Elizabeth Adkins, 31

Elizabeth Adkins, 31

Project engineer at Langan Engineering

Elizabeth Adkins, 31
By November 30, 2023 5:45 PM

The start of Elizabeth Adkins’s career can be traced to volunteering in high school at Keep the Midlands Beautiful, a nonprofit in South Carolina dedicated to litter removal and recycling. She then wanted to find a way to combine her desire to clean up nature with her love of robotics, and landed on environmental engineering.

After earning bachelor’s degrees from both Columbia University and Barnard College, Adkins joined Langan Engineering, and two years later landed her first solo remediation project working on the cleanup for the Walt Disney Company’s under-construction headquarters at 4 Hudson Square.

“It’s pretty amazing to see something of that scale from start to finish,” Adkins said. “It’s definitely a massive project to take over in my second year as Langan.”

But it’s far from the only one Adkins took on during her more than seven years at Langan.

She also managed the environmental waste cleanup of a former parking garage and gas station being turned into an office building at 555 Greenwich Street, and she is in the process of remediating a former oil terminal on the northern end of Gowanus Canal, one of the country’s most polluted waterways.

For the canal project, Adkins and her team have to manage the removal of 1.5 million-gallon storage tanks and dispose of almost 30,000 tons of contaminated soil, along with plenty of other work, to make way for two 21-story mixed-use buildings at 267 Bond Street and 498 Sackett Street.

To make matters more complicated, the work has to be coordinated with the Environmental Protection Agency — which is handling the cleanup of the canal — and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection as the project calls for upgrading the sewers.

But the Upper West Side resident manages it all thanks to what she said is her ability to stay organized and the help of her colleagues, which is part of the reason she’s had only one job since graduation. “Langan has a pretty awesome team,” Adkins said. “There’s just a lot of team collaboration in the office, that helps with some of those nitty-gritty details.”

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