In Male-Dominated Building Field, Cindy Feinberg and Partners Built a Top Engineering Firm
Starting a new engineering firm at the beginning of a long recession is no simple feat. JFK&M Consulting Group LLC is a 5-year-old, woman-owned, full-service MEP engineering design firm licensed in 25 states. The majority partner, Cindy Feinberg, is an award-winning professional engineer and LEED-accredited professional who literally grew up in an engineering environment. Her father was a founding principal of a major engineering firm, and his friends and colleagues later became Cindy’s business partners.
Cindy remembers when it all began, saying, “When I was 13, my father said that women shouldn’t be engineers. He did not say that because he thought that women could not be engineers; he just knew the industry and how difficult it was for women engineers to succeed.”
Since opening its doors, JFK&M has had the privilege to be involved in projects of large scale, complexity, critical operations, and in diverse industry segments. The partners of JFK&M — Cindy Feinberg, P.E. LEED AP; Michael Jacob; Edward Feinberg, P.E.; and Jonathan Michaeli, P.E. LEED AP BD+C — credit the opportunity to work on these challenging design projects to the long-term client relationships and in-depth experience that they have developed over the years. “The confidence and trust that our clients have shown in helping us build this business is truly impressive and for which we are extremely grateful,” comments Ed Feinberg.
With a professional staff of 40, JFK&M has already moved into expanded offices and added executive leadership positions to accommodate its growing business. In fact, the firm received Anchin’s 2011 MWBE Building the Future: The Fastest Growing MWBE Award.
Building a business was a new experience for Cindy. “You always have to think 10 steps ahead,” she says. “I was new to the business side of engineering. Critical management functions such as bringing in new business, managing cash flow and collections, and motivating the right talent have created a new to-do list for me, but one that I now thrive on.”
According to partner Michael Jacob, decision making is another essential management role. “We make decisions based on our collective experience, blending traditional MEP solutions and cutting-edge approaches and technologies to create a unique advantage for our clients.”
Capitalizing on its Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) status, JFK&M has pursued and won a number of term contracts with city, state and federal agencies, all of which require LEED certifications for projects. A strong leader in sustainable design, JFK&M is a member of the United States Green Building Council and a supporting member of Labs21. Jonathan Michaeli, LEED AP BD+C, oversees the sustainability efforts for the firm. He notes, “The firm has completed, or is working on, Silver, Gold and Platinum LEED projects, and we received an Award for Excellence in Engineering Design from the American Council of Engineering Companies for a full-scale sustainably designed infrastructure upgrade of the Foundation Building at Cooper Union.”
Other notable projects at the firm include: a major MEP infrastructure upgrade for CUNY Baruch College, a comprehensive condition assessment and renovations for NYU Polytechnic Institute, a 300,000-square-foot corporate restack for Mizuho Corporate Bank, Ltd., property renovations for the New York Foundling Hospital, an award-winning historic preservation project in the Morgan Library and Museum McKim Building, a regional contract for a leading national insurance company, extensive building upgrades for CBRE Investments and Property Management groups, and a new Women’s Healthcare Services Pavilion at Elmhurst Hospital Center.
The firm has also recently received the engineering design commission for a new 16-story ambulatory surgery building for a major New York healthcare institution.
Cindy acknowledges that the WBE designation is helpful – it’s an added value for clients – but the primary goal is to be a good engineering firm. “People know us, people know the work that we’ve done in the past, they know what we’re capable of,” she says. “They know that we will work collaboratively with them to achieve an efficient, innovative and quality design.”
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