Richard LeBlanc, PE
5426 Bay Center Drive,
Suite 400. Tampa, FL 33609
D 813.282.2451
Email Richard.

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Announcing the 2017-2018 Directors, Officers, Pro-Bono and Committee Leads for the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Tampa Bay, Inc.

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Parent Consent Form

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Mentor Documents

Access Mentor Documents Here
(Link only Accessible to Active Mentors)

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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. We currently have programs at Middleton High School and now the University of South Florida! 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.

Photo_1.JPGAt 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 Board of Directors

Richard Leblanc.jpg

Richard LeBlanc, PE
HDR Engineering
Read Bio

Marcia Alvarado.jpg

Marcia Alvarado, PE
Vice President
TRC Worldwide Engineering, Inc
Read Bio

Kip Goulder.png

Kip Goulder
Read Bio

Julie Florez.jpg

Julie Florez, EI
Read Bio

Nelson Etienne.jpg

Nelson Etienne
Read Bio

Michael Weisgerber.jpg

Michael Weisgerber, LEED AP BD+C
Read Bio

Donald Koppy.jpg

Read Bio

Gerard Cadet.jpg

Gerard Cadet, LEED GA
The Beck Group
Read Bio

David Turcios.jpg

David Turcios
Wojtowicz, Neu & Associates
Read Bio

Our Team Projects

Photo_2.JPGStudents 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

This year’s project is a design of a Gateway to Tampa for the Florida Department of Transportation along the Howard Frankland bridge as you enter Tampa and involves architectural design of the gateway, engineering design of the structure itself and the construction logistics to build the gateway. Students will learn about architecture, civil and structural engineering, construction logistics, and cost estimating, each with a specific deliverable that will culminate in their final presentation to the owner at the end of the program!

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Participate in ACE!

If you’d like to experience ACE’s challenges, opportunities and rewards for yourself, just contact the ACE leader listed in the upper right-hand corner of this page.

Richard Leblanc.jpgRichard LeBlanc, PE – President
Project Manager, HDR Engineering

Richard graduated from the University of North Florida in 2007 with a BS in Civil Engineering after serving in the US Coast Guard. He started his engineering career with HDR Engineering in 2007 designing local parks in Jacksonville, FL. In his 10 years with HDR, he has worked on several projects ranging from water/wastewater, solid waste facilities, port facilities, drainage, and dams and levee design. He is a member of the United States Society on Dams and has been a part of the ACE Mentoring Program for over 10 years.

Marcia Alvarado.jpgMarcia Alvarado, PE – Vice President
Structural Project Manager, TRC Worldwide Engineering, Inc

Marcia Alvarado graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology with a degree in Civil Engineering, while playing collegiate basketball. She began her career in structural engineering in New York City. Marcia also received her Master's degree from the University of South Florida. She's been a licensed professional engineer for the past 7 years and works as a Structural Project Manager for TRC Worldwide Engineering in Tampa, Florida. She enjoys designing buildings and has always had a passion for helping others that may be interested within the ACE Mentor program. Marcia boldly ventured in the fashion world with modeling and now runs a blog for fashion and architecture called The Alvarado Experience.

Kip Goulder.pngKip Goulder – Treasurer
Project Manager, APG

A mentor with the program since 2012, Kip has served various roles with APG Electric in Clearwater, from being a field helper, though estimating, project management, and business development. He is a graduate of Purdue University’s Building Construction Management program and has been involved with several projects in the area, including the Raymond James Stadium renovations, several hospital facilities, projects at USF and Polk State College, and many other projects in the Tampa Bay region. If he wasn’t in construction management, he would have been a teacher, and through ACE, he gets the best of both worlds. Kip also serves as Treasurer on the ACE Board of Directors.

Julie Florez.jpgJulie Florez, EI – Secretary
Project Designer, HDR

Julie graduated from the University of Kentucky where she received her bachelors of science in Civil Engineering. Julie works as a Water/Wastewater E.I. at HDR, where she has worked for the past 2 years. Julie also is also French pastry chef and studied at École Grégoire-Ferrandi in Paris, France, and enjoys baking in her spare time.

Nelson Etienne.jpgNelson Etienne – Director
Senior Project Manager, Walbridge

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 Walbridge here in Tampa.  He has worked for Walbridge for 16 years. He has worked on projects all over Hillsborough, Pinellas County locally. He has worked on some out of state and city projects for Walbridge. 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. Additionally spends time traveling and spending time with his family and friends.

Michael Weisgerber.jpgMichael Weisgerber, LEED AP BD+C – Director
Assistant Project Manager, Whiting-Turner

Michael graduated from Virginia Tech in 2014 with a degree in Architecture, however decided to pursue a career in Construction Management and is currently an assistant project manager with The Whiting-Turner Contract Company here in Tampa.  He has worked on projects all over Hillsborough County from Fishhawk to Downtown Tampa and is grateful for the opportunity to meet some of the future industry leaders of tomorrow and share his enthusiasm with those interested in the ACE fields.  Michael stays busy outside of work by volunteering with local charities and participating in triathlons.

Donald Koppy.jpgDon Koppy, AIA, CSI, CCS, NCARB – Director
Architecture Team Leader, Atkins

Donald A. Koppy, AIA, CSI, CCS, NCARB, is the Architecture Team Leader of Atkins’ Tampa office and is Greater Tampa Bay’s ACE Mentor Program’s Scholarship Chair. Mr. Koppy graduated with a B.Arch. degree from the University of Arizona, and has 35 years of design and construction experience. He is licensed as an architect in seven states and is also a Certified Construction Specifier. Mr. Koppy is an active member of the Construction Specifications Institute’s (CSI) Certification programs; was chapter president, vice president, secretary, and products show chairperson of CSI’s Chapter; taught the “Professional Office Practice” course at Washington University, was an instructor of Construction Document Technology (CDT) classes for 13 years, and was chair of the advisory board, Architectural Technology Program, at Ranken Technical College. In 2006 Mr. Koppy led the implementation of BIM and development of Build-Before-You-Build services at a large design-build firm, and speaks extensively about BIM technologies in current and future project delivery systems.

Gerard Cadet.jpgGerard Cadet, LEED GA – Director
Project Engineer, The Beck Group

Gerard has 7 years of experience in the construction industry with Oil & Gas, Institutional and Aviation project portfolios. He began his career as a CAD technician and evolved into positions including Project Engineer and Document Control Lead for Beck Group. He has worked on projects ranging from 30 - 500 million dollars in value. Working in both horizontal and vertical construction environments, Gerard has a vast understanding of construction projects and its delivery methods. Gerard is a thorough and controlled communicator who is able to handle multiple tasks successfully and maintain a cooperative team environment. Gerard is a LEED Green Associate and OSHA trained. Gerard’s education includes an Associate of Science degree in Architecture from the University Of The Bahamas and a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Construction Engineering Technology from Florida A & M University.

David Turcios.jpgDavid Turcios – Director
Surety Bond Specialist, Nielson, Wojtowicz, Neu & Associates

David has worked on the agency side of the surety bond business since 1995, spending the last seven years in the capacity of a Surety Bond Specialist with Nielson, Wojtowicz, Neu & Associates, the Tampa/St Pete office of Nielson, Hoover & Company.  He is very active with many local construction trade organizations including Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Suncoast Utility Contractors Association, and Gulf Coast Builders Xchange.  In addition to being a Board Member of the ACE Mentor Program of Tampa, he sits on the board of the local chapter of ABC, the board of ABC National, the board of Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc., and is President of his children’s elementary school PTA.  Most recently he was chosen to be part of Leadership Tampa Bay’s class of 2018.  He is an avid sports fan and cherishes the gift of being a single-father to his nine-year old son, Lukas, and six-year old daughter, Eryn, and is active with them in their respective extracurricular activities.

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