Founder & CEO
Niknaz is the CEO and co-founder at aec+tech, an all-in-one innovation platform and community connecting AEC/O (Architecture, Engineering, Construction & Operations) professionals with the latest tools and technologies. Prior to launching aec+tech Niknaz practiced architecture in the bay area, California, both as a design professional as well as a design technologist. Niknaz is passionate about technology and innovation in the AEC space, and she has been a keynote speaker at various international aec-tech events. Niknaz is a member of AIA San Francisco design technology committee, and has also been developing curriculum and teaching architecture courses online to Bahai students in Iran who continue to be deprived of access to universities in their own country.
Randy Deutsch FAIA, LEED AP is an educator, author, international keynote speaker, AI researcher and a licensed architect having designed +100 large, complex sustainable projects for which he received the AIA Young Architect Award Chicago. Since 2011 Randy has authored six books, most recently Convergence: The Redesign of Design (AD, 2017); Superusers: Design Technology Specialists and the Future of Practice (Routledge, 2019), Think Like An Architect: How to develop critical, creative and collaborative problem-solving skills (RIBA, 2020) and Adapt As an Architect: A Midcareer Companion (RIBA, 2021.) In addition to teaching at University of Illinois at Chicago starting in 2001 and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign starting in 2012, until 2019 Randy served as Associate Director for Graduate Studies in the School of Architecture. Randy previously served on AIA Chicago Board as Director and Vice President; on ARCHITECT Magazine’s 2018 R+D jury; AIA National Architecture 2023 Awards jury; and led an annual Executive Education program at Harvard GSD. In 2020, Randy’s team received an NSF Grant and DPI Seed Grant for planning a first-of-its-kind institute for the application of AI in design, construction and operations of buildings and infrastructure. In 2020 Randy was elevated to Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council. With Matthew Krissel he is the co-founder of the Built Environment Futures Council (BEFC) advancing the discourse and opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in Architecture, Design, and Construction. More here www.randydeutsch.com
Founder & Director
Matthew Krissel AIA, LEED AP, has led the design and construction of transformative architectural projects in North America and Internationally for over 25 years. Matthew is a founder and director of Creative Lab 3, a Philadelphia-based design-driven architecture practice working to bring exceptional design to more people and places, inspire change and transform our collective potential through the built environment.
Matthew co-founded the Built Environment Futures Council (BEFC) with Randy Deutsch, FAIA, to advance the discourse and opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in Architecture and Construction. Matthew has recently given talks at the Building Museums Symposium, the London Committee on Design, the AIA National Conference, the AIA New York Global Dialogues Committee, the University of Toronto, Harvard University, and the AIA’s Technology in Architectural Practice Conference. He has also chaired multiple AIA design juries, including the 2017 AIA National Innovation Award, the 2016 AIA New York Design Awards, and, most recently, the 2023 AIA Peconic Design Awards. He has been interviewed for articles in Dwell, Fast Company, Metropolis, Architectural Record, and Architect magazines and has been featured in numerous published books on architecture and design.
Before founding Creative Lab 3, Matthew was a Partner at KieranTimberlake in Philadelphia. His design leadership over nearly 20 years at KT helped shape the firm’s most significant and impactful projects, including iconic, institution-defining architecture, to small homes with big ideas. Notable completed projects include the award-winning Paulson Center at New York University, the Embassy of the United States in London, and Cellophane House™ featured at the Museum of Modern Art.
Chief Technology Officer
As FXCollaborative’s Chief Technology Officer, Alexandra leads the firm’s Digital Practice group, overseeing design technologies, information technologies, and business technologies. She is instrumental in the development of digital methodologies and processes, and aims to further improve project delivery through leveraged data and evidence-based design. Prior to her role in architectural technology, Alexandra was a practicing architect and remains a registered architect in New York. Her portfolio, which ranges in scale and global reach, maintains a consistent thread: the use of methodologies to predict factors that enhance the lives of people who live and work in an urban setting—and ensure that the built environment is above all sustainable. Alexandra previously served as co-chair of the AIANY Technology Committee, has lectured and taught academically, and participates as a guest speaker at industry conferences.
When Fast Company selected SGA as one of the Most Innovative Companies in 2018, the publication identified the firm’s capabilities in Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) as a key differentiator in scheduling and cost certainty. Michael Schroeder, CCM played an instrumental role in attaining this honor: He has led the growth and development of the practice since 2014.
VDC is an ideal fit for Michael, who loves to discover and invent new technologies that enhance project outcomes. BIM underpins the programs he oversees, but he supplements the virtual world with face-to-face interactions to promote collaboration. At the beginning of every commission, he onboards the project team and hosts an Execution Success Planning session, during which participants determine the most effective methods of delivery. Other pillars of his methodology include co-location of the development, design, and construction partners; bespoke project dashboards; and a variety of teambuilding initiatives.
Before joining SGA, Michael served as president, CEO, and principal implementer at BIM Jet INC. in Boston for seven years. In this capacity, he led strategic consulting engagements for C-level BIM technology. Previously Michael held the role of director of design technology at Moshe Safdie and Associates in Somerville, MA, where he established the firm’s vision and future direction of BIM and other technology platforms.
Michael received a Master of Design Studies with distinction from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Architecture from Montana State University. He often lectures about BIM and integrated design at prominent industry organizations and institutions. In his spare time, Michael enjoys traveling with his wife and their four children.
Chief Information Officer
Nirva Fereshetian is a Principal & Chief Information Officer at CBT Architects, a Boston based award winning design firm providing services nationally and internationally in Architecture, Interior Design & Urban Design. She is responsible for aligning business technology strategy to meet primary business objectives. She specializes in leading and managing technology solutions in creative design environments, technology adoption and change management. She leads multiple teams within the Digital Practice group, including Design Technology, Business Technology and Computational Design. She is a results driven Information Systems executive delivering Practice Services (BIM, AR, VR, Automation), Knowledge Services (Collaboration, Corporate Knowledge, Training management) and Business Technology Services (Infrastructure Management, Vendor Relations, Application Deployment). Her experience includes delivery of cost-effective information services, outsourced business models, virtualization, cloud computing, collaborative technologies, and business analytics. She is a board member of WITI (Women in Technology International) Boston Chapter and a member of SIM (Society for Information Management).
For more than 20 years, Lionel Ohayon, has been at the forefront of immersive design, creating spaces and experiences that resonate with audiences, create memories and change lives. As the founder of the award-winning design firm ICRAVE, Ohayon is driven by his passion for reinvention, and how our physical and digital worlds intersect. At JFK he first introduced the iPad, at Sloan Kettering’s Cancer Center he introduced patient-tracking technology to allow for a free-flowing campus environment, and at The Sphere in Las Vegas he created an immersive world that takes you through a 360-degree next-generation experience.
Ohayon has continued to innovate and push forward to create new experiences that respond to the changing world around us. In 2022, his company joined Journey, a new private equity-backed design agency that designs real experiences, for real people, in any reality they choose. Their work is characterized by connecting the dots between technology, design, and operations across many industries and experience platforms, ranging from the physical, to digital, to metaverse. Clients include Warner Music, Google, Hilton, MSG, RXR and many more.
As a founder of The One Group, Ohayon has been an instrumental visionary in global high-end hospitality. He was also an early investor in SeatServe: an in-seat delivery solution for stadiums & venues seeking to elevate gameday experiences. He is also a board member of FastCo’s Innovation Council and on the advisory board for Hospitality Design.
Design Technology Specialist
Ahmad Tabbakh is a computational designer, mixed reality developer, and fabrication enthusiast. He is currently working as a Design Technology Specialist at Bjarke Ingels Group in their NYC office, where he uses his expertise in automation to streamline the design and development process. In addition, Ahmad also teaches advanced visualization at Pratt Institute School of Architecture, sharing his knowledge and experience with the next generation of designers. As a mixed reality developer, Ahmad is always on the cutting edge of technology, using his skills to create immersive and engaging experiences that push the boundaries of what is possible.
Shahriar Shams-Ansari is an investor on Brookfield’s Growth team, where he focuses on venture capital and growth equity investments across areas including proptech, fintech, consumer internet, and enterprise software. Representative investments include Hopper, PassiveLogic, FLASH Parking, Material Bank, and Plentific. Shahriar joined Brookfield from H.I.G. Growth Partners, where he focused on high-growth investments in the technology, consumer, and healthcare sectors. He previously also worked in venture capital at ILONA Capital after starting his career in investment banking. Mr. Shams-Ansari holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, is a proud Canadian and C100 member, serves as the Co-Lead of the Proptech Vertical for the Emerging Venture Capitalist Association (“EVCA”), and on the Venture Leadership Board of the Center for Real Estate Technology and Innovation (“CRETI”).
Ilkay C. Standard
Ilkay C. Standard
Ilkay Can-Standard is an architectural technologist and founder of GENx Design and Technology, a modern innovation hub committed to lead the 4th Industrial Revolution at a global scale. With 15 years of experience in the AEC industry, Ilkay has managed projects that required the most advanced use of technologies in 7 different countries. GENx teams focus on diminishing the gaps in the AEC industry and helping stakeholders achieve intended budgets, timelines and sustainability objectives through the integration of advanced technologies to project management. In addition to advancing Building Information Modeling (BIM) experience in high-rise and large-scale projects, her team is leading Generative Design and Automation through CATIA and 3DS Platforms.
İlkay is an NJIT Graduate alumnus of Architecture and is currently teaching at NYU while simultaneously collaborating with multiple universities across the globe. Prior to founding GENx, İlkay was an Associate Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in NYC where she led multiple award-winning projects both locally and globally. As previous Chair of CTBUH Future Leaders Global Committee and current Board of Trustee CTBUH NY Chapter, she is fostering open dialogue between architects, engineers, developers and the academia to develop responsible buildings and cities for the future.
Benjamin Friedman leads DLR Groups Data Science and AI team. He has deep experience in deep learning, optimization, and generative AI that enables him to drive innovation and expand DLR Groups design thinking, quantify evidence-based design, and improve project timelines. After studying Architecture and Planning at the University of Southern California, he has led and worked on data science teams in the sustainable tech and energy spaces. Two significant achievements include leading data collection and distillation efforts for agriculture emissions tracking for Climate Trace and the UN Climate Conference as a part of Carbon Yield and developing the core operating logic of one of the largest residential virtual power plant systems in the world at Swell Energy.
Kelly Haley, AIA is a designer that is passionate about telling compelling stories by saving historic buildings and giving them renewed purpose. Her work and industry expertise focus on existing building documentation, preservation and implementing advanced design technology to better understand the complexities of historic structures. Haley’s portfolio includes the award-winning restoration and renovation of the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, and the landmark approach to historic preservation for the Michigan State Capitol HBIM Digital Twin.
Anna Liza Montenegro
Director of Marketing
Anna Liza Montenegro
Anna Liza Montenegro develops design technology conferences and training for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals as a forum to exchange innovative strategies, best practices, and facilitate discussions into the technology trends driving significant change in building design and construction. As Director of Marketing, these events are offered to AEC professionals by Microsol Resources, a value-added reseller of Autodesk, Bluebeam, CADLearning, Enscape, Rhino, V-Ray, and their various technology partnerships. When not marketing, she loves spending time with her kids, traveling, and summers in Maine.
Design Technology Director
Rob is breaking new ground in architectural design, preservation, and the stewardship of historic buildings through the application of advanced technology and building information modeling. He combines his knowledge of building assessments, conservation, and restoration with technology-based skills to evaluate design strategies, coordinate disciplines, and create high-performing buildings.
As Quinn Evans’ director of design technology, Rob provides leadership in leveraging innovative technologies to better inform design projects. His experience in Historic Building Information Modeling (HBIM) has also helped clients document critical assets, prioritize maintenance and rehabilitation measures, and enhance access to historical records and stories for interpretive purposes.
North American Solutions Manager
Miles Smith is GRAPHISOFT’s North American Solution Manager, overseeing the delivery of North American-specific products and services. As a Solutions Manager, Miles advocates for customer needs, specializing in BIM implementation and software transitions. His leadership in aligning client requirements, exploring emerging technologies, and advancing IFC practices drives GRAPHISOFT’s innovative edge, fostering seamless integration and collaboration in the industry.
VP of Product Marketing
Chuck Pfeffer has been working in the 3D measurement space for 29 years, starting as a service provider with theodolites and laser trackers and then as a product manager at FARO responsible for laser trackers, several types of scanners and software. Chuck spent seven years as a committee member and ultimately was elected Chairman of the Coordinate Metrology Society, where he dedicated his time to foster collaboration and sharing of ideas in the portable 3D measurement community. More recently he worked on strategic partnerships to coordinate the use of reality capture technology with companies like Siemens, Oracle, Autodesk, and Procore.
Chuck is currently the VP of Product Marketing at Cupix, where they are working to democratize the 3D spatial digital twin by making it easy and affordable to capture the data and create actionable information for planning, design, collaboration, project tracking and facilities management.
Founder and CEO
Strong research background in computer graphics & geometry processing. Has over ten international publications & multiple patents in the domain of computer graphics, geometry & computer vision. 7+ years of experience at the intersection of Architecture, Construction & Tech. Built numerous tools/plugins to improve efficiency for design-construction workflows. Former project lead of the IDH (India Digital Heritage) project. The team created a workflow to digitize cultural heritage sites & successfully digitized the UNESCO world heritage site of Hampi in India.
Director of Pre-Development
Elaheh Demirchelie, is a real estate developer and an architect, currently serving as the Director of Real Estate Predevelopment at Greystar.
Previously, she held the position of Chief Creative Officer at Mark Cavagnero Associates. She has served as Design and Creative Director at various firms associated with the built environment and has worked on large-scale, global projects during her time at Mark Cavagnero Associates, John Portman & Associates, and HKS Inc., among others.
In addition, Elaheh is the founder of Demirchelie LLC, a practice focused on integrating design and impactful investment strategies as instigators for positive change.
Elaheh’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design Award, The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies Award, and the Hermes Creative Gold Award.
Elaheh’s educational background includes a Master of Science in Real Estate Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was distinguished as a CRE Fellow and was the recipient of the Sandbox Innovation Fund. She also holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Georgia Institute of Technology with her academic research focused extensively on sustainable design, innovation, technology, multifamily and micro-housing. The same principles of social and environmental responsibility exist in the ethos of every project she takes on, while collaborating with like-minded clients, users, contractors, and stakeholders.
As part of her personal investment to continually support education, she has served as faculty and invited juror of architecture and real estate development in multiple collegiate settings such as MIT, Georgia Tech, U.C. Berkeley, Harvard University, KSU, and various others, seeking to foster innovative pedagogies and methodologies.
Her passion for the built environment and the community transcends her professional endeavors. As a guiding force in several community-oriented projects, she has embraced the art of creating spaces that encapsulate the essence of community, fostering unity and embodying the unique spirit of a place. In her most recent contribution, she created Restore49 with San Francisco nonprofits and donors amid the COVID-19 pandemic to activate various contextual layers and regions within the Bay Area. The project was recognized by Architizer and published in various media outlets.
Elaheh is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and a member of the American Institute of Architects and Urban Land Institute. To spearhead new initiatives that pave the way for transformative progress, she serves as a board member for multiple nonprofit organizations and as an advisor to startups operating in the built environment. She has been a speaker on various topics related to business, real estate, technology, and architecture at many universities and conferences such as the Real Estate Forum, the International Design Academy, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association Forum and CRETECH.
Founder & CEO
Campbell currently leads the Codesign team who are reinventing conceptual design with the Concepting app for iPad. Codesign combines the power of sketching with the power of the iPad platform to allow fast, fluid and flexible conceptual design for architects. Over his 25 year career Campbell has worked in a number of businesses including Cadimage, Buildmedia, GRAPHISOFT SE and BIMObject.
With over 23 years of leadership experience within HKS international offices, Gaurav co-founded FivD to leverage technology to expedite and enhance project delivery. He takes pleasure in forming high-performing teams and empowering them to foster innovation through an unassuming workflow. Gaurav remains dedicated to propelling success and positively impacting the AEC industry, extending an indelible impression on the Built Environment.
Ali Ghomi is an associate at CetraRuddy Architecture and the head of the firm’s Computational Design Committee. Along with his role as an architectural designer, his work consists of parametric modeling, data visualization, and developing new design techniques and workflow strategies. Prior to his role at CetraRuddy, he was a research assistant and lead designer at the Polyhedral Structures Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on design and fabrication of spatial structures using 3D graphic statics.
Jeremy joined Olive Tree Ventures, the standalone venture arm of Olive Tree Holdings, in 2022 as Managing Director and General Partner. He is a member of OTV’s investment committee and helps lead technology implementation / innovation at Olive Tree Holdings.
Before joining Olive Tree, Jeremy helped build Tishman Speyer’s venture investing platform and helped launch Picus Capital in the Americas. Prior to moving into the VC space, Jeremy helped found the PropTech & ConTech Investment Banking group at Barclays. Jeremy began his career at Barclays in the Real Estate, Gaming, and Lodging Investment Banking group.
Jeremy graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Economics.
Head of Partnerships
With 12 years in technology, I’ve spent the past 6 at Canvas, joining as one of the first hires. I’ve witnessed Canvas’s evolution from its nascent stages to a multi-million dollar enterprise, serving thousands of architecture/remodeler customers. Today, my role is predominantly customer-facing, where I liaise and foster relationships with our largest partners and enterprises, ensuring Canvas is valuable for all home improvement professionals.
Jonathan Klein is a versatile, award-winning top-tier business executive with over 13 years of establishing successful businesses, technology integration, providing executive direction to the organization and elevating the business to market leadership. Highly-experienced in blending visionary insight and strategic business planning skills for commercial operations, sales & marketing, high-value negotiations, partnerships and optimizing bottom line profitability. Proven success as a take-charge leader combining people skills, business acumen and management expertise for growth and competitiveness. Decisive, forward-thinking and innovative – an achiever of exceptional results.
Curtis Rodgers is a construction technologist and investor at Brick & Mortar Ventures, with six years of construction operations experience across federal, energy, industrial, infrastructure, and commercial markets at both Kiewit and McCarthy Construction. Curtis founded The Society for Construction Solutions (SCS) in 2014, contributed to the NASA Centennial 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, and participated as a lecturer for the US DOE’s Project Leadership Institute.
US Sales Engineer
Marek carries over 12 years of experience in business development strategies for early-stage tech startups, the last 7 of which he’s specialized in reality capture and Digital Twin technologies. While growing NavVis US, he assisted in the execution of some of the largest laser scanning projects to date. His portfolio includes: super-tall commercial and residential towers in Manhattan, transportation hubs, retail, process and discrete manufacturing plants in auto, electronics, food, oil and gas.
Building Solutions Manager
Joe leads a team of IMAGINiT’s dedicated services professionals who ensure that the people, technology and processes exist to provide the best possible solution for clients every time. Joe and his team provide leadership to building design firms through the process of selecting, implementing, and optimizing software solutions. They engineer new workflow processes that dramatically improve productivity and efficiency, managing cultural change necessary for firms to be successful.
Senior BIM Specialist
Roger Liucci is a senior BIM Specialist at Microsol Resources, an Autodesk Gold Partner in their New York office. He has provided BIM implementation, support, and training to architectural, engineering, and construction firms for over 30 years.
Roger is particularly interested in the interaction between design and technology innovation as it relates to digital fabrication and cloud computing. Among his software specialties include Autodesk Revit, Navisworks, Forma, Tandem, and Autodesk Construction Cloud portfolio.
Roger studied Environmental Architecture at Arizona State University. He has given talks on building information modeling and technology innovation at Autodesk University, AIA seminars, and the Revit User Group.