Distinguished Leadership Award Winners
Design-Build Distinguished Leadership Award Winners
Design-build's incredible growth and proven success would not be possible without industry leaders who advocate for and promote the merits of Design-Build Done Right®. Whether in the classroom, within legislatures or out in the field, these individuals are regarded as innovators and leaders for their work and believe in the value and benefits of design-build that have transformed the industry. DBIA is proud to honor these great leaders each year!
Jeannie Natta, Assoc. DBIA
Interim Director, Project Delivery Group, University of Washington — University Facilities Building
Jeannie Natta is a skilled leader of large project teams and understands just what it takes for a team to deliver a well-executed project. While at the University of Washington, she has led two of the university’s largest and most complex design-build projects, including the 2021 DBIA Project of the Year winner, University of Washington Hans Rosling Center for Population Health. Jeannie is an enthusiastic and eager teacher of design-build best practices to students and young professionals. Since 2019, she has also been an invited speaker to promote design-build best practices at regional DBIA conferences as well as to undergraduate and graduate students in Construction Management and Architecture programs at the University of Washington.
Daniel Rawlins, RA, DBIA
Principal, The Rawlins Group, LLC
Dan Rawlins is passionate about creating a collaborative environment among Owners, design-build teams, regulating agencies and other project stakeholders that bring out the best that design-build delivery can offer. He is a registered architect with more than 45 years of experience in the design of educational, civic and criminal justice facilities. He has actively served as a Design Criteria Developer and Owner’s Advisor, having guided more than 100 public projects through successful source selection and project execution using design-build delivery. Dan’s list of DBIA contributions is long, including serving at the Regional level as a Board Member and Treasurer, a student Competition Judge, as well as being a presenter at several Regional and Chapter programs. Since 2010, Dan has served as a DBIA Continuing Education Instructor.
James Avitabile, PE, DBIA
Vice President, Transportation & Infrastructure, RS&H
Throughout his career, Jim Avitabile has advocated for the use of design-build, Progressive Design-Build, and P3s on a variety of complex highway, bridge, rail and transit facility projects throughout the U.S. He has been a technical advisor to state D-O-Ts and transit agencies and served in the role of statewide owner’s representative preparing design-build procurement documents, project screening and assisting agencies navigate training of their staff. Jim is a Registered Professional Engineer in four states, a certified DBIA Professional, and has served in active leadership roles with DBIA at both the regional and national levels. He has directed and participated in the programming, planning and design efforts on over 50 design-build projects, including some of the largest P3 and design-build projects in the U.S.
Jeffrey Goodermote, DBIA
National Director of Parking Structures, Swinerton
Jeff Goodermote motivates and inspires teammates to break down the walls of their respective company goals to work together as an organized and unified team, all working toward a common goal of successfully completing the project as a design-build team. As Swinerton’s National Director of Parking Structures, he has experience designing and constructing large-scale parking structures for a wide range of markets, including aviation, higher education, healthcare, hospitality, civic and office. Jeff is an active member of the industry, serving on several organization’s committees, promoting design-build as the delivery method of choice. Under his leadership, Swinerton has received several project awards, including this year’s DBIA National Award of Merit for LAX Economy Parking Structure.
Deputy Director, California Department of General Services
As a Deputy Director at California’s Department of General Services, Jason Kenney played a vital role in this year’s new Progressive Design-Build Authority passage in the state. By writing the draft language, testifying and advocating every step of the way, Jason helped educate critical stakeholders on the value of design-build and how to implement Progressive successfully. His quest will save taxpayers millions of dollars for the three pilot projects approved, and his tireless efforts have shaped design-build in California for decades to come.
Robynne Thaxton J.D., FDBIA
Managing Member, Thaxton Parkinson, PLLC and Progressive Design-Build Consulting LLC
Robynne Thaxton’s long-time service with DBIA goes back decades as a DBIA National Board Member, Committee Chair and Member and Northwest Region leader. She was the first chair of DBIA’s Legal and Legislation Committee and also serves on the Contracts Task force helping to shape DBIA’s vitally important Contract documents. As an instructor, Robynne has taught the Contracts and Risk class for DBIA since it was developed in 2005 and is also an instructor of DBIA’s Progressive course. As an attorney and consultant, she drafted landmark legislative language authorizing the use of Progressive Design-Build in the state of Washington, where it is now widely and successfully used. Her impact extends beyond her home state. She has also helped develop new Progressive contract documents and a PDB procurement process at UC San Diego, the first in the University of California System. In addition to all this, Robynne is also a DBIA Fellow.
Dean Papajohn, PE, Ph.D., DBIA Associate, ENV SP
Professor of Practice, University of Arizona
Dean Papajohn is an energetic advocate for design-build and the mission of DBIA. Dean initiated the DBIA student chapter at the University of Arizona and, as the faculty advisor, has helped it grow into a dynamic student organization. In addition to teaching students about design-build, his expansive network of industry contacts builds effective industry-academic partnerships advancing the understanding and use of design-build as an effective delivery method. Dean has also been a leader in research related to design-build delivery of highway projects. He has collaborated on a practitioner’s guidebook on post-award contract administration for design-build highway projects. He also advises multiple design-build student competition teams who compete nationwide. Dean is a true faculty leader promoting design-build research, education, and student mentorship.
Zachary Hansen, ENV SP
President, DBIA Student Chapter, University of Arizona
Zachary Hansen has been a highly influential student leader in helping to strengthen the DBIA Student Chapter at the University of Arizona. He is currently the Chapter’s president, elected by his peers after helping navigate the challenges of a COVID environment last year. Zack has been instrumental in helping the chapter thrive even during a pandemic. In addition to the typical chapter meeting schedule, Zack helped leverage the virtual environment to coordinate joint chapter meetings with Arizona State University and a joint meeting with our ASCE chapter. He also helped promote webinars sponsored by DBIA Western Pacific Region, the DBIA Sacramento Chapter Young Professionals, and ASCE. Zack’s student leadership created opportunities to advance the understanding and use of design-build, despite the challenges.
Gordon Cable, DBIA
National Design-Build Manager, Ferguson Waterworks
For years, Gordon Cable has been influential on a national scale for adopting and advocating for the early involvement of suppliers in the Design-Build process. A seasoned professional within Ferguson Waterworks, his efforts have greatly impacted how design-build joint venture teams approach the earliest stages of the RFQ/RFP and how they are able to fine-tune their scope, budget, and value engineering options. Gordon’s leadership has helped bring supplier expertise into design-build projects early while improving the likelihood for success.
Mike Gonzalez, DBIA, LEED AP
Vice President, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
Michael Gonzalez’s passionate and entrepreneurial leadership combined with his strong advocacy for design-build delivery has helped fuel the growth of design-build in Arizona. Mike is the chair of DBIA’s Arizona Chapter and he’s also played a critical role in guiding and expanding design-build on more than $805 million in design-build projects to date, including extensive experience with advanced manufacturing design-build projects, and higher education research-related facilities. Mike has helped lead DBIA’s Arizona chapter to initiate and execute programs that deliver on DBIA’s commitment to educating the industry on design-build best practices. His leadership has created new opportunities for organizations and communities to benefit from high-quality design-build projects.
Student Chapter President, Arizona State University
As a student in the Construction Management program at Arizona State University, Valentino has already made incredible contributions to design-build through his impressive work with his fellow students and industry contacts. Valentino leads ASU’s student chapter, has received ASU’s Construction Management student leadership award, and maintains a top-notch GPA while working in industry and leading extra-curricular activities. , As ASU, he’s hosted numerous design-build workshops and guided two teams in the DBIA Student Competition. Valentino’s commitment to collaboration is proven throughout his work to integrate ASU students from various AEC programs into the DBIA chapter.
Tim Graybeal, DBIA
Design-Build Manager, Lydig Construction
Tim Graybeal’s commitment to the design-build delivery method has been demonstrated time and again as he continues to play a vital role in changing the way the state of Washington builds its projects. In his role as Design-Build Manager for Lydig Construction, he has been able to maintain an exclusive focus, having completed more than $750 million in design-build projects in the last decade alone. Outside the office, he’s just as active in promoting and presenting on design-build and has been praised for his ability to lead local Owners and help them unlock the potential of their projects. Founder of the Inland Northwest Chapter of DBIA, he also currently serves as Treasurer of the DBIA Northwest Region.
Program Coordinator, Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department
David Badger hit the ground running when his career started seven years ago, and he hasn’t stopped since! In the time he’s been with the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department in Tucson, Arizona, he has been an enthusiastic supporter of design-build, serving as Project Manager for numerous large projects involving treatment plants, pump stations, biofilters and conveyance systems. This led to his current role as Program Coordinator where he is managing the Twin Peaks Gravity Sewer design-build project. Emphasizing communication within the team on all of his projects, Badger also places a special focus on community outreach, so the general community affected by these projects are kept well informed of the impacts and activity.
David Varoli, Esq.
General Counsel, New York City Department of Design and Construction
Design-build in New York City has made incredible strides in recent years, and none of it would have been possible without David Varoli. As General Counsel for the City’s Department of Design and Construction, Varoli not only advocated for integral legislation that expanded design-build authority but has been engaged in making sure that the City is prepared to use design-build once that legislation is official. He has been a leader the passage of the New York City Rikers Island Jail Complex Replacement Act and the New York City Public Works Investment Act, each of which will have an immeasurable impact on the way the City builds. His continued efforts to educate, advocate, and promote Design-Build Best Practices to other City Agencies have gone a long way toward meeting the goal of making the City of New York the Owner of choice for design-build projects.
Preconstruction Manger, Fortis Construction, Inc.
Blain Grover has demonstrated continued leadership in expanding design-build delivery in the Oregon market and within his organization, Fortis Construction. Blain developed Fortis’ “Design-Build Playbook,” deploying a unique delivery of design-build customized to his organization’s business model and culture. Currently, Blain’s Design-Build Done Right™ work is being demonstrated leading a $10 million design-build middle school project for Portland Public Schools, which is one of Oregon’s first public K-12 design-build projects.
James Wolfe, P.E.
District 6 Secretary, Florida Department of Transportation
Jim Wolfe has served as District Secretary to both the FDOT District Four and Six regions and has been an effective advocate for design-build on many important Florida projects. Whether it’s the award-winning Veterans Memorial Bridge, the $1.3 billion I-595 Express P3 or the multi-phased I-75 Express, Jim has shown time and again the effectiveness of Design-Build Done Right™ principles in action. Most recently, FDOT’s design-build project along SR 836/I-395/I-95 included many community elements and will help reclaim pedestrian access beneath the elevated interstate.
Sharareh (Sherri) Kermanshachi, PhD, PE, PMP, LEED AP, ENV SP, CMIT
Assistant Professor, University of Texas at Arlington
Dr. Kermanshachi’s commitment to design-build is demonstrated through her scholarship, her student mentoring and active engagement with DBIA’s Southwest Region. In addition to serving as the Director of UTA’s Construction Research Lab, supervising multiple Ph.D. and master’s students, Sherri founded the UTA’s DBIA student chapter and currently serves as its faculty advisor. She has published more than 60 books, journal articles, conference papers, and technical reports, and received more than a dozen international and national awards.
Jamie Athenour, DBIA, LEED AP BD+C
Design Manager, Hensel Phelps
Jamie Athenour is exactly the type of engaged young professional our industry needs. An active member of the DBIA Western Pacific Region/Bay Area Chapter, Jamie has also established a DBIA Young Professionals recruitment program at Hensel Phelps Construction and serves as the Membership Chair for DBIA’s Western Pacific Region. She is currently the Design Manager for a $95 million design-build project and was previously involved with the successful SFO Replacement Airport Traffic Control Tower project.
Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York State
It’s impossible to talk about design-build in New York without talking about its biggest champion, Governor Andrew Cuomo. Thanks to his leadership, there are many high-profile design-build projects across the state of New York demonstrating to the entire nation the cost and time efficiencies that come with design-build. Whether it’s the former Tappan Zee (now named the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge), the Javits Center or the Kosciuszko bridge, Andrew Cuomo has led an infrastructure renaissance with design-build authority at the helm. In a state that’s been historically slow to adopt design-build, the Governor has remained a steadfast supporter and with each successful project has elevated the conversation making it impossible to ignore – design-build delivers in New York and with full authority could bring even more success to the state’s impressive infrastructure renaissance.
Program Administrator, SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program
As Program Administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Program, Julie Meredith has been instrumental in the development of multiple design-build projects that are reconstructing a vulnerable and vital urban highway connecting Seattle and the growing cities east of Lake Washington. The Program’s ongoing progress is owed in large measure to Julie’s technical, managerial and community-engagement skills, and her dogged determination to obtain results. Julie’s leadership helped deliver community consensus, permits and funding for a megaproject spanning eight local jurisdictions, multiple congressional and legislative districts, historic neighborhoods, tribal fishing grounds, and sensitive natural areas. Julie’s commitment to design-build contracting has produced many notable innovations that reduced both costs and schedule.
Timothy Pullen, Assoc. DBIA
Manager of Alternative Project Delivery Program, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
The Port Authority of New Jersey and New York is tasked with maintaining some of the nation’s most recognizable infrastructure located in the one of the nation’s most densely populated areas. Despite being one of only a handful of states with limited authority, the Port Authority is none-the-less reshaping the landscape in New York and New Jersey using design-build for very notable projects. As the Port Authority’s Manager of Alternative Project Delivery, Timothy Pullen has been a vocal and effective advocate for the Authority’s use of design-build on vital projects including; the four billion dollar central terminal at LaGuardia Airport, the Goethals Bridge replacement and the redevelopment of Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Brian A. Walsh, DBIA, LEED AP BD+C
President & CEO, The Collage Companies
Since completing his firm’s first design-build project in 1982, Brian Walsh has been an unwavering proponent of design-build project delivery and has been consistently engaged with DBIA for almost 20 years. One of the founding members of DBIA’s Florida Region, he has served multiple positions on the region’s Board and has been a member of national committees and Boards for DBIA over the past decade. Brian has used the integrated team approach combined with DBIA’s single source responsibility to provide service and solutions to faith-based and socially minded organizations which best allowed him to fulfill his corporate mission “to build projects that strengthen the foundation and fabric of our communities.” His career can best be described as using design-build principles as a way to give back his time and talents to his community.
Monica Blanchard, P.E.
Project Manager, Manson Construction Co.
A consummate, pragmatic professional, Monica promotes the tenets of the design-build project delivery model with an unwavering commitment to open, honest communication, transparency and finding a better way. Representing the “build” side of design-build, Monica quickly rose to a leadership role at Manson (man-sun) Construction, serving as project manager and supervisor on design-build projects across the Pacific Northwest. One of her notable projects was serving as a Superintendent on the $700 million Design-Build Evergreen Point Floating Bridge project which won a 2016 DBIA National Excellence in Design Engineering Award. The success of the design-build model relies heavily on providing a clear understanding of the goals and expectations of all parties involved, and the ability to lead all team members towards those goals and expectations – all of which is exemplified by Blanchard.
Mounir El Asmar, Ph.D.
Co-Director, National Center of Excellence in SMART Innovations, Arizona State University
A professor in Arizona State’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Mounir El Asmar is ahead of his time when it comes to teaching design-build. He teaches undergraduate students, graduate students, and even industry professionals about the effectiveness and efficiency of design-build through a research focus on design-build performance.
He is the founder of the DBIA student chapter at ASU, and has coached students in DBIA national competitions. Dr. El Asmar is a true champion of alternative delivery methods, and has worked with national foundations and committees to help teams employ their most effective methods for project delivery. His research benchmarks design-build performance, and assists the industry in making decisions selecting and using design-build.
President of DBIA Student Chapter – University of Arizona, Intern for McCarthy
Student leadership is important to foster the growth of future design-build professionals, and Hunter Brown is a prime example of what that student leadership can do. Hunter has been a champion of design-build in many ways during his undergraduate career. He helped found the DBIA Student Chapter at the University of Arizona and was a team leader during the university’s first-ever entry in DBIA’s National Student Competition in 2016.
As DBIA Student Chapter president he has promoted design-build delivery by encouraging his peers to enter design-build competitions and building the DBIA Student Chapter at Arizona. Hunter’s demonstrated commitment to the design-build delivery method is making an impact now and positioning him for a successful career in the design-build industry.
Representative Lincoln Hough
135th State House District, Missouri State Legislature
Rep. Lincoln Hough successfully sponsored and passed HB 2376, authorizing political subdivisions such as cities, counties and school districts throughout the state of Missouri to use design-build. His tireless work on the issue began in 2015 when he first sponsored the legislation and continued in 2016 because he understood the importance of this issue to the industry and public owners. This was a complex bill with many moving parts and interested parties. Rep. Hough skillfully negotiated compromises while standing strong on core parts of the bill. He is an example of a state legislator who is willing to work on challenging, practical legislation that may lack glamour, but truly makes a difference for his state and constituents.
Industry Professional Category
Brett Tullis, AIA, DBIA, LEED
Principal Architect, Sillman Wright Architects
In addition to his notable achievements as an architect, Brett Tullis has pursued a busy second career as an educational volunteer, bringing the concept of design-build to people and students that have limited knowledge or experience of the profession. He played a vital role in establishing the only DBIA Student Chapter in southern California at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design, where he and members of his staff also served as advisors and design jurors for a mock student/professional design-build project. Mr. Tullis’s ability to promote design-build has had a lasting effect within his staff, students and the surrounding design-build community.
Young Professional Category
Dave McCool, DBIA, LEED AP BD+C
Director of Virtual Design & Construction, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
With degrees in Psychology and Construction Management, Dave McCool has a unique perspective on the impact of human behavior on team relationships and has become an advocate for the best practices that make design-build delivery most successful. Mr. McCool has advocated for DBIA’s Best Practices on a global platform, even writing a book featuring an exhaustive section on the benefits and correlation of BIM and design-build which is being translated into French and Chinese in order to be used in 25 universities worldwide. Most recently, he founded a global non-profit whose mission is to use technology to break down the silos of owner, architect, engineer and contractor in order to implement the teachings of DBIA.
Darryl VanMeter, P.E.
State Innovative Delivery Administrator, Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)
Darryl VanMeter volunteered to lead GDOT’s first design-build project more than 10 years ago. As a result of Mr. VanMeter actively partnering with the design-build team, federal partners and GDOT staff, the $80-million interchange project was a resounding success, completed in just 18 months. Since then, he has led the GDOT Office of Innovative Delivery, which has awarded nearly $2 billion of design-build contracts and Mr. VanMeter has convinced them to steadily adopt DBIA’s Best Practices. His advocacy within the department has been the catalyst for legislative changes that have widely permitted the use of design-build in Georgia, including Best Value selection. Mr. VanMeter’s tireless support for using DBIA Best Practices has led initial skepticism of design-build in the state to evaporate and use of the delivery method is now growing quickly.