Great Ideas Garner 2022 Innovation Awards

February 27, 2023

Each year, CEC presents a trophy and cash award to individuals or groups of individuals who turn their innovative ideas into measurable value for CEC and our clients. The individual or group receives a trophy and a $5,000 cash prize.

The award was developed with two equally important objectives in mind:

  • Identify and recognize excellence in developing new or enhanced services or new approaches that improve efficiencies and effectiveness of our services (external and internal)
  • Invest in knowledge sharing of those innovations

This year, 14 nominations were received, screened, and scored by the Selection Committee consisting of the Chief Technical Officer, Strategic Development Officer, and Chief Operating Officer, as well as a representative from the Innovation Work Group for CEC’s Strategic Plan.

The screening and scoring process considers external and internal clients served, system efficiencies, and service offerings. Four winning innovations were selected. Congratulations to them all!

Those honored during CEC’s Annual Planning Meeting for their “thinking-outside-the box” ideas are detailed below.


Kyle Filicky and Emily Kins

Plant of the Week and Threatened Thursdays

  • Kyle Filicky (Ecological, Pittsburgh) and Emily Kins (Marketing, Pittsburgh)​
  • Innovation includes a templated format to allow subscribers, mostly ecological practice group members, to increase their knowledge about plants for identification in the field and more easily recognize threatened species through visual and short narrative information. This information could also be easily shared with clients and other interested parties.​
  • This innovation also has the potential as an effective delivery method for other practice groups to deliver educational information to their group.​


Shawn French

Mooring Cell Fish Habitat Mitigation Structure

  • Shawn French (Ecological, Pittsburgh)​
  • Nucor Apple Grove project impacted fish habitat due to mooring cell construction. Mitigation was required.  The integration of the fish habitat mitigation structure (approved by the Army Corps of Engineers) with the mooring cells reduced the permitting time and cost for providing the needed mitigation.


Tim Neuhus

Crayfish Suction Pump

  • Tim Nehus and Will Methvin (Ecological, Nashville)​
  • The Hatchie Burrowing Crayfish is classified as an endangered species in Tennessee. Water Quality permits required for TDOT projects (largest Nashville office client), as well as other clients, require an assessment for the absence or presence of this species.​
  • The species can burrow as deep as 6 feet, requiring extensive field time and effort to assess for the absence/presence. This innovation provided a safer and more efficient process to check for the presence of the Hatchie Burrowing Crayfish.  


Rick Celender, Bryan Hazelwood, and Chris Langley

GIS Tracking Program – Orphan Wells

  • Chris Langley, Sara Lavin (GIS, Pittsburgh)​, Bryan Hazelwood, Logan Burdwood (Survey, Pittsburgh)​, and Rick Celender (Civil, Pittsburgh)​
  • A real-time GIS database was developed that integrated the locations (1,000s) obtained by drone of orphan oil & gas wells, property ownership for site access, as well as inventory and schedule for site visits. This tracking program provided project scheduling efficiencies to the ODNR and has applications in other states that have orphan oil & gas wells.

About the Author

CEC Staff

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. (CEC) provides comprehensive market-oriented consulting services to advance client strategic business objectives. CEC is recognized for delivering innovative design solutions and integrated expertise in air quality, civil engineering, ecological sciences, environmental engineering and sciences, manufacturing infrastructure services, survey/geospatial, waste management, and water resources.

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