The challenge of shooting this week’s cover about the 2019 Top 20 Under 40 winners was conveying the drive, tenacity and leadership skills of these industry professionals in a group photo. Staff members spent weeks discussing options and working out logistics. Deputy Editor Tom Sawyer walked for miles scouting locations that would be both accessible to a big group (including one winner who was 8½ months pregnant) and would make a logical backdrop for our industry.

Grand Central Terminal rose to the top due to its iconic status as a great building and as a metaphor for the hustle, bustle and mobility of young leaders. Cover photographer Jessica Savidge says shooting there was “surreal to say the least. There we were in the middle of one of the busiest transportation hubs in the world … lights up, 20 people in a row ready to have their cover moment. I thought, ‘Wow, this is really happening!’ ” Savidge is also editing a video about the making of the Top 20 Under 40 issue.

The Top 20 were invited to New York City for the cover shoot and to spend the afternoon brainstorming solutions to industry challenges. Two of ENR’s under 40 editors—regional editors Justin Rice and Louise Poirier—planned the program. “The hardest part was just getting everyone in the room because everyone’s schedules are so complicated, but they all made it work,” Rice says.

For example, a few days before the June 20 event, Hicksville, N.Y.-based winner Connie Zambianchi called Rice in a panic because she unexpectedly had a mandatory meeting with the Dept. of Buildings the same morning. “But in Top 20 style,” he says, “she joined us in the morning, then swapped her high heels for sneakers and raced to her meeting, then rejoined just in time for the big Grand Central shoot.”

Poirier says the other challenge was “whittling down all the ideas the teams generated during the think tank into something digestible for our readers.”

ENR would like to thank WSP, particularly Sofia Berger, Top 20 winner and senior vice president at Louis Berger, a WSP company, and executive assistant Bibi Khan, for hosting the think tank in a WSP board room.

Thanks also go to Charles Avolio, president and general manager of Suffolk Construction New York, and his executive assistant Jeanine Senecal for arranging access to a 55th floor terrace overlooking the city for one of our photo-shoot locations.