Now that the downturn appears to have finally ended and the upward slope has begun, those individuals that not only survived, but thrived during those hard times are poised to be the leaders of the next boom. This year's list of ENR Southwest's Top 20 Under 40 winners have the technical and people skills to bring success to their firms.

While technological proficiency is definitely an aspect of the success of this year's group, such skills are virtually mandatory among new professionals in the industry. To differentiate the Top 20 from other outstanding employees, judges also considered more traditional skills, such as the ability to work with and lead teams.

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ENR Southwest's 2015 Top 20 Under 40
ENR Southwest's 2013 Top 20 Under 40

One candidate included a quote from Gen. Douglas MacArthur in his nomination form: "A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."

In many ways, the winners of this year's Top 20 Under 40 embody MacArthur's characterization of leadership.

The process of selecting this year's recipients began with ENR soliciting nominations from, or on behalf of, people under 40 years of age who work within the construction industry in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. This year, two judges were responsible for reviewing the nominations and selecting the winners.

The judges were Arnold Canales of ARC Consulting, Chandler, Ariz., and Kimberly Shapiro of Skanska USA's Phoenix office. Together they have more than 60 years of experience in the construction industry.

The judges reviewed and scored each of the nominations before discussing and justifying their picks.

Some of the criteria that the judges used to evaluate the nominees were professional achievements, involvement with the construction community, contributions to the Southwest's built environment and service to their respective communities.



Paul Arnold
An innovator who has moved quickly through the firm's ranks
39, Area Manager
Ames Construction Inc.
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Paul Arnold's leadership and technical skills have been put to the test over his 15 years in the industry—all with Ames Construction. And he has steadily progressed through various leadership positions at the growing firm. A mere two years after joining Ames as an estimator, Arnold became a project engineer and then a project manager. He also spent time as chief estimator before moving into a project operations manager role, where he created a system that provides Ames with more accurate and timely project controls that is now used on all projects in the company's Southwest region. The position of area manager was recently created specifically to take advantage of his talents.