Associate Professor of Practice, Building Construction Management, Purdue University
Meet the Instructor: Brad Benhart
Brad Benhart has been a mainstay in the construction industry for over 25 years. He has been involved in all aspects of construction including healthcare, commercial, residential, international, and all related aspects of training and education. In 2009, Benhart furthered his commitment and passion to construction education by accepting a Professorship at Purdue University in their Building Construction Management program.
Brad is actively involved in Associated General Contractors (AGC), American Society of Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), Builders Association of Chicago, and Indiana Contractors Association. Through his industry engagement, Benhart has been invited across the country to do presentations and keynote speeches on the dynamics of the construction industry. His position allows him to further develop construction education in the built environment and be an industry advocate for the next generation of builders. He is currently working on training programs that highlight team collaborations between architects, engineers, and construction managers. Brad was honored at the National AGC Convention as the 2014 Outstanding Educator of America. He was also awarded one of six Charles Murphy awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching out of 2,200 Purdue University professors. Benhart also has an extensive resume in industry.
Brad previously worked as Vice President of Pepper Construction Company in Chicago, Illinois. While at Pepper, he managed multiple projects ranging from $100k to $250 million dollars. He continues to be an adjunct professor at Northwestern University in project management and has actively taught and trained many employees in the industry.
When he is not in the classroom, Brad owns Integrated Construction Resources, a construction consulting company that focuses on strategic planning, training, mentoring, and expert witness analysis.
Tom Burleson is president of Burleson Construction Company, a third‐generation, 64‐year old firm in Johnson City, Tennessee. An AGC activist, Tom is a past chairman of the Construction Education Committee of the Associated General Contractors of America. He is also a Life Director of AGC of America, a past president of AGC of Tennessee, and a member of the Consulting Constructors Council and a director of the AGC of America Education and Research Foundation.
Tom is retired from the U.S. Army Reserves with the rank of colonel and served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and in Desert Storm. Tom earned a B.S. degree in Building Science from Clemson University and received Certified Professional Constructor (C.P.C.) status from the AIC Constructor Certification Commission. He is a LEED Accredited Professional.
Mark Federle, PE, Ph.D., CPC, F. ASCE, CM-Lean, NAC, is currently the Associate Dean for Academic at Marquette University. Previously, he was Chief Information Officer for The Weitz Company in Des Moines for 9 years. Prior to joining The Weitz Company, Federle was the Professor-in-Charge of Construction Engineering program at Iowa State University, where he taught for nine years. Mark earned his PhD and Masters in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Michigan. Mark is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Professional Constructor and a CM-LEAN. Mark was awarded The Career Achievement Award by Rose-Hulman in 2005. He was recognized by AGC of America as Instructor of the Year in 2011. He is a Fellow of ASCE. He is a member of the National Academy of Construction.
Risk Management Executive, American Contractors Insurance Group
Meet the Instructor: Jack Florence
Mr. Florence joined American Contractors Insurance Group (ACIG) in 2002 as a Claims Consultant. In 2007, he joined the Risk Management Division as a Risk Management Executive. He began his career in 1988 with Employers Casualty Company. In 1994 he was with Houston General Insurance Company and later joined Employers General Insurance Company as the Casualty Claims Director. His primary experience has been concentrated in commercial insurance for construction, oil and gas and governmental entities.
Mr. Florence is a graduate of Angelo State University and has earned the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), the Associate in Claims (AIC), the Associate in Risk Management (ARM) and the Construction Risk Insurance Specialist (CRIS) designations.
Melinda S. Gentile has developed expertise in all aspects of construction law and construction dispute resolution, and has demonstrated success in preparing and handling construction matters ranging from government procurement and bid protests to contract disputes, and from construction liens to defect, impact, bond and insurance claims. Ms. Gentile’s construction law practice offers substantial experience and an understanding of the development and construction process, which is used to assist general contractors, construction managers, trade contractors, design professionals, owners and sureties in avoiding and resolving disputes during the construction process.
Ms. Gentile’s representation begins at the earliest stages of the construction process, during the negotiation and preparation of construction documents, and continues through completion and any subsequent disputes that may arise. She endeavors, wherever possible, for early identification and resolution of disputes that arise during the contracting and construction process in an effort to avoid litigation upon completion of the project. When dispute resolution cannot be accomplished during the construction process, Ms. Gentile vigorously represents her clients in varied litigation proceedings. She has successfully handled a variety of matters before state and federal courts, and in arbitration, mediation, administrative proceedings and private negotiations.
In addition to her construction law practice, Ms. Gentile maintains an active practice in other areas of general, civil and commercial litigation. She has been certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as a Circuit Civil Mediator and is certified as a Specialist in Construction Law by the Florida Bar. She is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, as well as the courts of the State of Florida. She has also served as a Broward County Magistrate. Ms. Gentile has authored numerous articles on construction law and is a frequent lecturer at seminars on construction-related topics.
Anthony Huey is a highly rated speaker who offers session attendees pragmatic communications tools, tips, and techniques they can use immediately.
Anthony’s 20-year career includes tenures as a news reporter, magazine senior editor, crisis management specialist, media relations consultant and executive speech coach.
He owns Reputation Management Associates, one of the nation’s leading communications training and crisis consulting companies. Anthony has presented more than 2,000 media, crisis and presentational skills training workshops, seminars, and speeches in his career. His past client work includes a wide variety of advertising, public relations and communications initiatives for hundreds of trade associations, municipalities, and companies including Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Eli Lilly, Nationwide Insurance, The Kroger Company, and Procter & Gamble.
Anthony holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from The Ohio State University.
Robert S. Peckar is a founding partner of Peckar & Abramson. He is resident in both the New
Jersey and New York offices. Mr. Peckar has devoted his career to serving the construction industry and bar. For decades, he has represented contractors throughout the United States and the world, gaining a widespread reputation for his legal acumen, his energetic representation and his creative approach to
solving contractors’ most challenging problems. In that regard, he was among the pioneers of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques in the construction industry, guiding clients and adversaries to creative dispute avoidance and dispute resolutions processes. Mr. Peckar is currently continuing that service to the firm’s clients, but also bringing expertise to clients around the globe in regard to corporate integrity programs and anti-corruption issues.
Mr. Peckar’s unique level of service to the construction industry is exemplified by his tenure over the years as general counsel to the New York Building Congress (currently general counsel emeritus), the Building Trades Employers’ Association of New York, the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey and the national Construction Financial Management Association.
In addition, he has contributed his efforts to the Associated General Contractors of America
presenting a course entitled “Effective Dispute Resolution” to AGC’s Advanced Management
Program for more than 20 years), to the American Arbitration Association as a lecturer and
many other organizations throughout the United States.
Service to the construction bar has also been an important element of Mr. Peckar’s dedication to the betterment of the construction industry. He has been an active member of the
construction-related sections of the American Bar Association (ABA), and has presented papers
and programs at bar association events in the United States and abroad throughout his career.
He is a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers, where he has chaired its ADR
Mr. Peckar has authored many articles on construction law topics and dispute resolution in
the industry, is a contributing author in several construction law textbooks and is the author
of New Jersey Practice: Construction Law. He also serves as the Editor of Getting the Deal Through
– Construction, an international survey of construction and construction law topics published
by Law Business Research in coordination with the International Bar Association and the ABA
Section of International Law.
Mr. Peckar has been widely recognized as one of the leading construction lawyers for many
years. In the last seven successive years, he has been awarded the distinction as the Leading
Construction Lawyer in the World by the International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers.
Mr. Peckar is admitted to practice in the State of New Jersey, the State of New York, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Circuits, the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States District Court for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey. Mr. Peckar received his bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers University and his law degree from Columbia Law School.
VP, Business Development and Marketing, Bowen Engineering Corporation
Meet the Instructor: Jeff Purdue
Jeff Purdue has over 25 years of construction experience and holds a BS degree in civil engineering from Purdue University where he lettered on the baseball team for 3 years. Jeff worked at B.G. Danis out of college as an estimator until 1990 when he joined Bowen Engineering as an entry level field engineer. He progressed through increasing levels of responsibility and is presently Sr. VP of Bowen’s Southern Division. He has been involved in establishing (3) satellite offices with Bowen and is presently responsible for $ 85MM of work annually. He is a mentor in Bowen’s Leadership Program, instructor of Bowen’s Production Management System, Board Member of Junior Achievement, and member of Vistage International.
Bowen is a heavy, general contractor with annual revenues of $300 million, working in (13) states and has been in business for over 50 years. Bowen is owned by 85 stockholders who are also key Bowen employees. Bowen’s primary work includes construction of treatment plants, power plants, underground utilities and ethanol and industrial facilities.
Jeff graduated from AGC’s Project Manager course in 1993 and AGC’s Advanced Management Program in 2001. Bowen Engineering has been the recipient of 4 AGC Build America Awards of which Jeff has proudly been associated with 2 of these projects.
Senior BU EH&S Director – Central Region, Turner Construction Company
Meet the Instructor: Ian Smith
With over 17 years in Environmental, Health and Safety and 15 Years with Turner Construction Company, Ian Smith has been exposed to various markets of the construction industry. His mission is to provide an Incident-Free Environment with a focus on Lean safe practices − teaching, mentoring and coaching people to be agents of culture change.
Growing up in Connecticut and moving to Texas in 2004 opened many opportunities for Ian. He is now able to touch many people’s lives and positively cultivate a culture of safety. His wife, Jamie, and two children, Elyn and Xander, serve as his primary motivation to work safe.
National Director of Environmental Health and Safety, Turner Construction Company
Meet the Instructor: Steve Spaulding
Stephen Spaulding II is currently the National Director of Environmental Health and Safety for Turner Construction Company. He has over 15 years of industry experience and has served Turner in various capacities including Environmental, Health, and Safety, Project Engineer, Superintendent, Financial Cost Engineer, and Laborer. Steve also leads training in Environmental Health and Safety for Turner’s Annual Construction Management Training Program for local minority and disadvantaged businesses. Steve has received certification as a (CHST) Construction Health and Safety Technician and (CES) Certified Environmental Specialist.
Steve serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Safety and Health Network, CCMpower, and the Spirit of Construction. Steve also serves as a member of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and on the Safety Committee for the Allied Construction Industry. He supports The Children’s Law Center, has chaired a committee for the United Way that has built playgrounds for the Newport and Center Hill Salvation Army and a recreation center for the St. Joseph Orphanage, and has participated in projects for Habitat for Humanity and to help renovate the Welcome House of Northern Kentucky and the Women’s Crisis Center.
Steve received a B.A. in Psychology from Marshall University and a M.B.A. from Thomas More College.
Jolsna John Thomas is a reformed attorney, recent Texas business development professional turned nonprofit leader. This past April, Rosendin’s CEO requested that she work fulltime as President of The Rosendin Foundation, the charitable arm of Rosendin Holdings, the parent company of Rosendin Electric and Modular Power Solutions. Jolsna also continues to serve on Rosendin’s DEI Advisory Council to the Executive Committee. Prior to her recent promotion, she had worked as Rosendin’s Texas Business Development Manager.
Jolsna started her career in the construction industry in 2007 with the largest local construction labor organization in the nation (Operating Engineers Local 3) where she represented the interest of close to 45,000 workers as its legal counsel. She is civically engaged through a variety of leadership roles locally and nationally. She sits on the board of the local South Asian Bar Association having previously served as its President and the President of the national organization. She currently sits on the AGC of America’s Diversity and Inclusion and Business Development Steering Committees and on the Board of the Real Estate Council of Austin. Jolsna chaired the National Association of Women in Construction Austin Chapter (NAWIC) first camp for middle school girls to get hands on exposure to the construction industry locally. She also championed the addition of a trades scholarship for individuals pursuing careers in construction through apprenticeship.
In 2021, Travis County Women Lawyers Association awarded her the 2020 Advancement of Women’s Interest Attorney Award. In 2019, NAWIC Austin named Jolsna the Women in Construction of the Year and the Luna Awards named her Austin’s Business Advocate of the Year. Jolsna is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (2000) and American University Washington College of Law (2005) and maintains licenses in California and Texas.
John VanderBloemen has been a partner in The VanderBloemen Group since 2006, primarily focusing on attestation, consulting, and tax compliance and planning. Prior to 2006 he was the CFO of Downey Inc., a total mechanical contractor based out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for seven years. John graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992 and received his CPA license in 1995. After graduating from college, he spent six years working for a CPA firm based in Phoenix, Arizona. For close to thirty years, he has been involved in the construction industry, whether working for a contractor or advising clients of all types and sizes.