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Speaker Biographies

Check back soon for more information on our 2023 speakers! New information is being added all the time.

Keynote Speaker

Alex WebberAlex Weber is an American Ninja Warrior, Award-Winning Leader & Entertainer positively inspiring millions to achieve breakthrough success! Not only does Alex talk the talk as an in-demand international speaker, he’s walked the walk as an elite competitor on NBC’s Emmy-nominated series American Ninja Warrior. Well, more like, leaped the leap! This wildly popular TV show has sparked a global phenomenon to the extent that hundreds of thousands of people apply, and only a few hundred are given the rare opportunity to compete. Alex is the only person to host and compete on NBC American Ninja Warrior.

Alex’s greatest passion is championing your highest potential by helping you find your Edge, because success is about more than just knowing what to do, it’s knowing how to do it. Alex shows Top Professionals and Leaders how to bring their very best everyday, and to the most high-stakes situations that can make or break your success. It's his sincere understanding of peak performance and peak challenges, mixed with inspiring stories and actionable strategies that makes Alex unforgettable and your human shot of espresso. With his contagious energy and passion, Alex shares his game-changing secrets to record-breaking success! 

Utility Division Speakers

Ty Edmondson

Ty Edmondson

Ty serves as Co-President of T.A. Loving alongside David Philyaw. As Co-President/Division Manager of the Utility/Heavy Civil Division of T.A. Loving Company, Ty’s primary responsibility is to oversee the day to day operations of the division and its personnel. Ty has extensive knowledge of this division as he has spent his entire professional career with T.A. Loving Company and brings over 30 years of experience to the company. He has worked in various positions and knows the requirements of each job well. He is closely involved with each project and has built long-lasting relationships with partnering Owners and Engineers. These relationships, along with our ability to deliver a quality product, are key to our repeat business with many customers.

Ty earned his B.S. in Civil Engineering with Construction Option from North Carolina State University in 1989 and holds his Professional Engineer Certification. He currently serves on the Carolinas AGC Board of Directors and is a founding member of Grace Community Church in Goldsboro.

Carlos Gittens

Carlos Gittens, P.E., KCI Technologies, Inc.

Carlos Gittens, P.E. is a Senior Project and Office Manager in Greenville, SC for KCI Technologies, the office he opened in 2014 that now has over 40 employees in four markets. He possesses 25 years of experience in the project management, construction management, design, inspection, and utility coordination of infrastructure projects within the Southeastern U.S, including over a dozen alternative delivery projects. He is considered a leader in transportation field for his strong utility coordination experience and knowledge.

Carlos is a graduate of the University of Central Florida (UCF) obtaining both his BS in Civil Engineering and an MBA.  Currently, he serves on the AGC/ ACEC Carolinas Joint Utility Committee as well as being an active member of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) for 25 years, serving at all three levels for the past decade. He has been honored to receive recognition for his NSPE service including State and National President’s Awards and Young Engineer and Engineer of the Year awards among others. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in five states including North and South Carolina.Aaron Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is an earth scientist working to help contractors, agencies, and businesses assess variations of subsurface features encountered on a particular site. His expertise includes conducting geophysical investigations - solving unknown and unresolved subsurface features to better help his clients. From removing the potential of drilling into a gas line to determining building site classifications, Goldstein assists and advises clients to avoid potential geological hazards. His colleagues would describe him as driven, with a passion to increase efficiency while also ensuring that the quality of his advice is exceptional. Specific fields that he is interested in are solid Earth geophysics, shallow geophysical investigations, and geohazard analysis.

Allen GrayAllen Gray

Allen is the AGC Utility Infrastructure Division (UID) Director and Lobbyist for AGC of America.  He represents the utility construction industry before the federal government, owners and associated industries as well as serves as a policy strategist on matters associated with utility construction.  Allen serves as information and activism conduit for UID members and manages all Division activities. Before joining AGC of America’s staff, Allen worked for the Carolinas AGC for over 20 years as their Utility Division Director and Lobbyist in North & South Carolina.  Allen serves, or has served on various inter-industry boards and committees including: the USDOT’s Common Ground Study of One Call System Best Practices Steering Team; Common Ground Alliance (CGA) Charter Board of Directors; NC811 Board of Directors; Gold Shovel Standard Board of Directors; USDOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Excavation Damage Prevention Initiative; USDOT Excavator Training Advisory Committee and is an inductee in the CGA Hall of Fame. Mr. Gray has also has served his community as a member of the Riverview Community Water System and Riverview Fire Department Board of Commissioners.

Lynn Hansen

Lynn L. Hansen, Crowder Constructors Inc

Lynn Hansen became Chief Executive Officer of Crowder Constructors Inc. in June 2019, previously serving as the President and Chief Financial Officer of Crowder. Lynn began her career with Crowder, as the Vice President of Finance and Administration in 1999. Lynn has also been actively involved in operations by serving as the Division Manager of Crowder Heavy Civil along with her role as CFO. Lynn has a wealth of knowledge in strategic planning, risk management and finance. Her leadership has been integral to the growth and success of Crowder over the last two decades.

Lynn is a graduate of the University of North Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and is active and holds leadership positions in several professional and civic organizations including the Carolinas AGC, American Heart Association, the McLeod Center, and her church. 
Derrick Morgan

Derrick Morgan

Derrick is part of the Plant Division Team at State Utility Contractors, Inc.  Derrick worked multiple internships with State Utility while attending Western Carolina University (B.S. Construction Management 06’) which led to full time employment as a field engineer.  After working multiple years in the field, he was relocated to the State Utility headquarters in Monroe, NC as an Assistant Project Manager.  Derrick currently serves as Vice President/Project Manager and along with his team manages some of the largest, and most challenging projects for State Utility. Derrick has played an integral role in the development and training of the younger generation of Project Managers at State Utility.  He has been involved with CAGC in different aspects for over 10 years and was instrumental in starting the CAGC Young Leaders. Derrick was a member of the inaugural class of Top Young Leaders in 2016 and he currently serves as the Carolinas AGC Utility Division Chair.

Highway Division Speakers

Aaron Earwood, NCDOT Regional Bridge Construction Engineer

Aaron Earwood is a graduate of UNC Charlotte and is a licensed Professional Engineer.  He has worked with NCDOT since 1998 and has worked with the Construction Unit as a Bridge Construction Engineer since 2008.  He is currently the Regional Bridge Construction Engineer for the Eastern Region. 

Joey Hopkins

Joey Hopkins, NCDOT Chief Operating Officer

As chief operating officer, Joey Hopkins oversees the Division of Highways, Ferry Division, Aviation Division, Rail Division, the Integrated Mobility Division, Division of Planning & Programming, and the Communications Office. 

Hopkins has worked at NCDOT for more than 30 years in a variety of roles. As deputy chief engineer, he managed the Division of Planning and Programming, the Transportation Planning Division and the Regional Accountants. He also previously served as division engineer, deputy division engineer, division maintenance engineer and division operations engineer in Division 5.  

He was a member of NCDOT’s Transformation Management Team and was instrumental in developing the Strategic Prioritization Process, the forerunner of the Strategic Mobility Formula. This data driven process is used to help prioritize transportation projects in North Carolina.  The Strategic Transportation Investments Law passed in 2013 allows NCDOT to use existing funding more efficiently and effectively to enhance North Carolina’s infrastructure, while supporting economic growth, job creation and improved quality of life. 

Hopkins is graduate of N.C. State University. He is a member of Amelia Christian Church in Clayton and is a member and past President of the Clayton Civitan Club.  He lives in Garner with his wife Terry, a retired NCDOT engineer, and their two sons, Kelly and Billy.

Robbie Isgett

Robbie Isgett, SCDOT Director of Construction

Robert Isgett is the Director of Construction at the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). Isgett has more than 20 years of service with SCDOT. 

Isgett began his career at SCDOT in 1999 as an Assistant Resident Construction Engineer in the West Columbia Construction Office. He was promoted to Resident Construction Engineer and later became the Assistant District Construction Engineer followed by the District Construction Engineer in District 1. Isgett is also a Lieutenant with the U.S. Naval Reserve.

He received his Bachelors’ Degree in Civil Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1996 and is a Registered Professional Engineer in South Carolina. Originally from Darlington, Isgett is married with two children and resides in Lexington.

Andy LeaphartAndy Leaphart, SCDOT Chief Engineer for Operations

Andrew Leaphart is Chief Engineer for Operations at the SC Department of Transportation. Leaphart began his SCDOT career in Traffic Engineering in 1992 after earning a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Clemson University. Before beginning his current role, he served as the Director of Support Services for three years and spent four years prior serving as the Assistant Chief Engineer for Operations. He holds a Professional Engineer’s license (PE). He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina and the Certified Public Manager programs and resides in Lexington. 

Wiley JonesWiley Jones, NCDOT State Construction Engineer

Wiley Jones is a 1995 graduate of N.C. State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.  Wiley has worked for the Department of Transportation for over 26 years where he has served in several engineering positions including Resident Engineer, Construction Claims Engineer, State Pavement Construction Engineer, Area Roadway Construction Engineer, and Assistant State Construction Engineer for the Eastern Region.  Wiley also has worked for a private engineering firm prior to rejoining the Department in 2017. Wiley is a registered Professional Engineer, and he was promoted to the State Construction Engineer position in October 2022.

Chris Peoples, NCDOT Chief Engineer

Chris Peoples

In June 2022, Chris Peoples was named chief engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation. As chief engineer, he oversees and directs the engineering and program activities of NCDOT’s 14 highway divisions, Transportation Mobility and Safety Division, the Central Units, and the Technical Services Division.

Peoples has worked at NCDOT for more than 26 years, serving in several field engineering positions, including state materials engineer and director of field support. He became deputy chief engineer in 2019, responsible for directing field support and highway operations units and supported the highway divisions’ construction, maintenance, and operations activities. 

Peoples is a 1993 graduate of N.C. State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering.

Justin Powell, SCDOT Chief of Staff

Justin Powell

Justin Powell was named SCDOT Chief of Staff in September 2022. As the SCDOT Chief of staff, Powell is charged with the oversight and execution of a number of strategic initiatives on behalf of the agency.  

Powell was appointed by Secretary Hall in 2019 to be the Deputy Secretary for Finance and Administration at the South Carolina Department of Transportation. Previously, he served as Assistant County Administrator in Horry County where he provided financial leadership to the County's $500 million roads sales tax program, doubled local funding for transit, and managed a project to restore freight rail service to a three-county region. In addition, Powell has also worked at other local government agencies including the City of Greenville, Dorchester County, and Fairfax County, VA.

He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor's degree from Wofford College.  

Josh Quattlebaum, SCDOT Bridge Construction Engineer/Co-Chair CAGC/SCDOT Joint Bridge Subcommittee

Josh is a Bridge Construction Engineer in the Director of Construction Office for SCDOT, and the current co-chair of the CAGC/SCDOT Joint Bridge Subcommittee.  He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, receiving his BS and MS in 2002 and 2003, respectively.  Prior to joining the department as a geotechnical engineer in 2014, he previously worked in the private sector as a structural designer, materials engineer, and geotechnical engineer with two local consulting firms.  Josh is a registered professional engineer in SC and currently resides in Irmo with his wife Leah, also an engineer with SCDOT, and their two children.

Clay Richter, SCDOT State Construction Engineer/Co-Chair CAGC/SCDOT Road Subcommittee

Clay Richter

Clay is the State Construction Engineer for SCDOT in the Director of Construction Office, and the co-chair of the CAGC/SCDOT Road Subcommittee.  He is a 2003 graduate of Clemson University and has worked for SCDOT for 20 years.  Clay began his career at SCDOT in the Beaufort/Jasper Construction office, gaining progressive experience in field construction and inspection that lead him to be the Resident Construction Engineer in both Abbeville and Anderson.  Clay is a registered professional engineer in South Carolina and currently lives in Lexington with his wife Ruth and their two children.

Boyd Tharrington, NCDOT State Construction Engineer

Boyd Tharrington is a 1999 graduate from NC State with a BS in Civil Engineering. He has 19 Years of service with the Department of Transportation which covers five years as Assistant Resident Engineer, twelve years as Resident Engineer, and two years as Division Construction Engineer. He is a register professional engineer in North Carolina. 

Building Division Speakers

Philip Castro, HUB International

Philip Castro, HUB InternationalPhilip Casto is Vice President and Risk Services Manager within the Risk Services division.  He is also the risk services leader for HUBs construction specialty practice.  He has 15+ years of experience in safety and health consulting with a particular focus on the construction industry.  Phil is a recognized thought leader and is a regular contributor to risk and safety publications. He participates is corporate marketing initiatives, risk education, and collaborates with client executives to attain corporate targets.

Phil's current role involves communicating his extensive experience in construction risk management to clients and serving as a resource for the insurance brokerage.

Jill Hidaji, Founder Hidaji Advisory

Jill Hidaji, Founder Hidaji AdvisoryJill Hidaji received her Bachelor of Business Administration Management, International Business from the University of Memphis. Certifications include: PHR, SPHR and GPHR from Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), Human Capital Strategist from Human Capital Institute (HCI) and Executive, Life, Team and Business Coach from NeuroLeadership Group, among others.

While she has a passion for helping organizations, teams and individuals thrive, her heart is always in the mountains of North Carolina, where she lives with her beloved husband Faramarz in their lovely mountain home with breathtaking views. Together, they have four children navigating the wonders of young adulthood, and work with clients looking for a healthier lifestyle through our wellness coaching practices.

David Katkowski, Private Sector Coordinator, FBI Charlotte Cyber Crimes Unit

David has worked as a Special Agent for the FBI's Charlotte field office for 15 years. During that time, David has exclusively investigated crimes committed through the use of computers. Before joining the FBI, David worked in the private sector as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist.

Additional Speakers, Entertainment and More!

Asheville CatsSummit Bash Featuring Entertainment from the Asheville Cats

The Asheville Cats hail from the mountains of Western North Carolina, where the mountains meet the banjos. The band was spawned from local jams where the boys decided they should merge their talents and form one groovy band. The Cats are rooted in traditional bluegrass but can be caught playing contemporary hits and old goldies with their own unique twist.

Wendy Johnston - the Pacific Crest TrailWendy Johnston to Speak at Spouse/Guest Breakfast

"Stepping Into the Unknown; Discoveries From 6,000 Miles of Long Distance Backpacking"

What would it take for you to accomplish a big goal, desire, or dream that has been sitting in your heart? How can you overcome the odds that are seemingly stacked against you to get there? What fears are holding you back?

In this presentation, Wendy Johnston shares some of the wisdom that became clear to her during her 6,000 miles of backpacking across the country (on the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, and Colorado Trails)- lessons that can be applied universally to anyone or any situation in life.

Backpacking on trails that span thousands of miles is as much an internal journey as it is an external, physical journey.

In sharing what drew her to long distance backpacking, some of the obstacles that she overcame to accomplish her goals, how her experiences transformed her life, and what lessons she learned along the way, she hopes to inspire you to move toward your own dreams in life. 

Wendy is passionate about reminding others to remain true to themselves, turn their challenges into opportunities, and tap into their own well of potential.