Meet Our Board Members

EXECUTIVE Board of Directors

Laura Carrera, Chair

Laura is an architect and partner at Urbano Architects, an award-winning architecture firm headquartered in Houston, Texas. She leads the firm's Historic Preservation studio and is passionate about transforming underutilized existing or historic buildings for modern use while maintaining the essence of their original character. In addition, Laura is a dedicated community advocate of architectural education and joined the ACE Mentor Program in 2012 - first serving as a mentor in New York City and Houston, then Fundraising Chair, and now as Chair for ACE Houston's Board of Directors.

Angela Cotie, Past Chair

Angela is a Vice President at Bartlett Cocke General Contractors and has been involved with many high-profile projects during her 23 years that have received multiple local, national, and international awards. A Penn State graduate, Angela was an ENR Texas/Louisiana Top 20 under 40 in 2015 and a 2018 STEAM Role Model for Houston Women’s Chamber. She is working with the AGC starting a local Women in Construction initiative. Angela served as ACE Mentor Houston’s Chairman of the Board for five years and now serves as Past Chair. She is also a board member for PSU’s Architectural Engineering Program, Board Member for Houston Parkinson’s Society, a Galveston Career Connect leader, HISD chamber member, and active with her children's school FFA and activities.

Tyler Wellborn, Treasurer

Tyler has spent time as a general contractor and is currently the Vice President of Development for Stream Realty, a real estate company doing development projects. He has been involved with ACE for 8+ years and currently serves as Treasurer. Some of his favorite parts of ACE include seeing the sense of accomplishment that students get after completing their final presentation and the early exposure to the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering.

Erin Kueht, Secretary

As a structural engineer by trade, Erin is passionate about helping students realize their potential and recognizing and reaching the opportunities that are available to them. She has filled the roles of mentor, lead mentor, board member, and Board Secretary since she started with ACE when the Houston affiliate started in 2009. Erin was born and raised through Houston ISD schools and loves teaching and explaining some of the amazing experiences she has had in her thirteen years experience in the industry.
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Robert Rogers, Fundraising Chair

Robert is a Vice President and structural engineer at Thornton Tomasetti. He loves seeing kids and adults grow and develop into amazing people. My favorite part of ACE is seeing the development of the students from the beginning of the year to the end. The smiles and confidence that comes when the students realize how much they've accomplished is irreplaceable. Robert has been involved in ACE at several different affiliates for over 14 years, during which time he has served as a mentor, team leader, Associate Board Chair, keynote speaker, and Board Member. He joined the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2020 and is currently serving as the Fundraising Chair.

Amy Hufnagel, AB Chair

Amy is currently the Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships at Genesys Works-Houston. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a MS in Structural Engineering and is a licensed structural engineer. Amy got involved with ACE Houston as a mentor in 2012, while working at Walter P Moore and later served as a lead mentor for three years at the Downtown location. Amy joined the Executive Board of ACE Houston in 2017 and became the Chair of the inaugural Associate Board in 2018.

Charlene Anthony

Charlene is the Senior Director of Professional Development for the Associated General Contractors of America - Houston Chapter, and has spent her entire professional career in non-profit organizations. She has been involved in ACE Mentor Houston since 2008, making her one of our inaugural members. She is passionate about education and scholarships.

Judah Auld

Judah is the Vice President of Preconstruction at McCarthy Buiding Companies and has been in the construction industry for more than 20 years. While at Kansas State he stumbled into Construction Science and fell in love. He loves finding opportunities to help high school students find and explore the field of Architecture, Construction, and Engineering. Judah has been involved with ACE as a mentor for many years and now enjoys helping to guide the direction of ACE Houston from the board. He joined the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2019.

John L. Collins

John is an attorney. He retired after 40 years representing management in labor relations and employment matters, including construction site disputes, for Seyfarth Shaw LLP, a national law firm. John is a founding member of the ACE Houston Chapter, having prepared the original documents establishing the corporation, and serving as counsel to the ACE Board and as a Board member since then.
Scott Crain, E.E. Reed Construction

Scott Crain

Scott serves as Vice President for E.E. Reed Interiors. With 20 years of experience in project and operations management, tenant improvement, and capital projects, his approach is to focus on achieving business objectives. Scott is responsible for business development, executive oversight, value engineering, budget/estimating, and marketing for E.E. Reed. He joined the ACE Houston board in 2018 and serves as the Communications Chair. Scott holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Organizational Behavior and Management from the University of Houston.

Adam Cryer

Adam Cryer is Co-founder and President of Pinnacle Structural Engineers, headquartered in Houston, Texas. He is a graduate of Rice University, who subsequently obtained his Masters in Structural Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. In 2014, Adam was named as a Top 40 under 40 professional by Building Design & Construction magazine, as well as one of Structural Engineering magazine’s Top 15 Rising Stars in the U.S. Adam is also Vice Chairman of the Board for ACE Mentor Program Houston, a non-profit organization that mentors high school students for future careers in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction fields, and has been with the program since 2012.

Diana Davis

As Managing Director of the Houston office of Perkins and Will, Diana provides strategic, executive and financial leadership, while supporting excellence in design. As Principal and Healthcare market sector leader for the Houston practice, she brings over 20 years of experience working with academic medical center and community hospital clients. Diana is excited to be starting her second year as an ACE Houston Executive Board member. She serves on the Alumni & Career Services Committee for ACE Houston.

Amy Patrick

Amy is a licensed professional engineer and serves as a Consultant with Apollo BBC in Houston, specializing in forensic structural, civil, and building envelope matters. In addition to her consultancy, she is also an adjunct professor of Structural Analysis and Design at the University of Houston - Downtown, where she has taught for seven years. She has been involved in the ACE Mentor Program, first as a mentor and then as a board member and Chair of the Scholarship Committee, for ten years.

Derek Soltes

Derek is a Senior Project Architect at IA | Interior Architects. His career as a design-focused project manager highly adept at delivering successful, profitable projects to surpass client expectations has brought him joy. He is inspired by working with others in the practice of architecture, design and construction towards a better world for all of us, and he feels blessed to be able to use his technical design leadership and mentoring skills to help others grow towards their goals. In this way, ACE is a natural fit and an extension of his desire to improve our world and leave it better than he found it. Derek got involved with ACE Houston as a mentor in 2016 and joined the Executive Board in 2017.

Melissa Turnbaugh

Melissa is a Partner at PBK architects and brings more than 15 years of specialized expertise in the planning, design and management of educational facilities for both public and private institutions. She is driven by a belief that all students should have equitable access to innovative indoor and outdoor learning environments. With her role as the National Education and Innovation Leader, Melissa serves as a resource and advocate for research-based, student-centered, and purpose-driven learning environments. In her career she has worked on a variety of projects ranging from the youngest learners in early childcare centers to advanced academics in career and technical high schools all while building meaningful, long-term relationships with clients. Melissa was excited to join the Executive Board as a member in 2020.

Derek C. Webb

Derek is a Principal and Founder of DEK Studio in Houston, TX. Derek has practiced architecture in Houston since 2004 and joined the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2021. Derek’s work can be characterized as having a deep connection to place, memory, and an intimate relation with people. A past President of AIA Houston and an AIA National 2015 Young Architect Award winner, Derek and his work have been published locally and nationally, and he is a regularly invited critic at Houston area design schools. By joining ACE, he is excited to help mentor and influence the next generation of design and construction professionals.

Chris Palamountain

Chris is Senior Counsel in the Labor & Employment practice group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Chris began serving as legal counsel to the ACE Houston Executive Board in 2019.

ASSOCIATE BOARD MEMBERS

Amy Hufnagel, Chair

Amy is currently the Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships at Genesys Works-Houston. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a MS in Structural Engineering and is a licensed structural engineer. Amy got involved with ACE Houston as a mentor in 2012, while working at Walter P Moore and later served as a lead mentor for three years at the Downtown location. Amy joined the Executive Board of ACE Houston in 2017 and became the Chair of the inaugural Associate Board in 2018.

Inga Zunte, Chair Elect

Inga is a design manager and architect at Gensler within their Lifestyle practice area. She brings over 17 years of experience working on restaurants, hotels, retail centers, and cruise ship interiors, including new construction projects as well as complex renovations that bridge the gap between interior and architecture design. Inga has mentored at the Downtown location since 2015, and she joined the inaugural Associate Board in 2018. Inga serves on the Curriculum Committee and was elected to the position of Chair Elect in 2021.

Megan Monedero, Secretary

Megan is a Project Architect with over 10 years of experience in a wide range of building types. She is currently an Associate at Stantec. Megan works primarily in the education sector and is passionate about improving educational practice through efficient and effective design solutions and local community outreach. Her advocacy for education and community has been given a voice through ACE Mentor program since she started volunteering as a mentor in 2015. Megan is honored to help students see their creative potential and support them with tools to pursue their own path to growth, ultimately shaping the future of our industry. Megan joined the Associate Board in 2020 and was elected as Secretary in 2021.

Alison Suarato

Alison currently works as an environmental compliance manager supporting Watco's terminal and port locations throughout Texas and the western United States. Alison has been involved with ACE Houston since she relocated from the northeast in 2015. Through ACE, Alison has been able to share her passion for her work and introduce students to their potential in the AEC industry. Alison served as a Lead Mentor at our Galleria location for several years and joined the Associate Board in 2020. She leads the Mentor Committee and sits on the leadership committee of the Associate Board.

Lori Amador

Lori has been working in the architecture industry in Houston since graduating from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree in 2004. Lori was an inaugural member of the ACE Houston affiliate as a mentor. Her favorite part of ACE is seeing the progression of our students through the program during high school, and she finds it especially rewarding when they come back after a few years as mentors. Lori was an inaugural member of the Associates Board, joining in 2018, and serves on the Curriculum Committee.

Andres Araiza

Andres is a Graduate Structural Engineer at Dudley Engineering in College Station. He is passionate about being involved with ACE, because of his love of learning and desire to teach young people about his experience in the industry. He loves to see when his students learn something new and share his excitement. Andres began mentoring in Houston in 2019, and he joined the Associate Board in 2020.

Gary Atkins

Gary is a Project Manager at McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. He got involved with ACE, because f his passion for contributing to the development of the next generation of architects, construction professionals, and engineers. Gary first got involved as a mentor with the Greater New Orleans chapter of ACE in 2013 and brought that experience to the Houston chapter in 2016. He joined the Associate Board in 2020.

Claudia Cepeda

Claudia is a Senior Designer for the engineering and consulting firm, Walter P Moore. She graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Houston. Claudia started mentoring in Houston in 2018 and was subsequently named Houston's Rookie Mentor of the Year for her commitment to teaching and empowering students to develop skills that they will further develop into a career in the AEC industry. She is passionate about giving back to the Houston communities that have long been underserved. Claudia joined the Associate Board in 2019 and serves on the Students Committee.

Sylvia De La Cruz

Sylvia currently works as a Project Engineer for PBK Sports. She participated in the ACE Mentor Program Houston at the Downtown location her senior year of high school, and even won an ACE scholarship upon graduating from Eastwood Academy. Sylvia gradated from Texas A&M University with a BS in Civil Engineering. Sylvia is a committed mentor for our current ACE students at the Greenway Plaza location, and her story is proof of the impact ACE Houston can have on Houston-area high school students who are interested in pursuing the AEC industry. Sylvia joined the Associate Board in 2019 and currently serves on the Students Committee.

Alexander Hohman

Alexander is a Project Architect for Stantec Architecture. Long before his participation with ACE, he was fortunate enough to be mentored by a local, gifted architect in his senior year at high school. Today the ACE organization makes the rare opportunity he experienced much more widely available. Alexander joined ACE Houston in 2019 as a Lead Mentor with the Pearland location and was a critical member of the team that navigated the shift to a virtual program in 2020. Since joining ACE, he has been passionate about developing engaging curriculum and enhancing the educational experience for students, so he was a wonderful addition to the Associate Board in 2021, where he now serves on the Curriculum Committee.

Sarah Mathews

Sarah is an architectural designer at Jacobs. She volunteers with ACE, because she strongly believes in the ACE Mentor vision to reach out and engage and guide students who are interested in pursuing a career in the AEC Industry. Sarah joined the Associate Board in 2020 and leads the Communications Committee.

Mauricio Rivera

Mauricio is a Project Engineer with McCarthy Building Companies. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Construction Management and is a native Houstonian. Mauricio has been involved with ACE Houston since 2017, when he volunteered at our annual Build it Forward event and got hooked. While still attending UH, Mauricio served as the liaison between ACE and UH and has been the pivotal organizer behind our yearly scholarship ceremony hosted on campus. Mauricio is passionate about ACE, because of the positive impact the organization makes on Houston-area students, and he loves sharing his passion for construction for the future of our industry. Mauricio joined the Associate Board in 2018 and serves on the Events Committee.

Ben Sauceda

Ben is an architect and project manager at Harrison Kornberg. He has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of markets: Educational, Civic, Healthcare, Retail and Residential. He has been involved with with ACE Houston for five years as a mentor at our Pearland and Greenway Plaza locations. Ben is involved in ACE, because he loves to share what he has learned with young students and see them learning about what opportunities are available in the construction/engineering/architecture industries. Ben joined the Associate Board in 2018 and is currently a member of the Students Committee.