Name: Christina Taylor
Role: Business Development and Marketing
What services does your company provide?Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering design
Years of Experience: 12
Where are you originally from?I was born in San Antonio; raised in San Antonio; quickly went to San Marcos for school and rushed back to San Antonio to start my career. Is there anywhere else to be? I think not!
Tell us something really interesting about you.I am a classically trained violinist.
Everyone at SMPS has a story about why they joined the organization. What’s yours?When hired at H2, the company was new, as was I. I needed a place to aid in my professional development, and provide a network to benefit the marketing and business development goals of our firm. SMPS has been that organization.
What drew you to the A/E/C industry?I like to say the AEC industry chose me. I am from the charitable, not-for-profit sector and was given an opportunity to make a career change. My father is a highly respected, well known mechanical engineer in our community. Years ago, he opened the door to an opportunity which has since evolved to where I am now. Maybe growing up around drafting tables and T-Squares sealed my fate long ago!
Where’s your favorite place to eat in San Antonio?Anyone who has recently met me for breakfast knows at this moment in time I am ADDICTED to The Egg and I. The raspberry granola pancake rocks my world. Be warned. It is the size of a placemat.
What do you like to do in your free time?In my free time you will find me tending to the garden, planning for the next planting season, studying plant ecology, and coloring.
Do you have any pets?Not right now. We had a greyhound many years ago. She was absolutely majestic.
What would be impossible for you to give up?Music. It has the power to influence, transform, and define the moment. Life is a musical that never ends!
Describe your ideal vacation.In the water, on the water, near the water. Add some sand, a bit of beach volleyball, an umbrella drink, and I am good to go.
Nominees are being sought for the 2016 Leonardo Award!
What is the Leonardo Award?
Inspired by the Renaissance inventor, writer, printer and sculptor, the Leonardo Award recognizes an outstanding, current SMPS member who has demonstrated a career of excellence in marketing and business development creativity and innovation within the built environment. The winner will have demonstrated expertise within firms he/she has served and the industry as a whole.
This award is based upon a submittal and interview process. It is voted on by a jury selected from within the A/E/C industry.
Who can submit?
SMPS members have the option to nominate a fellow SMPS member or to self-nominate. Additional details can found in the PDF below.
What's new this year?
Submission requirements have changed and a new interview process has been introduced. For full details on how the selection process has been modified, be sure to check out the new process outlined in the PDF below!
What's the deadline to submit?
All submissions are due by the end of business on Friday, July 29, 2016.
Name: Dawn Vernon
Company: Drash Consultants, LLC
Role: Manager – Business Development Group
What services does your company provide?Geotechnical Engineering, Environmental Services, Construction Materials Testing/Inspection, Forensic Engineering and Retaining Wall and Pavement Design Services
Years of Experience: 20+
Where are you originally from?I was born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. (Go Big Red!) Our family moved to Denver, Colorado when I was three and that is where I grew up. (Go Broncos – World Champs!)
Tell us something really interesting about you.Before moving to San Antonio, I competed in ballroom dancing and taught at the Arthur Murray International Dance Studio. Since moving to San Antonio, I co-hosted a local golf talk radio show on ESPN-The Zone.
Everyone at SMPS has a story about why they joined the organization. What’s yours?What’s yours? Ms. Eva Rameriz and Ms. Christy Rhone invited me to attend a luncheon shortly after I joined the Drash team. During that luncheon I saw that the organization had grown significantly and was making a definite, positive impact on the City of San Antonio and surrounding areas. It was also evident through their outstanding leadership the organization’s emphasis was not only on education and networking, but on forming long-term relationships with fellow professionals and helping each other achieve success in their respective fields. This made it an organization I wanted to be a part of.
What drew you to the A/E/C industry?It’s usually been more of a “how do I keep ending up here” kind of thing. I say this because my background is actually as an art director in graphic design and then as an executive for a national franchise organization. (There wasn’t a single AEC type in sight.)
I was introduced to the AEC industry in a roundabout way while serving as the Director of Business Development for a Master Planned Golf Course Community. While there, I was also tasked with new custom home sales which included learning about residential construction. When the golf course was sold, I found myself working for a commercial general contractor. During my employment with that company, I began developing relationships with architects, engineers and subcontractors. And then, two years ago, I was blessed to become a part of Drash Consultants. While I have changed fields from the “C” to the “E”, the relationships I had built over the years transitioned seamlessly to the field of engineering. I still get to work and spend time with all the great individuals I have known over the years, but now in an exciting new field. I love my job, the company I work for, my co-workers and all the great professionals I have met at SMPS and throughout my career.
What do you like to do in your free time?As all of us in business development know, it’s pretty much a 24/7 kind of profession. So, when I do have free time, I spend it with my husband. I also enjoy golf and always love a good J.D. Robb or Nora Roberts book!
Do you have any pets?Since we are now empty-nesters, we have “fur-children”. Abby is our daughter (aka, the cat) and Buddy is our son (aka, the dog). They do not know they are pets, so if you meet them, please don’t mention it.
What would be impossible for you to give up?My family!!!! My husband, son and daughter-in-law, daughter and son-in-law and our fur-children are my world.
Describe your ideal vacation.I would love to visit London and Ireland one day, sharing that romantic adventure with my husband. And of course, any beach with a hotel looking out over the ocean and drinks with little umbrellas is always on the list!
Client: X-Wing LLC
Project Location: Shavano Park, Texas
Construction Cost: $6.7 million
Completion Date: April 4, 2016
Services Provided: Civil Engineering & Surveying
What value does the project bring to the community?
KFW Engineers & Surveying is happy to be a part of the Shavano Park Community. KFW worked closely with the City of Shavano Park to meet their needs, and KFW wanted to give them a new building in their community that they would be proud of.
What was special about this project?
Site selection was key to the success of the project. The site had to be easy to access, visible, and provide enough room for parking and future growth. After an exhausting search we were able to work with one of our existing clients to purchase a beautiful piece of property that they were developing. The site is in Shavano Park adjacent to 1604 and contains many mature Live Oak Trees. The building and parking were carefully laid out to create a natural and serene setting while meeting our parking needs. The results speak for themselves and we are very pleased with how the project has turned out.
What were some of the challenges faced on the project?
This project was unique for KFW because we served as developer, designer, and tenant. The roles are very different and we had to approach the project from many different angles and try to meet the goals of each role while staying within the projects budget. Aside from the development and tenant needs, we had to balance the need for parking and building with the natural beauty of the site.
Prior to development the site was situated in a naturally low area, which fostered the growth of many mature Live Oak Trees. We had to fill the site in order to drain but at the same time keep as many trees as possible. We also needed more parking than is typical for an office client, due to many of our survey employees working in the field. Economics were also a concern, but in the end we were able to strike a balance. We were able to provide a treed buffer between the building and parking. The trees provide a shaded buffer to the building outside of which is ample parking to serve our future needs.
Who were the project consultants?
Chesney Morales Partners – Shell Architect
Open Studio Architecture Finish Out Architecture
Horizon Design Landscape Architecture
Metropolitan Contracting General Contractor
Beicker Martinez Engineering Structural
KFW Engineers and Surveying Civil Engineering and Surveying
Are you interested in featuring a project your firm worked on? Submit your project online to be featured in an upcoming Project Spotlight!
Name: Charli Valadez
Company: Barker Structural
Role: Director of Business Development
What services does your company provide?All services related to the Structural Design of Buildings; planning, repair, design, construction, investigation.
Years of Experience: Well, my first gig was working for Gene Dawson, Sr. (Pape-Dawson Engineering). Great man! I guess that puts me at about 20+.
Where are you originally from?Topeka, Kansas. No, I don’t have ruby slippers……. Yes, I had horses. No, I didn’t ride them to school….. unless it was a special occasion. :) I moved from Kansas after attending University of Kansas in search of a career. I have been a Texan for over 26 years!
Tell us something really interesting about you.I was a Springboard Diving competitor. My highest achievement was placing 1st at the Women’s Nationals in Nassau, Bahamas.
Everyone at SMPS has a story about why they joined the organization. What’s yours?I joined SMPS on a recommendation from a friend in the industry. Being involved has improved my network, and helped me grow professionally – both of which allow me to deliver more value to the company and people I work with.
What drew you to the A/E/C industry?I originally started working in the industry about 20 years ago because I wanted to be a designer. The more I saw of the business side, the more it interested me. I started with a very large civil/survey firm where I enjoyed learning about the process. I then went to a start-up firm, doing a little bit of everything and as the company grew, my role gravitated towards business development and marketing. I still enjoy interior design and I hope to be able to add more design work to my resume.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in San Antonio?Okay so I live at Pearl Brewery and I have had the pleasure of visiting several amazing eating establishments. You really can’t go wrong with any restaurant at Pearl. I love the Granary and Southerleigh. However, seafood is my weakness – shrimp, crab legs, clams, and scallops so I would have to say Pappadeaux.
What do you like to do in your free time?I love the outdoors. It's great fun when you’re outside in the sun with your family and friends. I like to bike, run, yoga, camp, hike, hammoking, anything beach related, travel and explore.
I do have a geek side as well. When I am not taking a class, I brush up on my skills and like to learn about any new changes or trends in the AEC and Interior Design industry. I am currently pursing my LEED Certification.
Do you have any pets?I have grand-pets: A rescue Jackhuahua named Odie, who has his own Instagram account (Plug: Odie.at.the.pearl) and a Great Dane named Costa ,who thinks she is a lap dog and literally sits on the couch like a human and watches TV.
What would be impossible for you to give up?#1 – Family & Friends
#2 – My phone
#3 – Chips and Salsa
Describe your ideal vacation.Santorini Greek Islands. Grand Turk Island, St. John US Virgin Island, Palm Island Aruba. You see where I am going with this…..blue water, blue skies, perfect sand on a perfect beach, perfect weather, a surf board, a beach bar and no stress…..My husband and I are actually doing research on all of these amazing places as we are celebrating our 25th in August.
Name: Daniel Kershner
Company: Fugro Consultants, Inc.
Role: Business Development Manager
What services does your company provide?Geotechnical Engineering and Construction Materials Engineering and Testing
Years of Experience: 1 year
Where are you originally from?San Antonio
Tell us something really interesting about you.Not sure if this is interesting, but I was a cheerleader in college at Southwest Texas State University. I cheered at two national championship football games and worked in the summers teaching cheer camps across the country – junior high, high school, and college.
Everyone at SMPS has a story about why they joined the organization. What’s yours?SMPS provides a great knowledge base from which to learn. Being new to Business Development and Marketing, I needed lots of help. I was a friend of SMPS prior to joining the AEC industry and the fit was natural.
What drew you to the A/E/C industry?In my previous career at Judson ISD, I oversaw the Facilities Planning Department. As you can imagine, I was on the receiving end of AEC Business Development. I met some great people and felt a strong connection to the industry when I retired in January 2015.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in San Antonio?Has to be Mike’s in the Village in Bulverde. The food is prepared by a New Orleans trained chef and the prices are reasonable. The chili relleno is fantastic!
What do you like to do in your free time?Play golf (or should I say, TRY to play golf), Bootcamp/Crossfit, enjoy trips to Fredericksburg wineries, DIY home projects.
Do you have any pets?Yup – two dogs. Ranger is a beagle and Junior is a French Brittany Spaniel.
What would be impossible for you to give up?I don’t really have any physical possessions or obsessions that I couldn’t part with. But it would be extremely hard for me to give up my family. I’ve read tons of books and novels – all different genres. Some of the mystery and espionage types have characters who must leave their families in order to protect them. I’ve often wondered if faced with a life or death situation, could I just disappear. I know my heart would want to pull me home.
Describe your ideal vacation.I love the beach, the snow, Vegas, and cruises. I even like to visit historical sites. If I could combine these into one, that would be awesome . . . . take a cruise to Europe, hitting French and Spanish beaches, moving onto a Swiss snow skiing resort, gambling in Monte Carlo, and ending with a train tour of European castles!
Client: Comal ISD
Construction Cost: $42 million (estimated)
Completion Date: July 2018 (estimated)
What value does the project bring to the community?
Throughout the planning process, Pfluger included the community in a series of charettes that helped develop several guiding principals for the design.
FLEXIBILITY: Spaces will be designed so they can easily be transformed to facilitate different styles/approaches of teaching. Spaces will also be designed to give consideration to future modifications (perhaps if some spaces need to become classrooms in the future).
ONE ROOF / NO WASTED SPACE: The ability for students to move from one part of the campus to another without travelling outdoors is important. Efficiency of design is also important.
COLLABORATION: Providing areas where students and faculty can collaborate with each other is important. The days of strict, rigid teaching environments are long gone. Nowadays students are working more and more in small groups, incorporating project-based learning, and these types of learning approaches need collaboration spaces.
Above Image: First Floor Plan
TRANSPARENCY: The ability to see all aspects of a school, and see how different classes are approaching education is important.
OBSERVABILITY: Also important is the ability to monitor and observe all students, to ensure safe learning environments.
FINGER-TIP RESOURCES: Technology has made giant leaps with current education – for a student to take advantage of these new technologies, they have to be readily available and accessible
EMPHASIS ON THE EXTRACURRICULAR: In addition to core curriculum subjects, a well-rounded student participates in extracurricular activities as well. These activities need adequate spaces to support their needs.
Above Image: Second Floor Plan
Comal ISD took significant steps to reconceptualizing their middle school model...a Visioning Committee was established, with members from District administration, local campuses, parents, district departments, community members, and students. The Visioning committee met over the course of two months, and set the foundation for these new schools. A forward thinking approach is what sets this project apart.
The building has been designed around a courtyard concept – in keeping with the direction that the visioning committee established for this project. The circular concept has also allowed the building to “step down” with the topography, thus minimizing the amount of cut/fill that will have to be brought to the site. A circular concept also allows for all aspects of the school to be within easy distance from each other.
The courtyard is intended to be a multi-use area: circulation space for passing from one side of the school to another; a teaching space that can be used by classes during the day for outdoor lessons; a large amphitheater-type gathering area that will promote school-wide assemblies or community events; a natural environment or “oasis” that encourages students to embrace and treasure their natural surroundings.
All classrooms are situated off of the main circulation corridor, which is oversized to accommodate various collaboration areas within the circulation spine. All classrooms also have exterior walls with windows, so that each learning environment can benefit from natural light and views to the outside. The collaboration areas also have large expanses of glass.
Classrooms are grouped so that there is the ultimate flexibility in school organization – the administration can choose to have a grade-based alignment (6th grade all together, 7th grade all together, 8th grade all together), or a subject-based alignment (language arts all together, math all together, etc.). There is even the possibility to do a hybrid of the two – 6th grade all together and then 7th and 8th grade are aligned by subject.
What were some of the challenges faced on the project? Middle School # 7 (Kinder Ranch) will be located on an approximately 136-acre site that will eventually also house a high school and stadium facility. As such, careful consideration was given to the siting of the middle school, so as to operate in conjunction with the future high school and stadium. By considering all of these elements at the beginning, we set ourselves up to make the best possible decisions regarding location. The presence of many large, heritage trees provides us unique opportunities to incorporate these valuable elements into the design. We have situated our building to minimize the disruption of as many large trees as possible.
thinkSMART Planning, Inc. Educational Facility Planning Consultant
AGCM Cost Estimating Consultant
Pape Dawson Civil Engineering
Alpha Consulting Engineers Structural Engineer
Cleary Zimmermann MEP Engineering
BAI, LLC Acoustical Design Consultant
Cooper-Lochte Landscape Architecture, LLC Landscape Architecture
Foodservice Design Professionals Food Service Consultant
Combs Consulting Group Technology Consultant
WJE Associates, Inc Roofing
Name: Laurie Montgomery
Company: Clean Scapes Landscaping
Role: Business Development
What services does your company provide?Commercial Landscaping – Construction, maintenance and irrigation
Years of Experience: 10 years
Where are you originally from?
Burlington, WI. My family moved to San Antonio when I was 4 years old to get out of the cold and into the heat. I spent 4 ½ years in Birmingham, AL while in college and a few years in Austin. Home is San Antonio!
Tell us something really interesting about you.I played volleyball in college, but love golf now.
Everyone at SMPS has a story about why they joined the organization. What’s yours?The people are great, the programs are very informative and the events are FUN. I heard about SMPS from a few connected people and attended my first mixer about 3 years ago. I enjoyed the mixer and met so many people that I started attending more events and lunches. Christy Rhone helped me decide that it was time to become a member. I have now been a member for 1 year and have developed many new business and personal relationships due to this organization.
What drew you to the A/E/C industry?I enjoy the industry because it is so diverse. The people I meet and connect with in this industry are so knowledgeable about AEC and this city. I learn something new or up and coming at every meeting I attend.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in San Antonio?Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery – Beers and atmosphere is awesome!
What do you like to do in your free time?Golf – I have started a womens golf networking event and a womens golf league. My favorite courses are La Cantera Resort, Brackenridge and Oak Hills Country Club.
Do you have any pets?Sadie is our Boston Terrier. She has been a part of our family for 5 years now. She is full of life and love.
What would be impossible for you to give up?My mother, father, sister, brother and their spouses and my son, Mason, have supported me through some ups and downs in life. Even when I don’t always agree with them, I know they always have my best interest foremost in their minds.
Describe your ideal vacation.Beach, golf course and some mountains with the people I love.
Client: Dignity Health
Construction Cost: $156 million
Completion Date: Scheduled for 9/2016
What value does the project bring to the community?
The new five-story tower will offer an additional 141 private rooms, bringing the total at the Siena Campus to 360. The 220,000 square-foot project includes 28 additional emergency bays and 19 observation beds for a total of 73 patient treatment locations within the emergency department. The expansion also includes six new operating suites, separate entrances for cardiology and cardiovascular services, and an expanded space for admitting, nutrition services, radiology, lab, pharmacy, endoscopy suites and other highly utilized outpatient support services.
We provided structural design, construction documents and construction administration for the project which is the latest milestone in a three-year renovation and expansion project of the Siena Campus.
The addition will increase the hospital’s capacity to 360 private rooms. “This project is so important for the community the Siena Campus serves. With this new tower, St. Rose will have the ability to bring that quality, state-of-the-art care to more individuals who need it most.” – Rob Davis, Senior vice president of operations for Dignity Health Nevada.
What was special about this project? All utilities are being modeled in BIM, from medical gas to HVAC ducts to plumbing conduits. The goal is a LEAN build to eliminate clashes, to minimize waste, to minimize seismic bracing and to expedite construction. BIM modeling is required of all disciplines on this project.
What were some of the challenges faced on the project? The 3rd floor Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was expanded, requiring the adjacent roof to be replaced by a new floor. Expanding the floor area while keeping the hospital enclosed, occupied and dry and keeping the adjacent NICU open for business presented a particular challenge.
Orcutt| Winslow Architect
Carl Nelson, Healthcare Studio Director
Kitchell Contractors Contractor
Clark Sauer-Project Executive
Name: Kelly Tant
Company: Thomas Printworks
Role: Strategic Account Executive
What services does your company provide?Print, Repographics & Sinage provider
Years of Experience: 15 years
Where are you originally from?Growing up in a Navy family we moved frequently. Born in Japan, moved to Corpus Christi, TX, over to Spain, to southern Florida and finally to Texas as a teenager and graduated college in Hawaii.
Tell us something really interesting about you.Worked as a former Golf Professional in Europe (Germany & England). Also PGA Professional in Maryland when we returned from overseas. Decided to leave that industry when my kids (now 24 – Ryan and 22 – Rachel) were starting to grow up. As a golf professional working weekends was a definite. My guys (Ryan & Rachel) were active in sports and I wanted to be a part of it, coaching & cheering…
Everyone at SMPS has a story about why they joined the organization. What’s yours?Due to the facts I’d never worked this industry I was intrigued about working this industry. The industry is exactly what I thought. Going onto worksites wears on shoes. Had to buy working/steel toe boots (as a city slicker, something totally new). The industry & relationships I’ve built is exactly what I thought it would be… Totally love it!
What drew you to the A/E/C industry?A totally new industry that I had never worked within (see above)…
Where’s your favorite place to eat in San Antonio?I live in New Braunfels, so reaching outside the box… And following on the coat-tails of Felicia’s responses about HAMBURGERS from last month, my favorite restaurant would be Freiheit’s Country Store on FM 1101. They use the FAMOUS sweet Hawaiian rolls. Graduating from school in Hawaii, I’m a bit partial to those rolls!
What do you like to do in your free time?Play golf… :)
Do you have any pets?Two Labrador Retrievers (a mother and her pup) -- Named Momma & Baby… Okay, not so creative… But it works!
What would be impossible for you to give up?Having FUN! I love it here in Texas. There is always something to do. I’ve become real good friends with quite a few of the Vineyard owners out in the Fredericksburg / Johnson City area. And totally enjoy going out there.
Describe your ideal vacation.Another Club Med vacation like I took in the past to Swiss Alps (St. Moritz, Switzerland)… However, would like this one somewhere in the Caribbean. Probably a week-long trip to Costa Rica!
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