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40 Under 40: Meet the engineers

40 Under 40: Meet the engineers

Learn about seven highly talented engineers who made Building Design+Construction's "40 Under 40" class for 2013.


By Julie Higginbotham, Senior Editor | May 17, 2013

The editors of Building Design+Construction recently named the winners of the 8th Annual "40 Under 40" competition. Of the up-and-coming AEC professionals to be named to the class of 2013, seven make their living as engineers.

The winners include Cierine Nicolas (pictured at left), an electrical engineer who holds a brown belt in Krav Maga, and Emily Guglielmo, a structural engineer and former elite gymnast. Read about the engineer winners below.

To view the entire 40 Under 40 Class of 2013, see our landing page.

This year’s winners will be invited to join their 40 Under 40 peers—as well as other young professionals nominated by their firms—for three days of career development at our Third Annual BD+C “U40 Leadership Summit” in San Francisco, October 9-11, 2013. For more information, contact BD+C's Events Manager, Judy Brociek, at 847.954.7943 or jbrociek@sgcmail.com.

We'd like to thank our 40 Under 40 sponsors for their support of the awards program and U40 Leadership Summit:

 

           
 
           

 

 

 

 

 

1. POWER PLAYER

CIERINE NICOLAS, PE, LEED AP BD+C, CDT

Vice President, Electrical Engineer
Environmental Systems Design Inc., Chicago

AGE: 35
BS (EE and Molecular & Cellular Biology), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
MS Graduate Fellowships at Princeton (electrical engineering) and Stanford (theoretical astrophysics)

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Completed a major in molecular and cellular biology as a pre-med undergraduate.
Joined ESD in 1998; became the Chicago office’s first female VP in 2012.
Supervises electrical design for high-profile international projects, including supertall buildings in Riyadh, Jeddah, Seoul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Madinah, Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Mumbai, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Chicago.
Recent work: Kingdom Tower, Jeddah; King Abdullah Financial District Parcels, Riyadh (mixed-use); U.S. Department of Homeland Security, St. Elizabeths Campus, Washington, D.C. (secure 175-acre complex, 4.5 million sf).

EXTRACURRICULAR
Co-chairs ESD’s Outreach Committee (community work, philanthropy).
Team Captain, 4th Annual Canstruction Chicago Design/Build Competition.
Volunteer work: Habitat for Humanity in Chicago; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

OFF THE CLOCK
Activities: high-adrenaline water sports, running, tennis, alpine skiing, baseball, golf.
Holds a brown belt in Krav Maga.
Relaxes with precision rifle marksmanship, skeet shooting and target practice.
Can't live without: sports and designer high heels

SECRET LIFE
Spouse is electrical engineering director at competing firm SOM.
Daughter Quinn born Feb. 4, 2013.

 

 

 

2. SOFTWARE WHIZ

KARMYN BABCOCK, LEED AP

IT Director
The Weitz Company,
Des Moines, Iowa

AGE: 37
BS, MS, Iowa State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Weitz in 1997; promoted to Director of IT in 2012, managing a team of 15.
Supervises implementation and upgrades of systems such as JD Edwards, Oracle  SOA, Prolog Suite, and BIM/VDC applications, including work with external clients and subcontractors.
Directed Weitz’s beta testing for Prolog Manager 5.0; developed real-time integration between Prolog and JDE regarding project financial information. Developed prototype intranet for 1,200+ employees.
Implemented Lean construction technology practices companywide; renegotiated major technology contracts for the firm.
Inducted into the Meridian Hall of Fame in 2008 for her work with Prolog.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Active member of Construction FutureTech CIO, Construction Executive Leaders, Iowa State University Con E Alumni, Prolog Customer Advisory Board, and iPad in Construction.
Volunteer kickboxing instructor for various charities; assists with fundraising “kickathons” several times a year.
Plays piano, sings, and teaches preschool at a local church.

OFF THE CLOCK
Can’t live without: Amazon Cloud Player (current favorite artists: The Lone Bellow, Walk to the Moon, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis).
Hobbies: playing Rachmaninoff on the piano, shopping for shoes.
Favorite flick: “Fight Club.”

SECRET LIFE
Partial to girls’ weekends in Chicago and Minneapolis.

 

 

3 ECLECTIC ANALYST

LEAH B. GUZOWSKI

Energy Policy Scientist
Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Ill.

AGE: 32
BA, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Master of Higher Education Policy, Harvard University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Completed triple major at UW–Madison. Served as an editor for a publication at Harvard Law School.
Spent 2+ years doing city planning and energy policy work with the Swedish Trade Council.
Joined Argonne in 2010. Principal Investigator or Primary Researcher on DOE-supported projects, including the DOE Financial Tool, part of the DOE’s Building Performance Database.
Helped Loyola University Chicago cut overall energy use by 50%.
Principal Investigator, Chicago Energy Efficiency Retrofit Initiative; helped coordinate R&D of methodologies for analyzing citywide energy use.
Co-leader, Argonne’s Energy Security Initiative; Leader, Argonne’s Building Energy Research and Integration Program.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Board of Directors, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.
Member, International Association of Energy Economics and U.S. Association of Energy Economics.
Volunteer, Dress for Success.

OFF THE CLOCK
Hobbies: the arts, music, culture, and sports of Chicago.
Plays quarterback on a flag football team.
Favorite foods: raspberries, steak grilled outdoors.

SECRET LIFE
Grew up in rural Wisconsin. Competed in log-rolling on the Mississippi River as a youth. Grandfather raced homing pigeons.

 

 

4. GREEN RUNNER

ELISE KIRCHHOFER, PE, LEED AP, HFDP

Vice President
Henderson Engineers Inc.,
Lenexa, Kan.

AGE: 36
BS, University of Wyoming

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Henderson Engineers in 2009: youngest VP ever appointed by the firm, and one of only four women to achieve the rank.
Co-leads a team of 25 engineers and designers focused on healthcare, education, and commercial projects.
Recent projects: $100 million patient tower expansion for Shawnee Mission Medical Center, 144,000-sf medical clinic at Ft. Bliss (largest project of its kind to seek LEED Silver certification), and a new 660,000-sf commercial office campus.
Spearheads the firm’s sustainability education efforts, including LEED exam prep assistance for employees and other local design professionals.
ASHE/AHA Vista Award for Infrastructure, 2012 (Liberty Hospital Cardiology Addition).

EXTRACURRICULAR
Active in ASHE and Kansas City Healthcare Engineers Organization.
Board Chair and multiple committee positions, USGBC Central Plains Chapter.
Collaborated with Kansas City Sports Commission to “green” the KC Triathlon and Kansas City Marathon.
Volunteer service: KIPP Endeavor Academy, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City Hospice.

OFF THE CLOCK
Activities: yoga, competitive running—full and half marathons.

SECRET LIFE
Once appeared in a Benetton ad.

 

 

5. SURVIVOR

K. KULIA PACHECO BOERSTLER, PE, SE

Associate
Baldridge & Associates, Honolulu

AGE: 37
BS, MS, University of
Colorado Boulder

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Worked two jobs while completing her bachelor’s degree.
Completed master’s in structural engineering while holding down a full-time engineering job in Colorado.
After returning to Hawaii, promoted from senior structural engineer to associate in 16 months.
Licensed structural engineer in Hawaii and Colorado.
Project experience: Pacifica (48-story residential, Honolulu); The Spire (42-story residential, Denver); and assisted living, healthcare, office, retail, and military projects.
Diagnosed with Stage IIB colorectal cancer in 2011; continued to work during 18 months of treatment.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Volunteer with the American Cancer Society. Firm is doing the ACS Hope Lodge project, which will offer no-cost housing to off-island residents undergoing cancer treatment in Honolulu.
Member, American Institute of Steel Construction and Structural Engineers Association of Hawaii.

OFF THE CLOCK
Hosts annual Kentucky Derby party featuring mint juleps and outrageous hats.
Hobbies: cooking, baking, gardening, long-distance bike riding.
Favorite foods: Red wine-coffee-chocolate “trifecta.”

SECRET LIFE
Grandmother “Tutu” worked for the Hawaii Liquor Commission, took part in crackdowns on underage drinking at strip clubs—in her 70s.

 

 

6. ARMY OF ONE

NATHAN SPEANBURG, PE

Project Superintendent
M+W Group, Watervliet, N.Y.

AGE: 33
BSCE, U.S. Military Academy at West Point
MSCE, University of Missouri–Rolla

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Commissioned Army officer (Captain); deployed twice to Afghanistan, as well as to Honduras and Kosovo. Role included general engineering and project management, combat missions.
Recipient of the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal.
Taught military studies at the University of Vermont.
At M+W, manages contracting, planning, design, and construction of high-tech facilities.
Recent projects: $4.2 billion, 1.6-million sf Globalfoundries Fab 8.1, Malta, N.Y.; University at Albany, Albany Nanotech Complex, Office/Research/Technology Building, NanoFab East ($28 million, 211,000 sf); Albany Nanotech Complex, NanoFab Cleanroom building.
One of 10 U.S. employees on firm’s Injury Free Workplace Leadership Team.
Recruited for M+W Group’s Talents Program, providing intensive leadership training and mentoring for Top 20 employees (of 7,800).

EXTRACURRICULAR
Brigade Engineer Officer (Major), Vermont Army National Guard, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Educates first responders and town officials regarding semiconductor construction and operations.

OFF THE CLOCK
Activities: weight lifting, hiking, hunting, music (big band, early jazz, classical).
Favorite film: “Bridge on the River Kwai.”

SECRET LIFE
Building a cabin in the Adirondacks.

 

 

7. STRUCTURALLY SOUND

EMILY GUGLIELMO, PE

Senior Structural Engineer
Martin/Martin Inc., Larkspur, Calif.

AGE: 32
BS, University of California–Los Angeles
MS, University of California–Berkeley

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Runs the firm’s San Francisco Bay office.
Licensed engineer, California and Colorado; special expertise in seismic and wind issues.
Recent projects: Colorado State University Sonny Lubick Field Stadium, Denver Health and Hospitals Far Western Addition, Mesa State College Field House, and San Jose International Airport improvements.
Young Member Award, National Council of Structural Engineers Associations Annual Conference, 2012.
Emerging Leaders Alliance Conference Award, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2012.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Member, Structural Engineering Institute’s Young Professionals Committee.
Founding member, Northern California Structural Engineers Association Young Members Support Committee.
Active member, American Society of Civil Engineers.
Community volunteer, Habitat for Humanity.
Structural engineering docent for the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge.

OFF THE CLOCK
Enjoys marathons, 100-mile bike rides, Ironman Triathlons, skydiving, bungee jumping, ziplining, and roller coasters.
Favorite spots: Italy’s Piemonte region, Lake Tahoe.
Favorite film: “The Shawshank Redemption.”

SECRET LIFE
Former elite gymnast: “I’m still capable of some flips and twists.”

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