ENR California's 2019 Top Young Professionals
E NR California is proud to present this year’s class of Top Young Professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction community. These up-and-coming leaders apply their formidable professional skills to their industries and have been strong advocates for sustainable and innovative building and design practices.
The nominees were evaluated on four primary criteria: professional achievement, involvement with the wider construction community, contributions to the region’s built environment and community service.
The candidates’ accomplishments impressed our panel of judges, and many have played vital roles in landmark California projects. Thornton Tomasetti’s Kerem Gulec was a key participant in the performance-based seismic design of the Wilshire Grand Center tower in Los Angeles. Ryan Haworth of Clark Construction Group led teams on San Francisco projects such as the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center arena. Many honorees are shaping the future of the industry as well. Burns & McDonnell’s Brianna Pilkinton is helping prepare the transportation sector for a future dominated by electric vehicles.
Special thanks to our judges: Michael Boomsma, senior vice president of education and facilities, Cordoba Corp.; Ryan Gallagher, area manager and vice president, Gannett Fleming; Brent Leif, vice president, AECOM Hunt; Lauren Nunnally, Swinerton vice president and general manager, craft services; and Joanne Verrips, Webcor project director. Judges recused themselves in situations where there might be a conflict of interest. This panel’s dedication and commitment made the recognition of these accomplished professionals possible.
Army Veteran Heads LEED Projects
37, Vice President
Millie and Severson
A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Andrew has applied his military leadership skills to many of Millie and Severson’s Northern California projects.
Andrew earned a bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering at VMI and an MBA at the College of William and Mary, Mason School of Business. A U.S. Army veteran, he served as a military officer in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2013, Andrew joined Millie and Severson in California, serving as a project manager on the Prologis Redlands Distribution Center and BMW facility, a 327,457-sq-ft LEED Silver development, and the LEED Platinum Riverside County Law Building in Indio, Calif. When Millie and Severson opened its Northern California office, Andrew relocated to be part of building the new division. He was named project executive in 2017, then promoted to vice president of Northern California a year later. His most notable projects include the completed 1.3-million-sq-ft Amazon I-215 Logistics Center in Moreno Valley, Calif.
Helping to Design High-Speed Rail
36, Vice President, West Coast Deputy Regional Manager
Bonstead helps plan and manage transformative transportation projects. Since joining STV in 2005, he has led major planning initiatives for aviation, passenger rail, freight and bus transit projects throughout the U.S.
Now deputy manager of STV’s West Coast operations, Bonstead leads pursuits for new project commissions and manages 90 professionals in the firm’s West Coast offices. His teams produced the draft EIS/EIR for the proposed Green Line Extension to Torrance for Los Angeles Metro and the planning and design of the Burbank-to-Anaheim section of the California High-Speed Rail system.
“STV has trusted Tyler to oversee some of the firm’s most significant contracts on the West Coast, and he has not disappointed,” said David Borger, STV senior vice president.
Devoted to Transforming Transit
33, Architect and Assistant Project Manager
A native of Long Island, Brandle grew up riding the subway in New York City and saw firsthand how transportation infrastructure affects people’s lives. She has assisted in the design and delivery of unique transit projects such as the Kansas City Street Car, LA Metro’s Emergency Security Operations Center and Caltrain’s system modernization.
As an architect in HDR’s Los Angeles office, Brandle embraces the challenge of transforming the car-dependent metropolis into one that offers safe and comfortable rail, bus and biking infrastructure. In 2017, HDR named Brandle to assistant project manager for LA Metro’s Emergency Operations Center, the new hub for the systems bus and rail network. The following year, Brandle was promoted to studio lead for critical infrastructure.
“She has been sought by leaders in security design to leverage her talents in managing complex projects,” says HDR design principal Moshik Mah, pointing to Brandle’s ability to manage the technical, political and financial complexities of large-scale transportation investments valued in the billions of dollars.
Shaking Up Design in Seismic Zone
35, Vice President and Structural Engineer
Soon after joining Thornton Tomasetti’s structures practice in 2006, Curtis began work on a Bay Area hospital project that would span her entire career: a 300,000-sq-ft hospital 150 yards from the hazardous Hayward Fault.
Curtis provided designs and analysis for the Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion at Fremont’s Washington Hospital, set to open this year with a unique base isolator system. Currently, she is managing a team of engineers in the project delivery of three separate projects: the Summerlin Ballpark in Las Vegas, the Contra Costa County Emergency Operations Center in Martinez, Calif., and the $1.5-billion University of California, Merced 2020 expansion.
She is also a founding member and co-chair of the Structural Engineering, Engagement and Equity committee of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California. Curtis holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Rice University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Leader in Wastewater Engineering
39, Northern California Regional Manager, Civil and Structural Division
With 15 years of water and wastewater engineering experience, Davis has shared his expertise nationwide from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.
Davis joined Parsons in 2012, serving as the program management consultant for San Francisco’s $7-billion sewer system improvement program. He then leveraged that experience to help get Parsons selected as the program management consultant for the DC Water’s capital improvement program. In 2017, Davis was promoted to Northern California regional manager for Parsons’ civil/structural division.
“In addition to his vast technical expertise, Robert has a knack for leading his team to find effective, innovative solutions,” says Michael Johnson, Parsons Group president.
Davis has served as a mentor for Projects Pull, an internship program for high school students, and works on career development with teenagers living near the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Facility as part of the SSIP Cityworks program.
Plans Power Grid of the Future
39, Grid Modernization Practice Leader, Power Sector
As a practice leader for HDR’s power sector, Garcia knows all about connections. He has 17 years of experience in the electric utility sector, partnering with power companies to shape the electric grid of the future.
Garcia’s progressive solutions for the sector include the electrification of the transportation sector, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. In his six years at HDR, he has worked as project manager, substation managing principal and program manager.
“He is always leading, no matter what position he serves,” says Bill Barnhart, HDR’s power sector director.
Two of his landmark projects are the 500-kilovolt Lower Monumental-Central Ferry Project in Washington state and the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s 220-kV substation decommissioning in San Diego County. He received his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Western Michigan University before earning two master’s degrees from Kansas State University.
At the beginning of Garcia’s career, the right mentorship helped provide the experience he needed. “It’s similar to building a house of knowledge,” Garcia says. “You’re not going to build a dream house in day one; you set a strong foundation, and you keep building on it every day.”
Expert in Seismic Design
38, Vice President
With broad expertise in the seismic design of complex structures, Gulec was a key participant in the performance-based seismic design of the record-breaking Wilshire Grand Center tower in downtown Los Angeles.
Gulec earned both a master’s degree and PhD in structural and earthquake engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His interest in seismic design led him to the Los Angeles office of Thornton Tomasetti in 2009.
He led the performance-based seismic analysis for the 73-story Wilshire Grand Center, the tallest building on the West Coast. Gulec’s doctoral thesis made him familiar with advanced topics such as fragility curves (the probability of structural damage due to earthquakes). He also understood the strengths and quirks of performance-based seismic design analysis software, says Leonard Martin Joseph, principal at Thornton Tomasetti. “Kerem provided a steady, can-do, no-problem attitude as unique solutions were proposed, studied and designed for the Wilshire Grand Center.”
Gulec also worked on the structural upgrade of the Robert A. Young Federal Building in St. Louis and other projects in the U.S., India, Turkey and Mexico.
Promoting Safety in Concrete Jobs
35, Project Executive
Clark Construction Group
In his 13 years with Clark Construction, Haworth has led teams on several landmark California projects, including concrete work at Salesforce Tower and the under-construction of the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center arena, both in San Francisco.
Haworth led more than 30 Clark employees and 40 trade partners on the Salesforce Tower project, overseeing the deepest foundation system in North America, along with a hybrid climbing concrete core and composite steel structure that was unique to a high-rise in an active seismic zone. While finishing work on Salesforce Tower, he successfully transitioned to his role on the Chase Center, where he used his past concrete experience to execute the $134-million self-perform concrete portion of work. Haworth also led a review of high-rise safety risks to implement on other office towers underway in the San Francisco area. His mentoring efforts include developing a year-long leadership training program to aid newly promoted project managers and superintendents.
Adeptly Manages Complex Projects
36, Project Executive
Layton Construction Co.
Jones’ professional career began as a project engineer with an emphasis on K-12 and higher education work in Southern California, and he has advanced to the role of project executive in technology, education, retail and hospitality.
He was Layton’s acting project manager and project lead for the recent renovation of the Marriott Manhattan Beach, known as Westdrift. At BNBuilders, Jones led the firm’s construction account for Google, completing more than 10 projects in two years. The work included multiple nondisclosed designs and required federal clearance from various agencies. He also led the team that converted the St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point, Calif., to the Monarch Beach Resort. Jones enjoys sailing and participates in Surfrider Foundation’s beach cleanups and works with the Catalina Island Conservancy.
Brings Innovation to Water Projects
37, Project Manager
Kamimura’s career in heavy civil construction reflects the traditional Japanese values he learned while growing up in Beaverton, Ore.
“He has compassion and integrity and enhances every project he works on,” says Paul Camaur, AECOM’s chief operating officer of civil construction.
Kamimura’s landmark projects include the San Vicente Dam Raise project, which increased the height of the existing dam in Lakeside, Calif., by 117 ft and was the tallest roller-compacted concrete dam raise in the world. The expansion increased the area’s reservoir capacity to 157,000 acre-ft of water from 90,000. Kamimura also worked on a $62-million project to replace a fuel pier and relocate marine mammals at U.S. Naval Submarine Base Point Loma in San Diego.
He attended Oregon State University, graduating with a bachelor’s of science degree in civil engineering and began his career at Shimmick Construction, which has since been acquired by AECOM. Currently, Kamimura is serving as deputy project manager on the Miramar Clearwells Improvement Project for the city of San Diego.
Kamimura’s charitable activities include helping build a drinking water purification system in Argentina and a Japanese International Baptist Church in Tigard, Ore.
Planning Models Save Time, Money
38, Project Director
Aliso Viejo, Calif.
Throughout her career, Fluor project director Kassab has worked to improve business models to execute projects faster with fewer resources and with lower budgets.
As an intern at a paper company, she identified a source of fiber loss that could be recycled, saving $120,000 per year. More recently, while overseeing a $400-million refinery project, she implemented a cost savings program that saved $80 million.
Kassab has led methanol and refinery projects for Fluor since 2013, leading program management for refineries in California and Washington. She has personally overseen the execution of more than $500 million in U.S. and international projects.
Kassab joined Fluor in 2003, working on pharmaceutical projects in Puerto Rico, Ireland, New Jersey and California. In 2011, she headed to Fort McMurray, Canada, managing subcontracts on a $1.5-billion Kearl Oil Sands energy project. A year later she became project manager on a Guinea mining project and has worked on the $1-billion USEC American Centrifuge nuclear project.
Advised on Dams After Oroville
29, Civil Engineer
Mead & Hunt
After heavy rains damaged Oroville Dam’s main and emergency spillways in 2017, civil engineer LeRoy contributed her expertise to the California Dept. of Water Resources.
LeRoy drafted inundation studies of dams in California, which were then reviewed by DWR’s Division of Safety of Dams as required by emergency legislation passed after the Oroville incident. She has taken the lead on helping her clients with Emergency Action Plans to be used if a dam fails.
LeRoy has worked in the field of hydrology and hydraulics, drainage design and stormwater quality, joining Mead & Hunt’s water resources team in 2018. Previously, she dabbled in drainage related to airport construction, and she was the lead escort for field investigation for the south field runway project at Oakland International Airport. LeRoy was the technical expert in stormwater quality.
She is the past president of Engineers without Borders Sacramento Valley. In 2107, LeRoy started the new Emerging Professionals Committee for the Floodplain Management Association.
Water Expert Throughout California
37, Program Manager
The Walsh Group
With more than 17 years of construction experience, Lowney has developed the expertise to deliver a broad variety of water-sector projects. His projects range from the smaller but award-winning $25-million upgrades to the Fallbrook Water Reclamation Plant in Fallbrook, Calif., to the large and challenging $245-million, 60-MW Rainbow Dam hydroelectric power-generation project for PPL Montana, on which he served as project manager.
Lowney also oversaw the $140-million Digester/Thickener Facilities Upgrade at the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. He has worked on the $57-million Mel Leong Treatment Plant Upgrade design-build project at San Francisco International Airport and the $245-million Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant Headworks project for the San Francisco Public Utility Commission.
He is a member of the California Water Environment Association and a graduate of Walsh Group’s two-year leadership program.
Stays Cool Under Pressure
33, Transit Section Manager
As HDR’s transit section manager, Mull brings a competitive yet collaborative spirit to his work.
“I value Andrew’s great judgment as well as his coolness under pressure. I often seek him out for ideas or advice,” says HDR professional associate Mark Evans.
Mull serves as HDR’s track task leader on the multibillion-dollar Los Angeles Link Union Station project, producing complex alternatives for the station’s track and platform layouts every day. He mentors younger staff members and co-teaches a rail engineering course at Cal Poly Pomona, where he earned a bachelors’ of science degree in civil engineering.
Joining HDR 10 years ago, Mull was a deputy project manager on the San Gabriel Trench project for the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority. This $200-million project involved shifting a double track freight line into a trench and grade separating two major arterials.
Leads Teams to Solve Transit Issues
36, Northern California Civil Department Manager, Project Engineer
At HNTB, Parker-King collaborates with his team of engineers, CAD technicians and managers on 40 projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, where infrastructure improvements are critical for a population that makes up 20% of the state.
Parker-King’s capabilities managing multidisciplinary teams to resolve complex transportation issues solidified him as a go-to project manager for commuter rail service Caltrain. His work on the $155-million San Bruno train station elevated the terminal over three roadway intersections. Most recently, Parker-King designed 20 roadway crossings for a 51-mile proposed stretch of track for the California High Speed Rail.
He has devoted time as a project manager for Engineers Without Borders, where he helped recruit a team, raised more than $100,000 and built four wells in a remote part of Western Kenya suffering from cholera and other bacterial illnesses due to contaminated water.
Moving Ahead With Electrification
38, Environmental Studies Department Manager
Burns & McDonnell
La Jolla, Calif.
As California’s utilities, transit agencies, seaports and airports lead the charge in transportation electrification, Pilkinton wants to know what a future dominated by electric vehicles would look like.
Pilkinton and her team at Burns & McDonnell are analyzing how widespread electrification will impact regional electricity demand and consumption. The team manages environmental regulatory compliance and explores opportunities and challenges in electrification.
“Brianna’s team impacts the water we drink, the air we breathe and the land we live on,” says Renita Mollman, vice president and general manager at Burns & McDonnell.
She has worked on hundreds of public and private infrastructure projects in the energy, utility, development, military and transportation sectors. Pilkinton received her bachelor’s degree in biology from San Diego State University. Her background as an environmental scientist and biologist includes preparation of California Environmental Quality Act and National Environmental Policy Act documents and California Public Utilities Commission licensing support. She has managed fieldwork and prepared technical analyses with agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Expert in Construction, Finance
39, Owner and Managing Principal
Ross Infrastructure Development
Ross’ experience in construction management as well as funding and finance expertise applies to all stages of the infrastructure project life cycle.
He also has a track record of proven leadership as an Army officer leading engineering operations around the world. He worked as a project manager for Skanska on the $880-million design-build extension of the BART system. In 2017, Brian started Ross Infrastructure Development LLC, which provides finance and project delivery consulting services. Ross is currently a subconsultant to KPMG’s team, providing budgets and funding analysis to the California High Speed Rail Authority.
Ross majored in construction management at CalPoly San Luis Obispo and then received a master’s of science degree in civil engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. As platoon leader for a horizontal engineering unit deployed to Afghanistan, Ross personally led more than 30 combat engineering missions.
He is also co-founder of Infrashares, a crowdfunding platform that helps raise private investment in infrastructure.
Planning for a Better Environment
37, Scheduling Manager
San Clemente, Calif.
When Stephenson became schedule manager for the $4.4-billion decommissioning of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, he had no previous experience with a nuclear power plant. But Stephenson’s planning and financial expertise resulted in a new estimated end date of six months earlier than the project baseline, which could save the project millions of dollars.
For most of his career, Stephenson has focused on planning, financial controls and project management in the environmental, power and oil and gas industries. He holds a bachelor’s of science degree in construction management from Brigham Young University and a master’s certificate in project management from Villanova University. He began his career as part of the U.S. Air Force, where he provided technical advice to senior leaders regarding the fleet of aircraft weapons systems, serving two deployments to Saudi Arabia.
In addition, Stephenson is involved in the American Association of Cost Engineers International. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America.
Embracing Smart City Concepts
34, Energy Planner and Associate, Building Engineering
From the beginning of his career, Thompson has focused his efforts on reducing the detrimental impact of development and construction on the environment.
Thompson initially worked in London for the U.K. government to develop the evidence base for setting national energy performance policy and working with developers to support its achievement. Eight years ago, he relocated to the U.S. to work for AECOM, where he focused on developing a new field of energy planning, embracing smart city concepts and enhancing resilience in a rapidly changing climate.
Thompson has developed more than 30 energy plans for more than 500 million sq ft of facilities, identifying more than 1,000 gigawatt hours of energy savings and half a million tons of carbon dioxide reduction. Thompson has also worked with Engineers Without Borders, including at a project in rural India that increased access to electricity though converting energy from waste foods into biogas for generators. Thompson was also responsible for developing the San Diego International Airport Strategic Energy Plan, guiding airport investment in energy infrastructure.
Kristina Owyoung Vinson
Committed to Workplace Equality
35, Director of Culture and Communications
Vinson works with Pankow’s jobsite teams to better understand how to create programs and policy to empower them to find a work-life rhythm. She has been an indefatigable advocate for advancing women in the workplace, creating company programs for up-and-comers and conducting speaking engagements, interviews and one-on-one mentor sessions.
She was a founding member of the Rising Leaders Committee for Commercial Real Estate Women San Francisco. Vinson has devoted herself to the organization’s mission of changing gender trends and closing the parity gap at businesses.
“She is a rare combination of youthful enthusiasm and professional maturity and stature, and she inspires others to aim higher and bring more to each opportunity,” says Holly Neber, CEO of AEI Consultants and current president of CREW.
Vinson also co-designed, established and champions a year-long emerging leaders group program to support the development of high-potential employees at Pankow Builders.