About the Chairman's Award

Michael Baker International’s Chairman’s Award, our Company’s highest honor, was established in 2018 to recognize employees who exemplify our Wolf Pack philosophy—that we are stronger together—and who have made exemplary contributions to our Company.

Each of the winners is a stellar member of our Wolf Pack and an example of what we mean when we talk about Michael Baker’s standard of excellence. Congratulations to this year's winners!

Michael Baker Jr

2021 Winners

Steve  Gravlin, P.E., P.S.
Award Blue Ribbon

Steve Gravlin, P.E., P.S.

Office Executive - Detroit
Detroit, MI

​​​​Steve joined our company in 2017 as the first Michael Baker employee in Michigan. Since then, he has successfully built our business in the state and has grown the office to 30 employees. Steve used his professional network as well as the broader Michael Baker network to demonstrate our expertise to find work and establish the company with clients, particularly the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). He also leveraged his role as president of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)-Michigan to represent Michael Baker with public sector clients and consultants to build client and teaming relationships. This strategy enabled him to sell our expertise, make new connections and secure work that allowed him to grow the office in just a few years. Steve empowers his team to take ownership of their work and demonstrate accountability in order to deepen client relationships and grow professionally. He is committed to establishing an office culture that promotes an exceptional employee experience, investing time in getting to know his team and encouraging them to voice their opinions and ideas.

Steve successfully partnered with other Michael Baker offices to develop workshare arrangements that enabled him to establish his team and deliver projects in Michigan. He used his keen eye for talent to identify leaders within his growing organization to help manage projects and staffing. He also embraced implementation of the Michael Baker Way standards within his growing organization to manage projects proactively and successfully.

He was the principal on the I-69 Design-Build project win, in which he initiated the project, led the teaming and commitment discussions with the contractor, and identified the Michael Baker supporting staff for the pursuit. Steve played a vital role in securing other significant projects as well, including the MDOT I-94 Conrail Bridges Replacement, the M-14 Corridor Reconstruction and the I-696 3D Bridge Design Contract.

Steve lives out our Wolf Pack Philosophy through his focus on building a culture of collaboration and delivering quality work. He empowers his local leaders to work closely with him and engage with their colleagues. Steve is quick to give credit where credit is due and always acknowledges his team for their contributions and skills while also encouraging them to step up and lead.

As Steve’s office grows, he keeps his sights set on the future and his team focused on delivering quality work and exceptional client service.

Flexibility has been Steve’s key to thriving during the pandemic. He has embraced a flexible work culture and promoted over-communication to keep his team motivated. He fosters connection among members of our Wolf Pack and maintains a positive attitude. Paired with Steve’s humorous, humble nature, his success is unsurprising.

Steve represents the positive side of taking risks for growth, and his office-building success can serve as a blueprint for others.

Dale Gray
Award Blue Ribbon

Dale Gray

Office Executive - Federal/Alexandria
Alexandria, VA

Dale is renowned countrywide as “the” Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) person. He successfully drives one of the company’s major growth engines and is strategically expanding it into other Michael Baker practices. He has won every company strategic must-win contract, including Community Engagement and Risk Communication (CERC); Production and Technical Services (PTS); Hazard Mitigation Technical Assistance Program (HMTAP); and MT-1. He reestablished our position with PTS over a two-year period by forming a Joint Venture called Advancing Resilience in Communities (ARC) with Michael Baker, Wood, Freese & Nicol, TetraTech and Quantum Spatial/NV5 Geospatial. He also committed to pursuing state and local projects and made it a priority for Michael Baker to be a player in response and recovery opportunities. His leadership of the FEMA program has led to significant contract wins and the growth of our national Call Centers. He also has forged strong relationships with partners, positioning us well to pursue new work.

Dale is a trusted advisor who has grown a team of leaders, and client satisfaction scores under his leadership have been historically high. ​​​​​​​Dale leads an incredibly loyal and engaged team because he is a loyal and engaged leader. He excels at bringing in talented people as well as promoting and developing talent from within our company.

Dale lives out our Wolf Pack Philosophy through his integrity and humility, often introducing himself as the “latest steward” of his clients’ important work. He shares a significant portion of his work with Michael Baker teams in GIS, Water, Planning and Environmental, exemplifying how collaboration and workshare make us stronger together. CERC, for example, includes more than 100 employees across 24 Michael Baker offices, including 20 partners that support FEMA across 10 regions of the country. PTS will likely be just as large as CERC and will touch another handful of Michael Baker offices, expanding the impact of Dale’s workshare and growth to nearly 30 offices.

Dale is actively involved in the business community through organizations such as the Association of State Floodplain Management and its charitable foundation. He is diligent about creating opportunities for other members of the Michael Baker team – including up-and-coming leaders – to earn seats on boards so they can continue to Make a Difference and achieve even greater success.

During the pandemic, he worked with FEMA leaders to transition Michael Baker’s Call Center team from an older technology platform to a more advanced system that allows them to work remotely, providing greater safety and flexibility for our Wolf Pack. This was important to our retention efforts and enabled Dale to meet the needs of a diverse workforce that included recent college graduates to retirees who have come back to work for us as a second career.

Dale personifies workshare in action and he continues to expand the scope of that distribution to other offices and colleagues in GIS, Water, Planning and Environment.

Aaron  Stover, P.E., S.E.
Award Blue Ribbon

Aaron Stover, P.E., S.E.

Regional Practice Lead, Bridge Great Lakes Region
Louisville, KY

Aaron is known for his Bridge technical expertise and constant problem-solving on behalf of Michael Baker clients. Since stepping into the role of Regional Practice Lead in March 2020, he has leveraged his skills in support of clients throughout the region and played a major role on two emergency repair projects: the Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Hernando de Soto Bridge in Memphis, Tennessee.

Aaron worked closely with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) as the senior technical advisor for the team to address the impact that resulted from a collision and fire on the Brent Spence Bridge. Aaron initiated a rapid response with his team of 35 Michael Baker colleagues across six offices. He was instrumental in getting this critical project underway quickly and effectively, with safety at the forefront, and was involved in key aspects of the construction. The project was named the “2020 Public Works Project of the Year” by the American Public Works Association, and Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave Aaron and his team high praise for “turning a crisis into an accomplishment.”

Aaron worked with the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ArDOT) and the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for the Hernando de Soto Bridge repair. When a critical fracture was discovered, Aaron assembled the Michael Baker team in a matter of hours. Aaron served as the interface with lead contractor Kiewit and the Federal Highway Administration. He also led the Michael Baker design team, which consisted of more than 30 colleagues – from the 60 employees in total across 20 offices who were involved on the project – who designed a three-phase repair while under intense pressure from the public and local officials to move as quickly as possible due to the vital access the bridge provided for the community.

Under Aaron’s leadership, the Brent Spence Bridge was able to safely reopen in just 42 days and the Hernando de Soto Bridge repairs were completed in 83 days after the fracture was discovered.

Aaron is a connector. He works across the Bridge practice and the company to connect employees to the projects where they can make the largest contributions. Aaron’s engaged leadership style empowers his colleagues. He mentors others and champions new professional development opportunities within the Bridge practice.

Aaron is an advocate for building the firm’s internal technical competencies and is involved with piloting the Technical Manager program. His willingness to embrace technology and to invest his time to learn “what’s next” is part of what keeps Michael Baker in the top five ENR Bridge firms.

Aaron has managed large projects in Kentucky throughout his career, engaging talent both locally and from across the company to support them. He works across office and regional boundaries to contribute to Design-Build and bridge work. Aaron has embraced his role as Great Lakes Regional Practice Lead to support continued growth in Michigan.

​​​​​​​Aaron’s work on emergency repair projects during the pandemic truly made a difference for our company, clients and communities. He went above and beyond by working extreme hours and traveling when needed. Aaron went out of his way to build connections and set the tone for the team to deliver work that met the highest thresholds for quality.

Clients view Aaron as Michael Baker’s ambassador for the Bridge practice in the Great Lakes Region. He is held in the highest regard because of his knowledge, high standards and focus on excellence.

2020 Winners

Joe Chaffin, AIA
Award Blue Ribbon

Joe Chaffin, AIA

Practice Executive, Architecture - Pittsburgh/Federal
Pittsburgh, PA

Joe oversees all services performed by Pittsburgh’s Architecture practice and has a reputation for being highly engaged with our clients. He excels at supporting our Federal work and manages a team tasked with the challenge of building Michael Baker’s architecture presence in Pittsburgh. Joe has helped to secure, manage and successfully deliver a number of significant projects over the last two years, including the Bahraini Air Force F-16V Program at the ISA Air Base in Bahrain and the unprecedented winning of four Hurricane Florence Recovery Program Design-Build projects. Joe was also Project Manager for the award-winning Navy Gateway Inn & Suites project at Naval Station Newport, Rhode Island, which earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

Joe is well regarded by contractors and Federal clients because he delivers. He makes commitments to clients and fulfills them with consistent quality.

Joe is a leader focused on empowering his people. He works with an array of architects, interior designers, building engineers and specialists who respect him for his integrity and professionalism. He connects with his team on many levels and inspires them to deliver quality work.

Joe works with the whole business in mind. He is in tune with his operation and knows his pursuits, opportunities and where to appropriately engage. The Architecture group manages many fixed-price jobs, and the success of this team and its ability to meet its goals are motivating to Joe’s staff.

Joe has been a major force in driving workshare from Pittsburgh, especially in the amount of Federal work he has shared across more than 20 Michael Baker offices. He also advocates for uniform tools to make work processes more streamlined and efficient, including additional cloud-based technology.

Throughout the pandemic, Joe has made a difference for his team by focusing on connection and engagement. He acknowledged the challenges of remote work and overcame them through regular communication and touchpoints that helped transfer the camaraderie of the office to a virtual environment.

Joe has the unique ability to connect with his team on many levels – artistic, practical and pragmatic – to inspire them to consistently deliver quality work.

Lydia Grose
Award Blue Ribbon

Lydia Grose

Office Executive - Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA

Lydia is driving growth in the Philadelphia office by engaging clients, fostering relationships, selling Michael Baker’s broader expertise and empowering her team. She invests time in nurturing her client relationships so they are grounded in confidence and trust – a trait has become her hallmark and one of her greatest assets. Since joining Michael Baker, Lydia has strengthened relationships with her clients and associates through regular meetings and active involvement in industry organizations.

Lydia’s “Be Bold” approach to managing her people goes beyond the borders of her office. She spearheaded a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiative that gained the support of executive leadership and amplified it as part of a companywide campaign. Prior to the pandemic, Lydia renovated and expanded the Philadelphia office so it better aligned with her collaborative leadership style, with space for employees to come together to innovate and share ideas and information.

Lydia is a resourceful manager who runs her office efficiently to achieve growth. She understands what is needed to win a pursuit and is well positioned to contribute. Most recently, she assisted our Hamilton office in growing the Rail and Transit practice in the region and has played a key role in securing some of the largest projects in the history of the Philadelphia office with clients such as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and Amtrak.

On top of the strong revenue growth achieved year-to-date, the office is positioned for continued growth in the coming years with additional work as a result of a company strategic win with the City of Philadelphia Belmont Avenue Bridge Rehabilitation project and the Delaware River Port Authority General Engineering Contract (GEC), where Michael Baker was selected for five separate GECs.

​​​Lydia is collaborative and recognized as a professional who knows her industry. Her ever-growing list of industry contacts reflects how she is perceived as an industry expert and a trusted professional and colleague. 

She continually builds relationships with members of the Wolf Pack in support of current work and new project pursuits and believes that her team and our company are stronger when they work together. In support of the Rail and Transit practice, she works with offices throughout the Northeast Region to secure and grow projects and was instrumental in securing contract wins, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) IDIQ AE Design Services project and the Walter Rand Transportation Center project. Lydia also has planners that currently support the FEMA CERT Contract and her team will be supporting a new contract that the team won, as well.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Lydia is a talented people manager who is passionate about her team. Throughout the pandemic, she has focused on leading them with safety at the forefront and an emphasis on strategy and teamwork. A caring and approachable leader, she has placed a priority on connecting with them and has held monthly virtual team meetings in which employees in Allentown, Fort Washington and Philadelphia could connect to discuss employee engagement, financial performance and client portfolios. Lydia also has organized weekly virtual events – including trivia, cooking demonstrations and more – to help her team and their families stay connected during a time of uncertainty.

Under Lydia’s leadership, the Philadelphia office received the distinct honor of being named the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS) 2021 Employer of the Year.

Lydia is collaborative and recognized as a professional who knows her industry, which is the result of years of experience serving SEPTA and the members of the community.

Randy  Nelson, P.E., PMP
Award Blue Ribbon

Randy Nelson, P.E., PMP

Director, Architectural Engineering - Salt Lake City/Federal
Salt Lake City, UT

Randy is a leader who engages his colleagues so they understand our resourcing and capabilities to win, lead and execute work. He accomplishes this through one-on-one meetings when possible and is transparent in communicating his vision and direction. He strategically retains existing talent and brings in new talent to effectively manage his department’s growth. Randy was an early adopter of the Resourcing Tool and uses it to manage growth and improve operations. He aims to continue leveraging his team’s leadership to grow Michael Baker’s Federal skill set and capacity.

​​​​​​​Randy’s exceptional operational skills and willingness to jump in and embrace challenges enabled him to triple the size of the Federal AE team, which has grown from 16 employees to 50 since 2019. To build out his operations, he looked at his team holistically by examining its structure and identified areas where additional senior leadership and management, production and mid-level expertise were needed to create a more well-rounded, diverse group.  He also manages workload and resource management within the office and among multiple Federal Centers of Excellence (FCOE). 

Randy is focused on putting the right people on the right projects and driving collaboration. He puts our Wolf Pack Philosophy into practice daily through the strategies he implements and the meetings he leads to support growth in other offices.

In the fourth quarter of 2019, Randy initiated a multi-office growth strategy that launched with the expansion of the Salt Lake City Federal team into the Denver office. Randy is currently expanding this strategy into Phoenix and California, where he is onboarding AE Federal engineers who will report through Salt Lake but be stationed in Phoenix, Temecula, Los Angeles and Santa Ana. In this way, he can focus on growth and provide career-enriching opportunities for his team.

Throughout the pandemic, Randy identified, hired and onboarded seven new hires in 2020 and 2021. He held team meetings and initiated breakout sessions to better connect his rapidly growing team with new hires so they could better understand their roles with the company.

He made sure that both new and existing employees understood the entire project the team was delivering, not just their individual roles. Randy is also a staunch advocate of mentoring and participates in Michael Baker’s mentoring program.

Randy orchestrated virtual client meetings with his contacts at Hill Airforce Base and HHI Construction to maintain engagement and trust during remote work periods. He added remote site visits and worked with his team to ensure they were delivering and engaging our clients throughout the pandemic.

Randy is the strategist behind the Salt Lake City and Denver Architecture team’s year-over-year growth trajectory, which can be attributed to his exceptional operational skills and willingness to jump in and embrace the multiple challenges involved in growing a group quickly, transparently, collaboratively and strategically.