DAY ONE – Sessions


Key Note Speaker

Exceptional Outcomes and Delivery Through Inclusive Project Planning

Lars Johansson | McKesson

Leveraging a formal background in design, construction, real estate development, Lars joined CoverMyMeds in Columbus, Ohio to help plan and execute their award winning ‘best-place-to-work’ offices. As the originator of their Environments team, his role has been to meet the changing needs of the company through their built environment. Blending a combination of fun and function has made it possible for employees to do their best work, while enabling a healthy and vibrant company culture.

Acting as the CoverMyMeds Design Representative for the new $240 million Campus in Franklinton, Lars helped influence many of the innovative features within the 420,000 sf campus to respond to the tech company’s needs, with an emphasis on creating flexible and adaptable workplace. The project is on track to score both LEED and WELL Platinum, the first new-build commercial site to achieve both in North America, all while coming in below budget.

Lars’ focus has recently expanded to other sites across North America, where his work with McKesson, a Fortune 10 healthcare company, is helping address the changing needs of a post-Covid world.


50 Best Practices of Collaborative Project Delivery

Presenter – Tadhg O’Crowley | Brewer-Garrett

Presented during Day 1 Lunch


Track 1A: From Global to Local. The Geopolitics of Design

Development economist William Easterly usually looks at how countries improve. But what about neighborhoods or even one block? Easterly and a team of researchers mapped the economic history along Greene Street on Manhattan over the course of 400 years. He concluded that the changes observed were unpredictable and that urban planning likely would do more harm than good. Are community revitalization efforts really futile? Better understanding how global forces shape local outcomes can inform bottom-up agency. The key is understanding how different geographic scales are connected.

A site or a structure on a site, does not exist in a vacuum. Rather, a site is contextualized by the community it serves which, in turn, is contextualized by the region that hosts that community. Simply, what is global becomes local. This discussion will show how global macroeconomic trends and local microeconomic trends can guide the form and programmatic purpose. Only by broadening the aperture of a site can one get finer details of that site’s highest and best use.

Richey Piiparinen | Rustbelt Analytica

Richey Piiparinen is Co-Founder of Rust Belt Analytica and Director, Urban Theory & Analytics at the Levin College at Cleveland State University. He studies the life and death of Rust Belt cities and his work has been covered in various national and international outlets.

Jim Russell| Rustbelt Analytica

Jim Russell is a geographer at Rust Belt Analytica. He studies long cycle economic change, innovation, migration, and geopolitics.



Track 1B: Disrupting the Status Quo in Industrial Maintenance

Nikola Labs ranked 280 in the 2022 Inc. 5,000 list of fastest growing companies in the U.S.  Founder and Executive Chairman Will Zell will share how the company is leveraging emerging technology and business model innovation to bring transformation to maintenance reliability organizations in global industrial and manufacturing companies. Using a ‘first principles’ approach, Will explains how any company, whether startup or established, can disrupt the status quo to bring change to their industry and deliver a better customer experience and gain market share.

Will Zell | Nikola Labs

My passion is founding and investing in startup companies. I enjoy working with great entrepreneurs and business people to create value for humanity by delivering solutions to big problems we face.






Track 2A: Risky Business – Identify and Mitigate the Greatest Risks to Your Project

What are the greatest risks to every design/construction project, and how can those risks be mitigated? The COGENCE Alliance asked these questions of a select group of owners, architects, engineers, construction trades, and insurance/banking/legal affiliates – and we have the answers in the form of “Top 10 Risks” lists for each industry segment and industry-wide. In addition to defining the greatest risks and mitigation strategies, this interactive session will compare/contrast the perspectives of different industry segments and explore how the risks and mitigation strategies have evolved since the pandemic and given current economic/workforce conditions. 

David Scott | BMD

David Scott is the Columbus Managing Partner and co-Vice President of the law firm Brennan Manna & Diamond. He applies his skills as a litigator, arbitrator, and negotiator to resolve all manner of business, real estate and construction conflicts.

David won Central Ohio’s largest jury verdict of 2011, he is rated “AV® Preeminent™” by Martindale-Hubbell® (signifying “the highest level of professional excellence”), and he is a LEED® Accredited Professional. He has presented on real estate and construction-related topics at ICSC Centerbuild, Greenbuild, the Ohio Construction Conference, DesignColumbus, and other prominent events.

He was part of the team that created the COGENCE Alliance “Top 10 Risks to Every Design and Construction Project” series – and the deliverable “How to AVOID” the Greatest Risks.” He is a member of the COGENCE Alliance Central Ohio Board of Directors and he is the Programming Chair.


Track 2B: Early Engagement

The mission of Cogence is to drive the industry together, yet for so long we have delayed the engagement of ALL the stakeholders. If we are going to change the market, then we need to drive the conversation and collaboration that will expose the obstacles to early engagement and discuss how to overcome these obstacles. We must provide the stakeholders with talking points to have a dialogue on their project to prove the value of early engagement. Hearing from the following stakeholders:

  • Moderator – Bryan Wahl – Bostwick Design
    • Loyd Shiflett – Whiting-Turner
    • Brendan Flaherty – Ohio State
    • Sean Hood – AEI Engineering
    • Pat Williams – Kirk Williams Co.
    • Steve Woodward – Kirk Williams Co.
    • Brian Teske – Superior Group
    • Brent Wilcox – Moody Nolan

This discussion will look at the value of Early Engagement and how it can help mitigate risk on the project.

Track 2C: Creative Keys to a Successful Project

Explore creative methods and use of technology occurring within design and across construction. Change agents to historical practices and approaches, these tools and techniques bring increased positivity and productivity to projects.

Joanne Brown | Case Western Reserve University

Joanne currently serves as Assistant Director of Planning, Design and Construction at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.  She is both a licensed architect and certified interior designer with over 30 years of experience in project leadership with a strong background in architecture, interior design, space programming and construction management.

Previous experience includes having been a partner within a mid-size architectural firm, vice president of a construction company and a facility planning director. Having worked in a variety of fields, with various degrees of resources and capital allocation, Joanne offers diverse knowledge and expertise in successfully managing areas of design, planning and project oversight.

She is a member of the City of Cleveland, Euclid Cooridor Design Review Board, and the Liverpool Township Zoning Commission. Joanne has a MS in Positive Organization Development & Change (MPOD) from Case Western Reserve University and a BS in Architecture & Environmental Design Technology from Bowling Green State University.

Jeff Loyall | Turner Construction

Jeff Loyall is a Vice President for Turner Construction Company where he has responsibility for managing healthcare projects in the Cleveland business Unit.

Throughout his successful 37 year career, Jeff has had primary responsibilities for profit and loss, business development, preconstruction, estimating, operations, scheduling, cost control, quality assurance, BIM and Integrated Project Delivery. Jeff’s career has been built around comprehensive construction services and an extensive background in all phases of Construction Management.

In addition to his technical background and experience, Jeff’s leadership skills combined with his unique ability to develop string team relationships have proven extremely successful. His proven level of commitment to his clients is shown with his “hands on” involvement and ability to provide solutions during all project phases while leveraging the resources and experience that he brings to ensure a successful project experience.


TRACK 3 – DEI & Leadership

Track 3A: The Convergence of Leadership and Culture: Building People and Teams in the Built Environment

Discover and discuss the impacts of intentional leader engagement on creating a positive project culture that emphasizes trust and growth, recognizes the strength of diversity and inclusion, and centers on people and relationships.

Nate Price | Gilbane Building Company

Nate Price is  a mission-driven, results oriented senior construction and project management professional woth years of experience in directing highly complex projects and cross-functional project teams, resulting in millions of dollars of improvements and efficiencies while working for one of the nation’s top healthcare institutes.




Track 3B: Mentoring and Empowering the Next Leader – Panel Discussion

We cannot co-create solutions without having the appropriate staff and leaders to drive the solutions. How do leaders ensure they are empowering the next leaders? What advice can be given to emerging leaders to identify beneficial relationships? How do we create a culture of mentorship in our organizations?

Rhoni Thompson| R.L. Cole Enterprises, Inc.

Rhoni Thompson is the president of R.L. Cole Enterprises, Inc., a second generation, woman-owned trucking firm, operating in Cleveland, Ohio for more than 28 years. She oversees the daily operations of the business and analyzes the financial metrics, making decisions to increase revenue and gross profit margins annually. She has a knack for being a reliable forward thinker, which is evident in how she manages her team, drivers, and several active projects at any given time. Her priority is to create a consistent climate that yields continued growth year after year. Rhoni began working in the family business at age12 and will proudly tell you, “Our daily efforts are to be fair and so our best on every project, for every partner and customer.” She continued to operate the business while maintaining full-time employment until resigning from her position with Cuyahoga County in2018 and closing her mental health private practice in 2020 when R. L. Cole reached a level that required 100 percent of her efforts.

Gary Ralston | Ralston Consulting, Inc.

In 1998 my wife, Anna and I co-founded Ralston Consulting, Inc., a business innovation coaching firm dedicated to helping our client organizations scale growth and impact through shifts in both mindset and business framework.

We are of most value for boards and leadership teams, as partners in deep thought and action, co-inventing sustainable and generative ways forward where convention doesn’t cut it, the past has failed the future, and the alternatives are unclear.

We’ve worked with a diverse range of clients in North America, Europe, and Africa, from start-ups to Fortune 50 organizations, supporting leaders to achieve significant and even award-winning gains with their ventures.

Our coaching engagements have crossed many industry segments, including aerospace and defense, semiconductors and microelectronics, engineering (AEC), social enterprise and NGO, clean energy, software development, media and branding, education, real estate, associations and non-profit, food and beverage. broadcasting, cable and telecom, research, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and wellness, airlines, aboriginal economic development and more. With such diversity, we’ve become adept at synthesis, bridging domains and cross-pollinating ideas and practices to the benefit of our clients.

Specialties: Business Coaching, Innovation, Business Models, Lean Start-Up and Customer Development, Scenario Planning and Strategic Foresight, Organization Design, Change Management, Executive Coaching, Management Consulting, Business Strategy, Partner Relations, Succession and Exit Strategy.

Roland Tokarski | Ohio Health

Roland serves as the leader of Real Estate, Construction and Facilities at OhioHealth. OhioHealth is a leader in the Ohio healthcare provider market with 13 hospitals, 10M+ square feet, 220+ care sites, 35,000 employees and assets of almost $5 billion. Over his career, he has been a tireless, passionate and entrepreneurial leader who works to inspire those around him to excel at all they do.

His primary focus is on business growth, strategy development, innovation, risk mitigation and driving profitability and cost efficiency. Giving back to te community is part of his fiber. His team, as well as his family, are passionately involved in numerous philanthropic organizations throughout the Central Ohio footprint.

With a gift of helping clients to envision what they want, then turn vision to reality, he helps business leaders create sustainable solutions when conventional methods don’t work. His specialty: merging ideas, best practices, proven tools, and methodologies to help clients discover their own pathway to success.

Track 3C: What is DEI in the Design and Construction Community

Cogence is a unique organization connecting all stakeholders in interactive roundtable dialogues to be advocates and a resource for improving the design and construction industry through our respective roles. As Cogence continues its journey, we recognize that we have the responsibility to leverage our collaboration to have impact in the realm of diversity, equity and inclusion. Together in this large group facilitated conversation we will review the core mission of Cogence and relate it to our role in DEI, leverage outside speakers to present data and current market realities supporting the importance of why this is necessary and beneficial, and finally discuss three questions designed to establish the foundation of a commitment statement for our Cogence Chapters. The session will be a facilitated discussion of three core questions to define our impact;

I. Discuss the ability for project delivery (collaborative) to positively influence DEI opportunities in our industry.

II. Discuss how Cogence can provide an impactful opportunity to diverse businesses via the network provided by Cogence. Can Cogence have a role in mentoring and/or supporting partnering/joint ventures?

III. Discuss the plus/delta of consistency in DEI programs across a region. What impact can Cogence have on driving more consistent, community focused DEI programs, inclusive of all stakeholders?

Walter Jones | The MetroHealth System

Walter Jones is the Senior Vice President of Campus Transformation at MetroHealth System in Cleveland. He provides strategic vision and leadership for the nearly billion-dollar Campus Transformation project. The transformation is committed to creating an environment of excellence for care delivery, education and research in support of MetroHealth’s mission.




Brad Berkowitz | The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company

Brad Berkowtiz started his career with The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.nearly 20 years ago and is currently a Senior Project Manager, Brad earned a Civil Engineering degree from Prudue University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Baldwin-Wallace University. Brad serves on the Cogence NEO Chapter Board of Directors, is the current Chair for the Cogence Emerging Leaders, and an active member of Cogence Alliance.



Madison Morgan | 2BE Engineering

Madison founded 2BEngineering, a consulting firm, in 2021, after working extensively in the building systems consulting and design build fields in northeast Ohio. She brings a practical, communicative approach to HVAC, plumbing, and process system engineering in renovations and new construction. Madison looks forward to growing 2BE into a distinguished company, offering an accessible space for underrepresented people in construction.

She foresees the Cogence Alliance to be a backbone in collaboration building and coordination across disciplines in the construction field.



James Price| Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council

James Price is the Director of Corporate Relations for the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council (OMSDC). In this role, James establishes outreach initiatives and strategies to maintain the Council’s corporate relationships, serve as OMSDC’s liaison on various community projects and initiatives, and identifies and helps match specific procurement opportunities for corporate members and the Council’s Certified Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).

An accomplished professional with more than 20 years of management experience across multiple disciplines, James joined the OMSDC after previously serving as Corporate Relationship Manager at JPMorgan Chase. James also has an effective track record in Relationship Management, Project Management, Program Management and Operations Management within the Financial Services industry.

Skilled at assessing growth opportunities and setting strategic direction, James collaborated and established relationships with key decision makers including C-Suite executives at some of the world’s most prominent brands and financial institutions, including Dean Witter, Prudential, AT&T, Verizon, Visa, MasterCard, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Fiserv.  Some accomplishments include the introduction and marketing of new products and services which include debit card products to Wall Street and electronic banking and electronic bill presentation to the banking and retail markets.


Christopher Nance | Greater Cleveland Partnership

Christopher B. Nance, a native Clevelander, has served in the private, non-profit, and public sectors in Ohio, Connecticut, and New York. Nance served as Deputy District Director for Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Assistant Secretary of State to Ohio’s Secretary of State. Currently, Chris serves as Vice President Construction & Inclusive Talent Initiatives, which includes efforts to connect underrepresented individuals – across multiple sectors –   to jobs and business opportunities.  Nance earned a Bachelors degree from Boston College and a Masters in Business Administration from Cleveland State University.


Jonathon Moody | Moody Nolan

Driven by a passion to continue his father’s legacy, Jonathon Moody has entrenced himself in firm leadership, driving growth and innovation. Moody Nolan has grown to over 230 employees and 11 offices across the nation.

Jonathon has helped continue to extend the firm’s position as the largest African American owned architecture firm. Moody Nolan continues to garner national attention by promoting “diversity by design” and was selected as the 2021 AIA National Architecture Firm Award recipient. Moody Nolan is not only the first Ohio-based firm to win this award, but the first African American owned firm to receive the recognition.


Rafeal L. Underwood| R.L. Underwood & Associates

Rafeal Underwood, Sr. has over 30 years of community economic development and planning experience. He has concerted his efforts is strategic planning, economic development, economic inclusion, stakeholder outreach, business capacity building, grant proposal preparation and administration, economic incentive program design and business development challenges. He is a certified Economic Development Finance Professional, a Certified Business Analyst and holds a M.S. degree in Community Economic Development from the Southern New Hampshire University and a B.S. degree from Franklin University with a major Finance. Underwood is a seasoned professional and has solved some of the most complex economic and business development financing needs across the country. He has packaged and negotiated over $100 million dollars in financial arrangements for small business statewide.


TRACK 4 – (Public) Project Delivery

Track 4A: JobsOhio – A Generational Opportunity Exists: JobsOhio’s Sites & Talent Incentives, Initiatives, and Infrastructure

To accomplish our mission of driving job creation and new capital investment in Ohio, JobsOhio has developed a suite of programs and services designed to attract business, retain jobs, and help make the choice to expand here an easy one.

  • Incentives – JobsOhio and its network partners offer several grants, funds, and services for companies investing in Ohio by starting businesses, relocating, or expanding operations in the state. We work with businesses and local communities to design personalized incentive packages for success.
  • Sites – JobsOhio offers multiple initiatives related to sites and buildings, from revitalization to development-ready sites, all with the shared goal of encouraging job creation and capital investment within our state.
  • Talent – JobsOhio’s robust talent and workforce strategy combine proactive talent attraction, talent growth and retention, company talent support, and upskilling/reskilling initiatives to set Ohio businesses up for long-term growth.
    Description of session coming soon

Diana Rife | JobsOhio







Kevin Chambers | JobsOhio









Track 4C: Surviving the Supply Chain, now and in the future


Joe Barber | Source Blue

Kyle Hansen| Source Blue

Jason Richardson| NBBJ Digital

Karl Schantz| NBBJ

Brett Klinger| Turner Construction

Matt Kunz| Turner Construction

Dan Tyburski| Turner Construction

Kevin Noble| Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Jeff Ortman| HAWA Engineers