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At VERTEX, we are connected by our drive to provide value and results for our clients. We foster long-term relationships not just with our clients, but within our organization. On our projects, we are diligent, industrious and experts in our fields. Outside of the office, we are triathletes, competitive skiers, classical musicians, pilots, professional poker players, car enthusiasts, proud parents, volunteers in our communities, and more! As part of our #WeAreVERTEX campaign, we will be sharing profiles of our employees, so you can get to know the people behind our success.

Surety Spotlight

Robert Massey
Assistant Project Manager
Denver, CO
Joined VERTEX in March 2019

Robert is an Assistant Project Manager based out of VERTEX’s Denver office. Born and raised in Rifle, Colorado, Robert joined the Denver office in 2019 and now resides in Parker, Colorado.

As an avid track cyclist, Robert competes at the Olympic Training Center Velodrome in Colorado Springs, Colorado focusing on sprint events. His long term goal is to compete at the Masters World Championship someday. When he is not competing on his bike, he is likely four-wheeling and camping in the mountains with his wife and their three dogs.

Robert obtained his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Colorado Mesa University in 2003, graduating Cum Laude, and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Construction Engineering Management from the University of Colorado.

What led you to work for VERTEX?

I came from an estimating litigation company. I was looking for a company that offered growth and other opportunities and I was familiar with VERTEX and intrigued by its work. I wanted to change my construction career path from an estimator to surety claims consulting, which I enjoy a lot.

Has there been a memorable project or experience that has stood out to you since being with VERTEX?

I think every single project stands out as they all start out the same, but then go in many different directions. It is always fun figuring out the remaining scope of work and the best way to keep the project moving forward. As a result, all projects are challenging, but I really enjoy it.

What do you do in your free time?

I am a track cyclist and have been for about 7 years. I started out with endurance mountain bike racing for the Rocky Mountain Endurance series, which culminated in the Breckenridge 100. Then, I decided to change direction. I came across someone who had been on my team and who is now my coach. The best year on the track for me was 2017; I raced in the Rocky Mountain State Games and placed silver and bronze.

Student Spotlight

Jared O’Brien
Project Engineer, Surety Claims Consulting
Master of Engineering Candidate
Boston, MA
Joined VERTEX in May 2017

Jared is a Project Engineer in VERTEX’s Surety Group, working in the Boston region. Jared has a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Science and is currently pursuing a Master of Engineering degree in Construction Engineering Management at the University of Colorado.

Jared started with VERTEX in the Environmental Remediation group in Boston, MA, and wanted to do more with VERTEX. He felt the Surety Group would be a great fit as he pursues his Master’s degree. This way, he could get hands-on experience as well as learning from class.

“VERTEX University has opened multiple doors of opportunity for me already. It has challenged me for the better and has provided me with the next steps towards my goals.”
– Jared O’Brien

Environmental Spotlight

Glenn Maxeiner
Division Manager, Remediation/Due Diligence
Chicago, IL
Joined VERTEX in January 2012

Glenn is a Division Manager for the Environmental Remediation/Due Diligence Group out of VERTEX’s Chicago, IL office. Born and raised in Northern Illinois, he obtained his undergraduate degree at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, and his Master’s in Geology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. With the exception of 4 years living in Denver, Colorado, Glenn has lived in the City of Chicago for the past 20 years. He enjoys cycling, cooking, music, traveling, and reading when he isn’t chasing after his 19-month-old son.

What is your specialty?

My specialties are site investigations/remediation and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments for VERTEX’s Environmental Division. I also complete Property Condition Assessments and manage the Environmental operations and staff in VERTEX’s Chicago office.

How did your career path lead you to VERTEX?

In 2011, I moved back to Chicago after living in Denver, where I was working for a very large, global environmental consulting firm. While the projects I worked on at my previous company were very exciting, I didn’t enjoy the “metrics-only” management style that is typical of companies of that size. Then I learned about an opportunity in VERTEX’s newly-opened Chicago office. Not only did VERTEX’s entrepreneurial culture sound like what I was looking for, but the company was experiencing amazing growth and I jumped at the chance!

How long have you been in the AEC industry?

I have worked in the AEC industry for 20 years!

What is something interesting about you that your peers/colleagues might not know?

I can speak and write Swedish.

What are some of the unique project locations that you’ve worked in?

I have worked all over the US, including at an oceanside resort in Santa Barbara, CA; next to the Blue River in Summit County, CO; an Air National Guard Base in Cheyenne, WY, and a Cheese Factory in Wisconsin.

Surety Spotlight

Carl Stokley, PE
Project Engineer, Surety Claims Consulting
New York, NY
Joined VERTEX in February 2014

Carl is a Project Manager based out of VERTEX’s New York office. Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Carl joined VERTEX in 2014 after completing his undergraduate degree. Carl currently resides in Queens and spends most of the year traveling to projects around the United States. As an avid outdoorsman, he frequently hikes and backpacks during his free time and loves to explore new areas when traveling. When home in Queens, Carl can usually be found visiting the various restaurants and food stalls that make up the diverse culinary landscape of his neighborhood.

Carl obtained his Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering from Cornell University in 2013 and, while working at VERTEX, earned a Master’s of Science in Civil Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2014. He also earned a Professional Engineer license in Civil/Construction in 2019.

What would be your baseball walkup song?

Tenth Avenue Freezeout by Bruce Springsteen.

Who has played a mentor role in your career within VERTEX?

Diana Minchella and Jeff Katz taught me everything I know about litigation, claims, and surety consulting. Over six years ago they brought me into the office and I haven’t looked back. They fostered an environment of learning and collaboration that allowed me to work and achieve a Master’s degree and professional licensure.

What is an interesting thing about you your co-workers may not know?

Prior to studying Civil Engineering, I worked at the Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory assisting in the operation and maintenance of the nuclear fusion reactor and obtaining LEED certification for the facility complex.

What is your dream project?

I would love to do some transportation/infrastructure projects like train stations. Although a project next to a beach on a tropical island doesn’t sound too bad either.

What has been your favorite office outing with VERTEX?

It has to be the karaoke nights. I can’t carry a tune to save my life but nothing beats belting out hits with your colleagues.

What have you learned since working with VERTEX?

I have learned so much about contract law, technical writing, and construction methods during my time with VERTEX. VERTEX has so many people with different areas of expertise so it is always fascinating to learn about the specific services we offer and projects people work on. Every project brings something completely new and full of opportunities to learn about the Arch/Eng/Const industry. One interesting thing is getting to see different types of owners and how contract administration is handled i.e. military vs federal vs state vs municipal contracts.

Environmental Spotlight

Timothy Biercz
Division Manager, Remediation/Due Diligence
Branchburg, NJ
Joined VERTEX in November 2014

Tim is a Division Manager for the Environmental Remediation/Due Diligence Group out of VERTEX’s Branchburg, NJ office. Originally from Connecticut, he moved to New Jersey in 1997. Currently, he enjoys working on house renovation projects and spending time with family and friends at his home at the Jersey Shore.

What is your specialty?

At VERTEX, my specialty is providing technical and organizational support for due diligence and remediation projects in the New York/New Jersey area. I am a certified New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Subsurface Evaluator and New York City Office of Environmental Remediation (NYCOER) Gold Certified Professional.

How did your career path lead you to VERTEX?

In approximately 2011, I worked across the table from Jaron Frieden, Managing Director at VERTEX, on a remediation project in New Jersey. Three years following that interaction, Mr. Frieden reached out to me to gauge my interest in joining the growing VERTEX environmental team in the New Jersey office. I met with the team, and it was a great fit professionally and personally.

How long have you been in the AEC industry?

I have been working in the environmental consulting field since graduating from Rutgers University in 2002 with a B.S. in Natural Resource Management and Applied Ecology.

What is something interesting about you that your peers/colleagues might not know?

Since college, I have played bass guitar in several original and cover bands. Although my playing is far from professional, I have had the good fortune to play live music in some well-known venues in central New Jersey and New York City.

What are some of the unique project locations that you’ve worked on?

Working in the environmental field has afforded me the opportunity to travel to many states in the continental United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Since coming to VERTEX, I have conducted field investigations and managed projects at New York City locations with an interesting history, including a brewery from the late 1800s, the Steinway & Sons piano manufacturing facility, and a metal scrap yard with mob ties.

What role have mentors played in your career?

In addition to the technical knowledge they share, mentors have really helped me improve my human resources skills (managing junior staff) and client management.

Surety Spotlight

Andrew Sargent
Senior Consultant, Surety Claims Consulting
New York, NY
Joined VERTEX in June 2012

Andrew is a Senior Consultant out of VERTEX’s New York City office. He obtained both his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering from Cornell University. After finishing school, he moved back to New York City to join the VERTEX team in 2012.

Outside of work Andrew enjoys reading, baseball, and walking his dog, and is currently learning to speak Turkish. Andrew is also an avid traveler and has had the opportunity to visit several interesting countries while working on some of VERTEX’s international projects.

His professional background includes more than eight years of construction claims and dispute resolution experience and he is recognized as a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional by AACE. His ability to assist clients on construction dispute matters is enhanced by his experience managing multiple large-scale construction projects as part of VERTEX’s surety consulting team.

What is your favorite part of construction?

I like claims; that is my bread and butter, and it’s what I am most interested in and how I spend most of my day-to-day. Every once in a while, I like to switch it up and be in the field. Sometimes, we get claims where I go on site, which is a nice break from being in the office; in those cases, I get the best of both worlds.

With what you know now, what piece of advice would you give yourself when you first joined VERTEX?

It is not specific to VERTEX, but more so in general when starting your career. I remember being intimidated by people in meetings who would say “I’ve been doing this for 40 years, so I’m an expert.” Over the years, I’ve learned that person doesn’t necessarily know as much as you think they do. I’ve learned not to worry about everything and to ask questions. Embrace the fact that you always have room to grow and learn and you will never know everything.

What’s your favorite sports team and the best piece of memorabilia you own?

The team is easy: definitely the Yankees by a landslide and the Knicks behind them (although it’s hard to watch the Knicks lately because they are so bad, but you have to be a true fan).

I have a vintage Yankee cup sitting on my desk every day from 2013 that I will keep forever; they don’t make the cups like that anymore. I’m not huge on memorabilia, but I do have a CC Sabathia bobblehead. I don’t have a signed Mariano sock or anything like that, but maybe, when Greg Duverge, one of my colleagues here at VERTEX, buys himself a Porsche 911, I will go buy a Yankees World Series ring.

Surety Spotlight

Andrew Brouwer
Project Manager, Surety Claims Consulting
Irvine, CA
Joined VERTEX in September 2014

Andrew is a Project Manager in VERTEX’s Irvine office. Truly an Irvine native, he grew up on the UC Irvine campus and attended the same university for his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. In addition to attending UCI, Andrew obtained his Bachelor of Science in Physics from UC Santa Barbara and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Management degree from the University of Colorado, Denver Business School. Andrew hopes the knowledge gained through his current Master’s program will continue to enhance his team and value add for clients.

Andrew loves a home-cooked meal and prefers to have a staycation rather than a vacation. He also enjoys playing casual video games or reading Brandon Sanderson novels; however, he is a new father and now spends most of his free time caring for young Luke. Andrew envisions a long career at VERTEX and aspires to advance into leadership within VERTEX.

What is a memorable experience you had working on a project with a colleague?

The most memorable experience was on my first big project with VERTEX. I worked in Germany for a year and a half. At the time, my wife and I had only been married for six weeks when I got the assignment. I remember my first time flying in, having traveled halfway across the world from California to Germany, and Jeff Katz picked me up at 5:30 in the morning fired up and ready to get the day started.

Some of my favorite memories include Jeff Katz and Andrew Sargent, as they would frequently travel to Germany for the project. On one very memorable occasion, Jeff was onsite and following our workday, he ended up joining a gathering of friends we held at our house. We played a game of charades that Jeff won (it stings a little because of my competitive nature – I look forward to a rematch).

My time in Germany was a great experience and I will cherish those memories forever.

What is something valuable you have learned since joining the VERTEX team?

My family has a habit of communicating, perhaps too much. Since joining VERTEX, I’ve learned to better effectively communicate with colleagues and clients.

What is your favorite thing about being a new dad?

I feel very lucky and blessed because Luke has been a very easy baby – we aren’t experiencing a lot of crying. I love that VERTEX has a paternity leave program where I can spend 100% of my time those first few weeks with him. Singing to him and watching him recognize my voice is priceless – probably my favorite thing.

What is something interesting about you your co-workers may not know?

I am a former music director of the acapella group Naked Voices in Santa Barbara, California. I have been singing casually and/or semi-professionally for over 20 years. Through my years of singing, I have sung every vocal part, from Soprano all the way down to Bass!

What is your dream project?

I would love the opportunity to work on another long-duration international project. VERTEX provided the opportunity to live in Germany with my wife for nearly two years from 2016 to 2018. The work was hard but well worth it for the experience of living abroad. I would be thrilled to have a similar opportunity in the future.

Student Spotlight

Barrett Stephens
Operations Manager, Litigation Damages
Master of Engineering Candidate
Denver, CO
Joined VERTEX in May 2014

Barrett is an Operations Manager in VERTEX’s Construction Consulting, Litigation Damages group, working from the Denver office.

Barrett has a Bachelor of Science in Management from Clemson University and is currently pursuing a Master of Engineering in Construction and Engineering Management at the University of Colorado.

“The Lifetime of Learning program has given me the opportunity to expand my area of expertise and knowledge of the AEC industry.”
– Barrett Stephen

Surety Spotlight

Serina Burch
Construction Operations Manager
Irvine, CA
Joined VERTEX in March 2016

Serina is the Operations Manager for the Construction Consulting Services group out of VERTEX’s Irvine, CA office. Born and raised in Southern California, she loves to be outside at the beach enjoying time with her family and friends. Serina obtained her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and hopes to get her Master of Business Administration in the future. She started with VERTEX in March 2016 and has been supporting the Construction team since.

What is your dream project?

For me, it’s a little different because I am not on site for the majority of our projects. I think it would be more in the areas of administration and operations; for example, training the team on new software or programs. Getting the team excited to learn about new technology and being able to fully utilize something everyone loves, would be ideal for me.

What is your favorite thing about the Irvine office?

Our office is kind of like a condo. There are two levels and we do not share the building with other tenants. Since we are all working from home now, I miss being in the office and connecting with the team. Being able to get everyone motivated, collaborating and bonding are the best things about our office. Since we have our own space, we have held a few holiday parties in our office and those turned out really well.

What is a memorable experience you’ve had with a colleague while working at VERTEX?

That’s a tough one because I have a lot of great memories since joining VERTEX. One time, we had a giant bowling tournament in the office with huge inflatable pins and balls. One colleague decided to kick the ball, instead of rolling it, and it hit the corner and broke a desk (it’s safe to say we won’t do that again).

I am lucky to be able to work with Mark Degenaars, he is a lot of fun and has a great personality, which makes work very enjoyable.

What is something valuable you’ve learned since joining VERTEX?

I am coming up on my 5th year and I feel like I have grown and learned so much. I did not come from a construction background, so I’ve learned a lot about the field since being with VERTEX; you jump in and sink or swim. I learned the value of working for good people and enjoying the people I work with. I also really love what I do and working with people is my favorite aspect of the job.

What is your favorite thing about being a new parent?

I really like watching Beau, my son, grow. It is crazy how fast they grow and how quickly he is becoming aware of things. His face lights up when he is learning something new or when he recognizes your face. He is three months old and my husband got his first giggle on camera the other day. It was amazing! He is a smiley baby and we love that.

Surety Spotlight

Rafael Cardenas
Project Manager, Surety Claims Consulting
Irvine, CA
Joined VERTEX in November 2019

Rafael is a Project Manager working out of VERTEX’s Irvine office. Originally from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico, his favorite hobbies include playing basketball, working out, watching TV series and movies, cookouts, and playing video games. Rafael is eager to travel worldwide and learn about different cultures and experience wonderful places.

In 2012, Rafael obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering (ABET-accredited) and in 2015, his Master’s in Construction Management (AACSB-accredited) from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. In April 2018 Rafael moved to the United States to continue his career, and in November 2019, joined VERTEX.

His professional background includes more than seven years of construction experience involving cost analysis, site supervision, engineering, scheduling, and project management. Rafael continues to focus on expanding his project management skills and knowledge and gain valuable experience to handle projects more strategically.

Over the course of your career, what are some unique places you have worked?

When employed with my previous company, I visited five military bases that were pretty unique. I was very interested in the chambers they were building, as they were testing electromagnetic waves and frequencies for jets and planes. Many of the Air Force bases I visited where they test missiles and things like that are really intriguing to me.

What role have mentors played in your career?

My mentors have always been my bosses and managers. The role they played was pushing me to pursue growth and to be able to do more within a certain job, which helped me achieve better opportunities and positions. The push to be and do better has helped me succeed and allowed me to get where I am now in my career.

Are there any projects in your personal life that you’re working on?

I am designing my own home: preparing the drawings, sketches, and designs on my computer has been the first step. I don’t have an end date, but I have been spending free time focusing on my future home.

Surety Spotlight

Lucas Wolff
Project Engineer, Surety Claims Consulting
Denver, CO
Joined VERTEX in February 2018

Lucas is a Project Engineer out of VERTEX’s Denver Office. Originally from Washington D.C., Lucas moved to Colorado in 2012. Growing up in D.C., his favorite childhood memory is visiting all the Smithsonian’s and museums. His favorite thing about living in Denver is being in the Rocky Mountains. Going snowboarding, hiking and camping are his favorite weekend activities. Lucas attended the University of Colorado Boulder where he majored in Environmental Design, with an emphasis on Architectural Design and studied Business (Entrepreneurship) and Engineering (Architectural Lighting Design).

If you had to pick your dream project type, what would it be?

I would have to say location is everything. I got into construction because I love building and have always been fascinated with custom homes. Doing some crazy modern custom home in the mountains or on the beach with an extensive budget and high-end finishes would be awesome.

I also think a stadium would a great experience – Denver is in line for a new stadium in the next ten years, so I would love to be involved in something like that.

What is an interesting thing about you that your co-workers might not know?

I have played guitar since I was in 5th or 6th grade. When I was in high school, I auditioned and joined the competitive band — call me a nerd if you will. We traveled to Russia when I was 17, where we stayed in three cities and played nine shows. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life – being a “touring musician.” I played the electric guitar with a big band jazz group, including a row of saxophones and trumpets and we wore fake bow ties — we got to experience it all.

What would be your walkup song when you come up to the plate?

This one is tough, I would have to pull up my Spotify library but I will have to go with a new artist, Grizz, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of him, but he has a great song “Can’t Hold Me Down.”

Do you have role models at VERTEX, and if so, what role have they played in your career?

I have two mentors/role models at VERTEX: Corey Schafer and John Euwema – they’ve paved a path for me. I came from an architectural background and my knowledge of construction and surety was limited, so Corey took me under his wing, showed me the ropes and got me up to speed. John Euwema has improved my critical and analytical thinking skills by encouraging me to look at the entire picture and drill down to a successful result. Both Corey and John have been instrumental in my career at VERTEX and I really appreciate it.

What is your favorite thing about the Denver office?

I love the open office concept. Our seating is arranged according to our departments, but if we need anything from a different department, we just walk over and everyone and anyone are willing and able to assist, and I think that is super cool. The exposure to the people and camaraderie is the best part, and the view we have of downtown Denver doesn’t hurt either.

Lauri Fern Glinsky

Student Spotlight

Lauri Fern Glinsky
Senior Project Manager, Environmental Insurance
Master of Management Candidate
Bradenton, FL
Joined VERTEX in April 2011

Lauri is a Senior Project Manager in VERTEX’s Environmental Insurance team in the Bradenton/Sarasota, Florida region. Lauri has a BS degree in Environmental Studies from Stockton University in New Jersey and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Management at the University of Colorado – Denver.

Through the Lifetime of Learning Program, Lauri is broadening her management skills and knowledge base to further develop and implement a formal corporate mentorship program, which she has been working on with the assistance of executive leadership for several years. Lauri has already leveraged her coursework within the program to implement a mentorship pilot study within the Environmental Insurance group.

“I love learning, challenging myself, and meeting new people. VERTEX’s Lifetime of Learning Program provides the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge alongside my colleagues as well as other students outside of VERTEX from all across the country. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first three semesters and feel honored to have been included in the Lifetime of Learning Program. I look forward to the continued personal and professional growth as I work to complete the program and utilize the knowledge and experience to fulfill my dream of establishing a formal mentorship program.”
– Lauri Fern Glinsky

Surety Spotlight

Leslie Sanchez
Project Engineer, Surety Claims Consulting
Irvine, CA
Joined VERTEX in December 2019

Leslie is a Project Engineer in VERTEX’s Irvine office. Originally from the Philippines, Leslie and her family came to the United States in 2010 and have been living in Lake Forest, California. Her favorite pastimes include reading, biking, and camping.

Leslie obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management at Holy Angel University in the Philippines and was conferred an equivalent degree in the United States by the International Education Research Foundation. She is a LEED Green Associate and recently finished her Associate in Arts degree in Construction Technology and Residential Construction Development at Orange Coast College.

Her professional background includes more than five years of project management as an owner’s representative for small to large sized commercial facilities, tenant improvement projects, building renovations, and construction completion.

How did your career path lead you to VERTEX?

I am quite new with VERTEX, I have been here for about seven months now. I came across VERTEX when I decided to pursue construction management as my career. I was working for a medical device company for almost eight years in facilities construction, and one day I realized, why not work for a company with a focus on AEC? Since I am a believer in a lifetime of learning, I find this industry to be more challenging since every project is different.

What is your favorite weekend activity?

Normally, I just bike on the weekends, but since I’ve been house sitting for my parents for the last two months, I started gardening to help my mom maintain her garden. I also really like camping; I went for the first time ever a few weeks ago and now my boyfriend and I have gone every weekend and I have enjoyed every minute of it. One of my favorite spots includes June Lake, which is near Yosemite in California – it was about a seven-hour drive but was worth it as we were able to hike and fish as well. Camping has been a great way to relax and enjoy the beautiful outdoors in California.

What do you love most about VERTEX?

VERTEX stands apart from other companies due to its Lifetime of Learning program. This stood out to me, as that is what I was looking for in a company and am so happy to have found it within VERTEX. This program also allows for more opportunities to work in different areas within construction. I am looking forward to going back to school to obtain my Master’s in Construction Management.

Do you have mentors within VERTEX that you look up to?

I have two mentors that I look up to since I have been with VERTEX. Drew Brower has been a huge mentor, as he is very articulate, detailed, and has a concise way of speaking and explaining job duties. Drew is also one of the Project Managers I have worked with side-by-side on job sites and I have learned a lot from him. Additionally, Nick Deeley, my direct manager, is another mentor. His leadership, problem solving skills, and communication make work enjoyable. Working with Nick has also taught me not to take life so seriously, as he is a jokester and has a great character.

VERTEX Project Engineer, Hiram Olvera

Surety Spotlight

Hiram Olvera
Project Engineer, Surety Claims Consulting
New York, NY
Joined VERTEX in February 2020

Hiram is a Project Engineer out of VERTEX’s New York office. Originally from Camargo Chihuahua, Mexico, Hiram moved to Roswell, New Mexico in early 2007. After completing school, he moved to Stamford, Connecticut, and joined VERTEX in February 2020. His favorite thing about living in Connecticut and the Northeast is the cold winters and all the snow.

Growing up, his favorite childhood memories include having large family gatherings for Christmas and New Year with many failed “innovative” meals attempted that resulted in eating burritos instead.

He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. During this time, he had the opportunity to join the Chi Epsilon Civil Engineering Honor Society and participate in the buddy program where new students are paired with upperclassmen to help them adjust to university life.

One of his favorite things to do is travel and experience different cultures, their histories, and the people to learn more about them and see how they live. Hiram hopes to be able to visit every state in the United States and every country in the world.

What is your dream project?

My dream project would be to work on a historical building restoration, preferably an older building with a huge historical impact. I have been exposed to a lot of history and cultures around the world, and I would like to pay it forward by restoring a historical site to allow others to be able to enjoy and experience this.

What is your favorite thing about working at Vertex?

My favorite thing is easily the diversity of projects and locations. Sometimes projects are in New Jersey, sometimes they’re in Canada, and project types are everything from military and renewable energy to many others. It is interesting to see how different projects are managed. I had an opportunity to work with Diana Minchella on a matter and she was very helpful and I valued her time and knowledge.

What is an interesting thing about you your co-workers may not know?

The love I have for history and culture, as I have traveled a lot. My goal in life is to visit every state in the U.S. and every country in the world. So far, I am halfway through the states and have been to about 17 countries. It is great to visit and amazing to learn about the vast differences in cultures.

One of my most memorable trips was to my cousin’s wedding in Nebraska, as my family and I were able to visit all the surrounding states. When I was younger, I was involved in FCCLA, a leadership and community extracurricular club, and I traveled to different states with my friends. I learned a lot about leadership, community, and of course, culture.

My favorite place in the U.S. is New Orleans. I went there for volunteer work, and we ended up getting a tour with a local. We were able to meet the people, taste the food, and experience the environment – the true meaning of southern hospitality. My favorite place in the world, so far, is Rome – no explanation needed, it’s Rome!

Surety Spotlight

Nick Deeley
Division Manager, Surety Claims Consulting
Irvine, CA
Joined VERTEX in August 2015

Nick is a Division Manager out of VERTEX’s Irvine office. Originally from Kailua, Hawaii, Nick moved to Irvine, California in 2019. He attended the University of Hawaii, where he got a Master’s in Public Administration. Having grown up in Hawaii, Nick loves hanging out on the beach, so he moved from Hawaii to California to make sure he would still have plenty of sunshine and beaches.

What is your background and educational background?

I have an undergraduate degree in history, and a Master’s in Public Administration. I was not very focused when I was younger and would get into trouble. After getting into a fistfight at a bar, I decided I needed a change. So, I moved from Hawaii to California and went back to school. The only subject that I enjoyed was history, so I loaded up on any courses related to history, locked myself in a room, and graduated in three years from San Francisco State. I planned to get a master’s in Urban and Regional Planning but ended up getting a Master’s of Public Administration thinking I would work for the government.

How long have you been in the AEC industry?

I have been in this field for about 14 years. My father-in-law managed a large A&E firm and offered me a position writing environmental assessments for large construction projects. My first project was in the Marshall Islands on a runway safety area and land reclamation project. The client liked me so much he requested I be the PM on the project, so I went from just writing a report to the PM of a $38 million international airport project. I was coached a lot, but it went well and was a great experience.

If you changed professions tomorrow, what would you be doing?

I always thought I would make a great high school guidance counselor and basketball coach. I even took a Master’s course in counseling. I like people, and I like problem-solving, so that’s why working with others has always been appealing to me. Eventually, I hope to own a bar: a hole in the wall, where only a handful of people show up at a time. That way, I can tell tall tales, hear good stories, and meet new people.

What was it like living in Hawaii?

The best thing about living in Hawaii is the culture. In Hawaii, it’s about the person you are not the things you own. Your problems are never more important than anyone else problems. Anyone older than you is called Aunty or Uncle because that is how we view our community, like family. The beach and sun are also not bad.

Student Spotlight

Max Elliot, PMP
Senior Project Manager, Construction
Master of Engineering Candidate
Irving, TX
Joined VERTEX in July 2016

Max is a Senior Project Manager in VERTEX’s Real Estate Construction Services team, based out of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Max has a BS Degree in Construction Science from Texas A&M University with a Minor in Business and is currently pursuing a Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering (focus on Construction Engineering and Management) from the University of Colorado.

Through the Lifetime of Learning Program (LOLP), Max has acquired his Project Management Professional Certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI) and hopes to eventually obtain his Professional Engineering license to expand his reach of services to support a variety of stakeholders within the AEC industry. Max has already leveraged his coursework within the program to support VERTEX’s online blog/insight topics. Check out his most recent article on the impacts of COVID-19, Construction Industry Health Assessment with Building Permit Analysis.

“The AEC industry, in particular, is one that is built on individuals that thrive on unique challenges and constantly learning to better themselves and their organization – what better vehicle to exemplify that than VERTEX’s LOLP program.”
– Max Elliot, PMP

Surety Spotlight

Kiet Le, PhD
Project Engineer, Surety Claims Consulting
Dallas, TX
Joined VERTEX in August 2019

Kiet is a Project Engineer out of VERTEX’s Dallas office. Originally from Vietnam, Kiet came to the United States during his senior year of high school. He moved to Dallas from Oklahoma and joined VERTEX in August 2019. Growing up in Vietnam, his favorite childhood memory is playing soccer with his friends in temperatures over 100°. Kiet’s favorite thing about Dallas is the variety of foods. He obtained his Bachelor of Science at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, where he majored in Engineering/Physics. He obtained his Master of Science and PhD at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois, where he studied Civil Engineering with a concentration in Construction Engineering and Management.

What is your favorite thing about working at VERTEX?

What I love most is the group of people I get to work with daily. I currently work with Kenneth Jones and Mark Stein in our Dallas office. Both Mark and Ken are always helpful and offer great advice on my projects whenever I run into problems. I was initially hired by Jay Cabello; Jay was a great mentor who taught me a lot about how things work and operate in surety. Jay now works for a surety provider, and I look forward to continuing to work with him and maintaining our relationship. Additionally, I was able to travel to other offices in Colorado and California, where I worked with different Division Managers and Project Managers. It was a great experience to work with others within the surety group and to learn from them.

What interested you in applying to VERTEX?

I really was attracted to the wide variety of services and projects within the surety, construction, and completion groups. It’s been nice to be involved with the different aspects of each group, and I’m looking forward to learning more from all of them and having the ability to work across different project types and teams.

How does your experience at VERTEX differ from your previous job experience?

I worked in the field 80% of the time at my previous jobs. I also traveled a lot; once, I was gone for two years straight. So far, with VERTEX, I’ve spent 99% of my time in the office. I see that shifting soon, as I will likely be on a completion job and can expect to be in the field more often, something I am looking forward to! I think I will have a nice balance of field and office experience with Vertex.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love to play poker. If I wasn’t working at VERTEX, I would love to be a professional poker player. At first, I played poker while in college. It was a great way to socialize with friends and network. From there, my interest grew and I wanted to play more to improve my skills. Eventually, I played a lot online and earned a little side money during my college years. Poker requires a lot of skills, such as math, strategy, logic, and the ability to understand human behavior. One funny note: I thought I was good at poker until I played in a game where I sat between a grandmaster in chess and a math professor at MIT – they turned out to be a lot better than me.

What is your favorite Netflix series?

“24” is my favorite. Although it’s about 10 years old, it is still a great show. I like action series and “24” fits right into that category!

Student Spotlight

Lance VanDemark, PE
Vice President, Civil Engineering
PhD Candidate
Denver, CO
Joined VERTEX in February 2012

Lance is a Vice President in VERTEX’s Civil Engineering Group, working from the Denver region. Lance has a BS degree in Civil and Mechanical Engineering, MS degrees in Structural Dynamics and Engineering & Technology Management, and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Colorado.

At the University of Colorado, Lance is working under Dr. Caroline Clevenger preparing his dissertation on dispute resolution within the construction industry. Having completed his doctoral classwork, Lance is currently working on completing his dissertation and is involved in researching common alleged engineering defects and dispute resolution with multiple publications by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

“A lifetime of learning has afforded me the opportunity to grow and continually challenge myself both personally and professionally.”
– Lance VanDemark, PE