Presenters Bios

Carina Kraatz JD CCP

Ms. Kraatz is an associate principal in the Detroit Office of Kitch, Drutchas, Wagner, Valitutti & Sherbrook.  She focuses her practice on commercial, construction and intellectual property litigation.  Ms. Kraatz has litigated a variety of legal issues, including: construction contract and workmanship issues, general civil litigation and fraud, bankruptcy, intellectual property infringement and image misappropriation. 

Ms. Kraatz received her J.D. from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, LL.B from the University of Windsor Faculty of Law in Ontario, Canada, is licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and is a registered patent attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Ms. Kraatz has litigated matters before a variety of state and federal courts in the United States.

 

Kenneth Brzozowski, CCA, CCP

Ken is Director of Audit for Talson Solutions, LLC, is a Certified Construction Auditor (CCA) and Construction Control Professional (CCP) with 28 years of experiences in construction and quality auditing, contract compliance reviews, project risk analysis, construction management, and real estate acquisition, feasibility analysis, site engineering and development. Mr. Brzozowski has managed domestic and international construction audits, risk assessments, procedure reviews, and project readiness reviews for projects in education, healthcare, transportation, highway infrastructure, and commercial development industries that have resulted in process improvements, mitigated project risks, and realistic cost recovery opportunities.

He is a member of the National Association of Construction Auditors and serves on the Institute of Internal Auditors Philadelphia Chapter Board of Governors and Philadelphia Habitat for Humanity Planning and Construction Committee. Mr. Brzozowski holds a B.A. in Urban Planning from the University of Maryland. He has presented construction audit related topics and facilitated round table discussions for industry associations such as AHIA, IIA and NACA.

Ken, his wife and two college age children reside in Philadelphia. Ken is a high school varsity ice hockey coach and enjoys fly fishing local and exotic locations with his wife.

Vinson A. Chapman 

Vince began his career in the construction and real estate industry in 1981.  From 1981 to 1987 Vince was Treasurer and Controller of one of Dallas’ largest electrical contractors.  Vince was responsible for all accounting functions, negotiating GMP (Guaranteed Maximum Price) contracts with Owners and contractors, and for preparing claim documentation to be used in requests for additional reimbursement from contractors.

Beginning in 1988, Vince was hired as Director of Construction Services for the Trammell Crow Co.  At Crow, Vince was responsible for managing the construction audits of the $ 1 billion per year TCC managed construction projects.  These projects included both Trammell Crow development as well as many third party contracts.

Vinson jointly formed CCM Consulting Group in 1992 with the sole purpose to provide construction audits to Owners and Developers.  From 1992 till 2015 CCM has grew to provide 100 construction audits a year for such industry leaders as Google, FedEx, Hewlett-Packard, Exxon, Caesars Entertainment, Tenet Healthcare, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines to name just a few.  Vince joined HPM, LLC in 2015 as its VP and Managing Principal of Audit and Contract Services.  HPM currently provides these services to virtually all private industry segments such as Healthcare, Hospitality, Gaming, Airlines, Pharmaceuticals, Higher Education, Oil and Gas, and High-rise Residential and Office/ Retail Development.  Vince has personally managed construction audits from Canada to Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and in virtually every major city in the continental USA.

Vince has an MBA from SMU, a BBA in accounting from the University of Texas, was a founding member of the North Texas chapter of the Construction Financial Management Association, a Certified Construction Auditor and a member of the  National Association of Construction Auditors.

 

Felipe  Gutierrez CCA

Based in the USA since 2015 and in Houston-TX for the last 2 years, Felipe Gutierrez has 23 years of experience in the delivery of risk and management consulting services. He has extensive experience in providing project management risk, dispute resolution, governance, compliance, forensic accounting and investigation, fraud, and internal auditing related services. He has been an Expert Witness on Quantum, Damages and Fraud international arbitration across many countries. Felipe has lived working and studying and has delivered services in over 20 countries across the world.

Felipe has conducted several fraud investigations, assisted clients implementing controls to avoid and detect fraud, assisted clients implementing hotline systems and processes and acted as a fraud expert witness. Examples of such cases include investigating and producing proof of misbehavior and misuse of funds by CEOs, Procurement Directors, CFOs and included clients within the Fortune 500, the World Bank, owners and contractors. Felipe has also assisted companies implementing construction related controls and training their staff in Brazil for the implementation of mechanisms to prevent future issues as part of their DOJ agreements and well as have reported to the Federal Police the findings of independent assessment of a massive hydroelectric construction project as a result of an investigation made by the Brazil’s Tribunal de Contas da União (TCU) – equivalent to the General Accounting Office in the United States.

Felipe has earned an LLM in Construction Law and Arbitration in the UK, a post graduate degree in Construction and Infrastructure Law in Brazil, a MSc in Economics in Holland and a BSc in Accounting in Brazil. Felipe is Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in Brazil and registered as an Accounting Expert with the Brazilian National Accounting Board. He is certified in fraud examination (CFE), construction auditing (CCA), internal auditing (CIA), risk management (CRMA), project management (PMP) and cost engineering (IBEC). He is also an approved member of the chartered institute of arbitrators (CIArb) and of the Chartered Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Felipe has been recognized from clients and peers, yearly since 2015, as a leading Expert Witness through publications such as Who’s Who Legal and Leaders’ League.

Marvin L. Johnson, CCA, CCP

Marvin has amassed 33 years of construction management experience. His Sr. Project Management, Operations and Construction Audit expertise has contributed to the placement of over $1 Billion of construction in the St. Louis metropolitan area and the surrounding Mid-West and South-East Regional markets. Marvin currently serves as Senior Member of Construction Management Partners, LLC (CMP). CMP is a professional consulting practice specializing in the areas of Project Management Support, Construction Audit and Owner’s Representative Services. Specialty markets include Healthcare, Higher Education and Major League Sports Facilities. Other Owner support services include project financial management and controls, Closeout/reconciliations, cost avoidance/recovery strategies, preconstruction-speed-to-market. Marvin’s core competency includes: • Recognized industry performer – Skilled presenter and closer. Understanding of sales strategies and team development. • Team leader – Responsible for effective allocation and use of staff resources for client results-driven programs. • Highly skilled writer and communicator – Proposals, project scope development and organizational documents. • Proficient and demonstrated project management skills that include all phases of design management, preconstruction, construction phase services and post construction. Management of schedule development processes, logic initiation, project delivery strategy, cost validation, scope management, contract management, claims, management controls, Pre-GMP, final GMP and implementation management.

Marvin’s education includes – California Coast University, BS Business Management, Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth, Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, John Cook School of Business at Saint Louis University, Meramec Community College, St. Louis, Missouri, AAS Architecture Signature projects include: BJC HealthCare Campus Renewal Project St. Louis Riverfront Stadium Complex – St. Louis, MO Miami Dolphins Renovations and Retrofit – Miami, FL St. Louis Cardinal New Ballpark – St. Louis, MO Missouri Baptist Medical Center.

Robert Zellmer CCA

Robert has been with the firm since 2012. He specializes in construction project audits and also works with contractors and real estate owners to assist with financial statement audits.

Specific experience:

­ Leads construction project audit engagements,­ Develops and executes project specific audit programs,­ Reviews construction contracts and assists with identifying risk and communicating opportunities for improvement,­ Assists with audits, reviews and compilations of construction contractors and real estate developers­ Performs construction cost payment application and change order analysis­ Performs closeout audits of construction projects of varying sizes, Executes project accounting, including progress reporting and analysis of budget to actual variances,­ Analyzes contract profitability and evaluation contract line item budget to actual variances to determine the cause of variance,­ Experienced in construction systems and methodology, construction planning and construction design. Industry involvement

­ Certified Construction Auditors (CCA

Jake Ortego, CCA/CCP  

Mr. Ortego is the co-founder and President of JA Cost Engineers and Advisors. He is a licensed mechanical engineer with over 25 years of experience in all phases of the design-construction process and extensive involvement in the project controls, scheduling, project management and engineering management of industrial and commercial projects.

Jake has conducted management and financial controls assessments of significant capital projects with a goal of improving performance and mitigating strategic and operational risks. Additionally, he has developed and implemented financial and project controls, as well as policies and procedures for the design-procurement-construction process. Mr. Ortego has performed construction audits and consulting on projects across many sectors, including commercial, financial, healthcare, biomedical, chemical and heavy industry. He has performed project controls and project management for projects between $50MM and $1.2B. Beyond his auditing and consulting work, Mr. Ortego has been requested to provide expert opinions for construction litigation as well as neutral third party opinions as part of settlement between parties.

Prior to joining Commercial Cost Control, Inc., Mr. Ortego was a primary member of Deloitte’s North Central Construction Advisory Group. This was preceded by his career in consulting engineering with Eichleay Engineers and SNC-Lavalin in Pittsburgh, PA. During this time, he spent 2 years managing an engineering office in the Philippines that focused on industrial construction. Jake’s time in the industrial design-construction arena has given him experience in project management, project controls, schedule management, cost engineering, progress audits, contract management and contract negotiations.

In addition to being a Certified Construction Auditor, Mr. Ortego is a Licensed Professional Engineer and a Certified Cost Engineer. He is a graduate of Boston University where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Mechanical Engineering. He has been published by the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) as well as “Retail Construction” magazine. Mr. Ortego has also provided conference presentations on construction auditing, project controls, cost forecasting, and ethics.

Paul Pettit CCA

Paul is an executive with over 25 years of progressive roles within industry and professional services where he has managed and delivered successful audit and consulting projects to clients across a multitude of industries.  At Revenew, Paul leads the Performance Improvement practice and oversees business development and account management for clients seeking cost recovery, cost containment and performance improvements both with their vendors, suppliers and contactors as well as within their operations.

Since 1999, Paul has been involved in providing consulting and internal audit services within technical areas of organizations including engineering, procurement and construction.  Prior to providing those professional services, he worked for over nine years in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) industry with KBR.  Paul holds Master degrees in Business and Environmental Management as well as a Bachelor degree in Civil/Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Houston.  He is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Construction Controls Professional (CCP), Construction Auditor (CCA), Internal Auditor (CIA), Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) and Professional EH&S Auditor (CPEA).  Paul is an accomplished speaker and has been designated the highest professional speaking designation by Toastmasters International in 2006, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).

Paul has been a member of the NACA since 2011 and has spoken at the last 6 NACA conferences. He has also written articles and white papers on construction audit topics such as construction fraud, data analytics and contract compliance.

Adam C. Rouse, CCA/CCP 

Adam is a Senior Director at FTI Consulting. Mr. Rouse has extensive experience providing construction advisory services and strategic planning to Owner / Operators. He also has experience providing technology advisory and project controls support, with the goal of recovering money as well as developing more proactive processes and procedures to promote transparency.

Mr. Rouse has established and evaluated project controls and audit services for projects ranging from $5 million to over $10 billion in a variety of industries worldwide. He continually works to develop a jobsite of the future leveraging leading edge technologies to create a digital jobsite, designed to capture data, analyze, and predict a variety of outcomes used in what-if planning.

Mr. Rouse is an Advisory board member for the National Associate of Construction Auditors and frequently speaks on construction risks and auditing worldwide.  Mr. Rouse also has experience leading a construction audit practice focused on projects across many industry sectors. Solution offerings of this practice included evaluating change orders, invoices, as well as providing management consulting services to clients.

He is a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Construction Auditor (CCA) and Construction Control Professional (CCP).

Brad Sargent CPA/CFF, CFE, CFS, FABFA, CCA

Brad is the Founder and Managing Member of The Sargent Consulting Group.  Brad assesses clients’ challenges and identifies solutions quickly and cost-effectively. Brad focuses clients on “defining a win” in every situation and working towards that goal. Those wins have ranged from $100m+ judgments in federal court to reduced jail time for criminal convictions. Brad’s candor and competency creates enduring relationships with clients. He is frequently sought at times of great crisis, when a truly trusted advisor can make the most impact. Brad loves distilling complicated financial information into a compelling, simple story; he has been recognized as an expert witness in multiple venues and is a highly sought guest lecturer and speaker. Brad has created a firm culture that treats every matter the same regardless of size, does not take itself too seriously (the work is serious enough) and looks to laugh out loud every day.

Jim Spencer CFE, MBA, CCA

Jim is a Senior Manager at The Sargent Consulting Group. Since coming to SCG, Jim has helped secure many of the firm’s “big wins” in industries as diverse as Agribusiness, Healthcare, Logistics and Real Estate (just to name a few). His prior professional experience in consumer electronics has helped keep SCG technology cutting edge as well as expand SCG’s eDiscovery and Computer Forensic capabilities.

Kristine is a Senior Vice President of Finance for McCarthy Holdings, Inc. and currently works to evaluate alternate uses of the company’s capital for the benefit of its shareholders. She previously served for 13 years as Vice President of Finance for the Southwest Region of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. where she oversaw the financial and operational results for a geographic area with revenue of $1 billion, which includes Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Utah.

 

John Sier, JD CCP 

John Sier concentrates his practice in dispute avoidance and resolution of commercial, healthcare and construction contract issues as head of Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook’s construction and commercial litigation group.  In the construction industry, he has experience in analyzing legal  aspects of various project delivery methods including drafting construction contracts as well as assisting in dispute resolution and project completion. John has published articles and presented seminars on construction, healthcare and commercial issues across the country.  Following his graduation from Drake University Law School and Graduate School in 1986, he established his practice in Detroit, Michigan, from where he continues to serve clients in various parts of North America. In addition to being a Certified Mediator and serving on the AAA Panel of Construction Neutrals, he is active with several organizations, including the State Bar of Michigan, Iowa Bar Association, Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association, Catholic Lawyers Society, Associated general Contractors, Construction Association of Michigan, Construction Specifications Institute, Building Owners and Managers Association of Metropolitan Detroit, Construction Owners Association of America, and the Engineering Society of Detroit.

 

Edward P Travers II, – CCA, CFS, CICA

Ed is the Manager of the Internal Audit Department at Boston Properties, Inc. (BXP) headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. BXP is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT) and is one of the largest owners, managers, and developers of first-class office properties in the United States, with significant presence in five markets located in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

In addition to Ed managing the global Internal Audit Department activity for BXP with regards to audits and SOX compliance, Ed is also a Certified Construction Auditor (CCA), Certified Fraud Specialist (CFS) and a Certified Internal Controls Auditor (CICA). Upon receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from Roger Williams University and post graduate Master of Business Administration studies with Providence College, he transitioned his career to internal audit.

With over 30 years of internal audit experience ranging from international due diligent audit activity while residing in Paris, France to global multi-industry Fortune 50 companies, Ed has invested his career and audit-craft since 2005 with Boston Properties. At BXP Ed manages the corporate internal audit function, which in part includes performing the annual risk assessment, development of the annual plan, department operations, company audits, major development construction projects, investigations, mitigating issues and BOD presentations. In general, Ed’s focus has been in real estate development, high-rise/vertical construction projects, property management, retail properties, corporate policies/procedures and SOX compliance.

Ed resides in Rhode Island with his partner John, who together enjoys spending time by the ocean with family and friends, global travel, charitable organizations, the arts and outdoor health and recreation.

Rich Townsend  CCA

Rich Townsend is a Senior Construction Cost Control Consultant for R. L. Townsend & Associates. Since 1984 his consulting firm has been providing construction audit services and construction cost control management advisory consulting services to Owner organizations throughout the United States.

R. L. Townsend & Associates serves as construction audit/construction cost control advisors for private and public university organizations, independent school districts and community colleges, manufacturing organizations, oil & gas organizations, retail organizations, local government organizations, and health care organizations.

R. L. Townsend & Associates is affiliated with Courtenay Thompson & Associates for the purpose of providing professional development training seminars on construction auditing and construction cost control. In 2008, they established Construction Audit & Cost Control Institute, Inc. (www.caacci.org) to provide a training and information sharing forum for professionals interested in control and audit of construction costs.

Since 1985, he has conducted in-house seminars related to construction contract audit and construction cost control for a wide variety of Owner organizations and industries (e.g. manufacturing, retail, oil & gas, public utilities, airport authorities, state and local government, school districts, real estate development firms, colleges and universities).

Prior to starting R. L. Townsend & Associates in 1984, Mr. Townsend spent 13 years with the internal auditing department of a major retail organization where he served in several staff and management positions with a specialization in audit and control of construction activity. Mr. Townsend is a Certified Construction Auditor, a Certified Internal Auditor and a Certified Public Accountant. He is currently a member of the advisory board for the National Association of Construction Auditors.

He is a graduate of Waynesburg University (Waynesburg, Pennsylvania) where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in accounting.

Henry L. Woods, JR., CCA, CCP, CRIS

Henry is a Supervisor in the Brown Smith Wallace Advisory Group. He is responsible for construction audit and risk management auditing. Henry has over 25 years experiences in construction and program management developing and implementing cost controls, safety management and risk management strategies. His service expertise includes: • Construction Audit and Cost Control • Project Accounting and Budget Analysis • Construction Monitoring • Pre/Post-Bid Analysis, Management, and Negotiations • Risk and Safety Management Controls • Project Management and Construction Administration • Construction Quality Control Inspections and Evaluations • RFP/RF Development, Evaluation and Execution • Contract Review and Negotiations • Managing Building Code Enforcement Issues • Specifications and Code Compliance • Submittal Analysis and RFI/Supplemental Management Controls • Construction Management and Administration • Project Scheduling and Work Plans Henry’s past work experience includes project management and oversight for Jacobs Engineering (Washington University Campus Renewal Projects) and leading construction cost control, project administration, and diversity management at the Missouri Department of Transportation. In addition, his work experience includes risk/safety controls and quality control management at Zurich Insurance Company. Henry’s industry expertise includes construction, education, transportation, casinos, sports facilities, high-speed rail, military housing and healthcare.    

John L. Wisz  CCA

John is the founder and principal of WiszCo, LLC., a firm that specializes in providing financial consulting services to the construction industry. On January 1, 2008, WiszCo was “spun off” from R. L. Townsend & Associates, Inc. where John served as a Senior Consultant/Senior Project Manager for over 21 years.

Since 1986, Mr. Wisz has managed, directed and performed a wide variety contract compliance audits relating to design and construction contracts. Such projects have encompassed virtually all types of commercial construction including high rise office buildings, interior renovations, corporate headquarter buildings, university buildings, hospitals, office complexes, hotels, convention centers, manufacturing facilities, airport facilities and land development projects. This includes audits of contractors, construction managers, consultants, architects and engineers.

Through his wide range of experience, John has gained a thorough understanding of the entire construction and contracting processes and his expertise has been instrumental in identifying and developing overcharges, overcharge exposures and other weaknesses throughout the entire process. He has provided practical recommendations to clients on all aspects of the construction and contracting process. Mr. Wisz has also been actively involved in developing processes and controls designed to prevent overcharges and minimize overcharge exposures. Such recommendations include contract language enhancements, contracting strategies and methodologies, change order management, cost control and contract administration.

Mr. Wisz also possesses an excellent working knowledge of federal contracting laws, regulations and guidelines including those prescribed by the Department of Defense (DoD). Such knowledge includes a thorough understanding of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), U.S. Statutes, Public Laws and other federal policies, procedures and guidelines. Consequently, John understands the differences, similarities and subtleties of contracting in both the public and private sectors.

John also has extensive experience in public speaking and professional development relating to construction. He has served as a seminar instructor and conference presenter for construction audit related topics that have been taught nationwide through The Institute of Internal Auditors, Inc. Mr. Wisz has also presented these seminars on an in-house basis for various organizations. Additionally, John has presented construction related topics at national conferences for the National Retail Merchants Associates, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and The Institute of Internal Auditors, Inc.

Prior to forming his own consulting firm and the 21+ years he spent with R. L. Townsend & Associates, Inc., Mr. Wisz spent four and one-half years with a large oil and gas firm, Atlantic Richfield Company. During that time, he gained valuable experience in contract compliance while working as a project cost control staff accountant on a major construction project. He also spent two and one-half years working as a land administrative analyst gaining additional experience in contracts, leases and various other legal documents.

Mr. Wisz is a 1981 graduate of the University of Oklahoma where he obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in accounting. Though John does not practice public accounting, he has passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.

 

Robert Hardy CCA/CCP

Director of Construction Audit, works at the firm’s St. Louis office and has nearly 35 years of construction project management experience having worked on projects across the nation, including health care facilities, commercial office buildings, schools and universities, parking garages, industrial and manufacturing, data centers and retail. Most of these projects were complete, ground-up developments that included final interior buildouts. Robert has the unique background of having worked for large general contractors as well as for a Fortune 50 corporation responsible for and leading their Capital projects and developments group.

Robert is a certified member of the National Association of Construction Auditors (NACA) which includes qualifications as a Certified Construction Auditor (CCA) and Construction Cost Control Professional (CCP). He received his BS in Construction Management and Minor in Business Administration from Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois.