ENR Texas & Louisiana's 2011 Top 20 Under 40
Approaches community and professional service with vigor
38, Vice President and General Manager
Turner Construction Co.
Mike Kaiman’s motivation and technical competence has led to success both professionally and in community service pursuits. He serves on the boards of the Methodist Healthcare System and the Hispanic Contractors Association.
Time in Industry: 18 years
Education: BS, Civil Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, 1995
Hometown: Vincennes, Ind.
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: Bexar County Adult Detention Renovation, San Antonio; Kress Building Renovation, San Antonio; Southwest Biomedical Research Foundation Renovation, San Antonio; Wells Fargo Rebranding, San Antonio
Community Service: Methodist Healthcare System, associate board member; Hispanic Contractors Association, associate board member; Bexar County Associated General Contractors, mentor protégé
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Associated General Contractors, Hispanic Contractors Association, ACE Mentoring, CANStruction
Industry Outlook: “The industry is currently in the midst of a revolution with more projects implementing building information modeling, new LEED standards, integrated project delivery practices and LEAN principles. While many in the industry are struggling to adopt, Turner has been implementing these innovations for some time. Utilization of these innovative tools enables better collaboration, higher quality and faster delivery of projects. Over the past 24 months, the industry has experienced slower hiring rates as well as staff reductions, providing a potential gap in industry talent. Turner has made a conscientious effort to continue to hire during the economic downturn, which has allowed us to recruit and continue to develop the very best staff in the industry. Not only is private industry finding it difficult to find financing, but public municipalities are having their bond ratings lowered and are unable to get public approval for full project funding. Turner is continuing to work with our clients to provide public-private partnership delivery of projects.”
Modern, responsive projects focus of career and TV coverage
36, Principal Architect
Entter Architecture/Lantz Full Circle
Not content to pick window treatments as a kitchen designer, Karen Lantz wanted to decide where the walls and windows went as well. She became an architect and started a firm to design environmentally responsible projects. Her work promoting sustainability has appeared on local news and on HGTV cable network.
Time in Industry: 10 years
Education: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Houston, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, Houston, 2000
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: Down and Up House, architect and contractor; The Hive and Northshore Dental at Evanston Court, architect and contractor
Community Service: Houston Mod, co-founder and past president; Habitat for Humanity of Northwest Harris County, volunteer, deconstruction and building material reuse advocate
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: American Institute of Architects, Young Architects Committee chair; AIA Houston Chapter, board member; US Green Building Council Texas Gulf Coast Chapter; Rice Design Alliance, former board member
Industry Outlook: “As an architect practicing today, I no longer have the luxury to think individually about design. Team integration is key, and all project members need working knowledge about their respective professional disciplines as well as field constraints. Not only should the design be beautiful, but energy efficient and mindful of its occupants. It is essential to understand the science of construction; how systems integrate, how to bring air in and out, how to insulate; and to deliver a healthy building that lasts a lifetime. I am a knowledge seeker and encourage others to do the same.”
Embraces new jobs with determination and enthusiasm
37, Project Manager
Whether leading a high-profile preservation effort or coaching a soccer team, Peter Narvarte demonstrates excellence and professionalism in his pursuits. He gives back to the industry through teaching and service, launching and becoming the first president of the Central Texas chapter of the Design-Build Institute of America.
Time in Industry: 15 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Architectural Engineering, University of Texas, Austin, 1996
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: State Capitol preservation, Austin; University of Texas Belo Center for New Media, Austin; New York City Transit Authority Bus Depot and Central Maintenance Facility
Community Service: Capital Area Food Bank, led UT engineering students in the Central Texas CANstruction competition; soccer, coach
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Central Texas Chapter of the Design-Build Institute of America, president
Industry Outlook: “We have gone from a handshake to emailing back and forth. The younger generation is changing the industry with modeling and computers, yet they do not have the trade experience. Many young people are savvy with communication tools, but they have lousy communication skills. We have to challenge those youngsters and force them to spend time with trades in the field before we have them managing subcontractors and people. As we lose the older guys, we will run into trouble if we don’t train the younger group. The trades are invaluable, and we don’t have enough people backfilling.”
Entrusted with managing more than $100 million in local projects
29, Project Manager
Broaddus & Associates
Codi Newsom is considered a consummate project manager. She recently saved a client $1 million on a $3.1-million project without scope and schedule impacts. She has supported $100 million of projects in such areas as constructibility, structural review, LEED and ADA compliance.
Time in Industry: 6 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Architectural Engineering, University of Wyoming, Laramie, 2003; Masters of Engineering in Structural Engineering; Texas A&M University, College Station, 2004
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: Eanes Independent School District’s 2006 Bond Program, Eanes Independent School District 2010 Bond Planning, Austin Film Studios 2006 Bond Program, Medina County Annex and Jail Expansion
Community Service: Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake, church
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: National Association of Professional Women, the Real Estate Council of Austin, and the American Institute of Steel Construction, ACE Mentor Program, mentor and organizer
Industry Outlook: “The biggest challenge is the economy, with the short-term effect of lack of funding and jobs, but also the long-term repurcussions, which are causing students to not be as interested in the field. Students are pursuing careers with more promise. We need more programs such as ACE Mentors that offer scholarships and get students excited about options within the industry, programs that provide a deeper insight into what architects, engineers, contractors actually do. And employers could help students become interested by supporting more opportunities for internships.”
Developed team-building process and pushes safety priorities
SpawMaxwell, a Balfour Beatty firm
David Perez’s reputation for detailed construction knowledge and his engaging personal style have gained him a loyal following among clients and peers. Safety is a key priority. “Owners need to appreciate the value of hiring a safe contractor,” he says. “Times are tough, and no owner can risk hiring a contractor that is not keeping safety as the number one priority.”
Time in Industry: 17 years
Education: BS, Building Construction Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: RGM Advisors, Austin; Luminex, Austin
Community Service: SpawMaxwell Night of Comedy, performer
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) Leadership Development Council, RECA Membership Committee, Certified Safety Specialist and OHSA 30
“Owners need to appreciate the value of hiring a safe contractor. Times are tough, and no owner can risk hiring a contractor that is not keeping safety as the number one priority.”
—David Perez, 35, Superintendent, SpawMaxwell, Austin
Industry Outlook: “One of the biggest challenges is getting everyone in the industry to keep everyone performing all of their work with safety in mind. Owners need to appreciate the value of hiring a safe contractor. Times are tough and no owner can risk hiring a contractor who is not keeping safety as the No. 1 priority. The second challenge is educating owners and subcontractors in the real value of building green. Building green is not easy but can become easier if it is enforced and supported by everyone. We have to correct years of habits that did not value green building as much as we do now.”
Her contribution to strategic planning helps contractor’s growth
37, Chief Financial Officer
Joeris General Contractors
As the contractor’s chief financial officer, Michelle Seward Davis has contributed much to the firm’s strategic planning and bottom line. She has managed key corporate areas, from risk mitigation to human resources, and helped boost growth since joining the firm in 2002. “The construction industry in Texas has weathered the recession better than in other states,” Davis says.
Time in Industry: 14 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Arts, Accounting, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, 1996
Hometown: Conroe, Texas
LEED Accredited: No
Community Service: Susan G. Komen Foundation, fund-raiser; Lance Armstrong Foundation, fund-raiser; MS Foundation of Texas, fund-raiser; Wound Warriors, fund-raiser
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Associated Builders and Contractors South Texas Chapter, past chairman and current board member; Associated Builders and Contractors - National, past board member, Political Action Committee past chairman and past trustee, Government Affairs Coordination Committee past member
Industry Outlook: “The construction industry in Texas has weathered the recession and economic downturn better than other states in the nation. Due to this stability, national construction firms are attempting to plant roots in the larger cities in Texas. This has led to increased competition and eroding margins across the board. These two factors are forcing companies to reorganize their operations to be more efficient with fewer resources. Bonding of contractors from both the owner and general contractor is becoming more of a standard on projects when it used to be an option. Companies are also looking at diversifying their markets to maintain adequate levels of backlog.”
Rising up the ladder from intern to vice president
37, Vice President
Wier & Associates Inc.
Civil engineer Carlo Silvestri began his career at Wier & Associates changing lightbulbs and running errands. After college, he became project engineer and manager, designing infrastructure and taking on business development and executive duties.
Time in Industry: 16 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Civil Engineering, Unversity of Texas Arlington, 1996
Hometown: Arlington, Texas
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Harcourt Brace, Lewisville, Texas; Windstar Pebblebrook Village Estates, Arlington; Mansfield Town Center; Classic BMW, Plano
Community Service: Little Bear Home Owners Association Greenbelt Committee, consulting on erosion and drainage issues; church Families Group, volunteer; local Indian Princess organization, assistant chief
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Texas Society of Professional Engineers
Industry Outlook: “There are always many challenges our industry faces but in today’s economic environment, I feel our biggest challenge is maintaining a healthy workflow at fair and reasonable rates and not to be forced to cut corners at the expense of quality. With more competition especially from those that are struggling to stay in business, companies are taking on projects just to keep people busy — possibly producing less thorough, inferior designs. When bidding projects, we are asked to ‘sharpen our pencils’ at risk of operating on a very slim margin and not making a profit. Our industry needs to adapt to this economic environment by being innovative in our design process, so that we can continue to maintain a healthy and profitable workload.”