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6 Tips for Re-opening In-person, Shared Places

By Updates

Guest post by: Becky Nichols of Pirie Associates

As our clients are preparing to reopen during the COVID Pandemic, we wanted to share these Six Tips For Re-Opening In-Person, Shared Places from one of our architectural partners, Pirie Associates, below:

1. Know Your Enemy

Understanding how COVID-19 is transmitted and how to reduce the rate of infection is the first step to establish a physical space re-occupancy plan. Our recent work and research has led us to use these guiding principles:

  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This is why physical distancing and mask wearing is so important!
  • Though not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, it can spread from surface to person by a person touching a contaminated surface, then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. This is one of the reasons why hand washing and cleaning surfaces, particularly those that are frequently touched like door handles, are important factors in reducing spread.
  • Many organizations, such as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, have acknowledged the likelihood of airborne transmission in interior spaces.Infection is a factor of exposure and time. For example, speaking releases 200 particles/minute (sneezing can be 200 million!). You will be exposed to more particles the more time you spend around an infected person. An infectious dose of COVID-19 is thought to be in the high hundreds or low thousands of particles.
  • Being outside is best. The odds of transmission in a closed environment are 18.7 times greater compared to an open-air environment!

2. Assess Rooms Individually.

Using a generalized square foot per person or percentage reduction in capacity DOES NOT WORK. We have experienced this ourselves by developing physically distant plan diagrams for a university and restaurant. We have heard the same feedback from colleague after colleague. We cannot recommend enough that each space be assessed individually. Things such as fixed seating, accessibility, room proportions, ventilation, circulation through the space, etc. can drastically impact safe capacity. Also, consider how people will enter and exit the room and get to their seat or workspace while maintaining distancing.

You can continue reading the remainder of guidelines here.


COVID-19 Reoccupancy Guidelines

By Updates

Kohler Ronan has prepared a guideline for reoccupying your workplace post-Covid-19.  We would be more than happy to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have as you attempt to safely reopen your office and welcome back your employees.

You can access the PDF here.

COVID-19 Update

By Updates

In an effort to promote the safety and health of all Kohler Ronan employees, as well as the wellbeing of our clients and collaboration partners, Kohler Ronan has transitioned its traditional in-office work environment to a work-from-home model until further notice. While our offices in both New York and Danbury remain open and available to our staff as needed, all employees are encouraged to adhere to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and local authorities in making safety a priority and in practicing social distancing. Where possible, face-to-face meetings and large gatherings will be replaced with conference calls and virtual meetings, while unnecessary travel has been suspended.

Rest assured that, despite the challenges of this unprecedented health crisis, Kohler Ronan remains committed to delivering our highest quality designs and to meeting, if not exceeding, our clients’ expectations. Following a test run last week, we can confirm that all employees have the necessary technology and communication systems in place to continue design and project work. We seek to maintain operations with as little interruption as possible. Should you have any general concerns or project-specific questions, do not hesitate to contact our team.

We thank you for your confidence in our firm, and we look forward to continuing to work with you as we weather this storm together. Be safe, and stay well.

Talya Santillan, PE is Kohler Ronan’s Newest Partner

By Team Members, Updates

NEW YORK, NY (November 27, 2019)—The Partners at Kohler Ronan, a leading MEP/FP Engineering Consulting firm, are pleased to announce that Talya Santillan, PE, LEED AP BD+C, has been elevated to Partner. Ms. Santillan joined the firm in May 2011 and served as Principal in the firm’s New York office since November 2017.

Rory Ronan, Founding Partner of Kohler Ronan, LLC Consulting Engineers, said of Ms. Santillan, “Talya designs building systems that meet an owner’s programming needs, budget, and operational abilities while enhancing the space for its occupants.” Further, he notes, “She is not only committed to the design of highly-efficient systems that minimize the impact on the earth’s resources, but to exceeding client expectations whenever possible. She is creative, resourceful, and particularly adept at communicating complex engineering systems.”

Ms. Santillan has a keen understanding of the nature of consulting engineering and of the importance of client service. She has stated, “We work in an engineering consulting industry where responsiveness and relationships are just as important as the engineering component of a job.” Ms. Santillan values relationships and has been praised by her clients, as well as her coworkers and colleagues. During the early days of her career, she learned the importance of knowing that the term “client” refers both to the external and internal persons of one’s firm. One’s peers are just as critical to the path to success as external clients. As such, Ms. Santillan has helped hire, train, and mentor numerous engineers over the years. By sharing key tools and the benefits of her experience, and by serving as a role model, she has contributed to the professional growth and development of those young engineers.

Ms. Santillan’s mentoring activities also extend outside of the workplace. She coaches basketball, tutors math, and participates in workshops to encourage young people to consider math and science as a career path. She especially enjoys career day events at her sons’ schools and her all-female, high school alma mater where she highlights the significance of females in engineering and the complexity and rewards of working in a largely male dominated field. Ms. Santillan stresses to students that knowledge, strong skills, and confidence will ensure respect and success in this industry, or any other, regardless of one’s sex.

Garnering the respect and admiration of her colleagues, Ms. Santillan has collaborated with several prestigious and award winning architectural firms on a variety of projects across differing building types. Such collaborations have resulted in a portfolio of significant and unique projects such as the new Collegiate School, a nine-story high rise on Manhattan’s Upper Westside, the LászlóBitó Conservatory Building at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, the New York Botanical Garden Edible Academy, and the extensive renovations now underway at the New York Public Library’s Mid-Manhattan Library and Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

Ms. Santillan is a graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology and is a registered Professional Engineer in both New Jersey and New York. She is an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and Professional Women in Construction (PWC). In 2015, she was named among Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine’s Top 40 Under 40. Ms. Santillan remains at the forefront of the industry and will continue to play a role in its future.


About Kohler Ronan

Founded in 1998, Kohler Ronan is a multi-disciplined engineering consultancy dedicated to providing exceptional mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and technology design, as well as comprehensive energy analysis, sustainable design, and commissioning services. From our offices in New York City and Danbury, Connecticut, our team of over 60 professionals collaborate with prominent architectural firms on a wide array of regional and nationally-recognized project assignments including academic, cultural, and historic institutions.

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Kohler Ronan is Pleased to Announce Our Promotions for 2019

By Team Members, Updates

At this time, we would like to acknowledge several Kohler Ronan team members for their incomparable commitment to excellence in the field of engineering, their exemplary dedication to both firm and client, and their inspiring leadership which serves to encourage the entire staff. Please join us in congratulating our newest Partner, Senior Associates, and Associates. We wish them much continued success!


Talya Santillan, PE, LEED AP BD+C
Ms. Santillan has been with Kohler Ronan since 2011, acting first as Senior Mechanical Engineer and subsequently serving as Principal since 2017.  While at Stevens Institute of Technology, she earned a BE in Mechanical Engineering in 1999. Ms. Santillan went on to become a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of New Jersey and New York and is currently an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and Professional Women in Construction (PWC). She is part of the New York office, where, thanks to an engaging personality and unparalleled interpersonal skills, she has proven herself to be instrumental in business development and client service.  In 2015, Ms. Santillan was named among Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine’s Top 40 Under 40.

Senior Associates

Maxwell S. Chien, PE, LEED AP BD+C
Based in Kohler Ronan’s New York office, Mr. Chien has served our mechanical department since 2011. He has amassed a diverse project portfolio including academic and cultural institutions, as well as many residences and residential complexes.  His experience includes projects at Marist College, UConn Hartford, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Botanical Garden, and the New York Public Library. Mr. Chien earned his Master and Bachelor of Architectural Engineering from Pennsylvania State University, and he is a licensed PE in the state of New York. Outside the office, he inspires students through his volunteer work with the ACE Mentor Program.  This year, Mr. Chien was named among Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine’s Top 40 Under 40.

James Hurley, PE, LEED AP
Mr. Hurley is a graduate of Fairfield University where he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2009.  Since 2010, he has been part of the mechanical department within Kohler Ronan’s New York office. Mr. Hurley is a licensed PE in the state of New York and a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Mr. Hurley has completed numerous unique projects for academic and cultural institutions such as Fairfield University, Marist College, New Mexico State University, Hayes Theater, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pearl Odu, PE, LEED AP
Ms. Odu has been a practicing engineer since 2004.  She holds a Bachelor of Mathematics degree and a Bachelor of Engineering degree from New York University and Stevens Institute of Technology respectively.  She has contributed to the electrical department in Kohler Ronan’s New York office since joining the firm in 2016. Ms. Odu is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Professional Women in Construction (PWC), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). As a licensed PE in the state of New York, Ms. Odu has built a diverse portfolio of projects within the greater New York area. Her experience includes projects at Columbia University, The New School, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library.


John Hroncich, PE
Having joined Kohler Ronan’s New York office in 2012, Mr. Hroncich has proven to be a leader in the mechanical department. He has applied his experience and expertise across a variety of building types including New York City residential and independent schools. Specific experience includes projects at UConn Hartford, the Collegiate School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Botanical Garden, and the New York Public Library. Mr. Hroncich graduated from Manhattan College with both a Master and Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of New York.

John Mongelli, PE
Since 2012, Mr. Mongelli has been an integral part of Kohler Ronan’s mechanical department in the firm’s Danbury office. He has a diverse portfolio consisting of corporate offices, academic institutions, and cultural establishments. In particular, he has successfully completed mechanical designs for projects at Southern Connecticut State University, UConn Hartford, Cold Spring Harbor, Greenwich Hospital, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mr. Mongelli holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Manhattan College and is a registered PE in the state of New York.

Johana Rodriguez
Ms. Rodriquez has been with Kohler Ronan since 2015, first, as Accounting and Human Resources Manager and, now, as Comptroller. Ms. Rodriguez oversees accounting operations and is responsible for implementing finance and accounting policies and procedures. With respect to her continued human resources function, Ms. Rodriquez also serves as the liaison between management and the firm’s employees. Ms. Rodriguez earned her BS in International Business and Finance at Quinnipiac University and is currently pursuing her MBA at the University of Connecticut.

Joseph Russo, PE, LEED AP BD+C
In 2012, Mr. Russo joined the mechanical department in Kohler Ronan’s Connecticut office. During his tenure, he has applied his expertise to various building types and market segments, including residential, commercial, and healthcare facilities. His project portfolio includes work for the following clients: Fairfield University, UConn Hartford, the University of Virginia, Aetna, Mystic Seaport Museum, Stamford Museum & Nature Center, and Greenwich Hospital. Mr. Russo graduated from Stony Brook University with a BE in Mechanical Engineering and is a licensed PE in the state of New York. He is an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

Christopher Tantillo, PE
Mr. Tantillo joined Kohler Ronan’s New York mechanical department in 2012. Since then, he has contributed greatly to a range of projects across academic and cultural market segments.  His diverse portfolio consists of projects at Marist College, UConn Hartford, The Met Breuer, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Mr. Tantillo earned both a Master and Bachelor of Engineering degree in Mechanical Engineering at Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of New York.



Kohler Ronan – Now a NYSERDA Approved Provider

By Updates

We’re excited to announce that Kohler Ronan is an approved Technical Consultant for the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Commercial New Construction Program. Under this program, Kohler Ronan will provide technical support to help design teams assess and determine appropriate energy efficiency opportunities for New Construction as well as Substantial Renovation Projects. Upon approval, NYSERDA may provide financial support for the installation of energy efficiency measures or to incorporate other energy performance features in qualified building projects.

There are various levels of available support ranging from project reviews and energy modeling, to technical and financial support for Zero Net Energy Projects and Smart Buildings. Depending on the level of support required, technical support may be free of charge, or costs may be shared with NYSERDA.

For guidance on your next project, contact Madhav Munshi, LEED AP BD+C, BEMP at

For additional information about NYSERDA’s programs, click here.