Sunday, July 14, 2024

Power List 2023: Professional Services

Natalie Batten*
Tripp Beacham
Joseph Budd
Tom Calloway
Jim Canfield
Malcomb Coley Sr.
Neil Deans
Mark Dirks

Caroline Helwig Dudley 
Rick French
John Giannuzzi
Eric Grindley
Terri Hall
Paul Koch
Anna Lynch
David Mullen

Jeffrey Paine
Kent Panther
Joe Paradise
Chad Parker
Jim Parker
Katherine Peele
Crawford Pounds
Brandon Rucker

Matt Ryan
Lee Sisco
Matt Snow
Willy Stewart
Randall Taylor
Donald Thompson
Michelle Thompson


managing director | Accenture 

Batten leads the 900-plus employee Raleigh office of Accenture, the Ireland-based consulting firm that has 738,000 staffers in more than 120 counties. 

Her job involves managing the state of North Carolina account. Batten chairs the N.C. Technology Association’s board of directors and helps encourage more students to enter science and technology careers. She’s also a longtime volunteer and former board member with Dress for Success Triangle NC, which helps women achieve economic independence for themselves and their families.

The North Carolina native has degrees in political science and communications from UNC Chapel Hill. She’s fond of biking and running on Raleigh’s extensive greenway system.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: I don’t love running, but running on the Wilmington boardwalk by the river on a sunny day will almost convince me that I do. That and an ice cream afterward.

What do you listen to on your commute: What I listen to depends on when: “Start Here” in the morning to catch up on key news stories; midday maybe a bit of an audio book (I’m alternating between “Give and Take” and “How Women Rise”); and to close out the day, anything that makes me laugh.

Major inspiration: My teams. Watching them come together, do the right things for our clients, and support each other along the way inspires me every time.

Favorite hobby after work: Cooking dinner at home while catching up with my family on how the day went. I love to cook and to try out new dishes across all cuisines — it’s my creative outlet. 

Best advice for industry newcomers: Consulting is all about learning fast, adapting to change, and making an impact; that can be overwhelming at times. My advice is to remember the knowledge you’re bringing with you, soak up the new pieces like a sponge, and give yourself grace as you’re combining the two. Inevitably, you’ll think back on your past self and be blown away by how much more you know . Trust the process.


managing principal | BB+M Architecture

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. The group has a focus on mixed-use housing and office buildings. 

Favorite family tradition: Traveling to new places with my wife and kids. 

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Wrightsville Beach 

What do you listen to on your commute: My Apple Music Playlist on Shuffle. 

Major inspiration: My father for his selflessness and my mother for her tenacity.

Top career highlight: The talented team we have built at BB+M. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed we would have worked our way into partnering with such great clients on such great projects. Every once in a while we pause to look back at the last 18 years. It is just humbling. 

Favorite hobbies after work: Glass of wine, good music in the kitchen, and figuring out how to make a great meal out of whatever is in the refrigerator. Anything outdoors, preferably with family —  boating, hiking, golf, fishing and beach chair.


CEO | The Budd Group

In 2001, Budd bought the janitorial and facility services business from his father, Richard Budd. His brother is U.S. Sen. Ted Budd. The Wake Forest graduate started in the company’s sales department after college. It now has 4,000 employees and operates in 12 states and Washington, D.C.


principal | CJMW Architecture

One of nine principals at CJMW Architecture, Calloway leads on projects throughout the Twin City. An N.C. State University graduate, most recently he’s been a leading force behind YWCA Gateway, Hilltop House and Forsyth County Public Safety Building. 


president, CEO | WithersRavenel

The N.C. State University graduate was hired by civil engineering firm WithersRavenel in 1990, just four years after the company hired its first employee. Now the firm is 100% employee owned and has nine locations across the state.


Central Region private leader, Charlotte managing partner | EY

The 30-plus year Ernst & Young veteran has been an active civic leader since his move to Charlotte in 2013. The UNC Wilmington MBA graduate is a trustee at his alma mater, past chair of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance and co-chair of the Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative.

Favorite family tradition: Thanksgiving

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Wilmington

What do you listen to on your commute: Rap music 

Major inspiration: Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. He truly had the courage to lead. 

Career highlight: Leading the Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiatives. 

Favorite hobby: Relaxing and playing chess with my daughter, Tana. 

Best advice to industry newcomers: Persistency, perseverance and willingness to make mistakes and learn from them.

Key industry change in next five years: Further diversification of service offerings in consulting and technology. 


senior vice president | Kimley-Horn

Deans began working part time for the planning and engineering firm in 1993 before he graduated from N.C. State University. He now leads business development and growth strategies for the company’s 10 sites in the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Kimley-Horn has about 100 offices and more than 6,000 employees.


CEO, co-founder | BeaconTechnologies 

Dirks co-founded the digital marketing firm in 1998 after working for AT&T for 15 years. Beacon clients have included Google and Accenture He has a bachelor’s from Wake Forest University and a master’s in computer systems from Kansas State University. He’s an executive committee director at the NC Tech Association.


managing director, global lead, talent & human potential/talent acquisition |  Accenture

The Duke University graduate, who played collegiate field hockey, joined the consulting firm in 2000. She was a client account lead for major financial businesses before taking top roles in recruiting in North America, then globally. She’s been active in the Charlotte Urban League, Charlotte Regional Business Alliance and Women’s Impact Fund.


chairman, CEO | French/West/Vaughan

The Oakland University graduate founded the marketing agency in 1997 and now employs more than 130 people. In early 2023 he acquired Detroit’s The Millerschin Group, a transportation-focused marketing agency. He’s a trustee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum and part owner of a Minor League Baseball team in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Favorite family tradition: Attending Carolina Hurricanes hockey games together.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: North Topsail Island

What do you listen to on your commute: “The Highway” on SiriusXM

Major inspiration: My father, who has always acted with kindness and integrity.

Career highlight: Being named PR Agency Leader of the Year five times.

Favorite hobby after work: Playing ice hockey, which I do several times a week. Or playing in a men’s fast-pitch baseball league on weekends.

Best advice to industry newcomer: Be fearless in putting forward smart, creative ideas.

Key industry change in next five years: AI may replace some of the work we are doing, but it isn’t a substitute (just yet) for breakthrough ideas that shape beliefs or change minds.


Carolinas managing partner | Deloitte

This Duke University graduate oversees nearly 1,800 people and has been with the company for 20-plus years. He’s responsible for strategy and direction of Deloitte’s client service, corporate citizenship, and inclusion efforts. He has been a board member at Blumenthal Performing Arts, Opera Carolina and other groups.

Favorite family tradition: Dinner table debates, primarily over holiday meals. My wife and our four sons learn, connect and exchange different ideas and opinions during our meals. 

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Holden Beach

What do you listen to on your commute: When I ride my bike, the busy sounds of Uptown Charlotte.

Major inspiration: My 95-year-old parents instilled in me strong values, a good work ethic, and a love for learning. Coach K is a close third. 

Career highlight: Getting to lead our Carolinas practice and represent Deloitte in the Charlotte community that I love. It’s an honor to work with such a talented and dedicated group of professionals and to have the opportunity to make a positive impact in our community.

Favorite hobby after work: A bike ride or walking my dog.

Best advice to industry newcomers: Make a good first impression. Be agile and adaptable.

Key industry change in next five years: Increasing importance of artificial intelligence. 


CEO, founder | Esquire Advertising 

The University of Florida law graduate founded the marketing agency in 2012 to help furniture and mattress retailers attract clients. In April, the business was named Partner of the Year by the Home Furnishings Association. He co-owned a race horse, Three Technique, that won a race last year at Kentucky’s famed Churchill Downs.


president | Clark Nexsen 

The founding member of the design firm’s Raleigh office, Hall has more than 26 years of engineering and project management experience. She was named president in 2016, four years after becoming the Virginia Beach, Virginia-based firm’s first female board member. She has an engineering degree from Old Dominion University.


vice president | Stantec Consulting Services

This N.C. State University graduate joined the Edmonton, Alberta-based company in 1997 after working for N.C. Department of Transportation. He is regional leader for five Southeast states, helping oversee project management. He cites the improvements of College Road in Wilmington as among his favorite projects. 


CEO | Lynch Mykins

The N.C. State University graduate has been with Lynch Mykins since 2004, when it was known as Stroud Pence. Current leadership purchased the structural engineering firm in 2017, rebranding it and growing to more than 70 staff members. She’s also an avid dancer, from the foxtrot to the salsa.


CEO, partner | The Variable

After joining the marketing business in 2013, the University of South Carolina graduate became president in 2017 and CEO last year. Its growth and workplace strategies have won national honors. Last year, the agency created the “Woombie,” a pink plushie in protest of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Favorite family tradition: Instead of getting our four daughters presents for Christmas, they draw a sister’s name and buy presents for that sister. Each girl gets excited for their sister to open the presents they picked out.

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Montreat and Black Mountain’s laid-back vibe, great restaurants and the ability to walk out of the door and right onto a trail.

What do you listen to on your commute: Jay-Z, Jeezy and Wayne to Meek Mill, J. Cole and Drake. On the way home, I wind down with The National Parks, Drew Holcomb and Luke Combs.

Major inspiration: My wife and kids saying they’re proud of something I’m a part of means the most to me.

Career highlight: Being part of the team that built The Variable.

Favorite hobby after work: Laughing with my wife and friends while telling stories from the day. 

Best advice to industry newcomers: You have to be curious and self-driven. That means your first idea is rarely your best idea.

Key industry change in next five years: AI will change access to information, create efficiency, and help deliver starting points that help talented, creative people develop big ideas faster.


managing principal | Duda|Paine Architects

Paine has helped design millions of square feet of projects across the nation since founding his architecture business with Turan Duda in 1997. He has a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University. In 2016, he spent eight weeks as a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome.


president, CEO | Wray Ward

Panther succeeded Jennifer Appleby as CEO of the marketing agency in January, 19 years after joining the company. He previously ran his own marketing business. The Miami University graduate helped Wray Ward make inroads into various home improvement industries, which form a key anchor for the agency.


Carolinas managing partner | KPMG LLP

In his role with the accounting agency, Paradise oversees about 10 offices with more than 1,000 employees in the Carolinas. The Florida State University graduate became a partner in 2005 and led the Raleigh office before taking his current post in Charlotte in 2016. 


managing director | Gensler 

This N.C. State University architecture graduate joined Gensler in 2011 after a merger with a business he founded. His Gensler projects for corporate headquarters and mixed-use developments have won industry awards. He’s a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and a past president of N.C. State’s Young Alumni Council.


CEO | Summit Design and Engineering Services 

The N.C. State University graduate and former DOT engineer joined land surveyor Alois Callemyn to start their business in 1997, then rebranded in 2004. Summit now employs 400 people across eight offices in the Carolinas and others in Colorado, Florida and Virginia. Parker grew up in Durham.


chair, principal, chief practice
officer | LS3P

This N.C. State University graduate joined the architecture firm in 1988 at a predecessor firm, Boney Architects. In October 2022, she was named board chair. She has managed more than $1 billion worth of construction. LS3P has five N.C. offices, plus others in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.


managing partner, southeast market | PricewaterhouseCoopers

The University of Alabama graduate has been with PricewaterhouseCoopers for more than 30 years and in his current role since 2014. He oversees more than 1,000 employees and key client relationships. He is active with civic organizations including YMCA of Greater Charlotte and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation.  

Favorite N.C. place to visit: Bald Head Island. For a place that is so close, it feels like we are really getting away and there is nothing like the excitement we feel when we get on the ferry to the island.   

Major inspiration: I am so inspired by the countless acts of care and support I see from our employees every day supporting each other, our clients, and our communities. On a personal note, my mother was the most faithful servant of others I have ever known.  

Career highlight: The opportunity to work with incredible people and see them come together to serve our clients and communities in such an impactful way. 

Best advice to industry newcomers: Have a great attitude, be the best team player you can be, and take every opportunity you can to learn from others. 

Key industry change in next five years: Issues related to environmental, social governance.  


partner, audit practice leader | RSM

Rucker joined the London-based consulting firm in 1996 and became a partner 10 years later. He oversees more than 700 audit professionals. He’s a first-generation college graduate with a degree from Western Kentucky University. RSM, which rebranded from McGladrey in 2015, has offices in Charlotte, Greensboro
and Raleigh. 


president, CEO | S&ME

The George Mason University graduate was named president and CEO in 2018, drawing on his 30-plus years of experience in engineering and construction to lead the employee-owned company. Last year, the company expanded into the Memphis, Tennessee, market. He was a longtime HDR manager before moving to S&ME.


East Region federal director | HDR

Sisco was a Navy executive officer of a nuclear submarine in Hawaii before joining the Omaha, Nebraska-based company in 2016. He manages the architectural and engineering company’s federal business in the eastern U.S. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and a master’s from the National Defense University.


chair | Forvis 

The Wake Forest University graduate was CEO for Charlotte’s Dixon Hughes Goodman before it merged with Missouri-based BKD last year and rebranded as Forvis. The name stands for “forward vision.” The two companies have combined annual revenue of $1.4 billion and 5,700 employees. Forvis added a south Florida office in March.


chairman, CEO | Stewart 

The Colombia native and N.C. State University graduate founded his engineering practice in 1994 in a one-room office and now oversees about 200 employees at eight offices in the Carolinas. He chairs the WakeMed Hospital board of directors. 


senior vice president, chief operating officer – U.S. and Latin America | Aecom

The 26-year company employee was promoted to his current rank in October after previously leading the company’s eastern U.S. region. He’s an N.C. State University graduate. The Dallas-based engineering and consulting company had revenue of $13.1 billion last year and a market value of about $11 billion.  


CEO | The Diversity Movement 
chair | WalkWest

Since its formation in 2019, Thompson’s diversity consulting firm has attracted more than 100 clients seeking a more equitable working environment. He’s led two Triangle tech firms that were sold to large companies and helped build the WalkWest marketing agency. The highly ranked racquetball player left East Carolina University early to start working full time.


CEO | Cherry Bekaert 

Thompson, who joined the tax and advisory firm in Fayetteville in 1998, was named CEO in 2018. An industry group included her in its Most Powerful Women in Accounting list in 2022. Boston-based Parthenon Capital made an investment in the business last year. She has a bachelor’s from UNC Chapel Hill and a master’s from the University of South Carolina.

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