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2023 Rising Stars in the AEC Industry

2023 Rising Stars in the AEC Industry

It’s awards season–the time of the year we start honoring and celebrating some of the amazing accomplishments of people and firms in the AEC Industry. There is no better way to start than by recognizing those young professionals who have already made an impact through exceptional technical capability, leadership ability, effective teaching or research, or public service. 

The 2023 Rising Stars in the AEC Industry have benefited the design profession, their employers, project owners, and society. Our winners this year hold a diverse skill set and technical capabilities and have done outstanding work in their communities. They are already leaders and mentors in their firms, bringing new ideas, practices, and impacts beyond their technical capabilities. They come from all over North America–from Florida to California, from Houston to South Dakota. This year we have everyone from Presidents and Principals of firms to Software engineers. This shows that no matter where you are in a company, you can be a Rising Star in this industry.

I also want to take the time to acknowledge all of the people who nominated all of our winners and those who did not win this year. Recognition of a young professional’s accomplishments, skill, leadership, etc. can go a long way in that young professional’s career. The knowledge that there is someone out there who recognizes what they are doing and takes the time to nominate them for an award like this is very important. I would encourage everyone to try to think of that young professional in your firm that deserves this type of credit. Letting the next generation of leaders know that their work is getting noticed is not only good for their career but can be very helpful for the long term success of your firm.

Through our awards program, we also recognize revenue growth with our Hot Firm List. We recognize outstanding marketing through our Marketing Excellence Awards. We recognize those who are showing courageous leadership with our highest professional honor, The Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Award. We honor those new firms who are already making an impact with our Top New Venture Award. And we honor those firms impacting their employee’s live by creating great workplaces with our Best Firms To Work For award. We will be announcing and celebrating these winners over the next few months culminating with our awards celebrations at the 2023 Elevate AEC Conference in Frisco, TX, September 13-15.

Zweig Group’s Awards are at the center of one of the five tenets of our vision, Elevate the Industry; that tenant is “Celebrate.” There is so much good that this industry brings to the built environment and to the lives of the people who work in it. We want to celebrate the firms, people, and accomplishments of the AEC Industry. These awards give the winning firms and people the recognition that they deserve in an industry that is often overlooked by society. The winners of our awards truly do help to elevate the industry as a whole. Celebrate your success, celebrate your accomplishments, celebrate your employees, and help Zweig Group Elevate the Industry.

Kyle Ahern is the Awards Manager at Zweig Group. He can be reached at kahern@zweiggroup.com.

Rising Stars in Multidisciplinary Engineering

Stephen Dominguez, PE, SE

Principal-in-Charge, Structural Engineering

WT Group

Hoffman Estates, IL

Stephen Dominguez has built his career in the AEC industry on the foundations of project design, management, and professional development.  Dominguez has led or participated in over 300 diverse projects, several of which have won prestigious industry awards. This level of experience has distinguished Dominguez as a key contributor to WT Group’s reputation and effectiveness in meeting the needs and expectations of clients across the United States.

Accomplishments/Projects: Bode Hotel, Senior Project Engineer and Project Manager–Palm Springs, CA; Alsip Park District Education Center, Project Manager–Alsip, IL; Pacifica Riverview, Principal-in-Charge and Engineer of Record–Aurora, IL

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professional/Public Service: American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), member; American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), member; American Concrete Institute (ACI), member; American Wood Council (AWC), member

John Butt, MBA, PE

Associate Director of Transportation


Englewood, CO

John Butt is an exemplary leader, overseeing Ulteig’s transportation group–which is a part of their civil engineering department.  He has expanded Ulteig’s transportation portfolio into the Texas Department of Transportation market and achieved a number of orders from the North Dakota Department of Transportation.  Butt’s professionalism and leadership set him apart from his peers.

Accomplishments/Projects: CDOT I-70 F-13 S Bridge Replacement, Project Manager–Colorado; NDDOT Structure Replacement (ND127), Project Manager–North Dakota; US Fish and Wildlife Service National Bridge Inspection Program, Inspection Team Leader and Load Rating Engineer–National

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Manhattan College; MS in Civil Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of New York; MBA, University of Colorado–Denver

Professional/Public Service: ACEC, Colorado and North Dakota Chapters; Engineers without Borders, NY Professional Chapter

Melanie D. Head, PE

Municipal Utilities Department Head


Marietta, GA

In her role as Municipal Utilities Director for Croy, Melanie Head has worked to grow her department into one of the firm’s fastest growing practice areas.  She is dedicated to a individuals both professionally and personally, regularly leading her team to produce quality deliverables for Croy’s clients, as well as expanding their network professionally.  Head is also dedicated to growing the AEC profession and led a group of STEM-focused high school students in a water facility tour and hands-on educational facility.  

Accomplishments/Projects: Hamilton County, Tennessee McDonald Farm Utility Planning; Dalton Utilities V.D. Parrott Jr. Water Treatment Plant Expansion–Texas; Newton County Water and Sewage Authority Land Application System Expansion

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Auburn University

Professional/Public Service: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); American Water Works Association (AWWA); Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP); Auburn University 100+ Women Strong

Cole Cappel, AICP, ENV-SP

Planning and Landscape Architecture (PLA) Division Service Leader, Associate

Westwood Professional Services

Englewood, CO

Over the past nine years, Cole Cappel has risen through Westwood to become the firm’s Planning and Landscape Architecture service leader. Within the first two years as the team’s leader, Cappel’s team nearly tripled in size expanding the service’s geographic footprint across the United States and added a structure of regional leadership. Most recently, Cappel has been asked to transition to a role focused on standalone energy storage to leverage his extensive expertise in land entitlement and team leadership. Cappel is also dedicated to sustainability, developing company-wide initiatives, and contributing to academic research.

Accomplishments/Projects: Clements Ranch Community, Design Lead–Texas; Montgomery Condemnation–Minnesota; Sunstone Development–Nevada

Education: BS in Urban Studies (minor Architecture), University of Texas at Austin

Professional/Public Service: Urban Land Institute, member; American Planning Association, member; Future Cities, volunteer

Dmitrijs Obolevics, IEng MICE

Senior Engineer


New York, NY

A senior engineer trained in both civil and structural engineering, Dmitrijs Obolevics brings a broad range of expertise and technical capability to his work at Arup. His roles span from technical lead to project manager for hydrologic and hydraulic modeling and stormwater management projects. From airport terminals and major water and transportation infrastructure projects to climate resilience assessments, he is helping to deliver efficient and resilient water systems across the built environment. Beyond serving as a technical lead, Obolevics also adds value to his team through mentorship, training, and support for junior engineers.

Accomplishments/Projects: Engineers without Borders Guatemala, Designer–Chiche, Guatemala; New York City Transit Authority Flood Analysis and Visualization, Project Manager and Technical Lead–New York, New York

Education: BEng in Civil and Structural Engineering, University of Bradford (UK) Professional/Public Service: Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), member; Water Environment Federation (WEF), Stormwater Committee; New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA), member

Professional/Public Service: Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), member; Water Environment Federation (WEF), Stormwater Committee

Melanie Cleavelin, PE

Public Works/Transportation Team Lead


Richardson, TX

Servant leader, excellent communicator, proactive, responsive, transparent–these are just a few of the words that describe Melanie Cleavelin.  In her 16 years at Halff, Cleavelin has climbed the ranks from EIT to Public Works/Transportation team leader.  Melanie Cleavelin exemplifies exceptional technical capability, leadership, effective mentorship, and public service that benefit the AEC profession and the community.

Accomplishments/Projects: RM 260, Project Manager; IH 635 Noise Walls, Project Manager; FM 2499, Deputy Project Manager

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University; MS in Civil Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington

Professional/Public Service: Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), Transportation YOU Committee Chair, Banquet Committee Member, Halff Community Initiative (HCI), Steering Committee Chair

Mark Llewellyn Jr, PE

Operations Manager


Tallahassee, FL

Mark Llewellyn Jr. is a proven leader known for his trustworthiness and genuine concern for the people of Halff, his clients, and the projects he supports. With a rich experience spanning two decades in the AEC industry, Llewellyn has earned a reputation for being a hands-on project manager who deeply immerses himself in his work. He consistently prioritizes others’ needs above his own, and as a result, his colleagues at Halff regard him as a rising leader within the firm.

Accomplishments/Projects: FAMU Way, Project Manager–Tallahassee, FL; Airport Gateway, Project Manager–Tallahassee, FL; Santa Rosa Boulevard, Project Manager–Okaloosa County, FL

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Florida State University; MS in Civil Engineering, Florida State University

Professional/Public Service: Halff Veteran Engagement Team, Steering Committee; Halff Workshare Leader; Florida Engineering Society, Chapter President-Elect; American Public Works Association, member; American Society of Civil Engineers, member

Kelsey Groesbeck, PE

Mechanical Engineer and Sustainability Leader


Grand Rapids, MI

Kelsey Groesbeck is known for her knowledge of, and passion for, sustainable design. Her expertise can be seen throughout TowerPinkster’s projects as she continues to push for more innovative and responsible design solutions. In addition to leading the firm’s sustainability committee, she launched and now leads its Building Science Group. This group is charged with ensuring sustainable solutions are part of the conversation in every project. Groesbeck’s unique ability to captivate her audience and share information in a way that is consumable by all has made her a regional leader in the sustainable design movement. 

Accomplishments/Projects: Research and Development Headquarters, LEED and WELL Design Teams–Portage, MI; Western Michigan University Alumni Hall Renovation, Design Team Member–Kalamazoo, MI; Kalamazoo College Natatorium, LEED Administrator–Kalamazoo, MI

Education: BS in Mechanical Engineering, Western Michigan University; Masters of Mechanical Engineering, Western Michigan University

Professional/Public Service: US Green Building Council (USBGC), West Michigan; West Michigan Sustainable Business Forum; TowerPinkster Sustainability Committee and Diversity Action Council

Aaron Johnston, PE

Civil Engineering Project Manager

Galloway & Company, Inc.

Greenwood Village, CO

Aaron Johnston started his career as a engineer at Galloway in 2015, and he has consistently demonstrated a level of professionalism that isn’t often seen.  Galloway has recognized his potential, and he has already risen to the project manager level and is also an associate in Galloway’s Associate Program, which is a pathway for partnership.  Johnston leads by example, inspiring others to meet and exceed high standards while demonstrating the importance of taking care of clients with responsiveness and high quality designs/plans.

Accomplishments/Projects: QuikTrip Colorado Expansion, Project Manager–Colorado; Nine Mile Corner, Project Lead–Erie, CO; Nature’s Educators–Florence, CO

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Marquette University

Professional/Public Service: Innovating Commerce and Serving Communities (ICSC), NextGen Committee Secretary; Galloway-Foodbank of the Rockies Partnership

Lisa Metzger, AIA, NCARB

Architectural Project Manager

Galloway & Company, Inc.

Greenwood Village, CO

Lisa Metzger is a passionate and focused leader who always seeks opportunities to support company growth and professional development.  As an Architectural Project Manager, Metzger demonstrates time and again her leadership abilities through strategic thinking, problem solving, and ability to motivate others.  Her commitment to being an instrument of change is clearly demonstrated through her high level of engagement at work and within the community, and this commitment has helped Metzger become an integral part of Galloway and a senior associate in Galloway’s Associate Program, a pathway to partnership.

Accomplishments/Projects: The Perch Projects (3), Project Manager–Denver, CO; Exodus Modular Multi-Family, Project Manager–Denver, CO; Happy Valley Industrial, Assistant Project Manager and Industrial Market Type Manager–Phoenix, AZ

Education: Bachelor of Architectural Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Masters of Architecture, University of Colorado-Denver

Professional/Public Service: NAIOP Colorado, Vice Chair of DEI Committee, Member of Developing Leaders Committee; CREW Denver; AIA Colorado

Kyle Pollock, PE

Civil Engineering Project Manager

Galloway & Company, Inc.

Johnstown, CO

Through his proactive and solution-oriented approach to project design and client relationships, his thoughtful guiding and mentoring of his team, and his leadership in giving back to the community, Kyle Pollock has firmly established himself as a leader at Galloway.  Despite being new to the business, Pollock began to take over all aspects of engineering design less than two years into his career. Pollock currently manages over 15 projects for five-plus clients while also directly supervising, leading, and mentoring a team.  He has been recognized for his leadership by being named and associate in the Galloway Associate Program, which is a pathway to partnership.

Accomplishments/Projects: Thompson River Ranch (9 Projects), Project Manager-Johnstown, CO; Nueva Vida Mobile Home Park Revitalization, Project Manager-Colorado; Galloway Lot Certification Department, Engineering Team Lead 

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Stanford University

Professional/Public Service: Greenhouse Scholars, Alumni; Galloway Gives; Galloway Community Fund

Lu Chen, PE

Senior Structural Engineer


Houston, TX

Lu Chen joined Arup in 2013 and has clearly defined herself as a driven and technically skilled Senior Structural Engineer. Over the last decade, Chen has contributed her civil engineering expertise to a range of structurally innovative or challenging projects including an offshore gravity-based structure as well as numerous transport and public infrastructure developments. This experience has equipped her with a unique structural design skillset that makes her an integral member of project teams. Outside of project work, Chen is committed to upskilling and knowledge sharing, and she serves as the lead for the Learning Committee within her office and offers STEM mentorship to local high school students.

Accomplishments/Projects:Energy Project Offshore Concrete Gravity-based Structure (CGS), Senior Structural En¬gineer; Finch LRT, Civil Discipline Manager

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Tianjin University (China); MS in Civil En¬gineering, Rice University 

Professional/Public Service: Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS), volunteer; SEI Houston, member; Global Bridge and Civil Structures Forum, Volunteer Meeting Organizer

Rising Stars in MEP

Danny McGrail, PE, LEED AP BD+C

Science and Technology Practice Director

Henderson Engineers

Lenexa, KS

Bio:  Since kick starting his career in 2013, Danny McGrail has ascended to the top ranks of the field, and stands out among his accomplished peers as the youngest practice director companywide.  McGrail rapidly climbed his way up the ladder from project manager to practice leader and eventually practice director, an impressive feat owing to his technical acumen as a mechanical engineer, his drive for excellence for himself and his colleagues, and his dedication to the success of Henderson and their clients.  In turn, McGrail has cultivated a high level of trust among architects and developers, which has led to him leading a number of significant projects.

Accomplishments/Projects: US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Lab relocation, Project Manager–Atlanta, GA; 850 PBC at the Phoenix Bioscience Core, Project Manager–Phoenix, AZ; North Kansas City High School Renovation, Project Manager and Lead Mechanical Engineer–North Kansas City, MO

Education: BS in Architectural Engineering, Kansas State University

Professional/Public Service: International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), Heart of America Chapter; American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), member; American Institute of Architects (AIA), Kansas City Pillars Program

Rising Stars in Civil Engineering

Yvonne Rivera, PE, PMP

Project Manager


Houston, TX

Yvonne Rivera has built a career in the AEC industry based on three pillars: management, leadership, and teaching.  Rivera is a project management professional who has guided projects from start to finish while also maintaining an active role in professional development organizations.  Rivera is also changing the AEC industry through her work in mentoring and teaching young engineers beginning their careers.

Accomplishments/Projects: Water & Wastewater Study, Assistant Project Manager–Harris County; North Harris County Regional Water Authority 54-inch Water Transmission Line, Design Engineer–Harris County; Fry Road Municipal Utility District Water Plant No. 2, Design Assist–Houston, TX

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Texas Tech University; MCE, University of Houston

Professional/Public Service: Society of American Military Engineers, Houston/Galveston Post–Young Member of the Year (2015), President (2019);  West Houston Association, Water Resources Committee Member; American Council of Engineering Companies, Emerging Leaders Program (2021-2022)

Emily Villines, CPSM, CPC, ACC

Vice President, Strategic Communications

Calibre Engineering

Highlands Ranch, CO

Emily Villines has never been afraid to make waves, and has been a catalyst for change in her company, industry associations, and the public sector.  Her rare talent for blurring the lines between administration and engineering has resulted in groundbreaking change.  Villines has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to recognize and meet the needs of her public sector clients.

Accomplishments/Projects: City of Aurora Digital Stormwater Master Plan, Assistant Project Manager–Aurora, CO

Education: BA in English and French, University of Northern Colorado; MA in Engineer and Marketing, Regis University

Professional/Public Service: Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), Education Committee; Colorado Association of State Floodplain Managers (CASFM), Outreach and Training Committee

Josh Kimbrell, PE, QSD/P, LEED Green Associate

Vice President

Freyer & Laureta, Inc.

San Francisco, CA

Spearheading the civil design for numerous San Francisco Bay Area projects, Josh Kimbrell has focused his career on building and developing innovative, sustainable, low-impact development design strategies and green infrastructure.  Kimbrell’s expertise in civil engineering design, project management, construction management, and capital improvement plan management for public infrastructure and private development projects has allowed his firm to impact their communities directly and create positive change.

Accomplishments/Projects: Treasure Island Redevelopment, Project Manager and Engineer–San Francisco, CA; 681 Florida Casa Adelante Displaced & Low Income Family Housing–San Francisco; The Tidelands at UCSF Mission Bay BMR Housing–San Francisco, CA

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Santa Clara University

Professional/Public Service: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), member (2003-2009)

Kim Johnson, PE


7 Oaks Engineering, inc.

Silverton, OR

Kim Johnson has repeatedly demonstrated her excellent communication skills among her clients and upholds the highest quality of respect and integrity.  Johnson has spent 15 years in the AEC industry, working her way up from intern through to her current position as president.  Johnson’s passion for leadership and mentoring young people is demonstrated through projects such as creating an online course for new civil engineers entering the industry.

Accomplishments/Projects:  Habitat for Humanity, Senior Project Manager/Engineer of Record–Silverton, CO; Northgate Commercial Center, Engineer of Record/Senior Project Manager–Fontana, CA; Columbia Square Downtown, Project Engineer–Los Angeles, CA

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Cal State Long Beach

Public/Professional Service: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), member; Orego Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME); City of Silverton Chamber of Commerce

Royce Eklund, PE

Regional Civil Engineering Manager

Commercial Development Resources

Charlotte, NC

Royce Eklund has demonstrated exceptional ability in Civil Engineering, Land Development, Project Design, and Project Management– garnering a wealth of experience in overseeing complex projects from conception through completion.  Eklund has shown a keen eye for detail and a talent for creative problem solving.  Eklund is also driving the AEC industry forward through mentorship and has volunteered his time and expertise to mentor young AEC professionals.

Accomplishments/Projects: Legoland California Movie World, Project Manager and Design Lead–Carlsbad, CA; AutoNation Mercedes-Benz House of Imports–Buena Park, CA

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Professional/Public Service: American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), member

Rising Stars in Full Service Engineering

David Doxtad, PE



Sioux Falls, SD

David Doxtad is an empowering leader, who is passionate about finding new opportunities for communities, employee owners, and the firm.  As president of ISG, Doxtad is committed to building upon the firm’s growth and multi-market, full service structure, and his ability to cultivate talent by empowering employee owners with the resources to succeed is backed by his experience as an engineer, manager, leader, and mentor.  Doxtad leads by example, and exemplifies ISG’s culture of constantly remembering what drives us–communities.

Accomplishments/Projects: ISG Expansion in South Dakota

Education: BS in Civil Engineering, Iowa State University

Professional/Public Service: Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, Board Chair; Civil Engineering Classroom and Architecture Scholarship at South Dakota State, ISG Representative; American Society of Civil Engineers

Stephanie Putzke, RCID, NCIDQ

Principal/Director of Interior Design


Tulsa, OK

As a Principal and Director of Cyntergy’s Interior Design team, Stephanie Putzke has clearly demonstrated her passion for improving the built environment while prioritizing the people impacted by her architectural projects. Her passion for creating spaces that truly reflect her clients’ personalities is evident in her work. Not only is she an advocate for her team, but she also possesses a natural talent for making people feel valued, which fosters a sense of trust in both her colleagues and clients. Ms. Putzke takes the time to understand her clients’ unique lifestyles and cultures, enabling her to seamlessly integrate their personalities into their surroundings. By doing so, she creates a space that is both personal and functional, and truly reflective of the client’s character.

Accomplishments/Projects: Southern Hills Country Club | Hitting Facility, Main Entry Guard Shack, Pool Locker Room Renovation, Men’s Locker Room | Lead Interior Designer-Tulsa, OK Greenheck Campus | Campus Masterplan, 6 Class A + Warehouse Buildings | Lead Interior Designer- Tulsa, OK, Young Life 540 Headquarters | Office Building Renovation | Lead Architectural & Interior Designer- Colorado Springs, CO

Education: Masters of Architecture, University of Kansas

Professional/Public Service: American Institute of Architects (AIA), Associate Member; Junior League of Tulsa; Zweig Group ElevateHER 2023 Cohort

Rising Stars in Structural Engineering

Mark Rocha, PE, SE

Structural Engineer


Dallas, TX

Few structural engineers have the same level of experience that Mark Rocha has in the design and construction of highly complex building projects combined with a passion for automation and programming.  During his 11-year tenure, Rocha’s project experience has included a wide variety of project types, including data centers, courthouses, offices, hospitals, laboratories, and science and technology facilities.  Throughout his career, Rocha has also embraced leadership opportunities, guiding teams from concept design through construction administration.

Accomplishments/Projects: Center for Women’s Tower, Lead Project Structural Engineer–Texas; NASA Johnson Space Center, Project Structural Engineer–Houston, TX; Covenant Medical Center Renovation and Expansion, Lead Project Structural Engineer–Texas

Education: BS in Architectural Engineering, University of Texas at Austin; MS in Civil Engineering, Southern Methodist University

Professional/Public Service: BILT North American, Presenter

Maryanne Wachter, PE

Software Engineer

Outer Labs

San Francisco, CA

 Maryanne Wachter is a dynamic structural and software engineer with ten years of experience and a career spanning both coasts and Europe. Wachter has a unique perspective within the AEC industry, having worked in both bridge and building design and ultimately transitioning to a full time role in software development within the real estate industry. She is involved in several DEI efforts within the AEC industry, including leading the survey development for the 2020 SE3 survey and acting as a data analyst for the project since 2018.

Accomplishments/Projects: Oculus Transportation Hub, World Trade Center, Project Engineer–New York, NY; Structural Assessment of Existing Structures, Country Way Viaduct, Project Engineer; Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Project Engineer–Los Angeles, CA

Education: BSE in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University; MS in Structural Engineering and Geomechanics, Stanford University

Professional/Public Service: Zweig Group ElevateHer 2020 Cohort, mentor starting in 2021; ACE Mentor Program, NYC; Stanford Global Teamwork (PBL Lab) 

Rising Stars in Architecture

Jayna Duke, IIDA, LEED AP ID + C

Principal, Interiors Practice Lead

O’Connell Robertson

Austin, TX

Jayna Duke’s accomplishments and values catapulted her to a position as a shareholder and O’Connell Roberton’s most recent and youngest Principal, as well as being only the second female principal in the firm’s 73-year history.  With more than 14 years of experience, Duke’s work reflects the individual missions that drive each project while supporting their occupants to reach every goal.  Her accomplishments–ranging from leading the interior design on large and complex projects through growing and managing a team of young designers to supporting the AEC community–clearly demonstrate her passion and enthusiasm for creating spaces and environments that positively impact all.

Accomplishments/Projects: Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Lead Interior Designer–Austin, TX; Lake Belton High School, Interiors Lead–Lake Belton, TX; San Antonio College Fletcher Administration Building, Interiors Lead–San Antonio, TX

Education: BS in Interior Design, Texas State University

Professional/Public Service: International Interior Design Association (IIDA), member; Association for Learning Environments (A4LE), Central Texas Chapter; Zweig Group ElevateHer 2021 Cohort

Anna Adams, NCIDQ

Associate/Interior Designer

CROFT & Associates

Kennesaw, GA

Anna Adams joined the CROFT team in October 2020 as a pioneer of sorts, leading the development of CROFT’s new interiors unit.  Adams has helped grow the interiors team, and has become a crucial member of the team as she interfaces with every design studio, helping to bring all the pieces together through interior design.  As new members have joined the interiors team, Adams has been their shepherd, ensuring that they are seamlessly integrated into the team.

Accomplishments/Projects: North Cobb Christian Upper School, Interiors Lead–Cobb County, GA; Augusta Airport Renovation, Interiors Lead–Augusta, GA; Amicalola Falls State Park Welcome Center–Dawsonville, GA

Education: BS in Interior Design, Mississippi State University

Professional/Public Service: Furniture Bank of Metro Atlanta; CURE Childhood Cancer

Elijah Pearce, RA, LEED AP


RRM Design Group

Santa Barbara, CA

Elijah brings an extraordinary blend of talents to the table, balancing practicality, artistry, and empathy. Promoted to principal of RRM Design Group this year, Elijah specializes in large-scale housing projects that contribute to solving California’s affordable housing crisis. He recently published a children’s book, “The Architectural Alphabet: A Young Architect’s First Primer,” blending his profession, his artistic talent, and his passion for learning and sharing. He spearheads RRM’s “Draws for a Cause,” a team of colleagues who donate their time and expertise to create stunning pro-bono renderings for non-profit organizations. Elijah melds his talents with an effective and diplomatic flair that impresses clients and imprints an important mark on communities.

Accomplishments/Projects: Arrowhead Grove Master Planned Community, Project Manager and Architect–San Bernardino, CA; Gardens on Hope Project, Project Manager–Santa Barbara, CA; Rancho Sierra Senior Apartments–Camarillo, CA

Education: BS in Architecture (minor in Catholic Social Tradition), University of Notre Dame

Professional/Public Service: St. Barbara Parish Community Life Committee, University of Notre Dame Admissions Volunteer Coordinator