McCownGordon expands leadership team, positions for growth in 2018

  • Share:
February 08, 2018
Former Polsinelli construction attorney, Ryan M. Manies, AIA joins the firm as vice president, general counsel, along with industry veteran Jeff Bennett as vice president, business development
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Jan. 16, 2018) Ramin Cherafat, newly minted chief executive officer for McCownGordon Construction, is laser focused on growing the construction management firm’s already significant footprint across the Midwest.  The firm has expanded its leadership team with the addition of Jeff Bennett as vice president, business development, and Ryan M. Manies, AIA, ESQ, as vice president, general counsel. 
Jeff Bennett brings more than two decades of experience in the construction industry, including business development leadership roles with multi-billion-dollar national and regional firms.  He leads the team’s journey of growth and development and works with business unit leaders to expand market share across the Midwest. Bennett’s focus on client and partner relationships will enhance teamwork and collaboration and lead to better outcomes for everyone involved in the design and construction process.  “In just a few months, Jeff has had a significant impact on our business development team and has become deeply engaged in both the geographic and the vertical market sectors we serve including higher education, corporate, civic and healthcare. Jeff will be a key factor in our plans to continue providing growth and opportunity to our associates,” said Cherafat.
Ryan Manies, who joins the firm from Polsinelli, has extensive experience in the preparation, review and analysis of contract agreements.  He will lead efforts to minimize risk and maximize success as he works with leadership to develop and guide corporate strategy.  Additionally, Manies will work to ensure that all aspects of clients’ projects, from financing, risk management and contracts, are in place and well executed.  Manies is a registered architect in the state of Kansas and a member of both the Missouri Bar and the Kansas Bar.  “Having in-house counsel is a critical component of our growth and Ryan has extensive knowledge and expertise that will enhance our ability to deliver the best building experience for our clients, partners, associates and the community,” said Cherafat.
The hiring of both Manies and Bennett is a natural progression of the firm’s recent growth and the desire to expand further in the Midwest and beyond, building upon successful projects throughout the region, including Missouri, Kansas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. 
“Our leadership team is thoughtful about the future and strategic in the ways we nurture our business and position our team for continued growth and success,” said Cherafat, who has been with McCownGordon for over 18 years.  In addition to the two newest members, the team includes a slate of leaders who have helped grow the company from an emerging start up to one of the largest construction management firms in the region, including Brett Gordon, co-founder and chairman of the board, Jeff Placek, chief financial officer, Jay Lucas, vice president of construction operations, Nancy Whitworth, vice president of strategic services, and Chris Vaeth, vice president of preconstruction.
McCownGordon is currently performing construction management services for a variety of significant projects in the region, including the Central District Development on the campus of the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., the renovation of Kemper Arena, Children’s Mercy Research Tower, 21c Museum Hotel, Garmin International Inc. headquarters expansion, and Terracon corporate headquarters, among others.
About McCownGordon
McCownGordon Construction is recognized as one of the region’s largest construction managers with offices in both Missouri and Kansas. Focused on core values of integrity, relationships and performance, McCownGordon is committed to building collaborative partnerships and specializing in construction management, design-build, sustainable construction and general contracting. With strong experience and expertise in a variety of market sectors, the company is 100 percent employee owned and has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Kansas City by the Kansas City Business Journal for the past 13 years. More information about McCownGordon is available at
Sara Prem, Marketing Director
(816) 960-1111