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Also Starring: South Central 14 Under 40

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We asked the up-and-comers in South Central about challenges facing the industry in that state.

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Alabama
Stephen Allen
ALLEN

Stephen Allen
Creates designs that change college campuses
36
Principal
Williams Blackstock Architects
Birmingham, Ala.

A principal with Williams Blackstock Architects, Stephen Allen led the design team for the Auburn University’s student village, named 2009 Best Higher Education Project by South Central Construction magazine. In addition to his management responsibilities at Williams Blackstock, Allen heads up the firm’s intern development program, mentors young architects and designers and developed a company-wide continuing education program.

Time in Industry: 13 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Architecture, Mississippi State University, Starkville, 1996
Hometown: Jackson, Miss.
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Birmingham News, new corporate headquarters, Birmingham, Ala.; Auburn University, Student Village, Auburn, Ala.
Community Service: Rushton Child Development Center, expansion committee member

Professional Affiliations, Memberships: American Institute of Architects Birmingham Chapter, Design Awards committee member; ACE Mentors; Operation New Birmingham

Industry Outlook: “One of the challenges we see, in addition to trying to find work, is doing more for less, and maintaining adequate fees given the tough economy. We’re trying to educate clients and having more in-depth conversations about expectations and scope of work. But also, in the office, we are trying to be more efficient and do the work more quickly and efficiently, while keeping our staff, which we have been able to. There’s an overall belt tightening. You have to get out there and make yourself known to client industry clients.”

 

Trey Clegg
CLEGG

Trey Clegg
Listening and living by Golden Rule pays off
38
Regional Vice President
Brasfield & Gorrie
Birmingham, Ala.

Trey Clegg listens more than talks and lives by the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” and has demonstrated that commitment on numerous projects that went on to become success stories for Brasfield & Gorrie. He welcomes idea exchanges and developing a solution that will be beneficial for both the owner and project team. Those talents led to his rapid rise within the company to regional vice president.

Time in Industry: 15 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Building Science, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., 1995
Hometown: Heflin, Ala.
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Homewood Middle School, Homewood, Ala.; McWane Center, Birmingham, Ala.
Community Service: United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, board member and past president; National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Alabama Chapter, board member; The Bell Center for Early Intervention, board member; Caterpillar Financial Center, Nashville, Tenn.; Fort Rucker Chapel Center, Ft. Rucker, Ala.
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: International Council of Shopping Centers; National Association of Industrial & Office Properties, treasurer; Society of American Military Engineers; Alabama Center for Real Estate

Industry Outlook: “Managing continued sub-vendor defaults on projects in progress and managing the impact is a challenge. Subcontractors that took too many projects with not enough margin or below cost find it’s starting to catch up with them, and we feel a residual impact. We’re giving more scrutiny of second- and third-tier vendors to try to ensure payment is reaching them to try to avoid lien issues. Project managers have to be on top of it. Another opportunity we have is trying to understand the normal fee levels once the economy picks up. We had margins that had gotten above normal, and they have fallen to such drastic levels that cannot be sustained. Where is the balance point?”

 

Chris Kramer
KRAMER

Chris Kramer
A hands-on manager, with drive and dedication
39
Regional Vice President
Brasfield & Gorrie
Birmingham, Ala.

A strong work ethic and unrelenting desire to complete a project to the highest standard and to the owner’s satisfaction has propelled Chris Kramer to the executive suite at Brasfield & Gorrie. A hands-on manager, he communicates effectively with clients and peers and is respected throughout the construction industry.

Time in Industry: 16 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Civil Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., 1994
Hometown: Birmingham, Ala.
LEED Accredited: Yes
Important Projects: Auburn University Student Center, Auburn; Railroad Park, Birmingham; Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest, Vestavia Hills, Ala.; and Jenkins Brick & Tile Co., manufacturing plant, Montgomery, Ala.
Community Service: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, walk organizer; Trinity United Methodist Church, president of trustees; Alethia House, board president; Alabama Affordable Housing Partnership
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Auburn University Civil Engineering Industry Liaison Council, Auburn Alumni Engineering Council, American Society of Civil Engineers. Construction Education Foundation of Alabama, board member

Industry Outlook: We’re optimistic about 2011. I think we have gotten through the rockiest parts of the changing economic conditions. There remain challenges. Companies, organizations, municipalities and other institutions have to find creative ways to make projects happen and finance projects. We have to be strategic about partnerships and delivery methods. We have to be open minded about doing new and different things, while defining what you are good at and finding ways to apply that. With introspection within companies, you can determine how you can best succeed in this changing environment.

 

Teresa L. Magnus
MAGNUS

Teresa L. Magnus
Restructuring and repositioning leads to record profits
33
Chief Executive Officer
Vulcan Industrial Contractors
Birmingham, Ala.

Since joining Vulcan Industrial Contractors two years ago, Teresa L. Magnus has re-tooled the company for growth, producing two consecutive years of record profits, in 2009 and 2010. At the same time, she led a corporate culture change that embraces safety. She encourages young people, including women, to enter the profession, chairing the Girls Can Camp, a camp she co-developed to introduce high-school girls to the construction trades.

Time in Industry: 15 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Accountancy, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, 1999; JD, Samford University Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Ala., 2008
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
LEED Accredited: No
Community Service: Shelby County School of Technology in Alabama, advisory board member; Girls Can Camp, chair
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Construction Users Roundtable, National Association of Women in Construction, and the Alabama Associated General Contractors, American Bar Association, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, advisory board member

Industry Outlook: “The largest issue we are facing in the industry is the recruitment and retention of talented, skilled workers. We have a few factors working against us, such as high schools removing technology training from their curriculum. Students don’t have exposure to the construction industry. The highly skilled workforce is beginning to retire. We’re in a situation where we are bringing retirees back, because we are not able to recruit the number and quality of people into the industry. To address this issue, we are working with the Alabama Construction Recruitment Institute, and I co-chair a construction camp for girls.”

 

Arkansas

Daniel K. Fowler
FOWLER

Daniel K. Fowler
From intern to COO in a few short years
36
Chief Operating Officer
Cromwell Architects Engineers
Little Rock, Ark.

Daniel K. Fowler began his career at Cromwell Architects Engineers as an intern, became an accomplished architect, discovered an interest in design’s financial aspects, and was tapped 18 months ago to take the helm of chief operating officer. During his tenure with the firm, Fowler has instituted various programs and initiatives that strengthen the balance between design, project management and business, which is so essential for a building services company.

Time in Industry: 17 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Architecture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 1997
Hometown: Baltimore, Md.
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Victory Office Building and Parking Deck, Little Rock, Ark.; Leflar Law Center, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center, Little Rock, Ark; and Argenta Place, North Little Rock, Ark.
Community Service: Designed a master plan and structures for a Little Rock park; Arkansas Zoological Foundation, board member; Little Rock Futbol Club, coach
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Arkansas American Institute of Architects, board member; US Green Building Council, Arkansas Chapter; Little Rock Downtown Partnership Main Street Revitalization Committee

Industry Outlook: “The biggest challenge is construction activity, over many years, will continue to slow. We may approach the same activity level we see in Europe. Design services and delivery will, perhaps, give way to a longer life cycle of buildings. The challenge is how do you identify that and stay in front of it? It will be a slow evolution from a lot of new construction into renovation and reconfiguration of existing buildings. It will become more prevalent. People will be less likely to build a new building, and we will move more and more into energy efficiency.”

 

Michael Kennedy
KENNEDY

Michael Kennedy
Business acumen propels company to exponential growth
38
President
Advanced Cabling Systems
North Little Rock, Ark.

Knowledge of Advanced Cabling Systems’ products and services earned Michael Kennedy an ownership stake in the company and one-year later, the position of president. Since joining the firm in 1999, he led the company from six to 71 employees, increased revenues to more than $10 million in 2010, and expanded into Springdale, Ark.

Time in Industry: 12 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Science, Electrical Engineering, University of Alabama, Huntsville, 1995
Hometown: Florence, Ala.
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Oaklawn Jockey Club casino, Pelco IP camera system, Hot Springs, Ark.; Little Rock Air Force Base, mass notification system; Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, dual data center
Community Service: UAMS Family Home, board member; Our House, board member; Museum of Discovery, board member
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: Downtown Little Rock Partnership, board member

Industry Outlook: “In our specific role as a technology integrator in the construction side of the business, I think that the biggest challenge moving forward is how to educate the owner about new types of technologies that are now being incorporated into commercial and industrial projects, and understanding which of these will be most beneficial to clients. In the past, technology was a perk for employers. Now, many facets of technology are vital to the operation of a business. As employers become more mobile and become more integrated in their approach, being able to educate a client on security, cameras, access control and fire alarm, and how these systems integrate with building automation and smart building technology is becoming critical. Helping clients understand mobile and virtual applications, as well as playing a consultative role in making sure these systems are installed properly and functioning together, will be our biggest challenge in 2011.”

 

Jason Landrum
LANDRUM

Jason Landrum
Innovative, within-budget designs prompt rise to principal in just three years
39
Principal
Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects
Little Rock, Ark.

Jason Landrum leads Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects healthcare project planning and design team, bringing experience in physical and behavioral health facilities. His breadth of knowledge about healthcare codes, innovative approach to design and ability to maintain budget while delivering on the clients’ specifications have earned him an impressive reputation in the medical community and helped him secure a principal spot within three years.

Time in Industry: 16 years
Education: Bachelor’s of Architecture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 1994
Hometown: Hot Springs, Ark.
LEED Accredited: No
Important Projects: Van Buren County Memorial Hospital, replacement, Clinton, Ark.; John Chambers Memorial Hospital, patient wing addition, Danville, Ark.; St. Joseph’s Mercy Health System, expansions, Hot Springs, Ark.
Community Service: American Lung Association’s Kids Kozy Kottages program; Gus Blass Boy Scout Training Center and Camp Structures project
Professional Affiliations, Memberships: CanStruction

Industry Outlook: “It is hard to select one issue as the most challenging to our industry. The economy has definitely been a challenge the past two years, which has caused most firms to reevaluate their business and marketing plans. However every year construction becomes more complex and challenging with high-performance building envelopes, due to issues including energy conservation, regulatory compliance, environmental stewardship, more complex HVAC systems, and building automation and control systems. Continuing education is more important than ever and is necessary even if an individual's licensing body does not have a specific requirement. Anyone who ‘sits back and watches’ will quickly find themselves behind the curve and unable to be competitive in the construction industry.”

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