Autodesk Construction Champions 2023: 25 People Powering the Future of Construction 

autodesk construction champions 2023

Many things make construction an exceptional field to work in. For one, it’s an opportunity to build a physical legacy. There's also the technology side, where innovations like AI, AR, and robotics take the construction sector to the next level of advancement. Additionally, the construction has made significant strides in sustainability and inclusivity, so professionals can contribute to a greener future while enjoying a more diverse work environment. 

But these things are only possible with the remarkable people working in the industry. The construction sector is brimming with innovators and creative thinkers who continuously push boundaries, create visionary solutions, and foster a culture of collaboration. 

The Autodesk Construction Champions is an exciting annual and global awards program recognizing 25 construction thought leaders making waves in the industry by driving innovation and change. From design and VDC professionals to business and project managers, these construction leaders aren't just building structures and facilities—they're shaping our world.  

So without further ado, we're thrilled to introduce Autodesk's Construction Champions 2023. 

Alec Overn

Business Manager, Modular Power Solutions, Dallas, TX  

Alec Overn-2

Alec joined MPS in 2019, and implements the organization’s objectives, policies, and performance standards as well as oversees overhead departmental functions. 

With a senior business analyst background, Alec has leveraged her knack for metric-driven analytics to improve efficiency in her organization. She sees data as the key to success, particularly in industrialized construction implementation.  

Alec has a passion for creating systems and processes that enhance production efficiency, and under her leadership, MPS saw vast improvements in system consolidation, cross-departmental efficiency and the customer experience.  

"Utilizing a data-driven and detail-oriented approach, she guides departmental collaboration and manages the customer experience." 

Amarnath Patnam

Head -- BIM, PNC Architects | Sobha Realty, Dubai, United Arab Emirates 

Amarnath Patnam 2

Amarnath has established himself as a true leader in the construction industry, implementing an efficient ecosystem of technologies at PNC Architects.  

Most notably, Amarnath introduced BIM across various divisions, which helped teams standardize their collaboration practices. By integrating BIM and common data tools, he revolutionized communication between stakeholders so that they could work faster and smarter.  

A committed collaborator, Amarnath proactively engaged with technology providers to transform his firm’s operations and foster awareness and advocacy for the use of technology in the UAE and beyond.  

"Amarnath, as the Head -- BIM, was responsible for implementing a common data environment (CDE) across the Sobha Group organization. This implementation encompassed various teams, including the consultants, contractors, manufacturing divisions, and other stakeholders. Amarnath's forward-thinking approach led him to introduce tools like Docs and Collaborate Pro several months before the pandemic, enabling a seamless transition to a work-from-home environment and enhancing organizational resilience." 

Andy Burg 

Vice President, Operations Technology Solutions, Messer Construction Co., Cincinnati, OH 


Andy transformed Messer's approach to digital construction tools as Vice President of Operations Technology Solutions. His leadership helped Messer adopt and roll out Autodesk products, fundamentally enhancing their business model.   

He also collaborated with universities like Xavier University and The Ohio State University (OSU) to shape BIM standards, and he pioneered the use of digital construction platforms.   

In addition, Andy is working directly with Messer's digital twin team to help develop Tandem and create real-world use cases with Xavier and OSU.  

"As a 30+ year veteran of the construction industry, Andy has always had a knack for being someone who would always try new things. Today, he leads a team that solves complex problems every day and improves project workflows.” 

Ankita Ramakrishnan  

Assistant Project Manager, Lendlease Construction Inc, New York, NY 

Ankita Ramakrishnan

A true leader in construction and sustainability, Ankita is adept at implementing advanced waste, water, and energy tracking across multiple projects, helping these projects to be as sustainable as possible.  

Her current project, 1 Java, involves tracking and implementing up to 80% waste diversion and aims to achieve closed-loop drywall recycling. All of this is possible through innovative web-based technology solutions that closely monitor trash, recycling, energy, diesel, and water—and are reported monthly. 

"As we know, construction teams go through a lot of paper—much of that is used to print drawings, mark up documents, and the like. She is a big proponent of sustainable practices, and Autodesk is a great resource for those looking to reduce wasted materials on jobsites. She has championed using Autodesk Construction Cloud on 1 Java by teaching all team members how to use BuildingConnected and other Autodesk Construction Cloud products to minimize paper waste." 

Ariel Castillo    

Innovation Manager, Miller-Davis Company, Kalamazoo, MI

Ariel Castillo_Professional Pic_003x

Ariel leads innovation for Miller-Davis Company, a construction management firm based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. His guidance has driven the company's digital transformation—implementing modern construction tools to enhance collaboration, transparency, and efficiency across numerous projects across seven market sectors. His tenacity has propelled Miller-Davis into a forward-thinking culture and positioned him as a true champion for innovation and digital advancement in construction. 
Beyond his work as Innovation Manager, Ariel is a sought-after thought leader and educator, having presented at over 50 industry events, inspiring professionals with insights gleaned from his years in the industry. Ariel's expertise has extended beyond borders, as he continues to engage professionals worldwide through presentations and thought leadership at industry events, making a global impact on the future of construction. 

"His tenacity to drive change has positioned Miller-Davis to adopt a forward-thinking culture and be better equipped to embrace digital advancements; his guidance has allowed services to keep pace with that of much larger contractors in the markets they serve." 

Brad Buckles 

Director of Technology, Charles Perry Partners, Inc, Gainesville, FL 

Brad Buckles[8]

In addition to implementing digital construction tools at Charles Perry Partners Inc. (CPPI), Brad worked with the firm's teams to integrate their ERP system with cost management. He challenges teams to embrace the concept of "touching data once" to eliminate duplicate and redundant processes.  

In doing so, CPPI was able to reduce process friction, eliminate data silos, and capture meaningful and actionable analytics. 

"At CPPI, we implemented an innovation strategy that utilized both technology and streamlined processes to improve all of our projects." 

Chris Rippingham 

 Field and Manufacturing Technology Leader, DPR Construction, San Diego, CA  

Christopher_Ripplingham-3164_white BG

Chris has worked on highly technical healthcare, life sciences, and data center projects. He promoted cross-functional collaboration throughout these projects, ensuring all stakeholders were kept in the loop at every stage.  

These instances empowered Chris to push technology to the limits; he devised innovative ways to create a connected ecosystem of point solutions to facilitate near-real-time data exchanges to ensure information flows smoothly across different teams.  

"He co-led the evaluation and deployment of Autodesk Build as DPR's collaborative project management solution. This consisted of a team of 45 cross-functional leaders and end users, including project management, quality, safety, VDC, prefabrication, supply chain management, etc. The deployment included innovative use of Autodesk Build to collaborate with Autodesk developers and project managers." 

Emily Rech, CEM, MEM 

Associate Principal, Director of Project Controls and Preconstruction, Pond, Peachtree Corners, GA 

Emily Rech 2

 Emily brings over 20 years of expertise in the field working with international clients in industries like, large industrial, oil and gas, transportation/aviation, and government. Her extensive experience in program management, risk assessment, and cost analysis has made her instrumental in expanding the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) Program for Pond.  

Emily's strong understanding of client needs and operations further enhanced Pond's integrated offerings in the rapidly evolving oil and gas construction industry.  

"Emily works with current and new clients to ensure that Pond continues to deliver consistent, quality service throughout the project lifecycle." 

Emmanuel Graves 

Senior VDC Tech, GE Johnson, Denver, CO 

Emmanuel Graves

Emmanuel Graves has a unique combination of a Colorado School of Mines Mechanical Engineering background, Cloud Engineering Project Management experience, and a passion for Virtual Design and Construction. He is a natural self-driven team player and is always looking for opportunities to give back. In his role as a senior VDC technician at GE Johnson, Emmanuel is responsible for standardizing building coordination and streamlining workflows in the Autodesk Construction Cloud environment as a subject matter expert.  

Emmanuel has also led the integration between VDC and other departments through VDC education, with the goal of improving the understanding of a project’s complexity through model utilization and additional VDC services. The value of this education was realized by the efforts Emmanuel previously focused on to help elevate safety within the company. By integrating VDC with the safety department, Emmanuel was able to coordinate online OSHA trainings and guide the VDC department to receive OSHA 10 hour certifications. This team achievement has sparked a stronger relationship with the safety department and has developed into further innovations and discussions surrounding prevention through design and visual planning. The safety specialists now have the ability to virtually fly through models via a VR headset to evaluate jobsite conditions prior to construction. This is just one of the many examples of how Emmanuel encourages collaboration, while evaluating the value new technologies can bring to the VDC department.  

Beginning in 2021, GE Johnson’s implementation of Autodesk Construction Cloud’s new collaborative browser-based workflow began on several notable projects such as Kansas State Indoor Practice Facility, Winstar World Casino Resort, U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) Falcon Stadium and USAFA Visitors Center. By optimizing models to be utilized and manipulated in your average internet browser, Emmanuel refined and standardized ACC’s Model Coordination with exceptional results on each of those projects. By providing 1-on-1 training to trade partners, curriculum centered presentations to operations colleagues, and his simplification of the ACC platform (with easy-to-use Model Coordination Views), Emmanuel’s teams are now thrilled to utilize ACC’s Model Coordination via the browser and on their mobile devices.  

"Through testing and implementation, Emmanuel developed standards in Model Coordination paired with Revit that delivered better results than Manage and showcased how far Model Coordination has come. This has become the gold standard for GE Johnson moving forward."  

Heather Soderquist  

VP, Construction Innovation, Jacobsen Construction, Salt Lake City, UT  


As Jacobsen Construction Company’s first-ever Vice President of Construction Innovation, Heather is pioneering the firm's commitment to cutting-edge practices.  

During Heather’s 18 years at Jacobsen, her leadership has advanced early adoption of essential jobsite technologies like BIM and laser scanning. She recently initiated a comprehensive Jacobsen tech fair to showcase the latest in laser scanning, drones, virtual reality, and robotics, and plans to make tech demonstrations a regular feature of future workforce trainings.   

Heather's dedication to construction innovation has enhanced Jacobsen's competitive edge and positioned the firm to aggressively adopt significant future advances in the construction industry.  

"Heather has been with Jacobsen for 18 years, where she helped project teams regularly grow and refine their construction skill sets." 

Jamie Berzon 

Chief Technology Officer, S. M. Wilson & Co., St. Louis, MO 

Jamie Berzon

Jamie has led the digital transformation at S. M. Wilson, where she has shifted the firm to a cloud-based environment. By implementing tools such as Google for Business, Autodesk Build, BuildingConnected, TradeTapp, and more, she has greatly helped the firm increase its efficiency and continue to maintain the company's standard of excellence across all projects.   

What's more, Jamie's active involvement in local technology groups and leadership in women's initiatives reflects her commitment to industry excellence and to ensuring that women leaders can share their experiences, hurdles, and triumphs. 

"The main focus of our technology team has been changing an entirely on-premise environment to a mostly cloud-based/Saas environment. This virtual environment has completely changed how our team works and supports our offices, improving our disaster recovery and backup process." 

John Lim Ji Xiong 

Chief Digital Officer, Gamuda Berhad, Puchong, Malaysia 


John spearheaded the digitalization of project data and costs, removing the need for paper and promoting better data practices.  

Under his leadership, Gamuda has implemented Autodesk Construction Cloud across four countries, setting up a digital excellence office for training and certification and mandating dashboards for reporting.  

Recognized as a regional thought leader, John has shared his expertise at significant conferences and podcasts. Gamuda is now at the forefront of construction technology innovation thanks to his initiatives. 

"The company believes that Autodesk Construction Cloud will be the centerpiece for big data analysis. To make this vision work, Gamuda—under John's leadership—has carried several actions company-wide." 

Kavon Samimi  

Director of Virtual Design & Construction, W.E. O'Neil Construction, Pleasanton, CA  

Since founding the VDC program at W.E. O'Neil in 2011, Kavon has been a powerful advocate for leveraging cutting-edge technology.   

His influence has led to integrating technology like Autodesk Construction Cloud, drones, laser scanning, and other innovative tools across all W.E. O'Neil projects in California and nationwide.   

Kavon's successful implementation of these technologies positioned him as a leader in driving innovation. More importantly, his work has had tangible positive results on the quality and efficiency of construction projects.  

"His impact can be seen across our projects with our successful BIM program and construction field technologies." 

Kim Arrant 

Vice President, Business Transformation, APTIM, Knoxville, TN  

Kim Arrant

As APTIM’s Vice President of Business Transformation, Kim is passionate about the use of technology and innovation as a differentiator whether by optimizing existing services and best practices or by developing new methods and tools or finding new creative ways to apply existing methods and tools unique to the APTIM way of business.  In her current position, her primary objective is to align and enable people, process and technology initiatives to APTIM’s corporate business and growth strategies.  She is constantly looking for opportunities to change how project teams work and deliver projects bringing value to APTIM, APTIM’s employees and most of all, APTIM’s Clients.   

“Transformation comes through a commitment to continuous improvement including performance measurement and return on investment.  Our methods and results are indicative of that commitment.  The key to our success is leading with an understanding of our core competencies, our targeted markets, and the technology, information and flow necessary to optimize our performance and our position in the industry.”      

She's a prominent construction technology champion, but not in the classical sense.  At APTIM, their construction services are focused on building resiliency.  The use of construction tools and workflows are being applied to address environmental and sustainability challenges; through her leadership, the teams at APTIM were able to transform workflows, creating transparency of operations, saving clients money and enhancing safety and quality programs.   

Her dedication to utilizing construction tech has driven incredible outcomes, reflecting her position as a leader in innovative construction solutions.  

"Kim has been a champion of Autodesk Construction Cloud. Her team has utilized Autodesk Construction Cloud to improve workflows, save clients money and improve their safety programs." 

Lauren L. Collier 

Director of Project Technology, SSOE Group, Malinta, OH 

Lauren Collier

Lauren is a leading construction technologist driven by innovation and a refusal to settle for the status quo.  

She comes from an architectural background, and her focus on creative problem-solving, , BIM/VDC execution enhancements,, and LEAN principles led her to manage a multi-disciplinary team of VDC Leaders, DevOps, and data-driven practitioners. 

Through strategic planning and execution, Lauren has driven operational efficiency and established cutting-edge technology differentiation, enhancing SSOE's standing in the AEC industry. 

"Lauren is at her best in dynamic situations—from strategy to business development, she thrives in dynamic work environments. And she enjoys developing her staff to excel in these types of environments. It's impressive to watch her manage the variables when faced with complex situations involving many factors, determined to figure out the best solution possible." 

Mateusz Lukasiewicz 

Digital Projects Manager, KEO International Consultants, Dubai, United Arab Emirates  


Mateusz is a thought leader and innovator who drives digital advancements and technological solutions implementation on large-scale projects in globally renowned organizations. Having a background in structural engineering and construction management, Mateusz's proficiency in the latest technology, computer programming, and project management enabled him to develop and implement cutting-edge solutions. 

Recently, he has successfully established cloud based Common Data Environment (CDE), implemented BIM processes and digital technologies in The Red Sea Project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to facilitate collaboration among project stakeholders and accelerate project delivery. Mateusz has developed various custom tools, which played crucial role in achieving exceptional results and meeting project’s extensive digital delivery requirements. At present, he is leading the pilot Digital Twin project aimed at boosting the organization's operational cost-efficiency and employees' productivity and well-being. 

“I am passionate about implementing new technologies and exploring inventive methods of working by automating processes, creating custom solutions, and improving collaboration to streamline project delivery while optimizing resource utilization”. 

Matt Edwards 

Director of Digital Delivery, CRB Group, Cary, NC 

Matt Edwards Portrait

Matt's leadership in implementing VDC technology at CRB helped the company maximize prefabrication opportunities and condense schedules.  

An innovator and thought leader, he played a crucial role in CRB's digital delivery standards and Autodesk Construction Cloud initiatives.  

Beyond overseeing projects, Matt is committed to mentoring staff, contributing to speaking sessions at prominent conferences, and authoring articles. His holistic approach and dedication to innovation make him an exceptional champion in construction. 

"Matt is an outstanding thought leader and driver of innovation at CRB. He is instrumental in guiding and mentoring our diverse VDC staff at CRB. He can continuously keep us informed on industry trends and how we can apply them to our business." 

Matt Hayward  

Kaiwhakahaere Matihiko Whenua me te Wai Aotearoa, Aurecon 

Digital Lead, Land and Water New Zealand, Aurecon 

Matt Hayward

Matt is one of the go-to people for major projects that need digital solutions, thanks to his excellent knowledge of the digital requirements of the two largest transport clients in New Zealand.  

He spearheaded the Wellington Railway Facade Condition Assessment Project, utilizing technology to remotely collaborate and assess the Asset.   

The project won the Building Smart International Awards 2022 - Facilities Management Category and is hailed as an excellent example of integrating technology in the field.  

"[The Wellington Railway Facade Condition Assessment Project] is a valid proof of concept for existing buildings that could be applied in other fields. It integrates different technologies and creates additional value and also a fresh approach. It has a lot of potential. It is a very enlightening project demonstrating Open BIM's commercial value." 

Matthew Cordova 

Director of Construction Technology, Hermanson Company, Kent, WA 

Matthew Cordova

Matthew has been at Hermanson Company for over 11 years, starting as an HVAC Detailer and BIM Lead. Today, he serves as the Director of Construction Technology, looking after the firm's implementation of digital tools.  

One of Matt's most notable projects is digitally transforming Hermansons shop and field workflows. By opening up VDC model access directly to shop & field labor, Hermanson has streamlined construction workflows that have allowed their shop teams to prefabricate directly from a 3D model while also allowing their field teams to schedule, track and order material directly to a jobsite.  

Sitting directly with invested stakeholders and training, listening and mentoring different trade leaders and personalities from project to project allows new ideas to be developed and implemented throughout this digital transformation. 

“Implementing new technology for your firm isn’t about forcing adherence to new ideas and workflows – especially while dealing with shop and field teams that have been doing it a certain way for years on end. It's our job to bring new ideas and technology to the table no doubt, but then sitting with people doing the work you’re affecting and listening to feedback they give on how to make it better. Once that dialog was achieved, people you are trying to teach and train become invested in the same technology you are trying to implement.” 

Michael Milligan 

Engineering Manager, SSEN Transmission, Glasgow, Scotland 

Michael Milligan

Michael was instrumental in driving digital adoption and collaboration within SSEN's projects, focusing on a people-centered approach. His dedicated efforts in championing new technologies and upskilling teams have led to a transformative approach in the industry and earned him recognition as a rising star. 

Michael is currently the Engineering Manager for the Skye Reinforcement Project, which will reinforce the transmission infrastructure of overhead lines, underground cables, and high-voltage substations from the Scottish mainland to the Isle of Skye.  

In his role, he has actively pursued innovation and roll-out of digital collaboration on this live project, bringing together new ideas and ways of working across the internal engineering team and the broader business. 

"His dedication, determination, positive energy, and relentless pursuit to improve the processes and use of technology are simply inspiring." 

Mike Salt  

Senior Engineering Manager, Bouygues Energies & Services Solutions Ltd, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom  

Mike Salt Pic

Mike led the design and engineering of several low-carbon jobs, including innovative renewable solar generation projects incorporating solar car ports, electric vehicle charging facilities and smart energy microgrids.   

He's been instrumental in enhancing and streamlining workflows within Bouygues working with the ACC team and Bouygues Coordination Manager, Paul Hiscock, and Document Control Managers, Nellie Giddings and Andy Clarke, thanks partly to the implementation of Autodesk Build. 

Working collaboratively, Bouygues has successfully adopted and standardized Autodesk Docs and Autodesk Build across around 20 simultaneous projects.   

"Mike is leading the Bouygues implementation team with his colleagues to successfully adopt Autodesk Build to streamline workflows." 

Nigel Stroud  

Digital Asset Delivery Lead, Heathrow, London, United Kingdom  

Nigel Stroud

Nigel focuses on driving value from Heathrow’s asset information to enable efficient and safe delivery. He and his team developed a roadmap for transforming the company's approach to creating, capturing and utilizing asset information to create a culture of trust and enable the confidence to make excellent decisions. 

In addition to helping transform its processes and measure success, Nigel's roadmap paved the way for a company-wide data strategy, allowing change to be implemented at a strategic level.  

Beyond his work at Heathrow, Nigel is a vibrant speaker and promoter of best practices, sharing his insights on the efficient use of asset information globally.  

"I am an active member of the Digital Transformation Task group, which is supported by the ICE and government to promote best practices in the industry. Always keen to share my experiences in change and get the opportunity to learn from others." 

Robert Lee Brown          

Sr. Project Control Systems Manager, DFW International Airport, Arlington, TX 


Robert Brown

Robert is critical in managing the digital construction engineering programs for all capital projects at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport 

Case in point: he helped implement a drone landside program to enhance project monitoring at DFW. As one of the only airports in the nation allowed to fly drones on-site, DFW had to establish its own program in collaboration with the FAA. The team also had to build strong relationships with air traffic control. Robert did an excellent job facilitating this collaborative effort and this innovative use of technology-enabled DFW to gain valuable insights into project progress and improve overall efficiency.  

Robert is also a sought-after speaker at numerous events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. As a representative of DFW, he organizes events in collaboration with other airports, fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration.   

"DFW's commitment to staying at the forefront of technology is evident through Robert's efforts, as he takes pride in sharing his knowledge and speaking about the successes with the projects achieved at the airport." 

Sue Bhattacharjee 

Director of Preconstruction, Herrero Builders, Fremont, CA 

Sue Bhattacharjee

Sue has significantly influenced the UCSF Parnassus Heights Hospital project by employing real-time model estimates, aiding the design team in maintaining the budget. As a critical player in the $4.3 billion project, she was pivotal in integrating Autodesk solutions to create a seamless data flow from design to estimating.  

Beyond her technological prowess, she's an influential voice in the preconstruction domain, actively participating in panel discussions and podcasts, focusing on evolving trends, data, and advanced technologies in construction.  

Sue's commitment to embracing technology and engaging leadership style positions her as an industry innovator and thought leader. 

"Apart from technology, Sue has also conducted discussions on vulnerability at GWI (Groundbreaking Women in Construction by ENR). It's one of her passions, and she feels she can make a big difference on mega projects that are IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) with IFOA (Integrated Form of Agreement) style contracts by practicing intentional vulnerability with her team." 

William (Bill) Bausmith, Jr. 

Executive Director of Construction - Office of Capital Projects, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ  

William Bausmith

With over 35 years of experience and currently serving as Executive Director of Construction - Office of Capital Projects at Princeton University, William (Bill) is a driving force in the construction industry. He remains a long-standing advocate for the development of cutting-edge technology and has been instrumental in elevating the use of VDC in design, construction and a particular focus on the advancement of BIM to Facilities Management at Princeton.  

Bill’s current work includes the ambitious stewardship of Princeton's 2030 capital plan which will be adding more than 1 million square feet of new facilities and converting the campus to geo-exchange energy infrastructure in pursuit of the University’s carbon neutrality initiative.  

"He has a vision and is building an exceptional team by hiring a new BIM manager and recruitment of an AD for project controls, which will allow Princeton’s VDC and BIM standards to reach greater goals.” 

Let’s celebrate the people who are building a bright future for the construction industry 

Autodesk’s Construction Champions of 2023 are more than just professionals; they're visionaries leading the way in innovation, sustainability, and collaboration. We hope this list inspires you to recognize the construction champs in your organization. Be sure to celebrate the teams doing amazing work in your firm, and let’s all continue to reach for higher standards in construction and beyond.   

Want to learn more about future lists and other industry recognition programs? Subscribe to our blog to make sure you never miss an update! 

Kelsee Campbell

As a Senior Customer Advocacy Program Manager at Autodesk, Kelsee has the privilege of working with Autodesk customers to champion their stories on the Digital Builder Blog. Kelsee strives to create an engaging experience that amplifies customer perspectives, fostering a sense of community and connection.