ENR Midwest and its panel of independent judges annually select a group of individuals who have achieved great things in their careers and developed expertise using new techniques or advanced technologies.
The 2020 Top Young Professionals are as diverse as the construction industry itself and include entrepreneurs; construction executives; project managers; civil, environmental, transportation, structural and other engineering professionals; architects; academic researchers; a safety and fall protection equipment specialist; and even a hybrid architect/construction manager who studied design in Beijing. There are also two veterans that served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve in Iraq and Afghanistan in this year’s class. Also included is a civil and environmental engineer with a doctorate who developed point-of-use drinking water technologies for developing communities.
Our dedicated judges, who faced a tough task in winnowing the list of candidates down to just 20, have all been previously honored as ENR Midwest Top Young Professionals, and two of them made ENR’s national Top 20 Under 40 list.
The judges included: Kimberly Moore, president and founder of KDM Engineering in Chicago; Myesha McClendon, vice president at Milhouse Engineering & Construction in Chicago; and Dr. Islam El-Adaway, Hurst-McCarthy professor of construction engineering and management and civil engineering at Missouri Science & Technology University in Rolla.
The following pages contain profiles of the winners, describing their achievements and goals.
39, President and Principal-in-Charge of Civil Engineering
Rising star in transportation and civil engineering
Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Abrams joined WT Group right out of college as a project designer and rose through the ranks to project manager and vice president before being named the youngest president/principal-in-charge in the history of the civil engineering division of WT Group at 35. WT does many educational and park district projects that are constructed on donated pieces of land, often with significant environmental challenges. Abrams thrives on solving problems so that projects that benefit the community can proceed. He is regularly hired by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation as an expert witness as well as by the McHenry County Division of Transportation. He also provides land acquisition services and eminent domain analysis on Illinois tollway projects. His site design experience includes residential developments, truck and trailer facilities, gas stations, commercial projects, park district projects, educational institutions as well as more than 300 eminent domain analysis reports for state and county clients and 250 for private owners.
33, Project Manager
Ryan Cos. US
Hybrid architect/construction manager is spearheading modular and prefabrication initiative
While studying for her masters of architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Adamczyk’s studio projects were nominated each semester for the Chicago Prize. After receiving her degree and teaching a summer semester of Discover Architecture, she began her career at Ryan Cos. US in the field as a superintendent and quickly began adding project management responsibilities to her role. Because of her skills, she worked in a hybrid superintendent/construction manager role managing $5 million to $10 million annually until her transition to project manager in 2015. After the completion of her first project—the 206,000-
sq-ft, $40-million Clarendale senior living facility—Adamczyk was promoted to lead the project management team through design and construction on a subsequent senior living community. She led the design/build team and set a precedent with the fastest preconstruction process for a Clarendale senior living project to date. The project finished one month ahead of schedule and set a profit record. Her dedication to a project from the development phase through completion has been recognized repeatedly by clients. As a member of Ryan’s emerging leaders group, Adamczyk researched solutions for inefficiencies in construction with a focus on modular and prefabrication. As the Great Lakes representative for Ryan Cos.’ National Prefabrication Champions Group, Adamczyk led efforts to further the use of prefabrication and modular construction within the senior living sector.
30, Senior Engineering Consultant
This energy, water and living building expert is changing how cities work
After getting her bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Al-Qadi was awarded a research assistantship to pursue graduate studies at UIUC in environmental engineering, where her research was employed to develop point-of-use drinking water technologies for developing communities. Her work was supported by the National Science Foundation’s Center of Advanced Materials for Purification of Water (WaterCAMPWS). After completing her masters, Al-Qadi’s career at AECOM began as an engineer on the water team. She worked on drinking water treatment design, EPA compliance, vulnerability assessments, emergency response plans and innovative financial strategies for green infrastructure. Within her first year at AECOM, Al-Qadi was accepted into a doctoral program at George Washington University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. While working full-time, she completed her doctoral degree in engineering management. Her dissertation introduced a model to quantify stakeholder engagement for engineering projects for urban water systems. In her current role at AECOM, Al-Qadi is a project manager and senior engineering consultant on AECOM’s Smart Energy team. Her work with AECOM’s Global Cities team focuses on a variety of grid modernization, smart city, resilience, electrification, climate mitigation and carbon reduction initiatives for municipal, utility and private clients. Her projects include smart street lighting, smart sensors and networks, microgrids, net-zero buildings/communities, coordinated infrastructure investment, energy-water nexus, community solar installations and electric mobility. Al-Qadi has helped cities, including Detroit, Chicago and Boston, enhance community livability by using new technologies. Off the clock, Al-Qadi led Project Pipeline, a program that empowers middle school students to effect change in their communities through design. Al-Qadi revamped the curriculum to include engineering/sustainability principles. As a result, NOMA’s Illinois chapter was named the 2016 Chapter of the Year.
36, Executive Vice President, Engineering
Power plant professional empowers women in construction
Armstrong began her career at Kiewit in 2006 as a structural engineer and has served in various roles since supporting the execution of simple-cycle and combined-cycle gas-fired power plant projects and the estimating efforts related to them. In 2014, Armstrong took on the role of district engineering manager for Ibberson, a Kiewit subsidiary, leading design and engineering for food and beverage projects. In 2018, she was promoted to executive vice president of engineering, where she leads the Kiewit industrial engineering group focusing on design and engineering for the industrial market. With just 13 years in the industry, Armstrong has excelled at Kiewit through her ability to lead teams and her mastery of critical industry knowledge. She is the first woman to participate in Kiewit’s executive leadership development program, which is the highest level of training in the organization, consisting of a small group of participants selected annually by the executive board. Armstrong is a KieWomen executive sponsor and board member, supporting and leading initiatives that impact both the company and community. KieWomen’s mission is to empower, develop and promote women at Kiewit. She regularly participates in the group’s community outreach initiatives, which support STEM-focused groups and activities like Society of Women Engineer’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering event. Armstrong helped get Kiewit recognized by Central Exchange for the firm’s commitment to women in STEM industries. Central Exchange is a local Kansas City organization that promotes equitable treatment of women and cultivates women leaders.
37, Project Manager
Walter P Moore
Designer and innovator for high-profile stadiums
Kansas City, Mo.
Barton began his Walter P Moore career with one of the firm’s largest aviation projects, the $2.4-billion McCarran International Airport Terminal 3 expansion. He then transitioned to the design of Target Field in Minneapolis serving as the lead engineer on the team that put a 1-million-sq-ft ballpark onto a nine-acre site. Barton spent approximately one year on site during construction, serving as a crucial link from the design team to the construction team. He has served as lead engineer/assistant project manager on several international projects as well, including Investor’s Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and the SIX semi-conductor facility in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. The SIX facility is the world’s first semi-conductor facility in the southern hemisphere and was constructed of nearly all precast concrete to accommodate local building practices.
As a project manager, Barton led the integrated structural and enclosure engineering team at the recently completed Allianz Field, home of Minnesota United FC. The MLS stadium features the first large-scale use of a fiberglass woven clear PTFE laminate, creating a building skin that protects fans from the elements while maintaining a transparent look. Barton also leads Walter P Moore’s sports community of practice, a firm-wide group with a high level of interest, passion, experience and expertise in sports-related projects. He has also volunteered as a youth sports coach for his children’s teams for the last nine years.
JE Dunn Construction
Veteran construction superintendent and leader
Boeck’s construction career started immediately after high school when he worked part-time with a demolition contractor during college. In 2004, he started an internship with Kiewit, splitting roles as a field engineer, office engineer and estimator each year through 2009 before being hired full-time as a field engineer.
Boeck graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2009 with a degree in construction management. During his early professional career, Boeck served two tours of duty with the Army Reserves in Iraq in 2005 and was deployed to Afghanistan from 2009 to 2010. As a field engineer with Kiewit, he oversaw surveying and crew leader duties on the following projects: Concordia University Health and Human Performance Athletic Center from 2007-2009, Goodwill headquarters in 2010 and the TD Ameritrade headquarters from 2010-2012. As the latter structure was being completed, he assumed superintendent responsibilities, including overseeing the interior finishes on the 12-story tower portion of the TD Ameritrade project. From 2013-14, his first lead superintendent position was on the $20-million Gordmans headquarters project. After its completion, Boeck accepted a position with Beal-Derkenne Construction to act as lead superintendent on the $42-million Latitude Student Housing project in Lincoln, Neb. After successfully managing the six-story, 450,000-sq-ft building’s construction in just under 15 months, Boeck joined JE Dunn Construction as a superintendent on the $9.2-million Medical Office Building Renovation at Bergan Mercy Hospital in Omaha.
In fall 2017, he led the 11-month construction of the $32-million Methodist Corporate Building before moving on to his current superintendent role at the Children’s Hospital Skywalk in Omaha. Boeck started his military career as a carpentry/masonry specialist before his deployment to Iraq as a sergeant in transportation. During his deployment to Afghanistan, his skills in the construction industry allowed him to assume a role previously reserved only for commissioned officers, contracting $3 million in U.S.-funded construction projects to Afghan contractors.
36, Associate Vice President
Transportation and planning specialist
Canfield’s interest in transportation engineering began when she was a sophomore in college. As an intern with the Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation, she worked on a highway design project for a state highway bypass of two cities in northern Wisconsin. After returning to school, she joined the local WisDOT office and began working on bridge design projects for structures around the state. After obtaining her MBA in project management, Canfield’s passion for transportation planning led her to transition from a structural engineer to a transportation planner and traffic engineer. Since joining AECOM in 2005, she has led corridor studies, created public involvement plans, redesigned downtowns and navigated the environmental process for projects such as the I-39/90/94 Wisconsin River Bridge Study in Columbia County for WisDOT. This study is evaluating options to repair or replace a 58-year-old bridge over the Wisconsin River while maintaining traffic flow. She stepped into management only five years into her career, when she assumed the role of leader of the traffic/planning department in the Middleton office, and has been steadily promoted since. She became the Middleton transportation department leader in 2017 and one year later was promoted to leader of the transportation planning department for AECOM’s central region and named an associate vice president. In her current role, Canfield oversees a more than $20-million business that includes planning projects throughout the central region. For the past six years, she has volunteered to provide hands-on learning opportunities to high school girls through the Engineering Tomorrow’s Careers Camp at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She is also a member of the Women’s Transportation Seminar.
Second-generation leader takes full-circle path from real estate entrepreneurship to construction and back
Shawn Clark has touched nearly every aspect of construction, real estate and development. While he was an undergraduate at Clemson University earning his degree in construction science and management, he worked as an assistant superintendent and estimator for Clayco, where his father Bob Clark is CEO, on projects including Cortex, American TV and the LEED Silver-certified Edward A. Doisy Research Center at St. Louis University.
At 22, Clark established Capitol Peak Builders, a high-end residential construction company. This venture proved to be not only successful, but it provided Shawn with an opportunity to engage in the preconstruction process for every project. He discovered opportunities, developed relationships and created formal proposals that included budgets, project schedules and project specifications. He also applied procurement strategy for all subcontractors and vendors, negotiated and produced all contracts, coordinated various trades and managed self-perform work for all projects. After four years at Capital Peak, he joined Clayco full-time as a project manager, eventually working his way up to development manager. In 2016, he joined Clayco’s real estate arm, CRG, as vice president of finance. In April 2018, Clark was promoted to his current position as president of CRG. He also serves as a principal at Treehouse Adventures, a non-traditional investment group, where he focuses on community outreach and strategic partnerships.
38, Senior Associate
Engineer on large, complicated projects gives back via mentoring
Dauksas specializes in the design and construction of complicated and technically demanding structural systems. As a senior associate in Thornton Tomasetti’s Chicago office, he influences young engineers through his service in the ACE Mentor Program, as an adjunct professor at Northwestern and through firm-wide knowledge-sharing platforms, all while working on some of the most challenging projects in the Chicago area. Dauksas is project manager for the $500-million, five-building complex that constitutes the Obama Presidential Center on the south side and has completed technically challenging work for the $380-million Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center at Northwestern University’s downtown Chicago campus as well as the 1.2-million-sq-ft, 21-story James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. Dauksas began his volunteer work with ACE as a mentor, rising to team leader and then to associate board member. He also served as a liaison between the executive board and teams. He now sits on the executive board for the Chicago chapter.
37, Area Manager
EPC project leader
With more than 11 years of diverse engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) experience, Dotson leads Kiewit’s EPC project teams. He supports various technologies, including coal-fired, natural gas-fired and air quality control systems technology on new, existing and retrofit energy projects. As a vice president and area manager, he takes complex schedules and breaks them down into key milestones that affect day-to-day activities, capturing both the macro- and micro-level vision of each project aspect and communicates it to all project stakeholders. From 2015-18, Dotson managed several successful EPC projects, with teams ranging from 600 to 1,500 employees, completing each on time and within budget. One of them was the St. Joseph Energy Center in New Carlisle, Ind.—a full EPC project for a 700-MW natural gas-fired, 2 x 1 combined-cycle project that provides cleaner and more efficient energy.
36, Principal Transportation Engineer
Transportation engineer without borders
Grau joined Stanley Consultants’ transportation design group in 2008, shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His first job involved working on projects for the Illinois Dept. of Transportation and Illinois Tollway. When the construction management group needed assistance with tollway, water main and site development projects, Grau began a pattern of stepping up to the plate and gaining construction knowledge. He quickly rose to principal transportation engineer and has delivered projects in Illinois, Iowa, Hawaii, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. His responsibilities include leading the design and management of transportation preliminary engineering reports and design contract plans and specifications for county and municipal clients. He led the design team on the $4.4-million Lincolnwood Valley Line Pedestrian Bridge project in Lincolnwood, Ill. The bridge is a trail crossing over Touhy Avenue and doubles as a gateway into the Village of Lincolnwood in suburban Chicago.
Grau started volunteering with Engineers Without Borders in 2010 when he spent a week in Honduras with a group that was hand-constructing a concrete vehicle bridge. In 2013, he was instrumental in bringing water to Armenta, Honduras. He developed the plans to construct a two-mile-long rural water distribution system in the mountainous region and, as lead graphics designer, Grau took limited survey data and created a full plan set for the water system with profiles and alignments and translated it for local construction.
William S. Haas
Renewable energy leader has delivered in public and private sectors
Haas is a director in AECOM’s national energy business line. He has more than 15 years of professional experience in energy, sustainability, policy, business development and management. Throughout his career, Haas has overseen some of the country’s largest energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, including the Empower Louisiana programs, components of Illinois Solar for All, Missouri’s suite of Energize programs and Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy. He has directly managed more than $500 million in energy incentive funds for utility, state and local government clients and delivered more than 2.85 billion kWh in annual energy savings to more than 2.1 million utility customers. In addition, Haas has developed and implemented effective state and local policies and facilitated large groups of diverse stakeholders within complex regulatory environments.
At AECOM, he is responsible for business development within the smart energy space, operations of the Chicago-based energy team and the management of energy, resilience and electrification projects. Prior to joining AECOM, Haas was a principal and founding member at Inova Energy Group, where he held responsibilities for overall business management, company growth and project execution. Before founding Inova, he was the national director of energy programs for CB&I (formerly the Shaw Group). Prior to that, Haas managed energy efficiency and renewable energy grant and rebate programs, assisted with implementation of the first energy efficiency and renewable portfolio standards in Illinois and worked to develop and expand the renewable energy sector and corresponding supply chain while working at the Illinois Dept. of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. He is a member of Environmental Entrepreneurs’ Midwest Chapter, a national, nonpartisan business group advocating for policies that benefit the economy and the environment, and serves as the AECOM representative to the Sustainable Electrified Transportation Center (SELECT).
35, President and Founder
Businesswoman/engineer creates opportunities for all
A Venezuela-born American with two engineering degrees and an MBA, Haberberger decided to strike out on her own in late 2017 and started a company devoted to delivering full-service, multidiscipline engineering, project management, electrical substation design and transmission and distribution design. Since 2018, it has more than tripled its revenue to $2 million from $600,000. LUZCO has since won the St. Louis Business Diversity Connect Perfect Pitch Competition, the 2018 Adelante Award for Hispanic Emerging Business of the Year from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s St. Louis District Office’s Start-up Business of the Year Award. LUZCO was also honored as one of the 50 fastest-growing small businesses in St. Louis by Small Business Monthly’s Future 50 Awards Ceremony. Haberberger makes it her mission to demonstrate possibilities for minorities and women in engineering. She is a member of the St. Louis Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, where she volunteers as an inspirational speaker and mentor to young Latino leaders. LUZCO also provides job shadowing opportunities to immigrants who have relocated as a result of their spouses’ job transfers.
34, Business Development Manager
Biz development manager is an electrical grid disaster mitigator
Kamm began his career by completing rate studies, planning studies and economic evaluations for utility clients. Following major ice storms in 2009 and 2010, he assisted in evaluating electrical system damage and completing electrical system field design throughout Iowa. He also coordinated with Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Iowa Association of Electric cooperatives in developing and submitting public assistance and hazard mitigation grant applications to support reconstruction and strengthening of rural cooperative electric systems. In just 11 years with Stanley Consultants, Kamm worked his way up from college intern to business development manager in charge of many of the firm’s oldest rural electric client accounts. Following Hurricane Maria in 2017, Kamm teamed with the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management to build a task force consisting of engineers, electricians, electric line crews and other specialists from throughout the state to provide assistance to FEMA in Puerto Rico.
39, Vice President and Business Unit Leader
The more challenging the project, the better
Kansas City, Mo.
Quickly rising through the ranks at McCownGordon, Lacy leads the science and technology, health care and higher education markets for the construction company. He rose to vice president and business unit leader through his ability to manage challenging, fast-paced and complex projects.
His portfolio includes multiple projects for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, the Forensic Science Center for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Children’s Mercy Research Institute. Lacy has developed a niche for managing large, complex projects that require extensive coordination and communication, and he remains focused on building relationships with owners and delivering on time. Lacy also serves as a guide and a mentor at McCownGordon, where he takes pride in instilling the firm’s core values in the associates and younger professionals who work with him.
Lacy is a father of two and is also active in several leadership associations in the Greater Kansas City area, including Centurions, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Turn the Page KC and Warrior’s Ascent.
39, Renewable Energy Development Manager
Burns & McDonnell
Renewable energy evangelist creates opportunities for other women
Kansas City, Mo.
Parsons manages all facets of project development, including local zoning and permitting, environmental studies, real estate, detail design engineering, procurement, construction and financing resources to fully develop renewable energy projects for utility and commercial/industrial customers at Burns & McDonnell.
She embraces emerging technology and construction method advancements that can lower the cost or increase the efficiency of renewable energy and increase the firm’s strategic advantage. Prior to her current role, Parsons managed the energy development engineering department. Her knowledge of thermal performance and her experience in project development help her resolve technical issues while maintaining a focus on the client’s bottom line.
When she joined the company, she was her group’s only female mechanical engineer. Based in part on that experience, Parsons co-led the Burns & McDonnell Professional Women’s Exchange—a program that gives women in the company an opportunity to bond and build networks while engaging in current events, charitable efforts and educational opportunities. One of her favorite STEM programs is the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains, a K-12 STEM competition where students design a new exhibit concept for Science City. Parsons already has mentored teams through two cycles of the initiative, encouraging kids to think big and pursue STEM careers.
36, Director of Business Development
Innovator seeks to reposition Castle into growing regional player
Webster Groves, Mo.
Retherford is pioneering an innovative business strategy at Castle Contracting—known primarily as a local utility and earthwork subcontractor that is a subsidiary of McCarthy Building Cos.—by repositioning the firm into a growing regional player that earns about 20% of its revenue from direct project work with owners and developers. Since joining Castle in 2010, Retherford has helped grow prime sitework revenue to about $12 million annually from $500,000.
To drive this strategic shift, Retherford collaborated with Castle leadership to introduce a new turnkey civil design-build service for site development work. This involved adding an in-house civil design team so the company could offer its clients a one-stop shop during the earliest concept stages of a project, helping to minimize risk and optimize success with the ultimate goal of building what it designs.
Retherford has also been instrumental in helping Castle to expand its footprint beyond its St. Louis base. He conducted market research and developed an operational implementation plan that guided the company’s establishment of a permanent Omaha office and the hiring of a full-time project manager who reports to him.
Retherford continues to lead market research efforts to identify and evaluate potential opportunities for future national expansion.
39, End User Specialist and Team Leader
Safety is this Army veteran’s business
Crystal Lake, Ill.
Rizzo graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in systems engineering. He served in the U.S. Army from 1998-2007 and then as global director of business development for Comark Building systems. From there, Rizzo joined WernerCo as a national account manager and was then promoted to his current role as team leader of the company’s end user specialists (EUS) safety professionals throughout North America. He leads more than 40 regional training specialists, providing strategic guidance on training and education to end users and key safety product distribution partners. He also helps WernerCo to continue developing products that help professionals work safer.
From 1998 to 2007, Rizzo served in the U.S. Army as a company commander and was deployed to Iraq from 2005-2006. He achieved the rank of captain in his military career before retiring. He takes an active role in promoting a culture of collaboration and respect among his WernerCo teammates.
37, Vice President and Business Unit Leader
McCarthy Building Cos.
Health care star and problem solver
Sawall joined McCarthy Building Cos. as a project engineer in 2005 after earning a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. His first McCarthy project was a nine-story tower addition at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio. Based on his contributions to the $130-million project, Sawall was promoted to assistant superintendent.
He then relocated to Omaha to contribute to a $350-million hospital expansion program encompassing five Alegent Health (now CHI Health) campuses. After being promoted to superintendent and project manager, Sawall moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he worked with NBBJ designers as part of the preconstruction team on the VA New Orleans Replacement Medical Center. When the $1-billion, 1.6-million-sq-ft health care campus broke ground, he relocated to New Orleans to help bring it to life.
As senior project manager, he led an office operations team of more than 20 workers representing the Clark/McCarthy Healthcare Partners joint venture. In 2013, Sawall left McCarthy to open a Milwaukee office for Consolidated Construction Co. and led the firm’s Southeast region’s operations, but he returned to McCarthy as project director in 2014 to launch the company’s new Omaha office. Under his guidance and leadership, that office expanded from two people to nearly 100. Last May, Sawall earned a promotion to vice president and business unit leader, overseeing both the Omaha and Kansas City offices. He helped launch the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Omaha and serves on its board of directors and participates on the Advisory Board at Metropolitan Community College and the Construction Industry Advisory Council of the Durham School of Architectural Engineering & Construction at the University of Nebraska. He also regularly speaks about health care design and construction at industry conferences.
39, Associate, Senior Engineer
Farm boy develops a passion for engineering
Growing up on a farm near Fort Dodge, Iowa, Streit found a passion for engineering and construction. After beginning his career working in environmental engineering and mechanical and process design, Streit joined IMEG Corp. six years ago and has worked as an industrial process engineer, mechanical design engineer, project manager and, finally, as a senior engineer and associate with the firm. He is a recognized subject matter expert for projects involving bulk material handling, combustible dust collection systems, compressed air systems and facilities for growing plants indoors. He now works with large industrial, agricultural, higher education and federal clients.
His projects include the University of Arkansas’ rice seed conditioning plant (which produces a large portion of the nation’s rice harvest), mechanical upgrades for the U.S. Postal Service’s mail processing facilities and several Iowa State University projects focused on everything from poultry production to power distribution. He even designed MedPharm Iowa’s project to convert a warehouse into growth chambers for medical cannabis, the first medical marijuana manufacturing facility in Iowa.