The 2018 class of ENR Midwest Top Young Professionals is as varied as the design and construction professions themselves. In the early parts of their careers, these 21 individuals built extraordinary industry portfolios, donated significant amounts of time and expertise to serve their communities and worked on innovative industry solutions that saved time and money on projects across the U.S. and abroad.
These individuals are under the age of 40 and were nominated by the design firms and construction companies that make up ENR Midwest’s audience.
Our winners included a third-generation engineering firm executive who began coming to the office of WT Group, the Illinois company his grandfather founded, when he was barely tall enough to open the door. On the other end of the spectrum is the entrepreneur behind a five-year-old electrical design firm that just opened its second office. In between are a single mom who took a 17-year path to become an executive for one of Ohio’s biggest construction companies, a military engineer whose designs have provided water services throughout the Middle East and a 26-year-old who filled the void as a project leader when a senior engineer left her company.
Representatives from all sectors submitted 56 entries for this year’s Midwest competition, making it a challenge for our judges to narrow down the list. This year’s judges were: Sarah Jacobson, associate principal with the Lamar Johnson Collaborative and a 2017 Midwest young professional honoree; Joe Eckhart, project executive at AECOM/Hunt and a 2017 honoree; Ben Braun, vice president of corporate affairs at American Structurepoint and a 2017 honoree; Mani Golparvar-Fard, associate professor of civil engineering, computer science and technology entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois, a 2017 ENR Midwest honoree and a 2017 ENR National Top 20 Under 40 winner; and Kelly Carpenter, director of training for the Associated Builders and Contractors of America’s Pelican Chapter. We thank all our judges for their time, hard work and expertise.
ENR Midwest's 2017 Top Young Professionals
A passion for health care project delivery
38, Project Executive
The Hagerman Group
Bangert began his career at the Hagerman Group as an intern while attending Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and the firm subsequently hired him as a project engineer. Bangert, now a project executive, became the first Hagerman employee to receive the Certified Healthcare Constructor designation from the Society of Healthcare Engineering in 2008. As the executive in charge of Hagerman’s health care projects, he’s currently leading delivery of St. Vincent Health System’s $13.6-million William K. Nasser MD Healthcare Education and Simulation Center in Indianapolis. Bangert is also leading a team at Indiana University’s Health Ball Memorial Hospital North Tower renovation in Bloomington.
Additionally, Bangert personally oversaw Hagerman’s implementation of Procore project management software and trained 100 Hagerman employees, clients, subcontractors and architects to use the program.
Water systems designer specializes in military projects
36, Water Market Project Delivery Leader/ Iowa Water Resources Dept. Manager
Day’s military engineering background enabled her to work in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain, Guam and the United Arab Emirates. Day is a specialist in airfield infrastructure and was a key designer for the King Abdullah II Special Operations Training Centre (KASOTC) in Jordan, which is considered the most advanced special operations training complex in the world. The overall project consisted of two training facilities located at Yajooz and Aqaba.
Day designed water storage tanks, water supply piping for potable and fire water, sanitary sewer connections, sanitary sewerage holding tanks and site routing of stormwater and supervised both dam modeling and design improvements at KASOTC. Her other design work includes water supply, sanitary sewer, fire protection and drainage systems in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria. At home in Iowa, Day is heavily involved with the Society of American Military Engineers and has served on SAME’s national board of directors and executive committee.
Day is knowledgeable about homesteading and living a homegrown lifestyle. Through the Iowa State University Extension Office, she presented a free class on “Low Impact Development for a Homegrown Lifestyle,” which addressed the use of rain barrels, porous pavements, rain gardens and green roofs.
Her one non-engineering related hobby is sport fishing, and she caught the yellowtail snapper served at her wedding dinner in Key West, Fla.
“I’m from Iowa, graduated from the University of Iowa and work for an Iowa-based firm. Yet through military engineering I’ve worked in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain, Guam and the UAE to support my country.”
—HEATHER DAY, 36, Water Market Project Delivery Leader, Stanley Consultants
Plant design pro
32, Senior Project Manager
R.E. Warner and Associates
Benovic manages projects for R.E. Warner and Associates’ top 10 clients, one of which is American Honda Motor Co. He played a crucial role in delivering the engineering design of Honda’s $16-million, 61,150-sq-ft East Liberty Plant addition. Benovic filled a similar role for the engineering design of mezzanines, foundations, lighting and fire protection for seven new weld cells on two lines at Honda’s Marysville, Ohio, plant.
His other endeavors include helping to launch R.E. Warner’s Mentorship Matters program, for which Benovic served as committee president. He has been active with the American Society of Civil Engineers Cleveland Section, where he serves as president of the chapter as well as chair of the scholarship committee and co-chair of the Structural Engineering Institute committee.
Helps transportation projects hit the highway
38, Highway Team Leader
Golemba leads a staff of 12 highway engineers and six structural engineers at TransSystems, where she began her career as an intern. Her team is currently preparing two contract packages for Chicago’s $600-million Circle Interchange project. TranSystems’ contracts total more than $100 million for the Illinois Dept. of Transportation project, which requires the construction of four curved girder ramp bridges at one of the busiest interchanges in America: the “circle” where Interstates 90, 94 and 290 and the Congress Parkway all meet in downtown Chicago.
Golemba, a team leader for five years now, is overseeing 14 other projects that include major bridge repairs and replacements, work for the Chicago Transit Authority as well as road widening projects.
Founded internal women’s networking group
29, Civil Team Leader
Another of our Top Young Professionals that started at her firm as an intern, Heidenreich became a team leader at American Structurepoint just six years after joining the firm. She is leading the civil engineering team on the $550-million, 103-acre mixed-use redevelopment of the former General Motors stamping plant in Indianapolis along the White River.
Heidenreich launched an after-hours social networking opportunity for women at American Structurepoint that meets quarterly. She is among a core group of women working to expand programming of the Advancing Women internal group. She also mentors students through Dream Alive Inc., a mentoring organization that seeks to equip urban youth in grades 7-12 to become civic-minded leaders. Heidenreich specializes in teaching students about civil engineering, giving them a better understanding of the profession.
Faster project delivery entrepreneur
La Crosse, Wis.
Hildahl, one of the founding members of Base4, has more than 12 years of experience in building design on projects around the world with a primary focus on the hospitality sector. Base4 provides clients with all architectural and engineering services in-house using 3D BIM, which helps the firm cut the traditional hospitality design workflow in half or more on most of its projects.
The firm employs 200 designers, architects and engineers throughout the world. Hildahl has taken an interest in mentoring young architects and engineers in the developing world, where many of his team members work. He is a frequent speaker, trainer and individual coach for young engineers, renderers and architects in Nagpur, India; Santiago, Dominican Republic; Shanghai, China; and Tbilisi, Georgia.
“Even if you’ve been successful in your hotel business for years, the hotel business is one that is always changing … and changing fast.”
—BLAIR HILDAHL, 35, Principal/CMO, Base4
Leading Wisconsin health care codes
39, Senior Engineer
As a member of the LeadingAge Wisconsin organization, Hole helps develop improved services and programs for long-term care, assisted living and retirement living facilities. Hole is also a member of the Wisconsin Healthcare Engineering Association (WHEA) and recently joined the WHEA code committee, where he is involved with researching new state codes for health care and identifying the impacts on facilities.
Hole was lead electrical engineer and project manager on many of IMEG’s large health care projects, including the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wis., the first LEED Silver certified hospital in the state. He is currently the project manager and lead electrical engineer for the four-story, women’s and children’s bed tower project at the SwedishAmerican Medical Center in Rockford, Ill.
Provides building performance results
35, Vice President
G+W Engineering Corp.
Maryland Heights, Mo.
Jacobs relocated to the St. Louis area with a former employer in 2010 and subsequently started a building envelope division at the firm, which grew to be the top ranked profit center in the company. He joined G&W Engineering, an MEP design firm, in 2013 and helped grow the firm 25% year-over-year with the opening of an Edwardsville, Ill., office and the addition of seven new positions. Jacobs also partnered with G+W to create a new company, En-Comm, which focuses on building consulting and delivering strategies for energy conservation, commissioning and condition assessments.
Builds home-state office
31, Senior Project Engineer
Komp was instrumental in the creation and operation of Thornton Tomasetti’s new office in Milwaukee. Komp began his career in the firm’s Chicago office, but is a Green Bay native. The firm was looking for more work in the Milwaukee area, and Komp took on a large leadership role to help business development efforts and day-to-day operations in the region. He quickly grew Thornton Tomasetti’s presence and won work on The Couture Tower, which is the tallest residential project in Wisconsin, repeat work for Miller Park and retrofit work for Harley Davidson’s Milwaukee headquarters.
Komp also serves as a design mentor for students at Marquette University and has assisted with making Thornton Tomasetti’s offices accessible to students, allowing an inside look at the engineering/construction industry.
He is an active member and secretary of the ASCE/SEI Tall Buildings Committee, which is currently working on a first-of-its-kind design guideline for the “Performance Based Design of Tall Buildings Under Wind.”
Created in-house mentorship program
33, Senior Electrical Engineer
Burns & McDonnell
When Klos joined Burns & McDonnell’s Minneapolis-St. Paul office three years ago, he asked anyone and everyone he could about the company’s history, business strategy and what he could do to gain more responsibility. After talking with several of his peers over lunches, he found many had the same questions he did. With support from Gene Sieve, the office’s vice president, Klos put together a program that matches interested professionals with mentors who are willing to share technical skills, career insights and advice about handling work-life balance. The yearlong program is now in its third year, with participants agreeing to fulfill clear expectations and meet achievable objectives. So far more than 40 employee-owners have taken part—some more than once—with employee-owners building relationships across distinct business groups and even into other regional offices. In 2016, Klos participated in the inaugural class of the Burns & McDonnell Emerging Leaders Program.
Away from the office, Klos is active in Mathcounts, which offers math activities and competitions for middle school students. He’s been a member of the organization’s state committee for the past nine years, including serving earlier this year as lead proctor for the statewide Mathcounts competition.
39, Regional Leader/Vice President
From 2004 through 2016, Leverett served as project manager on complex public transportation projects that dramatically expanded transit in the Twin Cities. This included the expansion of the Blue Line light rail system, the first bus rapid transit corridor in the Twin Cities and more than $500 million in landside transportation improvements at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
After successfully leading these major projects, Leverett was named regional leader of Kimley-Horn’s Midwest region, making him responsible for business operations in 10 states. He also became a shareholder and sits on Kimley-Horn’s management committee.
Leverett and his wife have three young children and one of them is a special needs child. He spends significant time providing support for his son and sees his son’s education as a true partnership between himself and his son’s teachers. Leverett coaches his special needs son in basketball and is committed to providing diverse life experiences for him. Leverett coaches basketball and baseball with St. Paul’s Champlin-Dayton Athletic Association.
Delivers VDC and lean processes
38, Senior Manager - Operational Excellence
The Weitz Co.
Martin helps guide the company’s implementation of operational technology solutions and leads The Weitz Co.’s virtual design and construction group, which provides training and education on the use of operational technology as well as VDC and lean practices. Martin works with Weitz’s project teams to help them identify project risks and develop proactive plans to optimize the flow of construction.
One example of Martin’s leadership is the design and planning phase of the Park West student housing project for Texas A&M that was recently delivered ahead of schedule and under budget. Martin created a visual navigation dashboard to ensure on-demand access to project information for all team members.
Youngest winner steps up and fills the void
26, Project Manager
Soon after she was hired by HBK, Marshall was asked to help a senior engineer with the company’s as-built service line for Chicago utility company People’s Gas. Marshall then took over the service line completely after the senior engineer’s departure from HBK. She excelled in this project management role, building in efficiencies that have led to increased productivity for the company’s business. Marshall currently manages seven HBK survey crews and HBK has won more People’s Gas as-built work because of her efforts.
Marshall and her husband started the Chicago chapter of Volunteering Untapped, a service organization that focuses on unlocking the untapped potential of young professionals who might not be able to make the time commitment for weekly volunteering, but who still want to help. As a board member, Marshall works with local nonprofits to find unique and engaging activities each month for the chapter’s growing volunteer base. Nearly 900 volunteers have put in more than 3,200 volunteer hours at the chapter so far, impacting over a dozen local nonprofits to date.
“I love being a Volunteering Untapped board member because the variety in the monthly events is a great model to engage people in volunteering.”
—OLIVIA MARSHALL, 26, Project Manager, HBK Engineering
Entrepreneur and founder gives back to her community
KDM Engineering, a fully woman-and-minority-owned private firm, has designed or managed high-voltage systems for more than 50 Chicago high-rise projects. Moore built and grew her electrical engineering company from the ground up, and last year it saw a growth in profits of 230% over the last two years, prompting her to open a second office in Baltimore. Moore founded KDM in 2012 after rising as high as she could as a power engineer at her previous employer.
From the beginning, KDM focused on primary 4-kV and 12-kV distribution design and project management. The firm’s largest client is Chicago electrical power utility ComEd, and KDM works on the design of nearly all the utility’s distribution projects.
A native Chicagoan, Moore has mentored more than 40 employees since starting KDM. She also has created her own nonprofit, Calculated Genius, which is affiliated with KDM and supports community service and encourages Chicago area students to learn about engineering and entrepreneurship. It also offers women-only STEM scholarships for young women looking to get into engineering.
“If you’re sitting at your desk or your cubicle and you’re thinking you might want to make that jump, whatever it is you want to do as an entrepreneur, my advice is to do it,” Moore says. “Have a plan, look before you leap, but then you can make that jump. At first it will be hard, but I have never looked back.”
“If you’re sitting at your desk or your cubicle and you’re thinking you might want to make that jump, whatever it is you want to do as an entrepreneur, my advice is to do it.”
—KIMBERLY MOORE, 38, President and Founder, KDM Engineering
39, Project Director
McCarthy Building Cos.
During his McCarthy tenure, Moss has led prominent education and health care projects, including the Center for Global Citizenship and Spring Hall residential tower at Saint Louis University as well as numerous expansion projects at the Mercy Hospital Jefferson campus, St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Anthony’s Medical Center and Phelps County Regional Medical Center. A steady stream of promotions followed Moss’ work and the projects grew larger in scope as he delivered more and more complicated efforts. Today he serves as the onsite project director for the largest construction project in the history of Washington University in St. Louis. The $278-million project encompasses eight individual project components, including three new academic buildings, an expansion of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, a welcome center, a multi-use building with dining and offices, an underground parking garage and an expansive new park.
Jennifer Rowles Kalin
Growing government and commercial influence
38, Project Manager and Architect
R.E. Warner & Associates
Rowles Kalin helped grow R.E. Warner’s government and commercial practices, with her projects totaling 33% of the firm’s commercial and government market revenue in 2017. She is a graduate of the firm’s E5 Leadership Academy and is one of its next generation of leaders. Kalin looks for ways to improve established communication and project management procedures to help team members and stakeholders stay connected with projects to achieve the best outcomes. She writes about her findings in a company blog on R.E. Warner’s company intranet.
Kalin has grown R.E. Warner’s philanthropy initiatives by coordinating such fundraising efforts as Jeans for a Cause, Harvest for Hunger, Cleveland Mayor’s Annual Holiday Food Basket Giveaway, Toys for Tots and many more. These programs annually raise more than $11,000.
Project delivery solutions provider
36, Project Solutions Executive
Messer Construction Co.
A 17-year tenure at Messer has given Samuel a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of the company’s business, from installation-level work and field operations to estimation and new processes that can streamline Messer’s operations.
Samuel started at Messer in 2001 as part of a co-op program at the University of Cincinnati, where she earned her MBA while working full-time and raising her eldest son as a single parent. Over the course of her career, Samuel has overseen projects ranging in size from $2 million to $175 million.
Today, Samuel oversees the construction delivery of process and training for project cost management across all nine regional Messer offices. She’s an adjunct faculty member at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Engineering and Applied Science and tries to give back to young women engineers from her alma mater, Messer and the entire Cincinnati community.
Samuel is a board member of Tuskegee University’s Construction Science Industry Advisory Board, Cornerstone Renter Equity and the ACE Mentor Cincinnati Chapter.
“The involvement with ACE and Tuskegee allow me to focus on ... helping our youth [pursue] promising and financially rewarding careers,” she says. “As a woman, I can share my personal experiences with young girls that showcase we can be successful in an industry that was once dominated by men. The involvement with Cornerstone is even more personal, in that I was once in the shoes of many of their clients. They provide an opportunity for the once impoverished to flourish through providing sustainable housing.”
“Being a young single parent going through college, my story is one of resilience and chance that has afforded my family the opportunity to give back in ways that I never imagined possible.”
—GLORIA SAMUEL, 36, Project Solutions Executive, Messer Construction Co.
Energy innovator grows Chicago group
38, Regional Global Practice Manager (Energy), Principal
Burns & McDonnell
As leader of Burns & McDonnell’s regional energy group in Chicago, Scroggin is responsible for the regional team’s strategic development. The Chicago office’s work focuses on reciprocating engines, simple cycle power generating facilities, natural gas conversions, plant improvements and water/wastewater treatment. Scroggin was instrumental in implementing two of the nation’s three flue-gas desulfurization systems that use thermal evaporation. She grew her Chicago-based group by more than 30% in less than two years and relocated it from suburban Downers Grove to downtown. Now the firm’s second-largest regional energy group, it is expected to grow 20% to 30% during each of the next five years.
Among her notable projects is the Iatan 2 Generation Station in Weston, Mo., a coal-fired plant that her team transformed into a zero liquid discharge site. The process minimized wastewater production through evaporation, then spread the remaining concentrate onto fly ash for dust control. The simple-yet-effective —and relatively low-cost—process was among several that contributed to Iatan 2 winning several plant engineering awards.
The go-to guy for pipeline projects
36, Site Construction Manager
Georgia Tech grad Segert specializes in pipeline and compression industry projects and is advancing into senior management roles. After joining Fluor in 2015, he took on a leading role on a major pipeline project, overseeing 256 miles of pipeline and four compressor stations through multiple states. He continues to lead engineering and construction management activities on the project.
Segert began his career as a material coordinator on a 42-in. and 36-in.-dia, 274-mile pipeline project with four compressor stations for WillBros Construction. Just seven years after graduating from Georgia Tech, he began managing up to 800 field supervision, craft and management employees to deliver projects on time and on budget.
Segert provides ongoing mentoring to 14 different employees of various disciplines within Fluor.
An early riser, Segert strives to maintain a work-life balance by working efficiently and not getting bogged down by minor details that don’t add value to the objectives the team is trying to accomplish. He says, “It is all about planning out your day and focusing on high-value objectives.”
He uses his early morning hours to have time for himself, whether that is used for exercising, reading or just having a cup of coffee and reflecting on the tasks that he has planned for the day.
“It is all about planning out your day and focusing on high-value objectives.”
—MATTHEW SEGERT, 36, Site Construction Manager, Fluor
Grew up with his engineering firm
36, Vice President/COO
The WT Group
Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Triphahn, a native of Hoffman Estates, grew up with WT Group. He began with odd jobs at the offices of the company his grandfather, Donald R. Triphahn, founded nearly 50 years ago. He cleaned, archived, made prints and did everything that was needed while accompanying his grandfather and father, Scott R. Triphah, to work. After graduating from Illinois State University with a degree in accounting in 2005, Triphahn held multiple roles at the company, and his responsibilities increased after he earned his MBA in 2008. These roles included WT Group’s engineering business manager, project manager of civil engineering, vice president of corporate design and development group and, finally, vice president and chief operating officer.
Triphahn united the family company’s previously quasi-independent business divisions under one corporate organization and one brand: The WT Group. Not only did this enable the company to work better, become more efficient and more readily identify further business opportunities, it provided a better range of solutions for their clients.
“It’s not about the time and hours that I put in. It is all about the team that I surround myself with—people who I learn from every day and who have mutual respect for each other.”
—TROY TRIPHAHN, 36, Vice President/COO, The WT Group
Energy transmission pioneer and emerging technologies innovator
39, General Manager, Business & Technology Solutions
Burns & McDonnell
Underwood distinguished himself in Burns & McDonnell’s business and technology services group (BTS) on energy transmission projects and rose to manager of the transmission development group. His ability to find creative means and methods saw him transition to Burns & McDonnell’s competitive solutions group.
Under his leadership, Burns & McDonnell joined Energy Impact Partners, a private equity firm that invests in emerging technologies in the energy industry. Members include more than a dozen leading utilities that jointly spend more than $20 billion a year on new technologies. In September, Underwood returned to lead BTS as general manager. His team of 180 professionals provides high-value consulting services, developing innovative solutions by leveraging emerging technologies. Underwood also started Burns & McDonnell Ignite, an internal innovation program that encourages engineers, architects and planners to turn their ideas into business plans. Ignite entrepreneurs access research resources, senior management and experts from the startup community to follow an actual product-development path that transforms ideas into actionable and investment-worthy businesses. A year after its inception, Ignite has generated material market traction in the electric vehicle infrastructure market and several other opportunities are advancing through an incubation portfolio.
Utility clients are starting to roll out innovation programs based on Underwood’s leadership and promotion of Ignite.