Gruen Associates Architects, Turner Construction and KPFF Consulting Engineers lead the list of Spotlight Award winners to be honored at the gala event on Feb. 23 at the California Club in Los Angeles.

The ACE Mentor program for the Los Angeles and Orange County metro area will highlight the decade-long volunteer work of these three firms on behalf of inner-city high school students.

Individual mentors to be honored include Donald Barker, architect, formerly with Richard Meier Architects, mentoring in Pasadena high schools; Matt Barnard, structural engineer with Degenkolb Engineers, who helped found the ACE team serving Belmont and other downtown area high schools; and Noah Boro, a construction manager with Turner Construction, who has led the ACE effort at Dorsey High School since 2005.

Teachers and counselors in the schools are vital to the program. Three standouts are to be honored are Rebecca Holliman of Century High School, Santa Ana; Richard McCarthy of Franklin High School, Highland Park; and Jose Rivas of the Lennox Mathematics, Science and Technology Academy near LAX airport.

The regional ACE Mentor program currently serves 350 students, with a total of 1,600 students over 10 years and has inspired several hundred students to enter college programs in architecture, construction and engineering (the ACE disciplines). Many have graduated and entered the ACE professions and some  are construction field craftsmen.

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For more information about the program, see