The Mavericks is our attempt to honor those leaders, and, now more than ever, we are excited to announce our 2022 list of Maverick Awards winners! This list highlights 50 individuals who have acted as trendsetters, innovative thinkers, and catalysts of change in their respective fields. From architects and entrepreneurs to industry leaders, technologists to investors, and those developing both off-site fabrication and on-site robotics, we have identified boundary-pushers from leading companies around the world, and across the built environment's vast ecosystem. We hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we did!
Want to learn more about the Mavericks and their organizations? Just click on their company name to find them in our company directory and see all the analysis we've provided about them. Many of the Mavericks are also members of the BuiltWorlds Network and you can also find out more about them and connect with them in our Member Directory
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With over 20 years of C-Suite experience in construction, Cliff Fetner has evolved with the industry that is becoming increasingly connected and technology focused. Fetner is now the founder and CEO of SoilConnect, which aims to disrupt the industry’s lack of connectivity surrounding the disposal of excess soil or gaining access to soil when needed. SoilConnect, and Fetner, continue to embrace disruptive approaches by collaborating with SeedInvest earlier this year, allowing community members to invest in their company. This initiative is in addition to the $4 million already raised by industry giants like Cemex Ventures and others.
Matt Kleiman is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cumulus Digital Systems. Cumulus is digitizing quality assurance in industrial maintenance and construction working towards a goal to eliminate accidents, unplanned downtime, and re-work at industrial sites caused by poor work quality. Prior to co-founding Cumulus, Matt co-founded and was the Head of Programs at Shell TechWorks – a technology center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, focused on developing and deploying new technologies for Shell’s capital projects and operating facilities. Stemming from the aerospace industry Matt has seen firsthand how inefficient paper-based and poor work quality has put workers at risk. Last year Cumulus was able to raise $8 million in strategic growth capital to put towards growing their efforts to make job sites safer.
Egan’s background spans multiple industries but her consistency lies in innovative sustainable solutions. Currently, Egan is the founder and CEO Ecomedes, an emerging SaaS platform that targets manufacturers, designers, and builders. This year, Ecomedes acquired Mortarr, a search and discovery engine custom-built for commercial construction and design professionals. With this aquistion, Ecomedes creates a simplified platform that accelerates a sustainable built environment.
It has been a long road for Wolfe, relative to so many high flying entrepreneurs today. With a Law degree earned in 2005 and prior experience with the web, Wolfe founded Levelset, then known as Zlien, with a goal of fixing lien waiver management. New Orleans, where Levelset is based, is not typically mentioned as a tech hub. However, Levelset helped put the Big Easy on the cosntruction tech map when it was sold to PROCORE for $500 million this past year.
Yves Frinault is a French entrepreneur and the co-founder and CEO of FieldWireLabs, a mobile, geo-tagged task management application for the field, where he focuses on the overall product development and strategy. Yves has held leadership roles in the video game industry at Ubisoft, where he led development teams on both console and mobile products.
Loomis has more than 15 years of building entrepreneurial experience under his belt with his expertise is only growing exponentially. His latest endeavor, ICON, aims to target the global housing crisis by integrating 3D printing robotics, software, and advanced materials into the building process. ICON is featured in our Q1 Venture report, with one of the biggest funding rounds in the industry, bringing its valuation to nearly $2 Billion.
As the CEO and co-founder of Alfred, Marcela Sapone has rethought building management and explored the new generation of connected residential rental property management. Alfred fosters communication between tenants and residential managers with services like on-site management, payments and wellness amenities. While raising almost $140 million, Alfred has acquired RKW, a property management firm, and HOM, a wellness and event company focused on tenant retention, to contribute to the ecosystem of smarter property management in the last year.
Henrik Lund Nielsen is the founder of COBOD, a global-leading 3D construction printing provider. In the early 2000’s, Nielsen left his long career of corporate leadership roles to pursue a new career path investing in, and helping to lead, small technology companies. With a goal of reshaping the future, Nielsen has taken a sharp focus in the world of 3D printing technology. Since 2015, Nielsen has been active in the 3D printing industry and founded COBOD. Nielsen took his interest and passion for recycling, construction, and 3D printing and has leveraged COBOD’s 3D concrete printing technology to construct green windmill towers that will reshape wind as a renewable energy source.
Aaditya Sharda is the founder of Infra.Market, a real estate and construction Materials marketplace. Aaditya also serves the company as a director bringing 10 years of entrepreneurial experience in the field of infrastructure and construction.
Chuck Hansen is a serial entrepreneur currently focused on providing water leak detection within a centimeter of the leak location with his latest company ElectroScan. Hansen’s dedication to ESG-prioritized technologies makes him a fitting leader of this innovative solution to monitor watertight testing and certification of sewer pipes. ElectroScan was the winner of the 2022 Venture West Demo Day. To watch Hansen deliver his winning presentation to fully understand the potential this technology has to disrupt the water monitoring sector.
Di-Ann is an entrepreneur and executive who is currently Co-Founder and CEO of Core, a venture-backed construction labor marketplace. Earlier this year, the Crews by Core App was launched that allows foremen and crews to minimize wasted time, manage and track activities, and have real-time communication with the field and the office on projects. Now adopted by more than 50 construction companies across the US, the application has been widely received as a game-changer in the construction industry. Eisnor, who comes from a family of tradesmen and truck drivers, has made an impact out of tech-forward endeavors and continues to push the envelope for efficiency via technology.
There doesn't seem to be much Harmony-Gutsa hasn't done. According to his bio, he hails from Zimbabwe, worked himself up from the ground floor at Plaza Construction in New York, was a product manager at PROCORE and at WeWork, has been a flight instructor, and has now gone on to CEO of Billy, an end-to-end insurance management platform that was oversubscribed in its A round of funding, garnering more than $3 million from firms like Meta Prop and Shadow Ventures.
Michelle is an architect with a passion for thoughtful, sustainable, accessible design utilizing a cross-section of digital tools, prefabrication and systems building approach. Prior to joining Google as the Director of R+D for the Built Environment, Michelle worked with X on a moonshot for architecture, Flux, Frank O. Gehry and her own practice Michelle Kaufmann Studio.
As President of Diode Ventures, a subsidiary of Black & Veatch, Hardin is tasked with matching the construction leader's 100 years of success through industrial, commercial, and technology interests, including data centers and renewable energy solutions. Hardin has created innovative solutions for development services including: full financing, site selection, EPC, commissioning, and maintenance. In March, Diode announced that their massive Kansas City site development sold to Meta to become a data center for the technology giant.
PROCORE has been on an aquisition tear, lately, with moves like the acquisition of Levelset, Indus, and Laborchart last year. It was a busy year for the recently IPO Project Management Software company.
Amit Haller is the Co-Founder & CEO of Veev a hybrid real estate solutions company that reinvents the way homes are built and experienced. Haller is also the Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Reali, a company that aims to strip away the complications of the homeownership journey. Through both of these experiences and his 20-plus years of experience in the industry, Haller is involved with the entire home buying process from construction to delivery. He continues to strive to make both ends of the process more efficient, more affordable, and faster.
Mr. McCullagh is a seasoned top management executive with a 35 year history combining a deep technical operations background with corporate finance expertise having served as a top executive of a Fortune 500 company and CEO of multiple global companies as well as successful entrepreneurial start-ups. He has worked globally for his entire career across numerous end markets including facilities, infrastructure and government services with extensive P&L responsibility and experience.
With Gensler’s ranging urban developments, the Principal and Global Director of Cities & Urban Design requires extreme consideration. Brumfeld is committed to improving cities and their urban areas and Brumfeld’s involvement in the latest Chicago development aimed at tackling the affordable housing crisis reflects that. Gensler has created an impressive plan for the Woodlawn neighborhood and designed the 70-unit Woodlawn Station housing development. This already innovative project builds on Brumfield’s mission with the integration of mix-income housing. By incorporating both market-rate and below-market-rate housing units, mixed-income developments help cities tackle the affordability crisis without isolating those of lesser means.
Megan Lantz has over 13 years of experience in the construction industry. Megan joined HITT in 2013 as a Director of Corporate Business and now in her role as Vice President of Research & Development, she leads HITT’s Research and Development efforts focused on the growth and evolutions of the firm’s business model. HITT is a general contractor company that was founded in 1937 and has ±1,300 construction professionals working together to create both high quality and sustainable projects for their commercial clients.
Downey has pushed the construction giant into robotics working with groups like Boston Dynamics and Dusty Robotics and playing a leading role in the company's Innovation Summit and Innovation Challenge Program.
Starting up a whole new startup within a company the size of Bechtel cannot be an easy lift, but that seems to be what Catherine Hunt Ryan is doing as President of newly launched Bechtel Manufacturing & Technology. In a way, her role is the ultimate expression of the potential for engaging in the technology arena as an industry player. Not only is there the possibility of harnessing emerging technology to become more efficient, but there is also the opportunity to grow entirely new business areas through fostering deeper understandings of and connections with the worlds of emerging technology. In her role, she will be addressing needs of companies in areas such as semi conductors, electric vehicles, synthetic materials, and data centers.
Bettina Zerza is the founder and principal of ZERZA, an international architecture, urbanism, and design firm. The practice is driven by her passion for innovation and her vision for a sustainable future. Inspired by strategies and practices of contemporary art, she envisions an architecture that responds to the particular requirements and challenges of each site and its specific historical, cultural, social, economic, and political parameters.
INFLUENCE & EDUCATION
Antonia Elisa Soler Blasco has worked with Hilti for the past 8 years and currently works with Hilti’s Corporate Venture team identifying technologies that will reshape the construction industry and have lasting impact. Antonia’s background includes bachelor degrees in both chemical and mining engineering. Aside from her experience and impact she has made with Hilti, Antonia has been a strong advocate and champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She serves as a member of the steering committee for SMACNA’s Women in Construction Group and has also helped to cofound a Women in Contech group BuiltWorlds currently partners with.
Susan is responsible for the overall high performance and sustainable construction leadership of Pepper Construction. She facilitates sustainability integration among all departments and business units. She is deeply involved in refining the company’s development through the creation of new sustainable tools and processes. She provides national sustainable consulting and thought leadership to enhance all of Pepper’s services.
Nathan Wood is an AEC influencer that is heavily contributing to two organizations focused on propelling technology adoption in a people-focused mindset. Founder and CEO of Spectrum AEC, a grassroots non-profit that aims to push through the shared pains facing technology adoption in AEC. Simultaneously, Wood is also the Executive Director of CPCoalition, Nathan is responsible for developing and growing CPC's vision to connect the shared pains by removing external roadblocks to unlock digital collaboration. It’s clear that Wood is ready to foster the innovation the industry needs.
Karen Weigert is dedicated to a future with less carbon. She was appointed to be the first ever Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago and served in that role from 2011 to 2016. She’s also been a strategy consultant at McKinsey, a documentary film writer with a mission to bring attention to the growing emissions crisis, and was recently appointed as the Director of Baumhart Center for Social Enterprise & Responsibility.
Hugh Seaton is a leader for the new era: innovative, collaborative, product- and consumer-focused. Hugh brings a broad range of skills to emerging technology. Four times a year he presents the Construction Technology Quarterly, an indepth analysis of key aspects of the construction industry, and the technologies that support it.
CREtech has always looked to the future of real estate for emerging technologies and trends. Michael Beckerman, CEO of Cretech, takes that mission to heart. So much so that when he learned that the real estate industry accounts for 40% of all carbon emissions globally, he knew he needed to address the issue head-on. Beckerman has expanded his scope, founding CREtech Climate last year, which brings together CREtech’s innovative mission with the largest venture capital firm in the sector, Fifth Wall, and several leading real estate and advisory organizations. Its core mission is to raise awareness and drive measurable investment in climate tech, sustainability, and ESG in the Built World.
Calvin Kam founded Strategic Building Innovations in 2011 with a vision to optimize the value of the global built environment through continuous improvement in evidence-based business decision-making, performance metrics, best practice processes, sustainability, and appropriate technologies. The global practice now provides research, education, programs, and guidance to several government organizations – roadmaps and mentoring for large property developers and owners – and value-enhancing support to facility design, construction, and management teams.
Steve Weikal is a General Partner at the MET Fund which provides early seed funding to qualified MITdesignX startups from MIT and also supports venture design education and entrepreneurship at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning. Steve also serves as CRE Tech Lead for the Real Estate Innovation Lab (REIL) that’s aim is to combine design, innovation, economic impact, along with stakeholders. The REIL is the first ever lab of its kind attempting to create an intellectual community of multidisciplinary researchers who can examine the impacts of innovation in the built environment.
Since 2016, the BuiltWorlds Summit has been the premier gathering of senior level thought leaders from across the many industries that develop, design, build, and maintain our built environment. Collectively, attendees represent the pinnacle of the sector's innovation ecosystem, and the Summit is the place to meet them and to hear about the most potent trends fueling the future of the industry. At the Summit, you will have the opportunity to: Meet the Mavericks, leaders from across the Industry who took a different path and made a difference. Learn the latest from BuiltWorlds Research and Forums, and - most importantly - meet the other members. Participate in a demo day competition featuring entrepreneurs leading the hottest emerging tech companies, as selected by our Venture Forum Members. Startups looking to participate are invited to apply at the link below. Also, check out a Demo Day recording from the recent US Summit 2021!
Managing Director of PSP Growth, Qu helped propel construction reality capture project management business, openspace, to near unicorn status, leading a $102 million series D investment in the company. It is a big bet for the leader of the venture arm for the investment firm, founded and chaired by Penny Pritzker, former US Secretary of Commerce, founder of Vi Senior Living, co founder of The Parking Spot, and leader of numerous other business, civic, and philanthropic initiatives.
Opperman has become a giant in the Real Estate investment world as the co-creator and current co-head of the European Fund, contributing to the Fifth Wall being the largest real estate technology focused Venture Capital firm in the world. In February Fifth Wall announced it had closed an oversubscribed €140 million for its European Real Estate Technology Fund bringing the European Fund’s total raise to $1.1 Billion across its funds in 2021. This brings Fifth Wall's capital under management to approximately $3.0 billion.
Laurent is a Partner with JLL Spark. JLL Spark is dedicated to transforming the real estate industry through technology-based innovation and investments. Grill has a deep-seeded desire to help entrepreneurs and startups in his role with JLL Spark because he was once an entrepreneur himself. Two areas that Laurent sees as particularly important in the built environment are the digitization of the entire life cycle of property and also sustainability.
Mauricio has a diverse background in the industry. He started his career at a large general contractor, developing infrastructure projects, and, after taking his MBA at IE Business School, he transitioned to venture building, at Rocket Internet. Combining these experiences, he joined CEMEX to structure and launch CEMEX Ventures, where he led the investment team for 5 years, until he decided to launch Zacua Ventues, an early stage fund focused in the construction industry, on a global scale.
Taking over as president of Stanley Ventures just before the pandemic began, Routhier has upheld her commitment to innovation and strategic relevance. Now as the industry aims to recover from the past two years,Stnaley has invested in strategic companies like MSUITE. In addition to the adoption through investments, Routhier is spearheading the Stanley Accelerator Program which brings early stage investments to the forefront of the industry.
PRINCIPAL, TECH INVESTING
A USC alum, Murali Joshi has been with ICONIQ Capital’s Growth team for over 4 years. ICONIQ Growth’s unique investment platform harnesses the power of ICONIQ Capital’s vibrant ecosystem of founders, pioneers, and business leaders with the goal of delivering tangible value and amplifying our portfolio companies’ success from early growth stage to IPO and beyond. In his time in the tech investment sphere, Joshi has made a large impact on the built environment through strategic sector-focused investments that include names like ProCore, Datadog, Fivetran, 1Password, Calendly, Orca Security, and more.
Julieta Moradei is a partner at HomeTeam Ventures, the 1st minority-female-led VC fund in construction. Hometeam VC is raising a $20M fund to invest in early-stage construction technology to mitigate the biggest barriers in the affordable housing crisis. The fund was launched due to the co-founders' experience as developers at building over 3,000 homes in LATAM. In 2018, they were ICON 1st investors and partnered with them to build the world's first 3D printed affordable housing community. ICON had one of the largest raises of quarter one in 2022.
Scott is an investor & advisor focused on BuiltTech, having invested in a half dozen startups to date including Passive Logic, Document Crunch, Flexbase, QuoteToMe, Hammr, PHION, & Knaq as well as working with many others. In addition to the startups with which he is involved, he’s a mentor at several accelerators focused on innovation occurring at the intersection of the physical & digital worlds.
Lionel Foster is an Investor at Camber Creek and supports the firm’s deal flow, diligence, transactions, and investor relations. Prior to joining Camber Creek, Lionel was Communications Director at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, where he focused on topics such as urban development. He also has prior work experience at the Baltimore City Department of Planning and with Merrill Lynch’s Investment Banking group.
Brick and Mortar had an explosive year of innovative investments and fostering the industry and Alice Leung has changed the course of Brick and Mortar Ventures innovation strategies. In the past year, Brick and Mortar investments like Rugged Robotics, Boom and Bucket, Safesite, Curbio, Folio and more have no doubt been a part of Leung’s role as Vice President of platform and product strategy. In addition to their investments, Brick & Mortar recently announced a world-class accelerator program that BuiltWorld is supporting. This 10-week program will foster immense growth for five early-stage companies.
With nearly 30 years of experience in the construction space in a wide-range of positions, Menno de Jonge is currently serving as the Director of Digital Delivery for NEOM. Menno de Jonge was previously working as the Director of Digital Construction at the Royal BAM Group and was in that role for over 5 years. Throughout his long career he’s been responsible for many IT implementations in the areas of CAD, BIM, Lean Construction, Data and Document Management, ERP, HRM, Asset Management and more.
Tech plays a central role at The PENTA Building Group thanks in part to the efforts of Cliff Cole, who supervises all construction tech and Building Information Modeling (BIM) for the company as its Director of Virtual Design and Construction. Over the past 21 years, the Las Vegas-based contracting firm has completed more than $8 billion in projects—everything from the corporate campus for Zappos.com, to the HQ for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, to T-Mobile Arena.
Stacy Scopano has been a champion of technology innovation and strategy. With experience from AutoDesk, Skender, and many more innovative companies he’s impacted, Scopano now brings his forward thinking to JE Dunn, as vice president, focusing in prefabrication and manufacturing. With his position at JE Dunn, he is not slowing down, Scopano has the exciting but no simple task of formalizing and growing their offsite construction platform.
Alexey Dubov is the Co-Founder and CIO of Mighty Buildings, a company focused on 3D printed sustainable housing solutions. Mighty Buildings was the recent recipient of a Gold Edison Award in Sustainability for their Light Stone Material (LSM). Might Buildings invented LSM which is a thermoset composite material that uses UV light to harden and cure making it an incredibly effective building material.
Mikki Ward is responsible for developing and advancing EQ’s use of AI, automation and data analytics across the portfolio with a focus on customer/tenant services, automating for the future of work, security/access control, data acquisition and monetization, multimedia and experience design.
Principal Partner Solutions Architect - Engineering, Construction & Real Estate
amazon web service
As Principle Partner and Solutions Architect in engineering, construction and real estate, Ivan Panushev shapes and delivers global technology strategies within Amazon Web Services to create a robust digital ecosystem of partner offerings in the cloud. This year, AWS announced an accelerator program focused on startups that will propel sustainable infrastructure and urban environments.
Hailing from Dnipro Ukraine, Ludensky leads a team of technologists, including a staff of 800 based in Ukraine to develop applications for the industry. Throughout the conflict in the region, Ludensky has continue to support his team abroad while meeting the needs of his clietns.
Over 27 years at TD Industries, Herrin has risen from project manager to head of technologies and manufacturing, launching a modular division, modernizing a modeling group, and serving as a voice in the industry for progress.
Barbara K is truly an industry veteran with over 20 years of construction experience and pioneering in tools. She is currently the CEO of New York City based Evergreen Construction that focuses primarily on commercial projects and has been around since she founded it in 2015. She’s a published author, former political candidate, as well as a television personality. She has been a champion of gender inclusivity in the construction industry and even created a brand of women-designed tools, DIYVA.
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