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McCownGordon Construction Names Elise Kirchhofer to lead the firm’s growing Engineering Services team

November 15, 2017
  • People

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Nov. 15,  2017) Elise Kirchhofer, PE, LEED AP BD+C, joins McCownGordon Construction as the firm’s director, engineering services.  The engineering services team at McCownGordon includes mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural engineering, as well as building science and virtual construction. As the leader of this multi-dimensional team, Kirchhofer will direct a growing staff of professional services experts. She will lead strategic planning and project delivery, while driving continuous improvement and operational efficiency and effectiveness.

“We are delighted that Elise has joined our team,” said Ramin Cherafat, chief operating officer for McCownGordon.  “Her background and drive to provide best in class engineering services is perfectly aligned with our firm’s core values of integrity, performance and relationships. Her goal for the team is to continue to enhance the quality and value we deliver and ensure that projects are delivered on budget, ahead of schedule with the maximum level of quality possible.” added Cherafat.

Kirchhofer and the engineering services team will engage with projects from the earliest stages of concept and design, and stay engaged through preconstruction and construction, ending with the efficient and seamless turnover of each completed project.   “Our team adds value for our clients and partners by helping them optimize project design, offer solutions to design-related challenges and provide specialized expertise to optimize building systems,” said Kirchhofer.  

Kirchhofer brings more than 20 years of industry experience to the role.  Most recently, she served as director of project management services for CBRE, a worldwide leader in real estate services. Prior to that, Kirchhofer served for 15 years with Henderson Engineers, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm, serving in the role of vice president. She is a member of several engineering industry groups including United States Green Building Council, American Society for Healthcare Engineering and Kansas City Area Healthcare Engineers.  She holds a bachelor of science degree in architectural engineering from the University of Wyoming.

Kirchhofer joined the engineering services team in mid-October. That team includes Joe Vyhanek, P.E.  who leads a staff of mechanical, plumbing and electrical engineering professionals.  Vyhanek joined the firm in April 2017 and has more than 35 years of experience in the industry. He is responsible for the firm’s MEP services and ensuring the firm’s team of MEP professionals delivers best-in-class services. Vyhanek has a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Kansas Regents Center and a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kansas.

In addition to Vyhanek, McCownGordon has added Erika Winters-Downey to the engineering services team.
Joe &amp; Erika 

Winters-Downey has more than 17 years of experience in the industry. Prior to joining McCownGordon, she served as the Great Plains Regional Engineer for the American Institute of Steel Construction where she assessed the viability of structural steel framing options on upcoming projects. She also served as an educational resource on technical and economic aspects of building with structural steel. Erika has a master of science degree in civil engineering as well as bachelor of science in architectural engineering, both from the University of Kansas.

“McCownGordon’s engineering services team provides unparalleled value for our clients, under Elise’s strategic direction,” said Chris Vaeth, vice president, preconstruction.  “Our collaborative, experienced approach brings us alongside our clients and their design team to deliver best value, accelerate the delivery of construction, improve coordination and minimize costs at every opportunity. Collectively, this team has experience delivering some of the most complex projects in the region. That expertise, combined with their drive for excellence and dedication to delivering best value will benefit all our clients.”

McCownGordon is currently performing construction management services for a variety of significant projects in the region, including the Central District Development on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., the renovation of Kemper Arena into the new Mosaic Arena, Children’s Mercy Research Tower, 21c Museum Hotel and Garmin Headquarters Expansion/Warehouse/Office Renovation among others.


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