AEC Executive Roundtable
Topics Discussed in Dallas '22
Cybersecurity and IT
Flexible Work Policies
Compensation and incentive structures
Arbitration versus litigation
Best practices in contract language
Overlap of design and construction
Corporate giving programs
Best practices for boards
Organic and M&A Growth Strategies
Optimizing your insurance programs
2022 AEC Executive roundtable speakers
Mark Alvarez joined Stephens Insurance in July of 2021 as Vice President and Executive Risk Specialist in the Dallas office. In this role, he serves as a cyber liability specialist and its function in a client’s overall risk management strategy. Alvarez began his career with Gallagher in 2007, and has served in various capacities including as a wholesale insurance broker and as an underwriter of Cyber and Technology E&O. Prior to joining Stephens Insurance, he was a Cyber and Technology E&O underwriter with At-Bay.
Co-Chair of the Construction Practice Group and a Partner in the national law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP, Sarah B. Biser is ranked by Chambers USA among New York’s leading construction attorneys. She represents owners, contractors, developers, architects and engineers in all stages of construction, focusing her practice on large capital-intensive construction projects, with an emphasis on drafting and negotiating complex contracts and litigating disputes in court and domestic and international arbitration. Her broad construction experience includes representing one of the joint venture partners on the Panama Canal expansion, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in its joint venture with Cornell University on the construction of a new applied science university in New York City and the New York Power Authority in a broad range of litigation involving construction and energy upgrade programs. Sarah is a fellow in the American College of Construction Lawyers, the American College of Real Estate Lawyers and the Construction Lawyers Society of America, and is co-author of the leading treatise on New York construction law, the New York Construction Law Manual.
Salvatore Calabrese was appointed General Counsel at Hillmann Consulting, LLC in 2016. In this role, he acts as chief lawyer of Hillman’s legal department. Before joining Hillman, Calabrese was in private practice for more than 30 years – first focusing on the defense of personal injury, property damage claims, and insurance issues, and later defending more than 1,000 cases of alleged respiratory injury and cancer claims in the World Trade Center litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Patrick is the Managing Partner of the firm’s Denver office. He also serves as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and Co-Chair of the Construction Practice Group.
A seasoned trial attorney, Patrick represents owners, builder/vendors, developers, declarants, general contractors and design professionals in all aspects of construction projects.
Prior to joining Fox Rothschild, Patrick was a shareholder and head of the Construction Practice Group at Lottner Rubin Fishman Saul, which merged with Fox in 2013.
Taylor utilizes creative strategy and draws upon past experience to achieve each client’s internal and external ownership transition objectives and to mitigate risk through contract negotiation.
Taylor is an experienced business and corporate attorney that advises design firms in a wide range of mergers and acquisitions and internal ownership transitions. Taylor listens to the client’s goals and guides each transaction from term sheet to closing to ensure both business and personal goals are met. She has hands-on experience in structuring, negotiating, and documenting transactions and advising clients through the integration process.
Taylor also advises design professionals throughout complex contract drafting and negotiation of both traditional and alternative project delivery agreements. She understands the unique risks and coverage concerns design firms face in design-build and other alternative project delivery arrangements and uses contract negotiation strategies to limit potential exposure. Taylor realizes that design professionals would rather avoid costly litigation and that the best way to do so is through risk allocation and forward-thinking contract drafting. Taylor also guides clients through employment disputes, and, more generally, through the regulatory strategies associated with a multi-state practice.
Edward’s education and experience includes geo-hydrology,
hydrology, hydraulics, civil engineering, structural engineering and
building systems including: thermal, ventilation of confined spaces,
waterproofing, roofing and cladding for residential, commercial,
education, and industrial settings. In addition to engineering, his
background includes cost consulting, contract resolution, and project
scheduling consulting and construction project issues.
He has served for over 14 years as an Adjunct Professor at the
University of Denver, Burns School of Real Estate and Construction
Management teaching construction systems, LEED, mechanical-
electrical-plumbing, construction estimating, and project scheduling.
He has been qualified as an expert in these fields in over 80 trials in
District and Federal Courts, provided over 600 depositions and
hundreds of arbitrations. He has been engaged in thousands of cases
including being used as an umpire and expert in mediations.
Dathan Gaskill brings a 30-year career in corporate finance to Zweig Group. He most recently was the CFO of Garver, LLC, a 100-year-old award winning multi-disciplined engineering, planning, architectural, and environmental services firm with over 900 employees across the US. Prior to Garver, Gaskill was Treasurer and Head of Corporate Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions at Acxiom, one of the world’s largest data and outsourcing companies. He also spent a decade in equity research at Stephens Inc, the largest investment bank off Wall Street.
As the Managing Director of Zweig Group Risk Solutions, Dathan brings experience in capital markets, both buy and sell M&A transactions, international M&A (Europe and Mexico), complex financing, risk management, governance, and investor relations. He is a team player and team builder who enjoys working with a variety of colleagues and peers. His hobbies include cycling, community service and spending time with his wife of 35 years.
Ted Grace joined Stephens Insurance in 2012 as Senior Vice President, providing Risk Management and Insurance brokerage to large companies. Prior to joining Stephens, he spent 15 years developing his company, the Grace Group, which was recognized as one of the top agencies in the nation by National Underwriter magazine in 2002. Grace began his insurance career in 1980 with The Home Insurance Company.
Experienced in developing Risk Management programs for the manufacturing, transportation, retail, construction and professional service industries. Grace’s expertise includes developing complex property and casualty programs combining self-insurance and insured risk transfer programs.
Grace holds a BA in Marketing from the University of Arkansas Little Rock and Masters of Insurance from Georgia State University.
Cheryl Hearne is the Director of Information Security at Conway Regional Health System, providing
vCISO services as part of Arkansas’s largest managed service provider, Edafio Technology Partners.
Cheryl entered the cybersecurity arena through her background in technical writing and training
development with the Army National Guard. Her passion for information security drove her to lead
cybersecurity efforts for enterprise to SMB-sized organizations in varying industries such as retail,
healthcare, public administration, finance, and more. When she is not ruminating over the next
defensive strategy or soapboxing on consumer privacy, she spends as much time away from screens as
she can by hiking, playing music, and traveling to new places.
Mark Hodges is Edafio Technology Partners' Chief Growth Officer, where he leads Edafio's
growth and business development efforts including sales, marketing and client
development. He has held roles leading sales teams, sales strategy and market development at
Comcast, Acxiom, Teradata, Infogroup and most recently with Fluent. In those roles, he worked
with some of the world’s largest companies such as Disney, Viacom, Procter & Gamble and
others to execute marketing strategies through effective use of data, technology and digital
Mark is also an adjunct professor of sales and marketing at Harding University where he has
taught for 19 years. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a BA in Communications.
Kevin Honomichl, P.E., P.S., is president of BHC RHODES, a civil engineering and surveying firm in Overland Park, Kansas, which he co-founded in 1992.
Honomichl began his career as a structural engineer at Black & Veatch performing structural steel design for power plant projects and led design projects for portions of AT&T’s initial transcontinental fiber-optic cable projects. He joined Ross Stephenson & Associates, Modesto, California, and continued his focus on fiberoptic telecommunication projects throughout the western United States. He and colleagues launched Brungardt Honomichl & Company P.A. in June 1992, later rebranded to BHC RHODES.
He has served on the board of directors of the American Council of Engineering Companies-Kansas, including a term as national director and as the group’s national political action committee chair for Kansas. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Wyandotte County Economic Development Corporation and the De Soto EDC.
Mark Jordan is the President and founder of Optistar Technology Consultants, a New York corporation formed in 1999. Mr. Jordan built the IT Consulting practice of Optistar by first servicing a large established financial institution in New York and a handful of Wall Street law firms. Now Optistar’s customer base spans four continents and includes industries that include legal, insurance, architecture, engineering, design, and construction.
During that time, Mr. Jordan has designed, engineered, and implemented a multitude of digital solutions to meet various business needs for over 100 small and medium enterprises since 1996.
Bill McConnell is a co-founder and the CEO of The Vertex Companies, LLC, an international AEC firm. Bill is a seasoned expert witness for domestic and international megaproject disputes. He has testified nearly 200 times, most notably for quantum/damages, scheduling, allocation, productivity, termination, and standard of care opinions. He is a frequent presenter at many construction, engineering, and law conferences each year.
Co-Chair of the Privacy & Data Security Practice, Mark focuses on helping clients to comply with privacy-related laws, rules and regulations and respond effectively in the event of a data breach.
Because the universe of privacy laws, rules and regulations is broad and continually expanding, Mark firmly believes that advising on privacy-related issues must be a core focus rather than a sideline, and diligently stays current on the latest developments in this ever-changing field.
He is CIPP/US and CIPT certified by the International Association of Privacy Professionals and is the founder of the firm’s 45+ attorney Privacy & Data Security group.
As Corporate Communications Leader, Laura Nick leads the in-house communications team for Garver, charged with all facets of branding, strategic marketing, and internal communications throughout the firm’s 14-state footprint. Since joining the firm in 2011, she created the firm’s competitive recruitment program; developed GarverGives, the company’s employee-driven charitable giving program that prioritizes STEM partnerships; and spearheaded Garver’s multi-state centennial year celebration. Laura was named to the Arkansas Business 40 Under 40 Class of 2019. She is a graduate of Leadership Arkansas (Class XI) and serves on the steering committee of Women Empowered for the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas.
Paul is a Partner within Ernst & Young LLP (US). He has held various positions within the firm and currently serves as the Chief of Operations and the leader of the Global Compliance and Reporting (GCR) service line for the EY Americas Financial Services Organization (FSO) Tax practice. He also continues to serve as a Co-leader of EY’s Global Captive Insurance Network.
He leads broad and diverse teams spanning a vast geographic footprint. Paul has a proven track record of creating profitable departments and positive work environments while achieving exceptional growth. Throughout his 25-year career, Paul has focused on the taxation of financial institutions and he continues to directly serve various financial firms and alternative risk financing and captive insurance arrangements.
Paul earned his MBA from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, his MS in Taxation from DePaul University in Chicago and his BS in Accounting from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Carl leads LJA’s Corporate Services team, which provides accounting, human resources, facilities, marketing, and legal support to LJA’s growing business and operations. As LJA’s General Counsel, Carl also directs the company’s legal affairs and advises leadership. Carl brings over 20 years of international experience in commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, capital raising and refinance, corporate governance, and other corporate matters. Carl’s unique background includes roles in both law and finance, where he has structured and directed multiple private equity placements in the engineering, real estate, energy, telecom, and utilities sectors.
Growing up in the industry, Chad developed a ground-level understanding of contextual design and leadership from the time he was six years old when he fed plan sheets into ISG’s (then I&S Engineers) early blueprint machine. Chad continued to work for the family business throughout high school and college, earning practical experience on various survey, civil, construction inspection, and structural engineering projects along the way. After earning his Civil Engineering degree from Iowa State University, a university he proudly supports today through the Surprenant Ingenuity Lab, Chad returned to his hometown of Mankato, Minnesota, to join his parents’ 10-person engineering practice.
Since joining ISG in 1993, Chad quickly earned the position of CEO | President in 2001 and set about leading a family firm established in 1973 to the 315+ professionals, 100% ESOP, multi-office, multi-discipline, multi-state, national business ISG is today. He was intimately focused on furthering the firm’s dynamic nature when working toward the adjusted structure in 2020, which included appointing Lynn Bruns as CEO, David Doxtad as President, Derek Johnson as Executive Vice President, and his focused and current role of Chief Strategy Officer. ISG’s competitive advantage, related to hunger, talent acquisition, and willingness to change, is constantly reinforced at every level and was a guiding factor in discussions that led to the growth-based decision. Paired with his strengths as a visionary, ISG continues to drive creativity and strategy with Chad also serving as the firm’s Board Chairman.
Chad Clinehens is the president and CEO of Zweig Group. Passionate about the business side of design and technical service firms, Chad has built a career on leading them through growth and change. He has worked with AEC firms throughout the U.S. on a variety of needs – strategic business planning, turnarounds, partner separations, organizational restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, marketing and sales, growth campaigns, and more.
As a registered professional engineer, Chad brings an in-depth knowledge of what makes professional service firms and the people who work for them unique. Working in the industry for more than 20 years, he has been involved in many aspects of the business including design, project management, department management, regional office management, and directional leadership. He holds a MBA and BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Arkansas and is a registered professional engineer in several states.
Jamie Claire Kiser is Zweig Group’s Director of Advisory Services. Prior to joining Zweig Group, Jamie Claire practiced law and also worked in commercial banking. She joined Zweig Group in 2015 with an initial focus on M&A and has transactional experience with businesses in all stages, from new firms with growth needs to established firms seeking to wind down. After being promoted to Director of Advisory Services in 2016, her responsibilities increased to include strategic leadership over all of Zweig Group’s consulting areas, including valuation, ownership transition consulting, marketing consulting, M&A, recruiting and executive search, and strategic planning. She holds a Masters of Business Administration, Juris Doctor, and Bachelors of Arts in History. She is a managing principal at Zweig Group and serves on the firm’s board of directors. Additionally, she is an outside board member to Miyamoto International, based in Sacramento, CA; and is on the board of the Buffalo River Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to conserving the Buffalo National River. Recently, she founded the platform ElevateHER as part of Zweig Group’s mission to Elevate the Industry.