The latest People in the News highlighting new hires, promotions, honors & recognition of the men and women in the St. Louis building community.
Mary Weidenbenner Receives SHRM-SCP Accreditation
Highly distinguished HR credential sets NewGround apart in competitive market
NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential architecture, design, and delivery firm, recently celebrated Mary Weidenbenner, Vice President of Human Resources, as she earned her SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) accreditation from the Society for Human Resource Management.
The SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge (SHRM BoCK™) is the foundation for this certification. The SHRM BoCK organizes eight behavioral competencies into three clusters: Leadership (Leadership & Navigation, Ethical Practice), Interpersonal (Relationship Management, Communication, Global & Cultural Effectiveness), and Business (Business Acumen, Consultation, Critical Evaluation).
Human resource (HR) professionals who develop strategies, lead the HR department, influence the community, analyze performance data, and align HR strategies with organizational goals are eligible to take this highly distinguished exam.
“Receiving my SHRM-SCP accreditation was an important accomplishment in my HR career here at NewGround, and this strategic competency-based certification will also give us a more competitive edge to attract and retain top talent,” said Mary Weidenbenner, Vice President of Human Resources.
Earning this credential sets HR professionals apart from their colleagues and keeps organizations more competitive in today’s economy. SHRM certification is the only HR accreditation offered by the world’s largest HR membership organization.
“We are so proud of Mary in her achievement earning the SHRM-SCP accreditation,” said Kevin Blair, President and CEO. “Mary’s hard work and determination to achieve this highly distinguished goal really paid off, and we would love to congratulate her on reaching her goal.”
NewGround is an international, award-winning architecture, design, and delivery firm, providing dynamic, experiential, market-driven environments. For more information, visit NewGround at www.newground.com.
Tamika Cain-Proctor joins Kwame Building Group as Vice President
Tamika Cain-Proctor has joined Kwame Building Group, Inc., as Vice President. She will oversee KWAME’s infrastructure construction projects, including aviation, tunnel, light rail and roads. With experience on LEED-certified projects, Cain-Proctor brings added value in the areas of site and safety inspections, quality control and cost engineering.
Cain-Proctor has more than 18 years of experience in construction project management and engineering. She holds a Master of Science in Structural/Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oklahoma. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the American Institute of Architecture.
Kwame Building Group, Inc. (KWAME) is one of the nation’s top pure construction management firms, dedicating 100 percent of its resources to project management services. For more information, visit www.kwamebuildinggroup.com or call (314) 862-5344.
November 2, 2018
KAI Hires Dan Forguson as Vice President of Finance
KAI Design & Build proudly announces the addition of Dan Forguson of Columbia, Illinois as Vice President of Finance.
In his new role, Forguson reports to the CFO and is responsible for providing enterprise leadership in the areas of financial planning and analysis, mergers and acquisitions, and project controls.
“As KAI continues to experience both organic and acquisitive growth, we are placing a high priority in the area of business analytics,” said Forguson. “We are making strategic investments in talent and ERP enhancements in order to maintain a pulse on our business and to ensure that we are growing profitably.”
Forguson has 10 years of experience in the AEC industry, having previously held the title of Regional Project Controls Director at Jacobs in St. Louis. Forguson has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville and his MBA from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. He is currently working on a master’s degree in accounting at DePaul University – Chicago, and he is a member of the American Association of Cost Engineers (AACE).
“With his depth of experience in corporate financial management within the architecture and engineering industry, Dan brings his knowledge and skills with mergers and acquisitions, business analytics, forecasting and project controls,” said Michael Hein, AIA, PMP, Chief Operating Officer at KAI. “Dan will also be helping us define the right metrics for our internal scorecard allowing us to monitor our business on a weekly basis.”
KAI Design & Build is a national 100+ person design and build firm headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. KAI provides design and build integrated project delivery solutions through client collaboration, the latest technology, proprietary processes and individual expertise. For more information about KAI Design & Build, visit www.kai-db.com or call 314-241-8188.
NewGround Promotes Javier Fernandez to Construction Manager
The new role will serve multiple clients across the U.S.
NewGround, a St. Louis-based experiential architecture, design, and delivery firm, recently celebrated the promotion of Javier Fernandez to the role of Construction Manager. Javier will be responsible for providing leadership and managing a multitude of construction projects, with a primary focus on Chartway Federal Credit Union (FCU).
Prior to his new role, Javier joined NewGround in 2015 and served as Project Manager on numerous projects throughout the U.S., including Chartway FCU, ESB Financial, Visions FCU, Union Savings Bank, and DATCU.
Javier brings an impressive skill set with excellent client relations and high-quality construction projects to succeed in his new role.
With more than 12 years of experience in the architecture field and 10 years serving as a project manager, Javier has worked in various construction ranks building projects for clients in the New York City and Long Island areas.
“Javier’s work always reflects our core values of quality, teamwork, dedication, and integrity, and I am confident that his construction leadership experience will help him continue to deliver successful projects for our clients at NewGround for years to come,” said Chip Nix, Senior Vice President of Build Operations.
Javier holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Technology from the New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, N.Y.
NewGround is an international, award-winning architecture, design, and delivery firm, providing dynamic, experiential, market-driven environments. Over the last century, NewGround has completed more than 15,000 projects throughout the USA, Canada and in the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NewGround at www.newground.com.
Oculus Inc. Adds to Administrative Team
Architecture and interior design firm brings two new hires to headquarters
Oculus Inc., a full-service architecture and interior design firm, is growing its administration team with the additions of Amber Wendler and Taylor Wells. Both Wendler and Wells will be based out of the firm’s St. Louis corporate headquarters.
“As Oculus Inc. continues to grow its business, we need a strong support team in order for us to meet our clients’ expectations and bring our work to new levels,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. president. “We are excited to have Amber and Taylor on board to help us meet our goals.”
Wendler comes to Oculus Inc. with more than 20 years of administrative experience. She most recently served as an accounting associate for Agency for Community Transit, based in Granite City, Ill. She has also worked for ITP Corporation for the Boeing Company and Helmkamp Construction Company, both located in the St. Louis metro area.
Wells brings seven years of professional experience to Oculus Inc., most recently coming from Hoefert Law in Alton, Ill. She possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.
Outside of its headquarters in St. Louis, Oculus has offices in Dallas and Portland, Ore.
Oculus Inc. delivers comprehensive architecture, interior, planning and move management services that support business change and promote business value. Founded in 1994, Oculus creates high-performance design for clients in the retail, commercial, restaurant, education, government and healthcare industries. For more information, visit oculusinc.com.
October 26, 2018
Oculus Inc. Grows Staff in St. Louis and Dallas Markets
New hires will support architectural services to retail, hospitality and government industries
Oculus Inc., a full-service architecture and interior design firm, has hired Jack Bowe, Justin Kanturek and Lavell Johnson II to serve the retail, hospitality and government industries from its St. Louis and Dallas offices.
“We are very excited about the additions of Jack, Lavell and Justin,” said Lisa Bell-Reim, Oculus Inc. president. “As Oculus continues to evolve in the architectural and interior design industry, we require a team with diverse backgrounds and unique skillsets. Jack, Justin and Lavell will be instrumental in helping us continue to develop state-of the-art work for our national and international clients.”
Bowe joins Oculus Inc. as a project manager and brings a comprehensive architectural design and consulting services background with specialization in complex commercial and restaurant design. Prior to joining Oculus Inc., Bowe worked as an independent architectural contractor for projects including the Shaw Burger Station, a competing proposal for the Forest Park Boathouse, and Elmwood Restaurant in the St. Louis-area. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Kanturek also joins Oculus Inc. as a project designer for the St. Louis office, previously working on the Creve Coeur Park Soccer Complex and Weber Workforce Center. Kanturek also served as an adjunct Teacher at Lewis & Clark Community College. He has a bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois and is on schedule to complete his Master of Architecture degree from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale in December.
Named a project designer for the firm’s Dallas office, Johnson II brings seven years of professional experience to Oculus Inc., most recently as a designer of residential and commercial roof and floor systems and retail layouts. He has a Master of Architecture with an emphasis in Urban Design, plus a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Oculus Inc. delivers comprehensive architecture, interior, planning and move management services that support business change and promote business value. For more information, visit oculusinc.com.
Karlos Ramirez Joins Midwest BankCentre’s Legal Board of Directors
Karlos Ramirez, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis, has been elected to the Midwest BankCentre legal board of directors.
As leader of the Hispanic Chamber since 2011, he works to promote business opportunities for Hispanic-owned firms and professionals and to drive economic development in the region. Earlier in his career, he was director of the University Center and conference services at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
Ramirez chairs the board of directors for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, which oversees economic development efforts in St. Louis City and County. He earned his bachelor’s degree in education at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Ill., and his master’s degree in educational administration at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. He is a member of the Association of Chambers of Commerce Executives (ACCE), the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), Veiled Prophet and Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, a Latino-based fraternity with a multicultural membership.
Midwest BankCentre, a mainstay of St. Louis community banking since 1906, ranks among St. Louis’ largest locally owned banks with assets of about $1.9 billion and deposits of $1.4 billion. It provides integrated financial services with expertise in commercial, retail and digital banking; business cash management; mortgage lending; consumer lending; and insurance.
Monica Pangaribuan Passes Hawai’i Contractors License Exam
NewGround employee meets state requirement for local licensing
NewGround, a St. Louis-based design and delivery firm, recently celebrated Monica Pangaribuan, who successfully passed the Hawai’i Contractors Exam. The state of Hawai’i requires a licensed Responsible Managing Employee (RME) as well as a local, on-island RME. This enables Monica to serve as NewGround’s RME for projects in Hawai’i.
As Project Manager for NewGround, Monica provides direct management of production and schedule milestones, project goals, quality control, and job site safety. Monica also inspects and reviews the construction process to enforce compliance with plans, specifications, building, and safety codes. Bringing nearly 14 years of experience as a Project Manager or Project Engineer, Monica has served at numerous companies, including Bow Construction Management Services, Collawn Building Services, Lendlease, and Kitchell CEM, Nan Inc.
In addition to her recent RME certification, Monica holds certifications in Construction Quality Management for Contractors for the USA Corps of Engineers, Asbestos Awareness, OSHA 30, ACI, and First Aid/CPR.
“We are extremely proud of Monica and glad to have her on our team,” said Chip Nix, Senior Vice President of Build Operations. “NewGround looks forward to the many great things yet to come in Hawai’i with Monica supporting our efforts.”
About NewGround NewGround is an award winning international design and delivery firm that creates custom, brandinfused, experiential environments that accelerate client growth and performance. Over the last century, NewGround has completed more than 15,000 projects throughout the USA, Canada and in the United Kingdom. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, NewGround maintains corporate offices in Chicago, Illinois, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Toronto, Ontario, with a regional presence throughout the US. For more information, visit NewGround at www.newground.com.