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Four LaBellans Honored at RBJ’s 2023 Leaders in Construction & Real Estate Awards Ceremony!

Congratulations to all the winners!


On October 23rd, the Rochester Business Journal hosted its prestigious 2023 Leaders in Construction & Real Estate Awards ceremony. This event celebrates individuals and companies who have left an indelible mark on the ever-evolving landscape of the Rochester region. Through their exceptional contributions in areas such as design, construction, project management, lending, and innovation, the award recipients have catalyzed positive change in the Rochester community,

LaBella is honored to have the following team members among those being recognized for their significant impact on the Rochester region:

  • Michael Place, AIA – Architects Category Winner
  • Anne Weis, CID – Interior Design/Staging Category Winner
  • Bob Steehler, PE – Engineers Category Winner
  • Jon Heerkens – Project Manager Category Winner

LaBella is proud to acknowledge Michael, Anne, Bob, and Jon for their continued dedication to their projects and the profound positive influence they have had on the communities of the Rochester region where they live and work.

Congratulations to all the winners! A full list of the 2023 RBJ Leaders in Construction & Real Estate honorees can be found here.

More information about each LaBellan that won an award can be found below. Please scroll down to learn more about each.


Architects Category Winner

Michael Place, AIA

As a Project Architect at LaBella Associates, Michael designs safe, inspiring, and functional learning environments for Rochester’s K-12 and higher education students. He manages project teams of 10-15 professionals plus subconsultants, collaborates with clients, establishes and upholds budgets and schedules, presents at public board meetings and community engagement events and, of course, designs.

Michael designs with a focus on enhancing the learning opportunities for students of all ages in the Rochester community. For example, he was the Architect of Record on RIT’s new Intelligent Cybersecurity Institute (ICI), a state-of-the-art facility leading in cybersecurity education, research, outreach, and training.

Additionally, Michael led large-scale renovations and an addition at the Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES campus in Spencerport. Multiple vocational program labs and classrooms at the high school level saw significant upgrades, expanding the district’s ability to serve students with special needs, including those with medically fragile conditions. District staff were equally as benefitted with an improved work environment.

Interior Design/Staging Category Winner

Anne Weis, CID

As an integral part of LaBella’s Interior Design Studio, Anne specializes in designing municipal, healthcare, senior living, and K-12 and higher education environments. She is known for her keen attention to detail and her dedication to crafting interiors that are ecologically and socially responsible. Anne’s designs are renowned for their uniqueness and ability to emphasize the goals and character of her clients’ organizations.

Anne’s notable work around the Rochester area includes public safety buildings, police headquarters, hospitals, senior living facilities, YMCAs, and K-12 schools – buildings designed to protect, serve, heal, and help shape the community.

Among the projects Anne is most proud of are the Dutchess County Justice and Transition Center (Poughkeepsie, NY), a facility that provides critical space for evidence-based programming designed to help inmates address behavioral and criminogenic issues; and the Schoharie County Jail and Public Safety Building, a 70-cell, direct supervision facility constructed to replace the County’s former jail and public safety building that sustained devastating flood damage during Hurricane Irene.

Engineers Category Winner

Bob Steehler, PE

As the leader of the Land Development design group at LaBella, Bob has demonstrated unparalleled expertise and dedication in managing a team of six direct reports and overseeing more than 70 engineers across multiple offices in the Northeast and along the East Coast. His ability to inspire and guide his team to achieve excellence is a testament to his exceptional leadership skills.

Bob’s impressive portfolio includes serving as the Project Manager on the recently completed Neighborhood of Play, a $100 million neighborhood development project that features a 90,000-square-foot expansion of the Strong Museum of Play. The Neighborhood of Play will bring in 1,000,000 visitors annually to Rochester.

Currently, Bob is leading the civil engineering efforts for the highly anticipated new Buffalo Bills stadium in Orchard Park, NY. His involvement in such a high-profile project highlights his exceptional capabilities and demonstrates his ability to manage complex and large-scale undertakings effectively.

Project Manager Category Winner

Jon Heerkens

As a Project Manager and Site Superintendent in LaBella’s Environmental Construction Department, Jon leads successful remediation projects associated with soil and water contamination for residential, commercial, industrial, and government clients throughout the greater Rochester area.

For example, Jon serves as Site Superintendent at the former Geneva Foundry site, a NYSDEC State Superfund site in Geneva. Over the last six years, Jon has been overseeing remedial actions at over 190 properties impacted by lead and arsenic resulting from aerial fallout from the former adjacent foundry.

On this extensive project, Jon supervises all fieldwork, including coordination with design engineers, scheduling, sequencing and supervision of work, site safety, coordination of subcontractors, and liaison with municipal and state agencies. This project helps protect the health of Rochester community members while meeting the client’s objectives and achieving regulatory compliance.