2018 Engineering Leaders Under 40

In a class by themselves

An educated, diverse group have remarkable achievements beyond manufacturing

McKenzie Burns, Production Coordinator; Amanda Pelliccione, Research Director; and Bob Vavra, Content Manager

The 2018 CFE Media Engineering Leaders Under 40 are in a class by themselves, but they also have plenty of experience in a class. These 30 manufacturing professionals are by far the best educated group we’ve recognized since the program began almost a decade ago. They’ve taken that formal education and turned it into groundbreaking improvements on their plant floor and in patented product development. The seven women and 23 men honored this year range in age from 25 to 39. All have university degrees, including several from foreign institutions. More than half have a master’s degree, and two have PhDs. Their degrees include 10 in mechanical engineering, seven in chemical engineering, and two each in industrial engineering and electrical engineering.

The 2018 Engineering Leaders Under 40 class also have a wide range of capabilities outside the manufacturing plant that add to their resumes. Two of this year’s group contributed in ways that transcend engineering and manufacturing.

Kyle Shipp, the MEP coordinator for DPR Construction in Morrisville, N.C., served two tours of duty in Iraq, is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, and the senior vice-commander of his local VFW Post.

Sheikh Rafik Manihar Ahmed is a control systems engineer and innovation catalyst for Fluor Daniel India Pvt. Ltd. in Gurugram, India, and the only member of this year’s Engineering Leaders Under 40 group from outside North America. Besides his professional skills, his involvement in improving health care in his region led to his donation of O+ blood platelets to help save the life of a 15-year-old girl who was about to undergo surgery. He did this even though the donation caused him to break his fast during the holy season of Ramadan.

“I will keep the fast later to compensate, but human life can’t be compensated,” he said.

More remarkable stories follow.

Meet the 2018 Engineering Leaders Under 40:


Sandesh Amberkar
Jon Breen
Nathan Butler
Raniel Camacho
Christopher Christie
Adam Cleary
Nick Clute
Vryan Constantino
Nicole Dyess
Kyle Elam
Vincent Errichiello
Nate Fossell
William Kidd
Niranjan Kulkarni
Catsy Lam
MacNeill Guglietta
Sheikh Rafik
Manihar Ahmed
Sean Murphy
Steven Murray
Paulina Olesinska
Adwait Palsule
Ryan Queen
Ramona Schindler
James Shaw
Robert Shields
Kyle Shipp
Mary Frances Stotler
Justin Sturek
Thomas J. Swistro Jr.
Liz Walls


McKenzie Burns is a Production Coordinator at CFE Media, mburns@cfemedia.com; Amanda Pelliccione is the Research Director at CFE Media, apelliccione@cfemedia.com; and Bob Vavra is the Content Manager for Plant Engineering, CFE Media, bvavra@cfemedia.com.

Interested in nominating an engineer for the 2019 program? Nominations open April 1, 2019. View the Engineering Leaders Under 40 page for more information, including Official Rules and tentative program schedule.