40 Under 40: Champions of Construction 2020

40 under 40 autodesk construction cloud blog digital builder champions of 2020

Check out our 2021 list! 

If one thing is certain in these uncertain times, it’s that 2020 will forever be remembered as a year of change. Yet, construction professionals have shown tremendous resiliency and agility as they have faced challenges head-on, adapted quickly, and became comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

Our 40 Under 40: Champions of Construction 2020 show how transformation can happen in even the most challenging times. This year, we recognize an extraordinary group of individuals who managed against all odds to excel their businesses, projects, and communities forward. Our champions implemented new technology and policies practically overnight, invested their time and passion to advocating for diversity and inclusion, and lent their skillset to help first responders and those in need. Although all unique, all 40 of these stories are not just powerful, they are truly representative of what makes the AEC industry incredible. 

While hundreds of accomplished and up and coming professionals in the AEC industry were nominated for the program, our list features some of the leading talent emerging from top organizations and projects around the world. Read on to learn about some of the biggest disruptors and change makers in construction inspiring us all to build a better industry and world.

The list appears in alphabetical order by company/organization name. Click the table of contents below to jump to each individual, or scroll on. 

  1. Catherine Moss, ADCO Electrical Corporation 
  2. Hritik Kothari, American Society of Civil Engineers
  3. Kate Bubriski, Arrowstreet
  4. Jessica Bowlin, Auburn High School 
  5. Zhuting “Claire” Mao, Balfour Beatty 
  6. Ted Jennings, Barton Malow 
  7. Dana Erdman, Bulley & Andrews
  8. Emidio Piermarini, Buro Happold
  9. Kirsty Hogg, Cundall 
  10. Bryce Raleigh, Dempsey Construction
  11. Zach Thompson, DPR Construction
  12. Ronald Feliciano, EEI Corporation
  13. Lazar Vilimonovic, Fredrick, Fredrick, & Heller Engineers Incorporated 
  14. Katerina Milovanoska, Gafcon 
  15. Weston Short, Gaylor Electric
  16. Andrew Clark, Geocon Group
  17. Seth Maze, GMH Builders 
  18. Kate Capeneka, Granger Construction
  19. Donald Hill, Hensel Phelps 
  20. Rotimi Seriki, HOK
  21. Paula Andrea Silva, Integral Group
  22. Ryan Seward, Intel
  23. Carolina Alvaraz, J&S Building Maintenance 
  24. Nick Beuke, Joeris Building Maintenance 
  25. Holley Thomas, KBR
  26. Mark Danaher, Kirby Engineering
  27. Ivana Tudja, Mace Group
  28. Makayla Oei, Mark III
  29. Alex Belkofer, McCarthy Building Companies 
  30. CJ Best, McKinstry
  31. Blake Titus, Miron Construction
  32. Maria Mingallon, Mott MacDonald
  33. Ramona Moon, Schulz Construction
  34. Samiha Shakil, Skanska 
  35. Robyn Schoch, Swinerton
  36. Justin Porter, Truebeck Construction
  37. Robert Ridgell, Virginia Department of Transportation
  38. Joe Maddens, Walsh
  39. Ruhi Thakur, Webcor
  40. Geoffrey Bean, W.M. Jordan Company

1. Catherine Moss

Catherine_MossVice President, Special Operations
ADCO Electrical Corporation
New York, New York

Catherine Moss brings over 15 years of construction expertise to her role as Vice President, Special Operations at ADCO Electrical Corporation. Catherine is responsible for leading the Digital transformation at ADCO. She has committed to the integration of digital technology into all areas of our business, fundamentally changing how we operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failing fast and moving forward to success.

 Under her stewardship, the company has developed a highly competent Data Analyst group with a focus on maximizing efficiencies by utilizing long standing existing database programs in accounting, estimating and operations; employing ETL via an Azure warehouse and AWS Lake secure environments; overlaying PowerBI, a data visualization platform; resulting in the most effective use of single source data as a management tool.   

Catherine is also a member of the Strategic Planning Committee with enterprise P&L responsibilities, sector focus and sales, and marketing strategies. 

Catherine is a proud Board Member of Non-Traditional Employment for Women (known as ‘NEW’), a non-profit organization that advances women in the construction industry trades, a Board Member of ChaShaMa, which collaborates with local organizations to create free arts programming throughout the five boroughs, and the Founder of C-Suite State of Mind, which provides content and tools to encourage women’s advancement to the C-Suite. ​ Catherine has been a featured speaker at events such as the Annual Women in Real Estate Forum, NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate, and the AIM Women in Leadership Conference. She continues to be a lead and inspire younger generations, particularly in the construction industry.

“Catherine has committed to the integration of digital technology into all areas of our business, fundamentally changing how we operate and deliver value to customers. Catherine is unwavering in her commitment to the goals of the company and the care of the employees.” 

2. Hritik Kothari

Hritik_KothariProject Engineering Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
West Lafayette, Indiana

Hritik is a full-time student pursuing a Masters Degree in Construction Management from Purdue University, West Lafayette Campus. Currently, he serves as the Student President of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Region 10 for 74 international student chapters (in 5 different continents) — a total of 24,740 members. In his role, he is responsible for members’ professional development through meetings and study of local engineering practice. During his undergrad in VIT Vellore (India), Hritik effectively led a team of 35 technical members and around 50 management staff to conduct International Civil Engineering Symposium (ICES’ 17) and first-ever ASCE Student Section Conference 2018. His leadership resulted in the victory of the ASCE-VIT Technical Division to win the Regional Concrete Canoe Competition. Under his tenure, ASCE-VIT conducted numerous events and workshops on campus by inviting honorable guest speakers, which helped to enlighten students in their respective fields. Since March 2020, Hritik has been working as a Co-chair on a special project for ASCE. He has helped create a proposal to examine resources and tools that ASCE can offer to assist student members pave their career paths in civil engineering.

“Hritik is responsible for professional development in Civil Engineering of about 25000 national and international students across four different continents by establishing a global education network for them.”

3. Kate Bubrinski

Bubriski_Kate_Headshot_WebDirector of Sustainability and Building Performance
Boston, Massachusetts

As the Director of Sustainability and Building Performance at Arrowstreet, Kate works every day to provide healthier, more sustainable buildings that improve the lives of occupants and communities. She has played a lead role in some of the firm’s most projects. This has included King Open (the first net zero emissions school in Massachusetts), Douglas-Gates Elementary School (designed as net zero emissions and water), and 21 Charles Street the first mass timber office building in Massachusetts). This year, Kate has seized the challenges of the global pandemic and the justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion movement to bring attention to the role the built environment plays on human health. She helped reframe the conversation and sought opportunities to bring the message to a larger, virtual audience through webinars, panels, and podcasts. Additionally, she saw the architecture industry’s need to lend its expertise to help clients and communities evaluate and plan for mitigation strategies in their existing buildings. From schools to offices, Kate rapidly ramped up research and created tools and resources for Arrowstreet to perform this work to get students back in classrooms and people back in offices and develop long-term strategies for existing and new buildings to incorporate viral mitigation into the design. Finally, her dedication to mentorship has helped to provide many with valuable learning opportunities.

“Through her expertise in community engagement and sustainable design paired with digital and construction technologies, Kate brings an unsurpassed passion, innovation, and success to all of the projects at Arrowstreet. Her leadership has driven the firm to make great strides in sustainable, resilience, and wellness design, becoming a nationally recognized firm for this work.”

4. Jessica Bowlin

BowlinJess_Headshot_AHSBuilding Construction Instructor
Auburn High School
Auburn, Alabama

As the Building Construction Instructor at Auburn High School, Jessica spends countless hours above and beyond her required workday, preparing additional curriculum for her students to prepare them to become the future of our construction workforce. She is pushing the basic principles of construction to encourage the younger generation to develop the skills to become our future tradespeople. She teaches about construction management, how to read drawings/specifications, and maintaining a construction schedule. With a large percentage of the Auburn High School students that attend college applying to Auburn University, she organizes field trips to visit their Building Science program and current campus construction projects. Jessica led her students to become the first high school in Alabama to construct a fully functional, livable tiny house. She raised funds to get the project started, procured all of the materials in her spare time, and prepared to sell the house once complete. When the pandemic hit in 2020, the original buyers were forced to backout of the sale with little notice. Jessica had to restart her efforts to sell it in the middle of a pandemic. Due to her relentless persistence and connections provided through their community partnerships, they quickly located a new buyer and saw what was once a mere vision transition into reality. She returned all of the funds and profits to the school’s Building Construction program to fund future learning projects.

Before becoming a teacher, Jessica spent the first few years of her career in the industry, learning the ins-and-outs of the construction world. In only two short years as a full-time teacher, she was given the prestigious title of Teacher of the Year by the State of Alabama, one of the top 8 secondary teachers in the state.

“Although she no longer works for a construction company, she is providing so much more to the industry. Jessica is planting seeds for the future of construction.”

5. Zhuting “Claire” Mao

Zhuting “Claire” MaoVDC/BIM Manager
Balfour Beatty/LINXS
Los Angeles, California

As Virtual Design and Construction Manager at Balfour Beatty, Claire has been instrumental in successfully completing numerous high-profile projects, including the San Diego Campus Improvement Project and Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. Currently, Claire is working on a $4.9 billion LAX Automated People Mover Project to build an electric train system on a 2.25-mile elevated guideway with six stations. Claire is a key member implementing and streamlining workflows in design coordination, value engineering, and logistics planning. She is also experienced in utilizing a wide range of technology on projects, including BIM, virtual reality, laser scanning, design assistance, construction coordination, and more. She stays on top of innovation in the market and is a champion in finding project solutions using cloud platforms and technology to enhance virtual communication, documentation, decision making, standards, and safety.

Additionally, Claire is passionate about sharing her expertise and knowledge to the industry and community, making a tremendous impact on the next generation. She is an active speaker at national conferences, including BIM Forum, CMAA National Conference, Autodesk University, and USC BIM symposium. Besides being an industry influencer, she dedicates her time to guiding and mentoring students from K-12 to universities.

Claire is constantly initiating innovations to integrate appropriate technology into design and construction processes to increase project efficiency and productivity.  Her contributions and ideas were recognized by the Balfour Beatty Global Innovation Award.”

6. Ted Jennings

ted jenningsSenior VDC Manager
Barton Malow
Detroit, Michigan 

As a leader in technology at Barton Malow, Ted helps manage the evaluation and deployment of all non-financial construction technologies for Barton Malow, which spans 15 offices across 10 states. As a the young professional, Ted has risen to become a trusted technology advisor for all divisions of the enterprise, including construction management, design-build, program management, general contracting, technology consulting, equipment installation services, and self-perform divisions. Ted is a true technology champion, taking a lead role in deploying solutions across the organization and advocating for the power of connected data in construction. Ted has worked on notable projects throughout his career, including starting as an engineer on a 470,000-square-foot Federal Courthouse in San Diego. In Southeast Michigan, he worked on an EPA upgrade program for a local utility that spanned 11 coal-fired units at four power plants. More recently, Ted has helped lead key technology initiatives at Barton Malow, including maturing its reality capture strategy, growing its construction data and analytics programs, and leading the adoption of connected cloud technology.

“Ted is a true technology champion, taking a lead role in deploying solutions across the organization and advocating for the power of connected data in construction.” 

7. Dana Erdman

Erdman, Dana_4x4Director of Technology and Innovation
Bulley & Andrews
Chicago, Illinois

As the Director of Technology and Innovation, Dana is not only a leader in her role at Bulley & Andrews, she is a thought leader in the construction industry. In recent years, Dana created a Virtual Design and Construction department from the ground up at one of Chicago’s oldest firms. A natural problem solver, she’s constantly engaging her teams by listening to their problems and working to provide innovative, thoughtful solutions. Dana is also a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion within the construction industry. This year, she has worked tirelessly to create a culture of diversity and inclusion in her workplace by creating and co-chairing a new Diversity & Inclusion group to empower diverse voices at Bulley & Andrews and within the field of construction. Her accolades and passion have earned her a 2019 Constructech Women in Construction Award. Additionally, she was honored with a 2018 & 2020 Builtworlds Adoption Leader.  

“Dana influences and encourages other industry leaders to adapt to change, promote authenticity and an inclusive culture, and create diverse teams.”

8. Emidio Piermarini

Emidio PiermariniAssociate Director and Lead of Computational Consulting
Buro Happold
Hong Kong, China

As an Associate Director and recent founder of a new Computational Consulting offer for Buro Happold Asia, Emidio has successfully charted a course for Buro Happold toward some very lofty goals and ambitions. For over 7 years, Emidio has demonstrated exceptional leadership and generous mentorship on complex and groundbreaking projects in the Middle East and Asia.  Upon graduating from MIT with a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering, Emidio joined Buro Happold where he quickly became one of the early pioneers in the art of Computational Engineering.  Emidio cut his teeth on iconic projects such as the Morpheus Macau early in his career, where he solved complex geometry and structural design problems.  Since these early days, he has worked with dedication to successfully develop ways to connect teams from multiple disciplines and their workflows – expanding the base engineers using computation and by doing so, radically changing what is possible in design and creating value for Buro Happold’s clients. He has paved the way for some exciting new approaches for how Buro Happold interfaces with existing clients and new markets in an increasingly technological industry. Despite 2020 being particularly challenging, Emidio launched a new department and service for Buro Happold, which is called Computational Consulting – a service aimed at helping clients involved in Real Estate Development and Infrastructure projects solve some of their biggest challenges using computation and advanced analytics.  He bolstered this endeavor globally, despite the year’s challenges, by being one of the leaders of “Hackademy 3.0” — a virtual program to engage with teams across Buro Happold and spread awareness about recent developments of computational teams.

“Emidio is regularly engaging teams to raise the bar in how we apply computation into our workflows, how we use it to collaborate, and to fundamentally change the paradigm of how we approach Engineering through the application of computation.” 

8. Kirsty Hogg

Kirsty_HoggTechnical BIM Lead
London, United Kingdom

Kirsty is working as the Technical BIM Lead at Cundall, a global multi-disciplinary consultancy with projects all over the world. Kirsty started her journey at Cundall back in 2007 and was promoted from a junior role to a lead position, demonstrating her dedication, hard work, adaptability, and willingness to lead through challenges and innovation. Kirsty has solid experience working with advanced construction technology. On top of that, she facilitates training internally at Cundall and creates manuals to train the team. Kirsty has been deeply involved in projects such as Facebook, Derwent London, and Broadcasting Center for the London 2012 Olympics. Kirsty has been one of the key drivers enabling remote workflows for Cundall during the uneasy 2020 pandemic times. She has gone above and beyond working until late hours and during weekends, all this to make sure her team had the right resources and solutions enabled in a timely manner across various projects at a time. Her voice has been instrumental in rolling out BIM 360 technology on Cundall projects, and Kirsty has taken the lead on a “train the trainer” approach, which has supported staff enablement from the knowledge perspective.

“Kirsty is always hungry for challenges and is always eager to commit and participate in customer-facing workstreams and beta programs with our R&D and product teams.”

10. Bryce Raleigh

bryce raleighVice President of Operations
Dempsey Construction
Encinitas, California

As a Principal and Vice President of Operations for Dempsey Construction, Bryce is responsible for managing the Project Management Team, implementing systems and processes, financial planning, strategizing and forward planning of operations. He has an in-depth background and understanding of the building industry and construction operations through his 15+ year tenure in the business. At Dempsey Construction alone, Bryce has been a part of over 100 projects spanning a wide range of industries, including retail, hospitality, office, automotive, medical, industrial, infrastructure, transportation and more. This year, Bryce has shown his leadership during a crisis by helping to implement a COVID Relief Fund at the company. The relief fund’s purpose was to provide each Dempsey Construction employee with resources to help others or their own households during this challenging time. Each employee was given a letter stating the relief fund’s intention along with a check and gift cards — totaling $1400 per employee. Employees used the funds to “pay it forward‚” through random acts of kindness. Contributions helped to support small business owners, people struggling to make ends meet, and essential workers putting themselves at risk every day. Prior to joining Dempsey Construction, Bryce worked for both Lusardi and F-E Contracting, Inc., and has built an impressive resume of projects throughout California, Arizona, Nevada and the Pacific Northwest — totaling over 3.5 million square feet of commercial projects.

“The relief funds brought many smiles to others during this challenging time. It also acted as a great reminder of how fortunate we are to be in a business sector that has been allowed to continue working.”

11. Zach Thompson

zach thompson dprSoutheast Prefab Lead
DPR Construction
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Zach Thompson, a civil engineer, and 10-year construction industry insider, continues to influence the successful development of virtual design and construction (VDC) implementation strategies on numerous multimillion-dollar high-profile DPR Construction projects. Zach joined DPR Construction in 2018 and has made a considerable positive impact in a short amount of time, including overseeing prefabrication opportunities in South Florida and leading the VDC teams in South Florida, Tampa, and Orlando. Notably, Zach led DPR’s prefabrication efforts on the UM Medical Center at Sole Mia project and multiple technology projects, including VDC for the Vivex Biologics and FAU Schmidt Family Complex projects. As the world dynamics changed in early 2020, Zach’s work responsibilities pivoted to leading DPR’s Southeast regional prefabrication efforts. Zach embraced the opportunity, further cementing his dedication to growth in the construction industry. With Zach as a resource for the Southeast region, DPR’s VDC group has doubled in size. He continues to connect resources across the country both internally and externally to change how DPR builds now and in the future.

Before joining DPR, Zach drove VDC initiatives on back-to-back large-scale projects worth $1 billion in volume, including the Intel RA4 chip manufacturing facility and Pandora — The World of Avatar land located in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. 

“At DPR, one of our four core values is Ever Forward. It allows our entrepreneurial spirit to truly run free. No better person exemplifies that core value than Zach. He has become a true boon to our growth in virtual design & construction and prefabrication throughout the Southeast, where he influences our teams across the full lifecycle of our projects: pursuit, preconstruction, construction, closeout, and facility operation.”

12. Ronald Feliciano

ronald felicianoVDC Group Manager
EEI Corporation
Quezon City, Philippines

Ronald is the Head of the Innovation Department in EEI Corporation, one of the largest General Contractors in the Philippines with projects like MRT7, Subway, and other major infrastructure projects in the Philippines. 

He is continuously in pursuit of innovation at the firm and implemented a common data environment and established a standard process for executing cloud-based collaboration between 3D modelers and designers. Ronald’s close partnership with the EEI’s Project Planning Department will now also see the application of 4D Planning in EEI’s project delivery approach.    

Under his leadership, EEI became the first company in the Philippines to use all modules of BIM 360. He’s currently working on applying augmented reality and laser scanning for digital construction verification and exploring how the company can utilize a connected suite of technology from design to fabrication. 

The COVID-19 pandemic was not the first struggle in the Philippines this year. In January, a volcano eruption in the country caused a major impact on businesses, including construction. Ronald quickly pursued solutions for his department to be equipped and ready to work from home. A week before a lockdown was implemented, the team was already efficiently working from home and doing design collaboration through BIM 360. The program’s effectiveness allowed him to hire many more BIM Modelers, even from distant cities and provinces.

“Ronald has helped EEI withstand the effects of the pandemic by providing excellent results despite the situation. This has resulted in stable jobs for his team and more opportunities to those aspiring modelers.” 

13. Lazar Vilimonovic

lazar vilimonovicElectrical Engineer
Fredrick, Fredrick & Heller Engineers Incorporated
Cleveland, Ohio

As an Electrical Engineer, Lazar helps design electrical systems for medical, office, and educational environments throughout the Midwest with a significant presence in the healthcare and government industry. This year, Lazar was on the crisis’s front lines and was assigned to multiple COVID surge teams during this pandemic. He spent this last year working to make sure our hospitals are prepared for coronavirus case surges, and his work is crucial in saving lives. Projects included COVID Surge planning campus-wide for University Hospitals and The Cleveland Clinic. He has remained professional throughout it all and takes the initiative on his projects to deliver the best work possible. This has helped him to meet challenges head-on, and he frequently goes the extra mile to help others involved in his projects.

“Lazar Vilimonovic is a wonderful example of a young professional entering his field with a quiet but not unnoticed competence and a willingness to learn and grow.”

14. Katerina Milovanoska

katerina milovanoskaDirector, BIM/VDC
Gafcon, Inc.
San Diego, California

Katerina is Director of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) at Gafcon, Inc., one of the companies leading the digital twin property technology revolution and a founding member of the global Digital Twin Consortium. She is a former practicing architect with experience that spans the architecture, construction, and real estate sectors. She has worked on notable projects, including large high-tech companies, the West Terminal Expansion at San Diego International Airport, the Expansion of Westfield UTC mall, the Mid-coast Corridor Transit Project, and the Eel Ride rollercoaster at SeaWorld. Katerina is an influential proponent of shifting the AEC industry’s mindset to use data-centric BIM and VDC. Her perspective helps clients turn digital architectural design models into three-dimensional reference models, containing the information and details the construction team needs to mitigate risk while building structures. She also manages the creation process that feeds Digital Twin applications to provide simulations, predictivity, and sustainability for the whole building lifecycle. This year, despite the challenges, she managed to keep the team connected using Mix reality visualizations for coordination and decision making. Katerina is also very active across professional construction organizations and was listed among the Top 50 Technology Adoption Leaders of 2017 by BuiltWorlds.

“Using construction cloud applications and predictive analytics, Katerina has managed to connect all data and workflows from design to build and make decisions more effectively across the project lifecycle”

15. Weston Short

weston shortVice President of Business & Engineering Services
Gaylor Electric, Inc.
Mooresville, North Carolina

Recognized as Gaylor Electric’s 2017 Champion of Innovation, Weston provides unique industry insights and proven project innovations to the firm’s clients. In July of 2018, Gaylor Electric was awarded a $750 million confidential data center. With the electrical construction value estimated at $170 million, a team of highly skilled construction professionals was brought together to design and manage this massive project – among those select leaders was Weston. His problem-solving skills significantly helped to keep the entire project on schedule. As a strong communicator, Weston knows that early involvement and high-level coordination from every trade involved in the project are essential throughout the entire construction process. Due to COVID-19, communication barriers became even greater, and collaboration efforts were stalled. With no one traveling, and onsite safety precautions in place, Weston had to be creative in how his engineering team could communicate with onsite electricians, field supervision, and the customers to ensure quality project delivery. Weston relied on Autodesk to bridge the gap by capitalizing on Revit VR/AR capabilities to overcome these roadblocks. After video footage was collected, Weston’s team was able to push the content to Oculus headsets for real-time collaboration between the jobsite, the engineering team, and the fabrication department. Craft professionals shared VR jobsite walks, while fabrication and engineering professionals shared footage from the fabrication manufacturing floor for clearer design intent. In addition, the owners were able to virtually walk their jobsites through the Oculus headset, which provided them with peace of mind during a very uncertain time.

“Over the years, Weston has brought true value to our organization by addressing construction challenges head-on and using a high level of ingenuity to problem solve.”

16. Andrew Clark

andrew clark geoconDirector of Design and Planning
Geocon Constructors
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

As Director of Planning and Development, Andrew has helped drive Geocon to become the fourth largest dwelling builder Australia-wide in 2019. Andrew has been with the firm for more than 11 years and leads one of Australia’s most dynamic internal design teams, which offers up to 2,000 apartments to market in Canberra each year. Having studied architecture, Andrew’s role with Geocon is one of the most challenging jobs within the Australian construction industry. Geocon is a fully integrated property developer. Andrew is the conduit between construction and development, creating innovative solutions through design to produce aesthetically pleasing buildings that contribute to the community while also generating revenue for the business. During the last five years, some of the major projects Andrew has managed design and planning include Infinity Towers, Midnight, Republic Precinct, and Grand Central Towers. Without the challenge of a pandemic, this was a complex forecast of work further complicated by ongoing planning and development works at WOVA, The Establishment, Giles Street, and Kingston Arts Precinct. Through the shutdown period and into Q4, Andrew and his team have maintained full steam providing the planning guidance to allow all four projects to continue unabated. Even during the global shutdown, Andrew’s strong relationships with contractors and suppliers allowed the business to maintain its course and keep a full work roster. No-one from his team stood down or made redundant. Logistically, Andrew negotiated delivery of supplies from China and other parts of Asia to keep build times of both Grand Central Towers and High Society on track.

“Andrew is already widely regarded as a Construction Champion within Canberra’s industry circles and deserves to be recognized for his immense contributions.”

17. Seth Maze

seth maze gmh buildersPresident
GMH Builders
San Francisco Bay Area, California

Instrumental in growing the company, Seth has grown GMH Builders to optimize the company’s preconstruction and construction operations. His crew deployed BIM, laser scanning, point cloud, and other cutting-edge technologies to enhance efficiency and productivity. This year, Seth has overseen more than 100 preconstruction and construction projects in the North Bay region, including multiple projects within a confidential global high-tech facility with clean room buildouts and R&D engineering spaces sprawling nearly one million square feet. Similarly, GMH is performing repeat work across six hospital facilities. In California, these buildings are regulated by OSHPD. To manage work in these extreme building environments, Seth has long adopted technology as a tool to supplement professional intelligence. GMH Builders has been able to further scale this technical building knowledge and apply it to other market sectors in the area, including Winery, Brewery, Education, Commercial, and Estate Residential.

Based in Northern California’s Wine Country, Seth and the GMH crew remain steadfast in their dedication to the communities they serve. In the face of pandemic, firestorms, and shutdowns, GMH Builders continues to serve and has achieved record growth. Their perseverance and resilience allow them to celebrate continued success despite the seasonal firestorms that ravish the world-renowned destination. Seth has led the charge in rebuilding fire-devastated projects in record time against the competition. He also has published and implemented GMH Pandemic Protocols prior to the first March Shelter In Place Orders. He continues to work as a steward of the community as a member of local chapters of Associated General Contractors, American Institute of Architects, while donating funds and services to local school programs and City partnerships supporting local businesses in need. 

“Remarkably, in four short years, Seth has pushed GMH Builders into the forefront of the general contractor limelight in their North Bay Area region. This has placed the firm in the Top 8 Contractors by volume in 2019, and despite COVID times they have secured over $40M in new work in 2020.”

18. Kate Capeneka

kate capeneka granger Continuous Improvement Facilitator
Granger Construction
East Lansing, Michigan

As Granger Construction’s first-ever Continuous Improvement Facilitator, Kate demonstrates exceptional leadership in helping Granger develop, implement, and improve Lean processes that increase efficiency and reduce waste. In her role, Kate goes beyond technology research and application development to making connections between what our project teams are doing and their processes and technology. She takes a holistic approach, regularly making time to visit project sites and meet with the teams to see if they are having any issues. Working on a team of only two people, Kate has managed to lead process mapping for multiple departments and teams. She has helped brainstorm, develop, test, launch, and improve multiple custom applications that continue to strengthen Granger’s operations. She has been especially impactful in her leadership role using the enterprise platform, OutSystems, to link and build data channels through custom application development and syncing with current data systems. Several of the applications and dashboards to improve project management processes and communication were especially useful as COVID-19 hit, and there was a shift to remote work conditions. A few days before jobsites were set to resume work, the firm sought paperless solutions for safety screenings. Within a week, Kate worked with Granger’s key OutSystems Developer to design and build an application that could utilize QR codes for easy check-in across workplaces. Her process meant Granger could post QR codes at multiple spots across workplaces and make the check-in link available remotely for an all-electronic health screen questionnaire — in both English and Spanish. This paperless process meant Granger had fewer transmission risks from physical objects. It also helped the firm document, which was onsite, and teams could validate that those people had truly checked in and were cleared to be on the site. It also meant that people could be checked in rapidly — creating no delays in the process. 

“Kate continually immerses herself in new best practice ideas to be able to train and lead teams to implement those best practices at Granger. Her innovative health screening process has received a lot of positive feedback from owners and partners across projects, noting how effectively Granger teams are responding in these uncertain times.”

19. Donald P. Hill

donald hill hensel phelpsProject Manager
Hensel Phelps
Sacramento, California

With more than 12 years of experience managing large-scale construction projects, Don Hill consistently focuses on building strong relationships with his fellow team members. Having worked his way up from Field Engineer to Project Manager, Don is recognized as a leader, a mentor and a champion of diversity and inclusion at Hensel Phelps.

Don’s notable projects include SFO’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1, and his current project for the State of California, the 10th and O Street Office Building in downtown Sacramento. Embracing his part in the Sacramento community, Don shares his passion for community service and engagement with his team members through the organization of team events for the Yolo County Food Bank, and the creation of a program to support local, small businesses which encourages employees to eat locally. 

Don’s support for the community also extends to his role as the Subcommittee Chair for the Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE) Committee at Hensel Phelps. Together with the DICE committee, Don led this year’s effort to educate employees on the meaning of Juneteenth, the holiday that commemorates the enslaved African American people’s emancipation in the United States. The overwhelmingly positive feedback from this campaign inspires Don to continue mentoring his project team while providing a safe space for people to engage in today’s challenging conversations.

“Donald has a strong passion for both his job and serving his community. We salute Donald and would like the world to know he’s a stand-up employee and man!”

20. Rotimi Seriki

rotimi seriki HOKVisualization Manager
San Francisco Bay Area, California

Over the past six years, Rotimi has single-handedly managed and transformed HOK San Francisco’s design visualization studio by introducing an integrated workflow between design documentation and design visualization. Consequently, he helped HOK forge a path to introducing new technological ways of design communications like augmented reality and virtual reality. For instance, for Seatac airport terminal design, the introduction of both augmented reality and virtual reality was used to help communicate design intent to contractors working on the project and the client.

During the pandemic of 2020, Rotimi built a digital twin application that helps designers, architects, and clients navigate through a virtual 3D model of San Francisco on the web. This application gives the user the ability to virtually visit HOK’s built and upcoming projects in San Francisco. The app is currently being expanded to cover more cities.

Rotimi has been leveraging immersive technology in extremely creative ways at HOK. The firm can now leverage virtual reality that provides a much simpler path to understanding design intent on projects.”

21. Paula Andrea Silva

paula andrea silva integral groupAssociate
Integral Group
San Francisco Bay Area, California

Paula has extensive experience in designing energy-efficient power systems from projects ranging from commercial and institutional to retail and residential. Paula is a Senior Electrical Engineer with P.Eng from Canada and MBA from California and ten years of experience specializing in net zero buildings. Paula’s technical role encompasses the design of power systems, energy efficiency, renewable energy, lighting, and lighting controls. Her management experience spans business development, team leadership, mentorship, and client relations. She is passionate about sustainability and green energy and she is a LEED Accredited Professional. She has worked on projects with a range of rigorous energy standards, including confidential 900,000 square foot tech campus targeting LEED Platinum certification. These projects’ main goal is to create sustainable systems to achieve net positive energy production through innovative design.

Paula is currently working in five different demonstration sites. Each demonstration site will be retrofitted to be all-electric for space and hot water heating using efficient and innovative solutions to achieve net zero energy. Paula is doing research and coming up with innovative ideas on going all-electric without having to do an electrical infrastructure upgrade. She provided several presentations to the client on energy efficient equipment, including more efficient appliances, load management, smart circuit panels, and programmable energy management subpanels.

Paula strongly believes that energy efficiency engineering design can be achieved in a simple, unique, and affordable way. One of her biggest strengths is providing creative solutions to a variety of unique energy challenges.

22. Ryan Seward

ryan seward intelMechanical Project Engineer
Intel Corporation
Portland, Oregon

Ryan Seward, digital transformation lead at Intel Corporation, is the driving force behind digitizing tool install design for Intel’s global construction engineering team. This vital work implements new tools into Intel’s construction workflow and improves productivity in the installation of the company’s semiconductor manufacturing equipment. 

When COVID-19 hit, Intel needed to supply face shields for its factory workforce. Ryan was part of the team that worked tirelessly to 3D print face shields until orders of personal protective equipment (PPE) could be filled. As Ryan supports global projects, he leveraged technology to connect the global sites so teams could continue to collaborate despite travel restrictions. Ryan has also been willing to meet off-hours to ensure our global teams get the personal support they need to be successful. 

Ryan continues to look towards what’s next. This includes partnering with industry leaders to explore using autonomous robots for various construction tasks in Intel’s densely packed and perpetually changing facilities.

“It’s pioneers like Ryan that will help construction move from being one of the least digitized industries around to one that attracts young innovative talent for decades to come.”

23. Carolina Alvarez

carolina alvarez j&S building maintenancePresident
J&S Building Maintenance, Inc.
Long Beach, California

Carolina started J&S Building Maintenance, Inc., three years ago. Since then, the company has doubled year after year, providing many jobs to underprivileged communities. J&S continues to thrive, and Carolina always helps GCs when they need help outside of California. Even when crew availability is limited, she is committed to helping when asked and gets it done. Additionally, she led the move to add plexiglass to all workstations for some of the firm’s bigger clients. She has worked on some final cleaning projects this year, including Orchard Park in Beaumont, CA, and the Presbyterian project in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Both projects added COVID-19 disinfection solutions. She was also able to quickly obtain PPE for all staff to keep them safe in the field, sometimes driving out of state to pick up items when needed. Additionally, she is committed to paying it forward and has donated cleaning chemicals and consumables such as toilet paper and paper towels to local organizations. Carolina was recently featured in the Professional Women Magazine for the great things she accomplished during the pandemic. 

“Carolina was able to lead her team and made quick decisions to pivot our crews into COVID 19 disinfection solutions in order to add services. This helped ensure our company did not have to lay off any employees during the crisis.”

24. Nick Beuke

nick beuke joeris general contractorsProject Executive
Joeris General Contractors
San Antonio, Texas

Nick began his construction career at Joeris General Contractors as an Assistant Superintendent and worked his way up to Project Executive. He has built multiple HEB grocery stores and retail projects before transitioning into the industrial sector. He has helped build a 64,000 square feet Snack Food Plant, a Greek Yogurt Culture Plant, and is currently the Executive overseeing a power plant at Southwest Research. Family comes first when it comes to how Nick treats his project team because, to Nick, those team members are a part of his work family. When cases of COVID began hitting his team members’ families, Nick did not hesitate to jump in and take the place of the project managers and laborers so that there would be no time lost. Nick was out in the field with the rest of his team, ensuring his project ran smoothly when his superintendent was out taking care of his family members. Nick has been committed to providing the highest quality project while providing a facility the owner can be proud of. He is always thinking, “what is the most economical way to build our projects.” His expertise has allowed Joeris General Contractors to balance the most important functions to the end-users and the developers’ budget.

“Nick is a natural leader who is focused on serving his clients, project teams, and at Joeris General Contractors.”

25. Holley Thomas

holley thomas kbrSenior Technical Services Professional – Field Construction
Dadeville, Alabama

As Senior Technical Services Professional – Field Construction at KBR, Holley is a leader in the industry and a mentor to young craft workers. She continually goes above and beyond, giving her personal time and sharing her expertise to ensure others are given the best opportunity to grow. Holley began her career with KBR as a welder helper and quickly advanced to a structural welder, then a field supervisor, a QC inspector, and eventually to her present position in technical services. She competed in the Associated Builders and Contractors National Craft Championships as a structural welder in 2010 and was the first woman to win gold in the competition. She has continued her commitment to craft and workforce development by training others in the craft, and participating in the competition annually as a welding judge.  In her decade-long career with KBR, she has perfected not just her craft skills in both structural and pipe welding, but continues to develop her leadership skills and a broad mastery of multiple functions that make for a successful construction project. Her current role challenges her with the critical areas above and beyond craft skill that are so necessary for project success—work packaging, tie-in coordination, and turnover to the client.  She has proven herself so consistently valuable that multiple projects within KBR compete to have her assigned. She is a leader, highly skilled and knowledgeable, and is the very definition of a craft professional and a present and future industry leader. Her story exemplifies the many career pathways available to anyone who starts in the industry learning a craft.    

“Holley is one of the most honest, dependable, and straightforward people you will ever come across. She is an incredible welder and selfless industry leader. She should be recognized as a 40 Under 40: Construction Champion of 2020 due to her mastery of her craft, her work teaching and mentoring others, and her dedication to the industry in general.”

26. Mark Danaher

mark danaher kirby engineeringTechnical Services Manager
Kirby Engineering
Dublin, Ireland

Mark has worked on some of Ireland and Europe’s most significant construction projects. In his role, he presents solutions in the early stages of a project and helps deploy Autodesk solutions as the technology platform for multinational clients and construction contractors. Mark’s technology choices have been vindicated over the past nine months, with stakeholders realizing that they have gained a competitive advantage as a result of the comprehensive solutions implemented by Kirby over the past few years. It enabled them to seamlessly transition to different work environments and locations without major disruption to their productivity and operations. Additionally, he has maintained a diverse team in adverse conditions while driving the digitization of Kirby’s business processes.

“Mark has been instrumental in adopting Autodesk Solutions to address and improve day to day workflows that have positively impacted on all aspects of their business. Despite numerous challenges, Mark successfully managed the transition to cloud-based technology and has made an invaluable contribution to Kirby’s pre-construction and project execution processes.”

27. Ivana Tudja

ivana tudja mace groupSenior BIM Manager
Mace Group
London, United Kingdom

Ivana is a BIM and Digital Engineering Lead (Senior BIM Manager) with 15-years of experience in the AEC industry. At the Mace Group, her focus is driving the implementation and adoption of digital ways of working. She is responsible for developing BIM and digital engineering strategies for public sector projects while also ensuring they are implemented on site with the goal of delivering world-class service to clients. Over her career, Ivana has been overseeing and implementing BIM Level 2 and new technologies on many large scale construction, engineering and fit-out projects like: UCL East Marshgate, Harwell Campus Projects, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Marshall Building, UCL Insitute of Neurology and Dementia Research Institute and Westminster City Hall. She started her career as a qualified architect and Autodesk Approved Instructor which helped her understand challenges from both consultant and software implementation point of view. This led her to construction where she worked for two main contractors and enabled her to continuously push the boundaries and implement new technologies on construction sites. 

On top of all the challenges 2020 has brought to us, Ivana has taken a new role as a BIM & Digital Engineering Lead for Mace during the first few weeks of the UK lockdown. This made her even more determined to lead a change by looking for solutions to enable collaboration and providing support in the new situation where everyone was suddenly working from home in an industry where not many people were used to doing so before. With the experience of implementing BIM 360 in her previous role, she became a cluster lead for Autodesk Construction Cloud at Mace and implemented BIM 360 (Docs, Model Coordination, Field Management, Assets, Plan) across projects in her sector with her new team. This, together with the tools like Holobuilder platform, enabled collaboration, remote progress tracking, and data-driven performance analysis, which were a key thing during the lockdown.

Ivana’s extensive industry experience has helped her spearhead in-house business initiatives related to supporting innovation and improving productivity. She does all of this while leading an exciting team who are incredibly passionate about changing the industry!”

28. Makayla Oei

makayla oei Mark IIIProject Executive
Mark III Construction
Sacramento, California

Makayla is the Project Executive on Mark III’s internal research and development series, Project Mountain. In 2017, the company began its first iteration of Project Mountain. The project aims to find ways to streamline workflow and increase productivity by standardizing building elements such as carriers, electrical assemblies, and MEP in-wall. Last year, under her leadership, our Project Mountain team of two mechanics built a turn-key medical exam room in just 6.5 days. This year, Makayla took what the company learned and applied it to two California-based healthcare projects currently under construction. By utilizing this approach, Mark III delivers projects at 20% less than historical costs and beating typical build schedules by 25%.

While this year has been challenging, Makayla has found a way to focus on the opportunities at hand rather than the setbacks. For example, the UCD Campus Clinic project was under construction at the beginning of the pandemic, while there was still uncertainty about essential business and safety. Makayla kept her eye on the finish line and was confident in the planning and team’s ability to execute. The project was planned and bid to utilize manufacturing for all interior and exterior wall panels (complete with MEPs). Moving construction off-site to Mark III’s MEP Manufacturing Facility made the complex pandemic landscape easier to navigate. It ensured construction was able to continue as scheduled while also ensuring jobsites were not congested, keeping teams socially distanced and safe. Through her leadership on Project Mountain, she has proven that industrialized construction is not only possible but produces a higher quality product and increases efficiency while decreasing overall cost. This is a gamechanger in the way healthcare construction is approached and delivered.

“Makayla is a trailblazer and is passionate, driven, and will stop at nothing on our mission to lead the evolution of construction and change the way projects are delivered. From innovation to the development of customer relationships, Makayla has done it all, and without her, Project Mountain would not be what it is today. I am immensely proud to work with her and cannot wait to see what she will do next with Mark III.” 

29. Alex Belkofer

alex belkofer mccarthyVDC Director
McCarthy Building Companies
St. Louis, Missouri

As VDC Director at McCarthy Building Companies, Alex has extensive experience leading and working on large-scale, complex projects across many building sectors. His recent project work includes Washington University School of Medicine Neuroscience Research Building, Next NGA West Headquarters, and St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station. He’s a tireless champion of VDC processes and integrated project delivery by synthesizing people, process, and technology. Alex is highly skilled at building relationships with all stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle. As a core team member of McCarthy’s National VDC Leadership Group and a regional leader of McCarthy’s Integrated Virtual Builder (IVB) initiative, he’s on the front lines of building the company’s future. He serves as an enthusiastic mentor and coach for internal McCarthy partners around VDC best practices and to further our mission to be “the best builder in America.” 

“While maintaining his demanding regional team leadership and project commitments, Alex remained dedicated to McCarthy’s national initiatives. Much like his commitments to fitness, coaching, and mentoring, his perseverance in the face of adversity remains strong as he and his colleagues maintain their never-ending focus to succeed. Alex’s passion and commitment to leveraging best-in-class technology to improve project outcomes and advance the construction industry is unmatched.”

30. CJ Best

cj best mckinstryDirector of Manufacturing
Seattle, Washington

As the leader of McKinstry’s manufacturing group, CJ is an exemplary industry professional who has proven to be a tenacious change agent in an industry with a proven track record for adoption of new fabrication concepts. CJ led a team of in-house software developers to create technology solutions that facilitate detailing to BOM supply chain workflows. As the business representative on our core team for the shop management platform project (a technology solution that supports fabrication workflows from detailing through logistics), he has ably and passionately represented the shop and manufacturing business’s interests in the selection and long, arduous implementation of a solution. He has also been instrumental in implementing QA/QC and project life cycle programs into McKinstry’s large and complex detailing department.

In a time where momentum on long term goals has been impacted by COVID concerns, budget cuts, or a general lack of morale, CJ has not lost any traction on furthering McKinstry’s important manufacturing initiatives. CJ, in particular, has demonstrated astute leadership in his ability to overcome virtual obstacles as the firm navigates distance learning as a key tactic in the implementation plan.

“CJ’s astute and methodical approach to fostering a manufacturing mindset has been instrumental in helping McKinstry build a long term vision for how we modernize our fabrication techniques. His approach and experiences are an ideal blend of the idealism required for innovation and technology advancement and the realism of how things get done in business operations.”

31. Blake Titus

blake titus miron constructionVirtual Construction Specialist
Miron Construction
Green Bay, Wisconsin

As a Senior Virtual Construction Lead at Miron Construction and a licensed Architect in the state of Wisconsin, Blake has led approximately $750 million in project work on both civil and industrial facilities. With extensive technology and construction experience, he assists in developing the firm’s reality capture initiatives, including laser scanning, the robotic total station and the FARO laser tracker. He has also partnered with the Directory of Construction Innovation to develop Power BI dashboards to track and distribute his department’s workload and assists with estimating effort for future projects. This year, many owners and project team members couldn’t visit the project sites due to COVID lockdown. Blake took it upon himself to take 360 photos of all the projects that started up in spring, so everyone associated with the team could virtually walk-through the project. It was a great asset for everyone during virtual project meetings. 

“Blakes expertise in BIM and Architecture combined with his perseverance and drive to create more efficient workflows continues to benefit Miron behind the scenes. He sets the standard that every VDC member should strive for.”

32. Maria Mingallon

maria mingallon mott macdonaldTechnical Director – Automation and Computational Design
Mott MacDonald
Auckland, New Zealand 

Maria is a globally recognised director for automation and computational design across the Mott MacDonald organisation of 16,000 people spread across 140 countries. Prior to joining Mott MacDonald in New Zealand, Maria worked at Ove Arup & Partners Ltd in the UK and Canada for 13 years. She established and led the buildings structural team in Montreal, successfully growing the team and their clients. Globally and across the industry, Maria has shown exceptional leadership in bringing generative and computational design to the forefront of AEC. She attained recognition as a pioneer in the field, bringing in the best practice from the global design community. She is a thought leader who takes an inspirational approach to challenge the status quo and welcome digital disruption in the industry. At Mott MacDonald, Maria actively promotes social purpose by bringing people to the centre of design technologies in an inclusive and engaging way across both local and global online communities. During the two years Maria has been at Mott MacDonald, she has grown, nurtured, and empowered the automation and computational design community to produce real tangible outcomes.

Despite the remote challenges of 2020, Maria rapidly pivoted the format to a virtual coding club, pulling people together remotely. Aside from work, she was eager to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Maria collaborated with the Coronavirus Makers Movement, helping out the community of people who assisted front line workers by 3D printing face shields and other protective equipment to fight COVID-19. During those months, the strangulation of the supply chain prompted a movement that had empowered those who once were 3D printing hobbyists to act when society most needed it. Maria has owned a Makerbot Replicator2 since 2012, and she has inspired several Mott MacDonald offices to include 3D printing as a great design and prototyping tool.

“Maria has now created a model which we are rolling out globally and building teams of coders who are technically together whilst geographically separate. Our coding clubs have thrived in that time, relishing the opportunity to collaborate across offices to achieve that same purpose.”

33. Ramona Moon

ramona moon schulzProject Manager – Owner
Schulz Construction Corp
Colleyville, Texas

As Owner of Schulz Construction Corp, Ramona brought her diverse background and her determination to create a thriving business in 2020. She started as a Drywall and Ceiling trade, but in 2020 she has grown it to take on General Contractor projects because of the trust she created with her clients. In addition, her company has grown beyond the Dallas-Fort Worth area and now supports construction projects across the State of Texas. Ramona has faced 2020 with courage and resiliency and survived through the downturn by focusing on her employees. This focus helped ensure their families were taken care of, even before government assistance was available, with steady paychecks and extended sick time beyond what was required by law. She has developed a diverse crew that respects and has represented various races and genders. The firm also supports veterans and those who are working to rebuild their lives after bad choices.

She has focused on building a business based on trust and professionalism, resulting in her employees sticking with her and her clients coming back and requesting more projects from her.”

34. Samiha Shakil

samiha shakil skanskaSR VDC Engineer
Skanska USA
New York, New York

Since entering the construction industry in 2016, Senior VDC Engineer Samiha Shakil has quickly become one of Skanska USA Building’s most trusted virtual design and construction experts. While she is still relatively early in her career, Samiha has already demonstrated a mastery of model coordination and innovative problem solving and has developed a reputation as a thought leader and a teacher among her colleagues. More importantly, she champions technology as a way to enhance collaboration and communication with her fellow project team members and owners alike. In her two-and-a-half years at Skanska, Samiha has stepped into challenging projects and demonstrated exceptional leadership in her role. She has applied unique and innovative solutions on notable projects, including BIM coordination at LaGuardia Airport (LGA), laser scanning on a Large-Scale Hospital Project, and 3D printing at the Boys and Girls Club.

Her experience in 3D printing inspired her to leverage her knowledge to support essential healthcare professionals and first responders in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. She quickly found a face guard design approved for use in hospitals and began printing PPE at home. Since the first week of April, she and her husband, Chris, have 3D printed more than 500 face guards and donated them to hospitals across New York City. They have also donated PPE to the New York City Fire Department emergency medical technicians. When printing, assembling, and packaging the face guards for delivery, Samiha always adheres to safety protocols required by healthcare facilities. 

“Samiha has a knack for solving complex technical challenges, as well as a natural ability to translate complicated solutions into relatable language that her team members can understand. Samiha recognizes that technology can be as intimidating as it is transformative, and she has honed the unique ability to understand her audience and teach at the level they need.”

35. Robyn Schoch

robyn schoch swinertonProject Executive
Atlanta, Georgia

As Project Executive at Swinerton, Robyn’s relationship building skills and project execution have helped establish her as a leader in the construction industry. In the last year, Robyn has secured a significant pipeline resulting in a dozen opportunities valued at over $120M, including a 10M design-build project in Atlanta as well as multiple new opportunities across the country. Robyn’s passion for building relationships continues to result in new business while also ensuring Swinerton is able to recruit and retain top talent in the Southeast. She currently leads Swinerton Southeast’s college recruiting efforts and has helped create and maintain a robust internship program for our Division. As a Georgia Tech graduate, she spends time giving back to the University by participating in their GOLD Mentor program and has recently been nominated to the Board of Advisors committee for the College of Engineering. Robyn’s mentorship within our organization and industry-wide has made her an invaluable member of our team. 

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Robyn became a new mom when she adopted a newborn baby boy at the start of the pandemic. Robyn continues to break the glass ceiling as a female leader within the construction industry and is an advocate for up-and-coming women in construction. Her technical knowledge coupled with a get-it-done attitude have established her a proven leader within the industry. Despite the challenges and curve balls thrown her way, she has been able to outperform the expectations of her role and remains a tremendous asset to our organization.

“Robyn leads by example with her strong work ethic and continues to set the bar high within our organization for building impactful partnerships and managing high-performing teams to ensure excellence in project execution.”

36. Justin Porter

justin porter truebeckConstruction Technology and Innovation Director
Truebeck Construction
San Francisco Bay Area, California 

Justin has ascended to the role of Director of Construction Technology and Innovation (CTI) in record time at Truebeck Construction. He has done this through his constant drive to raise the bar, pioneer new technologies, and creatively adapt existing technologies to leverage new ways to benefit projects and clients. He has also stood up the department starting with a couple of gritty young engineers to what is now a thriving, well-directed task force of individuals that can tackle just about anything in the realm of construction technology, from BIM coordination and model management including 6D integrations to data mining and dashboarding to custom application development. Justin has worked on every major and iconic project that Truebeck has completed, including Apple Park, Facebook‚ MPK 22, and Uber’s HQ. These technically challenging projects are one-of-a-kind architectural gems. Justin has helped pilot over two dozen programs for application on Truebeck construction projects in the last few years. When COVID hit, Justin, along with his CTI team, stood up a contactless health check-in application in less than a week to help workers comply with County Health Order regulations. The required check-in process could have resulted in extensive back-ups to enter the project site and delay claims from trades affected by reduced productivity. Justin’s COVID app eliminated a cumbersome, time-intensive paper handling, and transmission process to a streamlined daily check-in.

“Justin and the CTI team under his direction serviced every Truebeck project with their technology needs during the Shelter-in-Place that started in March and the return to work plans in May through the current day. He has done this all while working remotely to provide the care and support needed by his family but still maintaining vigilance over his team and responsibilities at work.”

37. Robert Ridgell

robert ridgell vdotAssistant District Construction Engineer
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
Fredericksburg, Virginia

Robert unknowingly began preparing for 2020 more than five years ago as an entry level Construction Engineer at VDOT’s Fredericksburg District. Being a tech savvy individual, Robert identified and implemented process efficiencies using VDOT’s current technological offerings. Over the next several years, Robert continued this effort through various efforts. However, instead of limiting himself to current and traditional software offerings, he collaborated with other individuals and divisions to rethink and reshape how VDOT Construction envisioned and used technology. He has spearheaded many eConstruction initiatives that enabled field-based and remote capabilities that were previously not available. Robert has made his mission to rail against the status quo and champion software that works for the front line forces in the field pulling from his early experiences growing up in construction with his father’s small construction business. As 2020 forced a quick pivot to remote work for many industries, Robert had already developed and empowered many of our current practices leading to success today. Beyond any single success, Robert continually uses his ability to re-evaluate current business processes. He focuses on adapting processes themselves to the capabilities of technology and not simply bringing stale processes to today’s technology. Since his start as Construction Engineer, Robert has received his P.E., a DBIA and CCM certification, and has become the leader and responsible charge for a 900 million dollar package of work in his region while still pushing, advocating, and deploying new technologies on his own projects to boost efficiency and break down barriers to collaboration.

Robert is a remarkable leader that emanates a positive empowering confidence that is only exceeded by his technical knowledge and savviness. His successes come from an intrinsic desire for his team and projects to succeed and not from any accolades he may receive.” 

38. Joe Maddens

joe maddens the walsh groupSenior VDC Manager
The Walsh Group
St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Joe works tirelessly to manage all the BIM coordination and project management practices at Walsh for their water and civil divisions. He is a trusted advisor for all divisions of the company and works closely within the Water group to train, deploy, and standardize the best solutions on the market, most of which are within Autodesk. Joe is a huge supporter of cloud technologies and integrations and believes in a paper free construction site. Joe has a difficult job because project teams tend to do what they are most comfortable with (90’s tech) or default to what their owners suggest. Still, he is willing to fight the good fight to keep their company on track and push the industry forward by using the best of breed solutions available and working with owner and designers to help show them a better way. During the pandemic, he was able to implement BIM 360 Design Collaboration, Coordination, and Docs, as well as create standards for  Projects in Michigan, Boston, Georgia, and Arizona as well as reaching to Toronto .With using strong Quality practices with the Autodesk platform and combined with the Walsh value of “We own this”.

“Without the ability to travel, Joe was instrumental in the deployment of BIM 360 Next Gen in support of Water Project Precon services. This effort provided Walsh with the ability to work closely with Engineers, Designers, and Owners through this difficult remote working environment.”

39. Ruhi Thakur

ruhi thakur webcorAssistant Project Manager
Webcor Builders
San Francisco Bay Area, California 

Ruhi is currently the BIM Manager for the $1.5 Billion Biosolids Digester Facilities Project in San Francisco (Client is San Francisco Public Utilities Commission). She is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive BIM Execution strategy for one of the most ambitious and complex waste treatment projects in the United States. It will eventually process 80% of San Francisco’s solid waste by transforming an aging plant into a green, sustainable plant that will revitalize its lowest income community. This is a seven-year program managed by a JV between MWH Constructors and Webcor Builders. The client requires BIM from preconstruction through to digital handover for O&M. This requires the management of the full Autodesk portfolio of BIM tools through the supply chain and across stakeholders. Ruhi is leading a team of dedicated VDC specialists who are employed by both MWH and Webcor. 

This year, Ruhi also led an effort working with a Ph.D. student intern from Stanford University to pilot the use of Virtual Reality for constructability review in order to improve the ability of the project stakeholders (designer, engineer, construction team, owner, and VDC team) to review the constructability of the complex design models in Navisworks, conducting the review using Oculus headsets. This approach effectively mitigated the constraints imposed by COVID so that the project team could work as if they were in the model together. This work was presented at the Stanford University CIFE (Center for Integrated Facilities Engineering) annual meeting.

“She is mature, personable, and a strong team leader as well as technically sharp and confident.”

40. Geoffrey Bean

geoff bean w.m. jordan companyVirtual Construction Coordinator
W.M. Jordan Company
Newport News, Virginia 

The construction industry as a whole never had the chance to take a breather from the pandemic; the men and women just kept going. Geoff, Virtual Construction Coordinator at W.M. Jordan Company, found strength in these people. Geoff and his team worked with the trade partners on site to come up with the safest and most efficient methods to work on site. Utilizing the Navisworks model, the team analyzed site conditions to encourage project cleanliness as well as the splitting of the tower floors to facilitate social distancing when possible. He also worked with the trade partners, inspectors, and engineers to implement a live-action spreadsheet to allow for real-time post-tension cable elongation monitoring. This allowed for more rapid turnaround times to help mitigate increased durations associated with enforcing separation on the decks. As the authority of jurisdiction is still facing the effects of the pandemic, Geoff and the team are currently working on a way to streamline the inspection process for all applicable parties. Geoff’s efforts at W.M. Jordan Company, within the AGC, at school, at home, and throughout the community have helped many people within the local and statewide construction industry understand that construction is not just about building America, but also about building lasting and meaningful relationships.  

“The ideas never stop, and the improvement never ends with Geoff. Persistent is an understatement.  According to Geoff, there is no such thing as failure, only more opportunities for development, growth, and learning.  Throughout the pandemic and the challenges we have all faced in 2020, Geoff has continued to keep a positive attitude and to push himself, his family, his peers, and his teams to the next level. Consistent with W.M. Jordan Company’s mission, Geoff’s relentless pursuit of excellence continually keeps him searching for new and improved ways to better any situation and to keep things moving forward no matter the circumstance.”

Learn More About 40 Under 40: Construction Champions of 2020

Want to know more about our champions? Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting seven of our 40 Under 40 Heroes. These individuals have gone above and beyond in 2020 and have incredible stories to tell. Subscribe to our blog to learn more!

You can also take a look at our 2019 list here. 

Alyssa Jaber

As Manager of Customer Marketing at Autodesk, Alyssa Jaber has been partnering with Autodesk customers in the construction space for 5+ years to build their brands and powerfully tell their stories. Alyssa is a human-first leader who supports a team of talented individuals who always put the customer experience first.