Our people bring the passion, drive and ingenuity to make great things happen for our clients, communities and industry.
Meet Our Relentless Allies
Knox Tate has been building Charlotte from the inside-out for 50 years. His favorite project? Not what you’d think.
We live in a time of experts. Whether it’s how to change the cracked screen on your cell phone, how to poach an egg, or how to master the chords of a guitar, access to information and knowledge is as quick as 100 megabits per second. Developing an expertise has become as simple as click-clack-search. With a few tutorial videos under our belts and an equal share of trial and error, we label ourselves experts of any and everything. Stacking cups, throwing frisbees, organizing the kitchen junk drawer? There’s an expert for each. The problem with such instant access to everything expert? We’ve lost sight of one of the main ingredients in the recipe of expertise—experience. No number of videos, message boards or incessant ‘Googling’ can hold the same powerful effect as time.
A connoisseur of his craft, senior project manager, Knox Tate, is an interiors expert who has earned his stripes over the course of fifty years. After five decades in the construction industry, to say he’s seen it all is an understatement. Since joining the workforce there have been seven different Presidents, twenty-one Olympic games, more than twenty-two billion Big Mac’s sold, and the population of Tate’s beloved hometown of Charlotte—more than tripled!
When it comes to construction, he’s been there, done that, seen it, fixed it, tore it down, built it up and lived to tell the tales. Those stories, and the relationships that lay at their core, are all as fresh in Tate’s mind as the day the work began, each experience serving as a key to open the next door. The list of projects credited to his name is long and diverse, including clients from industries such as finance, legal, communications, recreation, hospitality, healthcare and infrastructure.
Joining RT Dooley Construction in 1978, Knox was challenged by President, Tom Dooley, to champion the interiors business, and champion he did. Over the years Knox singlehandedly established the interiors program for corporate giant, Bank of America, and built an impressive resume including many of the landmark corporate headquarters projects in the area for clients such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goodrich, and many more. He would go on to become a partner at RT Dooley prior to the firm’s 2008 acquisition by Balfour Beatty. To date his placement in the expert category is bolstered by a resume overflowing with heavy hitters and world class clients such as Barings, Duke Energy, Ritz-Carlton and Grant Thornton. While many people admire Uptown Charlotte from the outside looking in, Knox Tate has filled his career by being on the inside, looking out. From the “jukebox” Hearst Tower to the towering “Taj McColl” Bank of America Corporate Center, the dark Charlotte Plaza to the bright 300 South Tryon; if it’s in Center City, Knox Tate has likely been at the center of bringing the interior to life.
Throughout his career, Tate has thrived through more than one tectonic change in the industry, be it the invention and introduction of pagers, mobile phones and computers, or the more recent futuristic ventures into virtual reality and drones, he is not one to resist change, but to embrace it and apply it. He cites flexibility as one of the keys to being successful on any project. When it comes down to it, no project is perfect from beginning to end, but the reaction to challenges and changes is what defines the service excellence he strives to deliver.
As our in-house interiors expert, Tate is a wealth of knowledge and proficiency, reminiscing and reteaching the lessons he’s learned throughout his tenure to those who work alongside him. He’s not just teaching the next generation of builders how to do the hard work, he’s teaching them the mentality it takes to do it better than everyone else. With a tone equal parts proud and self-aware Tate affirms, “We’re the experts, the minute we forget that, we accept mediocrity” something he avoids through the persistent practice of treating every project like it was his own property. This methodology is what has led to a 90% repeat client rate for the Balfour Beatty interiors team; a figure attributed greatly to Tate, and one he humbly credits to his teammates. Those teammates have taken the top spot when Tate reflects back on his project filled career. Developing the next generation of great builders is the passion project that keeps him inspired, engaged and invested.
One might suggest that a man with a legacy five decades in the making could take his foot off the pedal and settle into cruise control, but Tate isn’t slowing down just yet. When he makes the loop around Uptown Charlotte, Knox Tate looks in and reflects on fifty years of growth, of himself, and of the only city he has ever called home. Today, he is as committed as ever before to being a part of Charlotte’s changing landscape and shares, “As long as there remains an opportunity for me to give back, I’ll continue to do what I do.” A mainstay in the Charlotte community, there are few people as deeply-rooted in the evolution of the Queen City as Knox Tate.
Husband to wife Jayne of 33 years, father to sons Tripp and Andy, and grandfather to four littles, Knox Tate is our sharp-shooting, quick-witted, interiors expert and Relentless Ally.
The 45-minute drive to and from the office each day is quite possibly the most consistent part of Kendal Patterson’s workday. No two days on the job have looked the same, and with a tenure spanning a quarter of a century, that speaks to his resilient attitude and flexible demeanor.
Hired at RT Dooley (acquired by Balfour Beatty in 2009) in May of 1992, Kendal began his career in construction as a laborer in the field. His first job, a renovation and expansion project at Vista Bakery in Columbia, SC, was just the first of more than 55 projects across the Carolinas. From the biggest and most notable towers in Uptown, to the smallest, behind-the-scenes tasks in the office, Kendal is absolutely the oil that keeps the Balfour Beatty machine running.
After a decade as a laborer, Kendal was offered the position of dump truck driver. Despite not knowing how to drive a stick shift he said, “I’ll try it and I’ll get it done.” He still carries that same attitude. A perspective that says, there is nothing I can’t accomplish if I give it my best. That mindset has served him well over the years, developing various skillsets and tackling new challenges as they present themselves.
Whether he’s hanging pictures, delivering materials to a jobsite, erecting the office Christmas trees, moving furniture, patching holes in the wall, or finding a place for the many miscellaneous items that come off a job, Kendal checks off each request, regardless of who it came from, with a smile. How many hats does Kendal wear on a weekly basis? We’re not exactly sure, but if someone asked him to build a closet for them, he’d have materials delivered & PPE signage posted by 8am tomorrow.
In the words of Senior Project Manager, Mike Wehner, “Kendal Patterson is always ready to help no matter what the job or task is and ALWAYS does it with a smile on his face. I have called him numerous times for help with deliveries, night work, covering shifts, or even going to a client’s office and helping them move something. He is truly an inspiration to all who know him and is the true definition of Relentless Ally.”
Putting People First
At Balfour Beatty, we aren’t just building projects; we are building relationships. Whether it’s turning plans into projects, challenges into solutions, or ideas into innovations, for Jason Sizemore, there is a standout connection piece – the people. He prioritizes connecting with people and understanding their visions for the benefit of our projects and the future of Balfour Beatty.
Jason didn’t enter Auburn University, his alma mater, with a chosen degree or career path. As a learner by nature, he initially felt somewhat overwhelmed with the breadth of opportunities available. “I was interested in everything and wanted to learn as much as possible. I was actually a marine biology major for a short stint,” recalls Jason.
While reviewing a course and major catalogue, Jason ran across the building science curriculum and was immediately sold. “The diversity of study from concrete and steel, accounting and contract negotiation, to presentation and communication skills drove me to the profession.”
Jason participated in the cooperative education program while earning his degree, working during the fall and spring sessions for an electrical subcontractor on the Fort Benning Army Base and attending classes in the summer and winter. This experience provided Jason with a sincere appreciation for trade partners and a holistic understanding of the construction process.
Currently, Jason is serving as project executive on Balfour Beatty’s $290 million River Landing project, which is located on roughly 8.1 acres of riverfront property along the Miami River. Overseeing an extremely diverse staff of over 30 Balfour Beatty employees, Jason has been involved in this 2.5-million-square-foot, mixed-use project since 2017. He was instrumental in securing the project, locking in a final GMP and getting the project out of the ground.
Jason realized very early in his career that “people build buildings, and people are the number one key to success.” As not only a learner but also a leader, Jason is consistently interacting with and championing his team – passionate about helping people grow through teaching and mentoring.
Jason’s impact does not go unnoticed. He was selected as the Florida team’s “People-First Relentless Ally Award” winner in 2019. This award recognizes motivated employees who help create a positive and engaging workplace culture.
“Jason is truly a Relentless Ally, both personally and professionally, internally and externally,” praises Scott Skidelsky, president of the company’s operations in Florida.
Driven by humility and his belief that success stems from Balfour Beatty’s people-first culture, Jason doesn’t view his career in projects but rather through people and their stories. It comes as no surprise to hear Jason describe each of his projects as a “level playing field where no one person is more important than the other, including me.”
Jason exemplifies the mutually beneficial relationship of a people-first leadership perspective by deeply trusting and believing that his teammates teach him to be a better builder, leader and person. The result: success.
There is Nothing Shady about this Award Winner
“It’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses,” said senior safety health and environmental manager Eric Garcia as he strutted across the stage impersonating Elwood Blues during the safety presentation at the Florida division’s annual managers’ meeting. To his surprise he took the stage again to accept the second annual Florida Division Relentless Ally Award in front of over a 100 peers who gave him a standing ovation.
“It was a tremendous honor to receive the award. It caught me completely by surprise as I did not even know I had been nominated,” said Eric. “I feel grateful to have been selected from the group of candidates. The fact that a Loss Prevention manager was selected for this award speaks volumes to this company’s commitment to and support of Zero Harm!”
Eric has made a tremendous positive impact at Balfour Beatty in just three years with the company. He is regarded as an exemplary professional who exhibits a client focus, sound work ethic, solutions oriented thinking, leadership by example, superior technical proficiency and consistent follow through.
The Relentless Ally Award is presented to the individual who most embodies one or more pillars of the company’s creed – Zero Harm, Zero Waste, Client Advocacy and Employee Inspiration. Thereby, this individual truly lives the company’s Purpose by definition: “To be a Relentless Ally for the success of each and every dream that we are entrusted to build.” The nomination for Garcia highlighted accomplishments that touched on, not just one, but all four of Balfour Beatty’s creed pillars.
“Eric undoubtedly represents each of the four pillars at the highest level and is a proven Relentless Ally for our clients, business partners and his teammates,” said senior vice president John Harris. “This is in addition to leading our Zero Harm efforts on some of the most complicated projects in our Florida business.”
On one such project, Eric led the charge for Zero Harm that resulted in over one million man hours without a lost time incident. He’s able to excel above industry standards because he takes his role personally and creates a bond of trust with the workforce by instilling his belief of working for them and in their best interests.
Apparently, Eric’s favorite number is zero, and he likes to maximize it whenever possible. In addition to Zero Harm, he’s gaining on Zero Waste too. Over $15,000 was saved at just one jobsite by purchasing an alternate fence material that’s durable enough to be reused. Also, with the use of technology he was able to capitalize on time, cost and natural resources by implementing an electronic database and subcontractor badge system. The system saved time by allowing for on-the-spot identification. It also saved enough paper to equal 26 trees and over $1,700 on just one project.
As evidence of his Client Advocacy, an owner that is known literally throughout the world recognized Eric’s dedication to the safety of owner staff members and guests with the owner’s highest level safety award given to an external partner.
Eric’s approach culminates with Employee Inspiration. He works closely with his team to understand the needs of the project in order to implement a timely and practical strategy for operations to run without negative impact or delay. “This is a delicate balance that is hard to perfect, and Eric consistently performs exceptionally well in this arena,” said John. “He has earned the respect of his peers as a go-to leader well beyond his Zero Harm responsibilities.”
To Eric, it seemed out of the blue when his named was called as the Relentless Ally Award winner, but his peers clearly agreed. And the applause must have been music to his ears.
Teamwork is Key to Remaining Competitive in Ever-Evolving Medical Marketplace
With more than 20 years in the construction industry, the majority of which have been dedicated to healthcare, David has been responsible for over $1 billion of healthcare construction projects. The projects that comprise David’s impressive and expansive healthcare portfolio include some of the largest and most complex hospital and medical facilities in the Carolinas and Georgia for clients such as Novant Health, Gaston Memorial Hospital, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, McLeod Health, Tuomey Healthcare System, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
What career accomplishments are you most proud of prior to coming on board with Balfour Beatty Construction?
I don’t know if there’s a specific moment or project I’d pinpoint but rather the sum of my career in healthcare construction. I started working in this field as a project engineer and worked my way up through the ranks by learning the nuances of building in a healthcare facility and keeping up with the rapid pace of evolving technological trends. These were certainly factors that helped me build a portfolio that includes over $1 billion in healthcare projects across the Carolinas.
While I’m proud of that figure and the work it represents, I’m even more proud of the cohesive and talented team I’ve had the pleasure of working with along the way. Since coming to Balfour Beatty, I’ve been really proud of the work we’ve secured with McLeod Health in South Carolina – a total of nine projects that represent $90 million - and that work is expected to grow over the years. With so few healthcare customers actively pursuing new construction and renovation of older infrastructure, these wins are especially key to growing Balfour Beatty’s regional presence in the healthcare marketplace. Again, our team’s longstanding relationships of mutual trust and respect with the owner and designer were driving factors behind these project awards.
What excites you most about working in the construction industry and about the healthcare market sector specifically?
You have to understand their challenges, which are primarily fiscal in nature, as well as the logistical issues of working in occupied facilities that operate 24/7, 365 days a year. Maintaining ongoing operations can be challenging, but I think of it as a fun challenge and one our team is well prepared to meet. I also like the fact that no project seems to be exactly the same.
There’s also a “feel good” element to this line of work. When you turn over the keys to a new healthcare facility, it’s always reminded me of the feeling residential builders must get when they do the same for a family. Healthcare workers are some of the most dedicated and passionate people you’ll meet, and for them, a new hospital or medical office building is really like a home in a lot of ways.
The healthcare industry has been evolving rapidly over the past several years due to national legislation and technological advancements impacting facility needs. Where do you see the industry in, say, the next 5 years?
There’s still quite a bit of lingering fiscal uncertainty, but with that said, some of the recent activity has been indicative of a gradual shift away from the complete standstill we saw three years ago. I’m also observing some changes regarding the types of projects we’ll be building. With technological advancements improving surgical recovery times, the need for bed towers has decreased significantly. While beds won’t be taking off, other radiology and surgical services are high revenue producers, so I see demand in that arena increasing. At the same time, we have an aging baby boomer population, and coupled with the fact that more individuals now have access to health insurance, it’s going to be a challenge for the industry to keep pace with this growing customer base for decades to come. I foresee a rapid uptick in the need for medical office buildings to provide outpatient services and managed care.
Other fun facts about David:
Most Admired Person: General “Stormin’” Norman Schwarzkopf. I was attending college at Auburn when we were engaged in the Persian Gulf War. I used to rush home after class to turn on the TV to hear his updates. General Schwarzkopf was a brilliant military tactician, but more than that, he was an inspirational leader for whom I have tremendous respect.
Favorite Charleston Restaurant: Coast Bar and Grill
Family: My wife, Kim, and I have been married for more than 20 years. We have two daughters, Laurel and Laine. I’m definitely outnumbered in my house!
Hobbies: I love football – both college and pro – and playing fantasy football. I also enjoy golf and wish I had more time to hit the course.
Relentless Ally Makes an Immeasurable Impact
Communication, decisiveness and approachability are only a few tools of the trade that Chad Humphrey carries with him to work each day, both on the job and within his community. As senior project manager for Balfour Beatty, he has contributed to the development of high-profile, large-scale construction projects in and around Raleigh, NC. His superior project management and consistent community outreach demonstrate that he’s not just here to watch the Triangle grow from the sidelines; he’s here to be a true Relentless Ally—to be involved, to contribute and to make a difference, one project, one cause at a time.
Since joining Balfour Beatty in 2008, Chad has had three successive elevations in leadership that were a direct result of significant contributions he has made to some of the most notable projects in eastern North Carolina, which include projects at Johnston Memorial Hospital and the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
With talent and work ethic that shine brightly, Chad has created an identity rooted in hard work and humility. Chad’s experience in aviation, healthcare and education are just the beginning. With an unfailing ability to troubleshoot problems and keep projects on course, Chad has gained the respect of countless members of the local construction community. It’s clear to everyone around him that his future will continue to hold groundbreaking, monumental projects—the kind that require a trusted, caring and experienced leader.
Chad’s greatest source of pride in leading a project is the responsibility that rests on him. Chad’s accountability-based leadership style is evidenced by the numerous team members who have seen their careers progress under his leadership—the interns who have earned their place as full-time employees and the project engineers who have begun working their way up the operations chain.
Those who work with Chad, whether in a personal or professional capacity, are quick to agree that he has earned a reputation as a “calm, cool and collected” leader during every situation. With construction at Willow Spring High School on schedule to open for students in August 2019, Chad is slated to lead the next Wake County Public Schools middle school project, which is the same prototype as one of Chad’s previous projects with the owner, Pine Hollow Middle School.
Chad’s operational excellence is matched by his tremendous commitment to rallying the community for a common cause. His greatest philanthropic effort is the creation of Balfour Beatty’s annual Pink Out Day across the Triangle that raises donations for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Under Chad’s leadership, the 2018 Pink Out Day raised over $40,100 for the non-profit to help fight women’s cancers. Since 2012, the event has raised over $120,000 in total donations.
The day is marked by project teams and workers on jobsites across the Triangle donning pink t-shirts—a visual representation of their support and a celebration of the fundraising that is the cornerstone of the day. In a region that is strengthened through its collaboration of business, government and universities, Chad has created a camaraderie of excitement around the Pink-Out day, garnering support and generous donations from trade partners and owners from all corners of the Triangle.
The foundation’s namesake, Kay Yow, former North Carolina State University head women’s basketball coach was known for frequently stating, “Never let the urgent get in the way of the important.” In a career that revolves around checklists and punch outs, schedules and critical milestones, it’s a true testament to Chad’s adaptability that he effectively manages multiple projects, priorities and people—simultaneously.
Stephanie Glance, CEO, Kay Yow Cancer Foundation recently praised Chad’s efforts. “Over the past six years, Chad Humphrey has been an advocate for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, uniting communities in the fight against ALL women's cancers. He has galvanized the construction community to champion a cause that affects every family -- cancer. We are most grateful for his leadership and servant's heart as Balfour Beatty continues to make in impact that is changing lives.”
Chad’s passion for mentoring the next generation was evident during his time working on the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, as he leveraged the landmark project into a learning opportunity. Through a partnership he initiated with Smithfield-Selma High School in Johnston County, Chad brought the stories and successes of the project right into the classroom, sharing industry knowledge and a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into renovating a $52 million airport terminal. In response to their attentiveness in the classroom, Chad invited the students to tour the site, piquing the architecture, construction and engineering interests of many who marveled at the magnitude of the project.
When it comes to making an impact, Chad is a consistent leader and contributor to the Triangle’s development. He’s a proven Relentless Ally whose tangible influence can be felt throughout his community and among clients and coworkers.
A champion for clients and communities
Bryan Osborne’s work ethic and a personal drive to succeed is contagious. Each and every project and team member he has worked for, worked with, or mentored in his 17 years in the construction industry has benefited from his positive attitude, passion for building, and desire to bring his client’s visions to life.
With a Construction Management Certificate from the University of California Davis, Brian is known for consistently delivering value to his projects and developing trusted relationships. Part of his success comes from the experience he gained advancing in his career from an entry-level position of project engineer, to project manager, to senior project manager, and now to his current role as project executive.
Through these roles, Bryan has been given the opportunity to successfully deliver top-notch projects for many education clients and their school programs throughout Los Angeles and Orange County. Some of his more recent projects have been located within the Tustin, Torrance, Culver City, and Glendale Unified School Districts where he has not only become a “Relentless Ally,” he has become a friend.
Above all, Bryan naturally embodies “people-first” environments. He spearheads, and enjoys, taking part in service activities that not only better serve our clients, but make communities stronger. He is “all-in” when it comes to going above and beyond to lend a hand wherever it can benefit others.
A perfect example of his can-do attitude is his involvement with Balfour Beatty’s annual collaboration with Sharefest’s Community Outreach in Torrance, CA. For their annual workday, Bryan assembles an excess of 300 volunteers, made up of students, school staff, contractors, vendors, and fellow employees to complete school improvement and beautification projects at schools in the Redondo, Torrance, Culver City, and Wiseburn School Districts—all at no cost to the schools. This is the second year Bryan has been involved and it wasn’t limited to the Workday. He also participates on a golf outing committee that raises funds to help pay for the materials needed during Sharefest’s Workday and their Youth Development Academy. This year, they raised a record-setting $100,050.
Bryan has also made significant impacts on many other charitable causes including Red Shoe Day to support the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego, Dinosaur Dash in Tustin to support the Tustin Public Schools Foundation, and the Junior Achievement Bowl-a-Thon to support Junior Achievement in San Diego. He leads by example and also participates in mentoring programs for high school students.
Bryan is a steward of the community where he works and for the clients he works for. He’s a shining example of a truly impassioned leader who is committed to consistently delivering the best construction experience his clients have ever had. On top of all of that, Bryan holds the highest role of “hero” to his wife and pre-school age children, whom he rarely misses a family dinner with.
Safety Bob: The Capacity to Lead and Character to Inspire
You don’t get a nickname like “Safety Bob” overnight.
Maybe it was born out of the way people perplexedly linger on that first syllable of his last name, waiting expectantly for Bob to finish it. “Mrrr… Mrrr…”
“MER*JEEN*O*VITCH,” he’s learned to sound out before another tongue-tied iteration. But perhaps the alias stems just as much from Bob’s unique-if-hard-to-pronounce surname as his reputation for honesty, fairness and humility – traits that make our trade partners trust him and his colleagues love him.
When Bob started out in the construction industry, the nineteen-year-old high school sports standout was certain he’d bucked his familial destiny. Beginning as a laborer and going on to become a licensed carpenter, the Wisconsin native was seemingly as far away from the teaching profession as the sun is from Green Bay’s Lambeau Field on a frigid January day.
But Bob, who never lost his passion for athletics or the camaraderie that comes from participating in them, would take on yet another title beginning with the letter c. Carpenter by day, coach by night, Bob was – unbeknownst to him at the time – laying the foundation for a career in construction safety.
But it would become so much more than a career. While working as the director of maintenance at a Wisconsin college, Bob witnessed two accidents as alarming as they were avoidable. “I realized safety was my calling,” Bob recollects of this life-changing moment. The principles that guided Bob both as a player and coach to countless victories would go on to influence his philosophies about safety.
“To achieve Zero Harm, you need inspirational leadership,” asserts Bob. “That means I have to walk the talk. When I give subs my word on something, I have to follow through.” Beyond personal accountability, Bob is a staunch believer in handling safety infractions in a constructive manner. “I never want to be a disciplinarian or take someone off a job for one mistake. I always ask myself the question, ‘how can I develop this worker to make him or her an asset to the team?’ ”
Seeing potential in everyone? Transforming setbacks into stepping stones? Spoken like a man born to teach.
Bob officially became a Relentless Ally when he joined Balfour Beatty in 2015 after working for our MWBE partner on the Tarleton State University student housing project. But in many ways, he’s been a Relentless Ally his entire career, impacting hundreds of impressionable tradesmen and teenagers alike.
Bob, who knows better than most that one star a winning team does not make (unless you’re talking Aaron Rodgers, of course), is quick to credit his mentor, Hank Mouser, and the entire Texas safety department for bringing him into the fold. “This is the most interesting job I’ve ever had,” praises Bob. “More than any other company I know, Balfour Beatty employees are believers in the team concept. I just enjoy putting in a good, hard day’s work.”
Today, Bob has unofficially retired from coaching – or at least that’s what you’ll hear in Dallas’ youth sports circles. But even though Bob has stepped away from the playing fields and the fanfare of cheering stadiums, choosing instead to spend much of his free time with his wife and his Harley on the open road, his competitive fire still burns brightly.
It can be observed when he exchanges a gloved handshake with a foreman or gently pulls aside an ironworker who has forgotten her glasses. It can be felt when he facilitates OSHA 10/30 hour classes. It can be heard when he testifies about distracted driving.
Carpenter, coach, champion. Does Safety Bob encompass them all?
Florida Operations Announce Relentless Ally Award Winners
Congratulations to Florida office's 1st annual culture champions and Relentless Ally winners. Derived from the company’s culture statement, the award categories were Zero Harm, Client Experience and People First. The winners were announced at the Florida Managers Meeting this month, and the ceremony was a popular success! The Florida leadership team discussed the categories and decided the nominations. Nominees were anonymously submitted and chosen through supportive evidence, in-depth discussion and outside recommendations.
The Zero Harm award recognizes a team that is striving for complete safety on the job to help Balfour Beatty lead the industry in safety. The winner was objectively chosen by pulling the safety statistics from every active project. What the statistics don’t say is how the team has changed their client’s safety culture to reflect Balfour Beatty’s perspective on the importance of Zero Harm. Congratulations to Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center team on winning the Zero Harm Relentless Ally award. This team exemplifies the idea Make it Count; on the jobsite, you will see safety best practices to little things often overlooked. Way to go JRTC!
The Client Experience award recognizes a team that went above and beyond in their delivery to the client. The winning team overcame extreme obstacles and challenges to deliver the building early (35 days!); the early and in-budget project led to the client selecting Balfour Beatty for their next project. Congratulations to the SeaWorld Sesame Street team on winning the Client Experience Relentless Ally award. This team prioritized the client by delivering our services while forming a powerful and lasting connection. Great Job SeaWorld team!
The People First award recognizes an employee who is truly a relentless ally internally, externally, personally and professionally. This individual is motivated to create an environment where Balfour Beatty is hands-down the best place to work. Congratulations to Jason Sizemore on winning the People First Relentless Ally award. Jason has a close relationship with his large team and focuses on developing them personally and professionally. He naturally connects with people on a personal level and is well-respected for that and many other reasons. Thank you, Jason, for truly putting your team members and clients first!
A Formula for Success
Nature versus nurture. It’s one of the most hotly contested topics within the field of psychology.
As the son of a civil engineer and interior designer who went on to build an impressive career in construction, Amar Vel might help scholars settle the debate.
Amar, whose family owned their own construction firm in Chennai, India, knew from a young age that he wanted to follow in his parents’ footsteps. When he was just 17, Amar came to the United States to study civil engineering at the University of Connecticut. With a prodigious talent for mathematics, Amar excelled at his coursework.
During an internship with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT), Amar helped analyze the Metro-North rail line that crosses over approximately 150 historic bridges between New Haven Station and Grand Central Station. As he identified needed bridge repairs, Amar found himself dreaming instead about performing them. “I realized I enjoyed physically building something,” recalls Amar.
Upon graduation, Amar could have easily returned to India to work in his family’s business. But Amar wanted to write his own formula for success. The equation was simple: courage + opportunity = fulfillment of the American dream. “I wanted to stand on my own and build a name for myself in this country,” acknowledges Amar.
Preconstruction was a natural fit for the self-professed numbers guy who soon found his niche in high-rise, multi-unit construction, and most recently in the hospitality sector. But Amar didn’t just thrive on providing air-tight estimates; he enjoyed the relationships he forged with design, trade and engineering partners.
“If you can guide an owner or designer to make the most cost-effective decisions earlier during the preconstruction phase, you can start a project much more quickly than the traditional design-bid-build approach,” affirms Amar. The adage “time is money” rings true for all markets in construction, but perhaps none more so than multifamily—making Amar’s expertise even more valuable.
Amar joined Balfour Beatty in 2011 when the company’s Atlanta team was resuming construction on Buckhead Atlanta, a megaproject that stalled during the Great Recession. Amar was instrumental in helping reach a guaranteed maximum price (GMP), which set the successful restart in motion.
In his role as vice president, of preconstruction, Amar has taken countless projects from mere napkin sketches to become recognized Atlanta landmarks like Icon Midtown. In fact, Amar is so fond of this brainstorming stage that he often keeps the first mock-ups as souvenirs. For Icon Midtown, it all started with a simple rectangle box from which Amar helped determine how to maximize the owner’s pro forma.
Amar is as passionate about hitting the numbers as he is about achieving them in an innovative way. Recently, Amar played an instrumental role in driving preconstruction efforts on the Osprey, Balfour Beatty’s first project with off-site manufacturing firm Prescient. He performed six different density studies, ultimately developing a model that met each stakeholder’s distinct needs including the desired building skin and variety of floor plans. The result was a 13-story Prescient tower located adjacent to a precast parking deck and two five-story, wood-frame buildings.
Recognizing the density limitations of wood-frame structures and their long construction schedules, Amar believes off-site is the future of multifamily housing construction. “Owners are not always going to build 30 or 40-story towers, and labor isn’t coming back overnight. Structural prefabrication can achieve that middle ground with less on-site resources,” says Amar.
But Amar is quick to caution that innovative projects such as the Osprey must be planned and executed as a cohesive team. “You can’t think, ‘I’m an owner, I’m a trade partner.’ You have to think I am part of a team trying to achieve a common goal.”
As Amar seeks out new and innovative ways to serve Balfour Beatty’s clients, he will continue to cement the legacy he set out to build as a young man. Amar’s family may have influenced his destiny as a second-generation builder, but it’s also his unique talents and entrepreneurial spirit that have helped him excel—thousands of miles away from where he first became fascinated by an industry that impacts the whole world, one building, one home at a time.
Building from the Heart
“Iris is a joy to work with; she is one of the most caring individuals I have had the pleasure of knowing. Iris is caring in the sense of delivering a quality product to the client every time. Caring in the sense of respect for every individual on the project and gaining their trust by delivering on every promise she makes. Her positive attitude and nature are contagious on the job site, as well as to her team.”
Karl Joeris, Vice President
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Terminal Renewal & Improvement Program
Iris Canary, an assistant superintendent on the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFWIA) Terminal Renewal and Improvement Program, is part of the team currently working on the 400,000-square-foot renovation of Terminal A Phase III. This project is a significant interior remodel, as well as a replacement of all back of house systems. “The job site is vast, we easily walk eight to 10 miles a day,” stated Iris.
As assistant superintendent, Iris says one of her favorite things about her job is interacting with people, collaborating with the team and solving problems. Iris wants to ensure project success by building trust and open communication with owners and trade partners, so at the end of the day, we deliver on their dream, their vision.
To carry out a build of this magnitude required a strong team with a singular focus on the project success. The team uses Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) principles, where DFWIA and end-users, construction teams, design teams, consultants and subcontractors are on a collocated job site. Iris is proud of the fact that this collocation cultivated mutual respect, humility, and the readiness to listen, contribute, and collaborate as a team for the betterment of the project. “Each stakeholder provided their collective expertise and held each other accountable to optimize results. This philosophy allowed all stakeholders to come to the table early and, using their expertise, identify conflicts and provide solutions with an equal voice. The result of using this intensive collaboration was improved quality and efficiency and reduced project cost,” shared Iris.
Iris believes it’s easy to love what you do when you love the people on your team. “You do what you have to do to get the job done; you are never off the clock,” she says. “I have great pride in being able to say my hands are on that, my fingerprints are on that, so it must always represent the best I have to offer, the best the team has to offer,” shared Iris.
Part of working with a great team is ensuring everybody on the job site is safe. Iris said, “You have to keep your team safe first and foremost, making sure everyone goes home at the end of the day, every person, whether they are sweeping the floor, floating drywall or hanging pipe—they are family, and you want to protect your family.”
She first got into the construction business simply by association. Her late husband, Jeff Canary was a superintendent in the industry for 27 years. To honor him, she runs half-marathons in support for organizations that help people stay well and get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer.
Iris Canary builds from the heart, striving daily to deliver on dreams in the communities in which we live and work
Building Connections and Trust
“There is only an upside to being open and honest. If not, you are asking people to trust you when they don’t know what you’re doing. We allow our clients and design teams to look behind the curtain.”
Chad Brewer is a born builder. His dad has worked in construction his entire career, so Chad grew up on jobsites, and construction is all he’s ever wanted to do. When he graduated from college, he turned to his dad for recommendations on good companies. Lucky for us, Balfour Beatty was on that list. Chad started with us as a project engineer in 1998, and he has worked his way up the ranks to operations director for the Fort Worth office, but he has never forgotten his first projects, and the lessons he learned.
On Chad’s first project, the client believed all contractors worked in their own best interest and didn’t care about the needs of the client. This lack of trust made the project challenging. Chad’s next project was the exact opposite. The owner, design team and the Balfour Beatty project team worked very closely together. The project was fast tracked and demanding, but everyone liked and respected each other. So even though the team worked hard, the project went smoothly, and everyone had a lot of fun.
“The fact that these two projects happened back to back, and the experiences were so extremely different, really impressed on me the importance of connecting and building trust,” says Chad. “I’ve spent the rest of my career trying to prevent that first project from ever happening again, and trying to recreate the second project.”
Chad originally worked in our Dallas office, but he lives in Fort Worth. When we decided to increase services to our Fort Worth clients, Chad jumped at the chance to join the team. His first assignment was the 185,000-square-foot, North Richland Hills Municipal Complex. There was only one hitch, the client was frustrated. On Chad’s first day in Fort Worth, he headed to the North Richland Hill’s police headquarters to meet Chief of Police, Jimmy Perdue.
“I don’t have any sales techniques when I meet with a client. All I can do is listen and give the best recommendations I can give,” says Chad.
Chad discovered Balfour Beatty was expanding so fast in Fort Worth, Chief Purdue was worried we might be too busy for his project. “In 2014, we broke into the ranks as one of the top three contractors in Fort Worth, and our office was hopping,” states Chad. “The municipal complex project was kicking off, and Chief Perdue needed to know that his project was important to us.”
Chad included Chief Perdue and the design team in all post bid meetings so they could join in the discussions with the subcontractors. Chad stresses the significance of this approach. “I think it’s important for the owner and design team to the see the level of detail we go through. They need to see us discussing logistics, planning, scope and price,” says Chad.
Chief Perdue has enjoyed working alongside Chad. “Throughout our project, Chad has done an excellent job of listening to our needs and wants. This allowed time for us to examine different options,” says Chief Perdue. “During this process, he provided input on our ideas and identified cost and overall project impacts. Rather than direct, he guided, allowing us to reach our decision.”
Chad’s rules for connecting with others are simple, but impactful:
Be honest and open
Show trust and respect
Do what you say you’ll do
Work hard and have fun together
Words to live by, Chad.
For Special Projects Expert, Alan Wahlstrom Passion is the Primary Ingredient for Success
Leading Balfour Beatty’s special projects operations across California, Alan is positioning Balfour Beatty as our clients’ single source of construction
If you’re lucky, you have a good job. If you’re especially fortunate, you have a rewarding career. But if you’re truly blessed, that career just so happens to be your life’s calling. A calling so powerful you go home at night with a sense of meaning, purpose and accomplishment. A calling that probably also looks a lot like the real answer to the proverbial childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
If you had recently posed that question to Alan Wahlstrom, he would enthusiastically answer “construction.” His impressive career at Balfour Beatty has taken him coast-to-coast from the nation’s capital to the Golden State where he currently leads the team’s Los Angeles special projects operations. During his tenure, Alan has made his mark as a Relentless Ally in the delivery of best-in-class special projects across a vast array of market sectors that have exemplified our clients’ culture and values to successfully advance their business goals.
Developing a Winning Special Projects Formula
For more than 10 years, Alan led Balfour Beatty’s special projects operations in the Mid-Atlantic, firmly establishing the company as the contractor of choice in providing holistic building construction services. Under Alan’s leadership, Balfour Beatty delivered iconic projects including the 10-floor, 400,000-square-foot buildout of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Offices (F.E.R.C.), National Museum of the Marine Corp. NMMC Galleries 13 & 14, Dulles Airport Jet Bridge Expansion, Sibley Hospital Hospice Center, Astra Zeneca FMC ADC Lab, Catholic University Life Safety Upgrades on the Historic McMahon Hall and more.
Beyond his passion for the incredibly client-focused nature of special projects, Alan is also drawn to their diverse market sectors and scopes. From executing work for major developers such as Vornado/Charles E. Smith to providing premier buildouts for retail chains such as Panera Bread and Buffalo Wild Wings, Alan has honed a winning and repeatable formula for success of every special project.
That formula not only leverages Alan’s strong operations background but also his extensive estimating experience. Alan’s ability to accurately advise his clients on scope decisions during conceptual design has become even more critical in the context of today’s market and supply chain volatility.
His end-to-end expertise is a true differentiator for special projects, which are often completed on expedited schedules, in partially or fully occupied spaces, and within strict budget constraints. Although the quick, “rapid-fire” nature of special project schedules can bring a cold sweat to many a contractor’s brow, for Alan, it’s what makes him excited to get up every morning.
With its full-service special projects team, Balfour Beatty is uniquely positioned to be our clients’ single source of construction, offering greater schedule certainty, building knowledge and cost savings.
“We want our clients to know that the end of a project isn’t when we turn the keys over to a 20-story base building,” says Alan. “The end of a Balfour Beatty project can be when we move in the last tenant. We have the desire and capability to serve our clients through the full lifecycle of every project.”
Returning to His Roots
Today, Alan has returned to his roots in his hometown of Los Angeles, California. In bringing his expertise to our local operations, Alan will build upon the capabilities of our strong and established team that has cemented Balfour Beatty’s reputation as the state’s top education builder.
Leading the team’s growing special projects services, Alan is focused on delivering Balfour Beatty’s signature, people-first experience on every project. Alan is also passionate about leveraging Balfour Beatty’s strong partnerships with local, minority women-owned businesses and subcontractors to cultivate the vast talents of the area’s contractor community.
“I’m thrilled to work with our team of experts and industry partners across California,” says Alan. “And while we’re charting new territory for the business, in many ways, my heart has always been with this community where countless dreams are born. And I’m confident that our team will deliver our clients’ dreams for dynamic special projects in Los Angeles and beyond.”
Reaping Early Rewards
On the heels of Balfour Beatty’s expansion into special project services within the Los Angeles market, our team has been awarded a $2.9 million contract to deliver the City of Beverly Hills’ shell improvements project at 430 North Camden Drive. The project will be incorporated into a future tenant buildout and features core and shell improvements to a 9,500-square-foot tenant space.
Whether you’re seeking a CM at-Risk for a 200,000-square-foot, ground-up building or a general contractor for a 2,000-square-foot renovation, look no further than Balfour Beatty. We have the people who know what it takes to execute any type, size, or scope of the project and the passion to deliver an unparalleled customer experience.
After all, they’ve been called to work. And who better to deliver your dream than people who are living out theirs?
A People-First Relentless Ally for Diverse Project Dreams
When Henry Thacker first set foot on the University of Florida (UF) campus, he didn’t have a clear vision for his future career path. After exploring potential majors in design and business, Henry found his home at UF’s Rinker School of Construction Management. Beyond the excitement of watching structures come to life, the construction industry offered Henry what he most desired out of a career–working in a people-oriented industry. Henry has achieved that dream at Balfour Beatty and so much more as he’s embodied the company’s people-first culture on projects across Florida.
Henry joined Balfour Beatty in 2018 on the Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando project, which transformed an aging attraction into a modern entertainment experience complete with immersive play areas, vibrantly themed rides and one-of-a-kind interactive experiences based on the long-running children’s show.
To this day, the SeaWorld project still stands as Henry’s favorite—but not for the reasons one might imagine. When construction was already underway, SeaWorld Orlando established a new goal of opening Sesame Street in time for the Spring Break rush, which was one month earlier than the original plan. The Balfour Beatty team took the time to understand SeaWorld’s needs, tailor their plan and accelerate all technical aspects to finish the job early and within budget. Their success helped Balfour Beatty establish an ongoing relationship with this valued client.
Building on Best Practices in a New Market
After the completion of Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando and other projects, an opportunity arose to assume the leadership role of a burgeoning business sector focusing on special projects. When Henry raised his hand to help the Florida business continue expanding its presence in this market, local leadership knew that he had the skills, vision and tenacity to be successful.
"Henry brings a competitive spirit and excitement to every pursuit and project, which is important in this fast-paced seller/doer role,” says Brian Prebenda, senior vice president operations. “He takes on every role he takes with passion and continuously surpasses expectations."
Today, Henry leads a dedicated team of fast-track delivery specialists who execute projects of diverse scopes and sizes. This team has the unique opportunity to become quickly immersed in every facet of their projects from preconstruction to final close-out.
Henry knows that behind every proposal, budget and schedule is a team of people, and those individuals define and deliver the complete Balfour Beatty experience to our clients and partners.
Deepening Existing Relationships
Florida’s special projects team recognized that there were exciting opportunities to complete niche work with clients who had already entrusted their large, ground-up projects to Balfour Beatty. Repeat clients like Tavistock Development and AmWINS quickly turned to Henry to lead the delivery of projects, such as office upfits, resort renovations and restaurant refreshes.
One of the first projects Henry inherited in his new role was a local resort renovation. Although the project went off without a hitch and almost immediately resulted in another project award, Henry proactively facilitated a debrief with all parties to better understand the client’s vision and needs.
“I make it my mission to continually align and connect with the clients and partners who depend on our teams,” says Henry. “I was extremely proud of our team and excited to get started on our next project, but I knew that there were opportunities to hone our delivery skills and the construction experience we provided to the client.”
Although Balfour Beatty is recognized as an industry-leading large-scale builder in Florida, Henry is here to tell you that we can deliver the special projects too. From roofing to room renovations, these projects are just as complex and take proven experts to ensure they are executed with the same precision and dedication to operational excellence.
Whether you’re seeking a Construction Manager at-Risk for a 200,000-square-foot, ground-up office tower or a general contractor for a 2,000-square-foot retail renovation, look no further than Balfour Beatty’s special projects experts in Florida. Henry and his team know what it takes to deliver an unparalleled and people-first customer experience.
Taking RDU Airport to New Heights
Trent’s leadership has been instrumental in nurturing Balfour Beatty’s long-standing relationship with valued aviation client and executing on the challenges of working in an active airport environment.
Trent Johnson has always enjoyed a good challenge. For the past 15 years, he's had the opportunity to solve plenty of them at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), where Balfour Beatty has been entrusted to build 16 projects ranging in size and scope from a $700,000 carpet replacement to the recent win of the $400 million Runway 5L/23R Replacement Program. Although each project is unique, one constant remains: Trent's leadership has been instrumental in building strong teams that have successfully executed on the challenges of working in an active airport environment.
Trent didn’t always envision a career managing large-scale construction projects. But when his first internship while attending NC State University led him to RDU, he appreciated the magnitude and complexity of the work and could envision himself one day solving challenges such as building in and around fully operational critical systems.
Although Trent has worked on a variety of project types - from multifamily to healthcare - since joining Balfour Beatty in 2013, his home away from home has been RDU, building over 1 million square feet as part of 16 projects. It is a point of tremendous honor for Trent, who notes that RDU is not only his "hometown airport" having grown up in Wake Forest, North Carolina, but also a major economic driver in the region.
While the size and scope of Trent’s projects at RDU have varied, one constant has remained: Trent’s belief that a project team’s culture must be grounded in collaboration, respect and trust to be an effective construction partner.
“We’ve all worked the night shift. No one says, ‘That’s not my job.’ If the people on your team are all willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, it builds morale.”
Trent counts himself fortunate to have worked with many of the same Balfour Beatty team members at RDU over the years, building a core crew that is uniquely positioned to understand and deliver on every stakeholder’s needs and goals.
That understanding begins with ensuring construction activities do not impact an airport’s 24/7 security operations and other critical systems such as baggage handling or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) screening that could result in costly shutdowns, delays or jeopardized public safety. It also requires in-depth knowledge of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations—especially where runway construction is involved and may present hazards to aircraft or air traffic control operations.
To minimize risks once construction begins, Trent drives early planning and collaboration with all project stakeholders.
“We believe that delivering a successful construction experience for RDU depends on more than meeting a project’s budget and schedule,” affirms Trent. “We plan for the potential challenges that a project at an active airport may encounter such as safe and secure access to work zones, impact of daily airport operations and the constant concern for material deliveries.”
Trent employs strategies such as developing site logistics plans that minimize or eliminate the interface between construction activities and the public and performing as much work as possible in non-secure areas. Because all workers in secure areas must undergo an application process to obtain Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) badges, this can significantly impact a project’s labor force and productivity. Projects that involve power switchovers or temporary outages require early communication and ongoing coordination with the client.
On the Terminal 2 Passenger Screening Checkpoint Expansion project, the team added two lanes to the security checkpoint while working adjacent to the active security screening area. Careful coordination of all systems was required to ensure operations of the TSA checkpoint were never impacted. In a single overnight shift, the team erected a pre-finished wall system as the temporary security walls, effectively separating the construction areas from the public security lanes. The expansion was then completed in the non-secure construction space, and the new lanes were unveiled overnight after all construction had been completed.
Beyond the day-in and day-out operational excellence Trent helps deliver for RDU, he understands the immense value in achieving an early project delivery. During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Balfour Beatty was able to accelerate the Runway 5L-23R Preservation project due to the reduced flow of air traffic.
Originally, the team was slated to begin the third phase of this four-phase project in early 2020. One of the major logistical considerations leading up to this point had been the need to re-open the runway daily to accommodate RDU’s international flights. When restrictions were imposed on international flights, the team was able to work with RDU and project trade partners to occupy the runway and complete the remaining work, which included an additional 25 slab replacements in only 35 days, ultimately completing the project five and half months early. This early delivery allowed RDU to eliminate an additional 57 runway closures that were originally scheduled to complete the project.
On other projects, Trent leverages cutting-edge technologies to improve efficiency. Because runway concrete must be able to withstand the weight of aircraft, construction teams test samples before it is poured and incrementally while it is curing to ensure proper temperature readings. This can be a time-consuming and often inexact process.
On the Runway 5L-23R Preservation project, the team used a wireless maturity meter that enabled every project team member, including the client, to remotely access readings from a Smartphone app. This real-time monitoring was imperative since the concrete had to reach the strength required for an aircraft landing within 12 hours of placement. Rather than wait several hours between physically testing samples, the strength of the concrete was able to be tracked in real-time to ensure that all parameters were in place to open the runway each morning.
Ready for Take-Off
Throughout his time at RDU, Trent has been a consummate Relentless Ally for the airport, developing a trusted partnership and achieving a proven track record that has contributed to Balfour Beatty’s repeat award of multiple projects. As a tireless advocate for RDU, Trent understands the importance of treating the traveling public as his client.
“As a true Construction Manager at-Risk partner, we’re looking out for RDU in every facet of their business. Their number one priority is the public, so we’ve made it our mission to ensure the public is at the forefront of our planning and operations.”
Whether he’s helping RDU achieve their vision of delivering a world-class airport experience or building new education, commercial or residential structures to support one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S., Trent can be counted on to lead project teams with an unrivaled commitment to operational excellence and customer service.
The best in class in school construction
When it comes to building schools and managing district programs, Project Executive Dennis Kuykendall, “aces it” each and every time. With his 25-plus years in construction, Dennis is deeply entrenched within local school communities located along California’s southernmost Central Coast. In fact, he has developed trusted advisor relationships with over 25-percent of all Ventura County School Districts.
In the ten years he’s been with Balfour Beatty, Dennis has overseen work that includes just about every project in progress or completed by the Ventura office such as the Oxnard College Student Services Building; a parking structure for the University of California, Santa Barbara; Cesar E. Chavez K-8 School in the Oxnard School District; a new K-8 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Agriculture and Mathematics (STEAAM) school for the Somis Union Elementary School District; a new K-8 STEAAM school for Rio School District; the Rio School District Bond program; and the Oak Park Unified School District Measure R Bond Program. Other large projects include the William J. “Pete” Knight Veteran’s Home, the Ruben Castro Human Services Center, and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation National Training Center.
In the Oak Park Union School District, Dennis is a shining star for the work he performed at Oak Park High School. That project gained national attention for the installation of seven, first of its kind, net-zero classroom buildings that were made out of single use containers used for ocean shipping.
The buildings achieve net-zero energy consumption, save 115 tons of landfill waste by using 85 percent reclaimed material, and use high-performing and energy-efficient systems that reduce monthly utility costs. Each building features full LED lighting, ductless HVAC Risystems, floor-to-ceiling windows, and solar panels classifying the buildings as “ultra-green” and automatically qualifying for 37 LEED credits or 42 CHPS credits.
Dennis played a key role in helping the District gain additional recognition for that classroom project, as well as for Oak Park’s program in general, with honors and awards from the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) California Central Coast Chapter’s Green School Award; “Green Ribbon” recognition from the U.S. Department of Education; and a Green School Leadership Award, which was presented at the Green Schools California Summit in 2011.
No matter what project Dennis is working on, his professionalism, leadership skills, passion for his work, and positive attitude fosters an uncanny ability to treat each project as though it was his own business. “To run a great business, you have to have a great team, and I’m lucky to have that in my favor,” says Dennis. “I’ve been working with the same, trusted Balfour Beatty teammates as a cohesive unit for the past ten years now. Together with our partners, we’ve built amazing structures and friendships. All of us are equally committed—and it shows in the trusted advisor relationships we’ve built over the years. They just keep getting stronger every day.”
Transforming Projects through Technology
With over 21 years of experience in the design and construction industry, Elizabeth Angel is known as something of a technology wizard. In her role as director of BIM/VDC at Howard S. Wright (HSW), a Balfour Beatty company, Elizabeth focuses on implementing technologies that make projects located throughout the Pacific Northwest more safe, lean and efficient.
Her expertise using the latest technologies such as 3D modeling, OpenSpace and Procore, coupled with her strong network within the AEC community, places her at the forefront of her field. Elizabeth’s passion for technology ensures we are building to last, but her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) ensures we are also building new futures along the way.
The sixth of seven children, Elizabeth grew up in San Ysidro, California where she and her brother spent countless hours in the back yard designing and creating structures of all shapes and sizes. She may not have realized it then, but it was during these early years that she honed her natural-born talent as an engineer. One of Elizabeth’s driving motivators has always been making her family proud—her maternal grandfather endured many hardships moving the family from Mexico in the 1960s, and her father, an engineer without a formal education, was the sole breadwinner for her large family.
Through her family’s support and guidance, Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Science degree in architectural engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She joined her six other siblings who all earned college degrees and are now part of her family’s legacy as first-generation college graduates.
“I came from very humble beginnings,” says Elizabeth. “I’m grateful for the help I received when I was growing up; now it’s my time to pay it back. My biggest focus is not to be a bottleneck but an enabler. I’m determined to do whatever it takes to generate results and make it happen.”
Collaborating for Success
For Elizabeth, “making it happen” means thoroughly testing new technologies to ensure they improve the work of the teammates she supports. Working with her technology counterparts across the U.S., Elizabeth is dedicated to finding tools that make the job easier, not harder.
When she tests a new tool, Elizabeth and her team seek out opportunities to pilot it before rolling it out broadly. After 12 years with HSW, project teams trust that any tool Elizabeth introduces will increase efficiency and improve client experience.
Elizabeth isn’t always the driving force behind new technologies; just as her teams trust her, she trusts them to tell her what tools will be most useful on their projects. This type of collaboration is a hallmark of her work.
“New technology can be intimidating for a lot of people,” Elizabeth explains. “Working together ensures that everyone feels that it is learnable, shareable and tangible. And, above all, that it will improve the quality of our projects.”
Embracing Diverse Perspectives
In addition to leveraging technology to improve the quality of projects, Elizabeth is also helping diversify our pool of trade partners to bring new perspectives onboard. She is co-championing DE&I in Seattle by hosting Diverse Partner Engagement meetings in which representatives from small, minority and women-owned businesses and enterprises (SMWBEs) can learn about upcoming partnership opportunities and get to know the HSW team.
“The Diverse Partnership Engagement meetings are dynamic and meaningful opportunities,” says Elizabeth. “We want to raise awareness about upcoming bids, but more than that, we want diverse businesses to know we are proactively advocating for their success.”
Internally, Elizabeth is the current co-chair of the Northwest chapter of Somos, the company’s employee affinity group representing our Hispanic/Latin@ teammates, as well as a member of Connecting Women, our employee affinity group supporting the advancement of women in construction. Through her involvement with these groups, Elizabeth is advancing Balfour Beatty’s goal of creating a workplace that is more diverse, equitable and inclusive of a wide range of talents and perspectives.
Whether she is introducing new technology, hosting diverse partners engagement meetings, supporting teams for successful projects or celebrating the accomplishments of her peers, Elizabeth puts her all in everything she does. She is passionate about all aspects of the business and a true ally for clients and co-workers alike—her last name says it all!
Named Superintendent of the Year
Balfour Beatty’s own Wayne Kibbe received recognition for his tremendous efforts and joyous spirit.
“Now, the moment you have all been waiting for, the winner of the 2019 General Contractor Superintendent of the Year Award goes to Wayne Kibbe of Balfour Beatty.”
The audience, full of Wayne’s gleeful nominators, erupted into praise. Both surprised and honored, he walked towards the stage and humbly accepted the award and well-deserved recognition as one of San Diego’s best superintendents.
Wayne developed his love of construction from watching his dad work as a lineman. He also watched his next-door neighbor build his own house, From that point on, Wayne knew what he wanted to do with his life—become a builder. Equipped with a strong sense of drive and ambition, he set a target and took every construction class offered at his high school. He worked part-time in various trades to equip himself with the knowledge and skillset to work towards his goal. Wayne even had the opportunity to assist in building three homes while still in school.
Upon graduation, Wayne began his first full-time role working for a general contractor. He proudly accepted a position working in the field, applying his newly developed skills at what would unknowingly be his forever home–Balfour Beatty.
Working his way up through the company, Wayne established himself as a high achiever and quickly moved from skilled laborer to carpenter, then from assistant superintendent to now general superintendent, where he continues to thrive. Able to easily navigate and overcome project setbacks while maintaining an amicable and confident demeanor, Wayne cultivates a sense of unification, safety and mentorship.
Wayne enjoys the opportunity to successfully deliver top-notch projects for many education clients and school programs throughout California. Some of his recent projects are within the San Diego Unified School District and Chula Vista Elementary School District. Our clients at San Francisco State University know Wayne for successfully delivering projects, maintaining a high level of integrity, and most importantly, being a friend to all.
With more than 32 years of experience working in the industry, Wayne's work ethic and personal drive to succeed emanates on the jobsite, inspiring those around him to continue working towards greatness. When you step foot onto one of Wayne's projects, there is an overwhelming sense of pride carried by every team member.
The Associated Subcontractors Alliance (ASA) San Diego annual award’s program recognizes outstanding companies and individuals in a variety of categories. Only members of ASA can nominate candidates, making the awards a great honor for those nominated, and especially so for those who win. It came as no surprise to those who work with Wayne that he received the General Contractor Superintendent of the Year Award.
From all his friends and teammates at Balfour Beatty, and from around the industry, we are proud to congratulate Wayne for this merited achievement and commend him on his positive attitude, passion for building and his unwavering desire to bring client visions to life.
When He's on a Project, it’s Always a “Hole-In-One”
Arizona is an ideal environment for people who love golf and enjoy living and visiting the warm desert climate. Project Manager Ryan O’Donnell has masterfully combined his love for golf into his work life by successfully delivering beautiful hospitality projects throughout the region, many of which are within walking distance of nearby golf tracks.
Maybe that’s the reason Ryan always has a smile on his face, or maybe—and most likely—it’s because Ryan is passionate about building. He is truly focused on creating the best building experience for his clients, partners, and co-workers.
Having spent ten of the last twelve years in the construction industry with Balfour Beatty, Ryan has been providing innovative solutions on projects like a 102-guest room addition and 57,000-square-foot ballroom addition at the Fairmont Princess Resort; a new Scottsdale Resort Sales Center building; a 70-unit hotel building renovation, new villas/courtyard, and T. Cook’s Restaurant renovation for the Royal Palms Resort in Phoenix; and ADA upgrades for the Phoenician. These projects are only a small sampling of his work – which also includes projects in the tenant improvement, healthcare, office, public, and transportation market sectors.
For Ryan, it doesn’t matter which project or which market sector, it’s all about developing trusted relationships so that he can deliver his client’s true vision and dream. Not only does he excel at leading projects, he goes out of his way to solve problems that may, or may not, be at all related to the projects he was hired to build.
He is a vested partner and demonstrates his commitment in many ways including when he offered his budgeting expertise to a client so they could better understand the needs of a hotel located in a completely different state, or when he paved a parking lot at a moment’s notice–free of charge—so that it would be ready for a community holiday event, and when he, and his family, show up on the weekends and after hours to embrace events held by local charitable organizations aligned with his client’s missions.
Ryan says that the greatest satisfaction from his job comes from generating and maintaining long-term relationships with his colleagues, clients, and partners. “It’s all about creating the best building experience we can for the entire team,” said Ryan. “I focus on creating positive energy on the job site throughout the duration of the project. The result is a more fun environment and team members are especially motivated to be creative. It’s a great way to ensure our clients and partners are receiving the outstanding service and products they deserve.”
Ryan embodies the entire concept of “Relentless Ally.” Famous for his brightly colored shirts, he’s hard to miss on a project site. But even when he wears “Balfour Beatty blue” his contagious enthusiasm and energy are qualities that set him apart as a true client advocate and inspired leader.
In fact, others in the industry are also taking notice. Engineering News Record (ENR) Southwest named him as one of their Top 20 Under 40 winners in 2015. The publication’s annual, the regional competition recognizes 20 individuals under the age of 40 who represent the “Best-of-the-Best in their construction and design careers by giving back to their industry and communities.
An Extraordinary Leader, and Pioneer, in Our Industry
Every year, the Los Angeles Business Journal releases a special issue dedicated to honoring LA’s most influential women in construction and design. The Journal states "According to labor force statistics, the share of women in the construction industry is only at about 10%, so the women who become standouts in that industry are truly pioneers." Congratulations to Vice President, Emily Kay, for being recognized by Los Angeles Business Journal as one of 2020's Outstanding Women in Construction Management and Design!
Building Her Legacy
Emily Kay’s collection of hardhats hangs proudly on display along a wall in her father’s home. The collection, which documents her 25 years in the construction industry, tracks her career path, from concrete laborer to her role today as Vice President of Operations with Balfour Beatty. It’s a story that exemplifies a willingness to try new things, a focus on learning and development, and above all, an overarching passion for working with people and building enduring relationships.
In 1994, Emily Kay was pursuing an advertising major at the University of Kansas. To earn enough funds to pay for college tuition, she took a position as a laborer on a concrete crew, that was part of an enormous effort to build a $200M Cargill 600-acre corn-processing plant. Despite the environment, which included being the only woman among hundreds of workers, waking up every morning at 4 am with fingers so swollen from the day’s labor that they couldn’t bend, she had a positive awakening to what her future would held. She realized her teammates in the field represented the best elements of society, salt of the earth humans that had built the world around us and she decided that in this industry she would be able to build a career that could leave an impact. Five and a half years later she would graduate from the University of Nebraska with a B.S. in Construction Management.
With the field experience and construction knowledge, Emily earned through her internships and summer jobs held consistently through those 5 years, she worked her way up the ladder; from laborer to field layout engineer, to Project Engineer, to Assistant Superintendent, to the sole female Project Executive overseeing construction in Los Angeles County for one of the largest construction companies nationwide and internationally, Balfour Beatty, to finally Vice President of Operations. From humble schedules, built with post-it notes on butcher-block paper, Emily has crafted her career by doing a little bit of everything to gain experience, familiarity, and the trust of her team, and to prove to herself she could. “I never wanted to ask someone to do something that I hadn’t already done myself, so I intended to get out there and try it all, running every piece of equipment I could get my hands on, spending time in every job role,” says Emily.
In her twenty-five years in the construction industry, Emily has developed a noticeable habit: She does whatever it takes. “You don’t blend in, you don’t fly under the radar. You’re out there proving to your team - and yourself - that you can and will do it. Asking yourself ‘what can I do to make everyone else’s job easier’ and then doing just that.” This construction approach, and to working with teams in general, was born that first rainy season in 1994 when flooding threatened her project. As heavy rains filled previously excavated foundations full of reinforcing steel cages with mud, with a frame smaller than many of her peers on the field, she jumped into the rebar cage and “mucked out” the footings and grade beams by the bucket-full. “I like to focus on what the successful outcome looks like, then do whatever it takes to get there - and be willing to perform” reflects Emily.
In 2014, Emily was welcomed to Balfour Beatty as a Senior Project Manager and quickly excelled to become a Project Executive where she was trusted with three of Balfour Beatty’s long-standing legacy clients; the Torrance Unified School District, Culver City Unified School District, and Redondo Beach Unified School District (USD). Over the past five years, Emily and her team have overseen the successful completion of new additions, summer modernization, upgrades, and new construction with a value well over $400 Million for the Torrance, Culver City, and Redondo Beach communities. And while she and her teams still oversee Balfour Beatty’s most senior clients, she’s also been trusted with building first impressions with Manhattan Beach USD and Wiseburn USD. Her continued success and achievements with Balfour Beatty have led her to become the sole female Vice President in Balfour Beatty’s California Division.
It was at Wiseburn High School that Emily and the team would provide construction of a ground-breaking building type that would revolutionize the educational industry, a concept known as MindShift: changing the way we educate by approaching education with the idea of “labs over lectures.” This revolutionary idea not only involves innovation in the school curriculum but evolution in building design and construction. As the Project’s Executive, it was Emily was responsible for managing and building the $100 M, four-story state-of-the-art high school campus. The adaptive reuse high school, originally an office building for Northrop Grumman, was the largest conversion of commercial space to a school building to make it through the Division of the State Architect’s approval process. Upon its completion in 2018, Wiseburn HS served as the backdrop for the 2018 EdShift Conference, which brings stakeholders together for an interactive discussion about transforming the face of K 12 education into high-impact learning environments. The project also received the 2019 “Commercial Real Estate Silver Award” from the Los Angeles Business Journal. Through Emily’s leadership and guidance, the team delivered one of LA County’s premier award-winning educational facilities, which now serves as a leading example for other innovators in education.
In Manhattan Beach USD, Emily and her team oversee two bond programs valued at over $100 M. Active and completed projects include district-wide security fencing, HVAC upgrades throughout the District, the modernization of five elementary schools and one middle school, new 2-story classroom buildings and Multipurpose Room/Admin buildings at 2 elementary schools, and new construction of an impressive Athletic Complex at Mira Costa High School. Dr. Michael D. Matthews, the Superintendent, had the following to say with regard to the management of the projects: “Emily Kay is an extraordinary leader. She brings experience, technical knowledge, high expectations, strong support, and insightful practice to the team. She is also skilled at building highly effective construction teams.”
And while she erects structures that shape skylines and enhance communities, it’s building those highly effective teams that give her the most gratification. “As a person in a leadership role, an individual’s growth and satisfaction are what’s most important to me. I want to make sure not only my team but all staff members, are headed in the right direction, not just filling seats on the bus.” As a result of her people-first focus, she has been helping with hiring and staffing for the entire Division – from San Francisco, CA to Scottsdale, AZ. And despite living in Los Angeles, she travels monthly to Newport Beach and San Diego to meet with her mentees and stays in touch frequently with other Balfour Beatty staff from Seattle to Dallas. Emily is an active member of Balfour Beatty’s employee resource group ‘Connecting Women,’ a group that is committed to empowering employees through fostering alliances and networking.
At any time during the year, you can find Emily devoting her time to supporting local schools and organizations. Each holiday season she participates in ‘Adopt a Family.’ Since its inception, Emily and her coworkers have helped raise over $35,000 to adopt more than 60 families in need. The families are recommended from Districts serviced by Project Executives, like Emily, and the program serves to provide a true holiday experience for those families. “We’re so fortunate to be living in Southern California, to have amazing jobs and careers, and to be able to make ends meet – I feel that those of us who are this fortunate have a responsibility to help support those that may not have the resources that we do. The holidays are a time of family and hope and happiness, and this is one small way that we can help to give back.” This fall, she and her family joined celebrities and community members in the Hermosa Beach area for the “Pier to Pier Friendship Walk” a local event that has raised over $2M annually for children with special needs. Each spring, Emily participates in the Sharefest Workday and Sharefest Golf Tournament. On average, the Golf Tournament raises over $150,000 for Los Angeles county students and school districts. During the Sharefest Workday Emily, along with dozens of coworkers and approximately 150 volunteers, dedicate their time to construction of small projects at up to 10 school sites. Fundraising is one thing, but committing time and energy on nights and weekends to ensure the job gets done is a hallmark of volunteers like Emily Kay.
Emily has overseen the creation of community buildings, rehabilitation institutions, educational facilities, and hospitals. But perhaps her greatest contribution has been to the men and women who work beside her. Emily has earned the type of influence where people will follow her, with or without a direct line of authority. “At the end of the day, what I love most about this industry is that it truly is all about building relationships and establishing trust.” That takes personal focus, dedication, transparency, and communication.
Embodying Respect, Kindness and Personal Integrity
For some, the family business leads to a lifetime career. Titus Rodriguez got his first taste of construction working for his dad’s construction company in high school. After graduation, Titus served in the army for two years before heading to college and earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology and an associate’s degree in criminal justice. While in college, he also served in the Army Reserves and participated in the ROTC program. Upon graduation, Titus was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Corps. He credits the military for giving him a foundation of leadership skills used throughout his life.
When Titus first started as an assistant project manager at Balfour Beatty in 2001, he worked mostly on small projects. His parents had always instilled in him that if you work hard and excel in small tasks then you will be trusted and rewarded with greater areas responsibility. Learning from others, acquiring sound leadership skills, and maintaining relationships have served him well throughout his career. Titus now serves as senior project manager of the Frost Tower project, a 25-story Class A office tower and the first commercial skyscraper to be built in downtown Fort Worth in over a decade. From day one on this complex project, Titus knew that the key to success was a high-powered team.
What is a high-power team to Titus? “They excel as professionals, but also care for each other and show mutual admiration. If a team with these qualities is assigned to a project they will go above and beyond,” says Titus. “To keep the team connected, it’s also important to have fun. The team enjoys spending time together. We have a family culture. We have a tight bond and support each other. We also support our community. We actively participate.”
Outside of his past and present coworkers, Titus credits his wife as his number one coach and largest supporter. After 20 years of marriage, 16 years of employment at Balfour Beatty, and three moves along the way his wife has stayed by his side cheering him on.
Respect and kindness are essential for Titus. His motto is: do what is right and never take advantage of others. A river of change has flooded the construction industry since Titus started working with Balfour Beatty. At that time, poor relations between general contractors and trade partners were often the norm. Titus made Balfour Beatty his home because he saw a different approach. He saw Balfour Beatty as the forerunner of a more professional construction industry where respect for others was paramount. Today, Titus sees partnership as a valued element throughout the industry, and he is proud that Balfour Beatty has never wavered in this approach.
Karl Joeris, vice president of Balfour Beatty’s Fort Worth office, appreciates Titus’ service to the Fort Worth community and his commitment to helping his clients and staff. “Whether leading fundraising for community service projects or recognition of others, he has created an environment of teamwork and servant leadership. He exemplifies the meaning of doing the right thing when no one is looking and never looks for credit. Titus inspires other employees and trade partners to be Relentless Allies for the community.”
Following in the footsteps of his past mentors, Titus is always there for the employees that work for him. At the root of everything for Titus is respect. Respect for the client, the team, the company, and for the work itself.
“I am the sum of everyone I have ever worked with over my lifetime. I have been fortunate to be surrounded by exceptional, high caliber individuals—people who embody personal integrity.”