An environmental specialist who created three technical groups of more than 100 each, an architect who serves as global chair of social responsibility for a prominent design firm and an acclaimed marketing and branding expert are among the rising stars selected as ENR Midwest's Top 20 Under 40, an annual program recognizing young design and construction professionals from the region who have made significant contributions to their firms, professions and communities.

While other ENR Midwest programs, including Best Projects, honor firms and their endeavors, the Top 20 Under 40 Program focuses on individual achievement, in this instance the contributions of 12 men and eight women hailing from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

ENR Midwest received scores entries for the program, and a panel of six industry professionals selected candidates they believed best demonstrated excellence and leadership in their professions and communities.

This year's Top 20 Under 40, who will be profiled in the Feb. 2 issue of ENR Midwest, include:

Nahid Afsari
Vice President, Wisconsin Office
Cotter Consulting Inc., Milwaukee

Dennis Carignan
Vice President
Granger Construction, Lansing, Mich.

Ryan Chapman
Associate / Project Executive
KJWW Engineering Consultants, Des Moines, Iowa

Elizabeth Cohen
Senior Environmental Specialist
ARCADIS US Inc., Novi, Mich.

Shannon Coomes
Hill/Ahern Fire Protection, Franklin Park, Ill.

Sarah Dirsa
Architect, Global Chair of Social Responsibility
HOK, St. Louis

Carolynn Gellings
Project Manager
Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Milwaukee

Brad Hardin
Chief Technology Officer, Engineering
Leidos Engineering, St. Louis

Brandon Hoopingarner
Design Director
American Structurepoint, Indianapolis

Matthew Hufft
Founder, Creative Director
Hufft Projects, Kansas City, Mo.

Chris J. Iasielo
Program Manager
Sargent & Lundy, Chicago

JoNette Kuhnau
Project Manager
Kimley-Horn, St. Paul, Minn.

Kyle Loest
Senior Project Manager
J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Madison, Wis.

Josh Miles
Miles Design, Indianapolis

Matt Murphy
Associate, Architect
RMTA, Kansas City, Mo.

Jeremy Olivotti
Vice President, Preconstruction
Mid-States Concrete Industries, South Beloit, Ill.

Katie Ott Zehnder
Vice President, Ohio Practice Leader
HNTB Corp, Columbus, Ohio.

Juan E. Quiroz
Lead Structural Engineer
MWH, Chicago

Jason Robertson
Director, Business Development
CRB, Kansas City, Mo.

Jen Suerth
Integrated Construction Coordinator
Mortenson Construction, Elk Grove Village, Ill.


ENR Midwest is indebted to the program's panelists, who include:

  • James Arends, Vice President – Midwest Region, Gilbane Building Co.
  • Michael J. Bobruk, Director, Chicago, Barton-Malow Co.
  • Brad Erwin, Principal Architect, President Paragon Architecture
  • Anthony P. LoBello, Studio Leader – Learning Practice, SmithGroupJJR
  • Paul Parry, Principal, KJWW Engineers 
  • Anna Stern, Vice President, Tri-North Builders Inc.