Over the past 20 years, Jelen has been at the forefront in the transformation of the Washington, D.C., public realm into a healthy and prosperous one. His project achievement highlights include the National Defense University Campus Expansion; the Eisenhower National Presidential Memorial Sitework; Washington, D.C.’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Program projects; and multiple new streetscapes and public realm projects for the Columbia Heights, Georgetown, LeDroit Park, Howard University, Downtown DC Business Improvement District (BID), and many other neighborhoods.
He has helped to rehabilitate all of the major Potomac River bridges and historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O) bridges; establish the citywide Streetcar Division, delivering the city's short-term family housing buildings and grounds; modernize public schools; and develop the ongoing South Capitol Street Corridor project, which is the largest public works project in D.C. history.
In addition, Jelen was the project executive for rewriting two seminal guiding documents for project delivery in Washington, D.C. – The DDOT Design and Engineering Manual and the Department of General Services Project Delivery Guidelines.
Jelen is a retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Reserve Officer, and was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. He is active in many local and national industry organizations, and currently serves on the National Complete Streets Coalition Steering Committee and the American Public Transportation Association’s Policy, Planning and Program Development Committee. He is also a past-president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington.
He was brought onto active Army duty for five years in the post-9/11 period, including as operations officer for the New Orleans Hurricane Protection System Restoration Project and to support establishment of the USACE Field Force Engineering organization. Through the National Complete Streets Coalition, he has assisted dozens of State and City DOTs with organizational development initiatives aimed at improving public health and safety outcomes in construction projects. In 2019, he was selected by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to lead the establishment of the General Directorate of Municipal Projects as a new national-level organization that provides stewardship and oversight of all municipal infrastructure, building, and grounds construction in the Kingdom’s 17 major cities and 242 towns.
Jelen received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.