ENR Southwest is pleased to profile this year’s class of Top Young Professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction community. The 20 honorees faced stiff competition, with nearly 40 total applicants.

The nominees were evaluated on four primary criteria: professional achievement, involvement with the larger construction community, contributions to the Southwest’s built environment and service to their respective communities.

The work experience of candidates continued to impress our judges. James Hatch, vice president preconstruction, Kovach Building Enclosures, has helped to triple the firm’s revenues since 2011. Ashley Hoffman, business development manager, Layton Construction Co., was integral to the company’s nearly doubling of its regional revenue since she joined the firm in 2016.

Other candidates have enriched their communities. Srinidhi Iyengar, staff electrical engineer, Burns & McDonnell, converted math and science textbooks to braille to help develop a braille lab for visually impaired students while attending Arizona State University. Nate Jacobs, director of project development, McCarthy Building Cos., facilitated the design, permitting and construction of a permanent memorial for those killed in the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Chris Grant, superintendent, JE Dunn Construction, helped children who were patients at Ryan House, an organization that provides care for children and their families as they navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys. He helped to gather toys and stuffed animals for the children while he was working on a project adjacent to the facility.

Special thanks to our judges: Pat Edwards, vice president and general manager, Burns & McDonnell, Phoenix, and Craig Randock, design studio leader, DLR Group. Judges recused themselves in situations where there might be a conflict of interest. Their dedication to this endeavor was essential to its success.

Related Link
ENR Southwest’s 2018 Top Young Professionals


Dinesh AllamDinesh Allam
Innovative skills win praise
26, Project Engineer
Sundt Construction
Tempe, Ariz.

Allam’s recent duties at Sundt involve preconstruction and managing a $17-million concrete element on a design-build project in San Diego.

He leads efforts to automate the major preconstruction processes by standardizing cost codes and creating automated tools to convert 3D models into estimates and later into budgets. Allam’s work resulted in significant time savings that also won him the company’s annual award for continuous improvement.

He first worked as an intern with various design and construction firms on civil projects before earning a master’s degree in construction engineering from Arizona State University. 

He joined Sundt in 2016 as an estimator. He was then named as a project engineer for operations, creating tools to track manpower and safety metrics.

Allam’s colleagues praise him for his collaborative attitude, for his work in identifying improvements in the survey/layout process and for applying new technologies such as 4D scheduling. He is now developing cost management dashboards with the company’s project management group. He is also Microsoft certified in data analytics using Power BI and currently leading some business intelligence efforts within the company.

Allam is an American Concrete Institute committee member and is a voting member in the ACI 131 committee that  helps define BIM standards for concrete. He is also involved with the Architecture, Construction and Engineering Mentor Program of America. Every spring, Allam teaches both undergraduate and graduate level courses at ASU as a guest speaker.

On top of his other commitments, Allam is also pursuing his executive master’s in business administration from the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky.

Garren EcholsGarren Echols
Life experience shapes career
38, Project Executive
Sundt Construction
Tempe, Ariz.

Echols started his career early, working for his father’s construction company 22 years ago. After serving as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, he founded and operated two small construction companies.

He spent eight years with 3D/International, which was acquired by Parsons in 2006. That position sent him to nine countries for such projects as a liquid natural gas plant in Soyo, Angola. Other international work included billion-dollar master plan programs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, environmental remediation and energy projects in Africa, industrial/demilitarization projects in Russia, the world’s largest desalination plant in Iraq and mining projects in Canada.

Among the projects completed during Echols’ tenure with Sundt are the Union Apartments in Tempe, the Maricopa County Downtown Court Tower in Phoenix, Wild Horse Pass Casino and Hotel in Chandler, Ariz., and the Sheraton Hotel in Phoenix.

Echols serves as a member of Sundt’s ethics committee, the mission of which is to spur continuous improvement of ethics and compliance as well as provide leadership for ethics-focused special projects.

He obtained his certified professional estimator certification from the American Society of Professional Estimators and is also active with the Arizona Builders Alliance.

Echols belongs to Tempe Diablos, a local charitable organization focused on economic enhancement, education and community service.

As a child, Echols was adopted after spending four years in the foster care system. That experience provided him with a firsthand perspective of how important people’s efforts to make a difference can be. He is co-founder of G2 Expeditions Climb for Kids, a nonprofit organization that raises money for foster children as Echols endeavors to climb the highest mountains on seven continents.

Lindsey FeolaLindsey Feola
Education specialist inspires passionate design
38, Associate

Feola is an education project specialist and has been a licensed architect for six years and a LEED accredited professional for nine years. Her work includes projects for Columbia College in Chicago, The University of Kansas, University of California at Berkeley, the University of San Diego and GateWay Community College, Phoenix.

Colleagues say Feola’s work is typified by a sensitivity to community and student needs.

“She asks all the right questions to keep the team accountable and in alignment,” says Lindsey Schultz, office leader and structural engineer at Meyer Borgman Johnson. “She has spent time above and beyond gathering information and getting it organized so that all team members may benefit from her efforts.”

Beyond project work, Feola has consistently been involved in community and research initiatives as well as mentoring. She served a semester as a mentor for the University of Kansas co-op student project in 2015, and two of her former students now work for Gensler offices. She has also served as a juror for midterm and final reviews for design and architecture students at Columbia College, Chicago, and Arizona State University.

Her career also includes community-driven work such as projects for the Chicago Loop Alliance, The Girl Scouts headquarters in New York City, the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago and Workday headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif.

“Beyond supporting research-driven design, Lindsey’s extroverted process created a community of passionate designers, architects and strategists within our studio,” says Ashley Marsh, senior architect, MASS Design Group.

To broaden her perspective, she participated in the Archeworks Chicago Expander Workshop, a 2-month program where participants analyze and research regional economic and cultural influencers.


“[Lindsey Feola] asks all the right questions to keep the team accountable and in alignment.”
– Lindsey Schultz, Office Leader and Structural Engineer, Meyer Borgman Johnson



Chase GibbsChase Gibbs
Love of construction started early
33, Senior Project Manager
Chandler, Ariz.


In his 10-year tenure with Mortenson, Gibbs is credited with being a trusted resource to fellow team members.

He has contributed to several notable projects, including the Northern Arizona University Field House renovation and NAU Science and Health Building in Flagstaff, Ariz., as well as the Hampton Inn and Suites in downtown Phoenix.

Chase currently serves as the day-to-day contact for the Milwaukee Brewers’ renovation in Maryvale, Ariz., and for a new indoor sports center at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has played a key role in the successful design phase and guaranteed maximum price approval process on both projects, which are set to open in early 2019.

Gibbs’ interest in construction has deep roots: As a child, he spent time at his father’s excavation company, riding in a dump truck and running the loader to help meet deadlines. He earned a construction management degree from Arizona State University in 2008.

“Chase had a humbling, quiet competence 10 years ago when we sat across the table interviewing him to join the team,” says Ron Wilson, design phase executive at Mortenson. “To this day, he still portrays this important and confident trait that allows leadership at Mortenson to trust him on his projects. It is an essential personality to building our Mortenson culture.”

Gibbs also gives back to the community, serving as an active donor through Mortenson’s United Way campaign for five years and devoting time to Feed My Starving Children and St. Mary’s Food Bank.


“Chase [Gibbs] had a humbling, quiet competence 10 years ago when we sat across the table interviewing him to join the team.”
– Ron Wilson, Design Phase Executive, Mortenson



Chris GrantChris Grant
Leadership skills win the respect of colleagues
36, Superintendent
JE Dunn Construction
Tempe, Ariz.


Now in his ninth year as a superintendent, Grant’s numerous duties include overseeing projects, coordinating trade partners and labor forces, implementing a “no-incident” safety culture and controlling quality.

After studying construction management at Southwest Texas State and the University of Texas at El Paso, Grant worked on projects across the nation, including in Miami and Portland, Ore., before settling in Phoenix in 2011. He is currently working on a parking garage expansion at Dignity Health’s Phoenix campus. The project site is adjacent to Ryan House, an organization that provides care for children and their families as they navigate life-limiting or end-of-life journeys. In order to help make the construction activity a fun experience for the kids, he personally donated stuffed animals, hardhats and other kid-friendly items.

Other key projects include the ASU Student Pavilion in Tempe, the ASPC Lewis Facility expansion in Buckeye, Ariz., Tucson Medical Women’s Center, Mountain Vista Medical Center, West Valley Medical Center Hospital and the Robertson Life Sciences Building and Skourtes Tower in Portland, Ore.

When Grant was 12 years old, a boating accident took the life of his father, who was also a construction superintendent. The event taught Grant that every day counts, and he shows it through enjoying life to the fullest and working hard. He also shows an unbreakable commitment to job safety, colleagues say.

Grant credits his mother, who raised two sons on her own, for serving as a strong role model.

JE Dunn has recognized Grant as Quality Supervisor of the Year and Safety Supervisor of the Year.

Along with mentoring young professionals, Grant devotes time to organizations including the American Heart Association, Ryan House, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and United Way Valley of the Sun.

James HatchJames Hatch
Sales have tripled since his hiring
35, Vice President of Preconstruction
Kovach Building Enclosures
Chandler, Ariz.

A native of Arizona, Hatch graduated from both Camelback High School in Phoenix and Arizona State University. After short stints as a real estate broker and then working for a national glazing contractor, he was hired as sales and preconstruction manager at Kovach Building Enclosures in 2011. Since joining the company, the firm has tripled sales and is considered one of the top 20 largest glaziers in the nation. The company was ranked No. 16 in the category in the 2018 ENR Top 600 Specialty Contractors ranking.

Hatch currently manages a team of more than 20 people as well as the company’s estimating, marketing, contract and business development activities. He also guides internal development.

Outside of the company, he volunteers at ASU as a guest lecturer and trains architects on technical developments relating to the facade industry via American Institute of Architects presentations. He recently completed a six-month leadership coaching program with award-winning leadership development author Mike Hawkins. Hatch is a father of four children, a triathlete and a Boy Scout Troop leader and is also a member of the American Society of Professional Engineers and NAIOP.

Notable projects he has worked on  include the Sacramento Kings Arena in California, ASU’s Law School in Phoenix, Intel’s Fab 42/Annex in Chandler, Ariz., Hayden Ferry Phase 3 in Tempe, Ariz., and State Farm’s Regional Headquarters at Marina Heights in Tempe, Ariz.

Robert HimmelbergerRobert Himmelberger
Professionalism, acumen define legacy architect
38, Associate

As the son of an architect, Himmelberger first found a love of design when he was a child drawing buildings while sitting at his father’s desk.

He graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in architecture in 2002. After receiving his undergraduate degree, he attended Columbia University’s summer studio exchange and received a master’s degree from Arizona State University in 2004.

He worked at Leo A Daly for six years before joining Gensler in 2010.

As an advocate for professional licensure and continuing education, Himmelberger has helped colleagues prepare for their exams, and due to his technical knowledge, he is a design realization co-leader in Gensler’s Phoenix office. In this role, he works with the technical staff to continually improve the quality and efficiency of project delivery systems in order to promote design excellence throughout the studio. He has also served as the office REVIT leader, allowing him to grow the office’s collective competence in REVIT.

“He shows a great deal of professionalism, attention to detail and function as well as great follow-through on execution of details both in drawings as well as in the field,” says Melissa Holm, creative director at Steelcase Event Experiences. “In my past position at Gensler, when tasked with building a team to work on a new project, Robert was always one team member that was at the top of my mind to onboard onto the project team.”


“[Robert Himmelberger] shows a great deal of professionalism, attention to detail and function as well as great follow-through on execution of details both in drawings as well as in the field.”
– Melissa Holm, Creative Director, Steelcase Event Experiences



Ashley HoffmanAshley Hoffman
Self-starter praised for attitude, skills
32, Business Development Manager
Layton Construction Co.


Since joining Layton Construction in 2016, Hoffman has developed acquisition processes and procedures to drive greater revenue. As a result, the firm has reported that revenue climbed from about $100 million in 2016 to more than $200 million in 2017. Hoffman’s knowledge of workplace environments and procurement of furniture, fixtures and equipment has helped to expand Layton’s services and enhance its sales gains.

She also has developed processes and strategies for new client acquisition based on improved planning and tracking, and she co-leads a monthly training program for young project engineers that encourages innovation.

The 2009 Arizona State University graduate started her career in business services sales, followed by six years with Phoenix-based Corporate Interior Systems.

In 2016, NAIOP named Hoffman Developing Leader of the Year, the group’s top honor for professionals under the age of 35.

“Ashley is a self-starter and consummate professional whose business results alone warrant selection into this prestigious group,” says Bryan Packer, public relations manager, Layton Construction Co.

Her professional memberships include AZ Commercial Real Estate Women, BDC Women in Construction + Design and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Hoffman donates her time to the Nature Conservancy and volunteers at events for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital and St. Vincent de Paul. She also serves as the Arizona chairwoman of Layton’s 5 for the Fight program, which raises money to fight cancer.


“Ashley [Hoffman] is a self-starter and consummate professional whose business results alone warrant selection into this prestigious group.”
– Bryan Packer, Public Relations Manager, Layton Construction Co.



Srinidhi IyengarSrinidhi Iyengar
Solar power expert translated textbooks to braille in college
31, Staff Electrical Engineer
Burns & McDonnell


An electrical engineer in the substation department for Burns & McDonnell’s transmission and distribution group, Iyengar is responsible for the protection and design of systems for solar energy facilities. He develops sustainable-power solutions in partnership with utilities, developers and independent power producers.

Iyengar’s notable projects include the 579-MW Solar Star PV Power Plant in Rosamond, Calif.; the 550-MW Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and the 110-MW Pima Solar Farm in Mexico. He has overseen the commissioning and support of more than 2 gigawatts of solar resources.

He also volunteers for several of the firm’s community initiatives. In 2018, he and fellow employee-owners in the Phoenix office supported local organizations that included the American Cancer Society, Arizonans for Children, Arizona Science Center and St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance. His team volunteered more than 70 hours and donated $7,500, along with hundreds of basic household items and toys, to Save the Family Foundation in Arizona.

He received his master’s degree in power and energy systems from Arizona State University, where he graduated summa cum laude. While at ASU, he was recognized for translating math and science textbooks to braille while helping to develop a braille lab for visually impaired students.

Drew JacksonDrew Jackson
Management skills win praise

38, Vice President of Operations, Water Division
McCarthy Building Cos.

Jackson oversees McCarthy Building Cos.’ water operations, including large water/wastewater projects nationally.

He works to meet clients’ needs and expectations while staying within timelines and budget frames. Those responsibilities also entail prioritizing safety and conflict resolution.       

Colleagues praise Jackson for finding good solutions and possessing a unique ability to learn new processes and technologies. He manages field crews, superintendents, engineers, schedulers and design teams in traditional bid-build contracts as well as for alternative and design-build procurement models.

Justin Kelton, president of McCarthy’s Southwest division, lauds Jackson for his business acumen, leadership qualities, high moral character and solutions-oriented attitude, adding that Jackson’s experience carries over to estimating, project cost management, analytics/data and other duties.

His professional activities include work on the steering committee for McCarthy’s Partnership for Women, which supports recruitment, development and retention of women in the industry.

In 2006, Jackson earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University. After a decade in the field—in six states, including California and Texas—Jackson joined McCarthy in May 2015, first as business development and preconstruction leader for the firm’s Denver office.

Jackson takes time to give back to his community. As a member of McCarthy Heart Hats, his company’s volunteer group, he has built homes for Habitat for Humanity as well as an urban farm for St. Vincent de Paul.

The busy father also regularly participates in Support Sky Harbor Coalition’s quarterly neighborhood cleanup efforts and the Dad’s Club at Madison Traditional Academy.

Nathaniel JacobsNathaniel Jacobs
Facilitated a memorial for October 2017 Las Vegas shooting
33, Director of Project Development
McCarthy Building Cos.
Henderson, Nev.

Jacobs started with McCarthy Building Cos. after graduating from Montana State University in 2008, then switched his path from engineering to project management in 2009. Since that time, he has worked on more than $500 million of high-profile and high-impact projects for the company, including the early civil-engineering site package for McCarran International Airport’s Terminal 3, Clark County Water Reclamation District’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Sky Harbor Terminal 4 concourse.

Currently, he serves as the firm’s director of project development and manages strategic client relationships and market visibility in Nevada for both public and private markets.

He is a LEED Accredited Professional and was named the Nevada Contractor Association’s 2017 member of the year.

A key player in McCarthy Building Cos.’ Heart Hat community program, Jacobs lends his insight, experience and expertise to several organizations.

Following the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas, the community constructed a makeshift healing garden and remembrance wall to honor the victims. For the one-year anniversary, Get Outdoors Nevada sought to replace the temporary wall with a permanent memorial. Jacobs facilitated the design, permitting and construction of the project.

Additionally, he participates in the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce development forums for transportation infrastructure and economic development and is an active member of both NAIOP and the Henderson Chamber of Commerce.

Kelly KaysonephethKelly Kaysonepheth
Leader supports mentoring, connections
34, Marketing Director
AZTEC Engineering Group

Kaysonepheth’s approach to leadership and mentoring has had a big impact on many projects and people in the Southwest. A colleague from her first job at Louis Berger Group Inc. says she exhibited top-level skills from the start. “She set an excellent example as a confident, well-spoken marketing professional in an otherwise male-dominated (and often intimidating) industry. I so appreciated Kelly’s compassion and mentorship, and I still aspire to a similar sense of poise and professional leadership,” says Kristy Cerullo, marketing and proposal manager at First Environmental.

After moving to Arizona, Kaysonepheth joined HDR Inc. in 2010 as a senior marketing coordinator, where she built connections through active participation in the American Public Works Association and the WTS Phoenix chapter, where she currently serves as president.

After moving to AZTEC Engineering Group in 2016, she created a structured marketing program by implementing capture planning and a more formalized Go/No-Go system of review to help the company grow outside Arizona. She helped achieve $30 million in bookings in fiscal year 2018 and launched training to coach AZTEC project managers on marketing processes and best practices.

“This looks to be the first time in our company’s history that we have someone who has the ability to guide the process for technical staff, mentor marketing professionals, is well-connected in the professional community and has strong writing skills and an eye for graphics,” says Karim Dada, senior vice president, AZTEC Engineering Group Inc.


“I so appreciated Kelly [Kaysonepheth’s] compassion and mentorship, and I still aspire to a similar sense of poise and professional leadership.”
– Kristy Cerullo, Marketing and Proposal Manager, First Environmental



Colleen KuceraColleen Kucera
Commitment goes beyond her job
36, Director of Marketing
Ryan Cos.


Kucera has won accolades for having a positive impact on the industry, career development, professional organizations, community service and company culture.

According to Molly Ryan Carson, vice president at Ryan Cos., Kucera’s “dedication to creating an even stronger Ryan brand is obvious in everything she does.”

As part of a regional leadership team, she is responsible for marketing efforts of the Phoenix and Seattle offices.

Kucera’s duties include proposal and interview preparation for client pursuits, public relations, national strategic marketing efforts, focusing on brand recognition, business planning, community engagement, project reporting, branding, advertising, budgeting and leading community service efforts.

She played a role in major projects for Farmers Insurance and Kaiser Permanente as well as for the Marina Heights project, the largest office development in Arizona’s history, and for a 1-million-sq-ft, mixed-use development in Kirkland, Wash.

In 2003, Kucera earned her bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Arizona State University. Seven years later, she became an official Certified Professional Services Marketer.

Kucera’s dedication to her career has garnered numerous awards, including one from the Society for Marketing Professional Services Arizona.

As a founding member of Ryan’s Southwest Community Outreach Group, Kucera’s public service commitments are strong, especially for organizations that help children in need and those that strive to cure cancer and rare diseases.

She and her own kids can be found dropping off gifts for young hospital patients or taking part in Pat’s Run, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and Kids 4 Causes.

Cherilyn McCabeCherilyn McCabe
Bringing life experience to an important role
37, Estimator
Chandler, Ariz.

A Mortenson employee since 2016, McCabe gathers, calculates and compiles data for use in conceptual/bid proposal estimates, and then prepares them.

She also maintains current information on prices from suppliers and contractors through direct contact and written materials.

During her professional career, McCabe has played a role in more than $1 billion worth of project work. A few of her notable achievements include Hampton Inn & Suites in Phoenix, Great Wolf Lodge Arizona in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Salt River Project administration building in Tempe, Ariz.

McCabe is also active in business development. A Native American, she has established mutually beneficial, trust-based relationships with tribal communities in Washington, California, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

McCabe earned her bachelor’s degree in construction management from Northern Arizona University and followed that up with master’s degree in integrated design and construction.

She’s the author of two papers, “Radiant Assemblies for Low Income Housing” and “Restoring Foley: Adapting the Past for a Sustainable Future,” with the latter winning an award from Auburn University.

When not spending time with her family or animal companions, McCabe gives back by volunteering for more than 17 organizations. Her desire to help others has personal roots: Her family was relocated from their reservation, causing hardships. McCabe is a member of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, HOPE worldwide, Mortenson’s Building Inclusion and Diversity Committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Arizona. She also mentors interns and team members.

“The one thing that stands out the most to me is how personally invested Cherilyn is,” says Dale Jensen Sr., design phase manager at Mortenson. “She is not only invested in her work with Mortenson, her co-workers and promoting trade partner relationships, but she is also equally invested in her hometown community in Coconino County and her adopted community of the Greater Phoenix area through volunteerism.”


“The one thing that stands out the most to me is how personally invested Cherilyn [McCabe] is.”
– Dale Jensen Sr., Design Phase Manager, Mortenson



Sean E. RobinsonSean E. Robinson
Las Vegas-educated engineer is creating the city’s future infrastructure

31, Project Engineer
City of Las Vegas Public Works
Las Vegas


A graduate of Green Valley High School in Las Vegas and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Robinson has worked on more than 70 private land-development projects in the gaming industry during his professional career.

Before joining the city of Las Vegas in May 2017, he spent more than six years at Kimley-Horn and Associates in Las Vegas. Notable projects he has worked on include the British Petroleum Mohave County Wind Project, the 22-acre Siegfried and Roy Park at McCarran International Airport and a 15-acre CARMAX Superstore.

Robinson’s current responsibilities include developing standard policies and designs for LED lighting for the city of Las Vegas and developing procedures to maintain the city’s asset management plan for transportation-related assets over the next 10 years. He also is responsible for capital-improvement technical design review on transportation projects. He has managed many high-profile projects, including the Fremont Street Experience and signal and intelligent transportation systems improvements.

His involvement with the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Professional Engineers includes aiding the professional and technical development of young engineers in Southern Nevada.

Additionally, he has presented educational sessions at the ASCE Structural Engineering Institute Structure Congress on the tensile strength of adhesive anchors and has written articles for ASCE and the American Concrete Institute.

Tyler SmithTyler Smith
Conscientious worker finds time for community
30, Senior Project Manager
Ryan Cos.

A 2009 graduate of Arizona State University, Smith has worked on major projects for Ryan Cos. since joining the firm in 2014. His first major assignment was Building 405 of the 2-million-sq-ft development at Marina Heights in Tempe, Ariz. The building is about 200,000 sq ft and features office space, a restaurant, an HonorHealth clinic and a 300-person auditorium.

After moving to the Seattle area for three years to work in varied roles for the company’s 1-million-sq-ft Kirkland Urban in Kirkland, Wash., he returned to Phoenix. He recently started construction for Phase 2 of the Farmers Insurance regional headquarters in Phoenix and is involved with preconstruction for a Class A, six-story, 162,000-sq-ft multi-tenant office building as part of the Novus Innovation Corridor project in Tempe, Ariz.

“I have always found [him] to be a very conscientious worker and a highly productive team member. He has a strong understanding of both building and BIM systems and is a solid team leader and mentor for less experienced staff,” says Buck Yee, principal at DAVIS.

Smith’s commitment to community service includes donating his time to Make-A-Wish Arizona, PBS, Back Country Hunters and Anglers and the PKD Foundation.


“[Tyler Smith] has a strong understanding of both building and BIM systems and is a solid team leader and mentor for less experienced staff.”
– Buck Yee, Principal, DAVIS



Julia StatenJulia Staten
Young mentor also guides company’s hiring
33, Project Manager
Hensel Phelps


Currently a project manager, Staten began her career 11 years ago with Hensel Phelps and since that time has worked on projects with a combined worth of more than $1 billion. Starting with the company as a field engineer, she has since been promoted four times. She holds both AGC Certificate of Management - Lean Construction and Design-Build Institute of America accreditations.

Her passion for the construction includes sharing information about industry career opportunities, regularly speaking at middle schools, high schools and youth organizations. At the university level, she has been involved with the construction management and engineering programs at Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University.

She has recently taken the lead on Hensel Phelps’ recruiting and internship program for the firm’s West region and is responsible for hiring nearly 60 new employees in 2018.

She has been an executive board member for the Young Builders Council of the Arizona Builders Alliance.

Notable projects include the Marine Base North Expansion near Twentynine Palms, Calif., the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson and the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport SkyTrain Stage 1. She is currently a project manager on SkyTrain Stage 2. She was also an integral member of the team for the University of Arizona Cancer Center on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix, which won several regional and national awards.

Mitch TranstrumMitch Transtrum
Opportunity knocks for safety manager
35, Safety Manager

The son of an electrical contractor, Transtrum spent summers working on construction sites. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management from Brigham Young University in 2007, however, he turned to the commercial real estate industry before the recession pushed him back to school. He received a master’s degree in occupational and environmental health and safety from the University of Utah in 2011.

He is lauded for a commitment to finding new solutions for complex safety issues.

“[He] consistently challenges the status quo, helping to ensure that our team members are spending time on processes that add increasing value,” says Ian Small, sports and entertainment group safety director at Mortenson. “If he finds we are just going through the motions, he works to identify opportunities to increase the value or to eliminate waste in the process.”

 In his current role as a safety manager, Transtrum is responsible for planning, developing, coordinating and administering the safety and health program for all of the company’s Arizona projects. Currently, he is on site at the University of Arizona Indoor Sports Center in Tucson and Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale, Ariz. He also acts as a liaison with federal, state, local and insurance representatives on all safety-related issues as well as safety training, inspections and accident investigations.

He is an OSHA authorized construction outreach director, a certified mine safety and health administration instructor and a member of the American Society of Safety Professionals.

Out of the office, Transtrum teaches Sunday school and is father to four children.


“[Mitch Transtrum] consistently challenges the status quo, helping to ensure that our team members are spending time on processes that add increasing value.”
– Ian Small, Sports and Entertainment Group Safety Director, Mortenson



Diana VasquezDiana Vasquez
Educational skills boost strong career
34, Senior Associate/Designer


Vasquez’s project experience incorporates branding, interiors and retail, master planning for campuses and mixed-used and urban planning.

A Gensler Phoenix employee since 2017, Vasquez uses digital design tools and her own storytelling skills to turn complex plans into streamlined design solutions. She spent five years with Gensler in the Boston office as a design, research and technology leader.

Her award-winning buildings include Partners HealthCare Administrative Campus in Boston; General Electric Innovation Point Headquarters, Boston; MathWorks Lakeside Campus in Natick, Mass.; and an office and lab in Tucson.

Elizabeth Haight, a division vice president at Mathworks, says Vasquez “created a space that is spacious, balanced and overall stunning in finish, lighting, acoustics and function.”

A native Colombian, she graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Pontifical Xavierian University in Bogota. She then began working for firms in the Northeastern U.S. while attending the Parsons School of Design in New York City, earning certification in graphic design. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in toy design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, graduating magna cum laude and receiving the Dean’s Award.

She has led projects focused on the relationship of technology with design and how driverless cars will affect the future of real estate. She is working with the Gensler Research Institute, teams across the globe and collaborators from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to deliver innovative solutions to these questions.

“Where research is concerned, we at MIT depend upon rare individuals, like Vasquez, who can connect the theoretical world of academia to the concrete realities of policy and implementation,” says Ira Winder, an instructor of urban science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In keeping with her passion for developing cities of the future, Vasquez has participated in Phoenix Community Alliance discussions on mobility and led a workshop for Phoenix’s 2017 Urban Design week. She is also a member of the Urban Land Institute’s Southwest Chapter.


“We at MIT depend upon rare individuals like [Diana] Vasquez who can connect the theoretical world of academia to the concrete realities of policy and implementation.”
– Ira Winder, Faculty of Urban Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Cole WeaverCole Weaver
Leader tackles tough project
36, Project Manager
Hensel Phelps


Weaver’s career with Hensel Phelps started in 2007 after graduating from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering.

Over the past 11 years he has played an important role in $748 million worth of projects in the Southwest. His portfolio includes health care, aviation, higher education, mass infrastructure and municipal government.

Weaver guides projects through design, construction and commissioned phases while also handling coordination and communication. His co-workers praise him for providing necessary leadership and vision to make sure all budget and quality goals are met. He is also in charge of staff growth, training and development.

While working on the Banner University Medical Center Outpatient facility in Tucson, Weaver’s skills and integrated team approach helped Hensel overcome budget challenges during the design phase. The project was finished on schedule without impacting quality or safety practices.

Other project achievements include the University of Arizona Cancer Center Project in Phoenix, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Sky Train Phase 1, University of Arizona’s McClelland Park in Tucson, the Twentynine Palms, Calif., North Mainside Expansion and Los Alamos Airport Basin Center in New Mexico.

For the past two years, Weaver led the recruiting and internship program for Hensel Phelps’ Western district. In this role, he networked with schools to promote the construction industry through project tours and training sessions.

In 2018, he was a member of the Arizona Builders Alliance’s Leadership Development Forum, a year-long intensive class designed to develop management and leadership skills as well as giving back through community service projects. Weaver has led donation drives to benefit Gospel Rescue Mission, Villa Maria Nursing Home, Emerge, Liberty Elementary School, Santa Rosa and Ronald McDonald House, where he also helped build a new storage facility.