An environmental specialist who created three technical groups of more than 100 each, an architect who serves as global chair of social responsibility for a prominent design firm and an acclaimed marketing and branding expert are among the rising stars selected as ENR Midwest's Top 20 Under 40, an annual program recognizing young design and construction professionals from the region who have made significant contributions to their firms, professions and communities. While other ENR Midwest programs, including Best Projects, honor firms and their endeavors, the Top 20 Under 40 program focuses on individual achievement, in this instance the accomplishments of 12 men and eight women hailing from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Although their backgrounds, interests and areas of expertise differ, the common threads among 2015's honorees are leadership, enterprise and a commitment to excellence, whether in pursuit of professional or community endeavors. The youngest, a 28-year-old architect, already has captured international attention for his work in the United Arab Emirates. Another, a 38-year-old engineer, is charged with operating three offices in Ohio and overseeing complex transportation projects throughout the state.
ENR Midwest received scores of entries for this year's program, and a panel of six industry professionals, including past 20 Under 40 honorees, selected candidates they believed best demonstrated excellence and commitment to their professions and communities.
ENR is indebted to the program's panelists, who include: James Arends, vice president, Midwest region, Gilbane Building Co., Chicago; Michael J. Bobruk, director, Barton-Malow Co., Chicago; Brad Erwin, principal architect, president, Paragon Architecture, Springfield, Mo.; Anthony P. LoBello, studio leader–learning practice, SmithGroupJJR, Chicago; Paul Parry, principal, KJWW Engineers, Rock Island, Ill.; Anna Stern, vice president, Tri-North Builders Inc., Madison, Wis.
Congratulations to the Class of 2015!
A keen understanding of client needs drives diverse array of work
38, Vice President, Wisconsin Office
Cotter Consulting Inc.
Nahid Afsari has leveraged her prodigious leadership skills to execute projects for Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation (WisDOT), U.S. Veterans Administration and Milwaukee County Dept. of Public Works, for which Cotter Consulting Inc., a design and construction firm, performed upgrades to a baggage claim facility. Colleagues claim her thorough knowledge of agency policies and procedures consistently translate into effective solutions for complex projects and have proven effective in her execution of strategic planning, business development and division and staff management for all Wisconsin markets. Afsari and her colleagues currently are involved in $950 million in projects for WisDOT. She and colleagues from other firms joined forces to create a Wisconsin chapter for Construction Management Association of America.
He's been instrumental in delivering on value propositions
38, Vice President
Dennis Carignan's interest in construction dates back to high school, when he worked as an apprentice carpenter. He never looked back. Promoted to vice president with Granger in 2013, Carignan has participated in projects valued at more than $750 million. Colleagues say Carignan's hands-on experience was instrumental in the genesis of Granger's Value Proposition, which states, "We are driven to fully understand the goals of our customers while consistently challenging conventional approaches, resulting in the delivery of unique and extraordinary value." Carignan also initiated Granger's mentoring program, which advances prospects for junior associates by partnering them with seasoned veterans.
Leadership skills propelled him to managerial role at young age
39, Associate/Project Executive
KJWW Engineering Consultants
Ryan Chapman is the youngest employee ever to be named a market segment leader with KJWW Engineering Consultants and recently assumed a role in selecting a customer relationship management software system to assist KJWW, a MEP firm, in serving clients across regions. Prior to serving as project executive, he was electrical department supervisor with KJWW's Des Moines office, leading 12 engineers and support staff. Chapman is a longtime member of the Iowa Engineering Society (IES) and has served on the Central Iowa Chapter's board of directors as president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and director.