MFESTS Awardees for 2022 and 2023 Honored at Award Ceremony on September 16th 2023

MFESTS held an Awards Ceremony to honor winners of the MFESTS awards for the years 2022 and 2023 at a dinner on September 26th 2023. Congratulations to all the award recipients. MFESTS has been giving awards continuously since at least 1973 (see list of awardees over the years).

Images for this award ceremony, which was led by MFESTS President Theo Black are available at our gallery at Photo Gallery – 2022/23 (


MFESTS Distinguished Engineers

Distinguished Engineer – William Arnold (ASCE)

Dr. Arnold is recognized for his research on the presence, transformation, and remediation of pollutants in natural and engineered aquatic systems. His work has improved methods of groundwater monitoring and remediation and demonstrated the importance of photolysis in contaminant degradation in surface waters. His work on the presence of antimicrobial triclosan in the environment led to Minnesota becoming the first state to ban the use of these compounds in consumer products. He co-authored a Water Chemistry textbook that is used at dozens of universities in the US and abroad. He has served on numerous advisory boards, and he was elected to the board of directors or two organizations, ultimately service as president of the Minnesota Section of ASCE and as the president of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors (AEESP).

Distinguished Engineer – Steve Gompertz (ASQ)

Mr. Gompertz is recognized for outstanding leadership in, contributions to, and dedication to advancing the knowledge of Quality Engineers, Quality professionals, and others employed in the medical technology industry over 3 decades through development of innovative training materials and programs, presenting to peers at industry and professional organization events, development of a unique master’s degree program, and maintaining a presence in professional media platforms. These efforts have impacted hundreds, if not thousands of students, attendees, and followers to the point where it is not uncommon to find his influence in the quality and regulatory practices implemented at numerous companies where Mr. Gompertz hasn’t been directly involved.

MFESTS Distinguished Science and Technology Professional

Distinguished Science and Technology Professional – Jim Nelson (ASQ)

Jim Nelson made significant contributions over his 28 plus year career as an engineer, project manager, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Manager/Director and Leader in profit and non-profit organizations. He is a Navy veteran working with his local church in supporting veterans. Jim has been a Lead Auditor promoting successful adoption of several international standards in several companies. Jim is the owner of two patents on heating control systems.

MFESTS/ASCE Young Engineer of the Year

MFESTS Young Engineer of the Year 2023 – Boya Xiong (ASCE)

Dr. Xiong has pioneered three research areas that are well-recognized within environmental engineering, including (1) emerging chemical pollution in water systems; (2) membrane technology; and (3) sustainable drinking water purification. The work has significantly expanded our current understanding in chemical pollution and how to mitigate the pollution in energy sector and beyond, with a focus on polymer and plastic pollutants that have penetrated human and natural environment. In these areas of research, she has published 20 peer review publications in high impact journals such as Nature, some of which are awarded at international conferences such as the Gordon Research Conference and are highlighted in local and national media. Dr. Xiong has been a critical member of three Societies, by organizing technical sessions of annual conferences and giving invited talk on her research. As an award-winning mentor, Dr. Xiong is dedicated to student development and mentoring at Society and university level. Lastly, Dr. Xiong has designed and led educational outreach events to inspire K12 students from underrepresented groups to pursue advanced degree in STEM.

MFESTS/MGS Young Engineer of the Year

MFESTS Young Engineer of the Year 2023 – Chris DeDene (MGS)

Chris DeDene manages the City of Minneapolis Engineering laboratory, where he and his staff of 10 are responsible for ensuring the quality of all construction materials placed in the Cities right-of-way. Chris has implemented tabled computers, cloud-based solutions for both employee scheduling and data management, lowered construction project risk using construction vibration monitoring, and furthered environmental sustainability by using computerized soil infiltrometers to calculate soil infiltration rates for sizing and selecting of green infrastructure. All these technological advancements were implemented in his place of work to modernize his government agency. The City’s engineering laboratory is the last public municipal laboratory in Minnesota, outside of MnDOT, and the reason for that is because they stay current and leverage technology to stay competitive with their private sector counterparts, while continuing to provide value to the taxpayers.

The Minnesota Geotechnical Society-A Geo-Institute Chapter (MGS-GI) proudly nominated Chris DeDene, PhD, PE, to receive the young engineer of the year award on the behalf of the Minnesota Federation of Engineering, Science and Technology Societies. Chris is currently a board member of the local Minnesota chapter of the society, and his contributions both professionally, and organizationally, make him most deserving of this nomination. Under Chris’s leadership on the MGS officer board, the organization has grown membership and was recognized nationally with a Chapter Achievement Award by the national parent organization (American Society of Civil Engineers Geo-Institute, ASCE GI) for our local chapter’s growth, accomplishments, and achievements this year. The Chapter Achievement Award is one of the two awards GI presents to high achieving Chapters and is meant to highlight newer and smaller Chapters who do great things but might not have the same resources as the larger, older Chapters.


MFESTS Distinguished Engineers

Distinguished Engineer – Dave Martini (MnSPE)

Distinguished Engineer – Gary Davis (ASCE)

MFESTS Distinguished Science and Technology Professional

Distinguished Science and Technology Professional – Tim Peterson (ASQ)

MFESTS Young Engineer of the Year

MFESTS Young Engineer of the Year 2022 – Raphael Stern (ASCE)

Congratulations to all honored awardees!!!

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