General Session: Behind the Scenes of an Award-Winning Federal Project

Recorded On: 08/04/2022

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CONTENT EXPIRES August 31, 2024

As design-build advances, the right processes and people can result in extraordinary outcomes, and award-winning federal projects highlight that continual progression. As the market and the definition of excellence evolves, learn from an award-winning team and jury member about what goes into a successful project. Hear from representatives of a 2021 DBIA Federal project winners how the team worked together, how design-build was instrumental in their success and what lessons they learned to help others achieve similar success.

Stella S. Fiotes, AIA, DBIA (Moderator)

Executive Director, Office of Construction & Facilities Management, (Retired)

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Ret.)

Stella is an architect experienced in planning, designing and building complex medical and research facilities. In the Federal Government she led facilities programs at four agencies, delivering buildings for biomedical research, climate monitoring, measurement & standards, and healthcare services to our nation's veterans. Since retiring from Federal service, she provides her expertise and leadership to construction and healthcare organizations and advises on facility initiatives for the VA. Stella is a registered architect and DBIA-certified professional. 


Prior to assuming this position, Ms. Fiotes was the Chief Facilities Management Officer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from 2007, where she oversaw the construction, operation and management of the NIST sites until arriving at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to her work at NIST, she managed facilities, construction and property for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at their sites across the country and led the facilities planning programs at the National Institutes of Health.


Ms. Fiotes holds a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. She is a Registered Architect in Washington, D.C., and is affiliated with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), AIA Regional and Urban Design Committee, Society for College and University Planners and Society of American Military Engineers.

Matthew A. Meeks

General Services Administration

Josh Gaghen, PE, SE, DBIA

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.

With more than 23 years of design and construction experience, Josh has participated in design and construction of over $1B in design build projects, including the Next NGA West (N2W) Program.  He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly University of Missouri – Rolla).  Josh is a certified DBIA professional, a registered Engineer in the State of Missouri, a LEED® Accredited Professional and a registered Structural Engineer in the State of Illinois.  He currently serves as Integrated Design Director in McCarthy’s Central Region.

Thomas Shelton, FAIA, LEED A

Regional Government + Defense Practice Area Leader; Senior Associate


With more than 40 years of experience, much of it focused on federal projects, Thom leads the Government & Defense practice in Gensler’s South-Central Region. His portfolio of projects includes both GSA, USACE and NAVFAC projects. He has significant expertise in managing Design Build projects totaling over  $1B in total construction costs. One of his key strengths is his ability to assemble and manage strong multidisciplinary teams, balancing the necessary mix of large and small firms required for large government contracts. Thom's calm demeanor, collaborative nature, and innate ability to focus on the big picture enable him to effectively work through the complexities inherent in federal government projects. Thom holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design, summa cum laude, from Texas A&M University and a Master of Architecture degree  from the University of Texas at Arlington. Thom will celebrate 25 years with Gensler this fall, having joined Gensler when Gensler opened the Dallas office.

Joel Barron, PE

Thornton Tomasetti

Joel Barron has 20 years of experience designing structural systems for commercial, educational, healthcare, residential, retail and sports projects. As one of the leaders of Thornton Tomasetti’s Structural Engineering practice in the Dallas office, Joel manages projects, coordinates staffing and assists with business development efforts. He is well-versed in both steel and concrete design.

Francis Merenda

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.


General Session: Behind the Scenes of an Award-Winning Federal Project
07/26/2022 at 4:15 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 08/04/2022
07/26/2022 at 4:15 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 08/04/2022
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1.25 CEU credits  |  Certificate available
1.25 CEU credits  |  Certificate available