Cogence Alliance Announces 2024 Directors

Cogence Alliance is pleased to announce the Directors of its 2024 National and three regional Chapter Boards of Directors. Directors were nominated for open positions by the Cogence partnership and approved by the National Board of Directors at its November 2023 meeting.

Board members play an essential role in developing strategy, setting policy, steering the direction of the organization, guiding the integration of new chapters, advocating for industry change, and the creation of resources that will improve outcomes throughout the industry.

Serving on the 2024 National Board of Directors:

President: Scott Wagner, Regency Construction

Vice President: Joanne Brown, Case Western

Treasurer: Armando Francisco, Lake Erie Electric

Immediate Past President: Pam Neckar, Impact PD

Secretary: Kevin Thompson, Cogence Alliance

Chair, Programs: Sean McDermott, Cleveland MetroParks

Chair, Diversity: Brad Berkowitz, Whiting-Turner

At-Large: Pat Klanac, PTA Engineering

At-Large: Jeff Appelbaum, Thompson-Hine, LLP

At-Large: Brendan Shea, Signet Real Estate

At-Large: Jerry Klanac, PMA Consultants/Univ. of Dayton

NEO Chapter President: Bob Hager, Brennen, Manna & Diamond

COH Chapter President: Jennifer Son, DesignGroup

SWO Chapter President: Alex Jonovski, Demain

Northeast Ohio Chapter Board of Directors:

President: Bob Hager, Brennan Manna Diamond

Vice President: Carter Edman, Marous Brothers

Vice President: Jeff Loyall, Turner Construction

Secretary/Treasurer: Cynthia Leitson, Tri-C

Co-Chairs, Advocacy: Ross Mitchell, TH Martin/Charlie Izzo, Infinity Const.

Chair, Programs: Aaron Lobas, Osborn Engineering

Chair, Emerging Leaders: Open

Chair, DEI National: Brad Berkowitz, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.

At-Large: Bryan Wahl, Bostwick Design Partnership

At-Large: Dean Vaughn, University Hospitals / Sodexo Healthcare

Central Ohio Chapter Board of Directors:

President: Jennifer Son, DesignGroup

Vice President: Kelly Greene, DIRTT

Secretary: Stephen Metz, SMBH, Inc.

Treasurer: Kevin Thompson, Cogence

Program Chair(s): David Scott, Brennen, Manna, Diamond; Jennifer Son

Partnership Chair: Jonathan Wilch, MA Design

Emerging Leaders: Doug Smith, IMEG

At-Large: Jeff Ortman, HAWA Engineers

Serving on the inaugural Southwest Ohio Chapter Board of Directors:

President: Alex Jonovski, Demain

Vice President: Nick Rittenger, HAWA Engineers

Partnership Chair: Steve Lawson, Shook Construction

Program Chair: Jerry Klanac, PMA Consultants

Secretary: Krutarth Jain, Champlin Architecture

Treasurer: Kevin Thompson, Cogence

At-Large: Joe Ferdelman, Heapy Engineering

Cogence and its partners welcome our new board members and thank all directors for their leadership and service!


Amber Stilson News

Cogence Makes Big Impact at Oswald All-Ohio Convocation

Cogence Alliance is proud of its leaders who presented at the Oswald Companies All-Ohio Convocation on September 7.  David Scott (Brennan, Manna & Diamond) moderated a robust and informative panel discussion on Optimizing the Design Process, a Discussion of Design Assist and Risk Reduction, featuring (l-r) Sean McDermott (Cleveland Metroparks); Adrienne Sraver (Barton Malow); and Jim Cicero (Karpinski Engineering).

This topic was very popular as nearly 45 minutes of Q&A followed the presentation.  The Cogence panelists shared a wealth of information, along with relevant examples, and received high marks on the post-conference evaluations. 

Additionally, Cogence Board member Jeff Appelbaum, Thompson-Hine, LLP and Project Management Consultants, LLC, kicked off the day’s program with his outstanding presentation “The Evolution of Project Delivery in Ohio: Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?” –  which was also hugely popular with the 100+ mostly architects and engineers in attendance. 

Thanks to Cogence partners David, Sean, Adrienne, Jim and Jeff for representing Cogence so well, and to the Oswald Companies for inviting us.


Cogence Alliance Announces Addition of Kevin Thompson as Executive Director


Cogence Alliance Announces Addition of Kevin Thompson as Executive Director

Cogence Alliance is pleased to announce the hiring of new Executive Director, Kevin Thompson.   Thompson has a wealth of more than 25 years’ experience in association management.  In previous roles he served as Executive Director for statewide trade associations, including the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation, Ohio Lawncare Association, and Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association.  Most recently, Thompson served as Industry Relations Director at The American Ceramic Society, a large international scientific society.

Kevin Thompson is an accomplished non-profit, professional association executive with a proven track-record of implementing strategies to grow membership and creating membership value in support of the organization’s mission.  He began his role at Cogence Alliance on January 3 and will manage the day-to-day operations, while helping to lead the expansion of new chapters in the region.  Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, existing Cogence chapters include Northeast Ohio, Central Ohio, and Southwest Ohio.

“Ohio is “the heart of it all,” The Design and Construction industry is on the forefront of shaping the growing economic future for Ohio and beyond.  Projects are growing in complexity increasing the need for collaboration.” according to Cogence President, Pam Neckar, Bostwick Design Partnership, Cleveland, OH.  “As an industry, we need each other to execute a successful project and Kevin will be focused on bringing us together with the Cogence mission at the forefront every day.  He will lead us to making Ohio the most effective and efficient place to design and build.”

“This is a great opportunity for me to join an innovative, growing organization that serves a vital industry”, said Thompson.  “Its mission of collaboration and teamwork to improve construction project delivery is very motivating.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of this fine organization and look forward to helping expand into new markets”, he continued.

“Cogence” comes from a Latin word meaning “drive together” or “thinking that is well organized”. Cogence Alliance brings together owners, architects, engineers, construction trades, and affiliated parties, giving each an equal voice. Its goal is to transform the design and construction industry by improving project delivery and outcomes. The Cogence Alliance believes team-based project delivery methods create opportunities for all to succeed.

For more information, please contact:

Pam Neckar, President, Cogence Alliance


Tuwhanna Williams News

Announcing the Winners of the 2022 Cogence Drive Awards

Cogence Alliance announces the winners of the 2022 Cogence Drive Awards.

Cogence created the Drive Awards to honor the best in project collaboration. The awards highlight the critical role and immense value that collaboration and innovation bring to building projects. The awards also demonstrate to the A/E/C community how their contributions are improving project outcomes.

Cogence accepted submissions in the following categories: Project Award (Extreme), Project Award (Large), Project Award (Mid-Size), Project Award (Small), Individual Award, and Emerging Leader | Rising Star. Submissions were evaluated by an independent, national jury.

The awards were presented Wednesday, September 28, at the Cogence Town Hall in Columbus, Ohio.

Drive Award, Small Project: Welsh Academy | St. Ignatius High School

Collaboration Highlights: The Owner brought the design and construction team on at the onset of the project. The collaboration and scope development accomplished in the design phase allowed for only Owner generated change orders during construction.

Project qualified for: Ohio’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

Highlights from the project:

  • The project consisted of the adaptive reuse and conversion of an abandoned 8,000 sf, two-story historic church building constructed in 1863 into a three-story 11,430 sf academy for sixth through eighth grade young men. The entirety of the interior was excavated down 1.5” for a slab on grade, then two elevated levels of structural steel and slab-on-metal deck were constructed inside of the existing building. A three-story addition composed of CMU and structural steel, brick veneer, glass curtainwall and elevator were built onto the existing building.

Drive Award, Mid-Size Project: Cleveland Clinic H Building Infrastructure Upgrades

Collaboration Highlights: Design and construction teams were onboard from the beginning. They collaborated to develop the design and plan construction. Live cost estimating allowed them to provide estimates that matched the design and installation. Even more remarkable, most construction work successfully took place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights from the project:

  • How do you replace a hospital  building’s entire power system while keeping the building online? That’s what Cleveland Clinic needed to do with the H building, located on the main campus. H building is an active patient care facility, with services ranging from radiology to neurology to urology. Its operations impact the entire campus, as its electrical systems support the main cafeteria, the AGV robot systems, the pharmacy, and more. As a legacy building with aging and antiquated electrical systems, H building needed major system upgrades to avoid the risk of equipment or system failures.

Drive Award, Extreme Project: CWRU & Cleveland Clinic Health Education Campus

Collaboration Highlights: This project had two Owners, Architects, Engineers, and Construction Managers. The project embraced a culture of Continuous Improvement and the Last Planner System.

Accreditation: LEED Gold

Highlights from the project:

  • The four-story 485,000 sf building houses CWRU’s School of Medicine and Nursing, and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. The building houses dental, nursing, and medical classrooms, labs, simulation, dental operations including oral surgery, medical and nursing clinical skills and simulation labs, faculty offices, student study and learning communities, library, virtual anatomy lab, full-scale helicopter simulation, administrative offices, as well as ancillary services.

Drive Award, Emerging Leader | Rising Star: Rebecca (Becca) Tomlinson, Bostwick Design Partnership


Becca Tomlinson approaches project teams with a level of camaraderie that bolsters levels of communication…

Becca, an associate at Bostwick Design Partnership (BDP), is an integral team member on complex healthcare projects. She emphasizes innovative, collaborative cultures and confidence in delivering successful outcomes. She has become a mentor and provided technical leadership on several collaborative projects. Most recently, she was the interior healthcare planner and designer for Cleveland Clinic’s Mentor Hospital, which had a tri-party agreement.

In addition to being technically savvy, Becca exemplifies the Cogence Mission. She embodies a collaborative spirit and thoughtful approach on projects, transforming how teams deliver reliable results. Through intentional actions, behaviors, and effective collaboration skills, Becca creates an inclusive culture that enhances her teammates’ strengths. She earns respect and trust through her honest leadership skills and working side by side with all levels of each team. This provides insight to leverage everyone’s strengths, helping each team member reach their full potential.

The recommendation letters accompanying Tomlinson’s nomination emphasized her authenticity and engagement, as well as her desire to keep learning and growing.



Additional Awards Available for Order


Bonnie Kulczycki News

Cogence Special Event: Leadership in the Four-Generation Workplace

Join us January 22 for this special event on leadership in the 4-generation workplace. In partnership with SMPS NEO.

The Leadership Dilemma

Change, Complexity & Distraction in the Chaotic 4-Generation Workplace

January 22, 2019 • 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. • City Club of Cleveland

Today’s workplace is radically different than it was even 20 years ago, and the impact of technology is not always for the better. There are now four generations of employees in the workplace, mashed together in a cauldron of constant change, distractions, and complexity.

In this interactive workshop, author, speaker and business coach Kelly Riggs presents the most pressing leadership issues and offers specific approaches to dealing with the challenges of the new, technology-infected workplace.

Register Now

Cogence is sponsoring this event in place of the Northeast Ohio January Roundtable. Feel free to forward the invitation! Attendees do not need to be Cogence Partners or SMPS members to attend.

Sarah Rozman News

Announcing the Winners of the 2018 Cogence Drive Awards

Cogence Alliance announces the winners of the 2018 Cogence Drive Awards.

Cogence created the Drive Awards to honor the best in project collaboration. The awards highlight the critical role and immense value that collaboration and innovation bring to building projects. The awards also demonstrate to the A/E/C community how their contributions are improving project outcomes.

Cogence accepted submissions for three categories: the Project Award (Large), Project Award (Small), and the Individual Award. Submissions were evaluated by an independent, national jury.

The awards were presented Wednesday, September 12, at the Cogence Town Hall in Cleveland, Ohio.

Drive Award, Small Project: University Hospitals UCRC II Data Center Upgrades

This complex and sensitive data center upgrade project was ultimately successful because each team member supported a collaborative culture.

University Hospitals (UH) completed a $4.07 million data center upgrade to eliminate single points of failure and to upgrade existing infrastructure. UH was a tenant in the building, and their goal was to install new redundant data center cooling and emergency power, isolated from the landlord’s systems.

Highlights from the project:

  • The consultants and CM all advocated for a more collaborative approach to improve project delivery. The design team advocated for CMR, given the complexity of the project and need for full-team collaboration. The CM took it a step further, recommending design-assist.
  • Despite delays that negatively impacted the schedule, the team delivered the project six weeks early. They collaborated to rework construction activities and phasing.
  • The project had one change order: a deduct returning $21,000 of the remaining contingency to UH.

Drive Award, Large Project: Cleveland Clinic Lakewood Family Health Center

This project was Cleveland Clinic’s first Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) project. Their investment in collaboration realized an actual savings of approximately $1.2 million.

Cleveland Clinic’s new Lakewood Family Health Center is focused on community health and wellness. It replaces dated facilities with a new, $24.3 million (construction) building offering a 24-hour emergency department, imaging services, and multi-specialty and family medicine.

Highlights from the project:

  • Cleveland Clinic used an IPD contract, using a Tri-Party Agreement with joining agreements. The 13 signatories put 100% of their profit margin at risk, meaning they would need to perform at a certain level to earn their profit.
  • The team used Lean tools (such as Last Planner, A3s, collocation, and component team design) for collaboration, decision-making, and waste reduction.
  • Fostering and monitoring the team culture was an important part of the project. Among other things, Cleveland Clinic used team surveys throughout the project to evaluate the level of trust on the team.
  • The mechanical team tried something radical: Working in the same model. Instead of having a separate “design model” and “construction model,” the mechanical contractors worked in the mechanical engineers’ model. Their goals were to reduce known waste, increase the level of detail in the design model, and eliminate the separate creation of a construction model.
  • During construction, batching led to productivity gains and a high level of quality craftsmanship.

Drive Award, Individual: Bryan Wahl, AIA, Bostwick Design Partnership

Bryan Wahl, AIA, brings his passion for collaboration to both his projects and his firm.

Wahl, a Senior Associate at Bostwick Design Partnership (BDP), leads projects from design through construction, focusing on healthcare, higher education, library, and corporate design. He emphasizes continuous innovation and improvement in design.

Wahl has provided leadership on five different collaborative projects. Most recently, he was the project manager for Cleveland Clinic’s Lakewood Family Health Center, which had the first Tri-Party agreement signed in the greater Cleveland region.

Within BDP, he has become a leader in Lean design practices and processes. He brought his passion for collaborative process back to his office, organizing internal presentations to introduce his colleagues to the project tools that made Lakewood Family Health Center so successful.

Wahl has also presented at professional conferences regionally and nationally, educating owners on collaborative delivery.

The recommendation letters accompanying Wahl’s nomination emphasized his authenticity and engagement, as well as his desire to keep learning and growing.

Sarah Rozman News

A Five-Step Process to a Successful Guaranteed Maximum Price

On May 3, 2018, Don Dreier of Donley’s Inc. and Gary Hribar of Osborn Engineering will present “A Five-Step Process to a Successful Guaranteed Maximum Price” at CMAA Ohio.

The goals of the Cogence GMP Process:

  • Fair
  • Transparent
  • Effective
  • Reliable
  • Accountable
  • Increase Sophistication
  • Measurable Improvement to Projects Outcomes
  • Educate Participants

Learn more and register.

Tuwhanna Williams News

Announcing the Winners of the Inaugural Cogence Drive Awards

Cogence Alliance announces the winners of the inaugural Cogence Drive Awards.

Cogence created the Drive Awards to honor the best in project collaboration. The awards highlight the critical role and immense value that collaboration and innovation bring to building projects. The awards also demonstrate to the A/E/C community how their contributions are improving project outcomes.

Cogence accepted submissions for two categories: the Project Award and the Individual Award. Submissions were evaluated by an independent, national jury representing owners, architects, engineers, and construction teams.

The awards were presented Friday, November 10, at the first Cogence Town Hall, in Cleveland, Ohio.


Drive Award, Project: Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center

Cleveland Clinic designed and built the Taussig Cancer Center with the same care and attention to detail that drives its commitment to Patients First. During the project, Cleveland Clinic engaged individuals, focused on quality, and relied on collaboration.

Taussig Cancer Center is a seven-story, 390,000-SF facility that combines exam rooms, treatment spaces, and physician offices under one roof. The construction cost was $194 million. In the award submission, the team listed 46 companies as collaborators on the project.

In their evaluations, the jurors highlighted many components of project success, including:

  • The effort the team put into learning and practicing collaboration throughout the project. Cleveland Clinic delivered the project using its Owner Controlled Team Project Delivery (OCTPDSM) practice model. OCTPD is an owner-led, collaborative delivery method that cultivates trust, respect, and accountability. The project team also committed to Lean processes, including pull planning and colocation.
  • Their use of design-assist. The project had 11 design-assist partners, and the MEP teams used a prefab warehouse for select portions of assembly.
  • The outstanding financial results because of the collaborative approach. The final project cost indicated an overall savings of $21 million, $17 million of which can be directly attributed to the collaborative efforts of the design and construction team.

In the submission, the team also noted that “the response from visitors, patients, caregivers and the community is overwhelmingly positive. Upon entering the main lobby for the first time, most patients are in awe of their new surroundings and smile in appreciation for the new environment.”


Drive Award, Individual: Ronald J. Lawson

Ron Lawson has been a pioneer in collaborative project delivery at Cleveland Clinic. As a founding board member of Cogence, he has demonstrated his commitment to improving outcomes for the industry as a whole.

Lawson recently retired from his role as Director of Construction at Cleveland Clinic, a position he held for 16 years. Lawson led the creation and implementation of Cleveland Clinic’s Owner Controlled Team Project Delivery (OCTPDSM) method. With OCTPD, the owner leads a team of industry experts to deliver the project in a transparent, collaborative team fashion. The culture is one of trust, respect, and accountability. In the past several years alone, Lawson managed $1.55 billion in projects delivered collaboratively.

Lawson’s nomination for the Drive Award received resounding support. While the entry requirements called for only two letters of recommendation, Lawson’s nomination included 10. Letters came from all the roles that exist on a project: owner, architect, engineer, construction manager, trades, and allied consultant. They speak powerfully to Lawson’s influence and legacy.

  • “Simply put, Ron became the agent for that change. Single-handed at first, but step by step and person by person, he led the charge to change the long-held ‘silos’ of design, construction, and ownership.”
  • “Ron understands that this [collaborative] spirit is important to communicate throughout the entire team, not only at the management level. Throughout his career he has committed to push these concepts down to the trade level, and he is is highly respected by union leadership.”
  • “His expectations for continuous improvement using new tools and technology have resulted in a great opportunity for the younger project stakeholders to embrace and therefore lead the solutions to these new challenges…Future generations are now positioned to continue the journey forward as the next leaders of this improved collaborative delivery vision.”

Honor Award: Pamela J. Neckar

Pam Neckar is the founding president of Cogence Alliance, as well as Project Coach and CFO of Bostwick Design Partnership, a Cleveland-based architecture firm.

The Board of Directors surprised Neckar with an Honor Award in recognition of her dedication to Cogence.

Pen Wolf, Vice President of Cogence, presented the award. He praised Neckar for her vision, her insistence that the team do the work, and the “incredible amount of work” she has done for the organization.

As Neckar accepted the award, she turned attention back to the Town Hall attendees.

“Today is a very important day for Cogence,” she said. “This is the start…of something that will really change the industry.”

“I’m excited because of all of you and your contributions.”

Tuwhanna Williams News