40 Under 40 retrospective: ‘U40s’ take on continuing ed, snake’s blood

Every month we’ll be touching base with past 40 Under 40 honorees to see what’s been happening in their professional and personal lives since winning the award.

August 20, 2013 |

Every month we’ll be touching base with past 40 Under 40 honorees to see what’s been happening in their professional and personal lives since winning the award. (U40 alums are invited to participate by sending an update to: jhigginbotham@sgcmail.com.) This month: An accomplished author of test-prep books and an architect who headed to China when the American economy turned sour.






Vice President,

Principal Architect

SMB&R, Camp HIll, Pa.

Class of 2009


Leppo continues as Principal Architect at SMB&R, a design and structural engineering firm. Recent work includes a 72,000-sf office building and numerous adaptive reuse and renovation projects.

Since 2009, she has continued to write and publish exam review books for Professional Publications Inc. The latest: a series covering the Green Associate and LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, and Homes exams.


Received the Penn State Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award in 2010, as well as the Young Alumni Award for Distinction from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis.

Named one of 25 Women of Influence in central Pennsylvania by the Central Penn Business Journal in 2011.

Named to the Board of Directors of the Central Pennsylvania AIA in 2010. 

Serves on the Board of Directors of Central Pennsylvania for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, an international development organization for high school students. 


Leppo stays busy raising two young sons while grappling with a residential reconstruction job. “I am still—still!—working on fixing up our old farmhouse. This is a never-ending project.”




Co-President, Design Principal

KaziaLi Design Collaborative

Tianjin, People’s Republic of China

Class of 2008


In the wake of the 2008 economic crash—which devastated his Chicago firm, Kazia Design Collaborative—Vogel joined forces with Chinese partner Li Chunguang to regroup in Tianjin. Renamed KaziaLi, the firm later expanded to London and Shanghai, and re-established Chicago operations through an alliance with PFB Architects. Currently eyeing growth opportunities in Africa and India.

Working on: Changhong Electric Technology Company’s International R&D Center in Chengdu, comprising 38-floor and 20-floor office towers connected by a 10,000-sm podium level for amenities, plus a 2,000-sm museum and exhibition space. The design incorporates both Western and feng shui principles.


In 2010, Vogel opened a real estate firm to deal with development issues outside the scope of the primary architectural practice.

With local partner Wang Jianli, KaziaLi recently built a pro bono facility for the 200-student Chihui School in Tibet, which had formerly operated only in tents.


Vogel often combines work with recreational travel, from the grasslands of Inner Mongolia to the mountains of Sichuan to the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong. “Having an open mind and a willingness to accept other people’s culture has landed me in tricky business dinners where I have consumed snake’s blood and the gallbladder, ears, feet, lungs, and hearts of various other animals,” he says.



Join our 40 Under 40 alumni and other outstanding young AEC professionals nominated by their firms at the 3rd Annual Under 40 Leadership Summit (Hyatt Regency San Francisco, October 9-11). REGISTRATION INFORMATION
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