This year’s class of Top Young Professionals includes architects, engineers, project managers and executives at national and regional firms across Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. With educational backgrounds ranging form bachelor’s degrees to doctorates, these young leaders all exhibit their commitment to serving the AEC sector and local communities through their work in the field and beyond.

The competition was keen, with an impressive quality of nominees submitted to ENR Southwest from across the AEC community. Companies could nominate multiple people and individuals could also nominate themselves.

To be eligible, nominees must be working full-time in some aspect of the commercial construction industry in the Southwest region, which includes Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, and entrants must be under age 40 as of Jan. 1, 2021.

Among the key selection criteria are an individual’s professional achievements, such as acquiring or progressing toward industry certifications, success in creating more efficient systems, designing new processes or managing landmark projects, seeking innovative approaches to their work, both within and away from the office, as well as a steadfast dedication to giving back through volunteer work across the industry and within their own communities.

This year’s judges included Dana Aragon, workforce development director, AGC of New Mexico, and Erica Lange, vice president, Arizona Builders Alliance. Also joining this year’s judging panel were four of ENR Southwest’s 2020 Top Young Professionals: Ozzy Bravo, senior associate, Terracon Consultants Inc.; Ali Fakih, principal at Sustainability Engineering Group; Lindsey Schultz, office leader/structural engineer, Meyer Borgman Johnson; and Milos Vasiljevic, program manager, HDR.

The following pages contain profiles of the winners, highlighting their goals, successes and the impacts they have had on their companies and communities. Congratulations to this year’s winners.


Related Link
ENR Southwest’s 2020 Top Young Professionals



Amber AlfsonAmber Alfson
31, Substation Section Manager
Burns & McDonnell

Alfson’s career success stems from her efforts helping to supply millions of people with safe, reliable power.

A 2011 graduate of the University of Arizona, Alfson has spent nearly a decade implementing hundreds of critical substation projects throughout the Southwest. As a section manager at Burns & McDonnell, she manages electric transmission and distribution projects for some of the firm’s largest utility clients, contributing to more than 250 projects nationwide.

Alfson joined the firm in 2013 after getting her start in the industry at a large local utility. Today, she leads a team of 11 substation engineers, supporting more than 100 projects across the region. The team has grown from three to 14 under her watch, with a 366% increase in technical capabilities.

She is recognized for promoting careers in STEM and partnering with local universities to encourage undecided students to explore career opportunities in STEM-related fields.

Chris AnvikChris Anvik
37, Senior Vice President
McCarthy Building Cos.

Anvik joined McCarthy as a project engineer in 2006. After working in a number of the firm’s U.S. markets, he now leads the Phoenix-based water services team. 

Anvik’s early work in estimating helped him rise through McCarthy’s ranks. He worked as a senior estimator, preconstruction manager and director before being named senior vice president last year.

Anvik has been involved in McCarthy’s water and wastewater market since 2008, solidifying his reputation by delivering more than $2 billion worth of work via collaborative delivery methods. Anvik’s teams are credited with generating more than 1,000 value-engineering ideas that brought $263 million in cost savings for clients.

Anvik serves as chairman for the Water Design-Build Council’s Advisory Board, a nonprofit established to advance design-build and construction management at-risk delivery methods on municipal water and wastewater projects. He also gives back to the community by supporting local community school improvement projects and serving on internal committees such as McCarthy Heart Hats.

Alex CharlandAlex Charland
35, Project Director
Sundt Construction
Tempe, Ariz.

After starting his career at Sundt nearly 16 years ago, Charland now serves as operations director for its industrial group. He advanced through Sundt’s ranks while working on a variety of infrastructure, mining and industrial manufacturing process facilities.

In his role as operations director, he uses that experience to improve processes while providing oversight to each of the individual project teams. Charland also works with Sundt’s talent acquisition team by identifying high-potential candidates, helping bring new hires on board and fostering an environment of professional growth for Sundt employees. This role led him to see the benefits of connecting students to the construction industry.

Charland is heavily involved in Sundt’s college recruiting, serving for more than 10 years on the Construction Program Industry Advisory Board for his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Stout. His goal is to improve the links of real-world construction with the university’s program, improving the talent pipeline and helping to prepare students as they transition into the profession.

Ryan CogleyRyan Cogley
36, Vice President
Project Executive
McCarthy Building Cos.
Henderson, Nev.

Cogley joined McCarthy directly from Montana State University, coming aboard as a project engineer before advancing through the project management ranks to become a project director.

He now serves as vice president and project executive for McCarthy Building Group in its Henderson, Nev., office. Cogley has worked on 18 projects valued at nearly $1 billion. He finds health care work to be the most rewarding. He says he is particularly proud of his work on the operating room expansion and post-anesthesia care unit remodel at Spring Valley Hospital in Las Vegas, which was delivered as an integrated lean project.

His team recently completed the 512-room Circa Resort & Casino in downtown Las Vegas, where Cogley oversaw more than 900 trade professionals and 50 McCarthy management staff.

He has served as chair for the UNLV Construction Management and Civil Engineering advisory board for the past three years. Cogley is also actively involved with the Nevada Contractors Association’s Construction Training Education Committee, which he started integrating with the Clark County School District in Las Vegas, allowing construction leaders to connect with teachers, parents, counselors and students to provide a better understanding of available construction career paths.

Matthew CramerMatthew Cramer
39, President
Farmington, N.M.

Cramer holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in civil engineering from New Mexico State University. He joined GEOMAT as a project engineer and manager, advancing to vice president before becoming president of the Farmington, N.M.-based firm in 2018.

Under Cramer’s guidance, GEOMAT opened a second office in Rio Rancho this past summer, expanding the company’s services to a larger region and client base. The firm achieved 20% revenue growth over the previous year. 

Cramer has worked on more than 500 projects during his career, including schools, casinos, health care facilities, roadways, office buildings and industrial facilities. He has served as vice president of the Structural Engineers Association of New Mexico and president of the San Juan Chapter of the New Mexico Society for Professional Engineers. Cramer also coaches youths in his community and was named the U.S. Youth Soccer West Regional Boys Coach of the Year in 2019.

Colleen CunninghamColleen Cunningham
36, Interior Design Director

Cunningham was drawn to a career in interior design from her early interest in how humans experience their environment. This, along with her artistic abilities and technical skills, merged into a career that led her to Gensler’s Phoenix office in 2020 as its interior design director.

Cunningham brings a diverse range of experience to the firm, including designs for higher education, corporate workplaces, hospitality, mixed-use, government and historic preservation projects. Cunningham pursues mentorship opportunities as part of her industry involvement, including serving as an adjunct professor at Arizona State University in 2018, where she continues to support design programs through her participation in studio critiques and student portfolio reviews.

She also is an active member of the International Interior Design Association’s Southwest Chapter, having served for two years on the Southwest region’s board as director of professional development. Cunningham achieved her National Council for Interior Design Qualification certification in 2019.


“Designers use their imagination to solve problems and improve people’s lives. The fact that we are trusted to use our creativity in this way is both remarkable and rewarding and constantly fuels my passion for design!” – Colleen Cunningham, 36, Interior Design Director, Gensler

Kathryn DeckerKathryn Decker
35, Design Manager

Decker’s transition to an interior design career came about after becoming a parent and operating a licensed family home childcare center.

Though her business was successful, she quickly discovered her role had a limited impact on children’s learning environments, so she returned to school to complete her original major, interior design. While a student, Decker won 11 awards, including for best portfolio and academic excellence, and three awards from the American Society of Interior Designers. She was also the first student in the school’s history to win an ASID award in three separate years.

Decker graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the Art Institute of Atlanta in 2017. She joined Gensler not long after and was quickly promoted to design manager, where she oversees several concurrent projects and serves as Gensler’s early childhood education expertise team leader. Decker helps incubate design strategy within the firm’s Phoenix office and is heavily involved with the Association for Learning Environments, which is a cross-discipline nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of educational environments.


“Find a way to combine all of your passions into one. This is your differentiator.” – Kathryn Decker, 35, Design Manager, Gensler


Kate DimockKate Dimock
38, Principal/Interior Designer

Dimock is a principal at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, where she leads the firm’s interior design studio and manages a team of 17 interior designers located across Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas.

Dimock is a “doer-seller” who oversees and mentors her team, leads business development for the interior design practice while also managing the firm’s interior projects.

Dimock earned a master’s degree in organizational learning and instructional technology from the University of New Mexico and uses that knowledge to improve projects and services the firm provides to its corporate workplace clients.

Dimock is a former TEDxABQ speaker and continues to share her knowledge about the impact of good design through published case studies and by hosting webinars on the future of working in a post-COVID world. She is a founding member of DPS’s Continuum Program, which provides employees with mentorship, continuing education and professional development.

A passion for networking, economic development and community engagement also drew Dimock to Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), where she is an active member and has been part of both the finance and sponsorship committees. In addition, she engages as a mentor at her firm and in the community with the CREW Mentorship Program.


“Find a mentor! Choose someone you respect and admire, who will inspire you to take risks, challenge your thinking and encourage you every step of the way.” – Kate Dimock, 38, Principal/Interior Designer, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini


Juan DoradoJuan Dorado
32, Associate/Architect

Growing up on a farm in a small town in New Mexico continues to influence Dorado’s work as an architect at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini in Albuquerque. He uses his background and insights into rural and remote areas to create significant projects that perfectly fit small communities. Upon starting his career at a small firm in Carlsbad, N.M., Dorado discovered a passion for small projects at schools and businesses, increasing his involvement in the community. He has served in leadership positions on the Carlsbad Main Street board of directors, Carlsbad Rotary International and Carlsbad Medical Center board of trustees. 

When the firm closed, Dorado moved to Albuquerque, joining Dekker/Perich/Sabatini. He became a licensed architect in 2019 and was named an associate later that year. Today, he is a project manager on the $58-million, fast-track design-build project for the Bureau of Indian Affairs that includes a new K-8 school, a student dorm, teacher housing and a fire station in the small community of Lukachukai, Ariz. Dorado enjoys mentoring interns, training other staff in software like Bluebeam and coaching colleagues in marketing efforts.

Alicia DuffyAlicia Duffy
31, Project Manager
M.A. Mortenson Co.
Chandler, Ariz.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sustainability from Arizona State University, Duffy found the perfect career fit as a project manager in M.A. Mortenson Co.’s Phoenix office. She applies green principles to the firm’s projects, helping ensure sustainability measures are carried through from design to construction.

Duffy also aims to incorporate sustainability measures in the company’s overall operations. Her submission of a water-bottle-free site was one of five ideas selected to advance in an internal competition on innovation, with more than 60 entries submitted. The idea included installation of water dispensers sourced from the municipal water supply on site, eliminating extra waste from single-use water bottles. Duffy has been instrumental in redefining Mortenson’s safety standards by pioneering the development and implementation of a 5S program that aims to reduce waste, improve safety and optimize productivity by employing visual cues, maintaining an orderly workplace and improving operational efficiency.  

Boe EvansonBoe Evanson
39, Senior Project Manager
The Weitz Co.

Soon after graduating from Brigham Young University in 2007, Evanson joined Weitz Construction as a project engineer. Today, he is a senior project manager handling some of Weitz’s largest projects across the region, including a $75-million phase of a senior-living community at Sagewood Life Care Services.

Managing more than $200 million of construction work on the Sagewood campus for the past seven years has provided him with an opportunity to play a key role in helping to support the care and well-being of 500 seniors in the operational facility. As a senior project manager, Evanson also mentors junior project managers and leads quarterly project engineers meetings. He connects to the community through his work with Habitat for Humanity, where he recently led the members of his church in building a home in Gilbert, Ariz. Evanson also devotes five hours a week to mentoring boys, aged 15-18, at his church.

“I ensure my team understands the needs of our client. I then align the team’s talents and resources toward those needs. A clear understanding of the client’s goals is critical to providing an exceptional building experience.” – Boe Evanson, 39, Senior Project Manager, The Weitz Co.

Phil GlennPhil Glenn
38, Project Director
Kitchell Contractors

As project director for Kitchell Contractors in Phoenix, Glenn is responsible for managing complex, multimillion-dollar projects, including the firm’s current work at Valleywise Health Medical Center, a 637,000-sq-ft, billion-dollar community teaching hospital for Maricopa County. Because it is a publicly funded hospital, he must incorporate public-compliance processes into Kitchell’s own stringent procedures while managing communication with multiple stakeholders. Glenn thrives on fast-paced health care projects, meeting the challenges of patient safety, infection control and emergency care while working on an operational hospital campus. He is DBIA certified, bringing the industry’s best practices of design-build into Kitchell’s processes and procedures, and he champions a “big room” project approach that brings the owner’s representative, contractor, design team and key trade partners to work in one office.

He is active in Boy Scouts, serving as troop leader for the past eight years; he also leads a young men’s youth group in his church.

Mark IbarraMark Ibarra
37, Regional Global Practice Manager
1898 & Co., a Division of Burns & McDonnell

Ibarra leads a team of power system consultants for 1898 & Co., a business, technology and security solutions consultancy division of Burns & McDonnell.

His experience across the utility spectrum includes 14 years in the electric power industry, during which time he worked on projects ranging from power generation and renewables to energy delivery and demand side management.

Ibarra spent the first five years of his career as a mechanical engineer at Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), where he managed large capital projects for the APS natural gas and coal-fired fossil fleet.  

He is passionate about renewable-energy technologies, bringing his experience with energy-rebate programs to the benefit of 1898 & Co.’s clientele. For his efforts, Ibarra was selected to participate in Burns & McDonnell’s Emerging Leaders Program. He also was recently appointed to Leadership West, a 501(c)3 leadership development program that brings Phoenix’s West Valley area business leaders together to help solve community challenges.

Brendan MillerBrendan Miller
31, Project Manager
Hensel Phelps

Since graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 2012 and joining Hensel Phelps, Miller has worked on $3.3 billion worth of projects. He holds DBIA and LEED AP BD+C accreditations, an OSHA 30-Hour certification and LEAN-CM and Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS) accreditation.

Miller’s experience in building specialized semiconductor manufacturing facilities led to a role as project manager on a $2.7-billion confidential project under construction in Chandler, Ariz., the client’s largest project to date with Hensel Phelps. His work on the project includes overseeing a team of 183 employees and more than 4,500 tradespeople on site at peak activity.

Miller considers the project to be one of the highlights of his career, but his project experience includes all types of delivery methods.

He is passionate about design-build and green building, holding both DBIA and LEED AP BD+C accreditations. Miller has been a member of the Arizona DBIA Chapter and is currently the acting Young Professionals Chapter Committee chair, which he volunteered to establish when he joined DBIA in 2019.

Miller is involved with several other organizations such as the Arizona Builders Alliance and is a member of the ACE Mentor program.

Benjamin MlinarBenjamin Mlinar
34, Division Manager
Tempe, Ariz.

Located in Rosendin’s Tempe, Ariz., regional office, Mlinar oversees 30 office employees and more than 500 field personnel. His interest in construction started in high school, when he spent every summer working for a small construction company in rural Nebraska. He built barns, irrigation systems and small concrete projects. He pursued a bachelor’s degree in construction management from the University of Nebraska while working in the field, gaining direct knowledge of masonry, carpentry and electrical trades. That led to an offer to work on the Maricopa County South Court Tower project for Rosendin in 2010.

Since then, Mlinar’s career has rapidly progressed, helped along by his efforts working full-time for Rosendin while completing the MBA program at Arizona State University. Mlinar is involved in several industry organizations, serving as a board member for the Arizona ACE Mentor Program, where he leads the scholarship committee. He is also a 2019 graduate of the Arizona Builder’s Alliance Leadership Development Forum.


“Our industry is getting older, and we need to focus on how to steer young talent toward construction careers.” – Benjamin Mlinar, 34, Division Manager, Rosendin


Cesar OchoaCesar Ochoa
30, Civil Engineer
Granite Construction Inc.

Ochoa began his construction career in Colombia, working on airfield projects. After moving to the U.S. in 2015, he pursued a master’s degree in civil engineering and construction management at Arizona State University and joined Granite Construction, where he worked on some of the largest transportation projects in the country, including the Tappan Zee bridge in New York.

After completing his master’s degree cum laude, Ochoa turned toward supporting Granite’s work in the Southwest. He was assigned to the South Mountain Freeway, a $1.7-billion, 22-mile, design-build freeway project—and one of the largest infrastructure projects in Arizona’s history. Granite’s leadership team credits Ochoa’s management of self-performed work and subcontractor crews on the project with helping the firm deliver it several months early. Ochoa is a recognized mentor within the firm, continually sharing best practices. He is currently studying to achieve his next goal: passing the professional engineer exam to achieve his PE license.  

“I think that the industry can support young professionals better by giving us more training and opportunities. Being young doesn’t mean that you are not qualified.” – Cesar Ochoa, 30, Civil Engineer, Granite Construction Inc.

Mahroo SoroushMahroo Soroush
36, Virtual Design and Construction Manager
Hensel Phelps

Born and raised in Iran, Soroush earned her bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering from Shiraz University before moving to Tucson to intern with SBBL Architecture + Planning. 

She transitioned from design to construction, joining the Phoenix office of Hensel Phelps in 2013. She advanced from virtual design construction engineer to VDC lead engineer, where she worked on one of the world’s largest semiconductor projects, valued at $2.7 billion. Soroush created and implemented the BIM execution plan and worked with the procurement team to help prequalify more than 100 trades on the contract.

In addition to leading 30 VDC engineers, Soroush manages project execution, budget and schedule for Hensel Phelps’ Western district projects. She looks for ways to share the power of technology across the industry, participating in panels to educate Arizona State University students about the power of technology in real estate development.

Jimmy TometichJimmy Tometich
39, Senior Project Manager
Layton Construction

Tometich earned bachelor’s degrees in both physics and mathematics while playing baseball and football for Wartburg College, where he graduated magna cum laude. He then transitioned to construction management in the master’s degree program at Iowa State University.

After working across a broad range of project types, Tometich joined Layton Construction in Phoenix in 2018, where he currently serves as a senior project manager. Tometich manages client relationships, develops new business and oversees projects. His experience during the past five years includes project management and oversight of more than 15 projects valued at more than $400 million. The firm credits his expertise as a key factor contributing to Layton’s recent growth in the region. He is a recognized mentor within the firm and gives back to the community by serving on the Executive Council 70 in Phoenix, a nonprofit that raises funds for metro area youth organizations. He also serves as a Big Brother as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona.   

Ellie VolosinEllie Volosin
34, Traffic Engineer

Volosin combined a love of civil engineering and academics to create a career that uses research to deliver better design solutions for some of the biggest challenges facing transportation. With both a master’s degree and a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Arizona State University, Volosin continued her work in multimodal transportation microsimulation systems by pursuing a PhD there. An offer from AECOM to join its Phoenix office in 2013 pushed her thesis work to nights and weekends until she earned her doctorate in 2014. Since that time, Volosin has honed her skills with traffic microsimulation models. As deputy project manager, Volosin manages a team of trainee traffic engineers. Her goals include learning and growing as a traffic engineer while adding project and team management responsibilities to her workload.

Registered as a professional engineer in Arizona, she is dedicated to giving back to the profession through organizations such as Women in Transportation and internal AECOM team initiatives to share best practices companywide.

Karla YanniKarla Yanni
34, Estimator
Chandler, Ariz.

Yanni’s father spent his career in the mining industry, providing her with an early exposure to large construction equipment and the joys of playing in the dirt. This led her to pursue a career in design and construction and earn a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Guadalajara in 2009. Yanni then returned to the U.S., where she began her professional career with an Arizona electrical contractor.

Since joining Mortenson’s Phoenix office more than five years ago, she has become a key part of its estimating group, working on some of the firm’s most notable projects in the region, including the Great Wolf Lodge in Scottsdale and an off-season renovation to the Milwaukee Brewers’ American Family Fields.

Her role at the company offers her an opportunity to fulfill her passion to create an inclusive culture. She is among the founders and serves as chair of Mortenson’s building inclusion and diversity affinity group, which is focused on attracting, developing and retaining diverse team members in order to build a community that is cohesive, supportive and inclusive.

Yanni also serves as an ambassador for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and mentors students at Gateway Community College.