ENR Southeast's 2012 Top 20 Under 40
Rose from estimator to company president in 16 years
McDonald York Building Co., Raleigh, N.C.
Heather Denny's education didn't end when she completed her engineering studies at North Carolina State University. Her 16-year career at McDonald York Building Co. has been a journey of discovery through her myriad experiences as an estimator, cost control analyst, project manager, assistant project director, chief operating officer and, since 2010, president. Denny is the first woman to head a Raleigh-based contractor and the first non-family member to lead the 101-year-old firm. But to her, those distinctions are secondary to her primary mission—achieving positive outcomes for her company, its clients and the community through leadership and communication. Denny serves on the boards of several organizations, including the American Heart Association and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
Led a 67-phase health-care project and gave back to the community
38, Senior Project Manager
KBR Building Group, Charlotte, N.C.
Project teams regularly demonstrate their ability to overcome challenges, but few have the opportunity to prove their mettle through 67 phases of construction, as did Eric Fix and his staff for five years on the $141-million Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville Expansion and Renovation project near Charlotte. Combining his technical knowledge and experience with a passion for continuous improvement, Fix inspired his team to do the right thing for the client. And while working on the Wake Forest Baptist Health building program in Winston Salem, N.C., Fix helped build a Ronald McDonald House, which provides lodging for the families of children undergoing cancer treatment.
Michelle Forte Young
Used personal savings to start her own full-service construction firm
Forte Young Inc., Orlando
Michelle Forte Young received two other nominations for this year's Top 20 Under 40 competition in addition to the one she submitted. It is easy to see why. In 2007, Forte Young used $20,000 in savings to found full-service construction company Forte Young Inc., Orlando. After struggling through the first year with just $18,000 in revenue, the company is now in much better shape. In each of the past two years, Forte Young Inc.—or FYi—has earned more than $6 million in revenue, according to its president and CEO. A women-owned business enterprise, FYi is currently working with contractor Brasfield & Gorrie on the Veterans Administration Medical Center project in Orlando. Forte Young says her company is already "committed to philanthropy," and it has provided assistance to a long list of nonprofit organizations, including the Coalition for the Homeless, the Orlando Union Rescue Mission, Edgewood Children's Ranch, Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross. "My reputation is everything to me," she says. "I love the construction industry. It challenges me, but it is rewarding."
Skanska's national business development leader for aviation-related projects
35, Vice President-Aviation
Skanska USA Building, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Now in his second stint with Skanska USA Building, MacAdam Glinn is the contractor's national business development leader for aviation projects. He has helped the firm land three projects, including contracts in the Midwest, the West Coast and the Southeast. Glinn, who formerly worked as a senior manager for special projects with Parsons Corp., also has distinguished himself as a rising lawyer in Miami-Dade County and is still a member of the Florida Bar Association. Industry involvement is important to Glinn as well. He recently co-chaired the Builder's Association of South Florida's Commercial Builders Council and has served as a guest lecturer at Florida International University's School of Construction Management.
Health-care construction expert serves as mentor
36, Senior Project Manager
KBR Building Group, Charlotte
Tony Grohman is proof that experience is truly the best teacher. Getting a head start on his career with six co-op quarters at the University of Cincinnati, Grohman has found a learning opportunity in every project, regardless of its size. His commitment to constant learning has served him well in dealing with the complexities associated with health-care facilities across the Carolinas. Grohman's work includes the $94-million Mount Pleasant Hospital and Medical Office Building for Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Mount Pleasant, S.C.; the ICU Tower Expansion at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, S.C.; and the $12-million emergency department expansion and renovation at Beaufort, S.C., Memorial Hospital.
Working to improve approaches to stormwater rehabilitation projects
35, Stormwater Engineer
Sarasota County Government
Get ready to call Adnan Javed "Doctor Stormwater." This spring, the Sarasota County project manager and stormwater engineer is scheduled to earn his doctorate in public works from the University of Florida. A 17-year industry veteran, Javed has been responsible for the development and prioritization of the county's Stormwater Infrastructure Repair and Replacement Program—aimed at improving the county's approaches to stormwater rehabilitation projects—and is leading the creation of the first SWIRP manual. For Javed, the emphasis on education includes sharing knowledge and encouraging others. For two years he has chaired the state science fair project for the Florida section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He also serves as a member of the Florida Stormwater Association's education committee.
Former federal employee rescued contractor's Atlanta operations
37, Senior Project General Manager
Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Atlanta
In 15 years, Kelvin King has come full circle, both personally and as a construction professional. Following his graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Atlanta native served as a federal contracting officer, managing millions of dollars worth of construction projects. He then brought his unique perspective as an owner and engineer to Centennial Contractors, cultivating new and expanded customer relationships across much of the U.S. as the company's director of market development. In 2009, King was asked to come home and apply his skill and savvy to the company's struggling Georgia operation. Under his leadership, the office has posted year-over-year revenue growth of 140%. King has also more than doubled the staff, while adding three new multiyear contracts potentially worth more than $30 million. In addition, he has created a construction safety program for the Central Association of Physical Plant Administrators.
Leading construction of his firm's headquarters while in his late 20s
31, Project Manager
Suffolk Construction Co., West Palm Beach, Fla.
Perhaps it was his experience as a member of the University of Florida's competitive design-build team that helped Matt Kiziah develop his exceptional skill for finding solutions to tricky situations. The 31-year-old project manager has earned a reputation at Suffolk Construction Co. as the "complex projects" expert because of his penchant for offering innovative and cost-effective solutions for clients and team members. Immediately after a promotion to project manager in 2008, Kiziah, then in his late 20s, was assigned the task of leading the construction of Suffolk's headquarters in West Palm Beach, where he served not only as project manager but also worked in a design-build role as the owner's representative. Kiziah is now leading another complex project, the South Florida Water Management District's Environmental Services Laboratory in West Palm Beach.
Developing an official green rating system for infrastructure
31, Project Manager
Gannett Fleming, Miami
A project manager in the Miami office of global infrastructure consultant Gannett Fleming, Michael Laas is making significant contributions to some of South Florida's most high-profile transportation projects. In his current assignment managing rail projects for the Florida Dept. of Transportation's District 6, Laas is applying cutting-edge concepts to a transit mode expected to become a significant part of the region's transportation landscape. He was also part of FDOT's Florida's Turnpike Service Plaza Strategic Plan initiative. There, he provided guidance on the design and operation of the turnpike's service plazas. Laas currently serves on a committee charged with developing an official infrastructure green rating system for the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.
Andrew “Toby” Lilliston
Oversaw demanding health-care project for Novartis
37, Project Manager
KBR Building Group, Durham, N.C.
Toby Lilliston brings a refreshingly calm, "steady-as-he-goes" demeanor to his assignments, a quality appreciated by colleagues, subordinates and clients in the life-sciences sector. Lilliston has applied his commonsense approach to solving construction challenges while managing more than 13 projects ranging in value from $2 million to more than $50 million. At the top of the list in his portfolio is Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics' Quality Control Laboratory and Administration Building in Holly Springs, N.C., which has an annual production capacity of up to 50 million doses of influenza vaccine.