2022 Agenda | Top Young Professionals Conference

Click dates below to see schedule.
6:30pm – 7:30pm

Welcome Reception

7:30am – 8:30am

Networking Breakfast | Sponsor tabletops open

8:30am – 8:45am

Welcome Remarks

8:45am – 10:15am

Opening Keynote: Secret Sauce to High Performing Project Teams

This session will explain how to use intention and strategy to build high-performing project teams at your organization. Our keynoter draws on his company’s foundation of principles, values, tools and exercises to consistently create a high-performing team environment through its continuous improvement process that offers tangible benefits to its teams. By showing examples of what has worked in the past, this discussion will provide the tools you need to create a collaborative environment and replicate it with consistency. Get a rundown of actionable practices that you can put in place tomorrow.

Keynote & Moderator

Robert Penney, National Director of Continuous Improvement, Skanska USA

Panel: Building Harmony Not Homogeny

To build successful teams, leaders need the right tools to facilitate team cohesion. Keynoter Robert Penney from Skanska joins panelists from other companies to continue the discussion of the path forward. The first step toward high-performing teams is thoughtful hiring and promoting the right individuals at all levels with an eye towards personality, skill set and diversity. You don’t need a team that is homogenous—you need a team that is harmonious. After forming a team, inspire leaders to lead with a growth mindset that involves development, strength, focus and safe improvement opportunities. Leaders also should be aware of their own strengths, improvement areas and be open to feedback from the team. Once the right people are in place, team building doesn’t happen by accident. This panel will explore how to naturally strengthen your team—both internal team members and outside stakeholders.


Nicole Brown, Associate Vice President, Water, AECOM
Tupac de la Cruz, Founder, and Operations Manager, Roofing Solutions
Nick Martinez, Ironworkers Local 433 #1244425, General Field Superintendent, Red Cedar Steel Southwest

10:15am – 10:45am

Networking Break | Sponsor tabletops open

Sponsored by

10:45am – 12:30pm

Keynote: Finding Opportunities in the Carbon-Cutting Economy

It is no secret that the future of energy is net-zero carbon emissions. Congress is now creating a national renewable energy standard that aims to reduce carbon emissions, and requiring utilities to generate a specific portion of power with renewable energy sources. This in turn creates a trillion dollar infrastructure improvements resulting in a vast economic opportunity for the young engineers and their companies as well as entrepreneurs to adopt new and innovative approaches about how we think about power generation and conservation. This panel/seminar will take a close look at this important career path and highlighting the important work renewable energy engineers do to ensure that the world moves away from its dependence on fossil fuels to cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy.

Keynote & Moderator

Nooshin Behroyan, CEO, Paxon Energy & Infrastructure Services

Panel: Innovative Approaches to our Sustainable Future

Our panelists will broaden Nooshin Behroyan’s keynote on cutting carbon emissions to include a discussion on embodied carbon in buildings and more. Panelists will also discuss how other sustainability efforts are impacting the industry.

Blake Jackson, Sustainability Design Leader, Stantec
Peter Boos, Business Development Manager-Renewables, Transmission & Distribution Group, Burns & McDonnell

12:30pm – 1:45pm

Networking Luncheon | Sponsor tabletops open

1:45pm – 2:45pm

Workshops will be interactive sessions with smaller groups, focused on building skills and advancing expertise in topic areas.

Workshop 1: Strategies for Success for Women, Minorities, and LGBTQ+ in AEC Careers

Entering the workforce as a first-generation Latinx college student can be daunting. Senior year students repeatedly hear the same advice: find a mentor and be open minded, adaptable, and visible. Although this is solid advice, it is challenging to realize as a new hire. In this session, we will discuss how Business Resource Groups (BRGs) help bridge the gap and act as accelerators of change of diversity and inclusion as well as business change. Two of the presenters have joined the industry within the last year and will share firsthand stories of transitioning from college to work during the pandemic. Accelerate onboarding and sense of belonging to a new organization. An experienced Latinx manager and BRG leader will share the programmatic of setting up and running a BRG and its benefits of college to work transition.
Isabel Siordia, Construction engineer, Bechtel Equipment Operations
Valentin Martinez, Project Controls Engineer, Bechtel Corp.

Workshop 2: Take Your Coding to the Next Level - Evolving Your Developer Tech Tools

As anyone who has been interested in coding knows that the path to learning software development can be tricky. There are many resources out there but not a clear start or learning path. However, designers are more interested than ever in creating and controlling their own tools for real world projects. Coding provides new capabilities and flexibility in addition to your typical productivity software stack so it is worth learning. This session will show you what is possible with open source (free!) tools like Python, Git, Dynamo, JavaScript and more. Learn how to get started using them, what kind of developer tools you need and where to go for help.
Tadeh Hakopian, Program Manager, Energy Vault

Workshop 3: Negotiating Contracts To Address Recent Challenges

Getting beyond the impacts from the past couple years may feel impossible at times. A host of challenges are incurred daily on construction projects, ranging from project delivery and suspensions, material price escalation to safety of workers, vaccine mandates, and more. What can you do? All of these issues have also changed the legal landscape, and companies need to be equipped to deal with these changes not only on their projects, but in their contract review, drafting and negotiation. This presentation will provide tools to address problems you may face and will highlight the most important contract provisions and terms about which companies should be aware. Hear real life examples and learn about the latest legal changes and updates.
Jeanne Harrison, Attorney, Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP
Madisyn Kellough, Attorney, Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP

2:45pm – 3:15pm

Networking Break | Sponsor tabletops open

3:15pm – 4:15pm

Panel: Change Management through Collaboration

Gathering young leaders from various sectors of construction for open discussions about the state of the industry and where it is headed, the Future Leaders AEC Program has probed the future and devised solutions to the collective problems the industry is likely to face. Delegates from the group of 10 young leaders from different companies—including contractors, engineers and fabricators—will lead this breakout session and workshop the industry’s collective challenges. Issues such as mistrust between team members, lack of transparency with owner and stakeholders, resistance to technology and short-term thinking are some of the concerns. The group has found that root of these solvable challenges often traces back to the early stages of projects. In addition to presenting their findings, panelists will engage participants in a dialogue they believe can improve relationships and create better outcomes for companies, clients and project teams.


Jordan Latimer, Operations Manager, PCL Constructors Canada Inc.
Michael Martignetti, Vice President of Sales, Canam Steel Corporation
Lea Cosenza, Director, Harman Group
Hali Larsen, Project Manager, Autodesk


Melanie Bouthillette, Operational Excellence and Innovation Manager, Canam Group

4:15pm – 4:45pm

Keynote: From Refugee to Construction Industry Leader

Learn to find success by using industry demands as your guide and how to avoid common pitfalls, such as being boxed in by your own minority classification. Sam Mann will share his own experience of childhood in a refugee camp, growing up as an immigrant in Southern California, and finding his way as a construction industry leader. While working in an industry where over emphasis an individual’s classification can be a challenge, Mann will show how the industry can help underrepresented classes succeed by letting the demands of the industry guide career paths. Refocusing eternally and abandoning egos can move young workers and their companies to greater heights.

Sam Mann, Senior Project Manager, RBA Builders Inc.

4:45pm – 5:15pm

Meet the Top 20 Under 40 recipients

Join us in celebrating ENR's National Top 20 Under 40, which honors the best of the next generation of industry professionals, and get their perspectives on issues affecting the construction industry today.

5:15pm – 6:00pm

Networking Reception | Sponsor tabletops open

7:30am – 8:30am

Networking Breakfast | Sponsor tabletops open

8:30am – 8:45am

Welcome Remarks, day 2

8:45am – 9:30am

Interview: Inside the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Roll Out

Participate in an onstage interview as ENR Transportation Editor Aileen Cho talks to Arizona’s newly minted deputy director of transportation, Gregory Byres, about the roll out of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $1-trillion legislation was far and away the most critical federal construction legislation of 2021. It has been described as the largest infrastructure bill in decades… perhaps in the past century. This session will help you understand how quickly the new act’s different types of funding will start to flow and give you ideas about how your firm can get involved in this expanding market.

Gregory D. Byres, P.E., Deputy Director for Transportation and State Engineer, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT)
Aileen Cho, Senior Editor, Transportation, Engineering News-Record

9:30am – 10:30am

Panel: Tech on the Frontlines: How Drones, Digital Twins and Robots Are Changing Jobsites

Ready to leave old school construction methods in the dust? Be inspired by these four tech experts who will present real-world findings about adopting cutting edge technology at jobsites around the U.S., from drones to additive manufacturing, wearable sensors to robotics, 4D planning software to digital twins. What are the impacts on safety, accountability and productivity? And can these technologies help solve bigger picture challenges such as addressing embodied carbon or mitigating the next pandemic?


Michael Giacco, Director of Technology, AI Engineers, Inc.
Ankur Podder, Research Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory


Scott Blair, Managing Editor, Engineering News-Record

10:30am – 11:00am

Networking Break | Sponsor tabletops open

11:00am – 12:00pm

Panel: Mastering Leadership Skills to Become an MV(Y)P: Most Valuable Young Professional

In this panel discussion, you will learn strategies to boost your value at your company and take charge of your own career development path. Due to the labor shortage in the industry, young professionals often must plunge head-first into leadership roles at jobsites or in the office. Speakers will give tips to develop your managerial skills, including navigating the “battlefield” of the jobsite and how to successfully motivate people from different generations. The discussion will also touch on homing in on your specialized career niche, becoming an essential business development team member to win new work and how to identify and develop future talent.

Elijah Elliott, Project Engineer, Hensel Phelps Construction
Chelsey Belt, Senior Associate, Segal
Matt Sowden, Application Development Manager, Aegis Project Controls Corp.


Leah Gradl, Vice President of Support Operations, Kent Cos. Inc.

12:00pm – 1:00pm

Networking Luncheon | Sponsor tabletops open

1:00pm – 1:45pm

Keynote: Your Spirit is Never Broken: How Adversity Can Propel You to New Heights

The adversities in your life could be a hindrance to your success or … could they possibly create the greatest pathway to success you could ever imagine? Hear Letitia’s journey from a small town girl to CEO of a multimillion dollar company, and how she overcame many obstacles to achieve her goals in life and work.

Letitia Hanke, CEO/President, ARS Roofing, Gutters & Solar

1:45pm – 2:45pm

Panel: Gathering the Genius: Facilitation Best Practices for Your Next Meeting

How many meetings have you attended where you didn’t understand the conclusion or what to do next? Have you ever attended a meeting you felt was dominated by a single individual and your voice or opinion was not heard? Have you led a meeting that felt like “pulling teeth” to get participation? Facilitation is a skill that is required in any successful relationship. Whether you realize it is happening or not, every conversation or meeting requires facilitation and is key to accomplishing any task with multiple individuals. The ability to guide as few as two people or as many as several hundred, gathering the genius in the room and guiding that genius to a conclusion is critical in effective and meaningful meetings, relationships and leadership. This discussion will help discover the keys and principles to effective facilitation and how to tackle any conversation or meeting as an effective leader.


Jaren Murphy, Business Development Director, McCarthy Building Cos. Inc.
Michaela Rempkowski, Director of Integrated Design, McCarthy Building Cos. Inc.

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