Women Builders Council honors Four Columbia affiliates with Outstanding Women Award

The Women Builders Council, an organization representing and advocating for women in the construction industry, honored four Columbia-affiliated women with an Outstanding Woman Award at its 11th annual WBC Champion Awards dinner held March 12, 2015, at Gotham Hall in Midtown.

Columbia's 2105 Women Builders Council award winners with Executive Vice President Joe Ienuso (l to r): Ruth Shragowitz, Ienuso, Debra Romain, and Fanny Gong. (not pictured: Michelle Cooper)

Honored at this year’s event were:

  • Fanny Gong, Assistant Vice President, Design Management, Manhattanville Development Group, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
  • Ruth Shragowitz, Director of Project Management, Capital Project Management and Planning, Columbia University Facilities and Operations
  • Debra Romain, Principal, Deb Romain Consulting LLC and graduate of Columbia’s Minority, Women and Local Business Enterprise (MWLBE) Construction Trades Mentorship Program
  • Michelle Cooper, Project Manager at Columbia University Medical Center

The Women Builders Council Awards honor outstanding woman builders and helps to grow the next generation of women builders and increase the number of women and minorities at the executive level. Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor, New York State, was among the featured speakers at the event.

More about the Columbia affiliated honorees:

Fanny Gong, Assistant Vice President, Design Management, Manhattanville Development Group, Columbia University Facilities and Operations

Fanny T. Gong is the assistant vice president of design management for Columbia's Manhattanville in West Harlem campus expansion. She manages the team of world-renowned architectural and engineering firms, and oversees the design of the new buildings. Fanny has an extensive and global career. While serving as corporate architect for Citicorp for almost 10 years, her architectural design and technical expertise reached beyond the United States to marquee projects in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. Fanny earned her bachelor of architecture degree from City College of the City University of New York and a master of business administration from Columbia Business School.

Ruth Shragowitz, Director of Project Management, Capital Project Management and Planning, Columbia University Facilities and Operations

Ruth Shragowitz oversees project managers on several University projects. Prior to that role, Ruth spent 19 years as a project director managing many of the University’s large-scale projects such as the construction of the Campbell Sports Center, a center designed by Steven Holl Architects and which won seven awards including the Municipal Art Society's 2013 Masterworks Award for Best New Building. Ruth has 30 years of experience in the construction industry. She has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was an Eloranta Summer Fellow, and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California Berkeley receiving a Distinguished Teaching Assistant Citation. She is a licensed architect, a LEED accredited professional and a licensed New York State Real Estate Broker.

Debra Romain, Principal, Deb Romain Consulting LLC and graduate of Columbia’s Minority, Women and Local Business Enterprise (MWLBE) Construction Trades Mentorship Program

As the sole owner of Deb Romain Consulting LLC, Deborah Romain creates interior and exterior wayfinding systems and solutions, enhancing the user experience as people find their way through a facility. She has over 15 years’ experience consulting and managing major sign and interactive touch screen projects for clients including Columbia University, Bernard M. Baruch College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Hudson Valley Hospital Center and JPMorgan Chase. She holds a Bachelors of Business from City University of New York-Baruch College. She has completed programs at Columbia University's School of Continuing Education / NYC Department of Small Business Certificate, MWL Construction Certificate / Mentorship Program and The Eugene M. Lang Entrepreneurship Center’s Community Business Certificate Program.

Michelle Cooper, Project Manager at Columbia University Medical Center

As a project manager with the Capital Project Management team at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), Michelle Cooper manages planning and implementation efforts for major capital programs such as CUMC’s Revitalization Initiative, including new educational facilities for the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the School of Nursing and the expansion of Columbia Doctors throughout the metropolitan area. Priort to joining Columbia University, Cooper was a vice president at Bank of America within the Corporate Workplace retail division. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Science in Facilities Management from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Construction Administration from Columbia University. She serves as a board member for CREWNY and Rebuilding Together NY.