The 2022 Slate of Candidates

It is annual election time at AACE International. The Nominating Committee, chaired by Past President Christopher P. Caddell, PE CCP DRMP, has released a slate of candidates that includes two candidates for President-Elect, two candidates for Treasurer, and three candidates for the one Director-at-Large seat.

AACE members in Regions 1,2,4,7,and 9 will also vote for a Director-Region candidate who will serve on the Membership Advisory Committee. A total of 13 candidates have been nominated for these five seats.

Annual AACE International elections are conducted electronically from March 1 through 4 p.m. EST on March 31. Members click the button below for the voting site.

Candidates are listed alphabetically below using information they provided on their nomination forms.


President - Elect (Vote for One of Two)


Patrick M. Kelly, PE PSP

Patrick M. Kelly is a senior managing director at Ankura, located in Washington, DC. With more than 25 years of relevant experience, he is an expert in project controls, critical path method (CPM) scheduling, earned value analysis, forensic schedule analysis for delays, and disruption and loss of productivity analysis. Patrick is a professional civil engineer and a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) who has qualified and testified as an expert on CPM scheduling and forensic delay analysis in the US and internationally. He graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1996 and served as a Surface Warfare Officer and in the Civil Engineer Corps. Following his service, he joined a construction management firm and provided services for project controls, scheduling, and claims/disputes resolution. He has extensive experience in transportation and infrastructure, shipbuilding and ship repair, hotels and condominiums, and government and public facilities. Patrick has been active in AACE since 2007, and has served the organization in several roles for the last decade.  He held the chair of the Claims and Disputes Resoultion Subcommittee for four years (2012 – 2016), and continues to serve on that committee’s board. Patrick has also been on the Board of Directors since 2016, as Director Region 2 and Vice President – Finance. In addition, he has worked to expand the technical resources of AACE by authoring multiple papers on scheduling and forensic analysis, and by contibuting to several recommended practices.


  • Be a unifying voice between the Board of Directors, AACE leadership, and headquarters staff focused on AACE's mission, goals, and vision.
  • Communicate with AACE leadership and headquarters staff to ensure they have the support they need to achieve AACE's goals, and if not, then working with them to resolve any issues.
  • Support, strengthen, and promote our Boards and members in order to ensure that we continue to provide the technical tools and expertise to support successful projects and programs.
  • Improve member value and communication across the organization.
  • Promote the value proposition of AACE to a wider audience to cultivate a vibrant, diverse community.
  • Support the sections around the globe and promote the evolution of AACE member interface and interaction.

Dr. Madhu P. Pillai, CCP FAACE

Dr. Madhu Pillai is an acclaimed cross-functional leader, with more than 36 years of experience in large-scale EPC projects up to $810M across Oil & Gas (upstream and downstream), power and petrochemical sectors.  With an illustrious career spread across North America, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, he is currently associated with Kent Plc., a leading multi-national EPC organization as advisor. An electrical engineer with post-graduation in management and a Ph.D. in strategic project management; Dr. Pillai is a Fellow of AACE and Distinguished International Fellow of the International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC). He has spoken at more than 35 international events and chaired several. Having lived and worked in six countries, Dr. Pillai is a global professional with vast experience on eastern and western cultures at senior leadership roles in many non-profit and for-profit organizations.


After a 16 years journey with AACE, including exciting leadership roles not limited to Regional Director, Vice President (International Regions), Marketing Committee Chair; and being a recipient of the O.T. Zimmerman’s Founder’s Award, my key goal will be to make AACE globally recognized as the de facto advocate for cost management and project controls and thereby promoting a fast-growing global AACE family.

As your President, I will:

  • Develop and execute a clear strategy for increasing global visibility of AACE within professional communities and big corporates.
  • Build stronger branding of AACE certifications.
  • Launch online training programs.
  • Launch online regional and global events to enhance AACE’s reach and membership.
  • Develop “brand ambassadors” and “mentors” at regional levels.
  • Reactivate dormant sections and launch new sections.
  • Promote corporate tie-ups with leading organizations globally.
  • Initiate a special drive to encourage industry and business to specify AACE certifications in their Job descriptions, at least as “desirable.”
  • Make AACE more agile to the changing global markets and competition from other professional organizations.

Treasurer (Vote for One of Two)


Cindy L. Hands, CCP

  • Project controls manager with over 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas, mining, energy, infrastructure, and construction industries.  
  • Has worked on various mega projects, both onshore and offshore, and has worked with world-class international contractors.
  • Has held the position of Regional Manager Project Controls, for Western North America for a major EPCM firm, overseeing project controls teams in the US and Canada.  Currently a project controls manager supporting several large infrastructure projects in Canada.
  • Civil Engineering degree from Memorial University, master’s degree in Leadership, and is a Certified Cost Professional (CCP).
  • Has incorporated her technical background into her extensive knowledge of project planning and execution, estimate development, cost management, scheduling, and progress measurement.  
  • Has a passion for project controls and is very active in the local Calgary section of AACE where she was a board member for 18 years. 
  • From 2014 – 2016 was the president of AACE Canada (RD1) overseeing 10+ Canadian sections and served on the AACE International Board. 
  • From 2020-2021 was VP Membership North America on the AACE International Board and is currently a Director-At-Large, chairing the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC).
  • Collaborates with industry professionals and university professors to provide project controls training and AACE certification training across North America (


  • Oversee the financial operations of the organization
  • Present budgets, accounts, and financial statements
  • Participate in financial planning, reviews, and audits
  • Ensure compliance and offer recommendations as appropriate
  • Seek AACE Board of Directors approval on financial matters

Marina G. Sominsky, PSP FAACE

Marina Sominsky has over 15 years of project controls and information technology (IT) experience in the government, airspace, defense, construction, semiconductor, and transportation industries. Marina is a member of AACE International since 2008. She has proudly maintained her PSP certification since 2014 and was awarded the prestigious membership grade of Fellow in 2021. Marina actively supports the Arizona Section as a director at large, having served as a marketing director, secretary and president (2013-2014). During Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 semesters, Marina collaborated with the Arizona State University (ASU) Del E. Webb School of Construction. She became a faculty associate and facilitated guest lectures presented by the section members in the Advanced Building Estimating Class (CON483). All earnings from this effort have been donated toward AACE scholarships and the Arizona Section earned the platinum section award both years. As an officer of the Women in Project Controls Committee (WPC) since 2008, Marina grows the social presence of the committee on LinkedIn, edits over half a dozen WPC profile articles and seeks speakers for the newly formed ‘WPC Presents’ webinars. Marina served as WPC chair from 2011-2014 and received the Outstanding Woman in Project Controls award in 2015. Drawing on her IT project management experience, she authored one and co-authors five technical papers, two of which were published in the Cost Engineering journal. On the association level, Marina has volunteered on the Education Board since 2012, first as a contributing, then full member and the Education Board Chair (2018-2020). She participates in the TEC alignment group, contributes to the online learning initiatives, and is part of the task force working on cost engineering curriculum for the master’s program at the Hindustan Institute of Technology & Science (HITS).


  • Serve the AACE International membership
  • Fulfill the mission of the Board of Directors
  • Protect the financial welfare of AACE International
  • Represent association on domestic and international levels
  • Maintain consistent, accurate, and timely delivery of assigned duties

Director At Large (Vote for One of Three)


Stephen M. Beck, CCP

Steve has over 30 years of experience in project management, change management, and project controls within government and private sectors. He manages business management and project management teams in project controls, change and contract management, HR, IT, document control, finance, and accounting. He has expert-level knowledge of Primavera P6, Deltek Cobra, and several financial systems. He has established and directly managed several project control systems following ANSI 748. He is a leader who manages large project control groups in the implementation of all project control disciplines, including scheduling, earned value management, cost control, estimating, and change control. He also provides expert witness level analysis for damage analysis, delay analysis, and forensic accounting for litigation and disputes.

Steve is an active member of AACE International, having been a member for more than 21 years. Steve is certified as a Certified Cost Professional (CCP).


I am seeking a board position to add value to the organization. I want to listen to the needs of the industry in terms of mentoring and training and provide ideas and insights into the way AACE can satisfy these needs. I’m a big advocate for training, mentoring, and personal development. I want to participate in solving these challenges by giving my time and energy to the board. I also realize that things change slowly, and that patience and determination are vital to making incremental changes in an organization like AACE.


Michael J. Bennink, PE CCP PSP

Michael has been an active member of AACE International since 2002 and is currently the Director of Region 2.  He holds the CCP and PSP certifications and is a licensed professional engineer in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Michael has made numerous presentations at section meetings, the Region Two Symposium, and the annual Conference & Expo. He is currently actively working to plan the Region Two Symposium, has held several positions within the New Jersey Section including president, and is a past member of the association’s Certification Board. His professional expertise focuses on claims and dispute analyses, forensic cost and schedule assessments, and project controls focused engagements.  Michael is currently a director at JS Held, based out of New York, and recently served as president of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers. He received his engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a business degree from Monmouth University. 


AACE International has been an important part of my life and career since first attending a New Jersey Section meeting. With its strong leadership, the association has adapted to the flow of circumstances of the last two years and has continued to provide opportunities for its members to engage. As some things have evolved into a new way of doing business, others, notably our direct social interactions on an association and a section level have suffered. Getting back to these events (“normal”) is critical to continuing the success of AACE, as well as growing its membership and thought leadership.  It also represents an opportunity for the association in its larger goal to pursue its strategy, embrace any new ways of doing things that work, and returning to the past success that AACE has had with its top-notch meetings, at all levels. Along with embracing these opportunities, continued functional administration is still critical and I would work to:

  • Promote transparency and sound practices within the association and its associated regions and sections.
  • Be an active member of the Board of Directors and work to continue to align the association’s strategy, goals, and objectives with the needs and interests of its members and sections.
  • Work with association administration and leadership to ensure continued financial success and control.
  • Actively assist with the coordination and preparation of annual budgets and planning.
  • Promote the best interests and needs of the association and its members.


Felipe Andre Isore Gutierrez

Felipe is a construction consultant with over 23 years’ professional experience and has earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting (Brazil), a master’s in economics (Holland) and LLM in construction law and arbitration (UK). He has multiple construction and engineering related certifications, including cost engineering by the Brazilian Institute of Cost Engineering (IBEC), project management (PMP), construction audit (CCA), and is an accepted member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS, UK).

Felipe joined AACE International over 12 years ago and has contributed to the industry and the association through presentations, webinars, and technical articles, globally. Felipe is based in Houston, Texas, from where he leads the development of a global engineering consulting firm he founded, CONEXIG. He is currently serving his second year as the first International director of the AACE Brazil Section. At the section, he launched the CONNECTION Program which entails sharing knowledge from experienced and successful AACE members across the world, though online interviews, with other members that would not, otherwise, have this opportunity to learn.

Felipe regularly acts as an expert witness in construction disputes and often, refers to RPs such as the 10S-90, 17R-97, 18R-97, 22R-01, 25R-03, 40R-08, 41R-08, and 62R-11. In 2021, Felipe organized joint online events and collaborated with various AACE sections including Boston, Spain, Peru, and others. In 2021, Felipe also served as a committee member of the “Section task force” appointed by the AACE Board to prepare recommendations on an actionable path forward for the AACE Section system.


If elected, my goals for the organization will include supporting the Board of Directors assuring that AACE succeeds in its mission through initiatives that help the organization increasing membership globally; increasing collaboration amongst Sections; improving knowledge generation and sharing, while enhancing performance for matters such as inclusion and diversity.

Director - Region 1 (Vote for One of Two)


Simon P. Hoadley

Simon has been a member of AACE for nearly 20 years. He has experience as a leader in project controls in the commercial, nuclear, minerals/mining, and transportation sectors. He has been an advocate for AACE membership after realizing the value it brings soon after joining. He has seen that the path to excellence in the field of project controls comes from taking hold of opportunities to grow through education, collaboration, and mentoring – something that AACE has offered him through his career. Simon’s desire to help lead AACE into an ever-changing landscape, striving for a more inclusive and diverse membership, are his biggest goals of becoming a Region 1 Director.


Simon’s goals and objectives are to:

  • Support, strengthen, and promote AACE in the ever-changing global landscape.
  • Improve member communication across the organization.
  • Bring awareness of the importance of inclusion and diversity in all that AACE does.
  • Advocate for AACE and rebuild confidence in the opportunities and value membership brings.
  • Promote the AACE brand to a wider audience including in areas where membership has diminished.
  • Bring a member’s voice to all AACE Board interactions.


Dr. Diana Nada

Dr. Diana Nada’s AACE journey started in 2008 when she attended her first AACE event back in Dubai. She later moved to Canada and started to participate and volunteer with AACE sections and soon enough became a member. Based out of Toronto, she is a senior manager in Deloitte’s Capital Projects Practice. She brings over 19 years of project and program management consulting experience with local and international asset owner companies and consultancies in capital (mega)projects, infrastructure, and mixed-use developments.

She is an advocate for value creation through fostering and linking of strategic and project delivery strategies. Specializing in implementation of best practices of capital projects advisor, she advises clients on strategies and toolkits for informed decision making and team collaboration.

She received her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and holds a Ph.D. in project management from the University of Calgary. During her Ph.D. tenure, she was also a recipient of the 2010 AACE Canadian Scholarship. Her doctorate with Prof. Francis Hartman, addressed success factors in decision making in capital projects including the disconnect between c-suite executives and project implementers during funding approvals, project sanctioning and delivery – addressing elements related to information sharing, transparency, and trust in capital projects – questioning: Why Do We Do What We Do?

From a career development perspective, AACE has been part of her journey on many occasions and played a fundamental role in her professional development. She presented part of her doctoral thesis findings few months before her defense at the 2013 AACE Annual Meeting as an opportunity to test the recommendations. She continues to volunteer and present at the local dinner meetings, most recently at the 2020 Women’s International Day with the Toronto Section. She has served with AACE as a board of director member at the Chinook Calgary and the Toronto Sections, Co-Chair for Women in Project Controls, and Chair for the Program and Project Management Technical Sub-Committee.

Dr. Nada is a frequently sought-after expert in the project management industry. She has published articles and is the author of the book “Project Approval Decisions: Exploring Success Factors” and continues to contribute to several speaking engagements with AACE, ULI, WIN, PMI and RICS/CIQS. She is a critical thinker with passion for learning, keen about knowledge enabling, team collaboration. Enjoys travelling and attending concerts!


  • Build on the momentum to support and promote common platforms across the Canadian sections.
  • Identify areas of opportunities and needs to liaise and collaborate with AACE headquarters.
  • Highlight strategies for knowledge enabling with focus to connect members globally.
  • Continue to advocate for AACE and promote its value across industries.
  • Support efforts for diversity, equity, and inclusion for members to play leadership roles in AACE’s future.

Director - Region 2 (Vote for One of Three)


Nicole Johnson, CEP

Nicole Johnson is Vice President of Cost Estimating Services at Envision Consultants, Ltd., with more than 25 years of experience in project management, cost analysis, cost estimating, procurement, and value engineering. Ms. Johnson’s experience includes work on rail, transit, airport, highway, and bridge, educational, commercial, residential, healthcare, water/wastewater and correctional projects throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and across the US. Her clients include Amtrak, FTA, SEPTA, NJ Transit, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the City of Philadelphia and its Divisions of Aviation and Public Property, and the Pennsylvania Department of General Services, among others.

Ms. Johnson has an MBA in production and operations management from Drexel University, and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Temple University. Ms. Johnson is an AACE International Certified Estimating Professional (CEP). She is also an accredited LEED AP Building Design and Construction professional and holds training certifications from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In addition, Ms. Johnson is secretary of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Construction Management Association of America. She is vice president of the AACE Delaware Valley Section. She is also active in the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS), Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and Professional Women in Construction (PWC). Nicole has been a member of AACE since 2016 and has committed to the organization in various facets, including her roles as secretary and vice president of the Delaware Valley Section of AACE, as a board member of the Women in Project Controls Committee (WPC) and as a participant in conference preparation for the Regional 2 Symposium for several years.


Nicole’s goals for AACE would be

  • To increase the involvement of the AACE membership within Region 2, particularly with regards to women in the industry.
  • To increase the interest and ultimately membership of AACE within the Region.
  • To find new and creative ways to advocate and promote the value of a project controls career to young or soon to be young professionals.
  • Increase lines of communication between sections within the Region.

Natasha Sleigh, PSP

Natasha has been a member of AACE International since 2017 and received AACE International’s 2021 Outstanding Rising Professional Award. She earned her PSP in 2019 and is currently preparing for the CCP exam. She served as the secretary of the Delaware Valley Section from 2019-2020 and since 2020, she has been the Rising Professionals Committee Co-Chair for Development and Modernization. As RPC co-chair, she created virtual technical events for rising professionals, growing participation globally—in the latest event, nearly 60 participants attended from 13 countries. In addition, she is actively involved with mentoring and providing opportunities for more rising professionals to become involved with the RPC and AACE International.

Recently, Natasha participated in the strategic planning process with the AACE International’s Board of Directors and HQ staff, where the group identified and reinforced AACE International’s core values, key drivers, and guiding principles for the organization to follow-through with further planning. She plans to continue working with the leadership in this effort.

With nearly a decade of experience in the construction industry, Natasha has focused most of that time in construction claims and disputes consulting. This experience includes forensic CPM schedule analysis, loss of productivity, and damages analysis. Her project experience includes power generation, process plants, offshore pipelines, canals, government facilities, manufacturing, mixed-use commercial, public schools, and multi-family residential throughout the U.S., Canada, Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa. She has provided consulting services on projects ranging from several millions to multi-billions of dollars in value.


If elected to Director Region 2, Natasha’s goals and objectives are to:

  • Improve and support the membership experience and engagement at the section-level by working with sections to better understand the needs and wants of members.
  • Provide a welcoming and thoughtful environment for open dialogue of ideas, concerns, or suggestions from across the Region.
  • Continue to cultivate meaningful relationships with members at all levels of experience to gauge needs and wants for every type of member (and non-member!).
  • Continue to improve and support rising professionals’ membership experience by promoting mentorship, earning credentials, and regular involvement at the Section and Committee-levels.


Craig M. Steigerwalt, PE

Mr. Steigerwalt is a past president of the Boston Section of AACE. He has over 15 years of experience in all phases of construction projects, specializing in heavy highway, utility, and mass transit projects. He is currently a construction consultant at Exponent in Boston where he advises clients on topics ranging from risk management, best practices in construction management, project scheduling, cost estimating, and claims avoidance. His experience with construction disputes includes the development, analysis, and defense of construction claims related to schedule delays, construction techniques, productivity loss, earned value analysis, engineering design requirements, and cost overruns for domestic and international projects. He has strongly relied on AACE’s body of knowledge over the past decade to be successful as a consultant.

In addition to working as a construction consultant, Mr. Steigerwalt has worked as a construction manager on a combination of heavy highway and mass transit projects. During that time, he gained experience with construction management best practices, claims avoidance, and quality assurance. He has also worked as a business manager for a large electric infrastructure contractor under the ACS Group in which he gained extensive experience in contract/subcontract management, construction insurance policies, and teaming agreements.  Prior to that, he worked as a professional design engineer for one of the world's largest design firms specializing in roadway design, traffic control plans, drainage and stormwater facilities, and site development upgrades.

Mr. Steigerwalt graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Civil Engineering and Loyola University with an MBA in business management. He is a licensed Professional Engineer, as well as a certified PMP and CCM.


  • Encourage better connection of sections of Region 2 with improved networking and virtual learning opportunities.
  • Work with section presidents to add value to current members and determine what is needed to enhance membership.
  • Promote opportunities with sections to get more involved with local universities and their students, who are future members of AACE.
  • Continue with Region’s annual networking and professional development conference at a destination that is popular amongst our members.

Director - Region 4 (Vote for One of Two)


Dayna L. Anderson

Dayna L. Anderson is the current AACE Region 4 Director and member of the Member Advisory Committee. In 2021, she implemented, and continues to lead, calls with section leaders across the globe in an attempt to share ideas, increase membership, increase communication, and bring awareness to the diversity within AACE.

Dayna has worked in project controls for over18 years.  She is co-founder and Senior Partner of Breakwater Forensics LLC, headquartered in Chicago.  Her work as an expert witness includes analyzing construction cost overruns and schedule delay claims, as well as counseling subcontractors, contractors, and owners on project controls recommended practices. She has worked on both small and mega construction projects ranging from residential housing to oil refineries and power plants in national and international forums. In her current role at AACE and as former president of the AACE Chicago-Midwest Section and a section board member for many years, she is very familiar with AACE’s overarching goals and objectives.


  • Increase AACE membership.
    • Encourage local section outreach to other relevant construction-based organizations to facilitate joint meetings, which will increase the visibility of AACE.
    • Encourage campus outreach to grow student membership.My experience as an Institute of Management Accountants Campus Influencer will allow me to expand AACE’s current program.
    • Increase AACE’s visibility within the construction industry by encouraging networking amongst business owners.
    • Increase the diversity of the AACE membership and leadership.
  • Increase communication between local, regional, and association-level leadership.
    • Continue to assist AACE to connect its members worldwide and remove the communication barriers that exist between section leaders.
    • Continue to encourage local sections within Region 4 to have quarterly calls/meetings to share ideas for local and regional meeting content.
    • Continue to gain an understanding of association level and international initiatives and assist local sections to successfully implement.

Alexander R. Itsell-Olson

Alex is a transformational and reliable leader in the project controls industry. He has 10+ years of project controls experience with roles and responsibilities ranging across the spectrum of the sector: scheduling, cost engineering, estimating and risk management. He has led teams of project controls professionals supporting projects valued at over one billion dollars annually. Currently a manager of project scheduling at a Fortune 500 utility in Michigan, Alex has been blending his loves of scheduling and analytics to look at project schedules in a new way and achieve better business results. Alex has been a member of AACE since 2014. He has presented at several AACE meetings, including the Annual Meeting in Toronto in 2016. In addition, he has been a member of the Great Lakes Section board for six years holding various roles in the section's leadership. For the last three years, Alex has been president of the Great Lakes Section, where he has provided leadership to a board that has put together an excellent networking and informational experience for our members and improved the financial health of the section. He is also a member of the Rising Professional Committee. Alex received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Michigan State University and will complete his MBA from Purdue University this year.


I can honestly say that I would not be where I am in my career today without AACE. From using the Recommended Practices in my first job, to finding my second job thru the AACE job board, to networking at a section meeting leading to my current position. Joining my local section board of directors and gaining valuable leadership experience that I used to achieve a leadership position at work. AACE has a lot to offer its members both in their careers and day-to-day work. If elected, I will: 

  • Help Region 4 sections improve membership experiences
  • Provide support and best practices from real section leadership experiences
  • Help sections find engaging presentations to grow membership numbers
  • Collaborate with our sections to relieve pain points and barriers
  • Lead our sections to overcome challenges
  • Give back to the organization that has helped me in my career
  • Be the voice for Region 4 on the association level

Director - Region 7 (Vote for One of Three)


Dr. Waleed M. El Nemr

As of January 2022, Waleed has been a member of AACE International for over 12 years.  He has been president of the Greater Cairo Section since 2018 (excluding one year in which I was Vice President) and authored 5 papers and presented them in the annual AACE International conferences of 2007, 2018, 2019 and 2020.  During his role as president of the Greater Cairo Section, the section received the awards of silver (2019), gold (2020) and has aimed and worked for higher in the 2021 awards.

Aside from AACE International, he has more than 24 years of experience in contracts and claims management, encompassing positions in various international project management firms, such as Bechtel, Fluor Daniel and Hill International.  He has also assumed several roles during dispute resolution proceedings in construction projects, acting as arbitrator, expert adjudicator, expert appointed by the tribunal, expert appointed by an arbitration party, arbitrator, and dispute adjudication board (DAB) member.  He is country representative (Egypt) of the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF) and vice president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIARB) – Egypt Branch.  He is the author of numerous papers and a speaker in numerous conferences, seminars, and webinars on the topic of construction contracts and claims.  He is currently the contracts director of Hill International’s North Africa branch, based in Egypt and an adjunct assistant professor at The American University in Cairo.


  • To market AACE International's certifications, particularly the CFCC.  I hold the view that the CFCC can be of great benefit to claims/forensic planners worldwide and I will try to expand its reach in MENA and beyond.  
  • To raise awareness of AACE International's Recommended Practices throughout the region.
  • To spearhead and encourage papers and research across MENA that aim to merge AACE International's wealth of international practice with the prevalent practice in the Middle East.  This is almost like bridging cultures and can be achieved in numerous ways (conferences, papers, events, etc.)
  • As I hold key positions in other associations, namely the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIARB) and the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation (DRBF), I aim to engage AACE International closely with these and other associations so that benefits would be reciprocated among these associations and to the general construction management public worldwide.


Avinash A. Gaikwad

Avinash A. Gaikwad is a candidate with illustrious experience of 23 years in construction projects in India, UK, and the Middle East. He holds six professional qualifications, including Fellow member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (FRICS), Fellow member of Indian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (FIIQS), member of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (MCIArb), Chartered Engineer, member of Institution of Engineers (India). He is a RICS accredited civil commercial mediator. He is RICS registered expert determiner. In his professional career, he provided his services on many critical and prestigious projects like:

  • London Olympics 2012 project.
  • F1 Racetrack Yas Island Abu Dhabi.
  • Hamad International Airport, Doha. Qatar.
  • FIFA World Cup 2022 Stadiums, Qatar.

With such profound experience, he felt a need to support the SME sector with his knowledge hence founded AG Consultancy, a RICS regulated Chartered Quantity Surveying firm in which he is managing director.

Avinash specializes in expert determination, mediation, arbitration to construction, built asset commercial disputes and acts as expert witness by instruction from client’s solicitors. He has provided his services to his clients on important projects including Al Udeid Air Base, Doha Metro projects, Sidra Medical and Research Hospital, Qatar University, and Internal Security Force premises.

Avinash Gaikwad has been a member of AACE International since 2015. His contribution includes the following:

  • Pivotal role in forming the Qatar Section being founding vice president – membership and immediate past president 2019 – 20.
  • Qatar received gold awards consecutive 4 years starting 2016 to 2019.
  • Frequently authored and presented papers at AACE Annual Meetings and professional institutions worldwide.
  • Signed MOU with Filipino Planning Engineer Association and Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors.
  • Represented AACE Qatar Section in conference held by AACE India.

Some of his other achievements are:

  • Board member of Qatar Board of Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
  • Advisor of Indian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (IIQS), Qatar.
  • Served as general secretary at Indian Community Benevolent Forum under patronage of Embassy of India to Qatar which is involved in philanthropic and charitable activities for needy people in Qatar.
  • Founder and advisor Maharashtra Professional Forum for entrepreneurs and professionals to work together for every member’s growth.
  • Co-founder of My Science Lab, a socio-commercial venture which developed more than 200 STEM science labs for students across India.


  • Set and achieve SMART goals for AACE objectives like membership, certifications, AACE international standards and best practices in the region and beyond.
  • Prepare for restricted or open events for members thru effective utilization of digital tools to ensure all goals are achieved.
  • Collaborate with organizations and forum of similar interests for expansion and development of AACE.

Lucia Vernon, PSP

In 2016, I accepted the invitation to be part of the AACE Qatar Section Board of Directors in the role of director of marketing and publicity. In 2017, I became the president elect which was the precursor to taking on the role of president for the period 2018-2019. In my previous roles, I helped the organization to host regular technical workshops, increased membership and delivered the workshop ‘Practical Training – Windows Analysis’ and helped the Qatar team to organize best practice events with industry experts to further enhance awareness of AACE International amongst professionals in the state of Qatar and the Middle East.  I also organized the first video live streaming across the world to present AACE to an international audience.

I am regularly involved in the preparation of expert reports for delay and am seeking to progress my career to act as a mediator. I also wrote the technical paper (CDR.2849) "Time Impact Analysis in Windows - Concurrency Analysis" published by AACE. In 2020, I was offered a position on the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC), where I am actively helping the team to support the growth of the AACE community around world. On 26 May 2021, I moderated the AACE webinar - "Spotlight on RP 29R-03" which was attended by 2,500 people around the world.

In my professional life I hold the position of regional director working for Quantum Global Solutions as a delay analyst with 15 years’ experience in carrying out all types of forensic delay analyses in the Middle East.


I believe that a big part of my success in my profession is due to being part of the AACE Community, studying the documentation available on the AACE International portal, being informed, and adopting the knowledge which AACE offers to professionals around the world.

Many people, and even AACE members do not know where to find documents which could help them in their career. Spreading awareness of the information available on AACE portal is one of the important goals which I have as a member of the MAC committee, as well as organizing technical meetings for our members.

Social media plays an important role in our lives, so my second goal is to improve the AACE brand on social platforms such as LinkedIn and to support membership growth. Using my personal experience in successfully building the AACE Qatar Section, which received a platinum award during my presidency, is essential for supporting and unifying the sections of Region 7 in the Regional Director position.

Therefore, my third goal is to bring all the members of Region 7 together, supporting all sections with my knowledge of AACE International best practices and to help to grow our AACE community in the Middle East.

Director - Region 9 (Vote for One of Three)


João Paulo Matos Dias, PSP

Mr. Dias is a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) by AACE International, and acts as an officer at AACE International Baltic Section. 

Mr. Dias has developed his academic interests in heavy infrastructures through the integrated master’s degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, between 2004 and 2009. Further interests in construction management led him to complete a postgraduate diploma in project management at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, in 2012.

He is a chartered Civil Engineer with approximately 12 years’ experience within the construction industry. Throughout this period his responsibilities included planning, scheduling, cost estimation and control, and change management, performed in some of the world's largest construction companies and in large-scale international infrastructure projects at tender and/or construction stages.

His whole career has been developed in several different countries in Europe (Portugal, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark and Finland), Africa (Algeria, Cameroon, Congo and Niger), Central America and the Caribbean, where he had the chance to be the counterpart of key stakeholders namely from major subcontractors, governmental clients, international consultants, among others, which has given him a truly global perspective of the construction markets and business.


  • Consolidate the current sections in the region, promoting more dynamism and networking opportunities.
  • Promote the creation of new sections in the region.
  • Add greater added value to the memberships in the region, through integration activities between sections and members, as for example: shared webinars, workshops, regular communications, etc.
  • Seek greater benefits for the members of the region in relation to third party conferences and workshops, and potential other discounts.
  • Implement a clear and integrated marketing strategy to attract new members in the sections of the region, showing the benefits of belonging to the organization.
  • Promote partnerships with other key organizations/associations, universities, and relevant working groups.
  • Promote the TCM Framework and Recommended Practices across the industry and academic institutions.
  • Facilitate the communication between young professionals in the region and the Rising Professionals Committee.

Thank you for the opportunity.


Ioannis (John) G. Elenis, CCP EVP

John has 20+ years of exposure to major-capital project execution spanning the construction and infrastructure sectors with extensive experience in cost and commercial management, construction management, program management, and program controls across clients, contractors, and consultants. Through his collaboration with AACE, he first encountered the concept of Total Cost Management, equipping him with a systematic approach to managing cost throughout the life cycle of a portfolio of projects within the power sector. His collaboration with AACE began in 2016. In pursuit of global best practices to improve the predictability of cost and schedule performance across the entire life cycle of the programs in his care, John obtained his Certified Cost Professional (CCP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) certifications in 2019 and 2020, respectively. A subsequent nomination to the Region 9 Board – (Southern African Section) in 2021, provided John with the platform to promote AACE through his sphere of influence. With more than 20 years of experience in the natural resources (oil & gas, mining, and metals) and infrastructure (power, roads, and water) sectors, John continues to champion various initiatives on behalf of the board of directors to grow the membership base and influence within the region. Additionally, John volunteers as a grader of technical papers for the CCP certification and EVP memos, respectively, ensuring the AACE's standards are adhered to throughout the certification processes.


My ongoing collaboration with AACE through the various certification processes and forums has translated into exponential growth in my career and sphere of influence. I want to ensure that others benefit from the industry's best-kept secret. In this regard, I have always felt that the AACE’s value proposition is the Total Cost Management Framework duly interpreted and promoted through the various recommended practices currently in circulation. While AACE is not a regulatory organization, I believe opportunities exist to expand upon our current service offering to include the endorsement of practices and management processes of firms involved in the execution of major capital projects based on alignment with the AACE’s body of knowledge. If elected to the Region 9 Director role, I will:

  • Look to explore and develop in partnership with leadership these and existing strategies, to grow our footprint both locally and internationally.
  • Work with the participating section leads to enhance present value offerings through ongoing stakeholder engagement aimed at improving regional section efficiency. 
  • Better understand and interpret member needs through an enhanced interface and interaction with the organization.
  • Look to uphold the standards of performance in the Canon of Ethics as the basis for all interactions with participating stakeholders.

I look forward to serving AACE and, if elected, I will endeavor to build on the successes of past regional directors.


Clement Gunasekar, CCP

Clement Gunasekar, who currently works as a senior project controls consultant, Turner & Townsend, Southwest Region, UK, holds over 17 years of experience in planning, project controls, particularly cost monitoring and controlling, governance, project coordination, system integration, risk management within the built environment sectors such as buildings, parks, and transportation systems and nuclear power/energy sectors.

Clement Gunasekar has been a regular member of AACE since 2007 and a Certified Cost Professional (CCP) since 2010. Also, he is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (MRICS) from 2018 onwards and mentoring for APC. Clement was appointed as section officer for the UK Section (2019-2020) and would like to promote AACE in different levels of reach within the European/African region (Region 9) that triggered him to be a candidate for Regional Director for Region 9. During lockdowns, he virtually presented on behalf of the UAE Section and convened 200 delegates over 16 countries. In his Middle East phase of professional life, he holds a challenging role of director-marketing (2018-2019) for the UAE Section and helped in major groundworks along with the section president for free AACE webinars either face to face and in virtual mode and, tying UAE based educational institutions for student memberships and networked construction firms for corporate memberships.


My preliminary goals for the organization would increase membership, certification pieces of training, and participation from a trickle to torrent with some new visionary actions which are adaptable within the European/African region (Region -9) subject to HQ’s approval. In more than a decade, watched as an active member to the vigilant director how AACE BODs and RDs added value to AACE mission and that gives a cohesive strategic plan with minor post covid steps and initiatives gives below key agenda for brightening Region-9.

  • Consolidate all membership/certification/turn over data in countries within Europe and Africa.
  • Prepare data-driven research, solutions, and target set with what-if scenarios in line with AACE leadership direction.
  • Frequent, open, and transparent two-way communication with all sections and ensure to engage all co-leaders for the betterment of AACE within Europe and Africa.
  • Liaise with cost engineering digi-tech solution firms within Europe and Africa and equate with clients demands. Make aware the gaps and permanent fillers.
  • Exponential growth in memberships.
  • Accentuate AACE certifications and plan to achieve linear growth in certifications and renewals year on year.
  • Preparing platforms for current top-notch cost engineering topics and inviting expertise for robust discussions.
  • Join hands with local professional bodies for inclusive growth and participation.
  • Guardian of strong AACE ethical values.

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