Now in its ninth year, ENR Southeast’s annual Top Young Professionals program—previously known as Top 20 Under 40—continues to highlight the region’s up-and-coming industry leaders. And this year’s class of high-achieving construction and design professionals is impressive.
Hailing from across the entire Southeast geographic area, the Top Young Professionals showcased here have a broad range of experience as well as interesting personal stories and backgrounds. There’s a globe-trotting project manager and a company executive who was forced to step up in the face of a corporate crisis. A project leader and lean advocate who “stumbled” into construction after studying landscape architecture on a lark. A trenchless technology expert who traveled the world and then led the largest project of its kind back in North America.
As they do year in and year out, each of this year’s honorees leaves a lasting impression.
The contest—which is conducted by each of ENR’s regional publications—seeks to recognize young professionals who stand out in their construction and design careers by exhibiting qualities such as leadership, career progress, community involvement and creating landmark projects.
This year, ENR Southeast was honored to enlist the services of three outstanding industry professionals as our judges. Two of our panelists repeated their roles as judges from a year ago: Gary Kreisler, director of development with Clancy & Theys Construction Co., Orlando, and Cheryl Maze, principal and director of marketing for TLC Engineering for Architecture, Orlando. Also serving as a judge this year was a Top Young Professional honoree from a year ago: Saurabh Bhattacharya, a vice president with Parsons in Peachtree Corners, Ga.
Once all of this year’s regional winners are announced, a second round of judging will proceed in order to determine the top candidates from all of the current regional honorees. From this national pool of up-and-coming leaders, a new set of judges will determine the 2019 class of Top 20 Under 40, our moniker for the national honorees.
As we always do, ENR will announce the 2019 Top 20 Under 40 class on ENR.com. Good luck to all of the Top Young Pros vying for this honor!
Edward “Alan” Ambler
Utilities engineer gains national attention
Lake Mary, Fla.
After starting out performing drainage design and utility coordination work, Edward “Alan” Ambler’s career soon took him farther afield. In the Middle East, he worked on the Maritime City and World Islands projects in Dubai and served as the city of Ketchikan’s onsite construction inspection representative for two $30-million cruise ship berth projects. Before founding his own company, AM Trenchless, three years ago, Ambler worked as the city of Casselberry, Fla.’s utility manager and served as engineer of record and project manager for the Casselberry Water Quality Improvement Project, the largest asbestos cement pipe-bursting project in North America. As a result, in 2016, the White House invited Ambler to participate in a water summit.
Globe-trotting project manager
37, Project manager
In his nearly 14-year career with Fluor, Kevin Anderson has seen much of the globe. In his first assignment, Anderson served as lead cost engineer in support of hurricane relief in Baton Rouge, where the contractor delivered housing for 160,000 displaced residents. He has also served as cost engineer for Fluor’s Haiti Embassy project and supported the Rio Tinto Iron Ore project in the United Kingdom. He has also served as area project manager for the Simandou project in Guinea, which was Africa’s largest-ever integrated iron ore mine and infrastructure project. Anderson has provided internal company leadership as well. In 2016, Fluor named Anderson as LEAN Integrated Project Delivery champion for the contractor’s life sciences and advanced manufacturing business line.
John “Mac” Caddell
Alabama builder holds up the family name
39, Executive vice president
Caddell Construction Co.
Though Caddell Construction is no longer family owned, John “Mac” Caddell represents the third generation from his family to work for the contractor. Rising from his initial role as an intern to his current position as executive vice president, Caddell has supported the general contractor in maintaining an $11-billion project portfolio. Caddell has led an expansion of the firm into new geographic areas and new market sectors. Prior to his EVP role, Caddell helped deliver award-winning projects at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee and at Fort Benning, Ga. Currently, he chairs the Associated General Contractor’s Naval Facilities Engineering Command Committee.
Lean advocate “stumbled” into construction
34, Senior project manager
JE Dunn Construction Co.
Bryan Ferris considers himself lucky for having “stumbled” into his 13-year career in construction. The stumble started in his senior year of high school, when he thought he was signing up for an easy course—an elective in landscape architecture. Before long, the young man was “in love” with design and construction and “the tangible aspect of projects that’ll be in public view for years,” he says. Managing projects for JE Dunn, Ferris eventually found himself managing a project utilizing lean principles. Though the project finished ahead of schedule and under budget, he later told a conference audience that the experience had been “absolutely horrible.” Still, Ferris saw plenty of good potential with the process, and now champions the lean delivery method, which he believes fosters continuous improvement and, importantly to him, respect for people. Says Ferris of his role in changing minds: “I would like to be known as the guy that took a chance to do things differently and changed the way relationships are viewed among construction project teams.”
Executive faced an early test
33, President & CEO
After first working for his father’s company while in high school, Chad Frampton joined Frampton Construction’s management team as a project manager at age 22. The timing of the young Frampton’s management appointment—just prior to the onset of both the Great Recession and his father’s early-onset-dementia—would create a major personal and business challenge. That was 12 years ago. After assuming an executive leadership role in 2010, Frampton has helped grow the firm’s gross revenues from about $8 million in 2007 to 2017’s roughly $67 million. In 2018, Frampton Construction ranked 267th on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies. Also passionate about helping others, Frampton was named the 2017 Lowcountry Man of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and raised more than $200,000 for the cause.
Engineer strives for influential leadership
37, Project manager, transportation
A graduate of a high-school engineering magnet program, Kristi Guilfoyle earned a civil engineering degree from the University of Virginia and eventually become assistant city traffic engineer for the city of Charlottesville. In 2005, she joined AECOM’s Washington, D.C., office as a civil/site designer, where she worked on projects at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. Now managing transportation projects from AECOM’s Raleigh office, Guilfoyle was selected in 2018 for the firm’s development program due to her “great potential to play an increasingly influential leadership role,” according to her nomination form. That leadership was on display shortly after Guilfoyle returned to work after having her first child and helped create the AEMOMS working mothers support group.
Leader has long list of accomplishments
39, Vice president and division manager
Brasfield & Gorrie
It’s hard to argue with Robby Hayes’ Top Young Pros nomination when it describes the vice president and division manager as a “key leader” at Brasfield & Gorrie. At the age of 33, Hayes advanced to his current role as the head of the corporate services division, where he oversees all business development, preconstruction and project operation functions for the $70-million business unit. He also serves as the market sector leader for the contractor’s entire commercial market sector, providing strategic direction to 12 regional offices. He’s also developed the company’s areas of expertise for such project types as churches and nonprofits; office, multifamily and tenant improvements; data centers; and health care. Additionally, he’s helped Brasfield & Gorrie develop its Jackson, Miss., office and was instrumental in enabling the company to develop a presence in the mission critical construction market.
Engineer leads highway practice
33, Engineering director - highways, North Carolina
Within just six years of graduating from Clemson University, Nikki Honeycutt was serving as engineering director for STV’s highway group in North Carolina. She has 11 years of experience overseeing vehicle-, pedestrian- and bicyclist-related projects throughout the state, including having served as roadway engineer of record for the widening and improvements to Interstate 485 in Charlotte, one of North Carolina’s busiest highways. As a consequence of managing a highway practice in one of the country’s fastest-growing regions, she has been leading design for several critical roadway initiatives aimed at alleviating traffic congestion. Currently, Honeycutt is the project manager for a Charlotte streetscape project related to the city’s light-rail line. Ed Jenkins, STV senior vice president, says of Honeycutt: “Nikki performs with a level of confidence, poise and professionalism well beyond her years of experience.”
Joshua B. Mauney
Safety consultant gets involved with industry groups
38, Founder & CEO
Paragon Safety Group
Josh Mauney’s start in the construction industry, at the age of 14, couldn’t have been more humble—cleaning out residential crawl spaces. After work experience with several general contractors and specialty subcontractors, Mauney founded Paragon Safety Group, a Raleigh-based provider of risk-management and loss-control services to more than 200 clients across North Carolina. The firm provides numerous safety-related services, including a digital safety management system. Mauney’s also earned recognition for his leadership. In 2017, the Carolinas AGC recognized Mauney as a Top Young Leader.
Builder develops massive portfolio
37, Vice president – commercial group
JE Dunn Construction
In slightly more than a decade with JE Dunn, 37-year-old Josh McConaughey has built an impressive project portfolio, helping shape Charlotte’s skyline in the process. Between 2009 and 2014, for instance, McConaughey oversaw an incredible 1,000 construction projects spread across all 50 states. He eventually worked on Charlotte’s downtown “Superblock” development, which included the 32-story 1 Bank of America Center. McConaughey’s relationship with the financial company led to JE Dunn’s program-management assignment for the bank’s nationwide expansion strategy.
Business leader holds patent for replacement ductile fuses
36, Regional global facilities manager
Burns & McDonnell
With more than a decade of wide-ranging experience, Nathan Newman has worn several hats for Burns & McDonnell, serving as a project manager, senior structural engineer and manager of the global facilities group for the Southeast. Earlier in his career with Burns & McDonnell, working as a structural engineer, Newman put his penchant for problem-solving to use. While working on a project dealing with ductility of anchor bolts embedded in concrete at the base of a steel structure, he and a co-worker invented a replacement ductile fuse, solving a code-mandated steel structural requirement. The fuse, a first of its kind, was awarded a U.S. patent in 2013. In 2017, Newman was promoted to lead the firm’s Southeast global facilities team in Atlanta.
Encourages young women to pursue STEM careers
37, Senior project manager
ATC Group Services LLC
Mothers of young children can face challenges in the engineering and construction industry, and Stephanie Pryor is no exception. For example, she says, “Finding time to study for my professional engineering license was a challenge. Each personal obstacle or studying distraction seemed to occur at crunch time.” Today, she holds a civil-engineering degree and her professional engineer’s license in Alabama and Mississippi. With ATC Group Services, an environmental consulting and engineering services firm, Pryor manages all of the company’s due diligence-related projects throughout Alabama. Additionally, reflecting her love of engineering, she volunteers with groups that encourage young women to pursue STEM-related careers.
Project leader excels at pursuits
39, Project director
Layton Construction Co.
After working for 12 years for Brasfield & Gorrie in various project-management roles, Brooks Rutledge joined Layton Construction to develop and grow the firm’s commercial presence in Nashville and the greater Southeast. In a multi-faceted role, Brooks not only leads the pursuit and development process, but also oversees projects operationally. He has excelled with project pursuits, resulting in roughly $570 million in project awards. “Since joining Layton Construction, Brooks has been nothing short of amazing,” says Randy Patterson, senior vice president.
Engineer leads firm’s civil group
37, Senior engineering manager
GAI Consultants Inc.
In her 12 years with GAI Consultants, Aimee Shields rose from engineer-in-training to professional engineer and project manager for numerous high-profile Central Florida projects, including the Creative Village, the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center and the Health Central Cancer Center. Now a senior engineering manager and leader of the firm’s Southeast civil engineering group, Shields’ civil engineering experience includes urban infill, hospitality, streetscape/roadway projects, health care campus master planning, enabling/infrastructure and expansion. She and other co-workers regularly support Quest Inc., an organization supporting individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Geotechnical engineer excels as leader
35, Office manager
Terracon Consultants Inc.
Winter Park, Fla.
After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Matthew Sloan delved into various civil-engineering fields before focusing on geotechnical engineering. In the first decade of his career, he was chosen to manage projects for such high-profile clients as Universal Studios, Walt Disney World and several municipal governments. Since joining Terracon in 2014, he’s been recognized numerous times for his leadership, including being honored as the Florida Division Young Professional of 2017. Recently promoted to office manager from materials department manager, Sloan currently manages more than 90 employees. Also, he currently chairs the Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Council.
Driven leader paves the way for others
39, Vice president and division manager
Brasfield & Gorrie
After earning her bachelor’s degree in building construction from Auburn University, Susan Stabler joined Brasfield & Gorrie in 2003 as an assistant project manager. Quickly recognized for her work ethic, she has worked her way to the position of vice president and division manager, overseeing the Birmingham office’s health care division. Stabler has overseen nearly 40 projects with a combined value of more than $500 million. Internally, Stabler has excelled as well, paving the way for women in construction by establishing and chairing—for five years—Brasfield & Gorrie’s operational women’s resource group. The group aims to encourage the recruitment, retention and professional growth of female leaders by providing networking opportunities, mentorships and educational opportunities. Susan also co-chairs the firm’s diversity and inclusion steering committee, which was created to foster a more inclusive work environment.
Preconstruction leader builds relationships
39, Vice president and regional preconstruction director
Brasfield & Gorrie
Winter Park, Fla.
Another Brasfield & Gorrie veteran, Christi Thompson has accomplished much in her 17-year career with the firm. In a variety of roles from project manager to preconstruction manager, Thompson has been involved with more than 750 projects collectively valued at more than $4 billion and has spearheaded preconstruction for clients such as Lockheed Martin, Walt Disney Imagineering, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Golf Channel. In 2016, she was promoted to vice president and regional preconstruction director for Florida. With a focus on developing relationships, she has helped cultivate numerous repeat clients. Thompson also is a member of the contractor’s preconstruction steering committee.
Young engineer made impressive debut
30, Project manager
ColeJenest & Stone PA
A Purdue University graduate, Casey Werner made the move south to join the Charlotte office of ColeJenest & Stone in 2011. The young engineer quickly caught the eye of firm leaders when he successfully navigated a complicated multifamily project through design and permitting. Over the next seven years, he became a project manager with a knack for identifying potential issues—and possible solutions—earlier than others. Recently, he’s led a team of civil engineers, land planners and landscape architects on land development projects. With a passion for helping his local community, Werner volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.
Andi King Wieczynski
Relationship-building key to success
38, Client relations leader
Since 2008, Andi King Wieczynski has been using her outstanding relationship-building skills to help build DPR’s Southeast business from her Atlanta location. Further, as the first woman to serve on DPR’s Atlanta’s leadership team, she is leading the way for other women within the organization. With her passion for building a sense of community, she also leads the firm’s community service and philanthropic efforts. Under her leadership, DPR Atlanta employees have logged over 12,000 volunteer hours while raising more than $1 million for charities. Chris Bontrager, Atlanta business unit leader, calls her “a leader and influencer in the Atlanta AEC community.”
Community builder gives back
34, Regional vice president
Brailsford & Dunlavey
Over the past 10 years with Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D), a program management and development advisory firm, Joseph Winters has focused on building his expertise and deepening his understanding of the dynamics that influence our physical reality. His knowledge was already considerable, given his undergraduate degree in architecture from Columbia University and his master’s degrees in city planning and business administration. As a real estate adviser for B&D, Winter has partnered with colleges/universities, municipalities and K-12 schools to more effectively advance their strategic priorities through capital improvements. His outreach efforts reflect his focus on community as well, with Winters having led his team on several Habitat for Humanity projects along with involvement in local chapters of the Urban Land Institute and the North Carolina Healthcare Engineers Association. n