SSOE Group Announces the Appointment of New Board Members and Principals for 2024

TOLEDO, Ohio, December 18, 2023 – SSOE Group (, an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm, celebrates the election of new members to the firm’s Board of Directors and the appointment of three new principal owners within the organization.

SSOE maintains four outside directors as part of its Board makeup—with the conclusion of Lori Gillett’s term, the firm is excited to welcome Larry Covert as a new outside director. Larry is a founder, investor, and advisor / partner in various real estate and technology companies. Board Chair, Matt Oberts, PE, LEED AP, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) – Buildings and Industrial Facilities, who was recently re-elected to the board for a second, three-year term remarked, “While we want to recognize and thank Lori for the significant contributions she made as part of our Board for the last six years, we’re excited to have Larry join us as our newest Board member. With his technology-focused mindset and diversity of thought, he has jumped in with new ideas and a unique perspective that will help us develop a robust data strategy that will help guide the successful implementation of AI applications here at SSOE.”

Over his career, Larry has held many positions, including his current role with Gigafund, a venture capital firm backing the world’s most ambitious and transformative entrepreneurs. The firm makes long-term concentrated investments in founders who are capable of growing with their companies and maximizing impact over a period of decades. Larry is based in Austin, Texas and will serve a three-year term as part of SSOE’s Board of Directors.

In addition to Larry and Matt, Jim Lewis, Executive Vice President, Process, was elected to the board for a three-year term. The Board also appointed Jason Christen, PMP, Business Leader, Department Manager, to the open seat as a Senior Associate Board Observer, alongside Adrienne E. Taylor, PE, Division Manager, Chemical Process, who will continue her term as Board Observer until December 2024.

Board Members Continuing in Office:

Vince DiPofi, PE – Chief Executive Officer

Catherine Myers, PE – President

Jeremy Woodgate, PE, SE – Executive Vice President

Michael A. Murphy – Executive Vice President

Robby Aull, AIA – Senior Vice President

Brett E. Susany – Senior Vice President

Jeanne Cormier – Outside Director

Doug Goare – Outside Director

John Pemberton – Outside Director

SSOE also announced the addition of three new principals, including the firm’s first employee from its Mexico operation to become a principal of the firm—further diversifying ownership of the firm at a higher level than ever before.

Erick Kuri, Mexico Operations Director, came on board as SSOE’s first Mexico employee in 2014, just as the firm opened operations in León, Mexico to support the region’s growing automotive manufacturing base. Under Erick’s leadership, the León office is currently the third largest, and fastest growing SSOE office. In 2023, the firm opened its Chihuahua office which has grown Mexico operations to more than 130 professionals. With over two decades of in-country experience as a manager and engineer, Erick has extensive project knowledge with automotive and manufacturing facilities in dozens of cities throughout the Mexican industrial corridor. He’s taken that expertise and helped diversify SSOE’s Mexico business into other industries such as food and consumer products, pharmaceutical, distribution centers, glass, and more.

Erick holds an Industrial and Systems Engineering Degree from the University of Sonora and Project Management training from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM), endorsed by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Mathew Bierschbach, Business Leader, joined SSOE in 2007 as a Mechanical Engineer in what is now the firm’s Process Operation, with a focus on industrial chemical projects. He served as a Department Manager for the firm’s Process Mechanical department and most recently took on a business development-focused role where he has been heavily involved in new client pursuits. His expertise is frequently called upon as a technical subject-matter expert for industrial and chemical process work as part of his charge to drive new business for SSOE.

Matt has more than two decades of technical experience and works out of SSOE’s Toledo, Ohio office. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Toledo.

Shawn Pankratz, Basebuild Division Manager, joined SSOE in 2013 through the acquisition of Evergreen EDC. He quickly rose through the ranks, being promoted to Assistant Project Manager just six months after his hire, Project Manager in 2015, and Senior Program Manager / Project Manager in 2020, entrusted with overseeing key programs for core clients. In June of this year, he was promoted again and is now serving as a Division Manager for the Basebuild team in SSOE’s Advanced Technology Operation.

Shawn was recently named a 2024 Top Young Professional by ENR Northwest, celebrating the excellence of young construction professionals by recognizing individuals under 40 years of age who have shown extraordinary career leadership and service. A graduate of Lewis & Clark College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs, Shawn has over a decade of experience with project and business operations, with special emphasis on semiconductor cleanroom and technology manufacturing design projects. He works out of SSOE’s Hillsboro, Oregon office.

CEO Vince DiPofi, PE, offered his congratulations stating, “I’m extremely pleased to welcome Erick, Mathew, and Shawn as principal owners of SSOE. Becoming a principal at SSOE is a great accomplishment and each of these individuals truly embody the spirit of continuous improvement and our growth strategy, while representing the values, performance, and commitment that we expect from senior leadership at SSOE. Additionally, they have been instrumental in leading our mission to deliver unparalleled client value that advances the AEC industry. I congratulate them on their accomplishments!”

SSOE is proud to welcome 61 new shareholders this year. This raises the firm’s total number of shareholders to 353.

To view a full list of SSOE Leadership, click here.

About SSOE Group

As an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm, SSOE is known for delivering unparalleled client value that advances the AEC industry. They have been named a “Great Workplace” (Great Place to Work®) and one of the “Best AEC Firms to Work For” (BD+C).

Over the company’s 75-year history, it has earned a reputation for providing quality project solutions to high-tech and general manufacturing clients in the semiconductor, automotive, battery, food, chemical, and glass industries. SSOE also provides forward-thinking design across healthcare and general building sectors such as corporate workplace, education, and judicial—with projects completed in 40 countries. Visit for additional information and career opportunities.

Media Contact:
Jenni Roder
(419) 469-1918
(419) 351-6480 cell