Sunday, April 14, 2024


Accountants, architects, engineers, marketers and others handle the nitty-gritty work that makes the business world fly. This section spotlights key leaders of many industries who work for North Carolina-based companies and international powerhouses. One obvious trend: More leaders with multistate responsibilities are choosing North Carolina as their base.

president, chief creative officer | Wray Ward


Appleby joined the advertising agency in 1993, took on her current roles in 2001 and is now majority owner leading nearly 150 colleagues. She’s a past board chair of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the city’s Arts & Science Council and serves on the executive committee of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.

Pre-workday motivation: A brisk walk or workout, at least three cups of coffee and knowing how lucky I am to be doing what I love every day with incredibly talented people.

Key to industry success: Creativity. More than ever, brands need to find creative and engaging ways to differentiate themselves, stand out and win hearts and minds.

Best advice: My father taught me through his actions the importance of getting involved in and giving back to the community. It enriched my life in so many ways, including personal growth and building strong and lasting relationships.

Three people to share a meal: Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Mick Jagger.

Proud family accomplishment: My husband made an ultimate sacrifice 22 years ago, stepping away from his career to be a stay-at-home dad. His presence, love and involvement in our daughters’ academic and sports activities have had a remarkable effect on the bright young women they are today. It also allowed me to focus on my career and business.

Favorite hobby: Cheering on my daughters as they played competitive and collegiate soccer and field hockey.

Where to entertain a visitor: An arts or a sporting event uptown, a walk on Queens Road West or up to our cottage on Lake Norman for a day on the water.

managing director | Accenture


The UNC Chapel Hill graduate leads the 500-plus employee Raleigh office for the Ireland-based information-technology and consulting business, where she’s worked since 1998. She leads the company’s state of North Carolina account and is vice chair of NC TECH’s board of directors.

executive vice president, enterprise growth operations | Parsons


Beach joined the Centerville, Va.-based company in 2008 and worked in Saudi Arabia before moving to Charlotte in 2015. The unit he leads is focused on security, defense and infrastructure engineering. He has degrees from Boston University and the University of Colorado.

Managing principal | BB+M


With degrees from UNC Charlotte, Beacham leads an architectural group with partners Brian Bunce and Roger Manley that employs more than 70. Beacham joined in 2005 after working for Jenkins-Peer Architects.

Pre-workday motivation:Coffee. Then, of course, the amazing responsibility we have to deliver for our clients every day. That sounds hokey, but it is instant adrenaline.

Key to industry success: Don’t take yourself too seriously and just go kick ass for your clients every day. Build a team around that idea and the rest takes care of itself. Sounds simplistic, but I am amazed at how it seems to set us apart.

Best advice: Check your ego at the door.

Three people to share a meal: Leonardo da Vinci, Anthony Bourdain and Keith Richards.

Proud family accomplishment: I have twin 17-year-olds that will still talk to me. And a wife that generally will.

Favorite hobby: Traveling with my family along with making and eating great food.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Crunkleton — Old Fashioned, oysters and maybe the tomahawk.

principal | CJMW Architecture


Calloway and his team are responsible for many Twin City-area developments, including Center City West, BB&T Park and Liberty Plaza. He’s also designed various college buildings across the state. The N.C. State University graduate has been with the architecture group since 1971.

chair, founding partner | Cline Design


The architecture firm’s leader changed roles in February, naming longtime colleague Michael Mesnard as managing partner. Formed in 1989, the business has grown to 65 employees in Raleigh and Charlotte, and has designed recent projects such as the Peace Raleigh Apartments and NHX NorthTower apartments in the North Hills area.

central region private leader, Charlotte managing partner | Ernst & Young


The UNC Wilmington graduate chairs the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, continuing a civic leadership tradition since arriving in the Queen City in 2013. He is a partner with Hugh McColl Jr. and Lloyd Yates in the Bright Hope Capital investment firm.

senior vice president | Kimley-Horn


Deans has been with the Raleigh-based planning and engineering firm since 1993. The N.C. State University graduate is responsible for 10 offices in the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. It has more than 90 U.S. offices.

founding principal | Duda|Paine Architects


Duda co-founded his company with Jeffrey Paine in 1997 after working for 15 years with renowned Argentine-American architect Cesar Pelli. He has taught and studied internationally. He has a bachelor’s from N.C. State University and a master’s from Yale University.

managing director | Accenture


The Duke alumna is responsible for leading the company’s North American recruiting organization and its talent acquisition transformation strategy. Dudley has been with the company since 2000.

Pre-workday motivation: I’m hooked on my Oura Ring and checking out how much deep sleep I get each night. And can’t leave out big hugs from the kids and getting my to-do list together.

Key to industry success: Listening— really listening. Sometimes that includes listening for things that are unspoken.

Best advice: Everyone stumbles. What people remember is how you move forward, not that you fell.

Three people to share a meal: Serena Williams, Dalai Lama and Jane Elliott.

Proud family accomplishment: My family’s work mentality. Even if they are not always the strongest, fastest or smartest, they put in the hard work.

Favorite hobby: Renovating and building houses.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Whitewater Center.

principal, vice president, Charlotte office leader | LS3P


Floyd has more than 39 years of industry experience and has focused on office buildings and operations centers. He’s designed 57 office buildings in Charlotte’s Ballantyne neighborhood. The business has 350 employees in nine locations.

chair, CEO | French-West Vaughan


French founded the marketing agency in 1997. It now employs more than 100 people. He leads a film production business and is a national trustee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

Pre-workday motivation: I typically browse five different newspapers each morning while drinking my coffee.

Key to industry success: Being able to see around corners and anticipate how the various audiences we touch will likely respond to our creative ideas.

Three people to share a meal: Buddy Holly (because I’m producing a biopic on him), Abraham Lincoln and Steven Spielberg.

Proud family accomplishment: My daughters, Megan and Lauren, are up-and-coming executives at French/West/ Vaughan.

Favorite hobby: Ice hockey, baseball, softball, tennis and golf.

Where to entertain a visitor: Prestonwood Country Club for golf, tennis or dining; City Club Raleigh, PNC Arena for Carolina Hurricanes games and Walnut Creek Amphitheater for summer concerts.

principal, managing director | Gensler Charlotte


Bringing more than 30 years of industry experience, Gaulden is a co-managing director for the San Francisco-based architecture, design and planning firm’s Charlotte office. He is a Clemson University graduate with a master’s degree in architecture from Rice University.

founder, CEO | Esquire Advertising


The University of Florida law graduate founded Esquire Advertising in 2012. With a focus on helping furniture and mattress retailers attract clients, it was named among the fastest-growing privately held companies in North Carolina by Inc. magazine in 2020 and 2021.

Pre-workday motivation: I wake up every day feeling inspired to be better than yesterday.

Key to industry success: Motivation, confidence, and the ability to innovate and generate new ideas. You need to be confident in your ability to execute an idea, motivated to complete the necessary tasks to push that idea forward, and you always need to be thinking about how you can expand on it. AdTech is a newer and more sophisticated industry creating software that informs important marketing and advertising decisions.

Proud family accomplishment: Their hard work and dedicated involvement in their community.

Favorite hobby: Disc golf.

vice president | Stantec Consulting Services


The Edmonton, Alberta-based planning and engineering company has the N.C. State University bachelor’s and master’s graduate overseeing a five-state region that includes about 600 employees. He focuses on management for transportation projects such as the Global Transpark Rail Spur in Kinston.

partner, CEO | Little


The Clemson University graduate joined founder Bill Little in 1983 and now leads an architectural firm with 375 employees in six locations. He’s also active in local and national efforts of the American Institute of Architects and has been president of the Catawba Lands Conservancy.

CEO | Luquire


Luquire became CEO of the family-owned business in December while his father, Steve Luquire, moved up to the chair post. The Penn State University graduate joined the former LGA agency in 2008 after marketing jobs at MillerCoors, Bank of America and the Carolina Panthers.

Pre-workday motivation: Hugs from my family.

Three people to share a meal: Brooks Robinson (namesake), Vicki Luquire (my mom who passed in 2014) and Whit Johnson (ABC News anchor — just seems like a smart, fun guy).

Proud family accomplishment: The kindness and care they always express towards others — it’s so motivating to me to want to be and always do better.

Favorite hobby: Riding and walking trails with my kids.

Where to entertain a visitor: Any of our favorite neighborhood spots in Plaza Midwood.

president, CEO | Pace Communications


Since forming the content marketing and publishing business in 1973, she’s built one of the nation’s top women-owned companies. A former U.S. Ambassador to Finland and president of the American Red Cross, she listed her Irving Park neighborhood home for $7.5 million last August. It had not sold as of early April.

president, partner | The Variable


The University of South Carolina graduate, 42, became the creative agency’s president in 2017 and has built the firm to more than 80 staffers. It signed Napa Auto Parts as a client in February. He and his Variable colleagues and banker Dan Driscoll also operate the 100Watt business incubator.

Pre-workday motivation: Our daughters and puppy don’t let me sleep in. They’re a lot of fun to wake up to in the morning.

Key to industry success: The ability to outpace our clients’ business complexity. We have to be the partner who stays ahead of the curve through incredibly talented people, experiences with a wide range of business challenges, expanding capabilities to address needs and the flexibility to pivot as challenges and opportunities shift.

Best advice: The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Three people to share a meal: Jay-Z, Iliza Shlesinger and Mark Cuban.

Proud family accomplishment: Our daughters are turning into smart, empathetic, passionate, fun, well-rounded young women.

Favorite hobby: My daughters’ hobbies and sports. If I have a Saturday to myself, I’m probably sneaking in a mediocre golf score.

Where to entertain a visitor: Innovation Quarter or the trails at Reynolda Village before dinner at Mozelle’s.

founding principal | Duda|Paine Architects


At the business he formed with Turan Duda in 1997, Paine has helped design millions of square feet of projects. He has a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. Among his award-winning projects is the Emory University student center in Atlanta.

Carolinas managing partner | KPMG


Paradise, 48, became a partner in 2005 and led the Raleigh office before taking his current post in Charlotte in 2016. The Florida State University graduate oversees about 10 offices with more than 1,000 employees in the Carolinas split between advisory, audit and tax work.

Charlotte managing partner | PricewaterhouseCoopers


Pounds has been a fixture at the consulting firm for more than 30 years. The University of Alabama graduate has overseen the Charlotte office since 2014 and previously led the Carolinas and Southeast markets.

partner, audit practice leader | RSM


A partner since 2006, he oversees more than 700 audit professionals and is a board member at RSM US, which is part of a global network of audit, tax and consulting firms. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University in his home state.

president, CEO | S&ME


The George Mason University graduate has more than 30 years of experience in engineering and construction industries and has led the employee-owned, 10-state company for about four years. He formerly worked for HDR in the Washington, D.C., and Charlotte markets.

CEO | Sepi


Saidi founded her company in 2001 and has grown it to more than 250 employees and seven offices throughout the Southeast. Saidi is chair of the N.C. Chamber’s Board of Directors.

east region federal director | HDR


The former Naval officer and nuclear submarine operator joined Omahabased HDR in 2016 to manage the architectural and engineering company’s federal business in the eastern U.S. He’s a University of Arizona graduate with a master’s from the National Defense University.



The Dixon Hughes Goodman CPA firm, with 2,100 employees and $504 million in revenue in 2021, is merging with 3,300-employee BKD of Springfield, Mo., on June 1. The Wake Forest University graduate, 58, who joined DHG in 2007 and became CEO in 2014, will be chair of the combined company.

CEO, chair | Stewart


The Colombian native and N.C. State University graduate started his engineering practice in 1994. Stewart, 62, has about 220 employees at six offices. Their projects include the Raleigh-Durham International Airport’s newest terminal. Stewart’s leadership work includes serving as board chair at WakeMed Health and Hospitals.

senior vice president, chief operating officer | Aecom


The N.C. State University graduate took his current role in 2020 and has helped diversify the Dallas-based engineering and consulting company’s business in the Southeast. Aecom is among the 200 biggest U.S. companies with 2021 revenue of $13 billion.

chair | Walk West CEO, co-founder | The Diversity Movement


Thompson left East Carolina University early to work full time. He later became a top executive at two Triangle tech firms that were acquired by Adobe and India’s KPIT. He was the second employee at the Walk West digital-marketing company, which has ranked on the Inc. 5000 list of fast-growing U.S. companies. In 2019 he joined four others to form The Diversity Movement consultancy, which has attracted more than 100 clients seeking a more equitable work environment.

Pre-workday motivation: I’m cause-motivated. Our mission is to create workplace excellence through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. I feel energized and fortunate to work with some amazing folks, but also really important executives and clients that are trying to find their way in the DEI space. Chasing our vision of workplace excellence gets me jazzed every day.

Key to industry success: We are unique in our focus on linking business outcomes with diversity equity and inclusion programming. Our outlook is that DEI should be treated with the same rigor and expectation for measurable outcomes as the other strategic initiatives. Our goal is becoming better each day and people respect that and want to work with companies and leaders that feel that way.

Best advice: Be more thoughtful. This bit of advice has been particularly important in today’s world where everyone is thinking about choices, challenges and opinions, and generally finding themselves overwhelmed, filled with anxiety, and feeling more stress than ever.

Three people to share a meal: Colin Powell, Michael Jordan and Liz Cheney.

Proud family accomplishment: I have been able to raise kids that are independent thinkers. They have become strong enough in their self-images and their self-esteem to chart their own path and think through problems and issues with their own lenses. I’m particularly proud that they are not calling me every day and asking for money!

Favorite hobby: Racquetball. Some of the top players in the state are in our local group (I’m ranked No. 23). A second favorite is bourbon. I’m a budding connoisseur.

Where to entertain a visitor: The Pit in downtown Raleigh.

principal, co-managing director | Gensler Charlotte


The UNC Greensboro interior-design graduate has more than 15 years of experience in managing and designing workplace environments with a specialty on financial services. Gensler and other design firms are benefiting as companies shift to remote and hybrid work models.