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

Corporate Leadership

Alberto Villaman, P.E.

President and CEO/Board Member

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Alberto Villaman, P.E.


President and CEO/Board Member

Alberto Villaman directs the daily operations of HAKS' 675-person national and international offices. He is a strong believer in hard work and perseverance and in facing every challenge as a new opportunity. Under his leadership, HAKS supports the needs of our client partners and addresses issues from their perspective. A skilled and consummate professional, Alberto has been instrumental in some of the area’s largest infrastructure improvements, serving in the positions of principal-in-charge, project executive, project manager, construction manager and resident engineer.

Prior to being named President in March 2017, he served as Executive Vice President of the Construction Inspection Department, where he oversaw vital projects such as the Gowanus Expressway Emergency Repair, which received the 2016 ACEC NY Diamond Award, and the I-95 Interchange 14 and 15/Route 1 Improvements, which received the Platinum Award in the same year. Recent industry recognition includes the Grand Street Trunk Water Main, recipient of several awards.  HAKS, in joint venture, is now collaborating on architectural and engineering design services in support of the design-builder for Enhanced Station Initiative packages for NYCT and inspecting the iconic Brooklyn Bridge for NYSDOT.

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

 

Albert DiBernardo, PE, CHPC, CHMC

Board Member

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Albert DiBernardo, PE, CHPC, CHMC


Board Member

Albert DiBernardo’s distinguished career in all levels of corporate governance and administration encompasses executive leadership, strategy and development, organizational and business development, quality management, and human resource development. His technical and leadership experience includes transportation and infrastructure, geotechnical, environmental, water resources, and building design. He has served as President of an international consulting firm and served on the Boards of two mid-size companies.

 Between 1999 and 2016, more than 300 graduate students benefited from his instruction as an adjunct professor of leadership and management at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, and his course was purported to be the most well-liked class within the construction management program during his tenure.

 Since retiring from his last position, Albert has become a licensed, Certified High Performance and Leadership Agility Coach and holds the prestigious title of ACC with the International Coach Federation, which is the gold standard for professional coaches.

 He holds an MS in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and a BS in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University; is a Professional Engineer in New York; and has been a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Society of American Military Engineers, ACEC New York, and the New York Building Congress.

F. H. (Bud) Griffis, PE, PhD, NAC

Board Chairperson

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F. H. (Bud) Griffis, PE, PhD, NAC


Board Chairperson

Bud Griffis is Professor of Construction Engineering and Management at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. Until July 2006, he was Provost, Dean of Engineering and Applied Science and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Polytechnic University. He is also a Professor Emeritus at Columbia University and former Principal of a New York-based engineering firm.

He retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1986 after serving as Commander and District Engineer of the New York District, responsible for all Army and Air Force construction from Southern New Jersey to Maine, including Greenland and Labrador. He was also Area Engineer, Construction Manager, and Contracting Officer for the Ramon Airbase construction in Israel; and commanded Corps of Engineers units in the U.S., Korea, Viet Nam, Israel, and Germany.

An authority on civil works infrastructure projects, Bud’s project portfolio includes design and construction of facilities at ground zero in NYC; member of the construction management team for the reconstruction of the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn; mediator on the East Side Access Program; and program management oversight of the JFK Redevelopment Program.

His extensive credentials include a B.S. degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; two Masters degrees (Construction Engineering and Operations Research) and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University; Professional Engineer in New York and Oklahoma; ASCE Fellow; Past President and a Director of the Society of American Military Engineers, NY Post; member of the New York Building Congress; and elected to the National Academy of Construction. In 2007, he received the Golden Eagle Award and in 2015 the Lifetime Achievement Award from SAME.

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.

John Schweppenheiser III, P.E., CME

Senior Vice President, North Mid-Atlantic Region

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John Schweppenheiser III, P.E., 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.

Christine Karg-Palreiro, PE

Senior Vice President, South Mid-Atlantic Region

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Christine Karg-Palreiro, PE


Senior Vice President
South Mid-Atlantic Region

Christine Karg-Palreiro joined HAKS in 2018 with responsibility for operations and business development for Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. A seasoned industry pursuit strategist and client relationship manager, Christine brings over 25 years of leadership in marketing and managing construction, design and program management services for large-scale, complex infrastructure projects across the US. She has successfully managed and actively supported growth of business units serving public- and private-sector clients for national and international engineering consulting firms in the ENR Top 100.

Christine began her engineering career serving in a variety of roles in construction offices for the Washington State Department of Transportation in the Seattle metro area, after which she brought her love of seeing projects come to life to a range of leadership roles for industry-leading A/E/C firms. In addition to her civilian career path, Christine is also a veteran, having most recently served as a Civil Engineer Corps officer in the reserves with Naval Mobile Construction Battalions (Seabees) on both coasts.

Prior to serving time on active duty, she began her degree studies at the Pennsylvania State University, ultimately earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Washington State University. Christine is a licensed Professional Engineer, and is actively involved with industry organizations, including WTS, ACEC, CMAA and SAME.

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/Board Member, Construction Inspection

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RALPH SUAZO, P.E.


Senior Vice President/Board Member
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.

Paul Nietzschmann, P.E.

Executive Vice President, Engineering Design

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Paul Nietzschmann, P.E.


Executive Vice President
Engineering Design

HAKS is pleased to welcome Paul Nietzschmann, PE, as Executive Vice President of Engineering Design. Paul joins HAKS after serving for 14 years as Vice President and Senior Vice President of a global engineering consulting firm, most recently leading the Bridge Design practice across New York and New Jersey.  His distinguished 40-year career encompasses project management, design, inspection and seismic and structural analysis for the rehabilitation and new construction of major bridges, highways and transit structures in complex urban areas.

Paul has led or played significant roles in numerous vital projects for public agencies throughout the tri-state area, including New York State DOT Bridge Repairs in Six Locations in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Gowanus Expressway Design and Construction Support; Delaware River and Bay Authority Memorial Bridge 2015 and 2016 Steel Repair Contracts; New York City DOT Rehabilitation of Atlantic Avenue Viaduct over LIRR; Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority Throgs Neck Bridge Replacement of the Suspended Span Decks and Bronx-Whitestone Bridge Approach Viaduct Replacement; and Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Raising of the Bayonne Bridge.

He earned his M.S. in Civil Engineering from Columbia University, a B.E. from City College of New York, and is a Professional Engineer in New York and New Jersey. Paul is a Past President of the Municipal Engineers of the City of New York; an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and recipient of the Met Section 2013 Civil Engineer of the Year and 2017 Roebling awards; and presents technical papers at national and international industry conferences.

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.

Anish Deshpande, PE, PG

Assistant Vice President/Senior Project Manager, Environmental Services

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Anish Deshpande, PE, PG


Assistant Vice President/Senior Project Manager
Environmental Services

Anish Deshpande is a member of our Environmental practice, which serves a wide range of clients, from developers, real estate property owners, asset investors, and facility managers to city, state and federal agencies. His in-depth, relevant experience encompasses employment with AEC consulting firms as well as environmental specialty organizations.

As Project Manager/Senior Engineer, he was responsible for a multi-task order contract to conduct USEPA-compliant environmental site assessments and investigations of brownfield sites for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. He led the successful submittal of a $1.5 million geotechnical/environmental contract to address NJ Transit’s requirements for enhancing passenger rail service for 12 miles of track along the Northern Branch Corridor, and supervised assessment and investigative efforts to develop recommendations for preventing exposure to subsurface contaminants during construction. As Project Manager for the Chelsea Piers Redevelopment, Anish led environmental engineering services for a proposed private redevelopment that required resolution of VOC and SVOC contamination via Best Management Practices remediation alternatives and implementation of a remedial action work plan.

Anish holds an M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin.

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.

Jeffrey Terzakis

Senior Vice President, Construction Management

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Jeffrey Terzakis


Senior Vice President
Construction Management

Jeff Terzakis oversees a distinctive range of CM services, including program management, CM/design-build and overall project management under a CM as Advisor capacity that includes constructability reviews, value engineering, cost estimating as well as schedule, quality and cost control. With HAKS since 2005, he has led many of the firm’s most prominent construction management undertakings, serving in the capacities of Principal-in-Charge, Project Executive and Project Director. He offers clients wide-ranging experience in the construction management of housing, healthcare, educational, transportation, aviation, municipal and commercial facilities. His comprehensive experience in project management focuses on complex capital programs and developments in the private and public sectors.  Jeff presents a unique and customized approach to project needs by anticipating issues from the outset and managing outcomes through preparedness, consensus and accountability.

His portfolio includes leadership of the firm’s citywide emergency CM response to the New York City School Construction Authority and New York City Housing Authority in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. In addition, he has overseen some of the Construction Management Department’s largest and most complex award-winning projects, including the New Haven Bus Storage, Administration and Maintenance Facility for ConnDOT, which received the ACEC NY Platinum Award for Engineering Excellence, and the Reconstruction of the Hamilton Avenue Asphalt Plant for NYCDDC, which received the ACEC NY Diamond Award.

Jeff holds an M.B.A. in Finance from Fordham University, a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University, and is a Certified Construction Manager.

Mahmood Mohammed, P.E.

Executive Vice President/Board Member, Structural Inspection and Evaluation

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Mahmood Mohammed, P.E.


Executive Vice President/Board Member
Structural Inspection and Evaluation

Mahmood Mohammed heads HAKS’ Structural Inspection and Evaluation 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 Executive Vice President. 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.

Todd Yanoff, P.E

Senior Vice President, Water/Wastewater

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Todd Yanoff, P.E


Senior Vice President
Water/Wastewater

As Senior Vice President of HAKS’ Water/Wastewater Department, Todd Yanoff has key involvement on the firm’s infrastructure work on tunnels, dams, aqueducts, CSOs and other water/wastewater facilities. He is especially adept at organizational and operational assessments and managerial and strategic planning for the effective delivery of projects and major construction initiatives.

Ongoing work includes his role as project executive for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (NYCDEP) citywide wastewater treatment plant capital improvements, for which HAKS is providing full-time on-site management, and project manager for the NYCDEP’s $25 million CAT-DEL Aqueduct Interconnection construction management project. Todd has been serving as project manager on the HAKS-led joint venture for the NYCDEP’s $400 million Gilboa Dam Reconstruction, the firm’s largest construction management assignment to date.  Phase 3, the $140 million rehabilitation of the dam, was completed one year ahead of schedule and received a 2015 ACEC New York Gold Award for Engineering Excellence, a 2014 Concrete Industry Board New York Award of Merit as well as other accolades. Other projects under his purview include the firm’s construction management work on the $800+ million Rondout West Branch Bypass Tunnel, also for the NYCDEP, and its consultant construction management role on DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, including the Blue Plains and Anacostia River tunnels.

Prior to joining HAKS in 2009, Todd served as resident engineer for several New York State Thruway projects, including reconstruction of six bridges in Yonkers, roadway resurfacing and safety improvements in Westchester County, and restoration of the New England Thruway. He was also resident engineer for three bridges on Manhattan’s West Side for Trump/New World, two of which were over existing Amtrak track.

Todd 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 (Lab Code 500043-0), 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.

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 is an accomplished engineer and marketing professional with more than 27 years of experience in the A/E/C industry, serving both the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally.  As HAKS’ Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, Yusuf represents the firm at professional and industry organizations, negotiates teaming arrangements; plans, schedules and manages sales efforts; develops annual business and marketing plans; conducts strategic research in support of designated market sectors and to explore new markets; leads all go/no-go decisions; assesses potential pursuits in regard to their ability to meet the firm’s strategic goals; develops marketing tools; and coaches management in the delivery of winning client presentations.  He is also responsible for managing operations for HAKS’ ongoing work in India.   His proven leadership capabilities and wealth of diversified experience have resulted in annual sales of over $150 million. 

In addition to his marketing responsibilities, as Senior Engineer, Yusuf reviews technical scopes of work for all infrastructure and facility construction and rehabilitation projects and prepares project engineering technical approach reports and manpower and cost estimates for several governmental agencies throughout the eastern US corridor.  As a Practicing Institute of Engineering technical reviewer, he prepares and reviews technical white papers for HAKS University and other entities, and evaluates and approves engineering continuing education seminars for PDH accreditation in New York.

Yusuf is a Professional Engineer in NY, CT, PA, MD, TX, VA, RI, NJ, FL and ME; an ASCE Fellow and technical advisor on several neighborhood improvement committees; and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Society of American Military Engineers, American Society of Highway Engineers, and the Society of Marketing Professional Services. He has co-authored technical papers published in the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical Engineering