Conference Speakers

Ryan Abbott
Senior Vice President, Southwest District Manager
Sundt Construction

In addition to providing direction and oversight at Sundt, Ryan Abbott is responsible for the overall performance of building projects within the company's Southwest District. He is a modern construction leader, national lecturer, and educator on alternative project delivery methods, and has had his work published both locally and nationally in many industry leading periodicals. Abbott has redefined the contractor's role in solving grand challenges, believing that the problems being faced today require a new multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach. He embraces integrated project delivery (IPD) and Lean concepts, and believes knowledge and communication are the best risk mitigation tools. He was named one of the 2012 Building Design+Construction 40 Under 40 honorees and the 2011 Engineering News-Record Top 20 under 40 for his extensive professional accomplishments and active role in the industry and community. He lives in Tempe, Ariz., with his wife, Martha, and their three boys, Tristyn, Ashtyn, and Aidyn.

Rachel Birnboim Kochman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Associate, Senior Project Manager
Perkins Eastman

Rachel Birnboim Kochman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a Senior Associate and Senior Project Manager at Perkins Eastman, with a primary focus on healthcare architecture and a background in multifamily housing, collegiate student life, senior living and K-12. Rachel has 19+ years of experience in all aspects of the profession including zoning and code analysis, concept planning and programming, project management, documentation, consultant coordination, and construction administration. Growing existing client relationships through exemplary performance, achieving excellence in design execution and project delivery, and developing new client relationships are her foremost priorities. Rachel is passionate about design and the collaborative process, advocates for professional growth and development of both herself and her colleagues, and is a proud member of the Advisory Board of the WiD+C Conference.

Monica Blackwood
Principal, Director of Administration
Rice Fergus Miller

Monica Blackwood is a Principal and the Director of Administration for Rice Fergus Miller, providing leadership and oversight for the company's marketing, technology, human resource and administrative functions. She holds an MBA in Strategic Leadership from Amberton University, a Bachelors of Arts degree in Communications from University of Washington, and a graduate of Seattle's Leadership Tomorrow program. Volunteerism is something Monica passionately believes strengthens a community, and lives out that belief by holding board leadership positions in a variety of organizations including KEDA, Olympic College Foundation, and formerly with Holly Ridge Center. Monica's holistic experience throughout various industries and community agencies creates a well-rounded advocate.

Solveig Brown, PhD
Anthropologist, Qualitative Researcher, Author
Solveig Brown Consulting

Solveig Brown, PhD, is a cultural anthropologist who is the author of All On One Plate: Cultural Expectations on American Mothers, which was a finalist for the 2016 Indies Book of the Year award. Solveig facilitates classes and workshops on work-life balance; leadership development; parenting; and the Enneagram. She also conducts ethnographic research to help companies understand the needs and experiences of their employees and customers. Solveig lives in Minneapolis, Minn., with her family.

Rita S. Carter, AIA
Principal, Higher Education Studio, Little

In everything she does, Rita believes in leaving the world a better place through the power of human-centered and resilient design strategies, with a focus on student life and the holistic learner. As an architect and humanitarian, she combines her love for design with her passion for global connections, community service, and team building. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly Pomona, and a Master of Architecture in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.

Danielle Feroleto, CPSM
Owner, President
Small Giants

With more than 20 years of marketing experience in the commercial real estate industry, Danielle is recognized for her strategic approach, strong networking practices, championing creative marketing strategies and effective training skills. In addition to a successful marketing and business development career, Danielle is highly involved in associations and organizations shape policy and practices in the real estate industry. For more than 10 years, Danielle has worked with industry associations to provide training for many of the industry's leaders, through such organizations as Arizona Builders' Alliance (ABA), American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and the Alliance for Construction Excellence (ACE). As an Associate Faculty member at Arizona State University, Del E. Webb School of Construction for the last 11 years, Danielle teaches undergraduate and graduate students entering the marketplace a variety of skills to be successful in their chosen field. She achieved the national certification of Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM). She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Mass Communications from ASU.

Amy Gilbertson, AIA
Trivers Associates

In the summer of 2015, Amy, along with two partners, successfully led Trivers Associates through the firm's first ownership transition since its founding in 1975. Amy has 16 years' experience with a heavy focus on historic, civic and hospitality projects. She has played a key role in some of the firm's most visible projects. Amy holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan, is a graduate of the CORO Women in Leadership program, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Healthcare Hospitality Network. In addition, she is a lecturer for the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University teaching classes that focus on practice and leadership within the architectural profession. 

Jennifer Giralo
Marketing Professional, Improv Instructor
DPR Construction

Jennifer is a marketing professional in the construction industry, but in her free time, she is an improviser. She has been studying improv for over eight years. Improv has leveled-up all of her interpersonal and leadership skills, and she wants to share it with you. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Arizona State University.

Sylvie di Giusto
Corporate Trainer, Image Consultant
Executive Image Consulting

"People packaging is what I do," says Sylvie di Giusto who helps individuals and organizations to explore how people make up their minds very quickly about them, their leadership potential, or their company, and either open the door or slam it shut. Twenty years of corporate experience and her ability to empower people to influence the success of own career has led to her launching Executive Image Consulting, based in New York City. It's where she uses her extensive corporate expertise as a keynote speaker, corporate trainer and image consultant for professionals, politicians, and companies who place great importance on themselves. Sylvie speaks to audiences around the world about the importance of first impressions, and beyond. She is the Author of "The Image of Leadership," the Co-Owner of the "Studio for Image Professionals," and the Creator of "How You Impress."

Tasha Haselden
Construction Management Associate
Haselden Construction

Tasha Haselden is a Construction Management Associate with Haselden Construction, based in Denver. She has experience in all aspects of business, including client relations, estimating, project management, strategy, and business development. Tasha is passionate about business efficiency, sustainability, and managing complex problems.

Will Hightower
Theatre Think Tank

With over a decade of experience, Will is a performer and improviser for audiences around the country ranging from national charities to corporate leadership organizations. As a professional performer and graduate of Arizona State University's acting program, Will is featured in national commercials, television shows, and McGraw-Hill's A Speaker's Resource: Listener-Centered Public Speaking. He is currently pursuing his Master of Education in Educational Leadership. In the community, Will is found serving as a board member for a local professional non-profit theatre and developing resources for artist organizations as the founder of Theatre Think Tank.

Ann-Marie Jennette, LEED AP
Project Manager

Ann-Marie Jennette is a Project Manager at Suffolk with 10 years of industry experience, leading high-profile projects in Boston and San Francisco. In her current role, Ann Marie is responsible for the administration of all contractual requirements for the project and maintenance of budget and schedule. Her passion for construction is evident in her approach to the construction process. As a strong team player, Ann Marie works effectively with project superintendents, facility personnel and all other team members to coordinate the day-to-day management of construction operations. She earned her mastery and certification in the empowerment of women from the PAX program, with two underway in the empowerment of men as well as Heart of Partnership. Ann-Marie graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2006 with a bachelor's of science degree in architectural engineering and a master's of science in construction management in 2012.

Kimberlee McKitish, PE, LEED GA
Manager, Structural Department
NuTec Design Associates

Kim McKitish, PE, is the Structural Department Manager with York, Pennsylvania-based NuTec Design Associates, Inc. A licensed professional engineer, her area of expertise is in the design, repair, and reuse of manufacturing and industrial buildings. Kim is a regular speaker to industry organizations and recently presented at the national conferences of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and National Council of Structural Engineering Associations (NCSEA). A published author and blogger, her work was most recently featured in Structure magazine and Professional Services Management Journal. She is also recipient of the Young Engineer of the Year award from the Central Pennsylvania Engineers Week Council.


Rachell Morris
Principal, HR Coordinator/Supervisor
ZGF Architects

Rachell Morris is a Principal at ZGF where she manages operations and human resources in multiple offices on the East and West Coasts. Over the last 15 years, her responsibilities have involved leading the growth of the Los Angeles office, supervising the administrative staff, and serving as liaison for firmwide Principals and Partners. Morris is committed to enhancing the workplace and enriching the culture of the firm. It is with this conviction that she established ZGF's Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Group (DIAG) in 2013. The Group's mission is to celebrate diversity and advocate for inclusive work environments where all employees feel valued and have the opportunity to achieve their fullest potential. Morris has led the implementation of numerous people-focused initiatives, many of which have promoted a positive cultural change within the firm. She is also involved in many professional organizations, including the Society for Human Resource Management, the National Organization of Minority Architects, and she is a Vice Chair for the Annual Discovery Ball at the California Science Center. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Hispanic Studies.

Nancy Novak
Visionary Champion
Above Glass Ceilings
Past National VP of Operations
Balfour Beatty Construction

Nancy Novak is a 27-year construction industry veteran. She started her career in construction and progressed to a national Vice President position at Balfour Beatty Construction, one of the largest commercial construction companies in the U.S. There, she provided national leadership to operations teams across the country and worked with leadership to strengthen the company's ability to scale innovation and knowledge, and create national consistency and strong operating culture. Novak was the only female national VP of Operations in the company and one of only a few women represented in the company's leadership. She is a strong advocate and mentor to women within the company, as well as in the industry. Her passion for advancing women in business occurs through organizations like Women In Government Relations, Women Construction Owners and Executives, the World Trade Center Institute, and the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C. Currently, Novak is an active board member at the Sewall-Belmont House & Museum, which is committed to sharing the untold stories of women's history. In addition, she is a Visionary Champion for Above Glass Ceilings, a boutique consulting firm focused on advancement of professional women. She also serves on the 34-member Advisory Board for BD+C's annual Women in Design+Construction Conference.

Brenda Radmacher
Gordon & Rees Scully Mansukhani

Brenda Radmacher specializes in construction, real estate, and employment litigation, regularly counseling general contractors, construction managers, design professionals, contractors, and owners on contract negotiations, risk management and disputes. Her practice emphasizes resolving complex construction disputes through negotiation, mediation, and, when necessary, arbitration and litigation, on projects in California, nationwide, and internationally. She frequently addresses claims involving breach of contract, construction and design defects, liens, delays and impacts, construction defects, bonds and insurance issues, and represents many of the nation's largest contractors and developers in the commercial, multifamily, and residential markets. She has substantial experience in building envelope, water infiltration, and mold-related claims, having counseled clients with respect to hundreds of such matters. Radmacher has defended all types of cases, including mass actions and class action claims, defending residential homebuilders, commercial contractors, and design professionals.

Patricia Reiter, MBA
Executive Director, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, Global Institute of Sustainability
Arizona State University

Patricia Reiter directs the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives at Arizona State University, a multifaceted program made possible by a $27.5 million investment by the Rob and Melani Walton Fund of the Walton Family Foundation. Seven initiatives comprise this ambitious social venture designed to solve global sustainability challenges, educate future leaders and engage partners and the public in innovative sustainability projects. In five years under Reiter's leadership, the Walton Initiatives solved sustainability challenges through 90 projects based in nine countries on five continents; educated 100 sustainability professionals through executive degree programs and 400 students in global studies courses; and hosted 68 public events that engaged over 37,000 attendees. In addition, two innovative new initiatives were launched in 2015 to train teachers and science museum professionals in sustainability education so that they, their audiences and their students will become agents of change. Since that time, over 600 museum professionals at 92 museums in 22 countries have been engaged in sustainability programs. In just two years, over 100,000 students have been exposed to sustainability science through projects implemented by ASU trained teachers. Reiter holds bachelor's degrees in fine arts and architecture from the University of Tennessee and an MBA from Simmons Graduate School of Business in Boston.

Barbi Reuter, RPA
Principal, President
Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR

Barbi Reuter's affiliation with Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR began with the firm's opening in 1985, becoming a principal in 1992. Following three years as Chief Operating Officer, she was named President in 2017, leading the employee-owned commercial real estate firm's activity in southern Arizona. Active in community and industry efforts, she writes and presents on commercial real estate social media and technology and edits PICOR Connect, the firm's commercial real estate blog. She serves on the boards of the Tucson Metro Chamber, YMCA of Southern Arizona, Tucson Girls Chorus, and is an Advisory Board member for Real Estate Tech News and TREND Report. Previously, Barbi founded the firm's Property Management Division, taking it to the lead in market share. Barbi has also served as court-appointed Receiver in both County and Federal courts. She is also a pas board member for CREW Network and a charter member and past president and director of CREW Tucson.

Rosa T. Sheng, AIA
Founding Chairperson, Equity by Design, an AIA SF Committee

Rosa recently joined SmithGroupJJR as a Principal in the San Francisco Office where she will be leading the firm's national Equity initiatives and business development for higher education and workplace. She is the AIASF President-Elect for 2018 and Founder of Equity by Design, an AIA SF committee. As a licensed architect with 23 years experience in Architecture and design, Rosa has led a variety of award-winning and internationally acclaimed projects, from the aesthetically minimal, highly technical development of the glass structures for Apple's original high-profile retail stores, to the innovative and sustainable LEED NC Gold–certified Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College in Oakland, California. Most notably for Equity by Design, Rosa led the 2014 and 2016 AIA Equity in Architecture Surveys that have catalyzed a national conversation for achieving equitable practice in Architecture. Since the group launched its key findings, Rosa has presented in Boston, New York, Lisbon, Atlanta, Seattle and Philadelphia with other cities planned for 2018. The Equity in Architecture movement has inspired many and created new connections around the world. The group has received national press including Architect Magazine, Architectural Record, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, TEDxPhiladelphia and KQED/NPR. She is also a member of the 2017 AIA National Equity ant the Future of Architecture Committee, as well as a member of SCUP and USGBC.


Ann Truair
Above Glass Ceilings

Ann Truair has 17 years of professional experience in marketing, change leadership, knowledge management, strategy, and communications. Her experience brings tremendous value to the space of advancing women in the workplace. Truair is an avid teacher and a mentor, working with employees and industry groups to educate and empower professionals to move forward and create lasting cultural shifts in organizations. Her own career journey provides Truair with a unique understanding of the needs of women in the workplace, as well as strategies for overcoming the obstacles still present today. Truair began her career as an entry-level word processor for one of the world's largest engineering firms. She rose through the ranks and proved herself a marketing leader capable of managing multi-billion dollar deals and a change strategist leading large organizations through complex changes. After 16 years in the AEC industry, Truair co-founded Above Glass Ceilings, a boutique consulting and coaching firm dedicated to advancing women into meaningful leadership roles. The firm works with organizations that want to develop opportunities for qualified and engaged emerging women leaders. In 2015, she was selected as a Building Design+Construction 40 Under 40 honoree for her commitment to her career and for her service to professional organizations, local communities, and charitable work. She also serves on the 34-member Advisory Board for BD+C's annual Women in Design+Construction Conference.


Natalie Y. Tse is a California Licensed Structural Engineer with a broad range of experience in educational, commercial/retail, residential, science and technology sectors. She is a Project Manager at Tipping Structural Engineers in Berkeley, California. Natalie is deeply passionate about well-integrated and cost-effective designs. She is also committed to open communication, learning, mentorship, and giving back to the community. Natalie received her BSE in Engineering and Mathematics from Queen's University in Canada in 2002. In 2015, she co-founded the SE3 Project, which was established to study issues related to employee engagement and gender equity in the structural engineering profession.

Rebecca Udell
Executive Director of Marketing
Strategy KSS Architects

Rebecca Udell specializes in strategic positioning, connecting, and facilitating change within commercial design firms. A graduate of the Temple University Fox School of Business and Management and Drexel University, Rebecca excels at creating unique interior environments that help define an organization's brand identity and support its corporate culture and business goals.

Carole Wedge, FAIA, LEED AP
Shepley Bulfinch

When I was in college, my neighbor in the dorm was an architecture major and I was premed—slogging through the core math and science classes. I remembered my art and photography classes in high school and that I had always loved drawing, design, and invention. Architecture brought all of my interests together. My love of biology connected me to environmental design and the ecology and smart energy approaches we were so excited about in the 1970's. It is exciting to see them transformed into reality in our sustainable practice today. Architecture and design serve as great outlets for my creative energy. They are always changing and challenging. Design is infectious; I can't resist the opportunity to improve or enhance on a situation, when I see the chance to make something work better or be more attractive to the human condition. Having spent so much time in them, I feel very connected to libraries; libraries reinvigorate the heart of the campus—they validate and encourage the very real activities of learning and research. As an architect, I think differently about the role of the building in creating community and think broadly about how the library could integrate computing, collaboration, media, teaching, learning—and in the many ways a library affects all aspects of life as a student. Our clients know what kind of future they want to inhabit—they have a blue sky idea of the future—our skills are in translating that into architecture and places and spaces that provide for their blue sky and more.


Tony Mancini is the SGC Horizon Building Group Director-Principal and has launched numerous events and platforms for the residential and commercial construction industry. Prior to founding SGC Horizon, Mancini spent 12 years at Reed Business Information in leadership roles within the residential and commercial markets, including group director for Reed Construction Media, and publisher of Professional Builder and Professional Remodeler. He began his career at CertainTeed Corporation and also served as associate publisher for Sweet's International at McGraw-Hill.

David Barista
Editorial Director
Building Design+Construction

David Barista has covered the U.S. construction industry for more than 16 years, including multiple editorial roles at Building Design+Construction magazine, where he currently serves as Editorial Director. Previously, David was Editor-in-Chief of Professional Builder, Custom Builder, and, properties that combined reach more than 200,000 residential design and construction professionals. He is a six-time Jesse H. Neal Award winner, and a five-time finalist. He’s also won numerous editorial awards from the Construction Writers Association and the American Society of Business Publication Editors.