ENR Texas & Louisiana's 2012 Top 20 Under 40
Jill Ibison Vessels
From college graduate to shareholder in just six years
Interior designer Jill Ibison Vessels constantly seeks leadership responsibilities to expand her role within the firm and eagerly takes on new challenges. Within six years of joining Corgan after graduating from college, she was promoted to associate, a shareholder position. "I want to excel for myself as well as for the team and the firm," says Vessels, who calls her present position her dream job. "I am truly committed to my job, myself and the active pursuit of good design solutions for each client." Vessels' passion to exceed expectations has yielded strong relationships with clients. One of her first projects, while an intern at Corgan, was the Bank of America Plaza in Dallas. That project led the firm into numerous collaborations with the client within several project disciplines. Vessels is a creative problem solver, an earnest listener and talented designer with business-savvy skills that set her apart from her peers. And she shares her knowledge—mentoring junior staff members and ensuring that team members progress to their fullest.
Blessed and giving back
38, Senior Associate/Mechanical Engineer
Baird, Hampton & Brown
Fort Worth, Texas
Projects that require collaboration, such as the renovation of the historic 714 Main St. Building in Fort Worth, bring Richard Watters the most satisfaction. "What I enjoy the most is working with others," he says. "I feel blessed to be involved in different foundations and trying to reach out. That's what keeps driving me to succeed." Watters grew up, as many youngsters do, dreaming about the next gadget. But as he became an adult and traveled to other countries, he realized some children don't dream about the latest technology but about having food to eat and other life necessities. That knowledge drives him in his volunteer work. He serves on the board of the Paul Schulte Foundation, a nonprofit organization addressing the social, physical and emotional needs of individuals with disabilities. As someone who loves to teach, he provides a mentoring presence to senior-level students at Texas A&M University's Construction Engineering School, helping them develop a design project and evaluating each team's work. Through it all, he finds joy in daily activities. "You have to enjoy going to work every day," Watters says. "If there is something about it you dread, you will not be efficient, not enjoy going to work and not give 100%."