Chosen from 223 applicants, these 40 young AEC professionals represent the Class of 2012 in Building Design+Construction’s “40 UNDER 40” competition.

March 28, 2012


Senior Associate, Design Director | Gensler, San Francisco
Age: 39
BArch, University of California, Berkeley
MArch, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Designing new headquarters for PNC Bank, which the owner wants to be “the World’s Greenest High-Rise Building.”

Facilitated Gensler’s expansion into new regions, including China. Helped craft the vision for the Shanghai Tower project, which will be the tallest building in Asia (2,086 feet).

Led 40-person design team for 7.1 million-sf mixed-use casino resort hotel in Macau, China.

Designed PNC Place, one of the first LEED Platinum buildings in Washington, D.C.

Involved in Gensler University, a select group of professionals that examine specific challenges of sustainability and the crafting of cities and urban design.

Selected for Gensler’s Next Generation leadership group that examines the company’s future business strategies.

Active member of AIA, Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, USGBC.

Guest lecturer and juror, Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley.

Fluent in French.

Favorite hobby: golf, notably the cypress-tree-lined fairways of the TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Favorite vacation spot: Italy’s Amalfi Coast, especially Positano.

Can’t live without: The New York Times.

Completed a one-day 200-mile bike race.

Uncle Charles Kao won the Noble Prize in Physics in 2009.

Elisabeth Malsch

Associate | Thornton Tomasetti, New York , N.Y.
Age: 34
BSCE, MSCE, MPCE, PhD CE, Columbia University

Conducted forensic investigation on I-35 West bridge collapse (Minneapolis) and Sherman Minton Bridge (Louisville, Ky).

Created the Forensic Information Model, an interactive computer graphic model Thornton Tomasetti uses to organize, visualize, and analyze data related to forensic investigation projects.

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, TU Braunschweig, Germany (2005-2004).

Recipient, Columbia University’s Mindlin Prize (2003) for graduate students with outstanding promise of a creative career in research or practice.

Mentor, Urban Assembly Institute of Math & Science for Young Women.

Adjunct professor, Columbia University

Unusual talent: Plays the viola da gamba, a six-string fretted and bowed instrument invented in the 15th century.

Can’t live without: her iPhone, coffee.

Favorite food: well-grilled octopus.

Follows politics like some people follow sports.

Musical taste ranges from Bach to Linkin Park.

Great grandparents founded the town of Alder, Wash., which was later flooded to allow for the construction of a hyrdoelectric dam.

Scott Root, AIA, LEED AP

Director of Integrated Services | Kitchell, Phoenix, Ariz.
Age: 36
BArch, University of Arizona
MCM, Arizona State University

Develops integrated services and systems representing >$1 billion in projects, including hospitals, schools, and casinos.

Developed Kitchell Mobile, a proprietary app that provides real-time knowledge transfer between Building Team members; Kitchell Facilities Asset Tool, an online portal of construction closeout materials; Interactive Virtual Tour, used for training and orientation; and Ideation Lab, an online brainstorming portal for Kitchell employees.

Pursuing PhD in construction management at Arizona State University. Will be school’s first Construction Technology Associate later this year.

Volunteer, Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Co-author, “Achieving Sustainability through Building Information Modeling Workflow.”

Favorite teams: Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns, University of Arizona Wildcats.

Enjoys exercising and running marathons.

Favorite food: deep-dish pizza with pepperoni, pepperoncini, and sausage.

Meticulous organizer.

Better than average ping-pong player.

Father-in-law competed in world triathlon championships: “I still can’t beat him at any of the events.”

Jeff Vaglio, PE, LEED AP

Senior Design Engineer | Enclos Corp./Advanced Technology Studio, Los Angeles
Age: 28
BS ARCE, University of Kansas
MArch, University of Southern California

Engineer of glass façade systems, including >20 extreme building skins, notably Loyola Information Commons, Chicago; 51 Louisiana Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C.; and the Oakland (Calif.) Cathedral.

Graduated first in his MArch class at USC; completing PhD in architecture at USC.

Dissertation research: the aerophysics of double-skin façades, examining the structural implications of lateral load-sharing of the two surfaces.

One of 12 students (of 32,000) to participate in USC’s Diploma in Innovation, recognizing innovators and leaders of exceptional quality.

Winner, R.A. Rogaff Endowment (in honor of Frank O. Gehry, FAIA) and the Oakley Fellowship, USC.

Loves being on the racquetball court.

Can’t live without: grapefruit juice.

Favorite food: homemade cracker-crust pizza.

Favorite vacation spot: Bora Bora.

Favorite books: The Lost City of Z (David Grann) and John Muir: Nature Writings.

Descendent of John Witherspoon of New Jersey, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.


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