Texas & Louisiana’s 2018 Top Young Professionals

The 20 individuals honored as the best of the region’s next generation are motivated to be better builders and designers while maintaining a work-life balance that harmonizes family and community.

Winners of the 2018 ENR Texas and Louisiana Top Young Professionals contest are architects, engineers, builders, infrastructure and water resource experts, project managers and safety professionals.

Some began their careers with large companies and then moved on to smaller ones, while others did the opposite, moving from smaller firms to industry giants.

All of them are interested in leveraging industry organizations and community connections to enhance their careers and improve processes that allow AEC professionals to deliver better projects. Mentorship is a common interest. Many of this year’s nominees credit the impact of their own mentors on their careers and how those people inspired them to pay the lessons forward to the next generation of professionals.

As in past years, the annual competition was rigorous. To be eligible, nominees must be working full-time in some aspect of the commercial construction industry in the ENR Texas-Louisiana region, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Texas. Those individuals also must be under age 40 at the time nominations were due.

Other key selection criteria included the achievement of or progress toward industry certifications, demonstrated success in creating more efficient systems, designing new processes or managing landmark projects and significant volunteer work across the industry and within the community.

Michael J. DeGruyMichael J. DeGruy
37, Chief Operating Officer
Ryan Gootee General Contractors LLC
Metairie, La.
From right-hand man to chief operating officer

DeGruy was one of the key people who helped Ryan Gootee start his general contracting company more than a dozen years ago. Gootee credits DeGruy’s experience and vast knowledge of construction, his knack for thinking strategically and his ability to adapt and innovate as a significant contributor to the firm’s growth and success.

DeGruy is involved with academics on many levels; an alumnus of Louisiana State University, he serves on the school’s Construction Industry Advisory Council and Education Committee. The committee helps introduce more real-life, hands-on courses to the school’s construction management program.

DeGruy is a firm believer in design-build or design-assist project delivery, which “allows us to be involved all along to catch unforeseen problems and conditions,” he says.

One education project has had a special connection for DeGruy: a challenging, 15-month job for Green Trees Early Childhood Village at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. Responsible for phasing and special events, DeGruy ensured there was minimal disruptions to the active campus during the project. His daughter is among the students at the newly renovated and operational Green Trees school.

February 5, 2018