Tampa

WELCOME TO TAMPA BAY!

Mentoring the Engineers, Architects, and Construction Professionals of the Future

The ACE program goes far beyond technical capabilities, it requires individuals who can help the students develop leadership, organization and people skills, while also showing them a “real day in the life of” through just being yourself. Mentoring also gives the mentor an amazing networking group of others in their profession.

The ACE Mentor Program of Greater Tampa Bay provides opportunities to High School Students to learn about careers in Architecture, Construction, and Engineering from local industry leaders. This year we will be back in-person. For more information on mentoring, sponsorship, or enrolling your High School student, please contact our Board of Directors.

About Us

High school students in the Tampa area can now benefit from a nationwide program designed to introduce them to the wide range of career opportunities open to young people in architecture, construction, engineering, and related areas of the building design and construction industry.

At weekly meetings, student teams work directly with professionals from leading area firms, who volunteer their time to mentor the teams as they design hypothetical projects, tour local construction sites, and visit architectural, engineering and construction offices.

For students, it’s a unique chance to discover and develop new skills, solidify future goals and get on track to exciting, rewarding careers. In addition, many students form positive relationships with industry professionals who can provide important references for obtaining college admissions, scholarships, internships and full-time employment.

Meet our Executive Board

Curtis DeLaquil
ACE President
JE Dunn Construction

Curtis DeLaquil
ACE President
JE Dunn

Curtis DeLaquil graduated from the University of Florida in 2004 with a BS in Building Construction. He is currently JE Dunn’s market leader focused on serving educational clients in the Tampa Bay area. He has spent his entire professional career at JE Dunn, which started in Atlanta with high-rise construction in urban areas. In 2009 he began to focus primarily on educational construction projects and has worked on complex, multi-phased school renovation projects as well as ground-up new facilities. Curtis has served the local community since relocating to Tampa, through active involvement with youth sports at the YMCA, Tampa Bay Little League, and volunteer efforts with ACE Mentors.

Brandon Facini
ACE Vice President
DPR Construction

Brandon Facini
ACE Vice President
DPR Construction

Brandon is a project manager at DPR Construction. With experience in projects that vary in scope and size, Brandon brings a well-rounded and innovative approach to project management. Brandon also previously lead a community initiative team where he supported volunteer projects for Boys & Girls Club, Shriners, and A Brighter Community Day Care. Brandon’s community initiative focus is to inspire and develop construction careers in youth. Part of those efforts include involvement with Boys and Girls Club YES Academy, Build Tampa Bay Foundation (Construction Career Day for High School Students interested in the industry), ACE Mentorship, and facilitating high school construction internships.

Nelson Etienne
ACE Treasurer
Allstate Construction Inc

Nelson Etienne
ACE Treasurer
Allstate Construction Inc

Nelson graduated from Florida A&M University with a degree in Construction Engineering and Management in 2001, and is currently a Senior Project Manager with Allstate Construction here in Tampa. He has worked on projects all over Hillsborough, Pinellas County locally. He has worked on some out of state and city projects. He is responsible for overall management in the preconstruction and construction phases of assigned projects from inception through final commissioning and completion. Outside of work he spends times mentoring and volunteering with different organizations, such as ACE, Pinellas Education Foundation, Take Stock in Children, and Great American Teach in. Additionally, spends time traveling and spending time with his family and friends.

Durai Raj Martin
Scholarship Chair
Thornton Tomasetti

Durai Raj Martin
Board Member (Scholarship Chair)
Thornton Tomasetti

Durai Raj Martin is a Structural Engineer with Thornton Tomasetti. Durai Raj has a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the National Institute of Technology- Trichy in India and a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. He moved to Tampa after his grad school in 2018 and has been involved with the ACE Mentor Program as a mentor ever since. Durai has worked on a variety of design & forensic engineering projects in Tampa Bay Area and throughout Florida and a few others. Some of his favorite design projects in Tampa Bay are the Historic Stovall House renovation, Marina Pointe, CAE Training center, St. Pete Central Ave Food Hall. Durai Raj served as the President of American Society of Civil Engineers – West Coast Branch’s (ASCE-WCB) Younger Members Group during 2020-21. Durai is actively involved in multiple professional organizations in the Tampa Bay region including Emerging Leaders of Tampa Bay and is the Co-Chair of the Younger Members of the Florida Structural Engineers Association (FSEA) – Bay Area Chapter

Michelle Beckert,
CPTD
Curriculum/Program Chair
Power Design Inc

Michelle Beckert CPTD, MCCT
Board Member

Power Design Inc

Michelle is a former classroom teacher turned corporate learning manager. With her team, Michelle provides learning solutions both internally & externally by designing, developing, delivering, and maintaining comprehensive training programs reaching 2500+ users. As a chapter leader with ATD of the Florida Suncoast, Michelle works with other board members to engage and ignite the local training and development community. Michelle is also a board member with the ACE Mentoring Tampa Affiliate and works with fellow board members to bring mentoring and scholarship opportunities to students in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Education – Florida State University, Bachelor of Science in Education 2005

Katrina Pasteur,
AIA, NCARB

ACE Board
The Beck Group

Katrina Pasteur, AIA, NCARB
Board Member
The Beck Group

As Healthcare Market Sector Leader in Tampa, Katrina engages both design and construction to implement
a healthcare delivery process that caters to the goals of each client’s needs. She has over 10 years’
experience in the healthcare design market and joined Beck in 2017 to help build their regional healthcare
portfolio. She is always seeking to learn and believes in the importance of education at every level. Katrina
is a second generation Florida Gator and hopes her two boys will follow suit.

Education

  • University of Florida, Master of Architecture, May 2008
  • University of Florida, Bachelor of Design in Architecture, May 2006
  • University of Florida Design-Build Team, Southeast Conference Competition, Captain 2005-2006 team
  • University of Florida Minority Ambassadors: tour guide and member
  • Golden Key National Honor Society
  • Pi Beta Phi sorority

Affiliations

  • Registered Architect
  • National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Certified
  • American Institute of Architects, Academy of Architecture for Health Committee (2015 – present)
  • Kelley Emerging Professional Award Recipient, AIA Tampa Bay (2014)
  • American Institute of Architects, Tampa Bay Chapter: Member (2008 – present), Tour Tampa Bay
  • Architecture Development Committee/Lead (2012), Associate Director (2010), Subcommittee member for Discover Design (2011), ArchiFest (2009, 2010)

Jim Maradei,
ACE Mentor Liaison
Walter P Moore

Jim Maradei
ACE Mentor Liaison
Walter P Moore

Jim Maradei is a Principal in the structures group at Walter P Moore, based in Tampa.  He began his career as an intern with Walter P Moore before completing his B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008.  Throughout his over 14 years with Walter P Moore, Jim has worked as a project engineer, project design manager, and project manager on various project types, with special interest and expertise on sports and higher education facilities.  Jim is focused on elevating the next generation of diverse engineers and passionate about giving back to the community.  He has been a mentor with the ACE Mentorship Program of Greater Tampa Bay for three years.

Matt Walker,
PE
ACE Board
George F. Young Inc

Matt Walker, PE
Board Member

George F. Young, Inc.

Matt Walker graduated from Auburn University in 1999 with a BS in Environmental Science and subsequently he graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is currently George F. Young’s Senior Vice President, leading the engineering efforts for the company.  Matt moved to the St. Petersburg in 2006, after starting his career in Fort Myers.  Matt has experience working on commercial land development, military, multifamily, municipal, and educational projects throughout Central Florida and the Southeast. Matt has served the St. Petersburg community through active involvement with the St. Petersburg Development Review Commission, various nonprofit and civic boards, and being involved in youth sports through the YMCA and Northeast Little League.

Associate Board

Danny Russell
Oldsmar Lead Mentor
Ajax

Elizabeth Ecker
Brandon Lead Mentor

Ellison Construction

Will Brown
Tampa Lead Mentor

DPR

Katie Leonard
St. Pete Lead Mentor

Power Design

Katie Leonard
Associate Board Member

Power Design

Katie is a Learning & Development Supervisor at Power Design, Inc. In this role, she oversees the company’s apprentice program with nearly 300 apprentices nationwide. Katie started her career in college student affairs working at both USF and UCF. Since, she has found a passion for helping people start a career in the trades. In addition to her work with the apprentice program, Katie also helps to oversee Power Design’s trade advocacy efforts and has expanded their reach to local high schools and organizations. Outside of work, Katie has coached high school color guard and winter guard teams in the Tampa area.

Lindsay Ryle
Tampa Lead Mentor

DPR

Our Team Projects

Students in the ACE program typically work closely with their mentors on projects that provide hands-on experience in solving the types of design, engineering and construction challenges industry professionals confront every day.

The teams often learn how to use advanced computerized tools, such as AutoCAD, while special exercises and activities illustrate the industry’s demand for young people skilled in math, physics, economics, art and other disciplines.

Many ACE affiliates culminate their program year with special events at which teams present their concepts to mentors, families, teachers and community leaders.

Our Past Projects Include:

  • 2011/2012 – Ideal School Design
  • 2012/2013 – Dubai Bridge Proposal
  • 2013/2014 – Tampa Airport Renovations
  • 2014/2015 – Ybor City Hotel
  • 2015/2016 – Airport Concessions Warehouse
  • 2016/2017 – Julian B. Lane Park Renovations
  • 2017/2018 – Gateway to Tampa for FDOT
  • 2018/2019 – Morsani College of Medicine
  • 2021/2022 – USF Honors College
Contacts

President:
Curtis DeLaquil
JE Dunn
D: 813-940-3248

Vice President:
Brandon Facini
DPR Construction

Treasurer:
(send payable checks to):

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Tampa Bay, Inc.
Attn: Nelson Etienne
Allstate Construction
4509 N. Nebraska Ave.
Tampa, FL 33603
D: 813-231-2525
Email Nelson

Corporate Sponsorships:
Matt Walker, PE
George F. Young, Inc.

Student Scholarships:
Durai Raj Martin
Thornton Tomasetti

General questions

Publications

ACE Makes a Difference

ACE and Mead & Hunt

Events

ACE Mentor Recruitment
Download Flyer
ACE Student/Parent Orientation
9/26/2023
Register as a student/mentor OR email us for more information.

Participate in ACE!

If you’d like to experience ACE’s challenges, opportunities and rewards for yourself, contact us today!