Out of 131 projects that were submitted to this year’s ENR Texas & Louisiana Best Projects competition, an independent team of industry experts have selected 45 for the region’s top honors.

Multiple panels of jurors reviewed each entry over the course of a month across 20 categories, ending up with a total of 19 Best Projects and 26 awards of merit. These projects were completed between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma or Texas.

The region’s 19 Best Projects winners will now advance to the national level, competing with winners from nine other regions to be considered for ENR’s Best of the Best awards. Judging will begin later this year.

The criteria that judges used to evaluate these entries included project challenges and solutions as well as safety programs and innovative design and construction solutions. Also considered were a project’s contribution to the construction industry and community as well as design quality and construction craftsmanship. Any projects that had a construction-related death were immediately disqualified.

Judges recused themselves if there were any possible conflicts of interest.

In addition, an independent panel of safety experts reviewed more than 50 entries for the region’s Excellence in Safety award, selecting one overall winner and three awards of merit. Among the safety judging criteria were lost-time and recordable incident rates versus total worker hours, along with execution and quality of jobsite-specific safety and health programs.

Along with each of the category winners, our jurors were tasked with selecting one project that represented the very best work across the entire region. It came down to three finalists: recenter (in the residential/hospitality category), The Sazerac House (renovation/restoration) and Texas Health Frisco (health care).

Each project team will be honored during the first-ever virtual Best Projects awards ceremony on Oct. 23.

Read on to learn more about each of this year’s winning projects.


Meet The Jury

Judges selected the winning ENR Texas & Louisiana entries based on the following criteria: overcoming challenges, teamwork, safety, innovation, contribution to the industry and community, construction quality and craftsmanship, and design function and aesthetics.

Kim AllenKim Allen
Director of Operations
Construction Industry Institute at The University of Texas at Austin

During his tenure at CII, Allen has launched several knowledge management initiatives, including chartering numerous communities of practice to foster member engagement and promote knowledge sharing of best practices. Allen joined CII in 2007 with over 30 years of experience in process engineering and control and project and business management.

David HelvestonDavid Helveston
President & CEO
Pelican Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.

Helveston leads a nonprofit trade association of contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and industry professionals across Louisiana that advances the construction industry. Before joining ABC Pelican in 2017, he held positions with LCTCS and the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

Nicholas MoldanerNicholas Moldaner
Vice President

Moldaner has been active in the construction industry for 21 years, first as a carpenter for his father’s residential general contracting business. He joined Palmisano in 2013 to work with Wesley Palmisano to transform the company from residential to commercial construction, and he developed the preconstruction program from the ground up. He was a 2020 ENR Texas & Louisiana Top Young Professional.

Meloni (McDaniel) RaneyMeloni (McDaniel) Raney
President & CEO
TEXO, The Construction Assn.

Raney currently leads the largest commercial contractors association in Texas and the largest association in the U.S. affiliated with both the national ABC and AGC. She has been with TEXO since 2013 and led the member programs and services efforts until her promotion to president and CEO in 2015. She is a licensed architect in Texas.


Hannah SargentHannah Sargent
Architect, Associate

Sargent is a licensed architect in the state of  New York, where she began her career before transitioning to the Houston office of Gensler. In her almost 10 years with the firm, she has concentrated on large and small projects within the education practice area as well as the health care and cultural sectors. Sargent was a 2020 ENR Texas & Louisiana Top Young Professional.


Thomas SofrankoThomas Sofranko
Associate Dean
College of Art + Design, Louisiana State University

Sofranko is a professor of architecture at LSU, where he has worked for the past 28 years. His research on beginning design education was recently published in Developing Creative Thinking in Beginning Design. Sofranko is a licensed architect and has practiced with a variety of firms in Ohio, Florida and Louisiana.


Brent L. FisherBrent L. Fisher
Safety Director
Yates Construction

Fisher has more than 20 years of construction safety experience on pulp and paper, heavy industrial, power generation, process and commercial projects throughout the U.S. and internationally. He has served in numerous safety roles at Yates Construction over the last 19 years and is a Certified Safety Professional and Construction Health and Safety Technician.


Trista ShomoTrista Shomo
Senior Safety Manager
Manhattan Construction

Shomo has been in the construction industry for 10 years and is currently working on the Oklahoma State Capitol project. She graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a degree in occupational safety and health in 2008 and was a member of OSU’s women’s basketball team from 2004-2008.