2012 40 Under 40: Michelle Nelson, PE, LEED AP BD+C, 30

Mechanical Engineer, AECOM, Arlington, Va.


Michelle Nelson, PE, LEED AP BD+C, 30 Michelle Nelson

Mechanical Engineer, AECOM, Arlington, Va.

The Pennsylvania State University, Bachelor of Architectural Engineering

Nelson excels at her roles within AECOM while balancing her career aspirations and responsibilities to her family. With two young children, she has continued to manage a full project schedule, maintaining a devoted client focus and attention to quality. Nelson is consistently sought by project and program mangers to be their lead mechanical engineer. Her interest in the building industry stemmed from volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in high school. Her work with Habitat led to a trip to Nicaragua with the organization Bridges to Community to build a reinforced CMU home for a family in one week. In recent years, Michelle has participated in Rebuilding Together to rehabilitate homes of low-income families. Her AECOM projects range from a jail and sheriff’s office to providing HVAC infrastructure to support several Smithsonian Institution exhibits. Nelson spent more than a year designing the HVAC systems for the 185,000-sq-ft Defense Media Activity in Fort Meade, Md. During the project, her greatest growth opportunity came in designing a nontraditional HVAC solution for the 7,000-sq-ft data center that accounted for half of the building’s cooling load. She was recently recognized as a “Star” in AECOM’s National Capital Office as a technical expert in her field who leads and motivates others with dedication to her projects, clients, and peers. Outside of work, Nelson enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and their two children.

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