The prolonged economic downturn has led to thousands of construction professionals losing their jobs in the Southwest, but that hasn't stopped the efforts of these 20 young individuals to reinvigorate the industry and their communities. This year's Top 20 Under 40 winners are rising stars during an era of transition in which adopting new technologies and integrating services are key to a firm's survival. Many of this year's Top 20 are technologically savvy; their colleagues describe them as 'gurus' or mentors helping to foster the use of new tools and methods.
Success has come to mean different things to each of this year's honorees. To some, it means leading their company during a new economic paradigm. To others, it means balancing their careers with their home life or contributing much of their free time to the betterment of their communities. All have earned the respect of their peers and colleagues, and each of them will be making significant contributions to the Southwest's construction industry.
Nominations were solicited by ENR Southwest for individuals 40 years of age or younger at the time of publication who work primarily in Arizona, Nevada or New Mexico. A total of 42 nominations were received, and they were reviewed by the following independent industry judges: Danielle Feroleto, president/owner of Small Giants LLC, Phoenix; Mark Kranz, principal with SmithGroup's Phoenix office; and Raimund McClain, director of projects with Van H. Gilbert Architect PC, Albuquerque. Kranz and McClain both appeared on last year's inaugural 20 under 40 list.
Criteria included professional achievements and involvement in industry causes and associations; betterment of the Southwest's built environment; and service to the community.
Many of the Top 20 paid tribute to the people who have supported and inspired them. "This award is truly an honor, and I take great pride in being recognized by my colleagues. However, the success of our business is not a result of only one individual's effort," says honoree Ryan Smith of Flagstaff, Ariz.
Manages complex educational and research laboratory projects
33, Research Group Leader
Sundt Construction Inc., Tempe, Ariz.
Recently promoted to lead Sundt's Living, Learning and Laboratory Division in the Southwest, Abbott manages construction for complex higher education laboratories such as the $110-million Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building No. 4 at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. He regularly speaks at conferences on sustainability, integrated project delivery and innovative technologies. Earlier in his career with Sundt, Abbott managed a $15-million country club expansion by day and worked toward his master's degree in business administration at night. Education is very important to Abbott, who lost his younger brother two years ago to a logging accident. To honor his brother, who had struggled with academics, Abbott now tutors troubled high school students and volunteers as a Big Brother.
A power leader with more than a decade of solar experience
39, Preconstruction Director, Solar Group
McCarthy Building Cos., Tempe, Ariz.
Canada eats and breathes solar, taking every opportunity to build awareness for the advancement of solar technology in the Southwest. He has spent the past 13 years working in the solar industry and building his knowledge base. Early on he sold and installed residential and small commercial photovoltaic systems and eventually managed and designed the Saguaro Solar Trough Generating Station in Red Rock, Ariz. In 2009, McCarthy brought Canada on board to lead the firm's solar team. Most recently, his team completed Cotton Center in Gila Bend and Sky Trough in California. Canada is involved in the Solar Energy Industries Association, Solar Electric Power Association and is a member of the solar subcommittee of GPEC.