SEATTLE, December 14, 2023 — Over 343,000 construction workers nationwide have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease and Mark Howell, senior vice president, Skanska USA Building Inc. is working hand-in-hand with the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, and local leaders to improve the health and well-being of the trade. Howell will serve as chairperson for the 2024 Puget Sound Hard Hats with Heart campaign, an industry specific initiative designed to address heart disease and stroke risk factors in the construction workforce. 

“Leading Hard Hats with Heart is important to me because the construction industry is one big, interconnected family and we have a chance to do something very impactful to ensure the health and wellbeing of all of our people,” said Howell. “At Skanska, we have focused on increasing employee awareness of the importance of knowing your blood pressure numbers and addressing high blood pressure if discovered. I look forward to continuing to build on the success of Hard Hats leaders who have come before me and continue to find ways to integrate prevention solutions for our industry.” 

The executive leadership team and supporting organizations will raise funds for the American Heart Association while leading action-oriented conversations about employee health and corporate engagement. Executives joining Howell in 2024 include:

Joe Berger, account executive, Cochran Inc.

Ruben Canas, vice president of healthcare construction, MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions

Marjorie S. Chang Fuller, business development manager, Hoffman Construction Company

Hisham Elkhawad, regional director of project management, Providence Swedish

John Elswick, division director, PNW planning design and construction, CommonSpirit Health

Jeret Garcia, president and chief executive officer, Valley Electric

Jenae Goldfinch, director of shell + core, Goldfinch Brothers, Inc.

Mark Jonson, executive vice president and general manager of construction, McKinstry

Ken MacDonald, president, Kenco Construction Inc.

Bryan Maggio, director of market strategy, Mortenson

Karl Pihl, managing principal and chief executive officer, EBD Services

John Schuh, vice president, Aldrich and Associates

Troy Stedman, president and chief executive officer, Abbott Construction

Todd Stine, partner, ZGF

Robert Taaffe, director of construction and employee safety, Sound Transit

Jeff Tomlinson, executive sales director, Prime Electric

Brad Velasco, director of preconstruction, VECA Electric & Technologies

Nick Vovakes, vice president and division manager, Swinerton 

“We are incredibly grateful for this group of passionate individuals who are dedicated to the health and wellbeing of the construction industry,” said Whitney Meidl, executive director, American Heart Association, Puget Sound. “Through their work, lives will be saved. We can’t wait to celebrate their impact in 2024 as part of the American Heart Association’s Centennial year.”

The Hard Hats with Heart accomplishments will be celebrated at an annual event scheduled for May 16, 2024 at The Shop in Seattle. For sponsorship information or to join the leadership team, contact For more information about Hard Hats with Heart in the Puget Sound, visit




About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. Find the local office via or on FacebookX or Instagram.  


For Media Inquiries:

Valerie Koch:

Francesca Minas:

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and