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Six DDC Employees Named Recipients of Inaugural “NYC[x] Tech & Innovation Awards”

DDC: Ian Michaels, 646-939-6514,

(Long Island City, NY - July 22, 2021) Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that six DDC employees have been selected to receive a “NYC[x] Tech & Innovation Award,” given by the Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer for “forward-thinking officials & groundbreaking innovations in City government.” The inaugural awards were presented this month at a virtual awards ceremony.

“Whether we’re enabling our staff to work more effectively from the field or creating an online portal for the site safety plans that keep New Yorkers safe, DDC is at the forefront of innovating to make City government more efficient and more nimble,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer. “The modernization of our systems and programs is one of the pillars our Strategic Blueprint builds on to improve the City’s capital project delivery process and we’re very proud of our staff and the goals they achieved to deserve these awards.”

Lea Mapp, DDC’s Deputy Chief Diversity & Industry Relations Officer, was declared a winner of the Service Award for established career officials in the Career Award category, given to “officials who consistently find novel ways to leverage digital-era tech and/or adopt innovative approaches for their work.”

Mark Bauer, Engineer-in-Charge, and Robert Lumelino, Acting Engineer-in-Charge, received Honorable Mentions for the Service Award. Giwoo Kim, Design Engineer, received an Honorable Mention for the Impact Award, a Career Award given to early career officials.

In the DDC’s Law Division, David Varoli, General Counsel, and Kathy Tuznik, Associate General Counsel, were part of a team along with NYC Emergency Management, the NYC Law Department and the NYC Office of Management and Budget that received Honorable Mention for the Visionary Initiative Award, “for work that relies on forward-thinking and/or far-reaching ideas for tech-related and/or innovative program.”

“Congratulations to the truly amazing honorees of the inaugural NYC[x] Tech & Innovation Awards. They have applied technology in new and impactful ways to improve life here in the Big Apple,” said John Paul Farmer, Chief Technology Officer of the City of New York. “Collectively, the honorees are exemplars of what public service can and should be. These people and projects show the vision, ingenuity, and grit that put New York City public servants in the very top tier — not just in the United States, but around the world.”

Following a 2018 study of racial and gender disparities in DDC contracting, Lea Mapp led a team that identified a disproportionate underutilization of Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses in comparison to other Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The team then developed a process to disaggregate M/WBE participation goals, improving DDC’s awarding of contracts to those businesses. The method has since been adopted by the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs and implemented at other agencies citywide.

Historic Staten Island Precinct

An M/WBE contractor completed DDC’s exterior renovation of the historic 120th Precinct in Staten Island

Mapp is also helping to manage DDC’s new Mentoring Program in its Business Development Unit, in which participating M/WBE firms will be paired with experienced construction management firms to learn the industry side-by-side in the field under real-life conditions. The program focuses on outreach, technical assistance, business growth and advocacy, with an emphasis on improving participating firms’ competitive advantage and capacity to successfully compete for future construction contracts.

In her six years of working with the DDC, Mapp has always sought to be innovative with her work. “My knowledge of the M/WBE program helps me to distinguish the areas that are set in stone from the opportunities for flexibility,” said Mapp, “Once an opportunity or impediment to M/WBE utilization/engagement is identified, I work with the team to establish solutions that do not explicitly conflict with any rules or policies.”

For the DDC engineers, optimizing the agency’s limited resources was crucial while adapting to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With in-house design projects continuing through the pandemic, Mark Bauer worked closely with his team to acquire vital technology necessary to continue working on projects remotely. From attaining editing software to optimizing available personal monitors at home, Bauer was able to develop solutions to various tasks, such as crafting Schematic Geometric Design submissions to the NYC Department of Transportation for reconstruction projects.

Bauer began at DDC in 2014 and has been an Engineer-in-Charge for two years. “I was only in my current role for four months prior to the start of the pandemic and the beginning of remote working, so I did not have much experience with certain tasks. Luckily, more experienced engineers in my unit, namely directors Tom Leung and Mario Valenti, were always willing to help and offer their knowledge,” said Bauer.

Acting Engineer-in-Charge Robert Lumelino

Leveraging innovative technology-driven solutions was also highlighted this past year in Robert Lumelino’s work with implementing spiral wound liners to rehabilitate a large interceptor sewer in the Financial District. Rehabilitating the full-flowing concrete inceptor with traditional solutions was considered costly due to the massive pumps and large staging area necessary. Instead, Lumelino, who has been with the DDC for six years, worked with his team to curtail fluming requirements and eliminate costly multi-phased pumping.

“It is absolutely significant and one of the core values of in-house design to find new and innovative solution. It is one of our Design department’s foremost goals to mitigate impacts to the community during construction. As such, our team continues to evaluate new trenchless technologies to minimize interruptions to traffic flow and to reduce construction durations during water main and sewer installations,” said Lumelino.

Recognized as an early career official, Giwoo Kim has been a civil engineer intern for nearly four years within the DDC’s Infrastructure Division’s In-House Design team. In this team “engineers are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to contribute and experience new and different facets of managing and designing a capital infrastructural project – all whilst still benefiting the overall product,” said Kim.

“Every aspect of my work, as far as how I have been trained and mentored, has been to emphasize the incorporation of user-centered design solutions. User-centered design solutions has quite frankly been the essence of the in-house Design team's culture and ingrained within our operations.”

Nominees for the “NYC[x] Tech & Innovation Awards” were evaluated based on various criteria linked to innovation including novelty of new and original thinking, impact that yields outcomes beyond expectations, replicability by showcasing change that can be implemented by others and user centricity based on user research and user-centered design solutions. The six DDC staff members were selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees consisting of more than 150 submissions from 20 agencies across New York City government.


About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit