Anastacia Michigan is not afraid of challenges – especially design challenges. That’s good because, as she says, “Every project offers a unique set of challenges. I enjoy determining the solution that best serves our clients, especially if it’s a solution the client has not considered before.”
Michigan, PE, LEED, mechanical engineer at Arora Engineers Inc. has served as the lead mechanical designer for large projects in Pennsylvania including multimillion-dollar vertical transportation improvements at Lehigh Valley International Airport. Often she works in the transportation or education sectors. The challenges at airports are especially unique: “Airports are like cities, they never sleep! Design challenges constantly keep you on your toes and developing a solution that can be implemented without disturbing the airport’s 24/7 function is an exciting challenge to take on.”
In the wake of the pandemic, she’s seen a huge emphasis on improving indoor air quality. “When people arrive from all over the world and gather in the terminals, it is understandable there would be a concern about the spread of disease,” she said. People can be congregating and sitting in a terminal for hours, one design challenge is figuring out how to prevent disease spread. Michigan authored a comprehensive whitepaper on improvements to indoor air quality for disease mitigation and led a nationwide webinar on the topic sponsored by the Airport Consultants Council for over 130 industry attendees. She said different technologies that can be used to improve indoor air quality include bipolar ionization, UV light and independent filtration systems. Sometimes an airport can upgrade their HVAC or add new HVAC filtration equipment. Michigan helps her clients weigh the costs and benefits.
At Lehigh Valley International Airport design work was in progress when the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Fortunately, we were still in design,” she said, adding and could be made to increase outdoor air coming into the airport. The system has a baseline mode and pandemic mode to increase outside air to help filter out any pathogens.
Looking to airport design going forward, she said, “I would like to see the continued implementation of disease-mitigating technology.”
Michigan also has an interest in sustainable design. She became a U.S. Green Building Council certified LEED Green Associate in 2018 and plans to pursue LEED AP BD+C certification.
Within her community, Michigan has served as a cantor at her local church and volunteered her time with their musical department. She regularly participates in Arora’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraising efforts and supports events sponsored by the local Women in Transportation Seminar chapter.