ENR Midwest’s 2019 Top Young Professionals
One of most accomplished groups of Top Young Professionals ever to be honored by ENR Midwest includes C-suite executives still in their 30s, an entrepreneur who filled a need in the design-to-construction workflow, a construction engineering and management professor who has done important research and others who have taken a non-traditional path to leadership.
Our judges graded this year’s very competitive field of 62 entrants based on four criteria: professional achievement, involvement with the construction community, contributions to the Midwest’s built environment and service to their respective communities.
Kristin Schultes began working for Metropolitan Mechanical Contractors as the firm’s Grant Thornton accountant and is now the mechanical contractor’s president. Two of our young pros started their engineering careers in India and Egypt.
The projects our professionals helped put in place are notable for their use of new construction technology as well as their high quality of design and construction. Mike Stapf, vice president of integration and design at McCarthy Building Cos., was the preconstruction director on Mercy Hospital St. Louis-Children’s East Patient Tower B, a $104-million, 390,341-sq-ft, 10-story tower. Danielle Dy Buncio, CEO and founder of VDC start-up VIATechnick, advised and consulted on the $5-billion Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nev.
The average age of this year’s honorees was 37.7, and eight of them got in on their last try as 39-year-olds. Five more were 38. We usually have at least one honoree still in their 20s, but our youngest honoree this year was 32-year-old Jennifer Rittler of Moody Nolan.
The competition could not have succeeded without the support of the judges who reviewed the very strong submissions in a tight timeline. The judges were: Patricia “Tisha” Scroggin, Midwest regional practice manager for Burns & McDonnell’s energy division and a 2018 ENR Midwest Top Young Professional; Kimberly D. Moore, founder and president of KDM Engineering and a 2018 ENR Midwest and ENR National Top 20 Under 40 honoree; and Mani Golparvar-Fard, associate professor of civil engineering, computer science and technology entrepreneurship at the University of Illinois and a 2017 ENR Midwest Top Young Professional and a 2017 ENR National Top 20 Under 40 winner.
Amanda Bogner, 39
Passionate about energy modeling and sustainable design
President and Founder
Energy Studio Inc.
After a three-year career as manager of simulation at BVM Engineering, Bogner took the entrepreneurial leap and founded her own energy modeling firm, Energy Studio, in 2010. From 2010-2015, Bogner built a sustainable business by providing third-party LEED reviews. It generated revenue, but not enough to keep her team busy, and it didn’t move them toward her vision of becoming the company in the Omaha area most associated with enhancing the energy efficiency of the entire built environment.
In 2015, Bogner saw the LEED project registration curve flatten. Reacting to the changing market, she and her team developed a concrete LEED review exit strategy and marketed non-LEED energy modeling services to their established client base, which included code compliance, whole building modeling, utility incentive modeling and life-cycle cost analysis.
In 2017, Energy Studio stopped LEED reviews altogether. By December 2017, they replaced 100% of LEED review revenue with whole building energy modeling work and grew revenue by 35%.
Karen Bray, 38
The oil and gas market’s Swiss Army Knife
Principal and Business Development Manager of the Oil, Gas and Chemicals Group
Burns & McDonnell
Kansas City, Mo.
Karen Bray began her career at Burns & McDonnell in 2002, starting in the field on refining projects. She quickly climbed the ranks and helped lead engineering on a $160-million refinery upgrade that converted a hydrocracker to hydrotreater for Sunoco in Philadelphia, a project that was eventually named Burns & McDonnell’s 2009 project of the year.
When she was an assistant department manager, she established a training program for early-career engineers and also co-chaired the firm’s internal Professional Women’s Exchange program. When Burns & McDonnell sought to renew its focus on the chemicals market in 2011, Bray was chosen to lead the new group’s business development efforts and was promoted to principal.
Mark Cochran, 39
From intern to COO in construction management
Chief Operations Officer
S.M. Wilson & Co.
Cochran began his career as an intern for S.M. Wilson in 1999. Over his 18-year full-time tenure, he has managed $500 million of projects throughout the Midwest, including multiple health care, industrial and senior living facilities. Rising to director of field operations by 2011 and then director of overall operations by 2017, he directly influenced the success of high-profile, award-winning projects such as IKEA’s St. Louis store and the $60-million Orion multi-use development. In 2017, Cochran was named S. M. Wilson’s first-ever COO.
Since taking on his operations roles, Cochran’s efforts have helped the company increase profitability by $5 million over the last three years.
Cochran started a service and warranty division, which has both grown S.M. Wilson’s profitability and helped the firm retain repeat clients, such as the School District of Clayton, a $90-million client. As a member of the AGC of Missouri’s labor committee, Cochran also helps negotiate 14 different agreements with six different crafts and trades.
Jeannie Cullen Schultz, 34
Expanding health care access in Dane County, Wis.
Vice President, Health Care Construction Director
Cullen Schultz is a fifth-generation owner of her family’s business, JP Cullen, but more than that she is the leader of the company’s growing health care division. Cullen Schultz was responsible for developing a team of health care experts and all facets of the health care division from its founding in 2013.
Since its inception, the health care division has exceeded planned revenue every year, including an increase of 146% in 2015, more than 20% in 2016 and 2017 and an increase of 119% last year. 100% of the health care division’s clients are repeat clients, and the division has worked in every hospital in Madison, where Cullen Schultz has led JP Cullen’s efforts to open a new downtown office.
While it might seem that Cullen Schultz’s rise in the family business was something that was always planned, it was not. At Janesville Craig High School, she lettered in several sports, but excelled in basketball. She was recruited by Dartmouth College and four years later, the 5’10” shooting guard had racked up 1,481 career points, fifth-best in the Ivy League college’s history.
After planning most of her life to be a college basketball coach, she decided that while she loved basketball, she did not want to make it her career. After discussions with her father, Mark, and several women in construction, she finished her educational leadership thesis while working on her second master’s degree in construction management and returned committed to make a difference for other women in construction.
“Some say ‘work is what you do, family is who you are,’” she said. “I am lucky that I get to say that both work and family are who I am.”
Danielle Dy Buncio, 36
VDC entrepreneur is helping GCs, designers, trades and owners
Founder and CEO
After graduating from Stanford in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering, Danielle Dy Buncio began work for a major contractor and was confronted with an industry that wasn’t yet adopting many of the workflows she studied.
“We were doing 4D BIM applications in school and then I graduated [and] it just didn’t exist in any of the systems out there,” she says. “I had been learning it, but then not able to use it in practice, and I felt like I could effect greater change in the industry if I removed myself from working at one general contractor to being able to work with hundreds.”
After earning her MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in 2012, Dy Buncio founded virtual design and construction consulting firm VIATechnik, which has implemented VDC practices on more than 1,000 projects in the last six years. VIATechnik has partnered with design firms, construction companies, trade contractors and owners worldwide to enable their organizations to drive value on their projects. Some of the projects VIATechnik assisted on include Apple’s new Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, the Tesla Gigafactory in Sparks, Nev., LaGuardia Airport and the Hudson Yards in New York City and the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium.
Dy Buncio defines VIATechnik’s mission as advancing the role of technology in real estate and construction, specifically aimed at utilizing technology and data analytics to improve construction productivity. Under Dy Buncio’s leadership, VIATechnik has grown to 115 employees and expanded from its original office in Chicago to New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Denver, Portland, Ore., and all the way to Manila in the Philippines.
A recognized thought leader who has spoken worldwide about BIM, VDC and construction technology, Dy Buncio was recently appointed to the board of directors for Ryan Cos., which makes her one of the youngest directors of an ENR Top 400 construction company.
“You should be really good at listening to what people are telling you [if you want to start a company],” she says. “Potential clients, actual clients, potential team members, it’s all about selling that dream.”
Islam El-adaway, 38
Egyptian-American engineering professor a research, teaching star
Hurst-McCarthy Professor of Construction Engineering and Management
Missouri University of Science and Technology
El-adaway earned his bachelor’s degree in construction engineering from the American University in Cairo (AUC) in his native Egypt in 2003. He was then hired as a contract administrator for Nile Aster International (NAI), which was then the largest electro-mechanical contractor in the Egyptian market. NAI was the Egyptian branch of Aster Associate Termoimpianti SpA of Milan, Italy. El-adaway’s success with respect to managing local construction contracts led to him be named contracts administrator and claims adviser overseeing the company’s regional projects in Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
While working full time for NAI, he earned his master’s in construction engineering from AUC in 2006. Later that year, he moved to the U.S. to pursue his doctorate and earned his PhD in civil engineering at age 28 from Iowa State University in 2008, where he wrote his dissertation on construction dispute mitigation through using both multi-agent-based simulation and risk-management modeling.
El-adaway started his academic career at Mississippi State University (MSU) and, based on his work there, he was recruited by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville as a tenured associate professor of civil engineering and coordinator of the construction engineering and management (CEM) program. Last August, El-adaway was hired by Missouri University of Science and Technology as the tenured Hurst-McCarthy Professor of CEM.
During his 10-plus years in academia, El-adaway worked on research projects valued at more than $2 million and published nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers, all of which were published and/or presented in academic journals or at conferences in his specialty area. He mentored five PhD candidates and five master’s students toward earning their degrees as well as one post-doctorate research fellow. He also serves on National Science Foundation review panels and is an associate editor for the Journal of Management in Engineering.
El-adaway is a licensed professional engineer in the U.S. and a registered chartered engineer in the U.K. He was recently named a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Kevin Grittner, 39
The heart and the brain of Weitz’s industrial revolution
Director of Industrial and General Manager
The Weitz Co.
At his first job working for a design-build general contractor out of college, Grittner was quickly promoted to engineering project lead for multiple cement facility projects. The design-build projects totaled more than $120 million in construction revenue and were all delivered on time and, in some cases, under budget. He followed up those early successes with $100-million to $200-million grain terminal projects in both Washington and Louisiana, with more complicated concrete engineering, again delivered on time and on budget.
Grittner joined the Weitz Co. in 2014 to help start and operate an engineering group that would support the company’s industrial projects. Six months after starting, Grittner was promoted to construction operations manager to run the merit shop projects group. Grittner’s construction operations experience from his past engineering project leader position, coupled with his propensity to simplify challenging tasks for team members, allowed the operations group to flourish. After more success and streamlining of operations, Grittner was promoted to director and general manager of Weitz’s industrial segment in 2017.
Away from the office, Grittner brings the same organization and structure to his family life with his wife of 15 years and two children. He impresses upon co-workers that his hunting shack has no cell phone service and that time away is an important part of work-life balance. He teaches Sunday school at his local church and coaches his son’s soccer team.
Michelle Hack, 38
Pushing the boundaries of energy storage
Vice President and Project Director
Sargent & Lundy
Hack began her career in transmission line and substation engineering as an intern for Xcel Energy, where she was able to become a full-time staff member during her final two years of college. Her strong work ethic allowed her to complete a five-year engineering program at the University of Colorado in four years and maintain her 3.6 GPA while working full time. After four years with Xcel, Hack joined Sargent & Lundy as a project engineer in 2004.
Building upon the foundation of her utility engineering work, Hack rapidly advanced to leadership roles on both transmission and substation projects. She is a vice president and project director actively managing three large clients and is involved in more than 85 projects for other utility and renewable energy clients.
Hack’s portfolio of projects includes several battery storage facilities, including work on what could be considered the world’s largest battery facility to date, and more than 100 battery storage ISO applications. Since there is limited information on the new technology, which uses the large batteries that power electric cars for use in energy grid applications, Hack has been appointed as Sargent & Lundy’s internal process owner for all work related to battery storage projects. She is responsible for keeping abreast of all new and emerging technologies and regulations that could impact the work, developing and identifying new techniques to advance how the work is handled and ensuring that the firm has the right expertise to support this area of growing importance to clients. She is an active member of the IEEE Power and Energy Society and its Energy Storage and Stationary Battery committee, sharing her first-hand knowledge with the emerging industry.
She is a leader and mentor for the firm’s local chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. Along with her husband and kids, Hack keeps bees and volunteers for the University of Illinois Extension Office to develop and teach beekeeping to kids in a 4H spin club.
Christian Lubrano, 37
Director, Technology & Design
Kiewit Power Engineering
Lubrano began his career at Dow Corning, where he supported operations at a major production facility by providing instrumentation design. He then transitioned his focus, operations knowledge and specialty technology skills to supporting global operations for facilities throughout Asia and Europe. Lubrano joined Kiewit in 2013 to lead the firm’s engineering and design technology group.
Lubrano supports all of Kiewit’s engineering business units (power, oil gas and petrochemical, infrastructure, water and industrial) by providing technology and project execution solutions. He provides data analytics, 3D model visualization and other technology solutions to improve access to information for construction teams at project sites.
One of Lubrano’s significant contributions has been to combine usually incompatible and impractical data sources—such as unstructured data sets, laser scans and 3D models—for quick access on mobile devices for field use. This has resulted in increased efficiencies across all of Kiewit’s projects.
Lubrano was a volunteer firefighter in Madison, Ind., earlier in his career, and he is a member of the regional hazmat team in Lenexa. Because of his experience as a firefighter, he also helps to advise the Kiewit Lenexa Campus Employee Volunteer Emergency Response Team. He also coaches football in the area at the middle school level and at his alma mater, Hanover College.
Myesha McClendon, 38
Proven performer promoted to VP in less than 10 years
Milhouse Engineering & Construction Inc.
McClendon is the youngest vice president in Milhouse’s history and was the firm’s first female engineering manager. She is responsible for company expansion, and within her first year as vice president, she opened two East Coast offices, one in New York and one in New Jersey. Three years after beginning her career at Milhouse in 2008, McClendon was promoted to electrical design division manager, and over the next five years, she established Milhouse with several projects in the health care, education and wastewater industries.
In 2016, she was promoted and became the company’s first aviation manager. In this role, she developed a core team of 10 aviation professionals and established strategic partnerships to help establish the new business group. Under her leadership, the team designed a deicing facility and ramp tower, multiple airfield control towers and was a major design partner for two runway designs. In all, McClendon led her team to winning and completing more than 30 projects at the Chicago area’s three airports (O’Hare, Midway and Gary Chicago International Airport).
McClendon has also implemented companywide training for all hiring managers using talent acquisition and talent management programs to assist with onboarding and evaluation of employees’ professional goals and performance. She was the guest speaker for the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Project Management Conference last year and is devoted to recruiting diverse talent to Milhouse.
Abby Pertzborn, 39
Mentoring and loyalty make her the heart of IMEG Corp.
Pertzborn leads business development for structural services in the Wisconsin and Michigan markets for IMEG Corp., where she has spent her entire 16-year career. Pertzborn manages design on the firm’s large, multidiscipline projects, including K-12, higher education and health care. She most recently served as the lead structural engineer for a $42-million addition and renovation at Beaver Dam High School in Beaver Dam, Wis., providing designs within an accelerated six-month schedule.
As senior engineer, Pertzborn oversees structural services for IMEG’s Madison office, where she is responsible for the growth, quality and development of the entire structural staff. In 2012, she assumed additional duties and responsibility as an operations manager for a team of nearly 40 engineers and drafters in six different offices.
She also strives to help others outside of her firm succeed. In 2009, Pertzborn organized structural study courses for young architects preparing for their registration exams, providing them with valuable information needed to pass their tests. Aside from her engineering duties, she is a board member and an avid rower with the Mendota Rowing Club in Madison.
Jennifer Rittler, 32
Higher education fitness center design star
Senior Associate/Project Architect
A key member of Moody Nolan’s student-focused facilities studio, Rittler creates and executes designs to engage the minds of university students, staff and visitors. She was selected as primary project lead for her market’s highest gross fee project in 2017, the 103,000-sq-ft, $33-million Jacksonville State University Fitness and Wellness Center. She integrated a diverse team by leading all aspects of design, client relationship as well as team and project coordination.
Rittler also participates in annual conferences to represent her company and its studio’s work, and she is an active member of the Association of College Unions International, National Organization of Minority Architects, American Institute of Architects and the Big Ten Collegiate Recreation Conference. As part of the 0.3% of licensed African-American female architects in the profession, she works with NOMA and other organizations to provide a positive role model for young black women interested in the design professions. Rittler founded ARCHway, a hybrid mentorship-leadership program in Columbus and, during her tenure on AIA Columbus’ board of directors, she secured a financial commitment from her fellow board members for ARCHway’s inaugural year. Rittler is also the leader of Moody-Nolan’s Emerging Professionals Advisory Group, overseeing more than 40 young professionals across 12 offices.
Ginger Roether, 38
Power delivery business developer
East Region Power Client Development Leader, Vice President
Roether has 17 years of experience in power generation, which began when she was a sophomore at the University of Louisville and was studying mechanical engineering and was working as a co-op at Louisville Gas & Electric Co. She furthered her education with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at Louisville and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. She continued working at LG&E through school, taking on more responsibility in the areas of thermal generation, hydropower and transmission.
After three degrees and 12 years working in Kentucky, she moved to New York and transitioned to engineering consulting. At CG Solutions, she was a dedicated consultant to PSE&G, a family of gas and electric companies serving New Jersey residents. She led a team and supported the program management office in preliminary engineering design, procurement support, estimating and environmental and permitting support. As the contract with PSE&G wound down, she took an opportunity at HDR as a project manager in Pearl River, N.Y., where she supported project management for Eversource and PSE&G projects.
She then became involved in new client development as the power delivery practice grew along the East Coast and moved back to Kentucky, where she manages a team responsible for more than $65 million in total bookings. She works with other business units to budget, develop and execute work for dozens of clients. She champions cross-sector teams to develop contract-winning strategies, which differentiates HDR on projects and fosters relationships throughout client organizations. She actively participates in industry conferences, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, EUCI and Southeast Electric Exchange. She is a member of the NERC Smart Grid Task Force and NERC Geomagnetic Disturbance Taskforce, and a past member of the SERC Engineering Committee, EEI Spare Transformer Equipment Program and various other technical committees. Additionally, she is a long-time member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Society of Women Engineers.
Joshua Salazar, 39
Design leader for Michigan’s toughest transportation projects
Michigan Transportation Business Group Manager
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Salazar’s experience within the transportation industry spans both the public and private sectors. It has taken him from engineering production roles to increasing responsibility in project management, business development, employee development and leading the recently established transportation practice in HDR’s Ann Arbor office. With 14 years in the transportation industry, Salazar has managed multidisciplinary teams to deliver a wide range of multimillion dollar transportation projects.
Salazar joined HDR in 2011 as a civil engineer, and his career quickly progressed to a project manager position, then senior project manager and, finally, his current position of Michigan transportation business group manager. His strong focus has helped expand HDR’s reach and technical reputation throughout Michigan.
Kyle Schott, 37
Emerging leader in Ryan’s booming Chicago office
Senior Project Manager
Schott has worked on major projects spanning more than eight states for Ryan Cos. Most notably, he was the lead manager on the Aurélien, the first multifamily high-rise to be completed by Ryan Cos. in Chicago’s Gold Coast.
During the construction of the Aurélien, Schott’s leadership role focused on managing the client relationship, overall internal team management and exterior skin and interiors. He utilized his team-building skills to solidify relationships between project team members new to the industry and Ryan Cos. Having risen to the role of senior project manager in his 16 years with the company, he oversees cost estimating, technical design and development, preconstruction and construction activities, subcontractor negotiation, client communication along with schedule and budget management on his projects.
Schott’s role is evolving to become a hybrid between development and construction while concentrating his time on the 5th Avenue Development in Naperville, Ill., a 13-acre, $300-million mixed-use project currently in the concept stage. His new role allows for a seamless transition from the development phase to the construction phase.
Kristin Schultes, 38
Accountant turned president of a major mechanical contractor
Metropolitan Mechanical Contractors Inc.
Eden Prairie, Minn.
After graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 2002 and beginning her career as a certified public accountant with Deloitte, in 2004, Schultes moved to Grant Thornton in Minneapolis to become an audit manager, where one of her clients was Metropolitan Mechanical Contractors Inc. After performing stellar work for the client, she was asked to join MMC as its chief financial officer and vice president in 2008, and in 2017, she was promoted to president of the entire company.
Schultes is one of the few female leaders in the mechanical contracting industry and that has led her to promote more inclusive ways of working throughout the organization.
Some of those initiatives are a scholarship for women in mechanical engineering at the University of Minnesota and semi-annual breakfasts with all female employees in the both the office and the field as a means to learn more about the challenges for women in the industry. One change that came out of these breakfasts was purchasing safety vests designed for women for field personnel because the previous vests, designed for men, were too baggy and the women in the field reported they were a hazard for catching on equipment during work.
Schultes is also a professional photographer and volunteers her time to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a nonprofit organization that provides remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture.
Hardik Shah, 38
From Ahmedabad, India, to Indianapolis
Director of Development
American Structurepoint Inc.
Shah joined ASI straight out of Purdue graduate school in 2005. He earned two master’s degrees, one in civil engineering that focused on transportation systems engineering and another on construction materials. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Nirma Institute of Technology in his native India.
Shah was quickly promoted from an entry-level traffic engineer to project manager within two years with ASI. He has since managed and led more than 150 transportation projects, providing management leadership to both public and private sector clients in transportation infrastructure, retail-commercial and health care development markets. He has been a key player in contributing to a multitude of ASI’s fast-track, challenging, high-profile and aggressive deadline projects.
He played an integral part in growing the firm’s traffic engineering practice by virtue of diversification of services offered, which has resulted in increased revenue of over 1,000% since 2005. He was promoted to his current position as director of development because of his ability to grow ASI’s business. He is also leading the expansion of ASI’s specialized practice of traffic engineering in the Midwest and across all 16 ASI offices. Under his leadership, traffic services revenue increased from $150,000 in 2005 to $1.7 million in 2018. He grew his team from just a few individuals to a staff of 11 traffic engineers.
Shah believes in giving back to the transportation industry in the U.S. as well as in India. He is a member of the Association of Transportation Professionals of Indian Origin (ATPIO) and a past president of the group. The nonprofit works to facilitate bilateral collaborative activities and partnerships between transportation professionals in the U.S. and India. He is an active member of Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and has served in various leadership roles at ITE both regionally and internationally with most recently serving as a board of directors on its international board.
Mike Stapf, 39
VDC, BIM and integration leader
Vice President, Design Integration
McCarthy Building Cos.
As vice president of design integration, Stapf brings together people, resources and technology to expand McCarthy’s expertise and value to all its clients nationwide. He advances the firm’s industry leadership within the areas of integrated delivery methods, virtual design and construction, building information modeling and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR).
Stapf’s high-profile leadership position is the culmination of an 18-year McCarthy career that began after earning a college scholarship in recognition of his work developing a computer program to assist batch plants in testing concrete while he was still at Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville campus. Impressed by Stapf’s technological aptitude and resourcefulness, Doug Audiffred, now McCarthy CFO (who presented the scholarship), connected Stapf with a student internship opportunity at McCarthy that led to a full-time position as an estimator.
Stapf experienced his first major project leadership opportunity while working on the Children’s Hospital Colorado assignment, a $412-million, 1.4-million-sq ft, 10-story replacement hospital in the Denver suburb of Aurora. His skill in managing schedule and budget constraints while facilitating collaboration among a dispersed project team earned him a promotion to preconstruction director.
He ascended to his current position—a new role created to capitalize on his specialized expertise—in 2014. He also launched a new VDC and design integration group in McCarthy’s 17-state central region. In less than two years, he expanded this team from two people to five full-time employees.
Outside of the office, Stapf advocates for technology equality in the classroom. He is the former president of the St. James Catholic School Board of Education in his hometown of Millstadt and currently leads the organization’s technology committee. During the past few years, he has guided the school’s technology resources from a handful of iMacs and PCs to a full one-to-one technology program that has equipped each student with a Chromebook or iPad.
Chris Turnbull, 39
Automates tasks to deliver better projects
Kiewit Power Constructors
Turnbull has been helping Kiewit Power Constructors move forward in automation and artificial intelligence for many years. Turnbull led Kiewit’s push into advanced welding processes and, as a result, the firm’s welding operations are safer and producing high-quality welds, which has improved productivity, schedules and client relations.
These welding delivery advancements created $5 million to $10 million in savings annually. Turnbull worked with the manufacturers of welding equipment to create solutions that allowed advanced welding processes to be adaptable to the variabilities of Kiewit’s power construction projects.
As a quality manager, Turnbull carried out the initiative to modernize and create a digital quality program. Instead of paper documents, he implemented a program where all quality documents were digital for easy access on mobile devices and tablets in the field. He developed applications and created digital checklists specifically for this quality effort.
Chris Vaeth, 39
Winning the game in the pregame
Vice President, Preconstruction
Kansas City, Mo.
Vaeth quickly advanced through McCownGordon Construction shortly after his hiring, serving as senior project manager, manager of preconstruction and director of preconstruction before rising to his current role in 2016.
Vaeth is the youngest member of McCownGordon’s executive leadership team. He plays an important role in the firm’s business development efforts and in grooming the next generation of leaders by mentoring young professionals in both the preconstruction and operations side of the business.
Vaeth has extensive experience managing all manner of projects. One thing he teaches younger employees is to focus on collaborative delivery methods and understand the importance of extensive coordination and constant client communication. His experience includes work at numerous universities including Kansas State University, University of Kansas, Children’s Mercy Research Tower, Church of the Resurrection, State Street Data Center and many more.
Vaeth is active in the Kansas City region, serving as a board member for the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, the Kansas City Kansas Public Schools Diploma Steering Committee. He is also a member of the Association for Corporate Growth chapter in Kansas City.