A Brooklyn engineer was recognized last month for his outstanding achievements at work and his community.
Zhao Feng Mah, who goes by the name Jeff, was honored in September as an “Outstanding Asian-American in Business” for his work as a department manager for Con Edison’s regional engineering group. In this role, he manages a team of engineers and designers that create the electrical distribution systems in Brooklyn and Queens.
Mah has served those communities in various positions for close to two decades. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has worked as a project engineer, operating supervisor and shift manager.
He was awarded by the Asian-American Business Development Center, an organization that encourages the recognition of Asian-Americans and Asian-American businesses for their impact on the economy.
The local engineer told Brooklyn Paper winning the award means a great deal for many people in his life.
“For my parents to be able to see the press release, to see the award, to touch the award and know that their son had accomplished something like this…to see their joy in seeing my accomplishments was very fulfilling,” said Mah.
At just eight years old, Mah immigrated to the US with his parents from China. He grew up in Sunset Park, and eventually moved to Williamsburg, where he currently resides.
Mah appreciates the lessons he’s learned from his father, who is also an engineer.
“My dad always told me to take it one step at a time. It’s good to have goals, long-term goals, but concentrate on the now…just focus on doing the best that you can do,” he said. “That’s always the approach that I take in life.”
In that vein, Mah said, he wasn’t expecting any type of award.
“I don’t do the things that I do, professionally and on my own time, for recognition. I do it because I see joy in what I do,” he said. “Every day I wake up, I enjoy going to work and helping New York City keep their lights on.”
He received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 2004. He then returned to school in 2007, and went on to receive a master’s degree from NYU.
Mah plans to continue paying it forward by helping the next generation of employees at Con Edison.
“I was lucky enough to be helped growing up,” he said of his first job opportunity at 19 in Lenox Hill’s engineering department. “That opportunity and those folks being willing to go and get interns when they really didn’t need to… those things and many others helped me through the years.”
In the future, he hopes to expand his own volunteering and philanthropy.
“[I’m] looking forward to giving back to the society a little bit more and volunteering a little bit more within our employee research group,” said Mah, “helping the next generation of colleagues to grow within the company professionally.”