AM24: Barge Celebrates Success, Honors Its People, and Sets Sights on the Future

7 / May / 2024

We gathered for the much-anticipated annual meeting (AM24) on May 4 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville. This event is a key part of our employee-owned company's culture, offering a unique opportunity for team members to celebrate our accomplishments, look forward to the future, and reconnect to our purpose and one another.

The AM24 Show was produced in the style of a late-night talk show and showcased the incredible individuals who make up Team Barge. Through relaxed, insightful interviews, attendees heard their colleagues' unique stories and contributions, gaining a deeper appreciation for the diverse talents and dedication that drive our company forward. The event also included a keynote presentation by CEO Bob Higgins, COO Shannon Lambert, and COS Carrie Stokes, where all three leaders held up a proverbial mirror to the team, allowing everyone to see the impact of their work. The celebration marked significant career milestones for many of our team members with leadership presenting our most prestigious peer-nominated awards. Recognizing the exceptional contributions of our team members through the Dan Barge, Jr. Award of Merit and the Jack L. Wood Excellence in Service Award underscores the impact of their work on our firm's success. This year, we are proud to honor two outstanding employees for their contributions, which have helped the firm be selected when it matters most.

2024 Dan Barge, Jr. Award of Merit Recipient: Brett McNeely, PE

The Dan Barge, Jr. Award of Merit recognizes an employee for distinctive performance in a specific situation during the prior year in which they demonstrated extraordinary initiative beyond their position or role.

Brett McNeely hit the ground running in his new role as engineering manager and immediately faced challenges with dynamic team situations. Brett went above and beyond, shouldering a substantial workload encompassing engineering management, project management, business development, and engineering production tasks.

Despite unforeseen circumstances, he navigated the team through resource management complexities and maintained the overall team morale. He ensured necessary accommodations and effective resource allocation to maintain project momentum and client satisfaction.

Exemplifying leadership, Brett showed remarkable adaptability and resilience. His comprehensive approach to engineering and project management has not only supported project success but also fostered a culture of innovation within Barge. Brett's mentorship also fostered a supportive learning environment, contributing significantly to the professional growth of our new and young team members. He has inspired excellence among his peers.

(Brett is pictured with CEO Bob Higgins, Lead Nominator Emily Gottberg, COO Shannon Lambert, and COS Carrie Stokes)

2024 Jack L. Wood Excellence in Service Award Recipient: Laura Padgett, AIA

The Jack L. Wood Excellence in Service Award represents Barge's purpose. It recognizes an employee who has demonstrated superior services throughout a lengthy career with the firm, contributing to creating a better life for our people, clients, and communities.

For the past 20 years, Vice President and Client Service Leader Laura Padgett has significantly contributed to Barge and its 200+ healthcare projects, impacting numerous lives. Since joining us as a student intern in 2002, her exceptional intelligence, creativity, and innovative approach have been unmistakable. Her profound understanding of design and critical thinking have shaped her unique style and management techniques. 

With increasingly challenging projects, Laura showcased her solution-oriented mindset, project management prowess, and excellent client relations skills. Her reliability forms the bedrock of trust with clients and colleagues, fostering a positive work environment and emphasizing mentorship and empowerment. 

Laura’s infectious motivation drives excellence and quality internally and in her commitment to superior client service. Her ability to connect with clients, particularly in understanding and strategizing around their goals, has been pivotal. She embodies many of our healthcare clients' mission statements to improve human life, notably through her role in transforming a building into a leading children's hospital, marking a significant milestone in her career and for our firm. 

Sharing her resilience, forward-looking positivity, and dedication, Laura has propelled our company and clients forward and enriched our communities. Her legacy is a testament to the power of hard work, innovation, and compassion in creating lasting change.

(Laura is pictured with CEO Bob Higgins, Co-Nominator Tiffany Throneberry, COO Shannon Lambert, and COS Carrie Stokes)