Construction runs in his blood
38, Vice President of Preconstruction Services
F. H. Myers Construction
Ryan Myers began working at his family's construction firm in high school and found he enjoyed the estimating side of the business and getting jobs set up. Once out of college and after a stint with the state Dept. of Transportation, he joined the business as a project manager and cost estimator, pioneering new processes and systems and establishing its preconstruction service component. Now in a leadership role and looking to expand the firm's development practice, Myers recalls the values he learned growing up. "Our people are important to me—the people who work alongside me in the company and the people we work with in the industry," he says. Myers actively volunteers with the Fore!Kids Foundation of New Orleans, manages the firm's annual charity golf tournament to support St. Michael Special School in the city and serves on the Crime Commission of Southeast Louisiana. "I enjoy the feeling you get when you help other people who are less fortunate," Myers says. "You realize how important it is to take care of people not able to take care of themselves."
Launched successful architecture firm that's also a fun place to work
38, Partner, Principal Architect
5G Studio Collaborative
Creating a fun work environment, valuing people, mentoring aspiring young professionals and delivering solutions to clients form the foundations of Yen Ong's career. "We believe strongly in the value of collaboration and being able to leverage the intelligence of everybody in the firm," he says. Ong welcomes the suggestions of design team members, including the least experienced staff, finding that such collaboration creates solutions and improves the projects. "People should have fun while doing a 5G project," Ong says. "We create strong bonds with our employees." Seeking more control over projects, Ong partnered with peers to found 5G Studio in 2005. He continues to design projects as the firm has grown from a few small commissions to working with BOKA Powell of Dallas on the recently completed Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel. Annual revenue has jumped to $7.5 million from less than $300,000, full-time staff has grown to 31 from four in the U.S. and the firm has added a new office in Vietnam. "We don't approach a design with preconceived notions," Ong adds. "The client's vision enables our work."
New on the job, he led Katrina restoration efforts
31, Project Manager
Durr Heavy Construction
Barely a month after joining Durr Heavy Construction, Mother Nature whipped up Hurricane Katrina and thrust Wayne Pontiff into the local rebuilding effort. Drawing on leadership skills honed during a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, the company soon elevated him to be a superintendent-field project manager and let him run projects for the Katrina Cottage housing initiative and build offices for first responders. "It was baptism by fire," Pontiff says, noting that military "high-pressure situations helped in Katrina, because everything was fast-paced, nonstop, and decisions had to be made right away, right or wrong." Pontiff credits Durr senior officials with shaping his experiences and bringing his skills to the next level. He tries to lead by example and not ask anyone to do something he would not do himself. "I stand up for the people working for me, and we work as a team," Pontiff says.