ENR Texas & Louisiana congratulates the young men and women in our two-state region selected as the “Top 20 Under 40,” highlighting up-and-coming leaders and exceptional players working in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. The new feature coincides with the launch of ENR Texas & Louisiana, a new regional section of Engineering News-Record.

McGraw-Hill Construction, which publishes ENR, late last year solicited nominations from readers for talented individuals working in companies in the two states and region. We made our selections from some 53 nominations received, with candidates involved in such diverse industry professions as legal, marketing and financial.

Related Link:

ENR Texas and Louisiana's 2012 Top 20 Under 40

A panel of judges reviewed and scored the entries and chose 20 Texas-based men and women for recognition who appear in the following pages. Twenty others were also selected from Louisiana and from Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, states included in our predecessor regional magazine, South Central Construction. The six individuals selected from Louisiana appear in a separate box at the end of the Texas list. The people selected from the other states will appear online at enr.com/texas-louisiana.

Meet these outstanding young men and women on the following pages, in which we briefly introduce the “Top 20 Under 40” from Texas and “Six Under 40” from Louisiana.

Understanding that these brief introductions merely touch on the recipients’ accomplishments, we have compiled a more complete summary of their professional achievements and community service online.

We also asked each of the young professionals to share their thoughts about the challenges now facing the architecture-engineering-construction community and ways that the industry can develop solutions to tackle them.

We hope readers and online viewers appreciate their insights, and we are confident that the commentary will reinforce what makes these young professionals leaders in their field.


Evan BeattieEvan Beattie
A thirst for knowledge drives him to tackle new challenges
31, Associate Principal
Good Fulton & Farrell

Motivated to improve his community’s quality of life through good design, Evan Beattie, associate principal with architect Good Fulton & Farrell, takes on challenges others might avoid. He organized neighbors in 2009 into the Henderson Neighborhood Association to give them a voice in how Dallas’ fast-growing Henderson Avenue corridor develops.

Time in Industry: 9 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin
Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla.
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: W Aloft Las Colinas Retail and Restaurant Complex, Irving; The Canyon in Oak Cliff, Dallas; Vitruvian Park Block 206, Addison, Texas
Community Service: Dallas Academy, Building Committee, volunteer; Uplift Education’s North Hills Preparatory Charter School, pro bono assistance; Bobby Lyle’s “Lyle Leaders” program at CE Byrd High School in Shreveport, La., volunteer
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Real Estate Council, Research and Development Committee, chair; Urban Land Institute, program committee member; American Institute of Architect, Community by Design Committee, member; Trinity Trust’s River Rats Executive Committee, member

Industry Outlook: “Our industry as a whole has faced severe challenges in the last two-years related to strict standards and changing rules for commercial real estate lending, ambiguous property valuations and dropping occupancies in most market sectors. Institutional projects have advanced through the recession taking advantage of drastic reductions in construction and material costs from highs in early 2008, and in the last six months we have started to see strong increases in multifamily project inquires and contracts, as well as increased build-to-suit office prospects. Good Fulton & Farrell has taken advantage of the opportunity to add architectural talent to our team in the last year as the commercial real estate market has slowly improved. We are all still concerned that economic conditions are quite fragile and rising interest rates and inflation could jeopardize the recovery we have all enjoyed watching these last 18-months.”


Jeffrey ElliottJeffrey Elliott
A passion for the profession inspires him to lead and mentor
34, Associate
Thornton Tomasetti

Since joining design firm Thornton Tomasetti in 2001, Jeffrey Elliott has been a driving force among his peers, demonstrating leadership and technical excellence in structural engineering. “We continue to diversify our services beyond new building design,” he says. Elliott keeps a project team motivated to raise the level of work, while mentoring younger staff.

Time in Industry: 10 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Civil Engineering from The University of Texas, Austin, 1998; MS, Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, 2001
Hometown: San Antonio
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Block 21, Austin; The Monarch, Austin; Southern Methodist University, Caruth Engineering Building and Annette Caldwell Simmons Building, Dallas
Community Service: Church
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Post-Tensioning Institute, American Institute of Steel Construction

“We continue to diversify our services beyond new building design.”

Jeffrey E. Elliott, 34, Associate, Thornton Tomasetti

Industry Outlook: “The biggest challenge remains the economy. We have and are continuing to diversify our services offered to go beyond new building design. These types of services include building performance, investigations and skin design; property loss consulting with insurance companies; and construction support services, such as steel erection or shop drawings. Diversifying into emerging international markets is becoming increasingly important. We have offices in Asia, Europe and the Middle East to capitalize on these opportunities. Technology represents another challenge. With the advent of building information models, we have to continue to push to be on the leading edge as the technology continues to evolve. We have worked in multiple platforms and strive to be able to produce a design in whatever software package is best for a given project.”


>Brian FreemanBrian Freeman
Raised revenue more than 200% and shares knowledge with peers
40, Senior Vice President of Operations
Skanska USA
San Antonio

During his three-year tenure as general manager, Brian Freeman has helped increase revenue by more than 200% for Skanska USA Building’s three Texas offices. He has developed strong relationships with such clients as HCA Holdings, Alamo Community College District, Methodist Health System and Texas A&M University, leading to repeat business. In a Skanska leadership and knowledge-sharing program, he met with European colleagues to share best practices.

Time in Industry: 17 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Building Construction, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., 1992
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Methodist Stone Oak Hospital, San Antonio; Alamo Colleges projects, San Antonio
Community Service: Lutheran High School, board member; Love Helps, volunteer; Habitat for Humanity, volunteer; Big Brothers Big Sisters, Big Brother and fund-raiser

Industry Outlook: “Texas construction market has taken a hit with the downturn of the economy. Fortunately, the market was not overly inflated, so when the crash hit, we took a drop but didn't fall off the cliff. While we see signs of recovery and an increased access to financing, we are not out of the woods yet. One challenge I face is how to stay competitive when competing with more contractors for fewer projects. Owners are looking for someone to keep their projects within budget or get them to their budget goal. My preconstruction team excels at helping owners find ways to value manage their projects. And our use of PC tablets not only saves paper but it also brings the drawings to the field, which helps eliminate mistakes resulting in substantial budget and time savings.”


Anthony GonzalesAnthony Gonzales
National expert started and grew local consulting firm
33, Principal
Spire Consulting Group

As a forensic construction and program management consultant, Anthony Gonzales has testified as an expert witness for numerous projects around the world. Evaluating project costs and construction-related claims, performing schedule analysis and completing productivity and damage assessments, he has grown the consulting firm he started from $220,000 in revenue in 2006 to more than $2 million last year.

Time in Industry: 16 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Architectural Engineering with a minor in Business, University of Texas at Austin; Master of Science, Civil Engineering, 2009
Hometown: San Antonio
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Presidio at Judges Hill Condominiums, Austin; W Hotel – Austin; University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Research Laboratory, Houston
Community Service: Catalyst 8, advisory board member
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Central Texas Section of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, president; Division 8 International Contracting, Steering & Technology Committee - American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry; Austin Entrepreneur’s Organization, forum moderator, incoming chair

Industry Outlook: “The struggling economy and increased global competition are challenges that will require firms of all sizes to continue to reinvent themselves to ensure success. One of the most effective ways our firm, clients and strategic partners are accomplishing their reinvention is to redevelop and implement processes and control systems to reduce costs, improve productivity and ensure quality. As the economy rebounds those firms that reinvented themselves will be stronger and be able to accomplish more with less.”


David HasenzahlDavid Hasenzahl
Entrepreneur touches projects from Texas stockyards to GM
37, President and CEO
Hasen Construction Services
Fort Worth

After working for several large construction companies, David Hasenzahl was struck by entrepreneurial fever in 2005 and founded his own construction management firm, Hasen Construction Services. The company continues to grow. He has tackled building projects for the city of Fort Worth and its historic stockyards, private developers, the University of Southern California and General Motors Corp., among others. The full-service company has recently moved into new quarters in its own building.

Time in Industry: 22 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas; Master’s in Construction Engineering and Management, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 2000
Hometown: The Woodlands
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Historic renovation of Southern Methodist University’s Perkins Chapel, Dallas; Doheny Library Restoration and Renovation University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Community Service: Habitat for Humanity, fundraiser; Breakfast with St. Nicolas, founding member of benefit supporting Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital; Disabled Crime Victims Assistance, fundraiser; Fort Worth Cub Scouts, den leader
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Fort Worth Club, member; Greater Fort Worth Real Estate Counsel

Industry Outlook: “Everyone is aware of the economic challenges around the world, but we have to figure out a way to adopt. We’ve seen a transition from private sector construction to public sector. The construction is the same, but there is a fundamental difference about how the public sector goes about it. The private sector focuses on the bottom line, while the public sector considers what is best for the public. Another challenge has to be subcontractors. Five years ago, there was a lot of work, and we had to schedule them. Now they are eager and willing and jump in. When it comes to price, there are signs of financial difficulty. Subs are making slow payments to downstream subcontactors and vendors.”


Jim HenryJim Henry
Health-care designer’s talent helps firm snag top regional project
35, Design Principal and Senior Designer
HDR Architecture

His employer credits Jim Henry’s charisma, skill and knowledge with helping the firm land monumental project wins, such as Dallas’ $1.27-billion Parkland Hospital. Henry also provided master planning and exterior design for the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, which was cited for design at the 2010 Hospital Build Middle East Exhibition & Congress.

Time in Industry: 11 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Architecture, University of Arkansas--Fay Jones School of Architecture, Fayetteville, 1999
Hometown: San Antonio
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Parkland Hospital replacement, Dallas; Denton County Administrative Complex Phase I; Cleveland Clinic hospital, Abu Dhabi; Lackland Ambulatory Care Center, San Antonio
Community Service: Irving Bible Church, Comfort Zone, volunteer; Habitat for Humanity, volunteer
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: AIA Dallas Design Awards program, chair

Industry Outlook: Sustainability will continue to be a big challeng—thinking beyond LEED about good solutions for clients moving forward. We are being good stewards of resources, both the actual physical resources, such as energy consumption and passive orientation, and the financial ones. We reuse as much as we can in existing conditions, and when building new, build to allow for flexibility. Especially in health care, we must build a large enough structural grid for flexibility within the bay structures. In addition, we must be mindful of the master plan and to think ahead for clients, so they do not build something they will need to redo.


Ben JohannemanBen Johanneman
Exceeding clients’ expectations on complex health-care projects
32, Project Director
McCarthy Building Cos.

As one of the youngest project directors at McCarthy, Ben Johanneman draws on his inherent leadership skills and industry dedication to lead challenging health-care projects, such as the $220-million expansion of the Alkek Hospital at the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Time in Industry: 10 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Civil Engineering, University of Kentucky, Lexington, 2000
Hometown: Ferdinand, Ind.
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: Alkek Expansion at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; University of Colorado Hospital Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion, Aurora; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center Expansion, Lebanon, N.H.; Sentara Virginia Beach (Va.) General Hospital Expansion
Community Service: Habitat for Humanity, volunteer; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, committeeman; Sprint for Life, volunteer; Houston Food Bank, volunteer

Industry Outlook: “The economy will certainly continue to be the most significant challenge facing the industry nationwide. In many areas of Texas, we have been able to weather the economic impacts better than most, but it is still foremost on everyone’s radar. Collaborating closely with our clients, AEC partners and the subcontracting community has never been more important than it is today. An increase in design-build as a delivery method is one change we are noticing pick up speed now. This delivery method encourages collaboration, minimizes risk for owners and can increase speed of delivery – all things owners – including the federal government – want right now.”