About Us: Sustainable Site Design & Water Resources Engineering

Meliora Design is a civil engineering firm specializing in sustainable site design and water resources planning. Meliora is a registered women's business enterprise (WBE) in the City of Philadelphia and with the State of Pennsylvania. Meliora is comprised of a design team of civil, water resources, and biological systems engineers, including several LEED Accredited Professionals with the combined experience of 35 years. Projects designed by Meliora include new construction and redevelopment sites, as well as landscape restoration in stormwater retrofits and urban and natural areas. Meliora works at a range of sites, including nature centers, parks, residential developments, schools, commercial and public properties, and urban streetscapes, both in the Philadelphia region and nation-wide. These projects emphasize Low Impact Development (LID), including the design of porous pavement systems, innovative stormwater infiltration systems, green roofs, rain gardens, and stormwater re-use systems.

Contact us for more information

About Us: Structural & Rail Engineering

Meliora's rail services cover all phases of railroad electric tractions, from conceptual studies through final design and construction phases services. Our electric traction design services include initial field verification surveys, identifying design constraints, analyzing conceptual design alternatives, site layouts, structures and overhead catenary systems, design of catenary and ancillary wires, wire supports and catenary structures, catenary hardware and fittings, and design of bonding and grounding, staging requirements, division of work, and material supply, typical catenary assemblies, constructability and staging reviews and the preparation of construction cost estimates.

Meliora's structural design services include initial field verification surveys, evaluating existing conditions, identifying design constraints, analyzing conceptual design alternatives, site layouts, constructability and staging reviews, and the preparation of construction cost estimates and construction schedules. We provide designs for retaining walls, bridges, deep and shallow foundations, building renovations, inspections, new buildings, steel, concrete and timber.

Construction phase services provided by Meliora include bid-period services, shop and working drawing review,
as-built drawings, construction management, and inspection services.

Contact us for more information

our approach

  • (mel/ee/or/ah): latin for "always better"
  • Unlike the traditional engineering approach to development, projects designed by Meliora begin with the concept of sustainability and an understanding of the natural conditions of a site. Focus is placed on "rainwater as a resource" and stormwater management systems that return rainwater to the soils and vegetation to maintain or restore a site's natural hydrology. Designs that limit unnecessary disturbance and reduce infrastructure (such as pipes and pavement) also reduce development costs. Designs guided by nature create places that are beautiful and healthy for people to live in, work in, and enjoy.

Michele Adams, P.E.

Principal Engineer: Sustainable Site Design &
Water Resources Engineering

Ms. Adams is the President and founder of Meliora Design. For more than 28 years, her work has encompassed environmentally sensitive site design and sustainable water resources engineering. Building on a multi-disciplinary approach, her work includes both master planning and design for campuses, cities, urban restoration projects, commercial, industrial and residential installations, public facilities, and environmental education centers. In all her work, Ms. Adams seeks to combine sound engineering science with an understanding of natural systems. She is a frequent lecturer and educator on the topics of water and sustainability, and has provided technical expertise to clients ranging from watershed advocacy organizations to corporations. Ms. Adams was one of the principle authors of the Pennsylvania Stormwater Manual, and serves on the U.S. Green Building Council's Technical Advisory Group for Sustainable Sites, and American Rivers Science and Technical Advisory Committee. She frequently serves as an expert witness with regards to stormwater and surface water quality issues.

James Adams, P.E.

Principal Engineer: Structural & Rail Engineering


Mr. Adams brings to Meliora Design over twenty 26 of Structural Engineering experience, including civil engineering, structural engineering and design, structural evaluations, Rail Systems, catenary engineering, traction power engineering, Construction Management and project management. This experience includes design and analysis of residential, commercial, and industrial, buildings; geotechnical investigations; design of deep and shallow foundations; design and analysis of steel and concrete bridges; surveying; design and layout of catenary systems (including light rail, commuter rail and heavy rail), and the design and analysis of railroad catenary, feeder, and high voltage support structures. This experience also includes project principal or project manager responsibilities for many multi-disciplined projects for various clients including Amtrak, PENNDOT, NJDOT, NJ Transit (NJT), Conrail, MNR, CTDOT, DRPA and SEPTA. Mr. Adams has extensive experience with AutoCAD, COGO, STAAD, LPile, Word, Excel, and P6 computer programs.