Lehigh Valley 
Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers

2021 Awards


2021 LVPSPE Engineer of the Year: Peter O. Staffeld, Ph.D., P.E., F.NSPE

This award recognizes a PSPE member who has made significant achievements in the area of: professional society activities; civic, fraternal, religious or humanitarian activities; professional and/or technical publications, papers, or patents; and the field of engineering during their professional career.

Peter Staffeld is a Teaching Professor of Chemical Engineering at Villanova University.  He received a Bachelors of Science in Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, then a Masters of Science and a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Peter joined Mobil Oil Corporation’s Central Re-search Laboratory in 1988 as a Staff Engineer, where he developed processes for upgrading very heavy oils into usable gasoline.  He then moved to Mobil’s Paulsboro Technical Center where he led a project to optimize refineries.  After a few years in the Economics Planning group, he was promoted to Licensing Manager responsible for lubricant technology licensing for North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Former Soviet Union.  He was living in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2000 when Mobil merged with Exxon. 

Rather than move to the new ExxonMobil head-quarters, Peter accepted a position as Vice Pres-ident of Polymer Dynamics, based in Allentown, PA.  In 2008 he became a registered Professional Engineer and started Staffeld Engineering Ser-vices.  He joined the Chemical Engineering faculty at Villanova University in 2009 as a Visiting Professor.  At Villanova he founded the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) student group and Link #299 of the Order of the Engineer.  Since 2017 he has written questions for the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.  He was na-med President of the Pennsylvania Engineering Foundation in 2021 and is expanding the scholar-ship program.  He recently was promoted to full Teaching Professor at Villanova. 

Peter has been active in the Upper Saucon Town-ship community as a founding member of the Environmental Advisory Board and as an alternate for the Zoning Hearing Board.  He was President of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers (PSPE) for two years, State Treasurer for PSPE for five years, and has served on several committees for the national NSPE organization.  He was named a Fellow of NSPE in 2014.  He and his wife Leslie are currently Co-Chairs of the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Wine Society. 

2021 LVPSPE Young Engineer of the Year: Audrey Wood Karnatski

This award is presented to an individual (no more than 35 years-old) based on his/her scholastic achievements, technical and professional society activities, technical papers and/or patents, engineering experience and accomplishments, and civic/humanitarian activities. It is awarded to a young candidate who is a licensed Professional Engineer or Engineer-In-Training.

Audrey Wood Karnatski has been named the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers – Lehigh Valley Chapter Young Engineer of the Year for 2022.

Audrey earned a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering with a Minor in Geology from Wilkes University in 2018. During her time there she was actively involved in the Wilkes University chapter of the Society of Women Engineer’s (SWE), serving as the Treasurer and President. She also held the Secretary position of the Engineering Student Activities Club. In both clubs she was a key role in coordinating fundraising and student outreach events. She continues her commitment to SWE and currently serves as the Lehigh Valley Section Secretary and Professional Liaison to the Collegiate SWE Chapter at her Alma Mater. Through these roles she provides mentorship and guidance to the Collegiate SWE students and keeps the Professional Section up to date on their activities and requests for mentorship.

Within one week of graduation, Audrey started working at Cowan Associates, Inc., an engineering consulting firm in Quakertown, PA offering services in the fields of Civil, Structural, Environmental, Land Development, Municipal Engineering as well as Surveying and Construction Management.

At Cowan Associates, Inc. she is involved with design, construction administration, construction inspections, flow monitoring and regulatory permit application projects. Her main responsibilities focus on environmental/civil engineering, seeing a project through from the initial proposal, de-sign, permitting, construction specifications, and inspections, to final project closeout. She has obtained her Engineer in Training license and multiple technical certifications, including Certified Sewage Enforcement Officer and ACI Concrete Field Test Technician. Other professional society’s she is involved in include Eastern PA Water Pollution Control Operators Association and Pennsylvania Water Environment Association.

In Audrey’s spare time, she enjoys singing in her church choir and her own acoustic duo band as well as camping with her friends and family.

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