Marcia L. Alvarado, PE

D: 813.957.7844
Email Marcia

Vice President:

Richard LeBlanc, PE


D: 813-282-2451

Email Richard

(send payable checks to):

ACE Mentor Program of Greater Tampa Bay, Inc.
Attn: Richard Leblanc

4830 W Kennedy Blvd

Suite 400

Tampa, Florida 33609
D: 813.282.2451


Corporate Sponsorships:

Drazen Ahmedic, AIA, CGC

D: 813.282.5305
Email Drazen

Student Scholarships:

Mead & Hunt
D: 314-568-3363

Email Don

ACETinyTriangle.gifCurrent News



ACE Makes a Difference


ACE Mentor Recruitment TBD

ACE Student/Parent Orientation TBD


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 Westshore Tampa, Saint Petersburg, and 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.


ACE Mentor Program of Greater Tampa has expanded into (3) three remote programs for all high schools students to participate in. The Students and Mentors can sign-up for one of the sub-regions offered in the Tampa Bay region that is most convenient to where the student/mentor lives or works. The program schedule is provided for each sub-region along with a Team Leader, if you have any questions. Students are expected to attend most of the sessions to be eligible for our program scholarships. Mentors are encouraged to be able to attend approximately 2 sessions a month to become a valued mentor to our high school students.

Westshore Tampa Program (Schedule-Time-Dates)
Location: HDR Office 4830 W Kennedy Blvd., 
Suite 400, 
Tampa, FL 33609 (MAP)
Team Leader: Brandon Facini
D: 904.625.0400
Email: Brandon

Tampa North (USF Tampa Campus) Program (Schedule-Time-Dates)
Location: Building College of Engineering (MAP)
Team Leader: Marcia Alvarado
TRC Worldwide Engineering
D: 813.957.7844
Email: Marcia

Downtown St. Petersburg Program (Schedule-Time-Dates)
Location: Power Design Office 11600 Ninth Street North St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Team Leader: Richard LeBlanc, PE
D: 813.282.2451
Email: Richard

Meet our Board of Directors

Marcia Alvarado.jpg

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

Richard Leblanc.jpg

Richard LeBlanc, PE
ACE Vice President
HDR Engineering
Read Bio

Julie Florez.jpg

Julie Florez, EI
ACE Secretary
Read Bio

Nelson Etienne.jpg

Nelson Etienne
ACE Board
(Fundraiser Chair)
Allstate Construction Inc
Read Bio

MnH Photo.jpeg

ACE Board
(Scholarship Chair)
Mead & Hunt
Read Bio

Drazen Ahmedic.jpg

Drazen Ahmedic,
ACE Board
(Sponsorship Chair)
Read Bio

Katrina Pasteur.jpg

Katrina Pasteur,

ACE Board
(Banquet Co-Chair)
The Beck Group
Read Bio

Brandon Facini.jpg

Brandon Facini
ACE Board
(Membership Chair)
Plaza Construction
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
  • 2017/2018 – Gateway to Tampa for FDOT
  • 2018/2019 - Morsani College of Medicine

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
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 – President
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.

Julie Florez.jpgJulie Florez, EI – Secretary

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 – Board Member

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 Allstate Construction here in Tampa. He has worked on projects all over Hillsborough, Pinellas County locally. He has worked on some out of state and city projects. 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, such as ACE, Pinellas Education Foundation, Take Stock in Children, and Great American Teach in. Additionally, spends time traveling and spending time with his family and friends.

Michael Weisgerber.jpgMichael Weisgerber, LEED AP BD+C – Board Member

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 – Board Member
Mead & Hunt

Donald A. Koppy, AIA, CSI, CCS, NCARB, is the Architecture Department Manager for Mead & Hunt’s Southern Region, 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 40 years of design and construction experience. He is licensed as an architect in fourteen 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 – Board Member
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 – Board Member
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.

Drazen Ahmedic.jpgDrazen Ahmedic, AIA CGC
Managing Principal

Drazen Ahmedic, AIA, CGC is a licensed Architect and Certified General Contractor who graduated from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with Master’s in Architecture degree in 2005. Throughout his career he practiced in Wisconsin, California, North Carolina and Florida designing variety of projects in Healthcare, Education, Pharmaceutical, Aviation and Civic sectors. Drazen serves as a Managing Principal for Florida for one of the largest architectural firms in the world, HDR.

Katrina Pasteur.jpgKatrina Pasteur, AIA, NCARB
Board Member
The Beck Group

As Healthcare Market Sector Leader in Tampa, Katrina engages both design and construction to implement a healthcare delivery process that caters to the goals of each client’s needs. She has over 10 years’ experience in the healthcare design market and joined Beck in 2017 to help build their regional healthcare portfolio. She is always seeking to learn and believes in the importance of education at every level. Katrina is a second generation Florida Gator and hopes her two boys will follow suit.


  • University of Florida, Master of Architecture, May 2008
  • University of Florida, Bachelor of Design in Architecture, May 2006
  • University of Florida Design-Build Team, Southeast Conference Competition, Captain 2005-2006 team
  • University of Florida Minority Ambassadors: tour guide and member
  • Golden Key National Honor Society
  • Pi Beta Phi sorority


  • Registered Architect
  • National Council of Architectural Registration Boards Certified
  • American Institute of Architects, Academy of Architecture for Health Committee (2015 - present)
  • Kelley Emerging Professional Award Recipient, AIA Tampa Bay (2014)
  • American Institute of Architects, Tampa Bay Chapter: Member (2008 - present), Tour Tampa Bay
  • Architecture Development Committee/Lead (2012), Associate Director (2010), Subcommittee member for Discover Design (2011), ArchiFest (2009, 2010)

Brandon Facini.jpgBrandon Facini
Board Member
DPR Construction

Brandon is a project manager at Plaza Construction. With experience in projects that vary in scope and size, Brandon brings a well-rounded and innovative approach to project management. Brandon also previously lead a community initiative team where he supported volunteer projects for Boys & Girls Club, Shriners, and A Brighter Community Day Care. Brandon’s community initiative focus is to inspire and develop construction careers in youth. Part of those efforts include involvement with Boys and Girls Club YES Academy, Build Tampa Bay Foundation (Construction Career Day for High School Students interested in the industry), ACE Mentorship, and facilitating high school construction internships.