September 20, 2023 | Articles
In 2022, Hill professionals continued to deliver the infrastructure of change around the world, encompassing hundreds of milestones on programs and projects throughout the Americas, Asia, North Africa, and Europe. While all of Hill’s management consultants, business developers, and back-office staff help realize Hill’s mission in unique and valuable ways, each year Hill’s C-suite recognizes four professionals who stand out for their incomparable contributions to the business with Hill’s annual Professional Awards. This year’s winners include:
Hill Chief Executive Officer Raouf Ghali says of the winners, “Through their dedication, hard work, and expertise, each of these professionals adds incredible value to their teams, their clients, their projects, and the Hill brand.” Indeed, each winner received glowing praise from manager and colleague alike in their nomination. Though each has helped to drive Hill’s business forward in a special way, Luis, Maggie, Mostafa, and Ahmad share problem-solving ingenuity, compassionate leadership abilities, and an unflagging commitment to excellence.
Project Manager of the Year (U.S.) – Senior Director of Projects Luis Espinosa
Luis delivers the infrastructure of change on the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Otay Mesa Land Port of Entry (LPOE) Expansion & Modernization project in San Diego, CA. The Otay Mesa LPOE is the busiest commercial port in the state and the second busiest on the U.S.-Mexico border, processing approximately 1 million trucks, 6.9 million vehicles, 3.6 million pedestrians, and billions of dollars in exports and imports annually. Originally constructed in 1983, the Otay Mesa LPOE requires expansion and modernization to accommodate increasing commercial and pedestrian traffic. To this end, GSA acquired an undeveloped 9.9-acre lot east of the existing facility and is undertaking the Otay Mesa LPOE Expansion & Modernization. Hill is providing construction management services for the project.
Luis has set high standards on the project for quality, budget performance, and stakeholder management. As a client advocate and leader of Hill’s construction management team, Luis has kept the project moving forward safely, while helping GSA maintain operations. In particular, his Lessons Learned Log has been a valuable tool, leading to the mitigation of potential issues with proactive solutions. Due to Luis’ leadership, the project is on track to successfully conclude on time and within budget in 2023 and Hill has deepened its relationship with GSA.
“Luis’ work goes well beyond his project achievements,” adds nominator First Vice President, Southern California Operations J.P. Villamizar. “In addition to setting the standard for delivery on this complex project, Luis gained the trust of a valued Federal client—Hill has worked with GSA before, but primarily on the East Coast. Plus, Luis regularly mentors his colleagues and helps maintain team motivation by organizing out-of-work events. He’s a natural leader. He also works nights and weekends to develop Hill’s Federal business.”
Staff Award of Excellence (U.S.) – Change Manager Maggie King
For the last two years, Maggie has worked on the Hill team providing construction management services on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) U.S. Interstate 5 (I-5) North County Enhancements Project (NCEP). In cooperation with Caltrans District 7, Metro is undertaking the project to improve road conditions of the I-5 as it passes through northern Los Angeles County in the area of Santa Clarita—an approximately 40-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles. Improvements include the addition of high-occupancy vehicle lanes along the median of I-5, the creation and maintenance of existing truck lanes, and the construction of auxiliary lanes between on-ramps and subsequent off-ramps. The project will also involve intelligent transportation system improvements, including traffic count stations, closed-circuit television cameras, and ramp metering. These improvements will enable the road to handle more traffic at peak hours and provide a safer and faster commute for the residents of northern Los Angeles County.
Maggie wears several hats on the project. In addition to her primary role as Change Manager, she provides invoicing and subconsultant management and assists with computer application configuration and development. Using exceptional technical skills, which nominator Vice President David Tiberi calls “unsurpassed,” Maggie has been instrumental in developing processes and procedures for the project and configuring software applications to align with those processes. Her highly organized and efficient work style enabled her to blend two existing sets of change management processes, Los Angeles Metro’s and the California Department of Transportation’s, into one system that meets the requirements of both agencies. Moreover, Maggie helped provide training in the systems she helped create to the Hill team, the contractor, and oversight engineers from the Department of Transportation. Due to Maggie’s persistence and talent, Hill is helping set the example for future Metro projects.
Tiberi adds: “Her work and skills have consistently exceeded expectations, both for Hill and for the client. In fact, she was promoted to her current position as a result of her efforts on this project.”
Project Manager of the Year (International) – Senior Project Manager Mostafa Mahmoud
Nominator Vice President, Egypt Projects Perihan Elwy describes Mostafa as a much-sought-after member of Hill’s team in Cairo, Egypt. “In his nine years with Hill, he has developed a reputation with his team and his clients not only for his profound expertise in managing healthcare projects, but for his outstanding professional and personal ethics,” she says. Both his colleagues and Hill’s clients reach out to Mostafa for advice on technical and management matters, and even though he is deeply invested in his work, Mostafa makes time to mentor his colleagues. He regularly shares lessons learned and expertise with Hill’s project managers supporting healthcare projects in Egypt. According to Elwy, Mostafa’s diligence and reliability make him a go-to candidate for tackling challenging tasks.
For example, Mostafa effectively managed the New National Cancer Institute project in Cairo despite significant challenges due to a changing client entity and the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound, which resulted a project divided into more than 30 different packages with multiple contractors. Through it all, Mostafa managed the client’s expectations and kept Hill’s team on top of the project’s many obstacles.
Currently, Mostafa supports the Hill team providing project management consultancy services for the Egyptians for Healthcare Services’ Capital Med project in Badr City. Planned as the largest medical city in the region, Capital Med is spread over approximately 116 acres and will be delivered in 3 phases. When complete, Capital Med will provide more than 2,000 beds, 450 intensive care units, and 40 operating rooms to serve 5 million patients per year. On this assignment, Mostafa has assisted the client through
multiple presentations and technical discussions to secure funds to complete the project as planned. During the COVID-19 outbreak, he worked with the contractor to keep the project team safely working on site. He also worked with consultants and contractors to approve and procure long-lead items to avoid supply-chain snags.
Staff Award of Excellence (International) – Projects Controls Engineer Ahmad Alawneh
Working out of Dubai, UAE Ahmad has a unique, hybrid role at Hill. Officially, he reports to Senior Vice President, Asia-Pacific and Technical Core Team Saïd Mneimné, but Ahmad takes on a variety duties and assignments from Regional President – Middle East Abdo Kardous, Vice President Bassem Merchi, and Vice President Panos Kefalas. Balancing all of his work gracefully, Ahmad’s accomplishments shine.
In 2022, he successfully delivered Project Skeleton, one of Hill’s largest advisory assignments in the Middle East. He also attained the Certified Public Private Partnerships (CP3P) certification—making Ahmad one of the few professionals at Hill certified with CP3P credentials. Among his most impressive accomplishments in 2023, Ahmad helped Hill reopen in Jordan and has tenaciously pursued opportunity leads in the country. Perhaps most importantly, Ahmad is a committed team player. Whenever someone asks anything of Ahmad, he goes the extra mile to make sure they get what they need.
Says nominator Director of Proposals Group Ashok Dutta: “Ahmad brings a young and fresh way of thinking to the company, which will help Hill adapt to future needs. For instance, he is always helping President, Middle East Abdo Kardous with research into new technologies or new trends in project management.” Dutta adds that Ahmad values continued professional education and constantly strives to expand his knowledge in areas important for Hill’s clients. He is currently working to attain LEED Green Associate certification and Project Management Professional certification.
A Well-Deserved Congratulations
Each of these individuals delivered value to their teams, projects, and clients in 2022. They collaborated with and enriched their colleagues, often influencing, in turn, many other projects in their regions. Their hard work and dedication are evident not only in the words of their nominators, but in the performance of their projects.
“It is my privilege to announce Hill’s Professional Award winners for 2022,” concludes Ghali. “I would like to thank Luis, Maggie, Mostafa, and Ahmad for everything they have done for Hill. In addition, I would like to extend my thanks to all of Hill’s professionals around the world for their own unique contributions to our company’s success. We have such exceptional talent managing our clients’ projects, developing our business, and maintaining robust back-of-house infrastructure. Without all of you, none of Hill’s achievements would be possible.”
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