Meet This Year’s Construction HR & Training Professionals Conference Speakers
Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Caddell Construction
Meet the Speaker: Jaime Andress
Jaime has nearly 15 years of experience in the field of Human Resources. Her career includes an extensive background in training design, curriculum development and facilitation, as well as employee relations, development, and performance management. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Huntingdon College, an MBA from Auburn University at Montgomery and has also earned the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation.
With special interest in partnership building and creating opportunities to invest in people for the life of their career, Jaime brings positive momentum for long-term success of the employees she represents. She has served as a speaker at numerous industry events and was named as one of AGC Alabama’s 40 Under 40 in Construction. Jaime currently serves on the national AGC HR/Training Education & Development steering committee.
Special Counsel, Littler Mendelson
Meet the Speaker: Bruce Buchanan
Mr. Buchanan received his law degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1982 and served as senior trial specialist for the NLRB for 20 years. During the period of 1991 to 2003, he also served as an Adjunct Professor at William H. Bowen UALR School of Law, where he taught Labor Law, Employment Law and Professional Sports Law. He entered private practice in 2003 and started his own law firm in 2016 and remained there until joining Littler in July 2022.
Mr. Buchanan is the co-author of the book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook (2d ed. 2017). Mr. Buchanan is frequently published and maintains a strong social media presence, including blogging about employer immigration topics on Twitter – @buchananvisalaw and for Littler publications. He is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association’s (AILA) Verification and Documentation Liaison Committee, the editor of the Tennessee Bar Association’s (TBA) Labor & Employment Section newsletter, and the past-Chair of TBA’s Immigration Law Section. Mr. Buchanan is a frequent speaker on employer immigration compliance topics at conferences for AGC, SHRM, AILA, TSWB/APA, and TBA. Mr. Buchanan is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Arkansas as well as the following Circuit Court of Appeals: 5th, 6th, 8th, and D.C.
Partner, Faegre Drinker
Meet the Speaker: Stuart Buttrick
Stuart Buttrick is one of the most prominent management-side labor attorneys in the United States. Stuart is also the team leader of the Faegre Drinker labor management relations (LMR) team. He represents employers nationwide in labor relations matters, including in proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in arbitrations, in litigation and in contract negotiations.
Keynote Speaker + President, Shift Yes
Meet the Speaker: Galen Emanuele
Galen Emanuele transforms the way teams and organizations approach and establish culture, perform together, and impact each other at work. His unique content massively improves team dynamics, communication, EQ, and generates high-level performance and engagement. Galen has a unique gift of cutting through the noise and fluffy language to translate broad concepts into simple, practical skills and mindsets. A highly sought-after international speaker, with clients including Microsoft, Safeway, and NASA, Galen also is a world-class improviser and has toured with the cast from Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Dream Manager, Zachry Construction Corporation
Meet the Speaker: Eli Embleton
Talent Acquisition & Development Specialist
Meet the Speaker: Sarah Eubanks
With over 15 years of experience in Human Resources and leadership, Sarah Eubanks, SPHR, understands what it takes to be an advocate for people while driving business results. Having worked in a variety of industries, she brings innovative strategies to the organizations she works with and for. Although her experience is broad, Sarah’s areas of focus over the last decade have been talent acquisition, people development, and DEI strategies.
Driven by her passion for people, Sarah is able to bring organizational values to life. Through recruiting and developing staff, she keeps a positive work culture alive and well. In doing so, employees remain engaged in themselves and the company. Creating that sense of belonging has been a strength and differentiator in her professional life. One she enjoys as it means seeing the success of people both personally and professionally.
While Sarah enjoys what she does, she also enjoys her personal time. You can find her travelling with family and friends, hosting parties at home, reading, and recently, lifting weights again. She is open to consulting opportunities, so reach out and let her know how she can partner with your organization in their next strategic initiative.
Senior Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director, Fortis Construction Inc.
Meet the Speaker: Seniye Groff
She holds a Master of Science in Adult Training and Development. She is the winner of several awards recognizing outstanding performance, including the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce Women of Vision award in 2021. She has authored articles and presented to national audiences on best practices for effective employee performance and organizational development.
Seniye is a serial volunteer and serves a variety of organizations. In particular, she loves to help women make long-lasting changes in their own lives. Seniye rarely sits still and often is walking, running, playing tennis or hiking. She also spends time with her daughters. She is an avid cook, traveler and reader.
CareerStarter Program Manager, NCCER
Meet the Speaker: Tara Hagood
Tara Hagood is the CareerStarter Program Manager for NCCER in Alachua, Florida. Tara’s primary focus is strategically connecting employers, educators, and job seekers within the CareerStarter platform and ensuring this groundbreaking tool meets and exceeds the needs of the workforce. With a professional history of facilitating industry exposure and workforce development initiatives, Tara is an advocate for connecting individuals to the rewarding career pathways within the construction industry. Spearheading Build Your Future’s CareerStarter program, serving on the board of the NAWIC Greater Orlando Chapter, and supporting nonprofits across Central FL, Tara believes that building people up is what builds a better future.
Learning and Development Consultant, Gallup
Meet the Speaker: Shawna Hunt
Prior to joining Gallup, Shawna worked with a utility company as a leadership development consultant, where she designed, delivered and deployed strategic initiatives to maximize organizational performance. She also served for seven years as a senior leader at a shipping organization, specializing in organizational development, training and customer service.
Shawna has a bachelor’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Trent University. She holds coaching certifications from the International Coach Federation (ICF) and Gallup.
Director of Education and Development, Nabholz Construction
Meet the Speaker: Chris Kotter
Wanting to re-discover his passion for education, Chris transitioned to Director of Education and Development in 2017. In this role, he utilizes his past experiences to create real world training environments where Nabholz employees discover best practices and grow their careers.
Recruiting Supervisor, Garney Construction
Meet the Speaker: Christina Lopez
Christina Lopez has been with Garney Construction since 2008. Christina currently manages the craft, salary and college recruiting programs for Garney, a self-performing general contractor. Christina takes pride in working for Garney Construction whose goals and philosophies include allowing all Employee-Owners to achieve their full potential and provide service to our community and customers. Prior to Christina’s career in HR, she was a Chemical officer in the U.S. Army.
President, NAWIC Greater Orlando Chapter 73
Meet the Speaker: Kelly Phelan
Outside of Kelly’s professional accomplishments, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as well as participating in charitable activities.
VP, Chief Human Capital Officer, J.F. Brennan Company
Meet the Speaker: Janelle Pogodzinski
Prior to Brennan, Janelle was a part of HR teams in the manufacturing and foodservice distribution industries. She is passionate about creating an environment in which learning and development is at the forefront and focused on doing the right thing for the company and its employees.
When not at work, Janelle spends time with her husband and two daughters enjoying outdoor activities at the lake.
President, PAS, Inc.
Meet the Speaker: Jeff Robinson
A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, Jeff has over forty years of experience in the construction industry. Prior to founding PAS, Inc. in 1979, he spent ten years with a large Midwest contractor, holding several project positions in accounting, office management, controls, workforce planning, and corporate positions in human resources and compensation administration.
Jeff is a member of the Associated General Contractors of America, the Construction Financial Management Association, SHRM, AICPA, and WorldatWork (formerly the American Compensation Association). He is a past national secretary of the CFMA and currently serves on CFMA’s Financial Benchmarker Committee and CFMA’s Publications Advisory Committee. Jeff is also a member of AGC’s Open Shop and Union committees.
Founder & President, iBuild U.S.A.
Meet the Speaker: Debbie Rodriguez
Debbie Rodriguez is driven and dedicated with a motto of ‘In in to Win it”. She has built a solid reputation as a minority woman business owner over the last two decades. She possesses well over twenty years-experience in construction. She was a vital part in starting Quality Labor Management and is the operator of two Florida locations, Orlando and Jacksonville. QLM specializes in staffing for industries such as construction, light industrial, professional services, hospitality, and manufacturing.
In 2009, Debbie opened Competitive Edge Partners and Consulting. CEP&C is a prime subcontractor specializing in Division 1 General Requirements and Division 16. Electrical, Painting & Finishes, Safety Consulting Partnering with general contractors. CEP&C was an OBJ #12 minority owned business in Orlando. She is the owner & CEO serving Orlando, North Florida and West Coast of Florida.
In 2015, Debbie recognized the industry need for skilled workers in construction. Debbie founded iBuild Central Florida bridging industry leaders with the education for skilled trades. Today she serves as the organizations current board chair as well as professionally supporting apprenticeship programs through her business. iBuild continues to grow both in geography and increasing programs for training.
Debbie is always involved in the community including service on the Board of Associated Builders & Contractors, Past President of National Association of Women in Construction supporting various non-profits in Orlando. She has been named OBJ’s 40 under 40 and in 2021 was named by the Orlando Business Journal as one of the top 20 most influential women in Orlando. She is driven and accomplished, also grateful for all the support she gets from employees, friends, and her family.
Director, Human Resources, Force Construction Co., Inc.
Meet the Speaker: Richard Rouse
Richard earned his Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership and Supervision while working full-time and helping to raise a family. Currently, he and his wife raise their 12-year-old granddaughter who struggles with mental health issues, and this has helped Richard to better understand the importance of good mental health initiatives in the workplace.
Chief Economist, Associated General Contractors of America
Meet the Speaker: Ken Simonson
Ken has over 40 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic and tax issues. He currently serves as an advisor to the Census Bureau’s construction data re-engineering initiative. He is a Fellow and past president of the National Association for Business Economics, and he is co-director of the Tax Economists Forum, a professional meeting group he co-founded in 1982.
Ken has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, and an MA in economics from Northwestern University.
Principal , Jackson Lewis P.C.
Meet the Speaker: Leslie Stout-Tabackman
Leslie regularly counsels and represents clients with matters before the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division, including Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issues and prevailing wage and benefits issues arising under the Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA).
Leslie is a frequent speaker at seminars and conferences on wage and hour and prevailing wage law matters, including presentations for the Practicing Law Institute, the Power & Communications Contractors Association, and several events hosted by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers and state -affiliated mortgage brokers’ associations regarding wage and hour compliance in the mortgage industry. In addition, she has developed and co-taught a course on prevailing wage laws and co-taught a course on covenants not to compete for the District of Columbia Bar’s Continuing Legal Education program.
She is a current senior editor of Wage and Hour Laws: A State-by-State Survey (BNA-ABA publication).
Learning & Development Manager, STO Building Group
Meet the Speaker: Mark Surma
Mark helps to manage learning and development initiatives for the STO Building Group, which includes live training, content creation, and talent management. Fueled by 20+ years of people leadership in a wide variety of industries, he is passionate about ensuring that all employees have the opportunity to grow and develop through purposeful goal-setting and voluntary hardship.
First Vice President, Employee Benefits, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc.
Meet the Speaker: Julie Taffera
Owner, Personal Strategist, CTP Solutions, LLC.
Meet the Speaker: Andrea Wright
Andrea started CTP Solutions, LLC to address the ever-growing need for coaching, training, and strategy related gaps in organizations. She helps her clients empower their teams and team members to be the best version of themselves. Her unique experiences at all levels of organizations allow her to connect with individuals and companies to offer a personal approach and deliver solutions that work.
Andrea has over 20 years’ experience in coaching, training, facilitation, process development, strategic direction, and project management. She got her boots dirty on many jobsites, but realized her true love was with helping companies, teams and individuals achieve more. Educated as an architect, she understands that tight deadlines and even tighter resources go hand and hand. Her planning, design, team effectiveness and communications skills transcend any organization. She also understands the greatest resource an organization has is its people.
As a change leader and project manager, Andrea has had the opportunity to experience many facets of business, giving her a unique vantage point and proven solutions to corporate issues. Her proficiencies include facilitation and change management, training and training development, leadership coaching, and process development. To Andrea, regardless of the type of organization she is working with, people and leadership are key to success. How they communicate, how they interact as a team, how they address and solve problems together are all critical to achieving their desired outcomes. She facilitates this understanding by guiding the organization in enhancing communication, establishing processes and protocols, and providing to the training and coaching often needed to effectively operationalize those processes and assure their long-term success.