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40 Under 40 winners: Meet the contractors

Of the up-and-coming AEC professionals to be named to the class of 2014, nine make their living as contractors.

April 10, 2014 |

In the April 2014 issue of BD+C, the editors named the winners of the 9th Annual "40 Under 40" competition. Of the up-and-coming AEC professionals to be named to the class of 2014, nine make their living as contractors, ranging from a life science facilities specialist (Sara Carmody) to a district manager who's the youngest person ever to hold his position (Aaron Wiehe).

To view the entire class of 2014, see our 40 Under 40 landing page.

This year’s winners will be invited to join their 40 Under 40 peers—as well as other young professionals—for three days of career development at the 4th Annual BD+C Under40 Leadership Summit in New York, September 17-19.

For more information, contact David Barista, BD+C Editor-in-Chief, at 847.954.7929 or


Biocontainment Superstar


Assistant Project Manager
Manhattan Construction Company, 
Falls Church, Va.
AGE: 34
BS, Virginia Polytechnic and State University
After studying animal and poultry science and biological systems engineering, switched to civil engineering and then commercial construction. With Manhattan Construction, progressed from Senior Project Engineer to Assistant Project Manager in two years.
Representative projects: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Prince George’s County, Md. (1,500 hotel rooms, 400,000 sf of convention space); U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases’ 835,000-sf replacement facility at Fort Detrick. The latter is the largest, most complex biocontainment facility ever built by the DoD, including labs up to Biosafety Level 4 and Animal Biosafety Level 4, and is designed to work with the world’s most dangerous biological agents.
Professional Women in Construction, Washington, D.C., Chapter, Rising Star Award, 2011.
Member, event and golf committees, Professional Women in Construction, D.C. Chapter. 
Presenter to groups of young engineers at George Mason University, the University of Virginia, and the SAME Young Members Council.
Volunteer, D.C. Habitat for Humanity.
Coordinator for Manhattan Construction volunteer group with iCan Shine, a charitable nonprofit that helps children with disabilities learn to ride bicycles.
Completed charity marathon for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of her mother.
Loves hiking the trails of rural Virginia, including Old Rag Mountain, Great Falls, and Gambrill State Park. Also enjoys water sports and is currently teaching a young niece to ski.
World travel: India, England, Italy, Mexico, Caribbean islands.
Hot sauce enthusiast. “I have an extensive collection. Some favorites: Barons, Dave’s Ghost Pepper Naga Jolokia Hot Sauce, and Mo Hotta Mo Betta ‘Yard Bird’ Wing Sauce.”

Irish Import


Vice President, National Mission Critical
Balfour Beatty Construction, 
Charlotte, N.C.
AGE: 39
BS, National University of Ireland, Galway
After completing his civil engineering degree, worked for London-based Coffey Construction. Relocated to the U.S. in 1998 to be closer to his wife’s family. After six years working for a concrete company, was recruited by Howard S. Wright, a construction firm later acquired by Balfour Beatty. Promoted to VP for the Mission Critical team earlier this year, overseeing business acquisition, operations, and account management and supporting mission-critical projects in the East, Central, and West regions.
Actively involved in a partnership with The Uptime Institute and others to streamline data center operations. Representative clients: Intel, Time Warner Cable, Compass Data Centers.
ASHE/AHA Healthcare Construction Certificate.
Board member, Design-Build Institute of America, Western Pacific region.
Board member, Morrison YMCA, Charlotte (Growth & Development Committee, Golf Tournament Committee).
Passions: mountain biking, adventure racing, skiing, “old man’s soccer.”
Participates in YMCA Y-Guides with his older daughter.
Fanatic follower of Gaelic football games administered by the Mayo County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association. Attended the Irish equivalent of the Super Bowl, the All-Ireland Football Final, last year in Dublin.

Lone Star Standout


Director of Operations, Austin Division
Swinerton Builders, Austin, Texas
AGE: 37
BS, Texas A&M University
MBA, Webster University
Spent eight years at a contracting firm before diving into real estate development and ultimately running the company he worked for, Sprout Holdings. Later opened own real estate investment and advisory company, Lonestar Advisors. Named Director of Operations for Swinerton’s new Austin Division in 2012; recently secured a $100+ million project to develop Chevron’s Midland, Texas, campus.
Representative projects: Lucasfilm Ltd., Nicasio, Calif. (185,000-sf Big Rock Ranch, a Prairie-style addition to Skywalker Ranch); Kaiser Permanente, Vacaville, Calif. (232,000-sf medical office and ambulatory surgery center); Bella Vista, Dripping Springs, Texas (164-acre site to be developed into an 86-home gated subdivision).
Member, Real Estate Council of Austin and Urban Land Institute.
Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity and Austin Achieve (charter school program for under-served neighborhoods in Austin.)
Soccer and baseball coach, Dripping Springs Youth Sports Association.
Loves playing the guitar, enjoying outdoor activities, cycling, board sports, and tennis.
Front man for rock bands in high school and college. “I played guitar and sang—horribly—but I enjoyed every minute.”

Hawaiian Guy


District Manager
Nordic PCL, Honolulu
AGE: 39
BS, Purdue University
PCL’s youngest district manager. Oversees daily operations of 175 employees. Received the Robert Stollery Corporate Award, PCL’s most prestigious internal leadership recognition, in 2004.
Representative projects: Symphony Honolulu ($191 million mixed-use condominium development); Kamehameha Schools Kapalma Strategic Redevelopment Project (athletic complex, middle school, cultural center, parking structure, and residence halls); Bravern Signature Residence Towers, Bellevue, Wash. ($249.2 million condominium project).
Past member, Academic Advisory Board, Purdue Construction Engineering and Management Program.
Member, Associated General Contractors of America (served seven years on the AGC Collective Bargaining Committee).
Volunteer, Associated Schools of Construction student competition.
Volunteer, ACE mentoring program. 
Board member, Aloha United Way.
Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics.
Passions: surfing, water skiing, scuba diving, rock climbing, cooking, and driving fast.
Still harbors fantasies about becoming a professional racecar driver. 
Keeps Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies in his freezer: “I ration them throughout the year.”

Straight Shooter


Project Executive
Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company, San Francisco
AGE: 39
BS, Santa Clara University
Raised in a family of contractors, Carmody earned a civil engineering degree and progressed from entry-level Project Engineer to Project Executive in 13 years. She is now a company shareholder.
Developed a specialization in life-science construction, identifying it as a strong growth opportunity early in her career. Created and advocated for an internal Northern California Life Science Strategy, which targeted key clients, promoted relationships, and arranged the necessary staff training. Life science is now a core market for Hathaway Dinwiddie, representing more than $1.75 billion in revenue and including high-profile clients such as Genentech, Gilead, Amgen, and HCP Life Science Estates. 
Member, International Society of Professional Engineers.
Assisted in the build-out and relocation of offices for BayBio, the primary life-science industry organization in the Bay Area, in 2012.
Member, Santa Clara University Alumni Association (aka Bronco Builders). 
With her husband, runs a small trucking business that serves the needs of state and federal clients during wildfires.
Regular church greeter and usher.
Enjoys skiing and horseback riding—the legacy of a childhood spent jumping horses in equestrian events. She now prefers a quarter horse and slower-paced trail riding with her two daughters.
Experienced marksman: “I am a really great shot, both target and skeet.”
Owns a Honda 250X dirt bike and loves to ride in the Nevada desert.

Heartland Energizer


Vice President
PARIC Corp., St. Louis
AGE: 38
BS, Master of Construction Management, Washington University in St. Louis
During 17 years at PARIC, rose through the ranks from Project Estimator to VP, in charge of the firm’s academic and commercial market sectors.
Representative projects: Webster University, St. Louis (90,000-sf, LEED Gold Academic Building); Express Scripts (multiple projects on the client’s campus in Normandy, Mo.).
Established a subsidiary, Cooperative Building Solutions, to deliver turnkey planning, design, and construction work for rural electric cooperatives in Missouri. Business met the goals of its five-year plan within three years—expanding the client base into Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma—and is projected to produce $40 million in revenue this year.
Board member, Logos School (therapeutic middle and high school), St. Louis.
Director and board vice president, Lutheran High School, St. Peters, Mo.
Chair, Building Expansion Committee, Zion Lutheran Church and School, St. Peters.
Loves running; coaches his three sons’ basketball, baseball, and soccer teams.
Treasures his extensive collection of 1980s-era baseball cards.

Real Estate Rock Star


Vice President
Leopardo Companies, Chicago
AGE: 38
BS, Northern Illinois University
Majored in marketing and worked for an interior design firm before joining Leopardo’s tenant interiors group in 2004. Responsible for bringing in >$340 million and 5.6 million sf of projects over the past nine years, doubling the unit’s revenue, average project size, and number of projects. Aids large corporate clients in developing office spaces, several of which have been selected as “Coolest Offices” by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Representative clients: BlueCross BlueShield Association, Zebra Technologies, American Hospital Association, Tyco International, Big Ten Conference, Integrys.
President, CoreNet Global, Chicago Chapter. Has increased program attendance to historic highs (120/month) and helped establish the chapter as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit professional association.
Member, International Facility Managers Association and Commercial Real Estate Organization.
Lead singer and guitarist for Liquidated Damages, a rock band made up of Leopardo employees. The band has raised >$2.5 million for charity. Standout gig: Annual City of Hope REACH Social at the Chicago House of Blues, raising more than half a million dollars over 10 years.
Loves cruising on his Baja 25 Outlaw powerboat, wakeboarding, water skiing, and snowboarding.
Almost became a professional musician during college when his group was approached by ’90s rock band Brother Cane to tour with them as an opening act. “Unfortunately, the four of us couldn’t make such an impulse decision.”

Corporate Builder


VP/Division Manager, Corporate Services Division
Brasfield & Gorrie, Birmingham, Ala.
AGE: 34
BS, Auburn University
Oversees all business development, preconstruction, and project operation functions for the Corporate Services Division in Brasfield & Gorrie’s Birmingham office. Provides strategic direction for the firm’s work in the commercial market. Has led projects worth more than $650 million total.
Advanced from college grad to VP in 11 years.
Representative projects: Medical University of South Carolina (hospital replacement, $208 million, Charleston); data center for confidential client, Jackson, Miss. ($19 million); Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Lafayette, La. ($150 million).
Active in NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association; the 7x24 Exchange–Greater Florida/Alabama Chapter; and ABC Future Leaders in Construction.
Helped plan company’s Estimating BBQ Cookoff for eight years, which has raised more than $550,000 for charity since its inception. 
Junior Board member, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham.
Leadership Vestavia Hills, 2011-2012.
Loves outdoor activities. History buff. “The closer the story is to the community/state/country that I know and live in, the more engaged I am. I also enjoy reading our local papers and business journal on a daily basis.”
Grandfather worked in telecommunications during World War II and was in the Guam radio station that transmitted President Truman’s orders to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

BizDev Whiz


Director of Business Development
S. M. Wilson & Co., 
St. Louis
AGE: 37
BS, University of 
Joined S. M. Wilson, a general contractor, in 2002 and rose through the Project Engineer, Project Manager, Business Development, and Executive Committee ranks. Appointed Director of Business Development in 2012 and secured more than $50 million in new business for the firm within 18 months, leading a team of five marketing and support professionals. Currently leading a corporate rebranding initiative and new Customer Relationship Management program.
Representative projects: Clayton (Mo.) School District ($90 million in projects); MasterCard International, O’Fallon, Mo. ($90 million Global Technology Operations Center); The Cedars at the JCA Senior Skilled Care Facility, St. Louis ($43.5 million).
Member, Advisory Board, Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville Construction Leadership Institute.
Chair, Membership Committee, Associated General Contractors St. Louis Chapter.
Volunteer, Construction Careers Center Charter High School, sponsored by AGC of St. Louis and the St. Louis Board of Education.
Volunteer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri.
Passions: golf, attending St. Louis Cardinals baseball games, grilling baby back ribs.
Past devotee of the local karaoke scene.
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