Legos, road trips and freight trains—common childhood memories that led to big dreams for some of this year’s ENR California and Northwest’s Top Young Professionals. Inspired by the experiences of their youth, this group of achievers chose the fields of architecture, construction and engineering and are building reputations for mapping the industry’s future.
Each year, ENR California and Northwest salutes 25 individuals from the region of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington who are under the age of 40 and have shown extraordinary leadership and service.
A volunteer panel of judges evaluates the nominees on their experience and education, career accomplishments and leadership, and community service and involvement.
This year’s judges were:
- Mannie Barnes, construction manager, Guy F. Atkinson Construction
- Michael Boomsma, senior vice president of education facilities, Cordoba Corp.
- Kelly Havens, senior engineer, Geosyntec Consultants
- Ginger Kelly, vice president, marketing, RIM Architects
- Menzer Pehlivan, geotechnical engineer, Jacobs
- Wendy MacLeod, project director, Turner Construction Co.
- Eric Solem, project director, Exxel Pacific.
ENR thanks our judges for their time and consideration. Next, these Top Young Professionals will advance to compete for ENR’s national Top 20 Under 40 competition. The winners will be announced this spring.
Congratulations to our regional honorees!
David M. Alford
Valuable asset to company’s health care market
39, Vice President, Project Executive
McCarthy Building Cos.
Newport Beach, Calif.
Alford joined McCarthy shortly after completing his education at Colorado State University, beginning his career as a project engineer. He currently serves as the primary contact for McCarthy’s Kaiser Permanente projects, where he manages all preconstruction and construction services and allocates company resources as needed. He has worked on some of the firm’s most significant health care projects, and in his 17 years at McCarthy, has contributed to more than 18 projects valued at approximately $2 billion.
Alford routinely leads nearly 500 tradesmen while working on five to eight projects at a time. He also led a peer group training committee, where employees collaborate on company processes, and helped colleagues address common project issues, identify strategies to increase efficiency and provide insights on how the company could improve processes.
Entrepreneur and global sustainability champion
39, President/Chief Executive
Anderson is president, chief executive and co-founder of Greenroads International, a nonprofit developer of the Greenroads Rating System. Under her leadership, Greenroads grew from a group of four volunteers to a global nonprofit supported by 43 volunteers, full-time operation staff and more than 5,000 users in 64 countries.
Anderson earned a doctorate in sustainability and civil engineering from the University of Washington and a certificate in business administration from the Foster School of Business. She has worked in a variety of structural, geotechnical and construction engineering positions after completing an undergraduate engineering degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
A licensed professional engineer in California and Washington, Anderson volunteers for the Committee on Environmental Analysis and Ecology for the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science. In 2013, President Obama honored her work at Greenroads Foundation as a Champion of Change for Transportation Technology in the 21st century.
Estimate developer in the semiconductor industry
38, Preconstruction Services Director, Vice President
JE Dunn Construction
A 14-year veteran of JE Dunn, Cook has developed a customized estimating platform for the semiconductor and microelectronics industry. The platform allows his estimating team to provide detailed, early-design estimates to capture nuances on high-tech projects and helps end users make informed decisions. Cook also developed a specialized learning and onboarding program for employees new to the semiconductor industry. The step-by-step training allowed JE Dunn to quickly expand its presence in this target market while improving the performance of trade partners by aligning expectations of delivery.
Cook is passionate about teaching and helping others. He has been a guest speaker for college courses, including classes at Portland Community College, and taught a breakout session on Bluebeam Technology at the AGC Oregon Conference. He also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and the Oregon Food Bank.
Abir Coury Hanna
Proven leader and project controls expert
37, Senior Project Controls Manager
Coury Hanna is known for her attention to detail, and her colleagues praise her spot-on forecasts and procedures, which result in considerable cost savings for clients.
For the past six years of her 13-year career, Coury Hanna has worked on Sempra Energy’s projects at CM Solutions, which rapidly promoted her from cost engineer to senior project controls manager. She also has managed cost controls for a $400-million portfolio of 17 projects for both Southern California Gas and San Diego Gas & Electric. In her current role, Coury Hanna works on cost analysis, project controls processes, project planning and team management.
Coury Hanna began her career at Jacobs after earning bachelor’s degrees in both electrical and computer engineering from California State Polytechnic University-Pomona. Within three years, she was promoted to project controls lead for Jacobs’ multimillion-dollar Chevron El Segundo and AOC construction programs. She managed 12 people and implemented cost-control processes that saved more than $8 million. At the same time, she completed her MBA, also from Cal Poly Pomona.
Ross B. Cussen
Helps keep buildings safe and functional
Cussen was working toward his bachelor’s degree in structural engineering at University of California, San Diego when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred. After 9/11, he adapted his studies and focused on the development of anti-terrorism technologies for critical infrastructure and force protection.
After earning a master’s degree in structural engineering, Cussen began working on structural and protective design engineering to keep buildings safe. One of his most notable projects is the World Trade Center redevelopment, where he implemented protective design features for several of the new towers. Other notable projects include the U.N. renovation, numerous U.S. embassies, federal facilities, airports, stadiums and arenas, and commercial facilities.
Cussen is one of the youngest principals at Thornton Tomasetti and leads more than 40 projects for the firm.
Award-winning construction manager and volunteer
37, Construction Manager
Gollan began his career in Chicago as a designer and resident engineer on roadway, land development, stormwater, wastewater and water systems projects. After moving to California and joining AECOM in 2012, he became one of the youngest resident engineers in the state, working on railroad grade separation projects in the Los Angeles area.
Shortly after joining AECOM, Gollan earned his MBA and soon became deputy operations manager for the transportation construction management group in the firm’s West region. Along the way, he won two Construction Management Association of America awards and an American Council of Engineering Cos. award for his grade-separation projects. Since moving to California, Gollan has served the resident engineer on projects totaling more than $700 million.
Gollan also believes in helping others. A lifelong soccer fan, he founded the nonprofit Goals 4 Ghana, which supplies used soccer equipment to children in Ghana.
Innovative HVAC expert
36, Associate Principal
Goudarzi’s love of cars as a youth led to an interest in thermal dynamics and a degree in mechanical engineering from Ryerson University, where he headed a team that won third place after submitting a thesis on a HVAC laboratory project to the ASHRAE student international design competition. That success increased his interest in HVAC design and inspired him to become an ASHRAE member, an organization he is still involved with today.
Upon entering the construction industry, Goudarzi was introduced to health care projects, which not only challenged him but also gave him a rewarding connection to the community. He specializes in designing HVAC systems that utilize cutting-edge technologies to improve energy efficiency. Today, Goudarzi leads Arup’s local health care practice.
Beyond the company, Goudarzi is involved in the ACE Mentor Program, serving underprivileged communities and helping students learn about future construction careers.
Accomplished engineer and teacher
36, Project Engineer, Adjunct Professor
California Dept. of Transportation; California State University, East Bay
Hakhamaneshi earned a PhD in civil engineering from the University of California, Davis, where he conducted research in geotechnical and earthquake engineering and studied innovative techniques for the retrofit of existing buildings. After his studies, he joined the civil and structural engineering department at the University of Sheffield as a post-doctoral research associate and served as deputy to the newly established Center for Energy and Infrastructure Ground Research.
Hakhamaneshi joined the California DOT as a project engineer in 2018 and recently developed the foundation report for a $60-million bridge replacement project. He oversaw the geotechnical design of foundations for two bridges and a mechanically stabilized earth wall.
Since entering the industry, Hakhamaneshi has published 12 journal articles, 19 conference papers and 10 technical reports. He also is a part-time lecturer at the California State University, East Bay.
Dedicated, hard-working executive
36, Project Executive
Shawmut Design and Construction
Harper-Smith’s passion for construction began when she played with Legos as a child, which later led her to earn a degree in civil engineering from USC and an MBA in organizational behavior from Loyola Marymount University. In college, she was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers.
Once in the workforce, Harper-Smith quickly rose up the ranks thanks to her expertise, business acumen and leadership skills. In her current position as project executive, she is responsible for the oversight of an entire office and field team.
Six years into her career, Harper-Smith became the MEP project manager on the multimillion-dollar seismic retrofit and renovation of the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles. She led integration of all MEP infrastructure systems in the historic building, transforming the 335,000-sq-ft structure into LEED Gold office space.
Experienced airport project manager
35, Senior Project Manager
Clark Construction Group
Johnson is a senior project manager at the International Arrivals Facility at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Not only is the project located at one of the 10 busiest airports in the U.S., it is also part of the most complex capital development program in the airport’s history.
To get to this level, Johnson studied environmental engineering, math and science at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After graduating, he served 10 years as an Army engineer, part of which was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a project manager.
In 2016, he joined Clark and began working at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, where his extensive military experience has helped him successfully manage stakeholders, including more than 50 subcontractors. As a member of Clark’s Pacific Northwest Leadership Development Program, he works with other leaders to establish a vision for the company in the region.
Gives back to company and community
38, Engineering Team Lead
San Jose, Calif.
Kim designs electrical distribution systems for complex, large-scale commercial projects in the Bay area. Among her many responsibilities, she leads a team to produce field-coordinated, code-compliant permit drawings. The firm considers her a rising star for her strong leadership and dedication to deliver consistent, quality work. Kim also is a member of Rosedin’s design leadership cohort, a 10-person group in which she mentors and trains employees, shares insights and seeks out new ways to improve the design build process.
As a teenager, Kim was inspired by volunteers at the ACE Mentor Program, which first exposed her to the possibilities of a career in construction. She now enjoys helping others around the world, and, in 2019, joined Rosendin’s partnership with Bridges to Prosperity, which builds bridges in rural communities in developing countries. She recently led a team of volunteers from Rosendin and Webcor in building a 161-ft-long footbridge connecting the Ruzurako and Bisika communities in Rwanda. Upon completion, volunteers trained members of the local community so they could maintain the bridge for years to come.
Project manager on major military projects
39, Project Manager
Contrack Watts Inc.
Gig Harbor, Wash.
Kirk began his career at Contrack Watts in 2008 as an estimating intern, assisting on an $85-million National Park Service restoration. After proving himself in Washington, he took an assignment in Guam as an assistant project engineer. The company soon took notice of his talents, promoting him to project engineer, assistant superintendent, superintendent and then project manager.
Kirk’s involvement with the Guam Military Realignment program included a nearly $200-million project at Naval Base Guam and the reconstruction of Uniform and Tango wharves, which received the prestigious Alliant Build America Award. He is currently the project manager on a $20-million headquarters building.
A natural leader, Kirk conducts classes and training sessions for young engineers and serves on the Society of American Military Engineers in Guam, where he led a team of volunteers to build 13 homes and renovate a local community center.
Trailblazer helps women in transportation
40, Environmental Sciences Highway Section Manager
The daughter of immigrants, Kung saw firsthand the many sacrifices families often make for better opportunities in the U.S. On the rare day her parents took time off from their family restaurant, they navigated L.A.’s network of freeways, seeking authentic Chinese groceries and products. During these day trips, Kung was impressed with how the city’s maze of highways connected such a wide range of communities and cultures.
After graduating from University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in biological-anthropology, she began her career as an environmental scientist, an ideal springboard to environmental planning. Now, as an environmental section manager at HDR, Kung leads multidisciplinary environmental teams on highway and roadway projects. She led environmental clearance for projects ranging from small bridge and roadway improvements to complex major highway widening and express-lane projects. Her clients include LA Metro, Caltrans and the city of Long Beach.
Since 2012, Kung has worked with the Orange County chapter of Women’s Transportation Seminar, helping women in the transportation industry connect with public- and private-sector leaders.
Dedicated to ensuring reliable public infrastructure
33, Project Manager
After winning an environmental engineering competition at the University of Toronto, Lam was offered an internship at a global firm and a scholarship to further pursue environmental engineering. She soon realized the impact that consultants have on improving communities worldwide. She joined AECOM after graduating on an accelerated career path, and her work has included wastewater process design, air-quality assessments, energy audits, project management, operations and business development.
Lam’s wide-ranging experience was utilized when the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission launched its $7-billion wastewater capital program to upgrade aging infrastructure. She relocated to AECOM’s San Francisco office and became consultant deputy technical program manager, helping to manage a $150-million contract and lead a team of more than 160 consultants. Lam also mentors junior staff by identifying growth opportunities that match their interest within her projects as well as opportunities to showcase their accomplishments.
Gifted construction manager with passion for building
34, Construction Manager
PCL Construction Services Inc.
Lewis may be among the youngest construction managers at PCL, but as an integral part of many iconic and fast-track projects, his résumé resembles that of a professional with twice the time on the job.
He studied civil engineering at Florida A&M University while also completing four internships with PCL. After graduating magna cum laude, he earned a master’s degree in civil engineering with a concentration in structural systems.
Lewis has managed some of PCL’s most demanding projects, including Streamsong Resort, Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Banc of California Stadium, all of which earned ENR regional Best Project honors. In the past year, he delivered high-profile projects totaling more than $150 million, including Jurassic World and the renovation of Dodgers Stadium’s center-field area.
Found lifelong love of construction through family
34, Owner/Vice President
Bjork Construction Co.
Madrigal would often visit jobsites with her parents, who owned a construction company. Her interest in the field prompted her to earn a bachelor’s degree in construction management from Chico State University and a master’s in construction management from Arizona State University.
Madrigal has held numerous positions on her career path, including estimating intern, assistant project manager, project manager and safety manager. Today, she is co-owner and vice president of Bjork Construction Co., a Women’s Business Enterprise National Council-certified woman-owned company.
Madrigal’s idea to offer consulting and design-build services under one roof has streamlined company processes and brought overall costs down. She also attends seminars and safety classes while keeping an eye on field operations to learn new and innovative ways to install materials on jobsites.
Hard work and talent pay off
32, Project Engineer/Project Manager
Nunez went to school full time while working 40 hours a week to get a master’s degree in architecture. He began his career as an architect for a small firm before moving on to Arup to work on major projects such as the U.S. Embassy in London and a conference center in Gabon.
Since joining Turner in 2014, Nunez has held numerous positions, including project superintendent, project engineer and project manager. Having worked on both the design and construction side of projects, he has a unique perspective on decision-making and the ways that contractors and architects can collaborate to better build projects.
As a project manager, Nunez mentors younger and senior staff and advocates for improvements in the firm’s internal scheduling and safety practices. He also is an active member of Turner’s Future Leaders Group, which retains and develops leaders through community and industry involvement.
Diverse water resource engineer
38, Associate Vice President
As a lead for watershed resilience planning, O’Neill is building a nationwide practice that combines her team’s experience with climate change, risk assessment, resiliency planning and water master planning into a new cross-disciplinary field that seeks holistic solutions to clients’ problems. She also is the water resources deputy market sector leader, coordinating national experts and bookings.
With 14 years’ experience, O’Neill has worked as a hydrologic engineer on projects ranging from floodplain mapping studies for private developers to developing and analyzing flood models for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
She has been actively involved in fundraising for the Pacific Northwest Section of the American Water Works Association Water for People chapter for the past nine years.
Skilled in all facets of freight rail construction
39, Freight Rail Area Leader
Growing up in Chicago, Osvalds spent summers repairing semi-trailers near intermodal yards as part of the family business, where his father was a service provider for railroads. Now with 15 years’ experience, Osvalds is working to make a difference in the freight rail industry, leading HDR’s freight rail market sector in Southern California. He is known for his consistent on-time and under-budget delivery of projects. His portfolio includes track and intermodal facility design, fueling systems, bridges and public projects.
With Osvalds’ leadership, HDR’s Southern California rail program has evolved into one of the fastest growing in North America. HDR now has a team of eight rail professionals in Southern California, which Osvalds mobilizes to help clients and HDR’s 10,000 employees.
Osvalds holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. His career began at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture as an exterior enclosure architect, working on domestic and international high-performance projects. Those included the iconic 1 Dubai, a trio of megatowers featuring one of the world’s tallest buildings.
Constantly learning to improve his industry
38, Pipelines Section Manager
Burns & McDonnell
Pare began his career more than 16 years ago as a mechanical engineer, specializing in rotating and heat transfer equipment in downstream oil and gas facilities. Today, he manages Burns & McDonnell’s transmission and distribution group in California, where he leads six engineers specializing in pipeline, mechanical and electrical issues. He is responsible for growing the pipeline business unit, developing and mentoring his team and providing pipeline, renewables and complex compressor station and storage facility solutions for utilities across the U.S.
A member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Pare is pursuing his Project Management Professional certification. During the pandemic, he helped coordinate Burns & McDonnell’s donation of $1.5 million to the United Way COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. The fund supports communities across the country, with $45,000 going directly toward response and recovery in California.
Passionate sustainability professional
34, Director of Sustainability
Six years ago, Shapiro joined Webcor’s sustainability department in hopes of making a broad impact on sustainability in the construction industry. As a working mom among a workforce that is 74% male, Shapiro wants her experience and expertise to help change the mentality of “the way things have always been done.” She oversees procurement and installation of healthy building materials and manages the certification process on the general contractor’s side.
She worked as senior sustainability manager on the 350 Mission project, San Francisco’s first LEED Platinum core-and-shell high-rise. Shapiro went on to spearhead WELL certification for the Residences at Columbia Square, the world’s first rental complex to achieve WELL certification through the multifamily program, and Webcor’s San Francisco headquarters, which achieved WELL Gold certification.
Shapiro is the founder of Bay Area Sustainable Construction Leaders, a network of sustainability representatives in construction, and she serves on the National Sustainable Construction Leaders’ steering committee.
Savvy business leader with big heart
39, Regional President
McCarthy Building Cos.
As a business unit leader in McCarthy’s Sacramento office, Sleeth directs more than 100 full-time office and field employees as well as nearly 300 craftworkers. Since relocating from Southern California in 2019, he has led the Sacramento office to triple its revenue, securing approximately $1.5 billion worth of work, a total that surpasses local office sales over the past 10 years combined. He accomplished this by recognizing and utilizing existing talent and implementing positive cultural adjustments, rather than changing staff.
Sleeth makes it a point to learn about the specific needs of his team. In Sacramento, he noticed that many field workers were forced to travel several hours to and from the Bay Area for work. He remedied the situation by helping his office secure the massive UC Davis Replacement Hospital Tower project, which meant a much shorter commute for his workers.
Innovative engineer and effective leader and communicator
37, Bridge Engineer
Michael Baker International
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in history, Turner discovered a passion for construction and went on to earn a master’s degree in structural engineering from University of California, San Diego. One of Turner’s early projects was the design of the Atlantic Crossing of the Panama Canal, an iconic, cable-stayed bridge.
When he joined Michael Baker International, Turner worked with a national team of bridge inspectors on projects such as the steel haunched-girder on Interstate 64 over the Kentucky River and the steel cable-stayed William Harsha Bridge over the Ohio River. He recently helped the firm expand its regional practice in bridge inspection by researching new markets and clients. In 2019, he earned FHWA Bridge Safety Inspection certification and become one of MBI’s certified inspectors for rope access and climbing.
Keon B. West
Leader, mentor and skilled superintendent
36, Senior Superintendent
Clark Construction Group
West knew when he was young that he wanted to work in construction. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering with a minor in businesses and economics from Lafayette College and joined Clark Construction after graduating. In 14 years with the company, he has amassed a legacy of award-winning projects while also finding time to mentor new engineers and craftworkers.
West began his career working on residential high-rises, commercial office buildings and hotels throughout Washington, D.C. In 2018, he moved to California to join the team working on the $1.4-billion Chase Center project, where he was the superintendent responsible for the arena bowl.
As an instructor for Clark Corporate University, West leads courses on operations, safety and superintendent-specific work. He also teaches courses through Clark’s Boot Camp program, geared toward rising young leaders. He is currently a senior superintendent, overseeing construction of the San Diego State University multi-use stadium.
Champion for women in architecture
37, Senior Design Manager, Strategic Innovation
While majoring in architecture at Kansas State University, Williams led the college’s chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) for three years. Under her leadership, the group won Student Chapter of the Year and created a diversity week within the architecture planning and design departments.
Williams’ involvement with NOMA helped her understand the shortage of African American women in architecture. After graduating, she spent 13 years at two minority-owned architecture firms before joining Webcor. Today, her diverse design portfolio includes schools, wastewater treatment plants, affordable housing, administration buildings and water-treatment labs.
Since joining Webcor as a design manager in August 2019, she has been promoted to her current role. She works toward bridging the gap between design and construction while serving on the steering committee for Women of Webcor, an internal group that supports women’s achievement of professional and personal goals.