2015 Top 40 Under 40: Sergio Callen

Sept. 18, 2015
Sergio Callen, Business Development Manager, Rail & Transit, Atkins

Sergio Callen

Business Development Manager, Rail & Transit


The impact public transportation projects have on society is what drew Sergio Callen to the industry. Originally in mechanical engineering doing designed for buildings for mechanical facilities, he finished his Masters and then started with a small project, a subway station improvement. He saw the neighborhood have new access with elevators and escalators and realized the neighborhood improvements would improve people’s lives.

With more than a decade of electrical and mechanical engineering and systems integration experience for high-speed rail, subway, light rail, and advanced guideway system projects in both the consulting and design-build environments, Callen’s diverse engineering experience has spanned three continents, including high-profile projects in the United States, Asia and Europe.

Sergio joined Atkins in 2014 as regional business development manager for the company’s North American rail and transit business based in New York City. For Atkins, he focuses on systems engineering business development and program management efforts in the Northeast, including Atkins’ support for the Integrated Service Information and Management — B Division (ISIM-B) project at New York City Transit.

Before joining Atkins, Sergio worked for Ardanuy, a Spanish systems engineering firm, where he worked on several large systems integration projects. He performed railway engineering design for high speed rail, subway, commuter, and light rail projects, including the Ottawa (Canada) light rail transit system, Dublin (Ireland) Metro North Line, Moscow (Russia) Metro expansion, Spain high-speed rail system 12-station expansion, and other depot and street car projects.

In 2010, Sergio took on the challenging role of managing director responsible for the startup of Ardanuy’s new subsidiary company in New York City. This leadership role involved developing Ardanuy’s marketing and operations capability in the U.S. rail market, including planning, research and analysis of the organization’s business development activities and staff.

In New York, Sergio was also responsible for developing conceptual and detailed design projects and defining technical and operational parameters and requirements (track work, overhead contact system, rolling stock, tunnel ventilation, fire protection, operations, maintenance, train control system, and communications system) for several key railway projects in North America.

Sergio is a registered professional engineer with the Catalonian (Spain) Industrial Engineers Association. He earned a Master of Science in both industrial engineering and business from the University of Catalonia in Spain. He currently serves on the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA) Technical Committee 17 — High Speed Rail Systems.

“The most challenging thing is to understand client expectations, especially in the U.S.; every agency, every client is different.”

“When working abroad I realized that every country has different processes and different approaches to build. I think it’s important, in the rail systems particularly, to standardize these processes. If we can set up standards in order to make more efficient the processes we have when implementing a project … from the very beginning to the end of the project.”

“I would like to see more affordable systems to improve the quality of life. We really need to invest money on the transit in the U.S. We’re going to be able to see these reliable systems in the future if we keep working in that direction.”

“I worked for a streetcar project in Spain, it was a catenary-free project. I think it’s going to be the future in the streetcar arena. In the U.S. right now, in D.C., they are starting to implement a catenary-free project. Working on that project [in Spain] five years ago, it really changed and elevated my expectations on the rail arena. Hopefuly I’m going to be able to repeat that experience here in the U.S. in the near future.”