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Speakers' Biographies

The challenges and opportunities of skyscraper cities

David Cooper, President of Buildings, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

David Cooper began his career in 1981 as a mechanical engineer in the building systems group of WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, formerly known as Flack + Kurtz. During his career, Mr. Cooper has led some of the region’s largest and most complex building projects, such as MGM’s $8 billion, 20 M f2 CityCenter development in Las Vegas, and he has been a pioneer and champion for sustainability. Mr. Cooper is a licensed professional engineer and LEED® Accredited Professional with over 33 years of experience.

 

Bill Price, Director, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, UK

Bill Price is a structural engineer who has worked on multi-award-winning The Shard from the earliest stages of design development, alongside Sellar Property, London Borough of Southwark, the architect, Network Rail and the other designers and stakeholders. In addition, Mr. Price is working on exciting commercial initiatives for Network Rail and Transport for London, a large mixed-use station regeneration project, a major new stadium and new cultural facilities in London and Stratford-upon-Avon.

 

Greg Kelly, President and CEO, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, U.S., Central and South America

Greg Kelly has more than 30 years of experience in the engineering services industry, encompassing a vast range of roles in executive management, engineering, project management, construction, and manufacturing. He started his career with a major steel manufacturing company and subsequently joined Parsons Brinckerhoff in the construction services division. Since that time he has held the position of Project Manager, Area Manager, Regional Manager and President of the Transportation Operating Company. Mr. Kelly is a licensed professional engineer in five states.

 

Andrew Cantor, Vice President of Development, Related Companies, USA

Andrew Cantor is Vice President of Development for Related Hudson Yards, the division of Related Companies responsible for the development of the 28-acre Hudson Yards site on Manhattan’s west side. Mr. Cantor has more than 10 years of experience in developing public-private mixed-use real estate projects. He joined Related in 2011 and has since played a critical role in the leasing of the first two commercial towers and the development of the inaugural residential tower at Hudson Yards. He is currently responsible for the development of 55 Hudson Yards, a 1.4 million square foot, 50-storey commercial building. Prior to joining Related, Mr. Cantor was Vice President of Real Estate for Edison Properties. He has also worked for the New York Jets and for Hines in Washington, D.C.

 

Jeffrey Smilow, Executive Vice President of Building Structures, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

Jeffrey Smilow, PE, F.ASCE, is responsible for all building structures operations throughout the USA. Mr. Smilow has over 38 years of experience in structural engineering, with an extensive background in the design and renovation of a wide range of steel and concrete structures. His portfolio of high profile projects includes the World Trade Center Tower Three, Columbia University Manhattanville, and the Citi Field New York Mets Stadium, among many others. His work was instrumental in renovating treasured landmarks such as the Plaza Hotel and Grand Central Terminal.  Mr. Smilow was one of the structural engineers tapped by the ASCE/FEMA committee investigating the response of buildings to the collapse of the World Trade Center.

 

John Britton, Director of Projects, Woods Bagot, San Francisco, USA

As Director of Projects for Woods Bagot, John Britton brings 25 years of design and management experience, specializing in mid and high-rise residential, mixed-use, hospitality, commercial and institutional projects. His portfolio includes an array of high-profile projects across the globe, ranging from the 360-meter tall Arthaloka Tower in Jakarta to the 109-unit Third Street Apartments in San Francisco. Mr. Britton has often helped clients navigate the complex design and development process from entitlements through construction.

 

Steve Hargis, Global Consulting Leader, Woods Bagot, San Francisco, USA

Steve Hargis is an industry-recognized leader in the area of real estate consulting with extensive experience in the development and deployment of workplace strategies for global corporations. As the Global Consulting Leader for Woods Bagot, Mr. Hargis leads the firm’s consulting strategy across geographies and sectors, to positively impact organizations’ ability to manage both workforce and real estate portfolios with increasing effectiveness and efficiency. Informed by over three decades of experience in architecture and interior design, Steve’s research and design projects address the challenges facing a growing number of corporations today, including the need to optimize utilization, improve facilities performance, integrate new technologies, and better engage an increasingly multi-generational, multi-regional and mobile employee base.

 

David Healy, Technical Director, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, UK

David Healy leads the Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) Engineering team in WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff’s London office. His tall buildings experience includes two major contributions to the London skyline. Mr. Healy led the M&E team through the construction phase of The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. He is currently leading the M&E design for 40 Leadenhall Street, a commercial office building arranged as two towers, with the taller 34-storey tower reaching to approximately 170 m high. 

 

James Taylor, Partner, Make Architects, London, UK

While studying, James worked at Richard Murphy Architects in Edinburgh, where he worked on a number of projects in the Arts and Education sectors. In 2002, he formed his own practice, Studio Taylor Shaw, to undertake projects in both China and London. James joined Alison Brooks Architects in London in 2004, where he worked on numerous high-profile residential and cultural schemes. James joined Make in 2006. His project portfolio includes Accordia housing development in Cambridge, Wrap House in Chiswick, Performing Arts Centre in Folkestone, urban infrastructure plan to upgrade Heuston Train Station in Dublin, two towers at the Olympic Village in Stratford and University Square Stratford project in London. He is currently working on 40 Leadenhall Street – a striking 154 m office building in London.

 

Ahmad Rahimian, Director of Building Structures, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

Dr. Ahmad Rahimian PhD, PE, SE, F.ASCE, has over 30 years of experience with the company. He has engineered numerous projects worldwide, including some of the world’s most iconic and award-winning building structures ranging from high-rise commercial and residential towers to stadiums and transportation facilities. Among those are One World Trade Center, The Shard, Trump World Tower, Hearst Tower, One 57, and Torre Mayor, the tallest building in Latin America for which he holds a patent on the innovative seismic design.

 

Yoram Eilon, Senior Vice President of Building Structures, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

Yoram Eilon, PE, has over 19 years of experience in the design of building structures. He has completed various projects through all engineering phases from feasibility studies and initial conceptual design to production of contract documents and construction administration. His experience covers the entire spectrum of building types ranging from high-rise to long-span structures and includes new construction as well as rehabilitation and alteration of existing structures. His portfolio includes One World Trade Center, Hearst Tower, 77 Hudson Street and Columbia University Manhattanville Phase 1.

 

Judith Dupré, Architectural Historian and Author, New York, USA

Judith Dupré is a writer, architectural historian, and public speaker. She is passionate about the built environment. Few writers possess her breadth of experience in writing about history through the lens of a single building type, whether skyscrapers, bridges, memorials, or churches.  A New York Times bestselling author published in ten languages, she has written books about all these subjects, including Skyscrapers, the best-selling book in the world on that topic; Bridges; Churches; and Monuments: America’s History in Art and Memory. Her editorials have appeared in America, Architectural Record, USA Today, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and Wowowow, among others. 

 

Michael J. Mennella, Executive Vice President, Tishman Construction

Michael J. Mennella has been in charge of all of the firm’s projects at the World Trade Center site since September 11, 2001. He managed the construction of the new 7 World Trade Center, One World Trade Center and Tower 4, and currently manages Tower 3, the Transportation Hub and the Vehicle Security Center. Mr. Mennella has managed the construction of many other New York icons. His career has spanned 46 years in the construction industry, 40 of which have been with Tishman. During that time he has developed significant experience on all types of projects in a range of sectors, including new office buildings, casinos, airport facilities, historic restorations, convention centres, transportation, roadway, and mixed-use facilities.

 

Kenneth Lewis, Partner, SOM, New York, USA

Kenneth A. Lewis AIA, RA, NCARB, is a Partner at SOM’s New York office. He joined the firm in 1986 and has worked on a diverse range of projects including mixed-use developments, commercial and residential towers, corporate headquarters, and healthcare facilities. Mr. Lewis began his career at SOM as a designer, serving as senior designer on numerous projects. With a special focus on New York, Mr. Lewis has managed and brought to successful completion several projects of enormous scale, complexity, and visibility, including the award-winning Time Warner Center, 7 World Trade Center, and One World Trade Center. Current high-profile projects include 250 West 55th Street and Brookfield Office Properties' Manhattan West Development.

 

Callum Fraser, Director, Elenberg Fraser Architects, Melbourne, Australia

After founding Elenberg Fraser in 1998, Callum Fraser is now recognized as one of Australia’s leading architects. Under his leadership, Elenberg Fraser has grown from a small, Melbourne-based studio to first a national, and now global, practice. Mr. Fraser is a current councillor for the Heritage Council of Victoria and a previous Victoria chapter councillor with the Australian Institute of Architects. He oversees the design platform across the Elenberg Fraser offices, ensuring projects meet their design and research ambitions while undertaking commercial planning, and ultimately achieving high-resolution outcomes. His direction has also transitioned Elenberg Fraser’s processes towards parametric design – architecture based on building performance.

 

Peter Hindmarch, Director of Structures, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Australia

Peter Hindmarch, a specialist in structural engineering practice, mainly focuses on concept design and value engineering, and providing total design, documentation and construction phase services either singly, or via strategic associations with appropriate consultants. Peter has significant major building project experience, and is highly recognized in the construction industry for introducing creative and innovative engineering solutions. For example he added value to the complexities of working within live challenging environments, such as the air-rights commercial developments at Southern Cross Station Redevelopment and the adjacent Media House (also above operating rail).

 

John Gaskin, Regional Director, Associate Director, Brookfield Multiplex, Brisbane, Australia

John Gaskin is a member of Brookfield Multiplex’s senior management team in Queensland and the founding Director of Gaskin Construction Services, which he established in 2005 (now managed by Director, Matthew Gaskin). Mr. Gaskin’s career has seen him personally involved in the delivery of many landmark projects from the Queensland Supreme Law Courts, Boondall Entertainment and Sports Complex, and Sheraton Mirage Resort in his earlier years, to numerous commercial and residential projects including iconic developments such as Suncorp Stadium Redevelopment and Indooroopilly Shopping Centre Redevelopment. In recent years, Mr. Gaskin has been engaged by both the Queensland and Australian Governments to provide professional advice and services.

 

Mark Hennessy, Director, WSP Structures, Australia

Mark Hennessy has over 26 years of experience in structural engineering consultancy, having worked in Ireland, England and now over 16 years in Australia. He has added value to a variety of development types including education, healthcare, residential, commercial, retail, industrial, leisure, recreational and government facilities. Major projects led by Mr. Hennessy include Prima Pearl, 568 Collins Street, Tower Melbourne, Lighthouse, Aurora, Swanston Central, Avant, Freshwater 38, City Tattersalls, 111 A’Beckett Street, 65 Clarke Street, 350 Queen Street, 87-105 Queensbridge Street, Platinum 2 and 295 City Road.

 

James Parakh – Urban Design Manager, City of Toronto Planning Division, Canada

James Parakh is a Licensed Architect and the Manager of Urban Design for Toronto and East York District, City of Toronto Planning Division. During the past decade, Mr. Parakh has led the urban design studio that has helped guide the review of all development in Downtown Toronto and surrounding urban areas. Mr. Parakh also has experience working in the private sector as an urban designer, project designer and project architect for both national and international projects. He is the recipient of numerous awards and has received an Ontario Association of Architects Award in 2008. He has recently led the initiative to launch Toronto's Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) branding.

 

Silvian Marcus, Director of Building Structures, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

Silvian Marcus, PE, F.ASCE, Chairman, Building Structures, is a world-renowned engineer with over 40 years of experience. He has engineered a variety of domestic and international award-winning projects. Mr. Marcus has built a reputation among leading developers, architects and builders for providing innovative and cost-effective solutions. His portfolio includes: 432 Park Avenue, MoMA Museum and Residential Tower, Memorial and Museum at WTC, 7 World Trade Center, Time Warner Center, Beekman Tower, 30 Park Place, 15 Central Park West, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Riverside South Complex.

 

Hezi Mena, Senior Vice President, Building Structures, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

Hezi Mena has over 14 years of experience in the design and construction of various large scale projects for architectural, institutional and developer clients, involving project coordination and contract/construction administration. He has completed various projects through all engineering phases from feasibility studies and initial conceptual design to detailed engineering and assistance to the field team during construction. His portfolio includes a number of notable projects such as 432 Park Avenue, 56 Leonard Street and 30 Park Place.

 

Gary Pomerantz, Executive Vice President, Building Services, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

Gary Pomerantz, PE, LEEP AP, has over 35 years of experience in heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems design, including 18 years with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff. He has applied his expertise to a variety of project types, both domestically and internationally, including academia, broadcasting, commercial, cultural, laboratory, residential and numerous sports facilities. He has designed some of our most significant projects, such as the New York Times Headquarters, Hearst Tower, Lotte Tower and the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

 

David Penick, Managing Director, Hines, New York, USA

Mr. Penick is a partner in the New York office of Hines and has been responsible for a wide range of real estate assignments during his 24 year tenure with the firm totaling over 8 million square feet in the New York metropolitan area. He is a project officer for 56 Leonard Street and 53 West 53rd Street (MoMA Tower), and had the same role on projects such as One Jackson Square, 40 Mercer, 425 Lexington Avenue and 383 Madison Avenue. He participated in the repositioning of 31 West 52nd Street and managed design and construction of the 450 Lexington Avenue development. Prior to joining Hines, he had been an Associate Partner with a leading international architectural firm where he planned and designed over 14.5 million square feet of different building projects.

Dana Getman, Associate Principal, SHoP Associates, New York, USA

Dana Getman is a registered architect at SHoP, leading some of the firm’s largest and most complex projects in New York City. She recently completed the project management of 111 West 57th street, a 1,400 ft tall terracotta and bronze supertall residential tower located adjacent to the original Steinway showroom overlooking Central Park. When completed, the tower will be the most slender occupiable building in the world, with a slenderness ratio of greater than 20:1. She headed the winning SHoP-led scheme for Essex Crossing, a 1.65 million sf master plan for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area master plan and led the team during key phases of design and construction for the East River Waterfront, including Pier 15 and the Esplanade.

 

Steve Burrows, Executive Vice President, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, USA

Steve Burrows, CBE, PE, LEEP AP, is a structural engineer with over 30 years of experience in engineering buildings of all types, including stadia, mixed-use and commercial buildings, retail developments, hotels and airports. Mr. Burrows has experience in forensic engineering and structural assessment of damaged buildings. His portfolio includes Apple’s planned headquarters in Cupertino, CA; the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing; Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business; and the City of Manchester Stadium in the UK. His many awards include the Brunel Medal, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Norwest Holst Prize for Civil Engineering, and the Institution of Civil Engineers Prize.

 

Nick Jackson, Director, Eric Parry Architects, London, UK

Nick Jackson joined Eric Parry Architects in 1990 and became a Director in 1997. After working in London on a number of projects, Mr. Jackson established the Kuala Lumpur office, where the practice completed an award-winning residential development, Damai Suria. Back in London, his project portfolio includes Chiswick Park, Pembroke College, Stockley Park, Mandarin Oriental refurbishment project, 30 Finsbury Square, 5 Aldermanbury Square, 14 St George Street and 50 New Bond Street. He is currently leading the team for St. James’s Gateway and working on the masterplanning of a residential scheme for the Dairy Crest site at White City, as well as for Granta Park.

 

Ken McBryde, Principal, HASSELL Architects, Sydney, Australia

Ken McBryde leads design in HASSELL’s Sydney studio and is the Founding Chair of the CTBUH New South Wales Committee. He has a particular interest in engineered timber. Before joining HASSELL in mid-2013, he co-founded a research and development practice, innovarchi, and was responsible for the design of D1 Tower. His training includes four years with Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) in Genoa and Paris, and four years as Local Representative for Renzo Piano on Aurora Place in Sydney. In 2013, he collaborated with RPBW on the Barangaroo Crown Casino Design Competition entry and led HASSELL’s invited competition entry for the Greenland Centre.

 

James von Klemperer, Principal, KPF, New York, USA

James von Klemperer is President and Design Principal at KPF where he began as a young architect in 1983. His work ranges in scale from a house to a city, and he contributes closely to these efforts from conception to completion. A major focus of Mr. von Klemperer’s work has been to heighten the role that large buildings play in forming urban space. His portfolio includes projects such as Plaza 66 and the Jing An Kerry Center in Shanghai, Central Place in Beijing, the Lotte World Tower in Seoul, One Vanderbilt in New York, New Songdo City in Korea, Dongbu Financial Center in Seoul, Park Fifth in Los Angeles, Riverside 66 in Tianjin, Wanda hotel and residential towers in One Nine Elms in London.

 

Peter Weingarten, Principal, Gensler, Oakland, California, USA

Peter Weingarten co-manages Gensler’s Oakland office, leads the Commercial Office Building Developers Practice Area and directs the architectural practice for the Northwest Region. Fascinated by community and the human condition, he applies his natural inquisitiveness to making places that improve how we live, work and play. His leadership in urban development reflects a passion for sustainability and intelligent architecture that performs for its owners while inspiring its users. Currently he is the San Francisco City Chair for the CTBUH and serves on the Building Design+Construction Editorial Review Board, the Junior Achievement of Northern California Board of Directors, and Syracuse University’s School of Architecture Peer Advisory Board.

 

Vincent Tse, Managing Director, Building Services, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, China

Vincent Tse is a MEP and VTS expert for many super tall buildings and mega projects in China and the rest of Asia.  He is also a Trustee Board Member of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) and was a Vice President of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). His key reference projects include the Shanghai Tower and Wuhan Greenland Centre (owner’s engineer), Beijing CBD Z15 Zhong Guo Jun, Tianjin 117, Guangzhou CTF and Tianjin CTF Tower, Jinan Evergrande Centre, Chongqing Raffles City, Singapore Marina Bay Sand Resorts and Suntec City, many of which are over 500 m tall.

 

Herbert Lam, Director, Building Services, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, China

Herbert Lam has extensive experience in MEP/VTS design, project management and supervision of super high-rise buildings and mega-size projects throughout the Asia Pacific Region including Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, India and China. He was also the Chairman of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Hong Kong Branch. He has participated in MEP and VTS design of Suzhou Zhongnan Tower, Shanghai Tower, Wuhan Greenland Centre (owner’s engineer), Guangzhou CTF Tower and Hefei Evergrande Centre; all of which are over 500 m tall.