut, District of Columbia, Virginia and West Virginia DOTs, and performed environmental planning for the Pennsylvania DOT, the New Orleans Airport Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.


She holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Catholic University; is a professional engineer in the state of Connecticut; and has active memberships in the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Highway Engineers and the Women’s Transportation Seminar.

John Schweppenheiser III, PE, CME

Senior Vice President, North Mid-Atlantic Region

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John Schweppenheiser III, PE, CME


Senior Vice President
North Mid-Atlantic Region

John Schweppenheiser III oversees all operations, marketing and business development efforts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Most recently, John served as Vice President and Branch Manager of the Mount Laurel, New Jersey office. He has been directly responsible for the design and construction management/inspection of a diverse portfolio of projects, including heavy highway/transportation and commercial, residential and industrial projects, including shopping centers, utility/roadway improvements, bridge rehabilitation, residential subdivisions, green infrastructure, dams, restaurants, and large-scale developments. He has coordinated the complete design and approval of numerous projects that involved complex major utility relocations and extensions as well as freshwater wetlands permitting, flood hazard permitting, BIM modeling, LEED design and historic considerations. As such, he maintains a close working relationship with state agencies, transportation owners and authorities, utility companies, and individual counties and municipalities.

John has provided expert testimony for numerous New Jersey municipalities for a variety of projects and has completed variance and technical testimony for planning and zoning boards statewide. He is currently overseeing several New Jersey Turnpike Authority improvement projects as well as several county projects receiving both state and FHWA funding.

John is a licensed Professional Engineer in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and is actively involved with engineering chapters across the tristate region such as ACEC, ASCE, ASHE and ASDSO.

Neyda Otero, AIA, LEED AP, BD + C

Senior Vice President, Florida Regional Manager

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Neyda Otero, AIA, LEED AP, BD + C


Senior Vice President
Florida Regional Manager

Neyda Otero, AIA, LEED AP, BD + C is responsible for the strategic growth of the Florida region, with oversight of operations, marketing and business development throughout the state.  She brings to this position strong strategic management, facility/asset management, planning, budget control and construction delivery expertise.  Her portfolio includes management of both large- and small-scale complex projects on active higher education and Pre-K to 12 school campuses and 20 years as a Uniform Building Code Inspector for public educational facility constructing.


She was most recently Vice Provost/Chief Officer of the Facilities Management Division at Miami Dade College, where she oversaw a staff of 120 and executed a college-wide capital improvement and deferred maintenance construction program totaling over $500 million consisting of new construction, remodeling and renovation projects. Neyda has successfully implemented and managed a $98 million capital improvement construction program, including $80 million of bond projects at two private school campuses, resulting in the delivery of more than 40 projects in a 12-year period.


She holds key roles in numerous trade associations—President-Elect of the Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Director of the South Florida Chapter of the US Green Building Council, Florida Educational Facilities Planner Association, Women in Architecture Committee, and the International Code Council.


Neyda earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Miami, is a licensed architect in the state of Florida, a LEED AP, BD + C and a Green Classroom professional.

Raja Sekhar Nelapati

Regional Manager, India

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Raja Sekhar Nelapati


Regional Manager
India

Raja Sekhar Nelapati has more than 28 years of professional experience in the fields of highways, bridge design, road safety, ash slurry pipeline construction, analysis of structures for over-dimensional consignment hauling, and implementation of resettlement and rehabilitation policies.


He has extensive experience in planning and execution, design, construction, maintenance, construction materials investigation, supervision of road and highway projects including projects funded by the Asian Development Bank, review of road safety management plans, and implementation of remedial safety measures.


He also has experience in coordinating teams of consultants and engineers from executing agencies, monitoring project progress, coordinating with different government agencies to resolve issues related to worksites, addressing contract-related issues, and implementation of resettlement and relocation action plan/land acquisition-related issues.


Prior to joining HAKS, Mr. Nelapati spent 15 years with the National Highways Authority of India in roles of increasing responsibility in locations such as Dharwad, Bengaluru, Chitradurga, and New Delhi; before that, he worked with the Government of Andhra Pradesh Roads and Buildings Department and the Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Project in Madhya Pradesh. This included contracting, management, and monitoring of wide-ranging roadway and utilities construction and extensive slurry line pipework.


Mr. Nelapati holds a Bachelor of Technology degree with first class in Civil Engineering from the College of Engineering of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University. He has also undergone professional training programs including contract supervision and management, orientation for highway engineers, executive development for highway and bridge engineers, project management, and finance; and attended various workshops on topics such as social development and involuntary resettlement for transport engineers and control of highways (land and traffic).

Senior Leadership

RALPH SUAZO, P.E.

Senior Vice President, Construction Inspection

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RALPH SUAZO, P.E.


Senior Vice President
Construction Inspection

Ralph Suazo is highly skilled in administering, managing and supervising large-scale highway, bridge and architectural projects.  He was most recently Vice President of the Construction Inspection Department and Resident Engineer for the massive $350 million, six-year Hugh L. Carey Tunnel Superstorm Sandy restoration and rehabilitation project. Ralph has managed many of the firm’s award-winning infrastructure projects for clients such as the New York State Department of Transportation, New York City Department of Transportation, New York State Bridge Authority, Nassau County Department of Public Works, MTA Bridges & Tunnels, New York City Transit, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.


He joined HAKS in 2013 after serving as a New York Division Highway Engineer for the New York State Thruway Authority, with responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of more than 100 miles of superhighway, including more than 50 interchanges, four service areas, six toll barriers, and four tandem and one commuter parking lot.  He oversaw six highway sections comprised of more than 180 employees with an annual budget of $15 million. In a previous position as New York Division Construction Supervisor, he managed a number of complex capital improvement projects.


Ralph holds an M.S. in Engineering Management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is a Professional Engineer in New York.

Francisco A. Ruela, AIA, LEED AP

Senior Vice President, Architecture/Facilities Design

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Francisco A. Ruela, AIA, LEED AP


Senior Vice President
Architecture/Facilities Design

Francisco Ruela’s 25-year career spans all phases of architectural design—programming/feasibility studies, new buildings/ additions/ alteration design, interior design/space planning, forensic assessment of building envelopes, ADA accessibility/life safety/code analysis, BIM and 3D conceptualization, sustainable design/LEED certification, condition assessments/building inspections, HVAC design, electrical design, plumbing and fire protection design, energy modeling/audits and asset management. He has taken HAKS into new markets and added staff to support high-profile assignments.

Mr. Ruela oversaw condition surveys that helped to restore public housing in storm-ravaged sections of the city in the wake of Superstorm Sandy; is overseeing architectural and surveying services for flood mitigation at 12 critical locations in Lower Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn for NYCT; and A/E design services for fall protection for Con Edison facilities in NYC and Westchester County.

Mr. Ruela is serving as Principal-in-Charge/Project Director for HAKS’ capital improvement A/E contract with the SCA and a citywide Building Condition Assessment Survey. He is Project Architect for A/E on-call services for the NYC Department of Education’s school capital improvement program and for the firm’s joint venture pre-scoping design services for the Passerelle Pedestrian Bridge. He is also leading HAKS’ on-call architectural design and construction inspection contract with the New York State Thruway Authority and numerous contracts with the New York City Housing Authority.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Ruela managed architectural design for 21 new passenger stations for New Jersey Transit’s Hudson-Bergen LRT system; Newark Liberty International Airport Rail Station for PANYNJ and design of the New York Thruway maintenance complex at Interchange 17 in Newburgh.

Mr. Ruela is a registered architect in 10 states and the District of Columbia and is a LEED AP.

Alfonso R. Lopez, P.E.

Senior Vice President, Water/Wastewater

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Alfonso R. Lopez, P.E.


Senior Vice President
Water/Wastewater

Alfonso Lopez brings a 40-year career of high-profile experience to this position.  As New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Engineering Design and Construction, he managed a $2 billion annual capital improvement program; as Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, he was responsible for operations and maintenance of New York City’s wastewater treatment system and management of the 1,900-person agency; and as Wastewater Facilities Operations Director, he oversaw all day-to-day operations for the city's wastewater treatment facilities.

Since joining the firm in May 2014, Mr. Lopez has been serving as principal-in-charge on all water and wastewater undertakings, including activities on the New York City Third Water Tunnel completion and commissioning, the Rondout-West Branch Bypass Tunnel, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade, and the HAKS-led joint venture for the Gilboa Dam Reconstruction, the firm’s largest construction management assignment to date.  Phase 3 of this project, the rehabilitation of the dam, was completed two years ahead of schedule and received a 2015 ACEC New York Gold Award for Engineering Excellence and a 2014 Concrete Industry Board New York Award of Merit.

Mr. Lopez is a professional engineer in the state of New York.

Richard T. Hallahan, P.E.

Senior Vice President, Quality Control and Material Testing

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Richard T. Hallahan, P.E.


Senior Vice President
Quality Control and Material Testing

Richard Hallahan offers more than 35 years of experience in construction, materials inspection, special and controlled inspections, inspection monitoring, progress inspections, building assessments, and professional engineering services for facilities and quality control. He serves as Principal-in-Charge of HAKS’ Material Testing group and its state-of-the-art material testing laboratories in Ossining, NY and Bridgeport, CT. These labs are AASHTO/AMRL, CCRL and NIST/NVLAP accredited, and our Ossining location is NYCDOB licensed.

He is overseeing a 5-year term contract for batch plant inspections for all MTA Capital Construction and NYCT projects under construction; Post-Superstorm Sandy inspections in Staten Island, Far Rockaway and Coney Island for the NYC Rapid Repairs Program; material testing for SCA for projects with a combined construction cost of more than $250 million; and our Worldwide Technical Inspections and Concrete Quality Assurance contract for the NYCDEP—one of the largest and most complex material testing contracts in the industry. This 3-year, on-call contract could activate up to 150 NYCDEP locations throughout New York City as well as Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Ulster counties. He is also serving as QA/QC Engineer for HAKS’ first win in Massachusetts—a materials inspection and testing contract for MassDOT.

Mr. Hallahan is a professional engineer in New York and New Jersey.

Tarek Z. Khouri, P.E.

Senior Vice President, Environmental Services

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Tarek Z. Khouri, P.E.


Senior Vice President
Environmental Services

Tarek Khouri is Senior Vice President of our Environmental practice, which provides services to public- and private-sector clients such as developers, real estate property owners, asset investors, facility managers and city, state and federal agencies. Mr. Khouri brings to HAKS more than 20 years of invaluable experience in the real estate development, construction and engineering industries, and is adept at integrating environmental risk management with land use planning and sustainable development to meet the needs of clients and stakeholders in urban and rural environments. He most recently served as Vice President of a global engineering firm specializing in site/civil, geotechnical and environmental services.

Mr. Khouri has participated in and managed the remediation and reuse of contaminated properties and performed and overseen environmental investigations and remedial actions at petroleum and chlorinated solvent spill sites, fuel farms, refineries, and a variety of residential, commercial and industrial settings.

Mr. Khouri’s major involvement in U.S. projects includes LIRR/MTA East Side Access Project, Columbia University Manhattanville Expansion Project, New York Jets proposed Stadium at Hudson Yards, Bayside Fuel Oil Depot Corporation, Long Island College Hospital, New York Jets Training Facility at Florham Park, LCP Chemicals Superfund Site, and FAA Technical Center Area D Jet Fuel Farm. While overseas, Mr. Khouri managed a multitude of land development projects in Africa, France, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Lebanon. During his tenure as Managing Director of a waste management and recycling company in Qatar, he developed the business from a 65-person firm with revenue of $2 million to a 220-person firm generating in excess of $9 million in revenue.  The company was the only sustainable waste management partner for the United Nations COP18 Climate Change summit.

Mr. Khouri is a licensed professional engineer in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington D.C., Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Lebanon.

Andrew Sandor

Senior Vice President, Business Development

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Andrew Sandor


Senior Vice President
Business Development

Andrew Sandor joined HAKS in 2015 as Senior Vice President to direct firmwide business development initiatives. For the past 20 years, he has led business development and marketing efforts for several major New York City-based A/E firms. Mr. Sandor’s distinguished 35-year career includes overseeing and implementing business development/marketing strategies across various market segments and geographic regions, as well as serving as a key decision maker for strategic teaming. As a civil engineer, Mr. Sandor’s early career included work in construction and condition inspection, structural design and project management for a diversity of project types. His work during this time included a traffic study in the old Fulton Fish Market, a major rehabilitation and seismic upgrade of the Golden Gate Bridge, the rehabilitation of the Statue of Liberty and the design of the I-10 Covered Deck through central Phoenix, Arizona.

Mr. Sandor’s combined technical and business development acumen contribute to his ability to assemble quality teams, lead successful project pursuits and maintain professional relationships with clients, potential partners and subconsultants throughout the industry.

Mr. Sandor is an active member of ACEC in New York and New Jersey and has served on several agency subcommittees, including The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, NJ Transit, the New York State Thruway Authority and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York.

George Toma, AIA

Executive Vice President, Construction Management

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George Toma, AIA


Executive Vice President
Construction Management

George Toma joined HAKS in 2016 as head of the Construction Management Department responsible for oversight of the firm’s distinctive range of CM services, including program management, CM/design-build, constructability reviews, QA/QC, value engineering, and scheduling and project controls.

An accomplished senior manager, Mr. Toma was most recently Vice President of Construction Management for the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA). In this position since 2008, he led a 400-person department in the execution of the current (2015-2019) $12.8 billion capital plan, managing/overseeing the construction of more than 7,000 projects. In addition to the 18 new schools and additions opened in 2015, the SCA also opened 35 new universal pre-kindergarten centers across New York City and completed more than 500 capital improvement projects.

Prior to advancing to this position, he served as Chief Project Officer responsible for managing and directing all aspects of school construction and rehabilitation efforts from conception through completion within the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island. An earlier position with MTA Bridges and Tunnels involved the management of multiple construction and design projects with a construction value of more than $190 million.

Projects under his purview will include emergency response programs for public agencies, CM as Agent for the New York City Housing Authority, On-Call Construction and Capital Security Projects for MTA-New York City Transit, and Harmon Shop Replacement, Phase V, for Metro-North Railroad.

Mr. Toma is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and the Construction Management Association of America, holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from Ain Shams University in Egypt, and is a registered architect in New York and New Jersey.

Mahmood Mohammed, P.E.

Senior Vice President, Bridge Inspections

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Mahmood Mohammed, P.E.


Senior Vice President
Bridge Inspections

Mahmood Mohammed heads HAKS’ Bridge Inspection Department, which comprises over 30 inspection teams conducting more than 1,000 bridge and 700 ancillary inspections annually.  His expertise has been instrumental in making HAKS one of the Northeast region’s premier bridge inspection and analysis firms.

Since joining HAKS in 1996, Mahmood served as inspector, assistant project manager and project manager prior to attaining his current position as Senior Vice President for bridge inspections. During this time, he has managed the inspection and evaluation of over 4,000 bridges and 3,500 ancillary structures, including major bridges like the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge (the first extradosed bridge in the U.S.) and the Walt Whitman Suspension Bridge. The biennial inspection of the Manhattan Bridge received the 2012 ACEC New York Platinum Award. Under his leadership, HAKS conducted the first-of-its-kind investigation/monitoring of the Gold Star Bridge, which received the 2015 ACEC New York Platinum Award.  Many of his projects have been innovative and comprehensive structural inspections/evaluations of major regional bridges such as the Manhattan Bridge, which received the 2012 ACEC New York Platinum Award for Engineering Excellence.

Mahmood holds an M.S. in Structural Engineering from California State University and is a professional engineer in 10 states.

Alfred D. Barcenilla, Sr., P.E., P.L.S.

Senior Vice President, Land Surveying and Mapping

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Alfred D. Barcenilla, Sr., P.E., P.L.S.


Senior Vice President
Land Surveying and Mapping

Alfred Barcenilla directs HAKS’ Land Surveying and Mapping Department, which performs major topographical, property line, right-of-way, utility, construction, design and control surveys employing state-of-the-art high-definition 3D laser scanning and subsurface utility ground penetrating radar equipment. Mr. Barcenilla has recently added cutting-edge Mobile LiDAR services to the firm’s portfolio.

As Chief of Survey, he has overseen survey and mapping services for 12 Critical Lower Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn locations for NYCT; surveying work for Metro-North, LIRR and PANYNJ; 13 BMP locations at New Creek and Oakwood Beach Watershed in Staten Island for NYCDDC; On-Call Surveying Services for 13 school sites for SCA; a Term Agreement for Civil Design Services for NYCDPR; the proposed Cross-Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel Survey and East River Esplanade and Piers projects for NYCEDC, which received the ACEC-New York Diamond and Platinum Awards, respectively, for Engineering Excellence; and the 2013 Topographic/Boundary Surveying and Subsurface Utility Designating/Locating call-in contracts for PANYNJ.

His more than 40 years of surveying experience include serving as Director and Licensed Surveyor for the Bureau of Site Engineering in the NYCDDC and the former New York City Department of General Services. During his tenure, he managed and coordinated the Ground Zero survey monitoring and mapping for the 9/11 rescue, recovery and demolition phases.

Mr. Barcenilla is a professional engineer in New York and a Professional Land Surveyor in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Paul N. Hoffmann

Senior Vice President, Special Inspections

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Paul N. Hoffmann


Senior Vice President
Special Inspections

Paul Hoffmann has more than 20 years of experience overseeing special and progress inspections, construction management services, building compliance, and operations and construction monitoring. He has been instrumental in establishing HAKS’ reputation as a major firm of choice in the area of special inspections, which has become the firm’s fastest-growing sector. He developed the HAKS certification, licensing and training programs that deliver services to a host of governmental and private clients and created teams of multi-functional inspectors. Mr. Hoffmann also advises clients on New York City Department of Buildings issues, conflicts of interest and other areas of interest in regard to the Rules of Special Inspections.

Since joining HAKS, Mr. Hoffmann has managed more than $100 million of special inspection contracts, with representative construction values of over $3 billion. He has extensive experience working with public agencies and authorities in the New York market; in-depth knowledge of all relevant building codes, standards and ordinances, and inspector certifications; and significant experience in resolving complex construction compliance issues.

His project portfolio includes serving as Project Executive for SCA special inspections at more than 300 facilities throughout the city, with construction values in excess of $500 million; for special and monitoring inspections for PANYNJ for the entire World Trade Center site; for special and forensic inspections for more than 30 NYCHA locations, including community centers, apartment complexes and garages; for special inspections for the NYCEDC, with construction values in excess of $50 million; and for special inspections for DASNY. He is currently overseeing HAKS’ special inspection work on a platform over active LIRR tracks that will serve as the foundation for two high-rise office towers as part of the Hudson Yards redevelopment on Manhattan’s Far West Side.

Meryle A. Kaleda

Vice President and General Counsel

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Meryle A. Kaleda


Vice President and General Counsel

Meryle A. Kaleda’s legal career has spanned over 25 years and included a wide range of legal experience, including litigation, insurance, risk management and construction.  As General Counsel, Ms. Kaleda advises the CFO and senior management on all corporate legal matters pertaining to contracts, procurement, risk management, regulatory compliance, finance, human resources and employment, and safety.  She reviews, drafts and negotiates contracts and other business agreements and provides insurance defense litigation oversight and insurance contract compliance supervision.

Prior to joining HAKS in 2014, Ms. Kaleda served as Associate General Counsel and Vice President for a New York City-based women/minority-owned professional design and construction firm.  In this capacity, she advised the President/CEO and executive staff on all legal matters related to contracts, risk management, insurance, and employment; led the New York office Human Resources Department; and managed corporate health and 401(k) benefits.  Earlier in her career, she served as in-house counsel for  major insurance carriers as well as in private practice handling all phases of litigation, including jury trials, extensive substantive motion practice, and regular court appearances, and directed investigative and defense strategies in negligence, labor law and construction litigation cases.

Ms. Kaleda received her J.D. from Creighton University School of Law and a B.A. in History/Political Science from the College of Mount Saint Vincent. She is admitted to practice law in New York State and the Second District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.

Yusuf Poonawala, P.E., F.ASCE

Senior Vice President, Marketing

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Yusuf Poonawala, P.E., F.ASCE


Senior Vice President
Marketing

Yusuf Poonawala has more than 24 years of experience in the CM/A/E industry, serving both the public and private sectors nationally and internationally. Since joining HAKS, his many accomplishments have included establishing and managing the firm’s India operations for the development and construction phases of several highway projects for the National Highway Authority of India.

As head of marketing, Mr. Poonawala represents HAKS at public-sector, professional and industry organizations; plans, schedules and manages firm’s sales efforts; develops comprehensive annual business and marketing plans to ensure alignment of capture plans with corporate strategies; conducts strategic research in support of the firm’s designated market sectors to explore new markets; leads all go/no-go decisions; assesses each potential pursuit in regard to its ability to meet the firm’s strategic positioning and goals; ensures quality client submittals under stringent time constraints; and trains the management staff in the delivery of effective, winning presentations. His leadership skills and intimate understanding of client requirements has helped in achieving corporate sales and goals.

Mr. Poonawala takes time to give back to the industry and his local community.  He is a Fellow of ASCE, and serves as a technical advisor on several neighborhood improvement committees. 

Mr. Poonawala co-authored and presented technical papers early in his career that appeared in the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical Engineering. He is a professional engineer in New York and Connecticut with a background in geotechnical and structural engineering.