Division Manager at SSOE
Adrienne joined SSOE in 2005 as an engineer for the Industrial Process SBU and by 2011, she began taking on project management responsibilities. In 2015, she became a Department Manager for SSOE’s Energy, Glass, Chemical, and Manufacturing SBU and in 2021, was promoted to Division Manager of SSOE’s Chemical Process group. Adrienne holds a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton. In 2010, she became a Licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Ohio. In 2012, “Young Engineer of the Year” by Toledo Society of Professional Engineers (TSPE) and in 2013, Adrienne was named “Young Engineer of the Year” by the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE).
Civil Engineer at LACO Associates
Alejandra Ruiz, a former first generation college student, graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her M.S. project focused on evaluating common natural organic matter (NOM) removal strategies in water treatment plants to assess possible parameter modifications to optimize NOM removal in response to changes in water quality following wildfires. Alejandra has experience in stormwater compliance, developing engineering preliminary reports, grading and drainage plans, and developing improvements plans. Alejandra aspires to obtain her professional engineer licensure, help marginalized communities with her professional skills, and hopes to promote inclusivity and diversity in her field. In her spare time, she enjoys coaching and playing volleyball.
Director of Large-Scale Residential Development at WithersRavenel
Alicia Albini is the Director of Large-Scale Residential Development at WithersRavenel. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the AEC industry, starting her career in Land Surveying, then transitioning to Land Development and managing both residential and nonresidential projects from design through construction. Over the last six years she has worked as a Project Manager for one of the largest developments on the East Coast, a 7,000-acre master-planned development of up to 22,000 residential units and 22 million gross square feet of nonresidential uses. Alicia takes pride in not only helping to develop the major infrastructure for this project, but also in creating a community which provides a live, work, and play experience.
Alicia is currently leading a group of junior and senior engineers and managers, designers, and CAD technicians. She has a unique ability to develop a customized approach to organizational and team structure based on individual talents, while building and strengthening a team unit focused on delivering an exceptional client experience. Her passion and mindset for personal and professional growth and continuous improvement sets her apart as a valuable coach, mentor, and leader who encourages and empowers others to achieve and exceed their goals.
When not working, Alicia is often behind an easel, painting anything related to nature. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, 2 dogs, and 2 parrots.
Business Development and Marketing Lead at PK Electrical
Amanda has over seven years of experience in the AEC industry, all of which have been spent working for PK Electrical, a woman-owned electrical engineering firm located in Reno, Nevada and Denver, Colorado. Brand new to the industry with a Business Management and Leadership degree, she found herself surrounded by technical, left-brained engineers and a whirlwind of new acronyms and couldn’t help but wonder how she landed at an electrical engineering firm.
Nevertheless, her innate passion for people and building relationships quickly surfaced, catching the attention of leadership as a potential growth opportunity. Since being introduced to the world of client relations, her role has developed and expanded from Denver’s Administrative Assistant to the firm’s Business Development and Marketing Lead. Amanda has led the Business Development/Marketing department since 2018, successfully modernizing all marketing materials and implementing an incentive program to encourage active participation by all staff members in business development and marketing activities. Beyond building relationships and winning projects, her primary focus continues to be fostering a firm-wide culture of business development, imparting on all staff the idea that we are nothing without our clients and that reputation is everything as a small firm. As Amanda states, “I have been able to use my experiences and skill set to provide resources and opportunities to help my coworkers grow professionally and personally. We’ve effectively established an environment in which every person feels responsible and worthwhile in the pursuit of projects and building client relationships. Watching my technical coworkers develop their soft skills, gain confidence, and bring in new clients has been the most rewarding thing I’ve experienced in my career.”
Fractional-CMO at Pixels and Ink Studio
You have a need. Amanda has an idea. Often referred to as an “Idea Machine,” Amanda serves dozens of A/E/C industry clients throughout the United States as a fractional-CMO, helping businesses develop the marketing ideas and capacity they need to move their companies forward. Amanda combines 25 years of design experience with intimate knowledge of the professional services industry. She is a past president of SMPS Cincinnati, has presented at numerous events and conferences nationwide, produced award-winning work, and served as a volunteer for several organizations. As a fractional-CMO, Amanda’s experience is wide-ranging and includes brand development, graphic design, online presence, marketing initiatives, and client relationships. The breadth of her expertise gives Amanda better insight into the big picture – helping organizations quickly understand where they are lacking and how to easily find the best returns. Amanda and her team at Pixels and Ink Studio also use their talents and know-how to regularly give back to the community.
Civil Engineer at ISG
Amanda always knew she wanted to be a part of the AEC industry. Growing up she spent her free time figuring out how things worked and drawing floor plans for her future dream house. Now as a civil engineer, she prides herself in being able to simplify complex concepts, walking clients through the design process, and helping them understand how design alternatives will affect them in long term so that they are able to make informed decisions.
With a family routed in strong community values, Amanda is an active volunteer in the community and has spearheaded several initiatives throughout the years that introduce elementary through high school students to the world of engineering and architecture. She is a firm believer that supplying opportunities to explore various career paths is the best way for young students to have the building blocks and encouragement to later enter a particular field.
Sustainment and Logistics Analyst, Technical Writer and Billing Administrator at QTEC Aerospace
Amy Kunselman is a Sustainment and Logistics Analyst, Technical Writer and Billing Administrator at QTEC Aerospace in Huntsville, Alabama. She currently is supporting Strategic Missile Defense development efforts in support of the Department of Defense.
As an Army veteran who married and raised a family with another veteran, Amy is passionate about ensuring that the warfighters she supports have the best military systems and sustainment support that can be provided.
After serving in the Army as a Helicopter Mechanic and Electronics Radio Repairer, Amy worked in various careers including Billing for a healthcare company, Physical Therapy, and was a stay-at-home mom. She began her education by completing her associates degree at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN where she graduated Cum Laude in 2005. After time out for other priorities, Amy completed her bachelor’s degree at Athens State University in Athens, AL where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2016. Since going back into the workforce fulltime after completing her B.S. degree, Amy has combined her active-duty experience with her education to make unique and significant contributions to meeting the needs of today’s warfighters.
When she isn’t working on the latest home renovation, Amy loves hiking with her husband, reading and planning their next big family adventure.
Director of Business Development for Flatiron Construction
Andrea Narendorf is the Director of Business Development for Flatiron Construction overseeing Texas. Andrea is a native to San Antonio, TX and holds a B.A. in Art History and Criticism from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has been a part of the AEC Industry for over 17 years and began her career as a CAD Technician for her family’s civil engineering firm. She is a leading business development professional that has crafted and driven the execution of pivotal Texas expansion and growth strategies for design firms, program management firms, and construction firms within the horizontal infrastructure arena.
In her free time, Andrea is passionate about spending time with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Mina, watching movies, playing car racing video games, cooking, and exploring the culinary scene in San Antonio. Another key component to her family is their much beloved dog, Pigeon, who thoroughly enjoys snuggling on the couch with every person she encounters.
Project Engineer at Tamarack Grove Engineering
Outside of engineering, Carmen enjoys attempting to learn new songs on the piano and ukulele. She also loves spending time with her fur baby, Murphy, a three-legged rescue chihuahua. In addition, Carmen spends her free time teaching chess to students of all ages.
Principal and Director of Executive Search at Zweig Group
Prior to joining Zweig Group, Chad developed and directed the client retention department for one of the fastest growing independent insurance brokerages in the U.S. Since joining Zweig Group as an advisor, he has worked with AEC firms throughout the U.S. on a variety of strategic hiring initiatives as well as organizational restructuring, ownership transition, employee training, marketing, and growth campaigns. He brings a commonsense approach to building the right teams in order maximize the client’s growth potential while driving down their overall cost per hire.
Chad launched his career by developing strong and valuable relationships in the local and professional communities around Northwest Arkansas. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Financial Management from the University of Arkansas’ Walton College of Business. Outside of his work at Zweig Group, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends while engaging the community that raised him. You’ll often hear him say “My life is pretty simple, and I love that”.
Corporate Communications Leader at HED
Emily Havelka, CPSM, MBA, MA
Emily Havelka has more than a decade of experience in marketing and communications, the majority of which has been within the architectural, engineering, and construction industry. In her current role as the Corporate Communications Leader for the national architecture and engineering firm HED, Emily leads communications and digital marketing strategy and implementation in the realms of media and public relations, online presence, social media, and advertising, among others. Emily has been a pivotal leader in growing her firm’s digital and media channels, with the mission to promote and enrich industry and market knowledge of HED’s integrated service capabilities and responsive, innovative, and sustainable design solutions.
Through industry and discipline-relevant conferences, seminars, training programs, certifications, and networking events, Emily continues to expand her knowledge and skills in communications, digital, and professional services marketing. She achieved the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) certification through the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), of which she is a member. Other professional memberships include the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and American Marketing Association (AMA). She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Alma College in Alma, MI, a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago in Chicago, IL, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, IN.
As a volunteer in her community, Emily donates her time and professional expertise to various causes including North Star Consulting, LLC., a freelance pro bono consulting agency Emily founded with other alumni of Alma College, consisting of business professionals volunteering their professional expertise and services to local non-profits and causes. She also volunteers time and services to the Communications and Technology Committee of the Shiawassee County Democratic Party (SCDP) in Michigan. Her hobbies include creative writing (primarily of fiction and poetry), reading, and camping with her husband as time allows. She is always happy to connect on LinkedIn to discuss issues relevant to marketing and communications.
Hannah Mundy Barlow
Director of People at Axiom
Hannah Mundy Barlow
Hannah has been in progressing levels of leadership in recruiting, talent development and business operations for the last 12 years. She currently serves as the Director of People with Axiom, a structural engineering firm headquartered in Boise, Idaho. In this role she is responsible for fostering a culture of resilient and high-performing teams through recruitment, leadership and team development, engagement, and total rewards. Hannah received her bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Idaho with an emphasis in Management and Human Resources.
She is passionate about creating environments that inspire individuals to fully express their humanity, operate from a growth mindset and find meaningful connection to the work and their purpose. When not at work you can find her deepening her meditation and breathwork practice, talking entirely too much about Taylor Swift and on long walks with her husband and their sweet 3 year old lab/heeler mix in the Pacific Northwest.
M. Jackie Chang
MEP Engineering Project Manager at DBR
M. Jackie Chang
Senior Associate and Business Development Leader at O’Connell Robertson
Interior Architect and Designer at Hoefer Welker
Through her work with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee at her firm, Kara actively promotes greater equality for employees across all levels of her organization. She has also earned the prestigious WELL Accredited Professional certification, demonstrating her expertise and commitment to advancing human health and wellness in buildings and communities worldwide.
Looking ahead, Kara is excited to continue contributing her talents and skills to the AEC industry, where she hopes to make an impact on the next generation of interior architects and designers. Whether working on large-scale projects like Sage Memorial Hospital or smaller community developments like the Platte City Hall and Police Department, Kara is committed to creating spaces that help people thrive.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Galloway & Company, Inc
Katie has drawn from her experience to refine Galloway’s internal marketing and external presence at trade shows and events. In 2021, she worked with Galloway’s Director of Marketing to update Galloway’s branding, including the stylebook, color palette, and internal and external document templates. She has polished her skills in the art of messaging and her ability to look at a situation critically to find the best approach. Well-honed messaging — and how people perceive your message — is essential when presenting sensitive and powerful topics like DEI, representation, or equality.
As part of ElevateHER, Katie would like to use her creativity and marketing skills to advocate for women in the A/E/C industry — with the goal of continuing to improve the visibility of women in the industry and broaden the influence of women on our built environment.
Director of Marketing at HP Engineering, INC
Kellie Delaney grew up in the AEC industry and is the product of multiple generations of construction contractors. Growing up, she gave impromptu tours to anyone who would listen and would highlight all the places her grandfather and father built in her hometown and surrounding areas. Even though she did not start her professional career in the AEC industry, she has returned to her roots.
Kellie graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science degree and a Master of Science in Knowledge Management degree. She spent the last 15 years in the public service sector, working in digital and traditional marketing. She brings her education and marketing experience to HP Engineering Inc., where she serves as the Director of Marketing.
Her typical day includes promoting the HP Engineering brand through print and digital collateral, preparing statements of qualifications and proposals, developing strategic relationships, and researching potential business opportunities.
She is an active member of the Oklahoma City Community. She is a Women’s Leadership Society member and serves as the Vice Chair of the United Way Emerging Leaders of Central Oklahoma Steering Committee. She actively volunteers with the United Way of Central Oklahoma, the Pet Food Pantry, and the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System Booksale. Last year she was named a Journal Record #AchieversUnder40 for the state of Oklahoma.
Senior Marketing Specialist at BHC
Laci graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing. She always knew she wanted a job in marketing where she could be creative, and every day would be a new challenge. After college, she spent seven years in the civic sector working for the second-largest county in Missouri. Currently, she lives with her husband in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and enjoys summers at the lake, traveling, and music.
ERG Program Coordinator at Mead & Hunt
Lalitha Benjaram started as an Engineer-In-Training in the Water Resources group at Mead & Hunt. She was involved with the company’s formal diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts from the start, which included the formation of an Employee Resource Group (ERG) in 2018. Over the next few years Lalitha gradually transitioned to leading the ERG full-time to advance her company’s DEIB efforts, which is where she found her true passion. As the ERG Program Coordinator, Lalitha works to ensure an environment that is inclusive of all employees. She also helps strategize recruitment and outreach efforts to diversify the talent pool for Mead & Hunt, as well as the AEC industry overall.
Lalitha has a passion for encouraging and supporting underrepresented groups to improve the diversity of the next generation of the AEC industry. This passion was shaped by her experience as a minority in her engineering classes in college, where she studied Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Senior Associate at SSOE Group
Laura Morton, AIA, is a Senior Associate at SSOE Group, working as a Project Architect and Project Manager on a variety of urban mixed-use developments and adaptive reuse projects. She has a passion for serving her fellow architects and dedicates her time to AIA at multiple levels within the organization. In AIA Atlanta, she served as a Communication Director, then advanced to the Executive Committee and is currently serving as Secretary. Concurrently, she is the Young Architect’s Representative for AIA Georgia, collaborating with her counterparts around the country to advocate and develop programming for those architects licensed ten years or less.
Outside of her elected AIA position responsibilities, AIA Georgia provided the opportunity to bolster her leadership skills by participating in the inaugural class of the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program in 2019, which was followed by serving on the Advisory Board for the CKLDP 2020 and 2021 classes. She also engages in several local organizations, such as Discover Architecture, Equity in Architecture, and ULI/WLI, as well as serves on the Historic Preservation & Land Use committee in her Atlanta neighborhood of Cabbagetown.
In her firm, she is a member of the “Culture Committee” which paved the way for a dedicated DEI Leader to be hired at SSOE, as well as establish Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for women, minority, and LGBTQIA+ employees. Gaining insight from the ElevateHER experience, Laura plans to develop an ERG to address career development for junior designers and architects/engineers within the company, further building upon the mentorship and tutoring she has provided to colleagues in years past.
San Antonio Lead of Communications and Public Involvement at WSP USA
She currently serves as WSP’s San Antonio Lead for Communications and Public Involvement and leads projects throughout the U.S., mainly supporting federally funded projects locally in San Antonio and throughout the Central Region. With more than 10 years of experience in communications and outreach, Lawson is utilizing her diverse background to also explore opportunities for WSP in South Texas. Lawson’s experience in both the public and private sectors informs a comprehensive approach to how she develops inclusive engagement plans and equitable solutions to projects, and how she uses her knowledge and network to support pursuits in new markets.
As San Antonio Lead of Communications and Public Involvement for WSP USA, a leading engineering, environment and professional services consultancy, Lawson Picasso is committed to educating and serving her community. Picasso oversees a team of three, which thoughtfully works together to create STEM-rich learning environments throughout the city of San Antonio with the VIA ART Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative and largest infrastructure project in the region. With the implementation of this program, Picasso has introduced technology and conceptual designs to the city’s Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) stations, bringing elements of science, technology, art and mathematics (STEAM) into communities where households may not have access to that type of learning and education. Under her guidance, they were able to meet with almost 300 residents and received over 450 comments that were utilized in the initial planning and design of the project. Additionally, she ensured that accessibility was always at the forefront of community engagement and designed the meetings to be inclusive to attendees by offering Spanish-speaking and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters at all public meetings. In addition to her work with VIA, Lawson has also worked across the country supporting projects in Utah, New York, and Ohio.
Lawson Picasso is a passionate advocate for those less fortunate and brings her lived experience to all areas of her work. Recently, she accompanied San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO, Eric Cooper, to the inaugural White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health with President Joe Biden. These topics are especially important to Picasso, having lived out of her car when she was 20 years old, during which time she faced barriers and extremely minimal access to basic-life necessities. Through her work with the food bank, Picasso is on a lifelong mission to minimize – and hopefully end – food insecurity in the United States, so that no person experiences similar hardships and access challenges.
In addition to her work with the food bank, Picasso partners with local housing advocates to advocate for policies and services that will address these needs in San Antonio’s most marginalized communities. Most recently, Picasso proudly served on San Antonio Bond’s Housing Committee, which passed a policy she proposed that requires those interested in Housing Bond funds to submit Request For Proposal (RFP) in line with the city’s Displacement Impact Risk Assessment and solutions for any risks that may occur.
She is a scorer for the Bond’s Housing RFPs, focused on rental rehabilitation; sits on City Public Service Energy’s Citizen Advisory Committee, where she closely works with the utility company’s board to ensure what’s being proposed benefits all households; and was newly appointed to participate on the City of San Antonio’s Bond Commission.
She was recently accepted into the 2023 class of Leadership San Antonio via the San Antonio Chamber and San Antonio Hispanic Chamber. It is considered the premier program for existing and emerging leaders in the Alamo Region.
In short, through her professional work, personal downtime, and as a busy mom, Picasso demonstrates that she is invested in her community; committed to improving mobility; and dedicated to giving back to others.
Marketing Director at Colliers Engineering & Design
Ms. Ouimet is the Marketing Director at Colliers Engineering & Design, an award-winning multi-discipline engineering and architectural design firm with 2000+ employees located in over 60 offices nationwide. Headquartered in New Jersey, the firm is actively expanding on a national level organically and through acquisitions.
Ms. Ouimet is responsible for overseeing all aspects of CED’s comprehensive marketing efforts while aligning and building brand reputation to achieve revenue goals. This includes driving marketing strategy and planning by establishing and leading corporate marketing campaigns and initiatives.
She is also responsible for promoting the growth of the company through the many phases of acquisitions. Establishing and maintaining all internal and external communications, and strategic marketing and branding programs contributed to the firm doubling its revenue through acquisitions over the last 24 months in addition to the 25% organic revenue growth.
With over 25 years of design, communication and marketing experience and her proven ability to lead, manage and motivate marketing teams, she has successfully established herself as a leader in marketing industry.
Some of her major leadership initiatives include being co-founder and Executive Director of the firm’s Women’s Organization, an internal initiative that aims to educate, engage and empower its female workforce and surrounding communities. She is also actively involved and supporting the Junior Achievement of New Jersey North District a nonprofit aimed at inspiring and preparing young people for economic success.
Human Resources Manager for L.A. Fuess Partners
Her career began in the A/E/C community shortly after graduating from Texas Wesleyan University. Over the last 17 years, she has supported the HR function for both construction and engineering firms, with a couple of detours into the healthcare and transportation industries. In 2017, she received her SHRM-CP certification, and in 2022, she received her master’s degree in HR Management from Tarleton State University. She is currently in the process of studying to sit for the SPHR exam later this year.
Sarah is especially proud of her membership in the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), having served as a chapter secretary, as well as chairing multiple committees. Her participation in NAWIC represents her passion for promoting STEM and construction careers for women, from early childhood education through college. She is committed to seeking ways to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in every single strategic people initiative in her organization and in the world at large. This drive is what led her to apply to the 2023 ElevateHER cohort and powers her desire to make it a success.
Talent Development & HR Lead at BHC
Shelby Harvey has over 6 years of experience in the AEC industry, and is currently the Talent Development & HR Lead at BHC, a civil engineering consulting firm in Overland Park, KS. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Communication from the University of Central Missouri and has her MBA with an emphasis in HR Management from Baker University. She has a passion for promoting professional growth and development, which has led her to become a certified CliftonStrengths coach, as well as manage BHC’s summer internship program. Shelby is also a co-lead of BHC’s DEI committee.
Owner and Principal at Cyntergy
Open and fluid communications are key contributors to Stephanie’s success. She has a natural ability to allow her clients to feel heard and understood, and to draw on what they’re saying, or discern what they’re not saying in order to create remarkable interiors. Stephanie designs spaces where people live comfortably and work productively. By gaining an understanding of her client’s lifestyles and culture’s, she can translate their personalities to the built environment expressing the client throughout their surroundings.
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Our cohort members promote inclusion by developing strategic steps and tools! We are grateful for their dedication and commitment to advancing firms across the United States.