Keith Pehl founded Optima Engineering in 1992, and has overseen its growth from a small business to a well-respected firm made up of more than 90 talented engineers and professionals, spread across two regional offices. He has overall responsibility for all projects and also oversees all Quality Control, with special emphasis on resilient design and renewable energy systems. An Electrical Engineer by training, Mr. Pehl has carried a professional license for over 30 years and is registered in 34 states across the U.S. He has designed electrical distribution systems, fire alarm systems, telecom and lighting systems for projects ranging from industrial and educational facilities to churches, medical facilities and corporate data centers. He develops sustainable engineering strategies for all types of clients and facilities, and frequently speaks to numerous organizations on the topics of renewable energy and energy efficiency. A North Carolina native, Mr. Pehl learned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Ron Almond, P.E., LEED AP brings extensive hands-on insight to his role as Executive Vice President and COO of Optima Engineering. He oversees the firm’s project pipeline and management to ensure the highest level of design and client service. With over 40 years of experience, Ron leads our government and higher education teams and holds principal responsibility for many of the firm’s high-profile projects. Ron received his Bachelor’s Degree from UNC Charlotte in Mechanical Engineering Technology and is a member of ASHRAE. His commitment to meet budget constraints and creating efficient designs while maintaining the highest design standards has been integral in the firm’s overall success.
Steve specializes in the mechanical system design of educational facilities. He has been involved in project management, engineering, and energy modeling for over 150 schools. Steve has designed many types of HVAC systems based on sustainability, life cycle cost analysis, design guidelines, and input from district maintenance personnel. He has been involved in the design of all LEED for Schools projects, as well as the design of geothermal HVAC systems for net zero energy schools.
Byron has extensive engineering experience is in designing mechanical systems for Healthcare, Government, Municipal, and Civic facilities. Prior to becoming a Principal with the firm, he previously served as Optima’s Healthcare Division Manager. His responsibilities include overseeing the design and completion of all healthcare projects, he develops mechanical plans and specifications, performs field surveys and oversees coordination between all design trades and construction administration.
Brian is one of four managing principals responsible for all engineering production, scheduling and quality control. He has extensive experience in redundant power systems, complex electrical commissioning and retro-commissioning, data centers and mission critical projects. In addition to leading the firm’s mission critical efforts, he provides capacity planning assistance for clients, organizes and participates in factory witness testing, performs single point of failure studies, conducts short circuit / coordination / arc-flash studies, and oversees Neher- McGrath calculations.
John Matthews is the Managing Principal of the Raleigh office. In addition to leading the Raleigh office, John is a mechanical engineer with a breadth of experience across many sectors including life sciences with a focus on pharma laboratory, mission critical, healthcare with multiple x-ray and MRI facility designs, and government facilities. In addition to his technical expertise, he has strong project management skills and is a trusted resource for interdisciplinary coordination during project development and design
Clint is a Mechanical Engineer with experience in several building types including High-Rise Office, Multi-family, Mission Critical, Large Retail, Workspace upfits, K-12, University, Industrial, and Labs. He takes pride in designing maintainable and sustainable mechanical systems that fit the owner’s budget. Clint may be involved in numerous aspects of the project from concept to punchlist.
Mark is the Asheville office leader and has extensive experience on numerous Performance Arts and Church Auditorium projects throughout the Southeast, and is actively involved in overseeing city work, hospitality, retail, medical office buildings, churches, amusement parks, fire and police stations, airports, and commercial buildings. His expertise is in HVAC system design and engineering, including load calculations. Since joining Optima in 2007, he has excelled at project management, client relationship communication, construction administration, and sustainable design.
As an engineer with a background on all levels of electrical design and coordination, Zane’s skill is multifaceted and important to complex design challenges at hand. His nearly four decades of extensive experience with various market sectors makes him a very valuable addition to Optima’s team. His responsibilities include review and approval of electrical equipment, specifications and requisitions, complex design and code review ,monitoring and enforcing project schedules, project coordination, client relations and quality control.
Brandon is an electrical engineer coordinating the engineering and design of systems in government, municipal, commercial, institutional, medical, K-12 schools and industrial projects. With skills in specification writing, electrical equipment selection, and project management he plays a key role in project development. Specific system design input includes lighting design, general power design, fire alarm, and communication systems.
Daniel manages the Plumbing and Fire Protection division, overseeing and coordinating the work of all members of the division. Daniel’s responsibilities include project coordination, client relations, construction administration and quality control. Daniel’s 36 years of engineering experience include retail, K-12, higher education, corporate, banking, mission critical, hospitality, healthcare, and mixed use projects.
Tom Capodicasa RCDD is an Associate and Technology Project Manager at the Charlotte office. Tom’s extensive experience with designing power distribution systems, lighting and lighting control systems, IT infrastructure, fire alarm, and other special systems make him a crucial addition to our Technology Services Team. His responsibilities include providing designs that utilize the latest technological advances and are consistent with the codes, standards, and budgets while meeting owner desires and requirements. He is a member of BICSI (RCDD design standards) and the Illuminating Engineering Society. Tom holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Buffalo.
Chad is an Associate, Mechanical Designer, and Project Manager with over two decades of experience in his field and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Toledo. He specializes in HVAC systems, in addition to plumbing and fire protection design, for mission critical, healthcare, K-12, and commercial sectors. His responsibilities include project coordination, client relations, and quality control.
Bill Nord is an Associate and Mechanical Designer at the Charlotte office with over two decades of experience and a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Technology from Indiana State University. He is proficient in all Revit and AutoCAD releases and is a past ASHRAE Member/ Secretary for the Central Indiana Chapter Board of Directors. Furthermore, Bill has extensive experience with design work for over 100 education facilities since joining Optima. He relies on this experience as he serves as a team leader in the firm’s K-12 division.
Mike Mazzone, LC, LEED AP, is an Associate in addition to being an Electrical Designer for all K-12 projects. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from NC A&T University and over two decades of experience. His design expertise includes power distribution, lighting, lighting controls, new communications along with standard school communications, and life safety design. He coordinates designs with clients, utility companies as well as other departments in the office, and performs surveys of existing facilities for renovation and expansion projects.
Matt Antozzeski is a Mechanical Designer and helps lead many of the multifamily projects in the Raleigh office. Matt holds Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University.
Ksenia Akimova joined Optima Engineering in 2022 as a Plumbing/Fire Protection Designer. Ksenia is located in our Charlotte office and works with our K-12, Multifamily, and Healthcare teams. Ksenia holds a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Moscow University, which provides her with a diverse perspective and knowledge of designs from around the world, making her a unique asset and incredibly valuable to her team and clients.
John Almond joined Optima in 2015 as a Mechanical Designer in our Raleigh office. John has diverse experience with various project types but focuses primarily on our commercial, multifamily, and municipality projects. His focus experience in commercial and multifamily designs provides our clients with accurate and timely plans to meet construction budgets and schedules. John is an alum of NC State with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Ketan Ameta is an Electrical Engineer in the Charlotte office with over four years of experience and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from UNC Charlotte.
Paige Anderson is a Marketing Coordinator who studied at Wake Technical College. Paige originally began her career at Optima as the Office Administrator at the Raleigh office but with her creativity and outgoing personality, she made a seamless transition to the marketing team. Her responsibilities include assisting with events, social media, and general graphic design. She also is an integral part of our proposals and pursuits (RFP & RFQ).
Ashraf is a Senior Electrical Engineer and alum of the City University of New York College of Staten Island with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering. He has over two decades of experience. His expertise lies in Data Center Arc Flash coordination, study, and analysis, with intense hands-on experience in renewable energy and power generation. His responsibilities include review and approval of major electrical equipment, technical specifications and requisitions, plant sequence of operation, monitoring and enforcing project schedules, analyzing NETA Field Acceptance Reports for all electrical components, preparing inspection and testing plans, and coordinating and commissioning of mechanical, electrical, and other systems.
Ben Barrier started with Optima in 2017 as an intern in the Raleigh office. He moved to our Charlotte office after graduating NC State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Ben’s expertise includes HVAC systems, plumbing, and fire protection design in multifamily, healthcare, civic, municipal, and healthcare sectors. His responsibilities include project coordination, client relations, and quality control.
Belinda Beaman joined Optima in 2017 and is the Project Administrator in the Raleigh office. Belinda began her career as the Raleigh Office Administrator and has grown into an integral part of our Project Administration team. Belinda oversees the backend administrative process of projects from fee proposals to project set up to closeout, as well as assists project managers throughout the project lifecycle, collaborates with project teams on contract administration, and with billing and invoicing for the Raleigh office. Belinda holds an Associate’s Degree in Office Administration from Wake Technical Community College.
Mike Callipari, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, joined Optima Engineering in 2007 and is a Mechanical Engineer in the Charlotte office. Mike holds his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of Akron.
Steve Cannon is a Plumbing/Fire Protection Designer in the Charlotte Office with over a decade of experience and is a part of our K-12 team in our Charlotte office. Steve received an Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Central Piedmont Community College.
Evan is a Mechanical & Plumbing Engineer in the Raleigh office with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from NC State with more than 10 years of experience. His experience lies in the design and development of air and water side CV and VAV systems, geothermal, critical environmental, sound sensitive spaces, VRF, dust collection, domestic supply and gravity waste/vent distribution, as well as a number of other systems. Energy analysis modeling, Revit, and AutoCAD document drafting on projects such as K-12, multi-family, commercial retail, and higher education build on his extensive knowledge for both new construction as well as renovation. His expertise in the design of VRF, ground-source, and high-efficiency HVAC equipment is always set with sustainable design in mind.
William Davenport joined Optima Engineering in 2013 and is an Electrical Designer in our Charlotte office. William holds an Associate’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Central Piedmont Community College.
Spencer Dearmin joined Optima in 2020 and is an Electrical Designer. Spencer started in our Raleigh office as an intern and upon graduating quickly illustrated a keen eye for detail and a commitment to quality and excellence, and is now a Project Manager for a number of projects. Spencer primary market sector focus is K-12, commercial core and tenant up-fits, multifamily and sustainable projects and designs. Spencer holds a Bachelor’s in Science in Electrical Engineering from NC State University.
Ron is a Senior Plumbing/Fire Protection Designer and Project Manager, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UNC Charlotte and nearly two decades of experience. Ron is a proud Veteran of the United States Army and member of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers.
Lisa Dunn is the Project Accountant with over two decades of experience and a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from UNC Charlotte.
Suzanne Epps joined Optima in 2021 and is the Director of Marketing & Growth. Suzanne is an accomplished marketing and recruitment professional with a passion for connecting top talent with exceptional opportunities. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Suzanne has developed a deep understanding of both marketing strategies and the intricacies of talent acquisition. Suzanne has a proven track record of driving successful campaigns that generate brand awareness, increase customer engagement, and boost revenue. She excels in crafting compelling marketing messages, developing comprehensive marketing plans, and leveraging digital platforms to reach target audiences effectively. Suzanne’s collaborative and strategic approach to marketing and recruitment has enabled her to build strong relationships with clients, candidates, and colleagues alike.
George Fowler, III, P.E, LEED AP, is a Senior Plumbing/Fire Protection Engineer with nearly three decades of experience and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UNC Charlotte. He has extensive design experience with large solar thermal projects, compressed air, medical gas distribution, natural gas, many other systems.
Jeff is a Senior Mechanical Designer in the Charlotte office with over two decades of experience providing efficient and sustainable mechanical system designs. He has experience on numerous re-roofing, renovation, and mechanical system improvement projects throughout the Carolinas.
Morgan Gunter is an electrical engineer with experience in lighting, control systems, and power distribution using REVIT, AutoCAD, and BIM planning. He has an extensive understanding of various project types, such as new buildings, existing facilities, churches, high rise office buildings, manufacturing facilities, and churches, while continuing to add to his wide range of design abilities. His troubleshooting expertise with knowledge of arc-flash analysis, field surveys, and communications make him a well-versed engineer.
Madeleine Harris is a Plumbing and Fire Protection Designer with proven track record of designing and implementing safe and efficient building systems. Madeleine’s committment to excellence, technical proficiency, and collaborative approach make them a valuable asset to any project team. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from NC State University.
Kathi Hart has served as the Business Manager of Optima Engineering since 2012. She has over two decades of A/E/C industry experience and oversees many of the day-to-day operations including Finance, Accounting, Human Resources and Administrative functions.
Todd Hedrick is an electrical engineer with a widespread understanding of energy-efficient equipment spanning to on-site support for client project development. He has extensive experience in the design and development of various electrical systems, surveying existing systems, calculating building loads, Energy analysis modeling, Revit, and AutoCAD document drafting for many market including commercial, mission critical, educational, healthcare and government facilities. Todd holds his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from West Virigina University.
Tim Hicks joined Optima in 2018 and is a Technology Designer at the Charlotte office. Tim received his Associate’s Degree in Engineering Technology from Central Piedmont Community College.
Matt Hicks joined Optima Engineering in 2005 and is an Electrical Designer in the Raleigh office. Matt received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from NC State University in 2003.
Thomas Hogue is a Mechanical Designer for our K-12 project team in the Charlotte office. Thomas has been with Optima since 2017 and holds an Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Midlands Technical College.
Jordan Holcomb is an Electrical Designer at the Charlotte Office with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Appalachian State University. While his work is diverse, Jordan is focuses on power distribution and design, as well as lighting controls and lighting design. His designs are predominantly used for public and private commercial facilities, higher education, government buildings, and local municipalities.
Ryan is a Plumbing/Fire Protection Designer in the Charlotte office since 2019 and has his Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kettering University.
Justin Kobayashi, P.E., LC, Associate IALD, is a lighting designer who creates transformative environments through the strategic planning of light. Justin’s journey into lighting design began with his love for photography. He credits photography with initiating his appreciation and understanding of light. With a background in electrical engineering study, his blend of creative and technical trainings forms his unique approach to lighting design. Justin received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech.
Ramsey Kurdi joined Optima in 2020 and is an Electrical Designer and Engineer-in-Training in our Charlotte office. Ramsey’s project experience includes electrical designs for commercial, multifamily, and mission critical projects. Ramsey holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from UNC Charlotte.
Drew Landen, P.E., LEED AP O+M is a mechanical engineer with extensive experience in HVAC design, project management, energy modeling, building assessments, commissioning and energy auditing in multiple market sectors. His experience includes working with building owners, contractors, architects, and municipalities. His extensive knowledge of USGBC LEED requirements, International codes, and ASHRAE standards & Procedures for Commercial Energy Audits makes him a vital part of our engineering team.
Brandon Lee is a highly skilled and experienced electrical engineer with a passion for innovation and problem-solving. With a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from West Virginia University and had dedicated his career to designing and developing cutting-edge electrical systems and technologies. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to quality, Brandon ensures that their projects meet the highest standards of performance, reliability, and safety. He is adept at collaborating with multidisciplinary teams, communicating complex technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, and delivering projects within strict deadlines.
Patrick Livesey is Senior Technology Designer with over a decade of experience and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He has extensive knowledge and experience in both REVIT and AutoCAD, as well as a strong background in designing electrical and telecommunications systems for military and commercial buildings. Patrick also excels in fast-paced work environments, simultaneously managing numerous large-scale projects, and collaborating across multiple teams throughout the design process. His excellent communication and time management skills throughout various building phases make him a valuable member of the Technology Design team.
Doug Loesch, CPD, is a highly skilled and experienced Plumbing & Fire Protection Engineer with a passion for designing safe and efficient building systems. With more than 30 years of industry experience, Doug has established a strong reputation for delivering design solutions and ensuring compliance with all relevant codes and standards. Doug has successfully completed numerous projects across various sectors, including educational, commercial, multifamily, and institutional buildings. Doug’s expertise lies in designing and implementing plumbing and fire protection systems that prioritize occupant safety, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness. Doug went to Central Piedmont Community College where he took classes in general engineering.
Tim McElroy, CCP, CEM, LEED AP is a Commissioning Provider and Energy Manager with over three decades of experience. He obtained from the University of Wisconsin-Madison accreditation as a Qualified Commissioning Provider. He specializes in project management, building commissioning, energy modeling, building assessments, energy auditing and financial analysis. He maintains extensive knowledge of ASHRAE Commissioning Standards, International Codes, USGBC LEED requirements and ASHRAE Procedures for Commercial Energy Audits. Tim is a long-term member of ASHRAE, the Building Commissioning Association and the Association of Energy Engineers.
Ron McKay joined Optima in 2016 and is the IT Manager for all three offices throughout North Carolina. He has over seven years of experience and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Baker College.
Helena Mu, P.E., LEED AP, is an Electrical Engineer at the Charlotte office with over four decades of experience and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from UNC Charlotte. Her experience includes designing systems for lighting, power, fire alarm, and telecom data structures. Her lengthy involvement with LEED requirements, short-circuit and coordination studies, Revit design, and applicable codes make her a valuable asset to our engineering team. She has familiarity with both the private and public sector; her versatility includes correctional, high rise, laboratory, commercial, and military, as well as municipal facilities. Her expertise comprises various technical approaches ensuring compliance with standards and meeting specifications that support the clients’ needs. Helena’s capabilities encompass calculations for load, budget, and schedules, while working in coordination with other disciplines.
Mel Neiberline joined Optima Engineering in 2017 and is a BIM Coordinator in our Charlotte office. Mel’s experience lends to our BIM coordination and design teams and holds an Associate’s Degree in Architecture 3D Design Modeling.
Vitalis Okafor is a Mechanical Engineer in the Raleigh office with nearly a decade of experience. He specializes in HVAC, plumbing, and performance-based fire protection systems. Previously, he worked in higher education, aerospace, and aviation market sectors. His diverse experiences give him nuanced perspectives that are a welcome addition to the team. Vitalis holds his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology.
Brian is a Mechanical Designer at the Charlotte office and Engineer-in-Training with over a decade of experience and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Grove City College.
Samantha is a Mechanical Designer at the Charlotte office and has been an integral part of our Higher Education team. Samantha also works closely with Chad Hancock supporting mechanical design efforts for new construction and renovations for commercial, higher education and government projects. Samantha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from UNC Charlotte.
Jeremy is a VDC Manager with over two decades of experience and a certificate in AutoCAD from Florida Community College who leads local use of BIM (Building Image Modeling) and VDC (Virtual Design and Construction). Jeremy’s primary duties are to support multiple design projects and team efforts to implement BIM/VDC for operational efficiency. Additionally, he supports projects in model-based trade coordination, leads project execution planning related to BIM/VDC, and implements BIM adoption within project teams.
Matt Schmidt is a Construction Administrator in the Charlotte office who specializes in Commercial Engineering MEP Design, HVAC, and Plumbing Project Management and Installation. Additionally, he has over three decades of experience in his field and a Plumbing Design Certification from Guilford Technical Community College and an Associate of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology from Cape Fear Community College.
Leslie Scott, CPD, is a Plumbing and Fire Protection Designer at the Charlotte office with over 35 years of experience and an Associate’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from ITT Technical Institute. Additionally, he is Current President of the American Society of Plumbing Engineers Charlotte Chapter .
Kelsey Sheehan is a Mechanical Designer in our Charlotte office. Prior to joining Optima, Kelsey worked in higher education facility management, where she maintained HVAC control systems. Kelsey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Building Sciences from Appalachian State University.
As an Electrical Designer, Shahpor Shiraz has worked primarily on healthcare systems with extensive experience on multifamily projects, assisted living, public facilities, and many other unique projects. His education includes a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Shahpor worked on the first ever hydrogen generator to be connected to a grid in the U.S. via Duke Energy and he has trained multiple employees on electrical design here at Optima.
Michael Skok is a Technology Designer in the Charlotte office with over a decade of experience and an Electronics Technology Certificate from Guilford Technical Community College. He is responsible for designing the physical infrastructure (Layer 1) of the data network. This includes the technology spaces (Telecom Rooms: MDF, IDF, MPOE and white space in Data Centers); racks/cabinets, horizontal/vertical management, grounding, electrical, heating/cooling, UPS, pathway systems, inter-rack cabling, riser backbone cabling and structured cabling systems to the end users or devices. Skill set also includes designing underground maintenance hole/duct systems and backbone fiber/copper communications cable in campus environments. Engineering designs include implementing Best Commercial Practices, Industry Standards such as BICSI/ANSI/EIA/TIA 568, 569, 606, 607, 758, 942.
Shelby Tomassi joined Optima in 2022 and is an Electrical Designer in the Charlotte office. Shelby perviously worked with Duke Energy and is highly skilled in both Revit and AutoCAD and her work speaks to ability to adapt to various contexts. Shelby holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from UNC Charlotte.
Clay Washington is an Electrical Engineer with a passion for innovation and problem-solving. With a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from East Carolina University, Clay has a passtion for designing and developing cutting-edge electrical systems and technologies.
Dubby West joined Optima Engineering in 2021 and is an Electrical Designer and works out of the Charlotte office. Dubby received his Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from UNC Charlotte.
Chuck White is a highly skilled and experienced Plumbing & Fire Protection Designer with a passion for designing safe and efficient building systems. With more than 10 years of industry experience, Chuck has successfully completed numerous projects across various sectors, including commercial, residential, industrial, and institutional buildings. Their expertise lies in designing and implementing plumbing and fire protection systems that prioritize occupant safety, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness. Chuck received his Associates of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from County College of Morris.
Peter is a BIM Manager with over three decades of experience and an Associate’s Degree in Construction Engineering Technology from the State University of New York’s Canton Applied Technology Center. He has extensive experience working in all forms of Revit and AutoCAD assisting production teams. He specializes in Revit family management, Parametric family creation, Revit disciplinary schedule setup and coordination for true Revit Parameter linking, project setup, and providing production services in Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing/Technology.