Three New Fellows Join DBIA’s College of Fellows

Three headshots together with white background; decorative image

The Design-Build Institute of America has elevated three Designated Design-Build Professionals to the status of DBIA Fellow. James Avitabile, PE, FDBIA; Rebecca Blankenship, FDBIA; and Barbara Wagner, LEED AP, FDBIA, will officially join the DBIA College of Fellows at the Design-Build Conference & Expo Awards Ceremony Thursday night in National Harbor, MD. 

Avitabile, Blankenship and Wagner join an elite group of DBIA Fellows™ chosen by a jury of their peers. Only 2% of Designated Design-Build Professionals are elevated to the status of DBIA Fellow.

Meet the DBIA College of Fellows Class of 2023

James Avitabile, PE, FDBIA

Sr. Practice Development Leader — Design-Build, RK&K

Jim Avitabile headshotJim Avitabile has effectively led the DBIA Transportation and Aviation Markets Committee, chaired several Conference planning committees that delivered successful conferences and contributed to DBIA’s best practices in Transportation publications. Since getting involved with DBIA in 2007, Jim has aided in the growth, evolution and maturation of the design-build delivery process with Owners such as FDOT, GDOT, SCDOT and several Florida municipalities. Under Jim’s leadership, DBIA drafted the first Transportation Sector Best Design-Build Practices documents. Jim also volunteers time for community service projects like helping local governmental agencies address environmental concerns, flood, growth management, sustainability, resilience and traffic safety.

Rebecca Blankenship, FDBIA

Becky Blankenship headshot

First Vice President, Hill International Inc.

Rebecca Blankenship is a primary reason design-build has become so prevalent in the Northwest. She has influenced legislation and best practices through her service on committees with the Washington State Capital Projects Advisory Review Board. As First Vice President, Pacific Northwest Operations Manager at Hill International, Becky has helped at least 18 first-time Owners achieve success through Progressive Design-Build. Her reach of experience includes architecture, engineering, design-build and Owner representation. She also served in the Air Force earning numerous medals. She is pursuing a doctorate from Gonzaga University with dissertation research focused on the Progressive Design-Build delivery model.


Barbara Wagner, LEED AP, FDBIA

Executive Vice President, Clark Construction Group, LLC

Barbara Wagner headshotBarbara Wagner is an advocate, educator and influencer in design-build project delivery nationwide. Educated as an architect and engineer, she possesses the highest credentials in the AEC space. An executive vice president and 38-year veteran of Clark Construction Group, Barbara has been personally responsible for billions of dollars and millions of square feet of design-build projects. In over 20 years, Barbara has served in many leadership positions, including president of WPR, chair of the national board of directors and current chair of the development board. Over the past two decades, Barbara has presented at an average of six conferences a year.

As Fellows, Avitabile, Blankenship and Wagner will use their unique perspectives and depth of design-build experience to promote Design-Build Done Right® and design-build Best Practices in a variety of ways, which may include serving on committees, mentoring young professionals or identifying opportunities to advance design-build excellence.

The Path to DBIA’s College of Fellows

A nominee must hold DBIA certification and continuous membership for at least 10 years and should be able to demonstrate at least a decade of responsible charge of design-build experience. Candidates are nominated by DBIA leaders before their applications are reviewed for eligibility and then evaluated by industry peers, including members and previous Fellows.

DBIA established the College of Fellows in 2018 to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the most accomplished Designated Design-Build Professionals®. DBIA Fellows have a proven track record of promoting DBIA best practices principles throughout their design-build careers and will work together as Fellows to help DBIA fuel the continued growth of the industry and serve our diverse membership.

“Design-build is the fastest growing and most popular delivery method for our nation’s construction industry, and DBIA is leading the way in advancing Design-Build Done Right®,” said DBIA College of Fellows Vice Chancellor Bill Hasbrook, EMS, TCFM, FDBIA. “Much of that success is driven by the incredible leadership of those design-build innovators and members of the DBIA College of Fellows.”

By meeting rigorous requirements and making notable contributions to DBIA and design-build in general, these professionals have proven to be the best of the best in the design-build industry and by honoring them with Fellow status, DBIA is celebrating their career achievements and dedication to promoting DBIA principles. 

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