Dagher Intern is ASHRAE Scholarship Winner

Dagher Engineering intern Sandra Ruttkayova was awarded a scholarship at an ASHRAE Long Island Chapter event on Wednesday night. Sandra is a third year Mechanical Engineering student pursuing her Bachelor of Engineering at Stony Brook University in Long Island where she is also secretary of the ASHRAE student chapter and a volunteer Firefighter. She is interning at DE this summer as she gets her feet wet with a team of Plumbing and Fire Protection engineers.

“The scholarship will go a long way in covering my travel expenses to the city for this internship,” says Sandra. “Even though I have only been here at DE for about 2 weeks I have already learned a great deal. Looking ahead, I’m excited to see just how far I can advance my skill set by the end of the summer. Everyone here is really patient in helping me learn.”

Dagher is proud to support ambitious engineers of the future, like Sandra, by providing opportunities to acquire education and experience. Scholarships from organizations such as ASHRAE are crucial in turning these opportunities into realities.

Dagher Engineering’s Josephine Zurica Named ACEC New York New Principal of the Year

New York, NY, June 9, 2016 –Dagher Engineering Principal Josephine Zurica, 36, has been named the 2016 American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York) New Principal of the Year for her significant contributions in the form of ideas and service to the consulting engineering community. Zurica is the first building systems engineer—and only the second woman—to receive this honor, granted since 2001 to an ACEC New York member who has been a principal for less than five years. The award ceremony was held during the Council’s statewide annual meeting, June 8, at the Union League Club.

A registered Professional Engineer with degrees in Mechanical Engineering (B.S., Manhattan College) and Environmental Engineering (M.S., Michigan Technological University), a LEED accredited professional and a Certified Passive House Consultant, Zurica joined Dagher in 2007 straight from a tour of duty with the Peace Corps in Panama. She rose rapidly in the firm, achieving the position of Principal in 2013, at the age of 34, and is currently involved in all aspects of running the 30-person engineering firm.

Josephine Zurica - Portrait

“Josephine exemplifies the traits of an outstanding engineer, manager and active community leader. She is one of our firm’s most valuable and inspirational members, and we’re delighted that she has been recognized by ACEC New York with this honor,” says Elias Dagher, senior principal and founder of Dagher Engineering.

Consistent with Dagher’s commitment to sustainable design, Zurica’s achievements include steering the LEED certification and commissioning process for more than 15 buildings throughout New York City and the Northeast, acting as principal engineer on the design of a geothermal system that services 14 buildings on Princeton University’s campus, and providing critical leadership in the engineering design effort of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) study on the feasibility of implementing Passive House standards on tall residential buildings in New York.

Her building systems design work on national and international projects has received highest honors for Engineering Excellence from ACEC New York, including A Blueprint for Passive Design for Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, an educational facility in Nairobi, Kenya; and Beyond LEED to Net-Zero Buildings for the Housatonic River Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Demonstrating her dedication to improving the world through engineering and sustainable design, Zurica is a member of Engineers Without Borders and has served as a mentor for high school students in the ACE Mentor Program of Greater New York.  She is very active on ACEC New York’s Metro Region Energy Code Committee, and is at the forefront in supporting the City of New York’s implementation for the new energy code and achieving the City’s goal of 80 percent carbon reduction by 2050.

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Founded in 2000, Dagher Engineering, PLLC (www.dagherengineering.com) provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing-fire-protection design and consulting services to developers, building owners and managers, architects, and contractors both in the United States and internationally. The firm’s mission is to complement the architecture of buildings and enhance the wellbeing of their occupants by designing systems that are economical and maintainable while providing maximal comfort and minimizing the impact on the environment and natural resources.


Joseph Munafo Named Associate Principal

Dagher Engineering announces the promotion of Joseph Munafo, LEED GA, to Associate Principal. Marking 10 years with the building systems design firm, Joe joins principals Elias Dagher, Richard Pearson and Josephine Zurica on its leadership team. A native New Yorker, he earned a degree in Aerospace Engineering from Polytechnic University (now NYU Tandon School of Engineering) before entering the building systems field, initially as a plumbing and fire protection specialist.

Candid-040 JM“Joe joined us as a design engineer a decade ago and quickly became an invaluable project manager, with his natural affinity towards clients and a shared standard of sustainability,” recalls Senior Principal Elias Dagher. “To each project, he lends technical proficiency in all categories of building systems, pragmatism, and a remarkable ability to interpret the most obscure building codes.”

Since joining Dagher in 2005, Joe has designed systems for a wide range of projects in the New York metropolitan area, including parks, academic buildings, healthcare facilities, residential buildings, commercial office buildings and retail space. As a project manager, he has spearheaded numerous high profile projects: renovation of New York City schools, development of new park lands for Hudson Park and Boulevard in Manhattan, and the redevelopment of Governor’s Island. His recent project, 35XV, a new luxury residential tower that sits atop Xavier High School, received a 2016 Platinum Award for engineering excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC NY).

Active in policy improvement and collaboration initiatives for the A/E/C industry, Joe has served a combined 12 years on ACEC NY’s Plumbing Codes, Fire Codes, and the New York City School Construction Authority committees. He is also Vice President of the American Society of Sanitary Engineering’s New York Chapter.

“I look forward to making a greater impact on the firm, and the industry, in my new role. Dagher’s values, progressive thinking and open lines of communication shape our work and strengthen our relationship with clients and colleagues,” says Joe.


Founded in 2000, Dagher Engineering provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing-fire-protection design and consulting services to developers, building owners and managers, architects, and contractors both in the United States and internationally. The firm’s mission is to complement the architecture of buildings and enhance the wellbeing of their occupants by designing systems that are economical and maintainable while providing maximal comfort and minimizing the impact on the environment and natural resources. For more information, visit www.dagherengineering.com.


Dagher Engineering Wins ACEC New York Platinum Award for Engineering Excellence


35XV’s pyramidal shape conforms to maximum space permitted by zoning. (Rendering courtesy of FXFOWLE)


The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of New York has announced the winners for the 2016 Engineering Excellence Awards. Projects selected for either Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond Awards have been judged against a rigorous set of criteria, which includes complexity, innovation, and value to society.

Dagher Engineering PLLC is pleased to announce its acceptance of a 2016 ACEC New York Platinum Award for work on 35XV: Optimized Design for Mixed-Use in the category of Building/Technology Systems. The project will be presented at the 49th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala on March 19th this year.

Dagher worked with Alchemy Properties and FXFOWLE Architects through detailed coordination to handle all phases of Electro-Mechanical, Sanitary, and Life Safety systems (MEP/FP) for a unique mixed-use building in a densely populated Manhattan neighborhood. Through close coordination with all the members of the project team Dagher Engineering worked to optimize vertical space retaining air, light, and views for residents and neighbors, maximize floor area, and preserve energy through mixed-use development. Confined, or rather inspired, by the boundaries of neighborhood zoning laws, Dagher conceived of standard MEP/FP systems that complement 35XV’s luxury features and varied envelope. A highly complex design process resulted in a unique landmark.

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Systems equipment offsets at every level allow expansive floor-to-ceiling heights.


In keeping with the firm’s culture for sustainability, Dagher provided LEED standard variable ventilation systems, energy recovery, and high-efficiency boilers, as part of the cost-effective and economical solutions for 35XV. Additionally, the success of the partnership between 35XV and Xavier High School is socially significant to small, cultural, or educational properties who are interested in becoming foundations to mixed-use buildings as well as to sustainable urbanization.

Dagher is honored to have worked with Alchemy and FXFOWLE on this landmark project and to receive recognition for its contributions to 35XV: Optimized Design for Mixed-Use.


Founded in 2000, Dagher Engineering provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing-fire-protection design and consulting services to developers, building owners and managers, architects, and contractors both in the United States and internationally. The firm’s mission is to complement the architecture of buildings and enhance the wellbeing of their occupants by designing systems that are economical and maintainable while providing maximal comfort and minimizing the impact on the environment and natural resources. For more information, visit www.dagherengineering.com.


Sky’s the Limit

2015.07.15 Janna Mizan_skys the limit workMy name is Janna Mizan short for Jannatulmawa Mizan. I just graduated from Aviation High school in Long Island City and finished a fifth year program there too. My main goal at Aviation High School was to earn my Airframe and Powerplant Technician license. I spent a year after graduating senior year going to school at JFK Airport and interned at JetBlue Engineering. Aviation High school gave me an opportunity to work with my hands and which allowed me to learn in a different way. I had a chance to work with planes and learn a lot of interesting facts about them like learning how they fly. I realized that the little things happening around me caught my attention such as automatic doors opening and closing and stop signs changing after a certain amount of time. I learned how to think beyond just what was in front of me which I was taught at the mechanically and technically based Aviation High School.

I have been accepted at Syracuse University to study Engineering, which means I will be packing my bags to move there in the of Fall 2015. I chose Syracuse University since it’s a great college and going there will give me the chance to find myself. I haven’t figured out which Engineering field I want to pursue. That’s why I have been interning with the School of Construction.

Engineering has always interest me because it’s more than just sitting behind a desk. I see Engineering to be creative, fascinating and interesting. I love doing math, science and working on problem solving. Engineering deals with finding solutions to problems people don’t even know exist, even if it makes the smallest difference.

I have done three other internships for the School of Construction and worked in different engineering firms. After interning for those firms I realized that structural, civil and electrical engineering aren’t for me. It seemed like the engineers at those firms spent most of their time behind the desk. This isn’t for me. I like to move around and work on something or at least work with my hands to design or make something. I am still trying to figure out where I belong.

I am now interning at Dagher Engineering and was placed here by the School of Construction. When I found out I was being placed near Wall Street, I was really excited for this experience. Unlike the other internships I have done, I was given a schedule for work to do for the whole day.  This allows me to stay busy with something and manage my time wisely. I have been working on marketing, reading about the works of New York City’s anatomy, researching different articles and figuring out how Adobe InDesign works.

I hope to gain more knowledge about Engineering, sustainability and the design field. I have the opportunity to figure out if I want to work in one of these fields in the future. Hopefully, this internship will allow me to have an open mind about different kinds of careers.

Author, Jannatulmawa Mizan, is a Design Intern at Dagher Engineering, PLLC where she is developing Adobe Creative Suite Presentation skills, knowledge of The New York City Building Codes and contributing to our Sustainability Department. Dagher Engineering is dedicated to continued higher education for all, providing internship opportunities to students.

How Green are New York’s Buildings? Metered New York Offers the Tools to Find Out

NEW YORK CITY – New Yorkers are a discerning ilk. We seek out grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, schools, cafes, boutiques, banks, gurus, and landlords that share our interests all because we can. These days, more and more of our interests tend to be aligned with sustainable goals as a greater number of consumers seek out organic, local, and free-range foods, or green dry-cleaners, or apartments that compost. For these reasons, many New Yorkers will be pleased to learn which property owners are walking the walk and not just talking the talk when it comes to how they consume energy and water.

New York Local Law 84, part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, mandates that New York City’s large properties, which account for half of the city’s square footage, submit quarterly reports of their energy and water use and greenhouse gas emission. This “benchmarking” process allows energy use to become measurable and manageable for building owners and tenants through the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Since Local Law 84 went into effect in 2009, office buildings and multifamily homes have shown continual decreases in median energy use.

Great! But, how can the public find this information? Until recently, benchmarking reports have been archived deep within the city government website as raw data. Non-profit Urban Green Council analyzed this data and assembled Metered New York, a user-friendly website that provides report cards for registered buildings that include their current energy performance ranked among similar types of buildings, as well as progress over time and general building information.

Let’s say I want to see if the Whole Foods Metered NY screenshotbuilding on Houston is as green as its kale? I enter its address “95 Houston Street” into the search bar and results suggest the registered building address. It tells me that the entire building (primarily a multifamily property) is in the 75th percentile for its property type, lists and defines energy use, water use, GHG emissions and projected energy savings. I can see how its energy use has progressed from 2012 to 2013. Then I can compare this building’s energy use to that of my own building.

The Metered New York website is neatly littered with helpful explanations, info-graphics, and featured properties. Urban Green Council’s Director of Policy Laurie Kerr presented the new website to several of the organization’s new members (consisting mostly of professionals in the Engineering, Architecture and Construction Industry) at a breakfast hosted by Dagher Engineering, PLLC last week. Dagher Engineering, a MEP engineering firm that specializes in sustainable design and LEED consulting, noted the potential impact that energy benchmarking transparency may have for new building and retrofitting alike.

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Laurie Kerr, Director of Policy at Urban Green Council, discusses the drive for creating Metered New York before walking members through the website’s features at a breakfast in the Dagher Engineering office.

Another economical result of energy benchmarking information being made available to the public is that concerned patrons and renters are free to favor higher performing buildings. Much in the same way the transparency of restaurant letter grading has motivated restaurants to meet higher standards of cleanliness, the underlying ideology of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan is to let consumers create a demand in the market for more efficient buildings, thus motivating building owners to compete for greater efficiency. With the help of Urban Green Council’s Metered New York this is becoming a greater reality.

Women in Engineering Discuss “What It Takes To Lead” at ASHRAE NY Roundtable

ASHRAE NEW YORK Chapter – Women In Engineering


Moderator: Lorey Flick Roberts P.E., Partner at ADS Engineers, ASHRAE NY President Panelists: Victoria Cerami, CEO, Cerami & Associates; Sukanya Paciorek, Senior VP of Corporate Sustainability, Vornado Realty Trust; Josephine Zurica P.E., Principal, Dagher Engineering; Dennis Campbell, Marketing Director, AKF

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From left: Lorey Flick Roberts, Victoria Cerami, Josephine Zurica, Sukanya Paciorek, and Dennis Campbell

NEW YORK CITY – On Wednesday, June 17 ASHRAE Women in Engineering hosted a roundtable discussion “What It Takes To Lead” featuring leaders in the construction, engineering, and sustainability industry. Moderator and ASHRAE NY President, Lorey Flick Roberts, asked the panel questions about topics ranging from work-life balance to confidence in the workplace.

The event was attended by professional women and men representing various ages and career stages. The diverse audience proved that advice from successful leaders is just that; regardless of gender. Dagher Engineering’s Sustainability Consultant, Erika Duran, attended as a guest and offers the following account of experiences shared by leaders in the industry:

Victoria Cerami, CEO of Cerami & Associates and a vocal and vibrant leader, was adamant about dressing for success. In spite of the fact that it may feel uncomfortable to “wear a costume,” she emphasized how a professional appearance affects how well we project success to others, admitting this lesson was learned the hard way early in her career.

Cerami also talked about overcoming expectations of working mothers. After her first child was born, she sensed others were dubious that she would continue on in her professional role. It was Cerami’s return to the workplace following the birth of her second child that proved to others her commitment to the success of her career.

Josephine Zurica of Dagher Engineering, PLLC, worked her way to her current position of Principal after proving her technical and project management aptitude. She made a point of addressing work-life balance, mainly that having a workplace and personal life that support each other are things she values as a leader and an employee. She specifically sought out Dagher Engineering because it has her interests in both sustainability and a balanced lifestyle at the forefront of our business model. Zurica advised young professionals seeking good work-life balance to reach out to businesses that value their professional and personal needs.

Sukanya Paciorek’s story of how her professional path took shape was unique and interesting. Taking the skillset she acquired while working at the United Nations, Paciorek sought the advice and guidance of mentors to help her craft a career in a completely different industry. She is now Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Vornado Realty Trust. Her comments focused on the openness of the sustainability industry to embrace women in leadership.

Dennis Campbell, Marketing Director of AKF, echoed many other panelists’ opinions. He demonstrated the value of work-life balance in sharing that AKF approved that he take a three month leave after his daughter was born. His perspective on collaboration regardless of gender was also heard as he shared his experiences of working on teams comprised of women and men.

The candid conversation that took place doesn’t occur organically in the workplace because the focus is either on current projects, deadlines, or other work-related concerns. Erika Duran, Sustainability Consultant, comments, “It also gave me insight as to the type of leadership Josephine provides and how it complements the leadership styles of the other two principals at the firm. Listening to all of the panelists speak was refreshing. It was something that I was thirsting for and hadn’t realized. I believe many others in the audience benefited from listening as well and I would recommend this event to all professionals.”