Kitchell CEM names new regional leaders in California

Kitchell CEM recently named Vice President Wendy Cohen leader of the company’s Northern California region and Kevin Pokrywa as Regional Executive for Southern California.

“Since joining us five years ago, Wendy has had an incredible impact on our profile in Southern California,” said Kitchell CEM President Russ Fox. “She came to us with a broad base of experience in healthcare and has grown our footprint with municipalities, education, justice and other markets. Moving her into the Northern California region – closer in proximity to more of our public-sector work – is a strategic decision that will be a great benefit to our clients and our employee-owners,” he said.

Wendy assumes the role previously held by Executive Vice President Mansour Aliabadi, who will transition out of the day-to-day operations.

Since joining Kitchell five years ago, Wendy has rapidly expanded Kitchell’s presence in Southern California. Under her leadership, Kitchell has become a go-to source for entities seeking guidance for bond measures, long-term capital improvement plans and engineering assessments. She opened two new offices in Los Angeles and Riverside and dramatically grew Kitchell’s Southern California workforce. She came to Kitchell after serving as Director of Facilities, Planning and Development at Escondido, Calif.-based Palomar Health where she oversaw the execution of a $1 billion-plus master plan. A native of San Diego, Wendy has been a finalist for San Diego Business Woman of the Year and Outstanding Women in Construction & Design. She was honored by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) with the 2012 Regent’s Award for Early Careerist Healthcare Executive.

Kevin Pokrywa joined Kitchell in 2015 after also working at Palomar Health. Kevin has been an integral player in growing the Southern California region, building long-term relationships with clients in both the public and private sectors. He has facilitated major development programs from land acquisition and entitlement to construction and close-out, becoming a trusted adviser on fiscal and risk management, processes and procedures. Prior to being named Regional Executive, he was Program Director.

“Wendy and her leadership team have been largely responsible for building a book of business and a solid group of dedicated employee-owners who will continue to prosper under Kevin’s management,” Russ said. “We are fortunate to have this level of talent covering our entire state.”

Sacramento-based Kitchell CEM is consistently ranked the #1 Construction Manager in the Sacramento Business Journal and among the Top 50 Program Managers in the national Engineering-News Record rankings.

Kitchell project honored with coveted ASHE Vista award

The American Hospital Association’s American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) has presented a prestigious Vista Award to Kitchell and others who were part of designing and building the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, Calif.

“This project was and still is a milestone project for Kitchell,” said Kitchell Contractors President Steve Whitworth. “For many years Jacobs was the largest healthcare project in San Diego County, and the collaboration lessons learned from that experience reverberate throughout our projects today.”

The Vista Awards are not design awards, but rather recognize the significance of collaboration, communication and teamwork in creating optimal healthcare environments. It is considered the ultimate national recognition in healthcare building and engineering. Jacobs Medical Center was honored in the category of New Construction.

The project team’s transformational approach facilitated an environment of risk-taking and supporting each other. Team members who didn’t adapt to the project’s high-performance team culture were moved to more structured roles, if necessary. Innovation began at the earliest phases, with end-users including patients, family members, medical and hospital staff providing insights and continuous feedback that informed the design and environments.

The Jacobs Medical Center project transformed an existing community hospital into a world-class academic institution. The five-year, $972.9 million project encompassed four distinct phases: enabling projects to prepare the site for development, building an award-winning LEED Gold, 40,000-square-foot central utility plant, selectively renovating the existing community hospital and ultimately constructing the 245-bed, 10-story patient tower.

“This is the ultimate reward for UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center and the project team,” said UC San Diego Senior Director of Project Management Randy Leopold. “It proves what a true high-performing team can accomplish when it understands the bigger picture and is empowered to ask questions, address challenges, take risks and continually innovate. It’s also a much-deserved validation from the industry, recognizing the thousands of individuals who poured their hearts and souls into creating something in our community that is changing lives.”

The award was presented at the opening session of the 2019 International Summit and Exhibition for Health Facility Planning, Design and Construction™, which was held in Phoenix this year. The two other winners were UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass (Renovation) and Lancaster General Hospital in Pennsylvania (Infrastructure).

Article originally appeared in Arizona Business Magazine: