Recovery in the Midwest’s construction industry continues to track the national industry’s growth, with 70% of the region’s construction companies expecting to increase staff levels in 2016, according to a survey recently published by Associated General Contractors of America. That’s a statistical tie with AGC’s reported 71% national rate. The results suggest the regional construction market can expect to see a continuation of the growth trend of recent years.

ENR Midwest’s Top 20 Under 40 class offers a deep bench of skilled, knowledgeable industry veterans and younger workers. More than qualified engineers, architects, planners and estimators, these are people who find fulfillment in serving their local communities and in employing the talents, skills and knowledge that bring them professional success.

This year’s class of young professionals sets a fine example for the kinds of contributions that the region’s construction and design firms will require moving forward. The honorees span a wide variety of  industry roles, often excelling not only through their jobs, but in their respective contributions via charitable endeavors, community positions and industry mentoring.

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ENR Midwest's 2017 Top Young Professionals
ENR Midwest's 2015 Top 20 Under 40

To choose this year’s Top 20 Under 40 class, ENR Midwest assembled an independent panel of judges. After assessing each candidate’s work experience, career and industry leadership—as well as their community outreach efforts—judges determined this year’s class from candidates working in the area of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

We gratefully acknowledge the judges who helped winnow the field: Anthony LoBello, principal, SmithGroupJJR; Gregory Douglas, vice president, Miron Construction Co.; and two past Top 20 Under 40 honorees—Jason Robertson, vice president, The Weitz Co., and Sara Dirsa, architect, KG&D Architects PC.

ENR Midwest invites readers to check out this year’s class and review the fine work they have done. Congratulations to all!

Carrie BallardCarrie Ballard
Coordinated with contractors on BIM for $1-billion project
34, Process Engineer
Kansas City, Mo.

Positive, collaborative and service-oriented, Carrie Ballard adroitly multitasks, coordinating project management, process-design engineering and project coordination at CRB. She has led its biotech team, assisting with career planning for young professionals, and has co-led another team designed to maintain the company as an industry leader. In addition, she has presented to the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers on operations improvement, focusing on lean processes and Six-Sigma approaches for achieving maximum efficiencies. For CRB’s largest-ever project, the $1-billion-plus Blood Plasma Manufacturing Facility, she coordinated the building information modeling effort, a project particularly dear to her as her uncle with pancreatic cancer was treated with the product that is to be manufactured inside.

Holly BoltonHolly Bolton
Named youngest SMPS fellow
37, Director of Marketing
CE Solutions Inc.
Carmel, Ind.

A leading young voice in marketing and business development nationwide, Holly Bolton has created the marketing department, introduced social media and led the website redesign for CE Solutions. She has facilitated client relationships, assisted the firm with rebranding and strategic planning and authored content for the company. Through both her writing and more than 70 public speaking presentations, she has helped bring the firm to the national stage. Elected to the board of trustees of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) in 2013, she was the association’s youngest fellow at 33. Her community service includes work for Fairbanks Addiction Treatment Center and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.

Catherine CorbinCatherine Corbin
Became the youngest health practice leader in firm’s 100 years
33, Health Practice Leader

As a girl, Catherine Corbin built with LEGOs, was enamored of the art and science of building and, by middle school, envisioned a career in construction. As an adult, she has helped prepare Qatar to provide health services for its people and has lived for six months in Mumbai, India, where she helped to build a health design practice. These global experiences reinforced her dedication to helping health care architects provide environments that aid healing. As CannonDesign’s senior vice president, she is the youngest health practice leader in the firm’s 100-year history. A University of Virginia alumna, she mentors students on design career paths, and she conceived The Healthcare Exchange, which became the basis of CannonDesign’s firm-wide mentoring exchange program in 2015.

Shannon FlanaganShannon Flanagan
Completed two CERCLA remediation projects
32, Environmental Engineer III

At AECOM, Shannon Flanagan’s responsibilities include remediation oversight, air monitoring, data evaluation and reporting for soil vapor and groundwater remediation operation and maintenance, remedial design and implementation. Her current projects include two Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) remediation sites in Gary, Ind., and Waukegan, Ill., the latter including asbestos remediation support in an area partially occupied by wetlands. She has been involved with Engineers Without Borders on such projects as the El Salvador Water Project to deliver potable water for communities. She engages students and young professionals in a variety of activities, coordinating the company’s involvement, for instance, with the ACE Mentor Program of America, which encourages students, particularly minorities, women and low-income populations, to enter construction industry careers.

Grant GoldmanGrant Goldman
Became youngest vice president in company history
34, Vice President
Pepper Construction

Responsible for client relationship building and strategic direction for Pepper Construction, Grant Goldman became the company’s youngest vice president ever at 33 in 2014. A year later, the construction firm achieved its highest sales volume. A key responsibility has been developing and implementing strategic initiatives that involve 25 senior operations staff. Once again, in the first year following implementation of his ideas, the company quadrupled its historical average for new clients. Outside the office, he is a graduate of the Stanley K. Lacey Executive Leadership Series, which develops emerging leaders, serves as board chairman of the Edna Martin Christian Center, which offers meals and a safe learning environment for children, and mentors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana.

Chris GordonChris Gordon
Expanded engineering enrollment at SIUE by 40%
39, Chair/Associate Dean, School of Engineering
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE)
Edwardsville, Ill.

A leader in construction technology and innovation, with a passion for sustainable construction, Chris Gordon is preparing the next generation of industry leaders. He has recruited qualified students and faculty, advanced facilities and laboratory support, published industry papers, taught a variety of courses and partnered with industry on strategic initiatives. In particular, he has developed an approach for automated construction-inspection planning, using BIM, and has advanced numerous applications of laser scanning in the building industry, including quality control, damage assessment and onsite quantity measurement. Since 2012, he has furthered recruitment and retention at SIUE with 40% engineering enrollment growth and has led the department’s transformation by hiring professors with expertise in lean construction, construction technology, environmental engineering and sustainable materials.

Susan HeinkingSusan Heinking
Facilitating the world’s first triple-green certification project
35, Director of High-Performance and Sustainable Construction
Pepper Construction Co.

For Susan Heinking, sustainability is not 9 to 5; it’s a lifestyle. Currently facilitating 21 LEED projects totaling more than $700 million, Heinking works to ensure that green strategies are cost effective and beneficial. From her debut LEED project, the first LEED Platinum-certified dormitory in the world, the EcoDorm, she has focused on human experience and moving beyond the big-box paradigm. She is now facilitating what is believed to be the world’s first triple-certification project—using LEEDv4, Living Building Challenge and Well Building Standard—for a global technology company’s Chicago headquarters. She speaks at national and international events on sustainability, coaches high school students through the ACE mentor program and has organized a community service event to install learning gardens for special-needs Chicago Public School students.

Robert (Bo) JohnstonRobert (Bo) Johnston
Leading mechanical engineering on coal-fired powerplant in Panama
39, Manager
Sargent & Lundy LLC

A specialist in power-generation projects, Robert Johnston currently serves as lead mechanical engineer for a 300-MW, $660-million coal-fired powerplant project located in Panama, which will electrify a new copper mine and sell power to the Panamanian grid. He is tasked with mechanical engineering and design—including integration of major systems such as the boiler, steam turbine and pollution control equipment—the balance-of-plant design and team performance. Johnston excels in creating collaboration among the multinational companies from Korea, Germany, India and the U.S. Because of his expertise, Johnston is often asked to serve on independent design review teams for powerplant system design. In addition, he participates in community organizations that provide mentoring and other programs for students living in challenged Chicago neighborhoods.

Burcin KaplanogluBurcin Kaplanoglu
Stabilized a $350-million program, increased profits and production
39, Vice President

A career problem-solver, Burcin Kaplanoglu has invented business solutions and operational processes to create new business; improve profit margins and efficiency; and raise industry standards. In his former position for Lendlease’s multisite business unit, he stabilized a $350-million annual program, increasing profit margins significantly by achieving a 100% increase in production. Also, as a project manager, he facilitated preconstruction and construction of three prominent buildings in Chicago. He has also taught master’s classes at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering’s project management program.

Shelly K. KendrickShelly K. Kendrick
Participated on an ENR 2012 Best Project
39, Senior Structural Engineer
Arcadis U.S. Inc.
Akron, Ohio

With 16 years of experience, Shelly Kendrick ably fulfills many responsibilities, including construction, project management, public relations and client development. In particular, she’s a relationship person, helping clients address their transportation needs. As a project and task manager for groups such as the Ohio Dept. of Transportation, she inspects and inventories culverts, completes load ratings of municipal bridges and has designed a concrete arch bridge for the city of Canton, Ohio. She was also a structural engineer on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Gulf Intracoastal Waterway  West Closure Complex and pump station in New Orleans—ENR Texas and Louisiana’s 2012 Best Project in the civil/infrastructure category. Outside the office, she supports foster care and adoption and promotes engineering careers.

Chris KirlesChris Kirles
Involved in $350 million of development in last 10 years
33, President of Construction
Flaherty & Collins Properties

Leading strategic planning for the company’s construction division, Chris Kirles is responsible for establishing systems and procedures, project management, financial controls, company operations and management of design. He has been involved in or responsible for completing more than $350 million worth of work during the last 10 years and is now overseeing $300 million of construction in five states. Most recently, he has led the development and construction of 360 Market Square, a 28-story mixed-use luxury apartment tower in downtown Indianapolis. As a member of the company’s outreach efforts, he works with the the Mozel Sanders Foundation, which helps feed 40,000 Indianapolis residents.

Jennifer KissingerJennifer Kissinger
Has overseen more than $110 million of sustainable facilities
33, Director of Corporate Sustainability/Preconstruction Manager
St. Louis

With 13 years in the construction industry, Jennifer Kissinger has constructed more than $110 million of industry facilities for clients such as Washington University in St. Louis and Express Scripts High Volume Filler facility in Franklin County, Mo. As the company’s sustainability leader, she has helped divert more than 90,000 tons of construction waste from landfills. Adept at building relationships, she guides clients through design team selection, cost analysis, bidding, contractor award, construction and closeout. She has a deep commitment to the industry and her community. At the University of Kansas School of Engineering, she helped found USGBC Emerging Green Builders group. She is a member of the USGBC Missouri Gateway Chapter, supporting a sustainable future, and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.

Dan KlancnikDan Klancnik
Uses technology to empower construction teams and expand services
36, Director of Project Solutions
Leopardo Cos.
Hoffman Estates, Ill.

A national BIM and virtual design and construction (VDC) leader, Dan Klancnik has recently continued his career at Leopardo Cos., where he is integrating construction technology into company culture, enhancing collaboration with project stakeholders and eradicating construction waste. He has authored industry guides, AGC training courses, the CM-BIM accreditation exam and ConsensusDocs BIM contract language for companies implementing BIM. He has worked on a variety of projects including heavy-civil and commercial-building projects in aviation, health care and education and has demonstrated the collaborative effects of BIM software on construction projects, helping to democratize BIM to entire projects. Among his community interests, he has volunteered for the FIRST Robotics Competition, whose goal is inspiring young people toward careers in science and technology.

Mike LawlessMike Lawless
Completed Wisconsin’s first LEED-certified hospital
39, Project Executive
KJWW Engineering Consultants
St. Louis

During his 15 years with KJWW, Mike Lawless has facilitated new construction, renovations, expansions and infrastructure upgrades. He provides quality control and peer reviews and encourages staff growth and development. At 33, he completed his first large project, the LEED Silver Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wis., the state’s first LEED-certified hospital. He has helped his firm win large projects, including the 200,000-sq-ft research lab under construction at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He is also a mentor for young professionals-to-be.

Rachel LynnRachel Lynn
Improved 2.4 million sq ft of public education facilities
34, Senior Project Manager
Brailsford & Dunlavey Inc.

With a strong background in urban policy and a passion for community development, Rachel Lynn is responsible for guiding a portfolio of higher education and municipal projects. She has excelled with campus recreation centers, student housing, baseball parks, PreK−12 campuses, charter schools and major modernization programs for public school facilities. Notably, she led a three-year, $500.5-million capital improvement program for Detroit Public Schools. Within 32 months of the program’s kickoff, more than 2.4 million sq ft of facilities were improved, placing 19,300 Detroit students in newly constructed or renovated learning environments.

Thomas MustoThomas Musto
Helped pioneer HDPE piping in a U.S. nuclear project
38, Mechanical Discipline Manager - Nuclear Power Mechanical Engineering
Sargent & Lundy LLC

An adept manager of complex nuclear powerplant projects, Thomas Musto has demonstrated his ability to complete special corporate assignments in addition to his regular responsibilities. Most recently, he has successfully directed the development and implementation of his company’s technical risk management program, transforming various TRM practices typically used in the nuclear power industry into better cost and risk analyses for nuclear power clients. In 2007, he was project manager for a pioneering application of high-density polyethylene piping for a U.S. nuclear safety-related application at the Callaway nuclear project in Missouri. And, as a community volunteer, he supports the Greater Chicago Food Depository and volunteers at Hesed House homeless shelter and Feed My Starving Children, both in Aurora, Ill.

Jacelyn SalingJacelyn Saling
Has developed a national reputation for remediation strategies
36, Principal Engineer
Arcadis U.S. Inc.
Novi, Mich.

With 13-plus years in environmental consulting for projects requiring soil and groundwater remediation, Jacelyn Saling has developed remedial strategies to protect human health and the environment while meeting the objectives of clients, federal and state agencies and local communities. She is recognized nationally as an expert for in-situ remediation techniques, including design, implementation, troubleshooting and optimization. In addition, through staff engagement, using personal communication and social media, she has trained and mentored staff, provided leadership opportunities and collaborated with other communities of practice to ensure consistent technical approaches. As part of her community commitment, she has conducted an oil-spill cleanup activity with elementary school children to spur thinking about the environmental impacts of cleanups.

Jason C. StithJason C. Stith
Developed the UT Beam program
33, Structural Engineer
Michael Baker International
Louisville, Ky.

Jason Stith is an expert on the erection and behavior of curved I-girder bridges. While studying at the University of Texas, Stith helped develop the UT Beam software program, which helps engineers analyze the erection stability of curved girder bridges. Always one of the first in and last out, Stith is dedicated to preserving public safety and to providing the public with safe bridges. He was prominent in designing the replacement truss span for the Eggners Ferry Bridge Emergency Replacement after the bridge was destroyed by a cargo ship and in reopening, in just four months, the Sherman Minton Bridge, carrying Interstate 64 over the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky, after cracks were discovered in the tie girders. Stith has also attended high school and college industry events, offering advice and mentoring. To further his leadership skill set, Stith enrolled in and was accepted to the ACEC/KSPE/SAME Leadership PE program for practicing Kentucky engineers.

Lauren WilliamsLauren Williams
Has coordinated $325 million of BIM-guided projects
32, BIM Services Manager
S. M. Wilson & Co.
St. Louis

Since Lauren Williams introduced the use of BIM to her company, she has transformed project-management processes on every project at this ENR Top 400 company. She has helped design, plan and manage $325 million of increasingly complex projects through enhanced project visualization, better project costing, improved scheduling and timing, greater constructibility detection, coordination and communication. At the 90,000-sq-ft Shriners Hospitals for Children-St. Louis, her BIM services delivered savings in six figures during the construction-coordination phase of the project. Through her teaching and mentoring, she is also a role model for young professionals.

Bret WoodlandBret Woodland
Has overseen 1,900 retail conversions in three years
37, Project Manager
H.J. Martin and Son
Green Bay, Wis.

In his three years with H.J. Martin and Son, Bret Woodland has worked with some of the country’s largest retailers, for which he has coordinated a number of in-store conversions nationwide. One example, in 2013, was the conversion of 200-plus shops for a major national company. He led 50 crews of two people and coordinated with the retailer for the 2.5-week project, completed in time for that holiday shopping season. In all, he has seen completion of roughly 1,900 retail locations and has helped establish his company as the 165th largest specialty contractor in the 2014 ENR Top 600. n