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Leaders Who Meet the Moment: Honoring RS&H’s 2021 Annual Award Winners

By David Sweeney, PE

June 10, 2021

A heart held in hands, a hat and paper airplane graphic depiction for the AEC leaders who meet the moment in the annual awards.

Each year, we honor the associates who stand up and stand out as leaders helping us to improve our communities and make the world a better place. This past year, the qualities that earn associates this recognition were more important than ever, as we faced challenges head-on while continuing to deliver quality products and experiences for clients and partners.

Our annual awards ceremony is always one of my favorite events of the year, but this year’s ceremony was especially heartfelt, as we honored the dedication of these associates, discussed their achievements, and thanked them for their efforts on behalf of our clients and communities.

After a hard year for many of us, this virtual ceremony served as a reminder of what a great team we have at RS&H, one dedicated to helping each other and our communities meet the moment at hand. I’m very proud of what our annual award winners have accomplished this past year.

Learn a bit about these exemplary RS&H associates below:

 

Professional Practitioner of the Year – Jennifer Quigley

This award recognizes an RS&H associate’s outstanding technical performance and professional development.

Photo of project controls manager Jennifer Quigley with a graphic of a flying paper plane.

RS&H associates feel like family to Jennifer Quigley, and one of them actually is. In the 13 years since she joined RS&H along with her husband, Jennifer has grown from a field inspector to the project controls manager of the highly visible and complex $3.5 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion project. She’s also developed a reputation for “bleeding RS&H blue,” as CFO Holt Graves said during the ceremony.

A leader in the RS&H Project Controls group, Jennifer complements her extensive real-world field experience with continuing education. In addition to her master’s degree in construction engineering management, the Virginia Beach resident is now pursuing another master’s degree in legal studies. As part of her course of study, she is specializing in alternative dispute resolution to help our clients navigate legal aspects of construction contract issues during project execution to diminish the rising costs of delays to progress.

Jennifer leverages the insights gained through her degrees as well as her knowledge of CPM scheduling, scope control, and financial and information management to provide an unmatched level of service to our clients. Outside of work, she’s a voracious reader who often goes through 10 books in a single week. Jennifer’s dedication to learning and growing makes her a wonderful leader and a highly sought-after project controls professional.

 

Project Manager of the Year – Steve Perrot

This award recognizes the outstanding performance, leadership and relationship-building skills of an RS&H project manager.

Photo of Defense senior project manager Steve Perrot with doodled lines under it.

Defense senior project manager Steve Perrot truly takes project management responsibilities to heart, bringing an extremely high sense of awareness and readiness to every project he oversees. Those skills were key during the F-22 Design Task Order.

Managing a project as large and complex as the F-22 Design Task Order is difficult at any time. Steve did it during an unprecedented pandemic. The significant task order encompasses a $58 million low observable component repair facility, a $52 million training support squadron facility and a $45 million consolidated operations and maintenance hangar – meaning that Steve has essentially project managed three projects at once. And he has done so remotely during the pandemic, leveraging technology to meet the expedited project schedule and continually exceed the client’s expectations. With 10 subconsultants on the F-22 task order, Steve has also focused on building a cohesive team. That’s something the Norfolk office leader takes seriously throughout his work, constantly striving to amplify team morale and inclusivity.

From the F-22 project to the many other missions Steve has supported, he exemplifies RS&H’s dedication to serving those who serve our country.

 

Young Professional of the Year – Steven Derengowski

This award recognizes the commitment and achievement of RS&H young professionals who consistently demonstrate technical and professional leadership.

Photo of Aviation planner Steven Derengowski with doodle of cap.

In his five years at RS&H, senior aviation planner Steven Derengowski has proven to be not only highly technically skilled, but also an enthusiastic continual learner. Dedicated to growing his skill sets in support of clients, Steven participated in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) three-week intensive program on Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS). This program puts Steven into a unique and sought-after group of professionals, making him one of only a handful of airspace design experts in the country. 

Steven has also familiarized himself with a software called TARGETS, helping RS&H to develop, evaluate and recommend instrument flight procedures and helping our clients and fellow associates understand the “black box” of the TERPS criteria. In addition, in early 2021, he was nominated and accepted to a panel for an Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) study on alternative methods to manage tree growth near airports.

Beyond his technical and subject matter expertise, Steven also brings a unique perspective that benefits clients. Steven’s previous experience working at an airport gives him an airport owner’s perspective that informs his approach to consulting work and enriches his consulting ability.

 

Community Volunteer of the Year – Connor Janzen

This award recognizes an RS&H associate who has made exceptional contributions by volunteering in communities.

Photo of architect Connor Janzen with a doodle of the palm of a hand.

Connor has dedicated his adult life to helping others. In high school, Connor and several classmates founded a non-profit, Open World Cause, to deliver technology and educational resources to a rural, at-risk school in Nepal. After high school, Connor and the other non-profit founders continued their mission, expanding their reach to Kenya, Cambodia, Uganda, Rwanda and India. The non-profit’s leadership has also grown to include new members who have previously worked with organizations like the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

Through his role in the non-profit, Connor has been involved in partnerships with organizations like Microsoft Education, Double Robotics and Sawyer Water Filtration. These initiatives led to the construction of two new schools for partnered communities, provisions for school lunches, access to clean water, and funding for teacher salaries and administrative oversight. Connor has also helped to fundraise $130,000 through several campaigns.

Connor does all of this while working a full-time job here at RS&H as an associate based in our Denver office. In doing so, he embodies our collective dedication to making the world a better, more equitable place for all.

Learn more about Connor's work.

 

Impact Award Winner – Jennifer Palhete

This award recognizes associates who have made a profound impact and influence on the company's internal operations or public interactions.

Photo of Human Resources vice president Jennifer Palhete with a doodle of a heart.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Human Resources Vice President Jennifer Palhete rose to the challenge. From the very first potential exposure, Jennifer immediately put measures in place to ensure minimized risk to associates.

As the epidemic turned into a pandemic, through Jennifer’s leadership, RS&H moved office associates to a work-from-home posture and put safeguards in place for field associates, lowering workplace exposure to near-zero levels.

Jennifer also led HR’s creation of a grant program and a caregiver support group to help associates during the pandemic. Throughout it all, Jennifer has maintained a positive attitude and a focus on what matters most: people – associates, clients and community members alike.

 

Meeting the Moments Ahead

After a year that tested us all, there’s a lot of hope on the horizon at RS&H. In 2021, we rose to #47 on the ENR Top 500 Design Firms list. This growth is a direct result of the annual award winners and all of our associates, clients and partners who continued to help build communities and relationships in support of a better future.

In the coming years, I know we’ll keep thriving amid challenges – because our people have the two most valuable qualities: care for others and a drive to change the world.

Congratulations again to our annual award winners. I’m excited for what we’ll accomplish together.

Learn more about how RS&H helps build communities and connections between people and places.

 

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Topics: Our People, Aviation, Awards, Construction Management, Our Culture, Transportation, Buildings, News, Aerospace & Defense, Defense, Transportation Infrastructure

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About the Author

As Chief Executive Officer, Dave is responsible for RS&H’s vision, strategic direction, growth, and adherence to the firm’s core values of integrity, quality service, business success, and valuing associates. Dave joined RS&H in 1998 and has more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Throughout his tenure at RS&H, he’s held numerous leadership roles, including Transportation-Infrastructure Practice Director and Chief Operating Officer. Dave received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1986, is a licensed professional engineer in six states, and serves on several committees and boards of professional and civic organizations.

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