Patrick J. Kiley Excellence in Leadership Scholarships and AGC Standard of Excellence Awards Presented May 9, 2017
2017 Scholarship Award Recipients:
Leonor Abby Alveldano
Since moving to the United States from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Leonor Alvedano has dreamed of attending college and obtaining a dream job. To reach those heights, she studied hard and graduated from high school in the top 10 percent. Today, she is living her dream, attending the University of Houston and pursuing a degree in Construction Management. It’s not been easy to maintain a 3.9 OPA while struggling financially. Leonor is proud to be the first woman in her family to graduate from a university with a degree. She has learned that all hard work is highly recompensed and that everything is possible. Her father, who hangs Sheetrock, inspired her to enter the construction industry and make a difference.
Blake Denman is currently working for Gilbane Building Company as a project engineer. A native Houstonian, he graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Science and Management, along with a minor in Business Administration. Not finished with his studies, Blake is pursuing an MBA “to advance my educational background and develop a well-rounded business acumen as it relates to the construction industry,” he states. He cut his teeth on one of the largest construction jobs in the state: the ExxonMobil Campus in The Woodlands. He is currently working on a four-story high school in Cypress.
The daughter of a foreman for TDIndustries, Inc. Iris grew up in a small, two-bedroom house located in a neighborhood where it’s normal to see kids sell drugs at stop signs. Today, Iris and her family live in a five-bedroom house located in a much more desirable area of Baytown. According to Iris, “I come from two hard-working parents that know how to achieve what they want.” Three years ago, Iris earned a Patrick J. Kiley Excellence in Leadership scholarship as a senior in high school. Today, she is a senior at Texas State University pursuing a degree in business management. She chose to take the business management route so that she might one day become a new construction project manager in the Houston area with TDlndustries. “My plan doesn't end there, my all- time goal is to grow with TDI, which is where my father is currently employed,” she said.
Antonio Hernandez has been working working full time as an electrician in the construction industry for the past eight years and pursuing an Electrical Engineering degree to further his capabilities in construction. He currently attends Houston Community College to complete his college basics and plans to transfer to the engineering program at the University of Texas – Tyler. “I have many goals in life, and I hope to keep checking them off one by one,” he stated. Antonio and his wife Crystal Esparza, another scholarship recipient, are raising their young son, Anthony and both received AGC Houston scholarships in 2014 and 2015.
Crystal Hernandez and her husband Antonio Hernandez – also a scholarship recipient – are working and raising their six-year-old son. They recently realized their dream of owning a home, which they did through hard work. Crystal is currently attending HCC and pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Being a wife, a mother, a full-time TDIndustries Partner, and a part-time student cis challenging she says, but brings many rewards. A native Houstonian, Crystal graduated in the top 10 percent of her class from Sharpstown High School in 2007. Crystal was raised by her mother and grandparents in a very tight-knit family environment. She says, “I have an older brother, younger brother, and younger sister, myself being the second oldest. My grandfather was the only father figure in my life until my step-dad joined our family when I was about 14 years old.”
After attaining his Bachelor of Science degree in construction management with a minor in business administration and membership in the honors college with honors in major, Kirby Holt plans to attend graduate school at the University of Houston. The C.T. Bauer College of Business and the Houston Law Center have a dual program, in which hopes to receive a Master of Business Administration and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree within five to six years. Kirby plans to continue working for Sage Commercial Group, to further develop the company and expand his knowledge of the construction industry. His goal is to complete graduate school and intern with a prominent law firm in the Houston area to enhance his legal education and practice. Upon finishing graduate school, Kirby sees himself in an upper managerial role at a construction firm in which he will be operating the company's business and legal sectors.
As the Marketing Coordinator for Linbeck Group, LLC, Tara Kirkland works with senior staff and clients in all aspects of proposal strategy and production. She earned a Merit Scholarship and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Loyola University New Orleans. Born in Houston, Tara and her family moved to Saudi Arabia where she was raised. She is actively involved in AGC Houton’s APEX Awards Committee and is also an active member of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo – Houston Metro Go Texan Katy Chapter, which raises money for Scholarships. Tara plans on continuing her studies at Georgetown University.
This is the third time Curtis Lucas has received an AGC Houston scholarship. Currently, he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management and a minor in Business Administration at the University of Houston. Curtis has been on the dean’s list and inducted into the Construction Management Honor Society. Through the university’s academic program, he completed an internship as junior estimator at Satterfield and Pontikes Construction. In addition to raising his son, Curtis plans on completing his studies and obtaining a state Master Electrical license.
Matthew Moorhead is enrolled in the Construction Management program at the University of Houston. Matthew's construction interests include building structures that benefit the surrounding community and work involving historical restoration and preservation. Matthew and his wife enjoy raising their children.
Diana Gonzalez Monter
Diana Gonzalez Monter is a student at the University of Houston currently pursuing a B.S. in Construction Management. Diana gained her passion in construction when she became a full time employee at Slack & Co. Contracting, Inc. after graduating high school in 2013. She worked her way up from receptionist to assistant project manager, and has proven that working and going to school is a rewarding task. At the University of Houston, she joined various student construction organizations and became the Vice President of the Women Contractors Association, as well as gaining her membership for the Sigma Lambda Chi, the International Honor Society for Construction Management. While not at work or school, she enjoys reading classic literature books, spending time at the gym, and walking her 130-pound dog, Tank.
Matthew Mounzer is currently a junior at the University of Houston, pursuing a degree in construction management. A member of the student chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors and the Sigma Lambda Chi Construction Honor Society, Matthew has been on the dean's list every semester that he attended the university. Matthew is employed by Durotech, Inc. as a project engineer on the HCC North Forest Campus. In his free free time, he enjoys working on cars and woodworking.
Lazaro Platas is a full-time student who grew up and lives in Pasadena. Ever since he can recall, Lazaro has been working in some form of construction, whether at home or in the construction field. He’s had to work to help pay for food and bills. With an older brother working as a project engineer for a general contractor (who also was an AGC Houston scholarship recipient), Lazaro was inspired to pursue a degree in construction science. Currently, he is attending San Jacinto College and completing all of his pre-requisites. Once completed, he plans on transferring to University of Houston as a full-time student.
Evelyn Reyes moved to Austin to pursue a degree and career in civil engineering with a minor in Spanish. Encouraged by family and friends, she plans to graduate from the University of Texas with a master’s in structural engineering. Her dream is to become a well-known structural engineer and oversee the creations of infrastructures with her vision and design. She plans on using her love of construction and Spanish fluency to give back to other Spanish-speaking minorities in the industry and/or community. Born and raised in Honduras, Evelyn’s drive for success comes from her mother’s discipline and endurance.
A junior at the University of Houston, Josue Rosales is currently working at a full time job in Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. and attending college part time. He and his wife recently welcomed a baby and are enjoying this new chapter in their lives. She also is employed by Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. and will be returning to work soon. Josue is looking forward to completing his degree in construction science and furthering his education.
Eric Saenz hails from Channelview and was admitted to Texas A & M University for the fall of 2017. The first in his immediate family to attend a major university, he has been working while maintaining a 3.29 GPA. Eric’s passion for construction is a result from having worked for a mechanical contractor for the past three years. Though he will miss his colleagues, he is ready to pursue the next chapter in his life and excited about the future.
A mother of three, Shannon Selph is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in human resource management and has enjoyed a long career that includes various administrative and human resources functions. In 2013, she joined a construction company that was in a joint venture to build an LNG expansion to an existing plant. Through this introduction, she grew to love the construction industry and being part of something that will benefit the community. In May 2017, she completed an associates of arts degree and plans on entering the University of Houston – Victoria at Katy in August 2017 to complete her degree.
Jonathan Smith is currently enrolled in the construction management program and receiving a minor in business administration from the University of Houston. He also is an intern for Midtown Houston. Jonathan serves on numerous organizations throughout campus, which include Habitat for Humanity or the Sigma Lambda Chi Construction Honor Society. He plans to graduate in 2018 and “start the journey to becoming a great construction manager.”
Alyssa Villanueva recently graduated from Manvel High School. Passionate about sports and learning, her goal is to graduate from college with a degree in engineering. “Growing up, I did not get everything that I wanted handed to me. I had to work for everything I have. My determination and drive to be something greater than everyone around me is what pushes me to accomplish things that others would consider impossible,” she stated.