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Meet the 40 under 40 class of 2020

40 Under 40

Meet the 40 under 40 class of 2020

These AEC stars are making their mark in business, philanthropy, and in their communities.


By BD+C Editors | December 8, 2020

 

See Also: BD+C's 40 Under 40 Class of 2019

 

Tariq Amlani
Aaron Bowman
Jessie Buckmaster
Katelyn Chapin
Geoff Cheong
Daniel Colombini
Ryan Conry
Kimberly Cowman
Shawn Cross
J.W. Murphy Curran
Rebecca Delaney
Ozge Diler Himes
Thomas Dzagan
Jason Gabrick
Holly Grimes
Jason Jackson
Christian Jordan
Sarah Kellerman
Tatum Lau
David Margolius
Charlene Mendez
Jonathan Moody
Davis Myers
Emily Paparella
Amy Pastor
Erin Peavey
Aaron Retherford
Kelsey Rose
Ryan Sawall
Jonathan Schlundt
Arjav Shah
Jenelle Shapiro
Josh Smith
Matthew Sparling
Deborah Steimel-Clair
Heather Van Ravenswaay
Asheya Warren
Kia Weatherspoon
Chris Young
Tim Zelazny

 

 

Inventive Engineer

Tariq Amlani of Stantec

TARIQ AMLANI, PE, LEED AP 

Global Health Sector Engineering Lead, Canada, Senior Principal, Buildings

Stantec, Victoria, B.C.

AGE: 37

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Applied Science, Mechanical Engineering, University of British Columbia

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Responsible for the delivery of more than $1 billion of healthcare construction around the world each year. Co-leads a worldwide team of 500+ healthcare practitioners across 100 offices.

Serves as the Office Building sector lead in the Victoria office.

Youngest ever Associate in Stantec’s Vancouver office, at 26; promoted to Principal at 32. 

Key projects: $600 million, 750,000-sf P3 North Island Hospitals Project, Vancouver Island (Role: engineering team lead, mechanical engineer of record); Kelowna General Hospital Ambulatory Care Centre, Kelowna, B.C. (mechanical engineering lead); McCormick Place 3,000-bed alternative care facility, Chicago (subject matter expert).
 
EXTRACURRICULAR
Vice Chair, Canadian Healthcare Engineering Society

Past Governor, National YEA Chair, American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers

Chair, Stantec Innovation Committee 

OFF THE CLOCK
Passion for inventing. "Over the years I have designed and built a go kart from a power washer, destroyed and then rebuilt a working car before I even had my driver’s license, designed a real-time residential energy meter (more details below), and developed a travel hot tub."  

Hobbies: Amateur astronomy, camping, golfing, hiking, inventing

Most memorable vacation: A month-long, cross-country, post-university trip from Vancouver to Kingston, Ontario, in 2006, to sail an autonomous sailboat in the first national autonomous sailboat competition.

SECRET LIFE
Unusual talent: Hip Hop karaoke. Once delivered the classical “Alphabet Aerobics” by Blackalicious to a room full of strangers in a record 1 minute, 26 seconds. "This is a skill that I carry with me now. Given the right opportunity and audience, have been known to drop the mic."

Was part of the original team that invented a real-time energy meter for residential applications. "After winning multiple business plan competitions and securing seed funding, two members of the team went on to take the invention into the real world. Fast forward to 2020, with hundreds of thousands of units sold worldwide, Neurio Technologies was sold to Generac Industries for an undisclosed sum, enough to provide all six team members with a comfortable return on our original time and energy investment."

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"After an office party to celebrate the birth of my second child, a colleague on the verge of retirement pulled me aside. He leaned in and whispered under his voice, 'Don’t make the same mistake I made,' and then he stepped back and sat down. What was he referring to? He shared with me a story of his two children who were now adults, and yet basically strangers to him. He explained that he had falsely believed that working all day every day, at the sacrifice of his family life, was the right thing to do. He cautioned me to balance my work and life, and when in doubt, to err on the side of spending too much time with family.”

TALK ABOUT A RECENT PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT
"A recent achievement that stands out is my participation and successful win of a Hackathon. Hosted by the Vancouver Island Health Authority, this 24-hour long volunteer design competition was aimed at bringing together multidisciplinary teams from all different walks of life to help identify and solve wicked healthcare problems plaguing the local community. 

"Winning first place, our team identified the problem of unnecessary long term care transfers to acute care hospitals and invented a solution, aptly called STACI, for Short Term Acute Care Interventions. It consisted of a suite of tools that outpatient healthcare providers could use to identify and reduce the number of unnecessary transfers. After meeting with C-suite leadership of the local health authority, it was confirmed that implementation of this solution was projected to eliminate more than 250 unnecessary acute care admissions per year, resulting in a potential cost saving the local health authority over $1.1 million a year, along with avoiding countless nosocomial infections and mental health impacts to members of our local community. 

"Setting aside personal time to contribute to local initiatives like this leaves me with a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment in my personal life, and I am thankful for the opportunity and ability to support these programs in a meaningful way."

 

 

Community Advocate

Aaron Bowman

Aaron Blake Bowman, AIA, LEED AP

Project Architect | Learning Environments

Liollio Architecture, Charleston, S.C.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
MS in Architecture, Clemson University

Master of Architecture, Clemson University

BS, Design, Clemson University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Career path has combined public interest design with community service

AIA Young Architect Award, 2020

Designed resilient housing for the National Park Service to replace structures in U.S. Virgin Islands destroyed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria

In 2018 supported local nonprofit urban farms by developing low-cost, flexible shelving system to expand existing retail capacities

For First Baptist Church, integrated multistory education building with flexible spaces for multiple user groups. Also restored and preserved the church’s 18th-Century Carriage House on a limited budget.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Instrumental in organizing ARCHiLaMP, a mentorship program, in partnership with AIA Greenville, Women in Architecture SC Upstate, and Clemson University AIAS

As Design Director, reinstated AIA Charleston’s Community and Service Awards program, and established the chapter’s Service and Outreach Committee

Founded and organized AIA South Carolina’s Resilience: By Design Conference, focusing on disaster relief and planning

OFF THE CLOCK
To get back into physical shape, set a personal goal of working out at least 250 days in 2019. That included two 5K races, a 10K, and an obstacle-course race

Roots for all Clemson teams.

Plays soccer and recently coached his son’s team.

To support Charleston County Library’s literary outreach, designed and built a free mini-library and kiosk to bring books into the community.

Attends 5:30 a.m. Crossfit classes five times a week.

Sponsors and supports fundraisers for Ronald McDonald House Charleston and the American Heart Association, which provided his family with housing and support when his newborn son received a heart transplant at five months old.

SECRET LIFE
Was a competitive gymnast when he was young, and a good tumbler into his 20s. (He can still walk on his hands.)

His grandfather was a Seabee in World War II who started a construction firm after the war. (His father now runs that business with three of his brothers.)

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"My friend and thesis advisor Dan Harding would always quote Oscar Wilde: Be yourself, everyone else is already taken. This advice was tremendously influential for me as I was formulating my thesis and identifying my personal approach to design and community engagement. After working with Dan for several years I returned to practice and began focusing on creating volunteer opportunities with community organizations where I could pursue my interest in community oriented design. This led to opportunities in my local AIA section where I met like-minded colleagues and eventually landed my current role at Liollio."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"My gym was forced to close for a while, but I was able to continue working out with classes over zoom. I built a raised bed and we started growing some vegetables and composting our food waste. I think the 'family haircuts in the yard' tradition will not survive the pandemic (which is a good thing). As difficult as it has all been, the opportunity to spend time with my family everyday has been a blessing." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I was surprised how much I missed the collaborative spirit, energy, and general noise of working in the open studio at my office. When I need to concentrate, I will use headphones to limit distractions while working. I realized I had gotten in the habit of listening to music no matter what I was doing. Once we began re-integrating the office, I realized how much I had missed overhearing conversations and having the opportunity for quick discussions on design challenges and other more mundane issues. I have always enjoyed collaboration and working with others, but I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed working around others until I was stuck at home."

 

 

GREEN BUILDING INNOVATOR

Jessie Buckmaster

JESSIE BUCKMASTER, LEED AP BD+C

Sustainability Manager

Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co. | Sacramento, Calif.

AGE: 31

EDUCATION
BSCE, University of California, Irvine

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Hathaway Dinwiddie as an Intern; promoted to Project Engineer (2010) and Sustainability Manager (2017).

Pursuing full Living Building Challenge certification for Santa Monica (Calif.) City Services Building (2020)—which would make it the first municipal LBC building in the world. Managed the Materials petal and LBC Red List requirements, trained 40 subcontractors on LBC, and vetted >1,000 products.

Major projects: 7th & Santa Fe, Los Angeles (LEED Gold), LEED documentation; Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles, sustainability consultant; USU Oasis Wellness Center, Cal State Northridge, biophilia consultant; Santa Clara (Calif.) Square Phase 2 (LEED Gold), LEED documentation.

Leader, Hathaway Dinwiddie Green Team.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Volunteer and child sponsor, Advocates for Africa’s Children in Swaziland/Eswatini (2014).

Trustee, First United Methodist Church, Sacramento (building operations and oversight).

Board member, USGBC–Los Angeles.

OFF THE CLOCK
Climbed Half Dome in Yosemite.

Loves dancing (especially with husband James).

Aspiring gardener (“Only managed 4 cherry tomatoes all summer”).

SECRET LIFE
Maternal grandfather owned a construction company in Southern California.

Once read 73 books in a single year.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Make yourself invaluable so that people around you feel like they can’t do their job without you. I started as an intern after graduating college in 2010—when the industry was still affected by the recession. I spent time learning everything I could and assisting everyone I interacted with, and thanks to some good timing was hired full time three months later. And don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn new things."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
I’m very fortunate to be able to work from home during this time.

Going for walks, there’s a great open green space behind my neighborhood

Continuing to learn about environmental justice and antiracism 

Remembering I am terrible at gardening (my summer vegetables were a disaster – only managed about 4 single cherry tomatoes - winter plants seem to be doing better!) 

Reading in my backyard hammock

Planning future travels once it’s safe again via magazines, social media, and watching city walking tours on YouTube.

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"It’s ok and even necessary to slow down and rest." 

 

Education heavy-hitter

Katelyn Chapin

Katelyn Chapin, AIA, NCARB

Associate

Svigals + Partners | New Haven, Conn.

AGE: 35

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Science/Master of Architecture Dual Degree, Roger Williams University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Passed all seven Architectural Registration Examinations in just over one year

Youngest registered architect at Svigals + partners

Youngest Associate in firm’s history

Played an integral role in designing the new Sandy Hook Elementary School

EXTRACURRICULAR
Director, KidsBuild! 

Community Director, Young Architects Forum 

Member, Women in Architecture Committee

Assisted in building four Habitat for Humanity homes

OFF THE CLOCK
Loves spending time in the garden

Enjoys being active - avid volleyball player, runner, cyclist, and walker

SECRET LIFE
Is a master organizer. “If it helps systematize or create order from apparent chaos - I love it all!”

Family owns legal US currency with family name, Chapin, printed on bills in the 1910s from The Chapin National Bank of Springfield, Massachusetts.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“Many mentors throughout my professional career have encouraged me to ‘get involved and give back.’ In this way, I have gained personal fulfillment by volunteering with the American Institute of Architects at the local, regional, and national levels, and by helping inspire students in grades K-12 as the director of Svigals + Partners’ own program called KidsBuild! I have also mentored collegiate architecture students, and also found opportunities to participate in my local community. 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
“My hobbies and sports have helped avert cabin fever. Through the ups and downs of 2020, I have found inspiration and fun spending time outside. There is no shortage of beautiful scenery to explore in coastal Connecticut, either by foot or by kayak.”

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? 
“While I love being on the go and participating in extracurriculars, 2020 has taught me to appreciate a slower pace of life and to value strong relationships with family and friends. Incidentally, I believe this rekindled appreciation will make me a better architect.”

 

 

SPORTS CHAMPION

Geoff Cheong

GEOFF CHEONG, AIA, NCARB

Lead Project Designer, Architect

Populous | Kansas City, Mo.

AGE: 36

EDUCATION
Bachelor in Architectural Science, Diploma of Architectural & Building Engineering Technology, British Columbia Institute of Technology

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Populous in 2007 as Architect.

Promoted to Associate (2011), Senior Associate (2012), Associate Principal (2015), Principal (2019).

Leads a team of 25 architects and designers on projects for MLB, MLS, the NFL, and the NHL.

Has led the design of $1.86 billion in sports and entertainment projects over 13 years.

Major projects: Marlins Park (Miami), Videotron Centre (Quebec), T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas).

Completed six Super Bowl projects and two NHL Heritage Classics.

Lead Designer and Consultant Coordinator, Seattle Center Arena renovation.

Completed the 18-month-long Populous Leadership Development Program.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Captains a men’s ice hockey team in Kansas City.

OFF THE CLOCK
Sports enthusiast: hockey, volleyball, golf, and softball.

At-home chef, specializing in Jamaican and Asian dishes and hosting “sushi night.”

Roller blading and cycling with his wife, Melea, and their daughter (1).

SECRET LIFE
Member of the ice hockey team in the Korean American National Sports Festival (2013, 2015).

His parents and grandparents, of Chinese descent, were all born and raised in Jamaica.

Cut his own hair (with Melea’s help) even before Covid-19.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“'This too, shall pass.' This was a constant reminder to me from a friend and mentor while working together at Populous. Our projects are often lengthy (several years in design and construction) due to their scale and complexity. There are challenging times when it feels like you can never get unburied, and that there is no end to the project or the daily grind in sight. “Geoff…” he would say, and then insert a lengthy pause before continuing, “…this too, shall pass.” (Bonus tip – this is such good advice for your personal life as well!)"

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"It’s cliché, but our daughter has been my joy and saving grace during the pandemic and work-from-home environment. We start off weekday mornings by reading books and having breakfast together, which no morning commute can ever compete with. And throughout the day, being able to step away from meetings and other organized project chaos to steal a hug and a smile from our daughter has become the equivalent of friendly watercooler talk with colleagues at the office."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"2020 has taught me how adaptable I can be both in my personal and professional life. My work-from-home schedule and environment has evolved since March, and I find myself working in unusual places, and at unusual hours to make it work. But despite this, at the end of the day my current project team on Climate Pledge Arena has remained very efficient and effective in our work. I’ve learned how adaptable I can be, and I’ve seen how adaptable our firm has been throughout the year, and it’s great."

 

 

Blazing Talent

Daniel Colombini

Daniel Colombini, FPE

Principal and Director of Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineering

Goldman Copeland Associates, New York, N.Y.

AGE: 38

EDUCATION
MS, Fire Protection Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts

BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Vermont

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
At 28, youngest department head in the firm’s history.

Initiated performance-based design at Goldman Copeland, as well as its first in-house fire modeling. 

Named “Engineer of the Year” in 2018 by Plumbing Engineer magazine.

Principal responsible for MEP engineering services for the entire New York City portfolio of client Empire State Realty Trust, which includes the Empire State Building.

EXTRACURRICULARS
Active with the National Fire Protection Association, the Society for Fire Protection Engineers, and the American Society of Professional Engineers.

Mentors students interested in engineering and fire protection.

Widely published and in-demand speaker.

OFF THE CLOCK
His family is renovating their home to make it net-zero with Passive House and LEED certifications.

Plays several instruments (including trumpet, drums, and banjo), most recently focusing on guitar and piano. He plays music every day.

Serves on the environmental and sustainability committees for his hometown, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., and his son’s school.

SECRET LIFE
Unusual talent: He can whistle and hum simultaneously.

His great-grandmother started her own business in New York’s Garment District before the Great Depression that survived for another eight decades. 

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"I’ve received indispensable business advice from many mentors and colleagues. One example that stands out comes from Charlie Copeland, President & CEO of Goldman Copeland, who says, 'Maintenance is the vitality of civilization.' In other words, the strength of a society is reflected in the condition of its infrastructure. That’s advice that our entire nation would do well to keep in mind and implement."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"The best way I’ve found to maintain sanity this year is through music and exercise. Staying healthy is key to thriving in stressful and uncertain times like these. Keeping mind and body engaged is a challenge when working from home, but we all need to be creative to stay calm, in shape, and fulfilled."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"Through the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve learned to adapt in dramatic ways. My work has taken on a new focus on air quality and mitigating viral transmission in a broad range of building types. While I’ve addressed such issues in the past in healthcare facilities, that work is now relevant to all buildings."

 

 

STRUCTURAL SAVANT

Ryan Conry

RYAN CONRY, PE, SE, SECB

Associate, Assistant New York Structural Engineering Director

STV, New York, N.Y.

AGE: 32

EDUCATION
MSCE, BSCE, Manhattan College

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Earned Structural Engineering Certification Board certification at age 29.

Directs 10 structural engineers and codirects 11 on infrastructure, healthcare, and education facility projects.

Lead structural engineer for $2 billion, one-million-sf Newark Liberty International Airport Terminal One.

Expert in the analysis of structural systems for a wide variety of load types; also expert in blast resistance and anti-terrorism standards.

American Council of Engineering Companies Silver Award for Engineering Excellence in Building/Technology Systems for the Davis Barracks, U.S. Military Academy at West Point (2018).

Developed a post–Superstorm Sandy STV in-house design guide and rating system to gauge the risk of flooding for existing buildings. 

Designed specialized flood walls to resist massive barge collision loads at a wastewater treatment plant in Newark, N.J.

Designed parameter walls and massive vehicular gates to resist extreme pressures associated with a hurricane surge for NYC Transit’s Coney Island Yard, Brooklyn.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Primary contributing author, “Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: Adaptive Design and Risk Management” (ASCE).

ASCE 7-22 Flood Load Committee: assisted in the development of new equations to address flood impact, buoyancy, and hydrodynamic loading.

Participant, SEAoNY workshops, committees, and events.

OFF THE CLOCK
Golf, swimming, snowboarding, and running enthusiast.

Recently taught himself to jump rope, using an extension cord.

SECRET LIFE
Completed the 2014 NYC marathon on a bad ankle.

Installed an in-ground sprinkler system at age 10 (“It still works!”).

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"My supervisor, Chris Cerino, has bestowed lots of wisdom over the years I’ve worked with him, but as we are both avid sports fans, a sports analogy always fits seamlessly into conversation. Once we discussed how to be the best leader/manager and, while there is lots of additional nuance, he thought of it as being a good coach versus bad coach. A good coach disperses credit to the players (in this case, the employees) when things go well, and they take the brunt of the blame when things go poorly. They then follow up internally and privately to ensure the problem doesn’t happen twice. I found this to be a great strategy for building trust and teamwork among a working group and I always keep it in mind when communicating with team members who report directly to me."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, but the lack of available activities gave me the motivation to get back into running. (I sustained a knee injury in 2019, so I had to take time off). Now that I’ve healed, running helped calm my mind during such a difficult time and acted as not only physical exercise, but also meditative exercise.

"I also reverted to my youth and played a fair amount of video games – along with the nostalgic feeling, this provided a great outlet for socializing among my friends when we couldn’t do so in person.

"As far as a new skill, I also taught myself how to jump rope in my apartment using an extension cord (shout out to my coworkers for making fun of my terrible technique and inspiring this effort)."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"Prior to the COVID shutdowns in early 2020, I hadn’t realized just how busy and hectic my life had become with constant work and social activities. The beginning of the shutdown offered a reprieve from a jam-packed schedule. It gave me time to relax, recalibrate and reflect. With this new mindset, I know that once things 'go back to normal,' I’ll be much more mindful of factoring in time to relax and decompress."

 

 

Engineering Virtuoso

Kim Cowman

Kim Cowman, PE, LEED AP, HFDP

Senior Associate, National Director of Engineering

Leo A Daly, Omaha, Neb.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
Masters of Architectural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Bachelors of Science in Architectural Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Holds Professional Engineer licenses in eight states and Guam.

First in LEO A DALY firm history to hold the position of National Director of Engineering.

ASHRAE Nebraska Chapter - Chapter Service Award 2015

Outstanding Alumni Award 2019, Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Served as secretary treasurer of ASHRAE’s Nebraska chapter.

Served six-year appointment on the Industry Advisory Board for the Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction.

Regular guest lecturer at the University of Nebraska.

OFF THE CLOCK
Enjoys golf, bowling, and trivia games.

Enjoys landscaping around her home.

SECRET LIFE
Doesn’t know how to ride a bike.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Somebody told me (I don’t remember exactly who, but I think it was a now-retired project manager and mechanical engineer from LEO A DALY) that if you have an idea you want to implement, you have to own it and develop it yourself. Just saying it to other people won’t make the idea materialize. It’s up to me to find the support and resources I need to help me."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"My son Charlie got a chess board for his birthday. Since I had never learned how to play chess, he and I have been learning together. The chess board and pieces are all themed after Super Mario Brothers, which is fun.

"I have also made progress on an admittedly unambitious house project involving exactly two cabinet doors. It has been on my house-project list for 10 years but I only started in March. Even though it’s not finished, I think the pandemic is largely responsible for the progress I’ve made in a comparatively short period of time." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"This year has really shown me how much I value the casual, inconsequential interactions I have with other people. I had taken those personal relationships for granted and didn’t realize it until I wasn’t able to visit with people in person on a regular basis."

 

 

PreCon Expert

Shawn Cross

Shawn Cross, LEED AP

Director of Preconstruction

McCownGordon Construction, Kansas City, Mo.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
BS, Construction Science and Management, Kansas State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Has led over 100 projects, including McCownGordon’s largest-ever (more than $500 million).

Helped establish the firm’s Wichita, Kan., office.

Member of leadership team that, over the past five years, grew the firm’s healthcare practice to $200 million annually from $15 million.

Helped lead and implement the firm’s Target Value Design, Development, and Construction approach for its Commercial and Healthcare markets that advises owners through the development process, and sets minimum pricing early in design. This approach is now used throughout the company.

EXTRACURRICULARS
Developed curricula and training procedures for the firm’s MGC University, specifically its Preconstruction Academy and The Customer Promise programs. He teaches at each of these programs, as well as classes in the firm’s Project Management Academy.

Affiliated with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Centurion Alumni Association, as well as that metro’s Area Development Council.

OFF THE CLOCK
Coaches numerous sports for kids of varying ages.

Spends time at family’s mountain cabin riding ATVs, biking, fly fishing, and skiing.

Has hiked 20 mountains with peaks higher than 14,000 ft.

SECRET LIFE
In 2005, during final semester of college and studying in Prague, visited 14 countries in just over three months.

While growing up, Shawn’s family welcomed into their home two foreign exchange students, 32 [Editor’s note: I double checked this with Shawn] foster children, and three of his mom’s students who lived there their senior year.

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"Focusing on family and neighbors. Limiting my online and news exposure, turned off my alerts on my phone." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I thrive on talking, connecting, and collaborating with people face to face. I hit Zoom fatigue sometime in early summer. 

"The importance of ‘Be Present’ in the here and now. This applies to home and professional life." 

 

 

STRUCTURALLY SOUND

Murphy Curran

J.W. MURPHY CURRAN, PE

Principal, Business Development Director, and Structural Engineer

Meyer Borgman Johnson, Minneapolis, Minn.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
BSCE, University of Minnesota

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Meyer Borgman Johnson in 2006; rose from Associate (2011) to youngest Principal in the firm’s 64-year history (2018)

Tripled MBJ’s annual business revenue as Business Development Director.

Has worked on more than 30 local and national award-winning projects.

Major projects: $1 billion Barclay’s Center Arena, Brooklyn, N.Y. (while at Thornton Tomasetti); $100 million renovation of Northrop Auditorium, University of Minnesota.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Adjunct faculty, University of Minnesota Graduate School of Architecture (2010-2014); Structural Studio Advisor (2016-present).

Leads MBJ’s annual community service events with Hearts & Hammers, Habitat for Humanity, and the March of Dimes.

Member, Minnesota Concrete Council (2010-present), Vice President (2016), President (2017).

American Council of Engineering Companies of Minnesota Advisory Board.

Member, AIA-MN, American Institute for Steel Construction, Structural Engineering Association of New York.

OFF THE CLOCK
Hiking, skiing, camping in northern Minnesota with his wife, Jenni, an ultrasonographer, and their daughter Fiona (12) and son Eamon (10)—and Mabel, their dog.

Plays guitar, banjo, and mandolin.

SECRET LIFE
Recently learned how to solve Rubik’s Cube in under one minute.

Once trekked most of the length of Tasmania; also took a seven-day dogsled trip in middle of winter.

Helped restore a 1965 Honda S65, 6.2hp motorcycle; used beer cans to rebuild the transmission.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Distilled down it is 'Stay curious, and listen deeply.' I am fascinated by why and how people do their work. Not just work related to buildings, anything. When we’re structuring spaces for people it is super important to understand what they do, and how that may change over time. I have a close friend and mentor that told me once, 'You know what, you are really just genuinely interested in what people do, how they tick.' Getting projects designed and constructed (big or small) is hard work and if we are really listening to each other we can make it easier. We can listen for what makes things harder for someone, and more importantly what makes things better for them, what gets them moving in the morning. Staying in the habit works on yourself as well. As you get better at listening to others you learn about your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. It keeps me moving, and it keeps me focused on continuous improvement of our business."  

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"Besides the Rubik’s cube, video games with my kids, and more coffee time on the porch in the morning, we’ve really worked at getting out for an 'adventure' once a week (typically on Sundays). It might be a hike, or a little bit of volunteering, sometimes it is a long drive to go look at cool things in the City. It’s been nice to take the considered time together." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I can work at home! I have always prided myself on being able to work from anywhere (my car, the office, a closet, the road), but I never thought I’d like to work at home during the day. Turns out I can work there too, and the coffee is better."

 

 

WELL-TRAVELED ENGINEER

Rebecca Delaney

REBECCA DELANEY, PE, LEED AP BD+C 

Associate Director, Sustainable Engineering Studio 

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Nashville, Tenn.

AGE: 37

EDUCATION
Master of Architectural Engineering, Bachelor of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined SOM in 2014; named SOM’s youngest MEP Team Leader at age 34 (2017).

Promoted to Associate Director of the Sustainable Engineering Studio and moved to Nashville (2018).

Her team impacts 90 million sf/year, saving 50% of energy costs and eliminating 600,000 tons/year of GHG emissions.

Currently designing twin towers in Taipei, pursuing LEED and WELL Platinum certification and applying post-Covid design measures. 

Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leaders Program (2017).

Penn State AE Early Impact and Young Alumni Achievement Awards (2015).

ASHRAE New Faces of Engineering Award (2014).

EXTRACURRICULAR
Board of Directors, Nashville Civic Design Center (2020).

Nashville Young Leaders Council (2019).

Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leaders Program (2017)

Penn State College of Engineering Young Alumni Advisory Board.

Volunteer, ACE Mentor Program; has engaged with >200 students on engineering as a career.

Engineers Without Borders: Led a water-protection project in Kenya and designed an off-grid school in Nairobi’s Kibera slum (one of the largest in the world). 

OFF THE CLOCK
Has traveled to East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) seven times in 11 years, as both volunteer and tourist.

Recently bought a monogramming machine: “I embroider shirts, socks, hairbows, dresses, towels, pillows, and jackets for friends and family.”

SECRET LIFE
New tradition: “Friday night disco/pizza party with my two-year-old daughter.”

Her grandfather was in the RAF during WWII; shot down three times, recovered, went on to a career as an engineer at General Electric.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Always be willing to admit when you don’t know something. A former boss and mentor said he learned this lesson from a college professor who asked 'what did you learn this semester?' as an extra credit question. My boss responded with the above and got his extra point! Admitting you don’t know everything changes the tone of every conversation and promotes the pursuit of lifelong learning." 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"I bought a monogramming machine and I embroider shirts, socks, hair bows, dresses, towels, pillows, and jackets for my friends and family. 

"I have started a new tradition of Friday night disco / pizza party with my 2-year-old daughter.

"I have begun pursuing minimalism: the less stuff in my house, the less I need to think about and take care of, the lighter my mental load.

"I have perfected my banana bread recipe!"

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I’m more resilient and creative than I thought. When faced with challenges, I always find a way to make it work (and make it fun). 

"This year has also provided great perspective as I meditated on what is most important in my life and whether that aligns with how I spend my time and energy. It’s all about balance."

 

 

SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE

ÖZGE DILER HIMES

Design Manager

Finegold Alexander Architects, Boston

AGE: 34

EDUCATION
Master of Urban Design, Carnegie Mellon University; BArch, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Finegold Alexander Architects in 2016; named Design Manager in 2019.

Chief designer on winning entry for 727 Mass Ave.—adaptive reuse of the historic Cambridge Gas & Light Building into a boutique hotel.

Other key projects: Babson College, Commons at Horn Library (2019); Union Point Hangar adaptive reuse (repurpose of a military hangar); Boston Public Library, Johnson Building Rare Books Collection renovation feasibility study.

Organizer, Finegold Alexander “Friday Presentations,” a weekly series of project presentations.

Researcher/illustrator, Main Street Connectivity: Patterns and Processes Linking Urban Commercial Patches (2013), with Edward A. Shriver and Rami el Samahy.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Lecturer (architecture), Boston University (2018-present); Adjunct Professor, Carnegie Mellon University (2012-13).

Invited critic, Boston Architectural College, Boston University, Harvard University, and Wentworth Institute of Technology.

Facilitator, ULI UrbanPlan program; reviewed student development proposals (2020).

Volunteer, Rose Kennedy Greenway (2017-19).

Boston Society of Architects, “Refugees, Resilience, and Public Space: Syria Initiative,” a collaboration with Lebanese architects for a schoolyard at a Syrian refugee camp in Beirut (2017).

OFF THE CLOCK
Master cook in Turkish cuisine.

Has taken up app-guided meditation.

SECRET LIFE
Helped map collapsed buildings at an archeological dig in Sagalassos, an ancient Roman city in Turkey.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"The best piece of career advice I’ve heard is: get out of your comfort zone. The architecture profession requires a lot of different skillsets that you don’t necessarily learn at school, whether it’s software, people skills, or project management. I think it’s important to test yourself in different situations, project types, or phases of work to expand your skillset in order to become a well-rounded architect. Even though it can be painful at times, it will only make you better!"

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"I started app-guided meditation and it really helped me to calm my mind while staying in quarantine. As a frequent gym user in pre-COVID time, I also started working out at home without equipment and realized it can be as effective as going to the gym."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I realized even more how much I like traveling and exploring new places. I hadn’t realized it was so core to what I do and how I get motivated in life."

 

 

Esteemed Engineer

Thomas Dzagan

THOMAS M. DZAGAN, PE, CCM

Construction Manager

CDM Smith, East Hartford, Conn. 

AGE: 32
 
EDUCATION
MS, Civil Engineering, Ohio University
BS, Civil Engineering, Wentworth Institute of Technology

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Served multiple roles with a wide range of public and private clients, including contractor, designer, inspector, and owners’ representative

Currently serving as owner’s rep. for the Town of Putnam, Conn., on its CM-at-risk Town Hall and Library Project

Earned master's degree while working full-time in construction management with a 2.5-hour daily commute

Named 2019 Distinguished Young Professional, Construction Management Association of America, Connecticut Chapter

Key projects: Pentagon Renovation Project (Wedges 4 and 5); CTfastrak bus rapid transit system; Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) New Haven Rail Yard 

EXTRACURRICULAR
Treasurer, Past Secretary, CMAA, Connecticut Chapter

Active Member, Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers

OFF THE CLOCK
Enjoys catching, cleaning, and eating blue crab

Fave vacation: Annual Memorial Day fishing trip to New Hampshire

Hobbies: Fishing, gardening, kayaking, lawn games (badminton, cornhole), yard work 

Currently renovating 1952 ranch home "that's a little outdated, but hey, I love a good project." 

Makes fruit wine using home-grown peaches  

Former volunteer firefighter/emergency medical responder, Colchester (Conn.) Hayward Fire Department (1,200+ volunteer hours)

SECRET LIFE
Double-jointed in both hands. "In my younger days, I was able to bend my index finger and touch the back of my hand."

Great grandfather escaped Russia during the Russian Revolution and came to the U.S. on a freighter illegally

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"The pandemic has definitely made this year interesting. I’ve stayed home more than ever but I’ve been able to adapt and keep my sanity by playing board games, going on walks with my dog Emma, watching more tv shows, and driving around town exploring." 

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"This is perhaps not the best career or business advice I ever received but it’s one that comes to mind when it’s best to take a step back and think rationally. A highway engineer I used to work with applied three rules for designing highways. He used these rules not for the quality they provide but to make sure the team still had the big picture in mind. 1) Our work is done by bulldozers. One decimal place is good enough. 2) The contractor is a clever fellow. Don’t spend a lot of time on details. He’s probably not going to build it per plan anyway. 3) The final roadway alignment will be determined by the guy driving the paint truck."

 

 

CRACKERJACK CONTRACTOR

Jason Gabrick

JASON GABRICK

Vice President of Construction

Ryan Companies, Minneapolis, Minn.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
BS, Construction Management, Minnesota State University Mankato

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Ryan out of college in 2003. Promoted to Project Manager, Division Manager, and Vice President of Construction.  

Minnesota Subcontractor Association’s 2015 Construction Professional of the Year.

Ryan Companies’ Emerging Leaders Group.

Led the Ryan team for Target’s expansion into Canada.

Other clients include The Toro Company, Whole Foods, Polaris, Upsher-Smith, and Blackstone.

Responsible for 10.3 million sf of work and $884 million of work in place.

Recipient of the 2018 Jim Ryan Award: voted by Ryan employees and awarded to the one employee who exhibits outstanding personal values and exceptional community service.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Construction Management Industry Advisory Board, Minnesota State University Mankato.

Minnesota Construction Association Leadership Training Academy.

RyanGivesBack Campaign Ambassador (Ryan Cos. annual charity).

Volunteer, Habitat for Humanity, Ronald McDonald House.

OFF THE CLOCK
Became a Certified Food Production Manager and runs a home-based business—Pucker Up Pickles, averaging 1,600 quarts of dills a year—with his wife, Monica, an oncology RN.

Coaches his sons Weston (10) and Brooks (7) in hockey.

Enjoys water skiing and fishing with his family at their lakeside cottage.

SECRET LIFE
Maintains a 40X80-foot backyard hockey rink open to all comers.

Both grandfathers worked in construction; his father operated a crane.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"During a particularly challenging assignment in my career where results weren’t as good as I wanted, I had a conversation with our CEO, Brian Murray, who told me to think of my career as a two-part journal. One part is the good things I have accomplished, and the other is the bad moments. He said the good part of my journal contains pages and pages of accomplishments, and that the bad part likely just has a couple of items listed. He then asked me why I am focusing so much attention on the bad. Simple advice, but it helped me to reset my mind, and pull through the assignment successfully."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"During the summer, we were able to spend every weekend together as a family at the lake, and although I have always been a list person, I have finally been able to make some serious progress with home projects that have been nagging at me for years!"

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"2020 has underscored the importance of being transparent and humble in both my personal and professional life. This might be easier when times are good, but I vowed to be fully transparent with our team members - whether good news or bad—as I believe they deserve to know exactly what is going on. If I don’t know the answer, it is okay, but I need to find the answer and lead through it. Mistakes will (and have) happen(ed) and admitting those mistakes while pivoting quickly is incredibly important. I am humbled by the success we have been able to achieve together and am proud of the family we have at Ryan Cos. Likewise, sharing concerns, fears, and joys with family members is always important, but especially when anxieties are heightened. We are all dealing with variables that seem out of our control, but if we shut down communication, we will never solve the challenges."

 

 

RETAIL WIZARD

Holly Grimes

HOLLY GRIMES, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP

Studio Director, Mixed Use/Retail

NELSON Worldwide, Jacksonville, Fla.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
MArch, University of Florida; BS, Architecture & Interior Design, Tennessee Technological University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Five promotions in seven years with NELSON Worldwide and Wakefield Beasley & Associates (acquired by NELSON in 2019); named Studio Director following acquisition.

Helped double the Jacksonville office’s annual revenue.

ICSC CenterBuild Leader Under 40, International Council of Shopping Centers (2017).

AIA Jacksonville President’s Award (2009).

EXTRACURRICULAR
President, CREW Jacksonville (2020); previously Director of Communication, Marketing, & Public Relations.

Member, ULI FL Summit Executive Committee (2018-19), ULI North Florida Membership Committee (2016-present), ULI Technical Assistance Panel (2018).

ULI North Florida’s UrbanPlan, a project-based learning program for local high schools.

ULI North Florida Women’s Leadership Development Institute (2017). ULI North Florida Center for Leadership (2019).

ICSC CenterBuild Program Advisory Committee and ICSC North Florida Idea Exchange Planning Committee (2016-2018).

Trustee Member, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors (2017).

OFF THE CLOCK
With husband Michael, taking daughters Addison (9) and Kate (6) to dance and gymnastics.

SECRET LIFE
Played stand-up bass in her middle school orchestra (“The instrument was taller than me!”)

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"I’ve picked up a lot of great tidbits through the years. I think one the best is to take risks and say yes to opportunities. Take on responsibilities at all levels, if you aren’t learning and growing, you are dying!"

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"Luckily, I got a bike for Christmas last year so working from home has given me the opportunity to put it to use. We also got a new puppy since we were finally home long enough to train one. His name is Toby and he is a Black Tuxedo (slightly merle) Aussiedoodle."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I’ve understood the importance of driving change and continuously evolving but I think 2020 reinforced the need to embrace unexpected change. Find the opportunity in every challenge."

 

 

MEMPHIS MARVEL

Jason Jackson

JASON JACKSON, AIA

Lead Design Architect, Partner

brg3s architects | Memphis, Tenn.

AGE: 38

EDUCATION
BArch, University of Arkansas

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined brg3s architects (formerly TRO Jung|Brannon) in 2009

Named Lead Design Architect and Partner, the youngest in the firm in at age 29 (2011).

Serves as the firm’s Head of Continuous Improvement and annual Partner Retreat organizer.

AIA National Young Architects Award (2019).

Major projects: Memphis SLIM Collaboratory (lead designer, project architect and manager, community facilitator), Soulsville USA (neighborhood master planner), Shelby County Forensic Center, and UTHSC Center for Healthcare

Improvement and Patient Simulation.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Visiting architect, mentor, guest juror, University of Memphis Department of Architecture.

Mentor, AIA Memphis Discovering Architecture Summer Camp for Memphis high school students to learn about design.

AIA Memphis Emerging Professionals Leadership Program Steering Committee.

Speaker, TEDx-Memphis, “Neighborhood Revitalization through Culture, Community, and Creativity” (2016).

OFF THE CLOCK
Playing “way too much” Minecraft with his sons, Benjamin (11) and Oliver (4)

He and his wife, Ciara, volunteer with their sons’ Scout activities.

SECRET LIFE
Became American Pool Players Association Junior Champion at age 12.

He and his dad rebuilt a rusted Chevy 350 engine block and installed it in a 1926 Ford T-Bucket Roadster.

Got through college with the financial support of community organizations, churches, teachers, and local businesses in his hometown, Mountain Home, Ark.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
I’ve always admired Steve Jobs’ business advice and often think about his quote: “You can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use”. None of us has a magic formula for success.

You, right now, have the ability and skills you need to build something useful and important.

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"My wife is big into the holidays and she had the grand idea to try and spread the cheer throughout the year with a ‘Christmas In July’ party for the boys after we’d been working from home for a few months. We made 'frozen hot chocolate' (milkshakes with marshmallows and candy canes), decorated a big fake palm tree with Christmas ornaments, threw reindeer floaties into the pool and cranked up the Hawaiian Christmas carols. It’s definitely a new family tradition!"

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"This pandemic has highlighted our need to be respectful of each individual’s personal challenges. Our interconnectedness requires us to care about each other, and to be mindful of the information we consume and share. We sink or swim together. For me, that has come with a new appreciation the importance of personal responsibility in the larger web of our community."

 

 

Small Firm Supporter

Christian Jordan

Christian Jordan, NCARB, AIA

Architect/Principal

PJA Architecture | Philadelphia, Pa.

AGE: 37

EDUCATION
BArch, Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia University)

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Earned architect’s license before age 30 without having to retake an exam.

Licensed Architect in six states

Co-founder + Managing Partner of JAMB Collective.

Since joining PJA as a principal in 2012, gross revenue has grown 2025%, net revenue by 4300%.

AIA Pennsylvania Emerging Professional Award winner 2017.

EXTRACURRICULAR

Co-Chair AIA Philadelphia’s Owner’s Round Table.

949th member of the Carpenter’s Company of Philadelphia (Founded 1724)

AIA Pennsylvania Young Architect Regional Director

Lead Volunteer, Community Design Collaborative

OFF THE CLOCK
Hobbies include traveling with his wife (Eris), learning guitar with his son (Noah), and High Intensity Interval Training on the Peloton.

Little league baseball coach.

SECRET LIFE
Lettered in three sports as a senior in high school (football, wrestling, baseball).

Vacationed in Cabo San Lucas (2008): “We decided to take an ocean kayak out to the famous arch that marks the farthest point south on the Baja Peninsula. We did not realize that by the time we got there it was high tide and the beach adjacent to the arch was almost completely underwater. This is also the point where the calm Sea of Cortez meets the raging Pacific Ocean.  The waves lifted the kayak up and slammed us onto whatever beach was still above the tide.  It was the first time in my life that I did not think I would survive a situation. By sheer will and determination, my wife and I collected our oars, wrestled the kayak from the ocean’s pull and managed to escape to the seaside of the arch.”

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"This one is from my football/wrestling coach: “We can be on the wrong page, as long as we are on the same page.”  This has been one of those sayings that has stuck with me for over 20 years and to this day my wife and I use it all the time."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"With the cancellation of little league this summer, and our office’s asynchronous work schedule, my son and I would go to the baseball field every day (weather permitting) and have our own baseball practice. Some days I would throw over 100 pitches for him to hit.  Watching him grow into a confident baseball player has been one of the highlights of this year.  Also, we picked up our puppy at the beginning of November, so he has been keeping life interesting."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"That I might actually like dogs."

 

 

Creative Planner

Sarah Kellerman

Sarah Kellerman, AICP, LEED GA

Chicago Studio Director

Interface Studio | Chicago, Ill.

AGE: 31

EDUCATION
Masters of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois in Chicago

Bachelor of Science in Architecture, Minor in Urban Design, Washington University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Helped create a new Master of City Design (MCD) program for UIC’s College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs.

Helped develop The Ecoinnovation District in Pittsburgh, a first of its kind initiative that combines the goals of both EcoDistricts (focused on creating environmentally and socially sustainable communities) and Innovation Districts (designed to help promote economic growth and create business and employment opportunities). 

Developed a 10-year Strategic Vision under a contract for the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to support a 9-year, $930 million tax levy to “Move Seattle,” which provided roughly 30% of the City’s transportation budget (passed 2015).

EXTRACURRICULAR
Program Associate and Adjunct Lecturer, Master of City Design Program, UIC

Adjunct Lecturer, Master of Urban Planning and Policy Program, UIC, Plan Making Studio

OFF THE CLOCK
Very crafty - “For Halloween this year I turned the front of our house into a monster face with a tongue from a front window which was a candy slide for socially distanced candy distribution.”

Figure Drawing

SECRET LIFE
In high school, was voted “Most likely to be able to take a piece of string, rubber band, and paper clip and make a working car.”

Watched the Chicago Cubs win the World Series from an Irish pub in a Kyoto, Japan train station.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"You’re going to be working for a long time. Not every job will be a perfect fit, but every experience has value you can take forward."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"My husband, Patrick, and I spend most of our free time working on our 1914 prairie school style home in Oak Park, IL. I’ve done my best to keep up yoga and running. Patrick has dedicated himself to mastering cooking Indian cuisine. Mixed results all around."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"Moving beyond recognition of my privilege, this year has challenged me to find ways to be a better ally and accomplice in the fight for racial justice and equity through personal and professional action… even from home."

 

 

Urban Trendsetter

Tatum Lau

Tatum Lau

Senior Urban Designer and Planner

AECOM, Dallas

AGE: 36

EDUCATION
MS, City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning, University of Texas at Austin
MS, Urban Design, University of Texas at Austin
MA, Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources, London Metropolitan University
BArch, University of the Witwatersrand

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
10+ years of experience in resilience, transportation, sustainable development, and master planning projects

Served as the lead consultant for the City of Dallas 100 Resilient Cities Plan and the Texas Hyperloop Plan, a futuristic system that could connect Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Laredo, and San Antonio. 

Project manager, Dallas’ Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan

Led scenario planning for the Sustainable Ways to Integrate Future Transportation (SWIFT) Project in Houston. SWIFT studied how emerging mobility solutions like connected and
automated vehicles (CAVs) and mobility best practices will affect transportation networks and policies.

Urban planner, Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi (Texas) Master Plan

Won 2018 American Institute for Certified Planners Outstanding Student Award while working on master’s degree at University of Texas at Austin

2016 U.S. Department of Housing & Redevelopment Innovation in Affordable Housing National Competition Winner

EXTRACURRICULAR
Visiting professor at the University of Bedfordshire and visiting critic at London Metropolitan University, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Texas at Arlington

Co-instructor for UT Ausin’s Future of Hypermobility Course, Spring 2019; adjunct professor at Southern Methodist University, with a focus on smart and green infrastructure  

Serves on several diversity and inclusion committees at AECOM

OFF THE CLOCK
Hobbies: Cooking, travel, hiking. "I love all types of wandering, from small walks to big hikes. Anything from neighborhood strolls, running on trails, and visits to the astounding state and national parks this country has to offer."

Most memorable vacation: "My brother and I took our first trip together to Peru last year to visit Machu Picchu. As someone who loves food and mountains, Peru is a paradise. It was particularly special because it was the moment when my brother and I, who are both stubborn and strong-minded, needed each other in different ways, and we bonded over that. He dragged me up the mountain as I was delirious from altitude sickness, and I was able to speak Spanish everywhere we went. We recognized each other as humans outside of our family unit in a way that we hadn’t before."

SECRET LIFE
Olfactory and auditory systems are highly developed. "It means I can smell when there’s a new person in a room before I see them. It also means I learn new languages easily and can pronounce names from a lot of different cultures."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I love traveling, trying new things, and being around friends. But the pandemic has essentially forced us not to travel for work or pleasure, and encouraged us to decline social invitations. While I still miss all of those things, I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy slowing down. Once the pandemic is over, I will be more selective about what I say yes to."

 

 

EVP Par Excellence

David Margolius

David Margolius

Executive Vice President, New York Metro Region

Shawmut Design and Construction | New York, N.Y.

AGE: 37

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Arts in Economics, College of Holy Cross

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Youngest person in Shawmut’s history to be named Vice President

Executive lead of the $385 million, 415 person New York Metro region

EXTRACURRICULAR
Executive Sponsor and one of the Founding Members of Shawmut’s Diversity Leadership Council (DLC)

In 2019 helped the DLC reach three major milestones:

 - Shawmut achieved 100% pay equity

 - Established a sponsorship program that pairs high-potential, underrepresented employees with executive sponsors

 - launched a mentorship program that matches mentors and mentees based on goals, skills, and career aspirations

Speaker at many local and national panels

OFF THE CLOCK
Enjoys restoring and updating his home, originally built in 1929. “The story goes that the original builder built the house for his daughters during the depression, so there is a 1930’s safe in the basement that will be here forever, and the original front door (which is still on) has about fifteen deadbolts on it!”

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
At a very formative time in my career, I was thinking of making a move. My mentors (then a director and VP of the company, now an EVP and the CEO, respectively) sat me down and explained two things. First, that they believed in me, were invested in my success, and thought I should stay. Second, that my name and reputation is the only thing I truly have in this industry, so if I was going to make a move, I could not underestimate the magnitude of the decision. It was simple advice, but also profound for me at the time. I will never forget that petrifying moment sitting in that office with those two gentlemen, and I’m grateful for their candor and guidance throughout my career.”

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
“My “covid project” was building my own 8’ x 10’ shed for the backyard. I drew the plans, ordered the materials (no, not a pre-made kit of parts), and built it. Getting something built up with my own hands, as jobs were getting shut down in cities across the country, was a much-needed stress relief. The highlight of the project was when my two sons helped me paint iteven when I heard “dad, I stepped in the paint” from behind the shed. The low point of the project was painting it a second time due to a little paint spec communication error. My change order was rejected…”

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? 
One of the first things I was told on my first jobsite was, ‘If you ever want to see your kids grow up, get out of this business.’ The pandemic has forced the construction industry to become more flexible; innovating and pushing through adversity while also allowing many people to have more time at home with family. This experience has reinvigorated my belief in the importance of well-being and balance. While the same level of balance is not always achievable in the same way across all the different roles in our business, I don’t ever want our teammates feeling like the environment they signed up for is one where they will not see their children grow up.”

 

 

Sustainability Savant

Charlene Mendez

Charlene Mendez, LEED AP BD+C

Senior Sustainability Analyst

HDR | Los Angeles, Calif.

AGE: 39/40

EDUCATION
Master of Science, Master of Science in the Built Environment, Arizona State University

Master of Architecture, Architecture, Arizona State University

Master of Architecture - Study Abroad Program, University of Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Bachelor of Arts, Environmental Studies & Architectural History, University of California, Santa Barbara

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Created the Peak Solar Load Tool, which isolates the load impact of facade design, allowing it to be more directly measured and understood.

Created HDR’s Health + Wellness Tool, which analyzes the physical environment to determine the impact on an occupant’s stress, safety, effectiveness, quality of work, and overall behavior.

Promoted to Senior Sustainability Analyst (2019).

Has been instrumental in HDR meeting demands of its 2030 commitment, including conducting energy simulation modeling on nearby three-quarters of its projects.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Sustainability trainer and mentor for HDR’s 1,000+ architecture and design professionals

Sits on the steering committee of the Living Future Los Angeles Collaborative 

OFF THE CLOCK
Avid game player with a preference for games that are highly social and physically interactive.

Created  a local contextual knowledge-based scavenger hunt that celebrates a sense of place. With the game, the only clues are photos of distinct places and landmarks around town, requiring each team to typically have at least one local to help identify the landmarks based on familiarity. Teams then go to the places and document their presence with a photo before continuing on to the next location.

SECRET LIFE
Played oboe in high school

Was the high school mascot, Charlie the Charge, for her high school, Dos Pueblos.

Has travelled to all 48 continental states by car and trailer before ever flying.

Husband, Ryan, joined the band Yellowcard, in 2005.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"At the end of the flight one time, I briefly spoke to the woman next to me who I believe was traveling for business based on her attire. When I mentioned how tumultuous my life was at the time from a personal and professional perspective, she told me “I can do anything for a year.” It really put into perspective what you can have the capacity to tolerate and where you should reasonably expect to draw the line with anything." 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"Cooking and mimicking our favorite restaurant foods."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I'm an extrovert (I scored as high as possible on Myers-Briggs) and I never thought I could actually enjoy spending time at home as much as I have during these COVID times."

 

 

All-Pro CEO

Jonathan Moody

Jonathan D. Moody, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP

CEO

Moody Nolan, Inc. | Chicago, Ill.

AGE: 36

EDUCATION
Masters in Architecture, University of California

BA in Architecture, Cornell University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Took over as firm’s new CEO on Jan. 1, 2020, becoming only the second person to hold the role since the firm was founded in 1982

Under his leadership, Moody Nolan has expanded into four large urban markets, grown to 220 professionals from 190, and won more than 300 design awards

Led firm’s diversity initiatives, growing to become 40% female and 30% diverse

EXTRACURRICULAR
Member, United Way Key Club

Empowerment Leader for high school boys at his church

Helped Moody Nolan launch the Legacy Project, a community partnership that designs and builds homes in underserved neighborhoods

OFF THE CLOCK
Enjoys online speed chess

Loves to watch football, basketball, and soccer.

Running while listening to podcasts

SECRET LIFE

First architecture student that played football to graduate from Cornell since the 1950s

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“Imposter syndrome is real. Steven Furtick talks about being ‘present’ in his book (Un)Qualified. You are exactly who you are supposed to be, in this precise moment, in this place. We know we should not dwell in the past, but we should also not dwell on being a future version of yourself. Show up as your present self and offer all that you have in that moment.”

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
“I’ve made tons of progress on our home improvement list!”

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? 
“I’m good at being honest about what I don’t know.”

 

 

Construction Biz Whiz

Davis Myers

Davis Myers

Vice President, Business Development

Juneau Construction Company | Atlanta, Ga.

AGE: 39/40

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Science Management, Georgia Institute of Technology

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Promoted to VP of Business Development (2015)

During tenure at Juneau, company has experienced cumulative growth of over 300% with project wins reaching the largest in company history

Helped Juneau to grow to $300 million in 2020 with approximately 175 employees

EXTRACURRICULAR
Founding Member, Georgia Built

Board Member, ABC of Georgia Board of Directors, 2020-2021

Member, NAIOP

Member, NMHC

Member, ULI

OFF THE CLOCK
Amateur wood worker - has built Big Green Egg stand, bedroom headboard, dining room table, TV armoire

Enjoys minimalist survival camping and hiking/mountain biking

SECRET LIFE
State champion in diving in early teenage years

Member of the 2002 College World Series Georgia tech baseball team

Hidden talent of drawing with charcoal pencils

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"People want to work with people that they like, trust and respect. Sounds so simple but this was given to me from an incredible successful owner of an architectural firm. Know your clients better than themselves and always look for ways that you can bring value to others. Serving and giving to others will always result in receiving more rather than looking to receive something." 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020? 
Bought a 2019 Ducati Scrambler 1100 Special to ride in the mornings and evenings to get out and clear head on the back roads of Georgia.

Started mountain biking with son as an alternative to running.

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? 
"How much we all need human interaction. Working from home sounded great and of course has its benefits in being able to see and spend more quality time with my family but the lack of connectivity to the world, the workplace, your environment was something I never thought would make itself known so profoundly to me." 

 

Impressive Vice President

Emily Paparella

Emily Paparella AIA, LEED AP BD&C, CPHC

Vice President

Elkus Manfredi Architects | Boston, Mass.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
Master of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Bachelor of Design in Architecture, University of Florida

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Presently responsible for projects totaling 13 acres and 2.1 million sf

Received certification as a Passive House Consultant (2019)

Promoted to Vice President (2018)

EXTRACURRICULAR
Coaches 2-3 junior/intermediate staff on a daily basis

Coaches 4-6 staff members of all levels on a bi-annual basis

Volunteer, United Way Real Estate Breakfast Fundraising Committee

Volunteer, Boys and Girls Club of South Boston

Elkus Manfredi Architects Volunteer Team

OFF THE CLOCK
Avid crossfitter

Skiing 

SECRET LIFE
Can tap dance

Was on the show Legends of the Hidden Temple as a kid, where she and her partner won

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“My mom always told me “whatever you do, do a good job”. It sounds simple, but has a deeper meaning.  It means having integrity in whatever you undertake – small or large. It’s not about what you do – it’s about how you do it, the impact you make and always setting a good example. For me, career growth has been about consistency and persistence – accumulating small wins and achievements over time and leading with integrity.”

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
“I’ve tried to identify the positive aspects and be grateful for them each day – no commute, more time with my dog and husband, and being able to focus without the ordinary office distractions. I’ve also started learning Spanish using the Duolingo app. Being bilingual has been a long time goal of mine and if I can work toward a large goal – that’s a positive.”

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? 
“That integration of work and life can be healthy. The elusive ‘work-life balance’ is not some constant, symmetrical state. And that’s ok. Learning to be flexible and constantly re-balance by giving and taking as needed can lead to more satisfaction and less stress.”

 

Green Guru

Amy Pastor

Amy Pastor, PE, CXA, LEED, AP

Director of Commissioning + Sustainability

EXP | Maitland, Fla.

AGE: 38

EDUCATION
Master of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

Bachelor of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Achieved 5-10% energy savings for 14 Ascension Health Care buildings.

Achieved LEED-Gold for University of Central Florida’s District Energy Plant, which consultants had deemed impossible.

Supported ground-breaking LEED recommendations, including revisions to LEED’s version 4.1 for USGBC National.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Board Member, U.S. Green Building Council, Central Florida Chapter

Member, U.S. Green Building Council, Women in Green

Volunteer, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 

OFF THE CLOCK
In 2016, ran 470 miles and raised $2,000 in 36 days for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: “2016 was a leap year and many people were completing a personal “366 Challenge”. My 366 Challenge was to run 366 miles in 36 days. I finished the challenge with 470 miles and raised nearly $2,000 in those 36 days for our Light the Night Team.”

Has played the piano since age seven.

Loves to bake (especially during the holidays) and do crafts (made over 200 masks for family and frontline workers).

SECRET LIFE
Goal is to compete on the Great American Baking Show

Holds Level 2 Wine and Spirits Education Trust certification from Napa Valley Wine Academy: “I am sitting for my Level 3 exam on December 6, 2020. What’s next? If I pass the exam, I will have the ability to pursue my sommelier certification (which will take years!)”

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Always raise your hand. When an opportunity presents itself, don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"By keeping my body healthy via running and continuing to connect with family, friends, clients, and neighbors over video or, when safe, in person."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"As a very rigid, scheduled person, I learned I can be flexible. I accepted things that, traditionally, I may not have accepted as part of the business day-to-day remarkably well."

 

 

Storytelling Designer

Erin Peavey

Erin Peavey, AIA, NCARB, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C

Vice President, Architect and Design Researcher

HKS, Inc. 

AGE: 35

EDUCATION
MArch., Texas A&M University

BS-Environmental Design, Texas A&M University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
A “career highlight” was being interviewed by the local National Public Radio (NPR) station about her work.

Organized HKS’s teams and materials for a $300 million surgical tower for Texas Health Resources in Fort Worth.

Industry Scholar at Cornell University’s Institute for Healthy Futures.

Visiting Scholar at the Center for Advanced Research Design & Evaluation, 2016.

Accepted as South by Southwest (SXSW) speaker, 2020.

Published in The Architects Handbook of Professional Practice.

Founded and Chaired AIA Austin’s Architecture for Health Committee.

EXTRACURRICULARS
Taught at The Pratt Institute, and New York School of Interior Design, regular guest lecturer at many universities.

Podcast Host, Shared Space. Focusing on how design can foster happier, healthier more connected lives.

AIA Task Force on COVID-19 Health (2020).

Served on advisory boards and program committees at intersection of health, design, and research. EDRA CORE, Center for Active Design, CHD Safety Risk Assessment.

Widely published and in-demand speaker. Her writing has touched on how design can support health, healing, and fight loneliness.

Served as the Research Chair of the Academy of Architecture for Health for six years, responsible for awarding more than $300,000 in research funds.

OFF THE CLOCK
Improv comic.

Loves to be in nature, gardening, or hiking with her family.

SECRET LIFE
Learned to swim before she could walk.

Life-long NPR junkie. Remembers listening as a kid and is passing on the tradition.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Dr. Mardelle Shepley was the first woman I met that had degrees in both architecture and psychology – my dual majors at the time – and she marched to the beat of her own drum. She stressed to me then, and continues to show me now, the importance of being true to myself rather than trying to fit a mold, and is living proof it is possible to do what you love and make the world a better place at the same time." 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"We spend a lot of time outside social distance chatting with neighbors and friends and going on lots of walks. I started a small outdoor book club discussion series that was super fun during warmer months."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"
This year has taught me firsthand the importance of creating safe spaces for meaningful connection, both digital and physical. It brought home why we all need each other and showed the power we each have to be community builders."

 

 

Growth Wizard

Aaron Retherford

Aaron Retherford

VP Business Strategy

Kadean Construction | St. Louis, Mo.

AGE: 37

EDUCATION
Bachelor of Science Construction Management, Illinois State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Helped grow Castle Contracting’s annual revenues from $15 million to $55 million.

Developed a turn-key civil design-build service for site development work.

Helped Castle Contracting increase its prime site work client relationships by 150%.

Led geographic expansion that included establishing a permanent Omaha office.

Success at Castle led directly to new role at VP Business Strategy role at Kadean Construction (2020).

EXTRACURRICULAR
Board Member/Treasurer, Greater St. Louis Honor Flight

Committee Member, KIDstruction

Committee Member, St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers

Member, AGC of Missouri

OFF THE CLOCK
Loves golf and anything that involves the outdoors.

Spending time with wife (Jaclyn), and two sons (Ace and Jett).

SECRET LIFE
Once hit a hole-in-one for $10,000.

Master of the musical jingle - “I keep a journal of catchy jungles in my night stand just in case I decide to make a career out of it.”

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"In a world that is seemingly fast moving where you are told at a young age “you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up”, there’s this notion that quick career promotion is something that is expected. I realized early in my career to focus on the job at hand and believe that you will be rewarded for doing well. So the advice I received was to keep your head down, work hard and good things will happen. I’ve always done that. Success is a long game and it doesn’t happen overnight. If you can couple that with enjoying what you do, then you’ve reached absolute perfection!"

HOW ARE YOU STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"I’m a very social person and thrive off human interaction, so to say 2020 has been challenging for my self-satisfaction is an understatement. I’ve found sanity in playing more golf, spending more time outdoors with my kids, connecting with friends……and booze!" 

WHAT HS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"To slow down and pull my head up once in a while to see the big picture. It goes back to that fast moving world we live in where everyone needs everything right now. I tend to load my plate with all the fixings! Because 2020 hindered social interaction, forcing me to spend more time at home, I could lift my head and think about the big picture, not only with my career but with my family. And in a strange way I’m thankful for that."

 

 

Embodied Carbon Crusader  

Kelsey Rose

Kelsey Rose, PE

Senior Design Engineer 

Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Seattle

AGE: 30
 
EDUCATION
MS and BS, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Played a key role in the development and launch of the Embodied Carbon in Construction Calculator (EC3). Led MKA’s EC3 beta testing and case study modeling of projects and building systems. Was instrumental in challenging initial EC3 approaches. Helped to establish how the tool works within the typical design process.

Active leader in the Carbon Leadership Forum (CLF), a collaborative effort between academic, design, and construction professionals committed to a lower embodied carbon footprint for the future of construction.

Leads MKA’s in-house Sustainability Technical Specialist Team (TST). Directs MKA engineers’ research into the latest technologies, standards, and issues related to sustainability, and serves as an internal reference for MKA project managers seeking sustainability guidance. 

Key projects: 33 Tehama tower, San Francisco; Pike Place MarketFront Entrance, Seattle; Vista Tower, Chicago. 

EXTRACURRICULAR
Member of the Structural Engineering Institute’s Sustainability Committee. Helped launch the SE 2050 Challenge, targeting the structural engineering community to achieve net-zero embodied carbon structures by 2050.

Volunteer for MKA’s Community Service projects from 2013-2019. Most recently helped design an outdoor learning classroom and 25-foot-wide Peace Garden at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, Seattle. 

OFF THE CLOCK
Most memorable vacation: "My fiancé and I took a Zumba-themed Caribbean cruise in 2019. Although I am an avid Zumba enthusiast, there was no place on the ship that you could escape the 24/7 drone of Zumba music and bass."

Hobbies: chakra meditation, crochet, knitting, macrame, reupholstery, rock climbing, yoga, Zumba

Obsession: brewing kombucha 

SECRET LIFE
Grandfather was a civil engineer for the Hoover Dam

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Make sure your day-to-day work aligns with your values and goals. In 2019, I was sharing an Uber ride with an engineer outside of my firm as part of a conference. This associate is also heavily involved in sustainability of the built environment. She asked what I do besides sustainability efforts at work and I told her I am in the retail sector, which does not present many opportunities for sustainable engagement. She looked at me and said, 'You can never be good at something if you are splitting your time doing something else. You need to find a way to make your daily work align with your passions.' Since then, in 2020, I have been able to shift the majority of my day-to-day efforts to sustainability focused."

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT? 
"In college, I was a steel bridge captain. In my senior year at the University of Washington, UW was the host school for the Pacific Northwest Regionals, a multi-college event that hosted a series of civil engineering competitions, such as steel bridge and concrete canoe. As the host university, it was UW’s responsibility to coordinate and organize the entire event. Due to budgeting, a real coordinator could not be hired, and it came into question whether the event would happen at all. Because I knew how much time a college team puts into these competitions, and looks forward to them throughout the year, I volunteered to organize the event.

"I was naive to how much is needed to organize an event of multiple competitions with varying needs–concrete canoe needs water access, of course–and with a limited budget. It wasn’t long until I felt overwhelmed by the task I had taken on, combined with my normal college curriculum and being a captain. With virtually no help from college professors, I realized my choices were getting over the steep learning curve or failure.

"I chose to rise to the occasion and the event proceeded as planned. I overcame personal fears, including public speaking, to create the event that still serves as one of my greatest accomplishments."

 

 

Healthcare Leader

Ryan Sawall

Ryan Sawall, PE, LEED AP

Vice President and Business Unit Leader

McCarthy Building Companies, Omaha, Neb.

AGE: 38

EDUCATION
BS-Architectural Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering in Wisconsin

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Launched McCarthy’s Omaha office, which went from operating out of a trailer to where it now has more than 100 employees. Led the recent construction of new 15,000-sf office space and warehouse in West Omaha.

Notable projects include serving as a senior project manager for the VA New Orleans Replacement Medical Center, a $1 billion, 1.7-million-sf, nine-building campus.

Oversaw McCarthy’s first private-public partnership, The Omaha VA Ambulatory Care Center, which opened in the summer of 2020.

EXTRACURRICULARS
Helped start the ACE Mentor program of Greater Omaha

Created a healthcare design and construction course that he teaches at the University of Nebraska, where he’s an adjunct professor.

Coaches small and diverse construction companies through the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s REACH Beyond Mentoring program.

Community activity includes building a sensory room for students in the Norris Middle School’s Alternate Curriculum program.

OFF THE CLOCK
Hunting

Fishing

Will soon be moving into house his family built on Bennington Lake, about 20 minutes from McCarthy’s new office.

SECRET LIFE
Has learned to play every percussion instrument, including drums, marching quads, timpani, xylophone, and piano.

Grandfather was a global missionary, and father grew up in Zambia.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"I received the best career advice from my parents: “Do what you say you’re going to do.” I continue to live by that mantra and believe it’s a major factor in my success." 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"My wife and I both love hanging out by water, so we decided to buy land and build a new home on Bennington Lake. It’s located about 20 minutes from McCarthy’s new Omaha office and we plan to move in soon." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I typically travel a lot for my job, and while I’ve enjoyed not having to travel as much this year, I’ve realized just how important those trips are. Zoom calls are a poor substitute for in-person connections, so I’m ready for things to return to 'normal' again soon." 

 

 

HVAC Hero

Jonathan Schlundt

Jonathan Schlundt, PE, LEED AP

Mechanical Engineer

TETER

AGE: 34

EDUCATION
BS-Mechanical Engineering, California State University at Fresno

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In 2017, promoted to Partner and Business Unit Leader for TETER’s M/P division.

Notable projects include a $12.4 million decentralization of Modesto (Calif.) Junior College’s east campus heating system that, over three summer breaks, put 15 buildings on a new plant, with minimal campus disruptions.

His greatest “personal achievement” was competing, as a high schooler, in a state-level Mathematics Science Engineering Achievement competition, and being named State Champion for a 3D brain modeling project, about which he knew next to nothing before entering the contest. The win taught him the value of extreme focus and work ethic.

EXTRACURRICULARS
During the pandemic, led research project with California State University-Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley chapter of ASHRAE to validate new technologies for improving air quality and reducing energy usage.

Mentoring architects and engineers.

2018-20, Chairman of the Board, California State University-Fresno’s Mechanical Engineering Advisory Council.

Partner in charge of TETER’s mock interview competition that judges design concepts.

Participates in local AIA events.

OFF THE CLOCK
Woodworking (jewelry chests, vases, wine cabinets)

Painting (mostly beach landscapes)

Camping and hiking with family

Golfing

Active Rotarian, East Fresno chapter

Participating in obstacle course Spartan competitions

SECRET LIFE
As a youth, built 3D models of classic cars, planes, and boats, made from popsicle sticks.

On holiday breaks during his last year of college, worked as a stocker at Victoria Secret. 

Met wife, Laura, on Myspace.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"I have learned that listening and caring for your peer’s success and development will give you more fulfillment than any special award can offer. I have learned to avoid emotional decisions. Poise, forgiveness, and faith go a long way.  In life and in business, there will always be peaks and valleys, triumph, and despair. The peaks and valleys must be balanced with optimism during bad time, and a dose of realism when things are good. " 

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"Old hobbies, particularly wood working, that had been dormant came back to life. Over the past 6 months, I’ve custom-built:

  • A free-standing oak jewelry chest for my wife.  It finished with a rich mahogany stain, felt-lined drawers, and bronze hardware.  
  • Several vases on my wood lathe with multiple wood species combined with colored epoxy.  
  • Wine cabinet made of red-oak. It holds 40 bottles of wine, wine glasses, and contains drawers for other wine accessories."  

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I have always been very devoted to my profession. Prior to the pandemic, I thought it was more advantageous working in the office rather than at home. The pandemic forced a work-from-home scenario. I learned that I can be just as productive, if not more, working at home. Obviously, some office dynamics are lost, but I have gained so much more. The pandemic has reminded me that family time is more than just early morning and late evenings salutations. Home cooked meals with honest conversations and family time are just as valuable, if not more so, now." 

 

Interior Design Innovator 

Arjav Shah

Arjav Shah

Senior Interior Project Designer: Workplace Senior Associate

Perkins and Will | New York, N.Y.

AGE: 38

EDUCATION
Master of Science in Interior Design, Pratt Institute

Bachelor of Architecture, University of Mumbai

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Took prerequisite exams to study architecture in India and ranked first in his state competing against 20,000 students.

Promoted to Senior Associate at Perkins and Will.

Helped develop a custom glass sliding/folding door system to transform a private office into a huddle room; the solution is now a standard product offered by the manufacturer.

Conducted in-depth programming and quantitative research studies, prepared space plans, researched material health and its effects on interiors, and put together LEED checklist for a financial services client in Sydney, which achieved a LEED-CI Platinum score of 89, the highest ever awarded in Australia.

EXTRACURRICULAR 
Leads the Product Design Initiative within Perkins and Will, NYO

Member | Diversity and Inclusion Team at Perkins and Will

Volunteer | Pratt Institute and IIDA’s Special Mentoring

OFF THE CLOCK
Passion for fashion

Recently revived love for Badminton

Takes frequent hikes and runs

SECRET LIFE
Designs garments for himself and has them constructed in Mumbai; majority are made from natural fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, and wool.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"You cannot please everybody, so be yourself and it will be good to know who is down with that."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"This year has forced me to slow down and connect with myself. Home workouts, meditation, and home improvements have helped me maintain my sanity."

 

 

ENVIRONMENTALIST EXTRAORDINAIRE

Jenelle Shapiro

JENELLE SHAPIRO, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, GRI Certified Practitioner 

Director of Sustainability

Webcor | San Francisco

AGE: 34

EDUCATION
Master of Sustainability Management, Columbia University; BArch, University of Arizona

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Joined Webcor as Senior Sustainability Manager (2014); promoted to Director of Sustainability (2019).

Headed sustainability team on 350 Mission, San Francisco’s first LEED Platinum Core+Shell high-rise.

Achieved WELL certification for the Residences at Columbia Square, the world’s first WELL-certified rental complex.

Executed WELL Gold–certification of Webcor’s HQ office.

Launched Webcor Green Team: initiated 18 project-specific programs in first year.

Member, Women of Webcor: helped implement the company’s lactation policy and opioid emergency response plan.

Earned three LEED Platinum and four LEED Gold certifications for clients in the last two years.

Co-led a 12-member team for Webcor’s Waste Rapid Process Improvement Workshop. Developed a construction waste calculator for use by the firm’s Estimating Team.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Founder, Bay Area Construction Leaders.

Steering Committee, National Sustainable Construction Leaders.

Strategic Board, Business Council on Climate Change (BC3), San Francisco (2017-present).

Volunteer, Rebuilding Together, Leap Sandcastle Classic, and Best Buddies Challenge.

OFF THE CLOCK
Enjoys jet skiing, hiking, and kayaking at Lake Tahoe with her husband, Yossi, and daughters Hanna (3) and Amelia, who was born last July—in the car on the way to the hospital.

SECRET LIFE
Been spat on by camels in Israel and nearly run over by donkeys in Santorini.

Member of the Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma (Cherokee Nation) through her mother.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"The best advice that I have applied to all aspects of my life – career and otherwise – has come from my 93-year-old Nana. My Nana grew up in Holland pre-World War II with her family but was taken away to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as a mere 13-year-old. She unfortunately saw her whole family perish during their time in the camp, but that sorrow gave her the strength to come to the US with no money in her pocket and no knowledge of the English language. She is the strongest person I have ever met, both physically and mentally, and for that reason I have always looked up to her advice and courage. Ever since I was young, she has always said “whatever will be, will be” and that has stuck with me in all my professional and personal decisions.  I am not discouraged by results or outcomes, but instead push to progress toward what I know is right for that situation. We should always have a positive outlook, even if it may initially look glum."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"As I was on maternity leave for most of the COVID-quarantine, it was fun to explore new hidden beaches and trails with my toddler. It has been so special to slow our typically fast-paced life down a bit and take in the small pleasures in life – rocks, sticks, flowers, and stumps My kid-induced joint hobby has been painting nature we find outside and bring inside for arts and crafts." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I’m much more patient than I give myself credit for. My typical impatience is inherited from my father. However, given the challenge of being a temporary “stay-at-home mom” during the early months of quarantine, all while being several months’ pregnant, I had to adjust to survive! My very determined yet loving “threenager” taught me how to just live life in the current moment and not think beyond the immediate joys of being a kid. It was very eye-opening and allowed me to find fun in the mundane daily experiences of being a toddler with no worries in life. Having random dance parties in the living room or jumping through the pile of leaves outside can bring smiles to all our lives if we take the time to make it happen."

 

 

Student Housing Heavyweight

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

Senior Vice President

Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions | Dallas, Texas 

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
Master of Science in Real Estate, The University of Texas at Arlington

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Oklahoma State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Achieved masters degree while working full time.

Promoted to Senior Vice President (2015).

Secured and led negotiations for on-campus public/private partnership projects across the country totaling over 11,000 beds exceeding $1.3 billion in project value across 15 projects.

Frequent panelist at national and regional housing and business officer conferences.

As Senior VP created a highly diverse team, with non-traditional backgrounds, poised to support the new wave of P3’s entering the higher education landscape.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Serves on the Program Planning committee for Association of College and University Housing Officers - International.

Served on the Balfour Beatty Communities Foundation Board.

Vice-Chair, ULI University Development and Innovation Council

OFF THE CLOCK
Loves the outdoors - hiking, fishing, camping

Master of yard sports including ladder golf, horseshoes, and bags.

Two boys, Kade (7) and Knox (5) with wife, Lindsey.

SECRET LIFE
Played Charlie in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in high school (“While I believe earning that role was a function of my incredible acting skills, it may have been more that I was the only 16-year-old that could pass as someone 10 years of age.”)

Backpacked for four months in Europe and ran with the bulls in Pamplona while in college (“I believe the best vacations are the ones where you are too scared to tell your mom before you go and only fill them in after”).

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"My Dad was a business owner, and always repeated the same three lessons over and over growing up:

  • Treat others how you want to be treated.
  • Do what you say you’re going to do.  
  • You gotta hustle because nobody is going to give it to you.

Very simple but I’ve always found them to ring true in my ear throughout my career whether dealing with clients or co-workers."

HOW HAVE YOU BEENSTAYING SANE IN 2020?
"I’ve traveled throughout my career so being home as been a nice opportunity to just get quality time with the family. We spent a few weeks in Colorado this summer which was amazing. Other simple things like doing homework, coaching soccer, camp fires in the backyard, these are all things I’ve had little opportunity to do during the week, so just appreciated this unique moment in time, especially while my kids are young enough they think I’m cool and want to hang out with me!"  

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? 
"As someone who has frequently traveled, I had lost my true appreciation for Dallas and the outdoor offerings it provides. I got used to the idea hiking was only for the mountains and yet it has been just as enjoyable to be able to experience these things with my family at home without really having to go very far. We have done a ton of camping, hiking and fishing this year and I hope to continue that in future years. It’s crazy you forget how life’s greatest inventions are right out the back door.  I’ve also embraced cooking, I am more of a breakfast guy, so really had fun making the boys different variations of breakfast meals."

 


Healthcare Design Maven

Matthew Sparling

MATTHEW D. SPARLING, AIA, LEED AP

Principal

MKM architecture + design, Fort Wayne, Ind.

AGE:  39

EDUCATION
BArch, Ball State University
BS, Science in Environmental Design, Ball State University
   
ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Led over a dozen concurrent pharmacy upgrade projects in 2020 to meet 797/800 pharmacy compliance regulations.

Advised multiple healthcare clients on converting treatment spaces to serve COVID-19 patients and protect healthcare workers. Wrote three white papers detailing this work. 

Led team that worked with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to create a temporary pandemic regulatory waiver.

Youngest Principal at MKM when promoted at age 35

Key projects: 55,000-sf Ascension St. Vincent William K. Nasser Simulation & Education Center; Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital (designed family lounges, playrooms, playground, themed rooms, main lobby, radiographic fluoroscopy room); numerous expansion and renovation projects for Ascension St. Vincent Kokomo (Ind.) Hospital.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Past Board of Directors, Education Committee Chair, AIA, Fort Wayne Chapter

Past Program Committee, USGBC, Northeast Indiana Chapter

Past Steering Committee, USGBC Emerging Green Builders

WalkMS Northeast Indiana Committee, National Multiple Sclerosis Society

OFF THE CLOCK
Hobbies: architecture, family time, renovating Tudor-style home, traveling

Unusual talent: "I laugh so hard and loud that it can be heard through both floors of our office. My laugh has also startled small children, and some adults."

SECRET LIFE
Has a knack for hitting personal milestones on family birthdays. "Four of my biggest accomplishments-becoming a licensed architect, Associate Principal at MKM, Principal at MKM, and winning the 2020 AIA Indiana Young Architect Award-all happened on parent or grandparent birthdays!"

Bonafide prankster. Uses shocking pens and laser pointers, fake dog poop, nerf gun to prank co-workers. "I’m the last person you want to enter a prank war with and the first person you want on your side when the shenanigans start."  

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR GREATEST PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT?
"My greatest accomplishment is leading a firm that designs spaces where people experience some of the best and worst moments in their lives. We design healthcare spaces for humanity. The pandemic tested our resilience, but we did what needed to be done to support the health, safety, and welfare of out clients and the communities they serve. My sense of accomplishment has shifted away from taking an abstract idea to a completed project and into pride in the improvement of the health and well-being of the clients, customers, and patients who live in our designs every day."

ANY UNUSUAL STORIES ABOUT YOUR FAMILY?
"My family is full of teachers (dad, mom, sister, grandma, several cousins). When I was really young, I wanted to follow in their footsteps. At my high school graduation, students opened time capsules they made in 6th grade. Within my time capsule, I had written down that I wanted to be an architect. I have no recollection of when my career choice changed, but during my senior year I was already accepted to the College of Architecture & Planning program at Ball State. My time capsule just reinforced how long I had stuck with my own dream."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"Being able to spend more time with my kids during the stay-at-home order wasn’t always peaceful, but I did get to spend a lot of time with them that I normally wouldn’t have been able to. My wife and I felt awful at times working from home, as we felt like we were ignoring our kids while balancing full-time jobs and leadership positions. Readjusting our lives has gotten easier with time, and a summer staycation with a backyard bounce house was fun for our whole family."

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"My favorite quote of all time is by Albert Einstein: 'Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.' Success is not what means the most to me, being someone of value is the bigger honor. Put all of your focus into being someone of value, and success will naturally follow." 

 

 

Luminous Studio Manager

Deborah Steimel-Clair

Deborah Steimel-Clair, PE, LC

Lighting Studio Manager

Primera | Chicago, Ill.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
Master of Science in Architectural Engineering, Kansas State University

Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering, Kansas State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Started and manages Primera’s first internal Lighting Studio

Helped grow Primera’s lighting studio to a multiple-person studio with 50% growth in the last year

Has worked on lighting projects with budgets nearing $100 million

Currently researching Germicidal UV lighting applications and other anti-bacterial technologies

EXTRACURRICULAR
Illuminating Engineers Society - Chicago Section General Member

IES Board Member (2016-2018)

IES Treasurer (2005-2010)

Buildings Resource Committee - St. Barnabas School and All-Day Montessori Preschool

Has presented to over 500 industry professionals on lighting and lighting controls design topics

Mentored nearly 100 students

OFF THE CLOCK
Favorite hobbies include reading, baking, crochet, and theater

Loves making homemade Halloween costumes “Some of my favorites have been emotion characters from the movie Inside Out (Joy, Disgust, and Anger); Boo from the movie Monsters Inc; a baby costume that was a mandrake plant (from Harry Potter books); and characters from Toy Story 4 (Bo, Jessie, Forky, and Knifey).”

Enjoys skiing; as a family, has skied in five different states, three different countries, and on six different mountain ranges

SECRET LIFE
Mother’s great grandparents were part of the Underground Railroad and helped freed slaves go from Tennessee and Virginia to Iowa

Father’s great-grandfather was a blacksmith who shoed Jesse James’ horses before Jesse James became famous

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“The best piece of advice I have ever received is related to the whole work/life balance that I think everyone probably struggles with – as follows (originally heard at a webinar or conference somewhere, from a fellow working mom):

Everyone in life is juggling balls – balls for work, balls for homelife, balls for self-care.  Some of the balls are glass and very fragile – those balls just can’t be dropped.  Some of the balls are plastic and will be fine if they slip.  Obviously, we all want to keep all the balls in the air all the time.  But there are times that just can’t happen.  When you hit those times, focus on the glass balls, the plastic ones will be fine, and you can get them back in your cycle as things ease up.  The glass balls might be a work deadline or presentation, or they might be a dance recital, graduation, or very important soccer game – but they will invariably be both work and homelife combined.  

There is one other piece of advice that is a clear runner-up:  When you can, delegate.”

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
“Mostly, we’ve been trying to be open to new things – new recipes, games, hikes, etc., as well as taking things we love to do and adapting them for being at home.  We’ve set up our outdoor patio to be able to enjoy a firepit/s’mores and watch movies when the movie theaters closed. We’ve done pretend airplane rides on the couch to a ‘destination,’ and then had themed playtime/movies/dinners built around that ‘destination’ since travel plans all got canceled. We’ve done ‘fancy Friday night dinners’ where we all get dressed up and eat by candlelight off the good china – just for fun.”

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? 
“There are two things that 2020 has really taught me – one, that even self-proclaimed introverts like myself need in-person interactions; and two, that I really do not multi-task well (I was utterly convinced that I could before this)!”

 

 

Artistic Businesswoman

Heather Van Ravenswaay

Heather Van Ravenswaay Womac, RID

Owner

HVR. W Studio, Houston

AGE: 38

EDUCATION
BS-Design, University of Nebraska

Rice Advanced Management Program, Rice Business-Jones Graduate School of Business

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Recently stepped away from a 16-year interior design career to start her own art and design business.

Was youngest of 15 partners at Planning Design Research Corp. (PDR), where she was an associate principal and director of workplace strategy. Heather helped increase new business at the firm by 15%, and bridged the gap between architecture and design services.

Notable projects include designing ConocoPhillips’ 1.15-million-sf global headquarters, and helping HP Inc. devise and design a workplace strategy for its new Houston campus.

Under her leadership, PDR was nominated as a Top Workplace three consecutive times (2017-19) by the Houston Chronicle.

EXTRACURRICULARS
Has mentored nearly 100 students in the past two years.

Serves as a Council Member for Girlstart, an organization dedicated to STEM education for K-12 girls. 

Has led weekly art classes for kids in a Houston-area women’s home so unemployed moms have more time to work on job applications and prepare for interviews.

OFF THE CLOCK
Gardening

Drawing and painting

Walking and bike riding with husband Corbin and daughter Elise.

Visiting museums

Traveling. Have toured several countries in the Middle East.

During the pandemic, a lot of FaceTime with family.

Virtual book club: “I’ve read more books in the last five months than I have in years.”

SECRET LIFE
Took classical ballet lessons from age 3 through 18.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"It is important to take time to define your personal WHY and align your career with it."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"FaceTime has become a daily tradition with family who live far away. Our new tradition is to FaceTime family during dinner time and we eat together almost everyday. 
Book club - enjoy virtual time with my book club and I have read more books in the last 5 months then I have in years."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I realized that we can never plan for what challenges lie ahead and now is the moment to prioritize how you spend your time - do what you love most."

 

Major League Marketer

Asheya Warren

Asheya Warren, CPSM

Principal/Founder

PRAXIS | DALLAS, TEXAS

AGE: 39/40

EDUCATION
Graduate Marketing Certificate, Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

Bachelor of Humanities (Philosophy), Southern Methodist University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Founded PRAXIS, a marketing/communications management consulting company for the AEC industry (2012).

Efforts have earned project assignments as well as industry recognition/awards for several clients, such as the Project of the Year Award from the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association as a result of the awards submittal, project pursuit, and marketing effort that PRAXIS developed. Won numerous landmark Dallas-Fort Worth project pursuits, such as the $1 billion New Parkland Hospital Project, $20 M Museum Tower, $15M Dallas County Elections Office & Warehouse.

EXTRACURRICULAR
Chapter President, Society for Marketing Professional Services (2015-2016, 2016-2017)

Board Member, Harmony Community Development Corporation

Leadership Dallas (2017-2018)

OFF THE CLOCK
Closet mixologist, enjoys creating new cocktail recipes

Enjoys interior design and home decor (modern Afro-Boho style)

Avid concert goer

Travel

SECRET LIFE
Was a child model for commercials - was in a national Burger King commercial in the early 80s with Kadeem Harrison (Dwayne Wayne from A Different World)

Entered first grade and was able to read at age 3.

Recently learned through ancestry research that she is related to Chadwick Boseman through her maternal grandfather.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"The servant-leader is a servant first." 

"Never eat lunch alone."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020? 
"I’ve become a plant junkie and have gone from two plants prior to the pandemic to 35 now. I’ve had great success with all of my new plant babies, except for a finicky fiddle lead fig tree."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I’ve always enjoyed solitude (only child), but I had no qualms or issues being confined to my home during shelter-in-place. I do drastically miss traveling (specifically the beach), but did not go stir crazy within my home and never got tired of being at home."

 

 

Equity Champion

Kia Weatherspoon

Kia Weatherspoon, ASID, NCIDQ

President

Determined by Design, Washington, D.C.

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
MS-Fine Arts, Corcoran College of Art and Design, Washington, D.C.

BA-Fine Arts, Interior Design, Moore College of Art and Design

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In 2012, founded her company—an interior design firm that advocates Design Equity, where living spaces uplift the value of their inhabitants. Her firm has designed over 2,000 units and supported the development of over 120,000 sf of affordable housing and retail.

In 2019, her firm joined development and design team for the Barry Farm, where 1,100 residential units will be built, including 380 replacement public housing units.

Received Anna Hernandez/Luna Textiles Visionary Award from the International Interior Design Association.

EXTRACURRICULARS
Provides Design Equity training and strategies to development clients in Boston, Baltimore, and Wisconsin.

Active member of American Society of Interior Designers. One of the youngest members on ASID’s national board.

OFF THE CLOCK
A U.S. Air Force vet, Kia serves as a Technical Sergeant with the 113th Force Support Squadron in the District of Columbia’s Air National Guard. In 2021, she will retire from the military with 20 years of service.

Founding board member of Room to Rebloom, a nonprofit that creates healing home environments for survivors of domestic violence.

President of River East Emerging Leaders, a community based progressive network that engages and empowers residents in lower-income areas in D.C.

Curating an art collection by Black, Latino, and Asian artists in her home.

SECRET LIFE
Celebrated 21st birthday at a dry base in the Middle East during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

Mother survived a tornado that hit Suffolk, Va. An educator for four decades, her first thought was the safety of her students.

Prioritizes her mental health, which “demystified the idealization of work-life balance.”

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"The best advice I received from myself is “be your own hero!” When I started Determined by Design, I had no mentors. It was not for lack of trying to find them. I sought them out and was met with no response. It was right then I knew only YOU can champion for yourself and your path. Its empowering and creates a freedom to carve your path your way!"

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"It is innate for us to feel a need to replace things or fill voids. I gave myself constant grace to not fill the void of things “lost.” I did give myself time to just be still! I did a lot of purging and organizing." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"Determined by Design completed a marquee project in November. At an intimate celebratory dinner for the project, I looked around the room—the developer was black, the co-development partners were black, the city officials present were black, and there I was a black woman as the only creative service consultant present. I am being acknowledged for making Design Equity possible in affordable housing for black families, and it was a utopian moment for this to actualize during a pandemic and racial unrest. It reinforced there will always be external factors out of my control; however, staying your course and doing the hard work is how you reap the rewards and make the impossible actually possible."

 

 

Self Starter

Chris Young

Chris Young

CEO

Camfred Construction, Philadelphia

AGE: 39

EDUCATION
BS-Computer Engineering, Rutgers University School of Engineering

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Founded, in 2017, Camfred Construction, a certified MBE commercial CM and GC firm. Grew the company by nearly 500% in its first two years of operations.

Awarded and started $39 million in construction projects in 2020.

Named to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2019 list of largest Minority owned businesses.

Received 2020 Outstanding Business Award from Asian-American Chamber of Commerce.

EXTRACURRICULARS
Serves on Advisory Board of the Asian-American Chamber of Commerce in Greater Philadelphia

Active member of Associated Builders & Contractors’ Eastern Pa. chapter

OFF THE CLOCK

Team sponsor and head coach for Philadelphia Dragons Little League Tee-Ball team.

Hobbies include golf, skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking

SECRET LIFE
Was on TV in the background behind Tiger Woods when the golfer competed during the 2010 Masters.

School in the Philippines is named after his grandmother, Justicia Morales-Young National High School in Cabangila, in the Municipality of Altavas, Province of Aklan.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"Don’t reinvent the wheel, make it better!"

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"Getting outside any way possible and golfing a lot."

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"Working from home is easy when you don’t have kids! With kids around all I want to do is play with them."

 

 

Energy-Efficiency Expert

Tim Zelazny

Tim Zelazny, RA, CPHC, LEED AP BD+C, WELL AP, BECxP, CxA+BE

Senior Specialist-Envelope and Healthy Buildings

Environmental Systems Design (ESD), Chicago

AGE: 35

EDUCATION
M.Arch, North Dakota State University

BS-Environmental Design, North Dakota State University

Certificate of Business, North Dakota State University

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Helped develop master plan for the world’s largest net-zero energy and waste airport (located in the Middle East).

Working on the nation’s first WELL v2 Core Platinum and LEED EBOM v4.1 Platinum building (155 North Wacker in Chicago).

Created ESD’s Healthy & Sustainable Buildings Guidelines, with more than 150 strategies.

Certified the nation’s first WELL v1 Core & Shell Gold high-rise (151 North Franklin).

EXTRACURRICULARS
Active in Illinois Green Alliance 

Co-Vice President, Passive House Alliance, Chicago chapter

2020 presenter, Embodied Carbon Coalition

OFF THE CLOCK
To reduce personal carbon footprint, Tim travels mainly by bike and, as of mid 2020, had logged 2,150 miles.

To break of the monotony of the pandemic, Tim tries to visit a historical site in Chicago each weekend. 

SECRET LIFE
When growing up, his mom would buzz cut his initials into his hair so she could tell him apart from his twin brother Matt.

Grandmother worked in a factory welding microchips. His grandfather helped start the first Lions Club in Minnesota.

Prides himself on ability to take mid-day power naps.

WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER OR BUSINESS ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
"No one knows everything, even the experts. Don’t wait to take risks."

HOW HAVE YOU BEEN STAYING SANE IN 2020?
"To breakup the monotony, I try to visit a different historical site in Chicago each weekend. The city has a great database. Thank you to however created it! My mind is always blown when I find out that where I’m standing used to be Lake Michigan." 

WHAT HAS 2020 TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF?
"I learned that I spend too much time on my phone. Settings > Screen Time > Downtime. Do it." 

 

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