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Leading the way

Third annual CCR Awards highlights industry’s leading men and women

Leadership. Professionalism. Dedication. Commitment. These are just some of the tenets exhibited by our second annual CCR Men’s and Women’s Award winners. This year, Commercial Construction & Renovation again pays tribute to some of the commercial construction industry’s leading professionals. These ambassadors are on the forefront of the industry’s path forward, serving important roles in the industry, their company and their communities. Each was nominated by their peers.


President & CEO Phoenix Masonry

As President and CEO of Denver’s Phoenix Masonry, Christy is one of a few female-owned and led commercial masonry construction firms. Her leadership is uncanny. For example, the Colorado Public Works Department recently named her one of the “Top Women in Colorado Construction.” And, in 2024, she’ll lead the Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute (RMMI), becoming its first female leader in more than 50 years. Phoenix Masonry was founded after her father’s construction company became a victim of the 2008 economic crash. Started in 2010, Phoenix has satisfied the requirements to earn its status as a Minority and Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE), Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and a Regional Transportation District Small Business Enterprise (RTD SBE). Her industry commitment can be seen in places like the nonprofit Transportation & Construction GIRL, where as a long-time board member she helps young women learn about financially sustainable careers in construction. She also serves on the board of the American Subcontractors Association, the Rocky Mountain Masonry Institute and Transportation and Construction GIRL, along with being an active member of the American General Contractors Association, Associated Builders and Contractors and the National Association of Women in Construction. Christy also is a regular contributor to several trade magazines.


Co-Founder Blitz

The work says it all. The scope of what she has done—and continues to do—includes her work to help transform whole buildings, complex technology campuses, and multiple offices and restaurants throughout the US, Europe, Australia and Asia. As co-founder, Principal and CEO of the award-winning, multidisciplinary architecture and design firm Blitz, she is an expert in commercial interior design with a specific emphasis on the future of work. Founding Blitz with her husband, Seth, in 2009 at the age of 26, they landed their first major contract with then-startup Skype, which was building a 90,000-square-foot North American headquarters in Palo Alto’s Stanford Research Park. Everything took off from there, eventually growing to three studios in Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Today, the firm handles commercial, retail and hospitality projects across the world, including work with brands like Google, Instacart, Microsoft, Levi’s, Webcor Builders and Parachute Home. Along with spearheading the design and implementation of 300-plus projects totaling over 5.5 million square feet, Melissa also makes time to regularly lecture at universities, as well as contribute to technical and lifestyle publications. She also served on several AIA and IIDA awards juries.


CEO Targetti Group North America

As the CEO of Targetti Group North America, Marie is one of only a few women executives in the lighting industry directing the operations, design, development and sales efforts for one of the most respected and recognized manufacturers of sophisticated architectural lighting solutions— The Targetti Group. Marie has served in a leadership role in the lighting industry for more than 20-plus years, where she directe US Operations, managed sales and marketing, and built teams and sales forces to support Targetti Group North America’s operations. Targetti products are sold in the US exclusively through the Targetti Group North American headquarters, which is located in Costa Mesa, California and Targetti USA sales representatives. Founded in Italy in 1928, the Targetti Group has subsidiaries in the US, France, Spain, UK, Russia, United Arab Emirates and China. Born from the small shop of lamps opened in the historic center of Florence from Targetti Sankey, the company’s growth and fame came from illuminating some of the world’s most prolific art treasures, including “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, “Michelangelo’s David” in Florence, “Piazza San Marco” in Venice, the National Roman Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, among others.


Founder & CEO Kojo

As founder and CEO of a leading construction tech company, Maria continues to break down barriers. To date, Kojo—the company she founded in 2018— has raised $84 million and powered 10,000-plus construction projects across the country. With Kojo, she is helping the work become easier, faster and more sustainable by giving contractors control over their margins and allowing them to reduce costs with an all-in-one materials management platform. Kojo enables contractors to save on materials and overhead costs, increase labor productivity in the field and have visibility into their materials supply chain from project takeoff to closeout. This year, it completed a $39 million Series C funding round led by Battery Ventures, including investments from Schneider Electric and RXR, and participation from existing investors 8VC, Suffolk Construction, Human Capital and BoxGroup. As for Maria, she was selected to both Inc.’s “Top 100 Female Founder” list and “Forbes 30 Under 30.”” Under her leadership, Kojo was a “2022 SaaS Award winner,” 2022’s “Most Promising Startups,” “28 Hottest Real-Estate and Construction Tech Startups” in 2022 by Insider, as well as BuiltIn San Francisco’s “50 Startups to Watch.” She writes about supply chain and sustainability for TechCrunch and Forbes.

Highlighting industry’s leading men


VP Corporate Development Canada Visual Elements

A 30-plus year member of the store fixture manufacturing and museum display business, Neal entered the family business out of college, where he focussed on sales and marketing. His love of trade shows, industry associations and events pulled him in. As Neal assumed the reins of the family business, the success it posted via SO Showcases led to its acquisition by Visual Elements in 2017. Anticipating the federal legalization of cannabis in Canada, Neal worked with Visual Elements to create a brand called Seven Point Interiors, a division of Visual Elements. The group is dedicated to the design and build of cannabis retail. The business thrived through the COVID shutdown, becoming an invaluable resource to cannabis retailers. In the industry, one of Neal’s biggest achievements came from his involvement with PAVE (The Planning and Visual Education Partnership). Neal went on to create the Globalshop Student Design Challenge, a unique and complex collaborative project that brings students, industry, educators and brands together.


Director of Business Development VISSI Architecture + Design

With more than 25 years of sales, management, and marketing experience, Paul not only helps drive the fortunes of VISSI, but he also remains an active member of the industry. For example, he is an active member of the International Conference of Shopping Centers, Southern New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the Southern New Jersey Development Council, where he serves on varied committees for each association. In addition, he also is a member of the Board of Directors and President of BC2 a Commercial Real Estate advocate and networking group, which is a part of South Jersey’s Economic Development efforts. Formally known as Ignarri Lummis Architects, VISSI Architecture + Design is one of the oldest firms in New Jersey, where it celebrated its 100th anniversary last March. With core values of communication, approachability, and reliability, VISSI has become nationally recognized for their exceptional approach to architecture and design.


President Project Management Consortium

The retail design bug started for Chris with the legendary firm Walker Group/CNI, where he served as a junior draftsman in 1986. At the time, Walker Group/CNI was the largest retail design firm in the world, focusing on large department stores and shopping centers. Soon after, Chris went into business with his father in Miami, where from the late ‘80s to the late ‘90s, CLDA, the retail design firm they started, specialized in national department store chains and shopping centers. He also worked with Calvin Klein as international director of store planning in the late ’90s, where he designed and project managed retail stores and showrooms globally, as well as VP of project management for Robin Kramer, VP of Architecture for women’s fashion house BCBG Max Azria Group, and VP of Retail Multisite for JLL. Today, as President of PMC, he is focusing his attention on helping clients with retail expansion. At the end of the day, the company is one that is committed to helping its clients through their retail journey.


President East to West Architectural Products

After more than 20 years as owner of East to West Architectural Products (ETOW), Dean’s passion continues to be expressed through his own venture, which brings innovative and creative manufacturers into luxury brand commercial environments on a global scale. East to West Architectural provides and develops flooring products and services that accommodate all levels of specifications and design criteria. With more than 35 years in the industry, Dean helped develop commercial divisions for numerous companies. His commitment to his craft is unwavering, stating that his successes are not measured through this business, but as a platform that has given him the opportunity to serve others. Dean’s true passion continues to be his philanthropy through East to West Classic Cars, which backs our country’s veterans and those in need.

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