Press Release - Annual Awards, July 2017

ACEC New York recognizes NYS DOT Commissioner Matthew Driscoll with Chairman’s Award

Engineer of the Year Amato and New Principal of the Year Nikolaou also honored

NEW YORK, July 2017 — The American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York) presented the 2017 Chairman’s Award to the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Transportation, Matthew Driscoll. Driscoll was recognized for his outstanding leadership of the NYSDOT, as well as his continued support of the engineering industry.

The award was presented at the council’s annual spring membership luncheon at the Union League Club on June 7th. Additionally, Joseph Amato, P.E., Senior Partner of Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP, was named the 2017 Engineer of the Year for his contributions to the consulting engineering profession, the council and his community. Sissy Nikolaou, PhD, P.E., Principal at WSP USA, was named the New Principal of the Year, an award which is given to a member who has been a principal less than five years and who has made significant contributions to the consulting engineering community.

Chairman’s Award: Matthew Driscoll, Commissioner, NYS Department of Transportation
The ACEC New York Chairman’s Award is presented each year to an individual who has shown outstanding leadership, creativity and vision related to New York’s engineering community including infrastructure, development, and the business of design.

Matthew J. Driscoll was appointed the 12th Commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) on July 2, 2015. Commissioner Driscoll leads a department of 8,300 employees with an annual capital program of $4.4 billion.

With the understanding that a sound transportation system is essential to economic vitality, Governor Cuomo has appointed Commissioner Driscoll to serve on two critical statewide committees. The Financial Restructuring Board for Local Governments delivers targeted restructuring strategies and long-term solutions to assist New York municipalities under fiscal stress and the Governor’s Strategic Implementation Assessment Team (SIAT) reviews the job creation and economic development efforts of the state’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC). Prior to his tenure with NYSDOT, Mr. Driscoll served from 2010-2015 as President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC). From 2001 through 2009, Mr. Driscoll served as the 52nd Mayor of the City of Syracuse. Elected to two terms, Mr. Driscoll’s tenure in office was distinguished by his environmental and sustainability initiatives.

Engineer of the Year: Joseph Amato, PE, Senior Partner | Cameron Engineering & Associates, LLP
The Engineer of the Year Award is given to an active or retired member of ACEC New York who has made significant contributions to the consulting engineering profession, the council and to his or her community.

Joseph Amato has been an extremely active member of ACEC New York since 1996. He’s served as the Legislative Committee Chairman, OGS Committee Chairman, member of the Board of Directors, and was an Executive Committee member. He also served as the ACEC New York Chairman & National Director, and he is a life member of the newly formed Council of Chairs; he remains an active member of ACEC New York Long Island Region, where he served as Chairman and has, for over 20 years, been a member of the Board of Directors. His professional commitment extends to active membership with AIA New York, AIA LI, NYSPE, ASHRAE, NFPA, USGBC Accredited Professional, New York Building Congress Foundation - Board of Governors; he is also a licensed professional engineer in 12 States. As Senior Partner of Cameron Engineering, the firm has grown under his management and expertise into one of Long Island’s premier engineering and planning firms, having received numerous local, state, and national awards, as well as USGBC LEED project certifications for many of its projects. In the role as Chief Operating Officer of the Firm’s New York City affiliate, located in Midtown Manhattan, the firm has grown over 250% since its acquisition of a smaller firm in 2012.

New Principal of the Year: Sissy Nikolaou, PhD, PE, | WSP USA
The New Principal of the Year Award is given to an ACEC New York member who has been a principal less than five years and who has made significant contributions in the form of ideas and service to the consulting engineering community.

Dr. Nikolaou, Principal of WSP USA with 20+ years of engineering experience, oversees the firm’s geotechnical earthquake engineering practice and leads the multi-hazard resilience initiative of the Geotechnical & Tunneling Technical Excellence Center. She is driven to find innovative solutions to protect populations and help them emerge stronger from natural disasters. Her structural and geotechnical engineering expertise focuses on performance-based design, soil-structure interaction and risk assessment using GIS.  Her education includes degrees from NTUA, Greece (Diploma) and the University at Buffalo (MSc/PhD). Her consulting experience involves numerous NY infrastructure and building projects, high-rise structures in Mexico, and helping areas like Kobe, Christchurch, and recently Ecuador recover from major earthquakes. She is evaluating seismic risk of critical federal dams and consulting on California High Speed Rail, NY’s 2nd Ave Subway, and other projects. She is president of the NY-Northeast EERI Chapter and has Board positions in ACEC New York, EERI, and ATC. She is serving on the advisory board for the Dean Folks of the Engineering School of UB. She has been volunteering with ACEC New York’s scholarship program since 1999, as well as other mentoring activities in an effort to pay forward the mentoring she has gratefully received. # # #

ACEC New York is a proactive coalition of 280 firms representing every discipline of engineering related to the built environment—civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, environmental, geotechnical—and affiliated companies. Our shared goals are to further the business interests of our membership, enhance the quality and safety of the environment we live and work in, and help ensure the vitality of our communities. For more information, visit

A pdf of this release is available to download.

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