Water Resources Division - 2020 Vision & Integrity Award Winners

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“DESIGN with Vision.  BUILD with Integrity.”  We are fortunate to have so many talented team members who commit themselves to our mission every day.  The level of technical knowledge it takes to design such challenging projects and the quality of craftsmanship that is applied to every job requires a team of talented professionals who truly stand out above the rest.

The Vision Award recognizes individuals who are innovators in their field, deliver high-quality work, foster an environment of collaboration, and have a strong work ethic. We are proud to recognize the 2020 Vision Award winners, Chris Curtis and Cory Warnock!

Chris Curtis is a licensed Electrical Engineer in nine states and is based in our Boise, ID, office. As our Electrical Design Group Lead, he has a passion for electrical engineering and shows particular excitement for new opportunities to further diversify our electrical services.

This same passion drove Chris to earn his Professional Engineering license in Fire Protection in 2020—even as he dedicated many late hours and weekends to his projects and clients. He is now a licensed Fire Protection Engineer, as well as a Certified Fire Protection Specialist with the National Fire Protection Association, and a certified Fire Alarm Systems Technician Level IV with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies. While marketing these skills to our existing clients, he took advantage of several exciting chances to leverage these qualifications; Chris was critical to the start-up and commissioning of one of McMillen Jacobs’ power-plant projects, traveling frequently to the project site despite the pandemic and he also traveled to India to provide engineering support for a construction project part of an international military sales agreement between the U.S. and India after being specifically requested by the client because of his expertise in fire protection.

Chris said the toughest part, of what was ultimately a successful year, was the constant travel and being away from his family, which was rough on all of them. The pandemic also added its own complications to the mix, such as ghost airports, and limited travel resources such as restaurant closures. But through it all, his continued motivation for growing a niche market and for his technically and professionally interesting projects kept him going. These projects presented golden opportunities to make invaluable contacts—especially in India—in the electrical and fire-protection disciplines, gain in-depth technical knowledge of new systems and types of work, and should yield interesting opportunities for both himself and for McMillen Jacobs as a whole.

Chris stayed the course throughout 2020, never lost enthusiasm, and continued to look ahead. He exemplifies the strong work ethic, mentoring approach, and meticulous precision that the Vision Award stands for, and he is a well-deserved recipient. Hopefully, that Diamond Medallion airline status he achieved can now be used to take his family on a celebratory vacation in 2021!

Cory Warnock has over 20 years of experience specializing in FERC licensing, relicensing, and natural resource study program development and implementation.  Cory provides strategic and technical support related to all aspects of hydro licensing and compliance and has extensive experience collaborating with and presenting to federal and state agencies.

In 2019, Cory became the Regulatory and Licensing Group lead and made an immediate impact on the culture of his group. He leads by example with positivity and has the support of his team, who believe in him and his abilities. He’s a true seller doer and his business development abilities are centered on his relationship-building skills with his clients. Having to pivot in 2020 from face-to-face client interaction to virtual meetings and conference calls was the biggest challenge Cory faced, but the quality of his client service never faltered. He and his group kept the client’s needs and objectives a top priority and continued to efficiently manage numerous projects and a demanding workload.

The leadership at McMillen Jacobs is one of Cory’s favorite parts of working here, and his enthusiasm is reflected in the quality of work he delivers. Cory said having his opinions and perspectives heard by the management team is refreshing and gives him the feeling of ownership to run his group how he thinks is best. Cory serves as a primary marketer for the Regulatory and Licensing team and has helped substantially grow the backlog for the regulatory group by approximately $10M over the next four to five years.  Through Cory’s relationship with a key client over a 10-year licensing effort, we are now positioned for a $60M Design-Build Hydropower project coming out later this year.

We are excited to see the continued growth in Cory and his team over the next five to ten years, and it is our honor to provide him with the Vision Award.

The Integrity Award recognizes personnel who are self-motivated to complete work on schedule and deliver high-quality products, go above and beyond to meet client expectations, and help team members arrive at the finish line together. We are proud to recognize the 2020 Integrity Award winners, Matt McDowell and Paul Rader!

Despite the pandemic, McMillen Jacobs was fortunate enough to be presented with multiple opportunities for new projects in 2020. Our teams ferociously and continuously chased new work, but with each new potential job, comes a taxing and collaborative process of bidding and proposing our services. Each job we chase requires an extensive review completed by our estimating team to determine the best and most competitive cost we can provide clients for our services.  Two members of our estimating team, Matt McDowell and Paul Rader rose to the challenge to ensure that no potential project was neglected, and no corners were cut during the estimating process. They learned new processes for estimating, met new and growing expectations that were set for them, shouldered tremendous workload, pursued work for new clients and in new market sectors, and each stepped up as leaders. Together, these two carried the vast majority of the estimating workload for the 2020 work year, helping the division to produce over $850,000,000 in unique estimates which resulted in securing over $135,000,000 in new work for the company.  Each of these employees displays the dedication, positive attitude, and commitment to quality that defines the Integrity Award. Congratulations, Matt and Paul!

Matt McDowell has led cost estimating efforts on many water resource projects including new or upgrades to existing fish passage structures, diversion dams, hatchery facilities, hydro plants, and heavy civil projects. He brings a unique perspective to the design team with his 23 years of experience working in the field constructing a variety of projects, serving in assistant project management capacities, and most recently as a lead estimator for the past 5 years. Elements of Matt’s estimated and secured work have included heavy earthwork and grading projects, concrete structures, complex mechanical systems, and metal fabricated elements.

Matt is a prime example of going the extra mile. While always delivering reliable and notable work, he continually supports his team, never falls short of being prepared or meeting a deadline, and always leads by example. In spite of the stress a deadline-driven environment can bring, he maintains a positive attitude, provides support and input wherever he can, and never loses focus on the end result.

Paul Rader has more than 14 years of construction experience, having noted successes in Critical Path Method Scheduling for design-build, EPC, and Design-Bid-Build contracts. He brings a unique skill set with a background in construction project management as well as estimating and is also a registered Professional Engineer. He has a broad base of experience in all facets of construction management (CPM scheduling, forecasting costs, quantity tracking, estimating, progress reporting) and engineering (plan review, conceptual design, consultant management). Many of his scheduling tasks have included very complex construction projects up to 3 years in length with over 2,700 activities. He has estimated projects in many different sectors and disciplines of the construction industry including heavy-civil, hydropower, penstocks, bridges and structures, mechanical systems, and structural steel.

Paul is a focused and hard-working individual with a mind and focuses on the details. He is committed to maximizing profits for McMillen Jacobs through his detailed estimating work. Paul has spent countless hours each week assuring his work is precise while maintaining a great attitude that his colleagues have recognized.