Build Better Podcast

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Episode 17:  Mark Reed & Stephanie Goldberg of LAB/LSA discuss preserving Boston’s waterfront with The Blue Necklace. 

Mark Reed & Stephanie Goldberg, LAB/LSA

Mark Reed & Stephanie Goldberg of LAB/LSA

In Episode 17 of the Build Better podcast, Anastasia welcomes Mark Reed and Stephanie Goldberg, founding principals of the Boston-based architecture and design firm, LAB/LSA. They talk about the threat climate change poses to the city of Boston, and their proposal for a permanent solution to rising sea levels, titled The Blue Necklace.

Listen to hear more about their project, which includes increasing Boston’s coastline and providing opportunities for affordable housing, cultural amenities, and additional open space; and what industry professionals can be doing to approach this complex challenge.

Mark is a founding principal of LAB and lead designer on many university and biotech projects. A former principal at several Boston firms, Mark brings over 25 years of design experience to LAB, and has worked internationally in Denmark, Australia, Switzerland, Austria and Canada. Mark is an expert in Clean Room and Nano Science design. Mark is a LEED accredited professional and a member of AIA, NCARB and the Ontario Institute of Architects.

Stephanie is a founding principal and president of LAB and lead designer on many university and biotech projects. An award-winning architect, Stephanie brings strong design and analytical skills to every project. She brings over 20 years of design experience to LAB. Stephanie has taught at the Boston Architectural College, where she also served on the Thesis Committee. She has also been a guest critic at Harvard University. Stephanie is a LEED accredited professional and a member of AIA, NCARB and the Ontario Institute of Architects.

Episode 16:  Antonia Ciaverella of Tecton Architects discusses promoting health & wellness with the WELL Building Standard.

Antonia Ciaverella, EDAC, WELL AP, LEED AP BD+C, Fitwel Ambassador, Architectural Designer at Tecton Architects.

In episode 16 of the Build Better podcast, Anastasia talks with Antonia Ciaverella, architectural designer with Tecton Architects, about WELL, the first rating system to focus exclusively on the impacts of buildings on human health and wellness. 

Ciaverella talks about the specific ways a company or organization can achieve the WELL certification or make positive changes in their own spaces to promote the health and well-being of their employees and visitors to their buildings.

Antonia Ciaverella, EDAC, WELL AP, LEED AP BD+C, Fitwel Ambassador is an Architectural Designer with Tecton Architects in Hartford, Connecticut, primarily serving in the firm’s Healthcare Studio. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in architecture and is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Neuroscience at the University of Hartford. Antonia is both a WELL Accredited Professional and a LEED Accredited Professional with Specialty, and has earned her Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification. She is very involved with both the AEC and scientific communities, with memberships in the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, the Environmental Design Research Association, the International Association of Applied Psychology, and the Connecticut Green Building Council.

Episode 15:  Brian Anderson of Anderson Porter Designs discusses designing & building a cannabis cultivation facilities and retail dispensaries. 

Brian Anderson, founding partner at Anderson Porter Design

In episode 15 of the Build Better podcast, Anastasia sits down with Brian Anderson, founding partner of Anderson Porter Design, to talk about the unique challenges associated with designing and building cannabis cultivation facilities and retail dispensaries.

Listen to hear more about how Anderson and his team are leading the charge in this exciting new industry with innovative technologies and deliberate regulatory procedures, and designing facilities with a focus on sustainability and long-term success.

Brian is a founding Partner of Anderson Porter Design with over 25 years of experience in the field of architecture, and over five years of concentration in architecture for the Cannabis Industry. Combined experience working as Architects for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston during 9/11 and as Architects or MIT on 400,000sf of Neuroscience labs in Cambridge, Anderson and his firm have an extensive background in integrated security, clean room and bio labs, which led them to be recommended for their first medical marijuana project in 2014. Since, APD has designed 25+ retail dispensaries and over 900,000 SF of cultivation facilities in 14+ states and the EU. In the process, he has developed a proprietary stage-gate process for project delivery specific to the Cannabis Industry.

Brian is an active member of the NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association) where in 2019/20 he chairs the new Facility Design Committee and has participated with the ‘Energy and Environment Cannabis Working Group’ which advises the State of MA CCC and DOE on energy issues. Brian is also an active member of the Lean Construction Institute, a national AE&C industry group. Brian and his firm implement Lean methodologies in Controlled Environment Agriculture facilities and beyond. For more information visit AndersonPorter.com

Special thanks to Key Construction Solutions for sponsoring episode 15 of our podcast!Key Construction Solutions

Episode 14:  Kathleen MacNeil of MP Boston discusses the Winthrop Center, sustainability, and the importance of diversity and inclusion.

Kathleen MacNeil Headshot

Kathleen MacNeil, principal at MP Boston

In episode 14 of the Build Better podcast, Anastasia sits down with Kathy MacNeil, principal at MP Boston, to talk about the Winthrop Center, a $1.3 billion development in downtown Boston. To be completed in the summer of 2022, the Winthrop Center will be a market leader in sustainability and resiliency and the largest passive house office building in the world.

Listen to hear more about how Kathy and her team are achieving these high standards, and how they are prioritizing diversity and inclusivity throughout the process.

Kathleen is currently a principal at MP Boston, the Boston office of Millennium Partners. Kathy’s work primarily as real estate development manager has included several complex urban projects in Boston including Winthrop Center, now under construction in the heart of Boston’s financial district, the site is a former City-owned abandoned garage which is designed to be one of the largest Passive House office buildings in the world. Kathy was also responsible for the redevelopment of the Filene’s department store into a 1.4 million square foot mixed-use, office, retail, and luxury condominium tower rebranded, Millennium Tower/Burnham Building.

Kathy is a LEED Accredited Professional. She has her Massachusetts Construction Supervisor’s License. She received a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from MIT Center for Real Estate and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Architectural Engineering.  She serves as President of the Board of Directors for Historic Boston, Inc. a local preservation organization and serves as a University Advisor as well as an adjunct faculty member for Wentworth Institute of Technology.  She is the recipient of the BSA 2016 Women in Design Award of Excellence.

Special thanks to EM Duggan for sponsoring Episode 14 of our podcast!

EM Duggan

Episode 13:  Paul Rocha & Kyle Reagan of DECCO, Inc. discuss recruiting, hiring, and training qualified workers.

Paul Rocha and Kyle Reagan

Paul Rocha & Kyle Reagan of DECCO, INC.

In episode 13 of Build Better, Anastasia sits down with Paul Rocha, Group Manager for DECCO, Inc.’s Fabrication Services Group “DECCOFab” and Kyle Reagan, Executive Vice President at DECCO, Inc. to discuss the company’s boot camp and apprenticeship program and the success behind it.

Paul Rocha is the Group Manager for DECCO, Inc.’s Fabrication Services Group “DECCOFab”. Paul began his career with DECCO as a welder and was trained through the DECCO Apprentice Program. As a result of his dedication to expanding his skillset, Paul transitioned through the ranks to serve as a Leadman, to Supervisor, Project Manager and Client Manager for the Small Projects Group prior to being promoted to his current role as Group Manager. Paul has more than 15 years of expertise focused on fabrication solutions and skid construction. Paul attended management training at Purdue University.

Kyle Reagan is the Executive Vice President of DECCO, Inc. a specialty mechanical contractor with over 200 employees based in Brookline, NH. He is a graduate of Fitchburg State College and has worked at DECCO for more than 25 years in several roles including project management, QA/QC, and division management. He is one of the current owners of DECCO and is focused on the recruiting, retention, and training of the company’s workforce. DECCO’s Craft Training Center and Weld School are located in Chelmsford, MA, and their apprentice program was recently recognized for having the Gold Medal winner in the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) National– Craft Olympics, held in Long Beach, CA. Mr. Reagan is a past Chairman of ABC Massachusetts and a member of ABC National’s Board of Directors. He is currently a member of the MA ABC Board of Directors.


Special thanks to Associated Builders and Contractors of Massachusetts for sponsoring Episode 13 of our podcast!ABC MA

Episode 12:  Bridget Akinc discusses nonprofit Building Impact’s commitment to transforming corporate volunteering.

Bridget Akinc, CEO of Building Impact

In episode 12 of Build Better, Anastasia sits down with Bridget Akinc, CEO of Building Impact, to discuss how the organization is transforming corporate volunteering by partnering with civic, business and nonprofit leaders in addressing complex social issues through volunteering. Bridget also shares tips on how New England’s AEC/RE firms can get involved!

Bridget joined Building Impact as CEO in 2017. Bridget joined the organization to catalyze its growth in impact, and serves on the faculty of MIT teaching a course called “Leading With Impact.”

Prior to entering the nonprofit arena, Akinc led teams focused on technology and go-to-market strategy, for high-growth Silicon-Valley based software companies like BEA Systems, and for non-profits like The New Teacher Project. Akinc began her career as a consultant in the information technology practice at the Boston Consulting Group, and maintains a strong connection to education, ever since her days of earning her teaching certification in New Jersey.

Bridget earned an undergraduate degree in education policy at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a graduate degree from the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Akinc loves running, coaching her kids’ teams, and exploring the outdoors.

Learn more about Bridget’s work with Building Impact by following the #BuildMoreImpact hashtag on social media!


Special thanks to Nickerson People Relations for sponsoring Episode 12 of our podcast!

NickersonPR Logo

Episode 11:  Sam Batchelor and Jessica Schultz discuss the Hitchcock’s recent recognition of being the 23rd Living Building in the world.

Sam Batchelor and Jessica Schultz

A living building is built to mimic natural processes with the intent of improving the surrounding environment. A building that achieves Living Certification must meet the performance requirements of seven “Petals” or categories: Place, Water, Energy, Health & Happiness, Materials, Equity, and Beauty.

In episode 11 of the Build Better podcast, Anastasia chats with Sam Batchelor of designLABArchitects and Jessica Schultz of the Hitchcock Center for the Environment to discuss the Hitchcock Center’s recent global recognition as the 23rd living building in the world and the 4th in Massachusetts.  They detail how the Hitchcock Center achieved the certification and how they are both educating people on the importance of building sustainably.

Jessica Schultz, LFA is communications and Living Building Coordinator for the Hitchcock Center for the Environment. She holds a Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University. Jessica has a keen eye for emerging environmental issues and topics with over 22 years working in environmental education, land conservation, and sustainable development. She is Living Future Accredited and a Living Building Ambassador who applies the framework of Living Building Challenge — with it’s seven categories of sustainable design thinking — in creating community learning opportunities on sustainability topics that include, energy, water, waste, toxins in the environment, equity, human health and the environment. Jessica leads the Hitchcock Center’s building tour program, engaging broad audiences on topics related to sustainability in the built environment and beyond.
Sam Batchelor is a partner at designLAB architects, a Boston-based architecture firm that works with mission-driven organizations to create spaces that support their work through conservation and stewardship.  Sam also founded and directs the MassArt Community/Build Studio, and served as board president for the Community Design Resource Center of Boston, a non-profit devoted to bringing pro-bono design services to underserved communities.
Sam maintains a hands-on involvement from concept design through construction and post-occupancy.  Sam is a thoughtful communicator, facilitating collaboration between the design team, client group, engineers, and contractors to ensure the successful completion of each project under his supervision.  Sam received his Bachelors of Arts from Yale University and his Masters of Architecture from the University of Washington.


Special thanks to makepeace for sponsoring Episode 11 of our podcast!

Episode 10:  Lisa Nickerson talks crisis management.

In episode 10 of the Build Better podcast, Anastasia sits down with Lisa Nickerson, the CEO and founder of Nickerson Peopler Relations and Nickerson Real Estate Partners. Lisa discusses the importance of having a good crisis management in place and gives tips on what companies and individuals can do to better manage a crisis.

As Founder & CEO of Nickerson PR and Nickerson Real Estate Partners, Lisa helms her multi-industry spanning companies, overseeing business operations and driving growth. She leverages her more than twenty-five years of entrepreneurial experience, having started her first company at fifteen years old.

Lisa is a multi-industry award winner, a well-respected, sought-after speaker and moderator, and a devotee of professional and community service. Lisa is an active member of ULI New England’s Advisory Board, ULI Women in Leadership Institute Co-Chair, American Marketing Association Board Member, Boston Women in Media & Entertainment Board Member, Housing Families, and member of NAIOP and CREW.

Lisa received her undergraduate degree from Boston College in Marketing and Finance, as well as her Real Estate Certificate from Boston University. She resides in Wayland, MA, and is a proud mother of three outstanding young adults—her two sons are highly decorated Eagle Scouts and her daughter is a competitive gymnast.


Special thanks to Commodore Builders for sponsoring Episode 10 of our podcast!


Episode 9:  Mike McDonagh talks Massachusetts legislation and ASM member benefits.

Mike McDonagh

In episode 9 of Build Better, Anastasia welcomes Mike McDonagh, CEO of the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts, for an update on the state of the construction industry in 2019. McDonagh talks about the big issues facing subcontractors this year and what the ASM is doing to address those – from current legislation affecting the industry to what employers can be doing to address the opioid crisis.

Mike McDonagh is the CEO of the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts. Mike joined ASM in 2018 and is responsible for overseeing the Association’s programs and services and works closely with the Directors and Officers to further the Association’s mission to serve the needs of subcontractors. This includes all legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts, education and events, member benefit programs and other activities of the Association. Prior to joining ASM, he worked for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors in Waltham for 17 years, serving most recently as their General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs. He serves as co-chair of the Real Estate Bar Association’s Legislative Committee and is a regular volunteer for the Pan-Mass Challenge fundraiser.

Episode 8:  Mary Vogel and Andrea Dunn talk Build Pathways’ new opportunities and new beginnings.

Andrea Dunn and Mary Vogel

In episode 8 of Build Better, Anastasia Barnes talks with Mary Vogel, executive director of Building Pathways (BP), an eastern Massachusetts organization that creates opportunities for low-income area residents to access and prepare for building trades apprenticeships and family-sustaining careers in the construction industry and Andrea Dunn, a sprinkler fitter apprentice at E.M. Duggan (and a graduate of the BP program).  They discuss the benefits of the Building Pathways program and how it is changing lives and contributing to much-needed diversity in the construction industry.

Andrea Dunn is a sprinkler fitter apprentice for local 550 currently working for E.M Duggan. She is a proud mother of two boys currently living in the city of Boston.  Dunn previously worked at Boston Medical Center in the call center for several years and holds a certificate for Medical Administrative Assistant. She chose a career in the construction industry after her completion of the building pathways program, which is has changed her life tremendously.She enjoys reading and spending time with her children and family.  In early May of 2019, Dunn was the recipient of the first Sprinkler Fitter Apprentice of the Year award.

Mary Vogel is the executive director of Building Pathways, Inc., a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to creating opportunities for low-income Boston metro area residents, young adults, and historically underrepresented populations in the building trades industry, to access and prepare for building trades apprenticeships. She has a distinguished history as an attorney, advocate, and administrator dedicated to improving labor standards and practices in construction and other industries. She previously served as Executive Director of the National Council on Occupational Safety and Health and was the founding Executive Director of The Construction Institute, a statewide labor-management organization engaged in advocacy, training, and collaborative efforts to promote union construction and improve health and safety and working conditions in the Massachusetts construction trades. She has also served as Executive Director of the Asbestos Victims Special Fund Trust in Philadelphia, General Counsel to the Sheet Metal Occupational Health Institute in Washington, DC, and as an associate attorney in the labor law firms of Sherman, Dunn, Cohen, Leifer, and Counts PC in Washington, DC and Cohen, Weiss and Simon in New York, NY. Mary is a graduate of Georgetown Law School, where she helped found the Equal Justice Foundation.

Special thanks to Makepeace for sponsoring Episode 8 of our podcast!

Episode 7:  Tom S. Gunning talks Building Trades Recovery Week. 

(Part 3 of 3)

Tom S. Gunning

In the third and final installment of the focus on the Opioid Crisis in Construction, Anastasia Barnes chats with Tom S. Gunning, the director of labor relations at the Building Trades Employers’s Association (BTEA).

Tom was the organizer behind “Building Trades for Recovery Week”, which happened between April 29 and May 3rd of 2019.  The week-long event was designed to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorder and help construction industry professionals learn best practices for prevention and recovery. Tom discusses the reason behind his organizing the event, the take-aways and success of the conference.

Tom Gunning is the Director of Labor Relations for the Building Trade Employers Association (BTEA). As a voice for union building trades contractors throughout New England, his efforts focus on developing and maintaining prosperous relationships with seven trade groups in order to negotiate with 13 different trades covering over 85 different local unions in the northeast region. Gunning acts as an advocate for planning and development issues to efficiently generate and sustain business for the association’s members and drive partnerships for economic development. He serves as a trustee on several joint apprentice and training committees. Prior to joining BTEA, Gunning was a member of Laborers Local 223. Gunning is a graduate of Bridgton Academy and St. Anselm College. Currently in recovery himself, Tom Gunning is an advocate for mental health wellness in the building trades and regularly acts as a Substance Abuse Counselor through Modern Assistance Programs, Inc.

Special thanks to Karas & Karas Glass for sponsoring Episode 7 of our podcast!

Episode 6:  Jean Carroon and Jeremy Gregory talk embodied carbon.

Jean Carroon and Jeremy Gregory

On episode 6 of Build Better, Anastasia welcomes Jeremy Gregory, executive director of MIT’s Concrete Sustainability Hub and Jean Carroon, FAIA, principal of Goody Clancy, to learn more about embodied carbon and to discuss the challenges those in the A/E/C industry face in reducing their carbon footprint. Embodied carbon refers to the environmental impact associated with the construction of buildings and creating the materials for those buildings. Carroon and Gregory talk about how there is no “one size fits all” solution for this complex issue, and how companies can do their part in protecting the environment now and in the long term.  Both guests are on the advisory group for the Embodied Buildings in Carbon Conference, which is being held on May 31, 2019 at MIT’s Sloan Center.


Episode 5:  Jared Hesek and Pat Donovan talks addiction, recovery and helping others.

(Part 2 of 3)

Jared Hesek and Pat Donovan

Episode 5 of Build Better is Part 2 of a 3 part series on the opioid epidemic in the construction industry in New England.  In this episode, Anastasia has a frank conversation with Jared Hesek and Pat Donovan, contractors at Karas & Karas Glass. Both men have struggled with addiction and are now in recovery, living healthy sober lives.  They each share their journey to recovery and how they ended up working for Karas & Karas Glass.  They give real advice to those who may be currently struggling with addiction.


We would like to encourage all AEC professionals to learn more about the Building Trades Recovery Week,
happening April 29 to May 3.  View the agenda or register for events at http://buildingtradesforrecovery.com/

Episode 4:  David Argus talks opioids in construction. (Part 1 of 3)

Episode 4 of Build Better is Part 1 of a 3 part series on the opioid epidemic in the construction industry in New England.  In this episode, Anastasia has an intimate conversation with David Argus, director of operations at Karas & Karas, about his family member’s struggle (and recovery) with drugs.

Through his son’s journey to recovery, Argus became more aware of the rehabilitation and counseling services available to addicts.  He was so moved by these counselors’ selfless passion for providing addicts a second chance that he and a friend created a program at Karas & Karas to help recovering addicts pursue careers in the construction industry.

David Argus

Born on November 16, 1966 in Canton, Massachusetts, David Argus developed an interest in construction very early.  In 1985 David graduated from high school and immediately joined the carpenters union. He became employed by Karas & Karas Glass Company in 1986 and has been with the company ever since.

Due to a strong work ethic, charisma and passion, David ascended to management very quickly. His current position is Director of Operations, where he manages over $100M in construction projects annually.

In addition to his successful construction career, David has developed an affinity for helping others.  Argus’s innate ability to make people feel loved and appreciated has created a trusting environment at his workplace.

He enjoys studying humanity and has taken courses at Harvard, including religion, philosophy, and neuroscience.

Special thanks to Gleeson Powers for sponsoring Episode 4 of our podcast!

Episode 3:  Julia McFadden talks designing safe spaces and biophilia.

On Episode 3 of Build Better, Julia McFadden of Svigals + Partners discusses what productive playgrounds are, how biophilia design is connecting us back to nature and the unique role it played in the redesign of the Sandy Hook School Elementary School.  Julia also shares the current discourse surrounding school safety, including the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) federal clearing house of resources on school design best practices for school officials and design professionals.Our listeners also learn what the term “echinus” means.

Julia McFadden

Julia McFadden is an Associate Principal with Svigals + Partners — a New Haven, Connecticut architecture firm.

Following undergraduate study in Theatre Arts and a Master of Architecture program, Julia took up a post-graduate study of Public Art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design to expand upon her interest in creating meaningful places through designs encompassing art, landscape, and structures. Prior to joining Svigals in 2008, Julia practiced residential architecture for ten years, five years running her own design firm. This work honed her design thinking around the immediacy and intimacy of our living spaces, augmented by becoming a certified Feng Shui practitioner in 2010.

Julia has developed particular expertise in facilitating and leading community workshops to establish design themes and aspirations. Recent work includes a residential hall for the University of Hartford and facilitation of a design process with a group of New Haven mothers to establish a memorial Healing Garden to victims of gun violence.

Episode 2:  Karrie Kratz talks empowering and training employees.

On episode 2 of Build Better, Karrie Kratz of Gilbane Building Company tells our listeners how her company sells leaders, not buildings, and because of this Gilbane is at the forefront of training their employees – their most prized asset.

Karrie Kratz

Karrie Kratz is vice president of Gilbane Building Company, and is currently the operations manager of Gilbane’s Connecticut office. Kratz leads Gilbane’s field operations which are comprised of a diverse portfolio of complex projects including one of the state’s largest projects, Renovation of 165 Capital Ave., several K-12 projects such as Greenwich New Lebanon Elementary School and West Haven High School, Fairfield University, Danbury Hospital and others in the Healthcare, K-12, Higher Education, Corporate and Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences Markets.

A 19 year veteran of the construction management industry, she has held the positions of accounting clerk, project accountant, project engineer, manager of engineering, regional quality manager, project manager and senior project manager and operations manager over the course of her career. 

A 2010 recipient of the PWC – Woman on the Rise Award and AGC’s 2013 Project Manager of the Year, 2016 Hartford Business Journal 40 under 40 honoree and an ENR Top Young Professional, Kratz has dedicated her career to building collaborative teams and providing exceptional client satisfaction on all of Gilbane’s Connecticut projects. In addition to participating in several industry organizations and mentoring youth interested in the construction industry, she is also an active member of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut and a meal site team leader for the Shoreline Soup Kitchen and Pantry.

Special thanks to Triax Technologies for sponsoring Episode 2 of our podcast!

Episode 1:  Luiza Mills talks lean construction and solution-based problem solving.

In the first episode of Build Better, Luiza Mills, vice president of human resources and public relations,  Interstate Electrical Services, discusses lean construction, the importance of solution-based thinking, challenges of recruiting new talent, and IESC’s new apprentice program.

Luiza Mills

Luiza Mills brings over 16 years of executive management experience in electrical distribution to her role as vice president of human resources and public relations at Interstate Electrical Services. Mills’ education, energy, passion for excellence, and ability to focus on the details while never losing sight of the broader picture, are assets that drive Interstate and its employees to achieve continued success.

Under Mills’ direction, Interstate’s Human Resources and Marketing departments are responsible for the policies and programs that affect employees, including recruitment and orientation, disability compensation services, employee career planning, diversity programs, training, internal and external company branding and marketing strategies.

Having served on numerous boards over the years, Mills’ is a current member of the New England Employee Benefit Council (NEEBC), Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), Gould Institute Board of Trustees, ABC Human Resource Committee, and the ABC Apprentice Oversight Committee. Mills’ professional background in the construction industry also includes marketing, business operations, lean methodologies, and mergers and acquisitions.

Special thanks to Manufacton for sponsoring Episode 1 of our podcast!



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