The 2015 ENR Mountain States' Top 20 Under 40 winners are architects, engineers, constructors, college professors, consultants and project managers, but also sustainability gurus, virtual building experts and company owners. Some have started their own firms, created new roles for themselves in growing companies and been fast-tracked as promising leaders by firm principals. They have already streamlined processes, introduced new technologies and processes and pushed the business envelope for their employers and clients.
The professional diversity of this year's honorees is matched only by their desire to be leaders, mentors and pioneers of new and better ways of doing things across the industry.
As in past years, our annual contest was rigorous and thorough. Companies or individuals were allowed to nominate more than one person, and individuals could nominate themselves. Nominees must be working full-time in some aspect of the commercial construction industry in one of the nine states in the Mountain States and Plains region: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, and our extended reach into Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas.
Other key selection criteria included achievement of/or progress toward industry certifications, including professional licensure or LEED Accredited Professional and significant success in creating more efficient systems, designing new processes or managing landmark projects and volunteering in the community. The individuals in this year's group have devoted thousands of hours to volunteer causes, from being scoutmasters to event organizers, fundraisers and charity homebuilders. They also are deeply involved in social causes, from preserving natural resources such as fragile coastlines, wetlands and rivers to mountain passes and cleaning up urban neighborhoods.
The following pages contain profiles of the winners and quotes in their own words about what matters most to them: excellence, success, quality, family and community. Congratulations to the winners.
Elizabeth Claire Booth
Outdoor enthusiast applies engineering skills to volunteer work
33, Senior Environmental Engineer
ARCADIS US Inc.
At ARCADIS, engineer Claire Booth focuses primarily on air permitting and environmental compliance issues for the mining and manufacturing industries. She also works in other areas of environmental engineering—developing spill prevention control and countermeasure plans, stormwater pollution prevention and toxic release inventory and Tier 2 reports.
Recently, Booth prepared emission profiles for an existing molybdenum mine, existing and new potash mines and a ceramics manufacturing process.
"I think our reliance on technology-based programs is taking us further away from the fundamentals and innate knowledge of true design and construction," she says. "This presents young professionals with a fine line to walk that bends toward efficiency over true understanding."
Booth is an avid outdoor enthusiast. She volunteers for the USA ProChallenge cycling event, held in Colorado every summer. She is also a member of the Friends of Berthoud Pass, a nonprofit that preserves the legacy of public recreation on Colorado's Berthoud Pass.
BD expert helps bridge the cultural gap between generations
30, Business Development
Sure Steel Inc.
South Weber, Utah
Matt Brower began his career as an estimator, working full-time while he completed the construction management program at Weber State University. He participated in clubs such as the Associated Builders and Contractors Student Chapter, where he served as president. He was also a member of Sigma-Lambda-Chi National Honor Society. About a year after graduation, the university asked Brower to teach estimating as an adjunct instructor.
He worked on multimillion-dollar projects across the West as an estimator for a large general contractor, then took a position with Sure Steel, handling all of the firm's business development in the Western U.S. While working full-time for Sure Steel, he continues his adjunct teaching at Weber State University and is a student in the MBA program.
"Young professionals must bridge the cultural gaps that exists between different generations," Brower says. "Technology is an everyday part of our industry, and our way of doing things may be different from those that lead us. At the same time, it's also a great opportunity to learn from one another."