As principal of Aerial Design, Julie brings over 30 years of business experience to the table. Her early years as the proprietor of both a successful Florida accounting firm and a Professional Employer Organization led her into real estate investing, and she discovered a love for design and construction. She designed and built her own home in Florida, and that ultimately became the catalyst for co-founding her own company in NYC in 1997. Her first company completed multiple projects for the Department of Public Works, as well as high-end commercial and residential.
Aerial Design is one of New York City’s premier design and construction firms, with the distinction of being women owned and operated. Aerial’s main focus is high end residential, commercial and hospitality projects. Julie manages Aerial’s day to day operations, working closely with project managers and handling contracts. Her hands-on approach ensures that Aerial’s clientele is assured of a carefully curated experience. She maintains an active Florida contractor’s license and stays on the cutting edge of developments in her field.
Julie’s most recent passion is as founder and manager of a non-profit international animal welfare organization Let’s be S.M.A.R.T. supporting a rescue shelter in Greece, and organizing educational events for children, coupling animal welfare education with sporting/creative activities. These works have also inspired the development of an animal welfare APP that will connect both locally and globally as well as a new Aerial project featuring pet friendly designs.
Julie is an avid tennis player and fitness enthusiast, and holds a BS in Alternative Medicine. She loves karaoke and creative pursuits. When asked what her Superhero personality might be, she answered with The Defender. Her current favorite work of non-fiction is The Power Principle: Influence With Honor.
For Rupila Sethi, founding Principal of Aerial Design and Build, everything is possible and within reach. She always believed that everything in life is achievable and has proved it – to make it from a small town in India to New York City – she’s aspired, focussed, strived and accomplished! Naturally artistic, she always dreamt of getting into design and bagged admission in one of the prestigious Architecture College in India, VRCE (now VNIT) at Nagpur after which she interned with an award winning Architecture firm Vasant and Revathi Kamat, one of a kind in India. Then she went ahead and got herself a Masters in Lighting and Design from Parsons School of Design, New York.
Before starting Aerial, Rupila had gathered years of experience working with Cooley Monato Studio, a SOHO based Design Studio and was associated with prestigious projects such as Tiffany, HBO, Lesportsac and high-end residences in Kuwait and Santa Barbara, California. She further gained extensive Design and Construction experience working on residential projects in prominent locations such as Trump Towers, Museum Towers, Central Park South and West buildings. Rupila was also invited to be on the team of the first ever “women only” group to ring the NY Stock Exchange Opening Bell.
Rupila is an innovative problem solver, a collaborative manager and an effective communicator and decision maker. Her ’client-centric’ approach to business, attention to detail and excellent team management enables her to complete every project within budget and schedule. Her ability to create a good client relationship is due to her structured approach and forward outlook in addition to her sincere, easy-going and empathetic personality.
As Design/Build Director, Jessica Maktal’s role is to manage residential and commercial projects from conception to completion. She has handled more than 40 interior renovation projects during her tenure at Aerial, including high end residential projects up to $1.2 million and the build-out of the retail flagship for Bulletin in Union Square and of the Waterworks Flatiron showroom.
An architecture and dance major from Barnard College, and graduate of the Master of Architecture program from Spritzer School of Architecture (CCNY), Jessica has more than 15 years of work experience in New York in the fields of design and construction, including significant work experience as an advertising art director at Grey NY and as an architectural designer. She has also worked as a dishwasher at a diner, as a waitress, as an intern in VH1 and at a company that built the infrastructure for what we know now as google maps. She is not afraid to get her hands dirty and clients often remark on her ability to remain calm, balanced and focused, even in stressful situations.
Jessica wishes she could go to school with her two children for fun and enjoys cleaning, organizing closets and rearranging furniture. She counts performing as a dancer at the Joyce theater as one of her life achievement.
Lisa Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture degree from the University of California – Berkeley. After graduating she worked for a mid-sized woman owned architecture firm before returning to New York City. Lisa’s experience in architecture range from programing to final construction administration. Having worked on several ground up projects she is adept at seeing projects as whole while not losing sight of the details. As a LEED accredited professional, Lisa hopes to bring sustainable practices into every project
Kashminder Singh has a Bachelors in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and MS in Management and Technology with a major in Leadership from New York University. Kash has over 20 years experience in the Wireless Telecommunication industry and 15 years as a Lead Project Manager for Nextel, Sprint and Ericsson. His role in Aerial is to develop new and existing business opportunities. Additionally he is also responsible for managing social media communication and public relations. Lastly Kash is an avid soccer fan and his favorite team is Manchester United.
Marly Cruikshank holds a law and accounting degree from Brazil as well as a Management certificate from Cornell University. Marly is an experienced expense managment professional with proven success in providing greater financial transparency and establishing measurable and effective controls resulting in substantial cost savings, process improvements, efficiencies and increased revenue. Marly has 15 years of experience in the financial industry. Marly was born and raised in Brazil and came to the U.S. in 1987 and decided to stay in New York City. She is fluent in Portugese and proficient in speaking and reading Spanish. She enjoys spending time with her family, pets and friends.
Bhumi Shah has 16 years of onsite experience working in various mid-size commercial and residential projects in and around NYC, renovation and expansion of convention centre, design development of courthouse, corporate interiors and furniture design and planning. With such an array of projects in her bag along with her ability to multitask, Bhumi has competently seen through many complex projects for Aerial Design & Build.
Bhumi has a Masters in Architecture from Texas A&M University where she was awarded the Pahlmann Scholarship for excellence in the field of Interior Architecture. She has also worked with various architectural firms to provide them with the zoning and building code compliance services. A LEED Accredited professional, Bhumi has experience in coordinating sustainability issues necessary to achieve USGBC green building rating. She has also worked on schematic design drawings for a heliport project in New Jersey.
A multitasker and knowledgable in all aspects of project management, Bhumi is able to anticipate issues and solve them effectively. Outside of design, Bhumi enjoys photography, art and travelling and one of her photographs was even published in National Geographic. A positive thinker, her mantra in life is to ‘Keep Going’.
Tri Nguyen is an integral part of the Team Aerial where he brings in over 8 years of experience in the construction industry focussing on the architecture side. A Bachelor of Science in Architecture, he is responsible for surveying schematics, design development, construction documents, MEP system layout and interior design. Tri has excellent organizational skills and is able to maintain clear and constant flow of communication with the entire team. He is very hands on with projects from start to finish and has been a part of many major projects like Miller Hall Family Residence, TAVO Restaurant, Rosemary Pizza, etc. He is very good at architectural drawing and is also adept in PROCORE, a project management software.
Enterprising and charismatic, Tri also started a business with his family which he is really proud of. Travel, food, friends and family make him happy and he loves to cook and play handball in his spare time. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright is his hero and Tri truly believes “the only person you try to be better than is the person you were yesterday”.
Marco Valente’s contribution to Team Aerial is his vast experience and specialised knowledge in Hospitality Construction having worked in hospitality industry for more than 10 years. He co-owned and operated an Italian restaurant at the age of 19 after which he went on to study civil engineering followed by MBA with a focus in International Management. Highly motivated and result oriented, Marco has a remarkable ability to work independently or as a part of a team to get a successful project outcome. As an Operations Manager for a Yoghurt & Juice Bar, he monitored every construction phase for compliance with approved plans and supervised on-site personnel and contractors. Similarly, he has worked on numerous residential and commercial projects.
Marco has multiple certifications such as TIPs Food & Beverage handling, NYC Fire Guard, OSHA Construction Safety & Health and Food Protection & Mental Hygiene. As a restaurant owner, he was awarded employer of the year for hiring physically challenged individuals.
Marco maintains an active lifestyle participating in cycling races and triathlons but envisions relaxing on a beach when he retires. He is a talented wood-worker, loves to throw parties and fluent in English, Spanish and Italian. A family man, Marco loves to spend time with his wife and son.
Samara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a Master of Science degree in ‘Communication design’. She is a LEED accredited professional and passionate about sustainable practices in construction. Her work experience in diverse design environments from small architecture firms to bigger urban design offices has helped her complete many projects at Aerial, successfully. Samara’s other passion is textiles and she brings with her the experience of founding, creatively running and growing a small textile’s brand single handedly. In her free time, she loves to watch travel and food documentaries with her family.
Jevaun Chambers brings in just the right expertise into Team Aerial with his proficiency in carpentry and plumbing alongside the day-to-day onsite working of a Project Manager. He started his career working construction for his uncle’s plumbing company and soon got himself a job with NYC Precision where he gained 6 years of experience working on various residential and commercial construction sites. Hardworking, driven and inclined towards designing, Jevaun shifted from construction work and landed a job as a Junior Designer with Marvel Architects where he helped secure major projects due to his creative model designs.
Discovering his love for design and equipped with remarkable construction experience, getting into Architecture was a forgone conclusion. Currently he is pursuing his Undergrad Degree in Architecture at City College, New York.
Jevaun loves nature and spends a lot of his spare time hiking. He has also worked as an outdoor educator and volunteered for Christodora, an NGO, to briefly run their conservation program – The New Youth Conservationist at the NYBG. He dreams of travelling the world to experience different cultures and help those in need.
Pius Danquah’s core competence is construction administration with over 12 years of experience in new construction as well as renovation projects which make him a valuable member of Team Aerial. He holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture and a Master’s Degree in Construction Administration from Columbia University.
Meticulous and solution oriented Pius is accomplished in Construction Management, Contract Administration, Project Documentation, Risk Management, Logistic Planning and Quality Assurance. His 8 years of experience as Project Architect for an architecture firm made him proficient in design development and construction of high end residential, commercial and office buildings.
Pius is organised and customer oriented with excellent technical and communication skills. He feels ‘there is always a solution’ and strives to work towards it. When not working, Pius likes to either read or jog but he is happiest spending time with his family and friends. He also enjoys soccer and tennis.
Kelly holds a Bachelor degree in interior design from Shanghai Institution of Technology, Master of project administration from Columbia University, and Master of global business management from Kedge Business School. She has also obtained American interior design qualification, and Energy Save Design certificate. Kelly has more than 10 years hospitality, commercial and residential interior design experience, and 3 years residential project management experience in Asia and North America. In her spare time she’s enjoying explore new things and having fun with families, her doggy girl and friends.
Shayenna Telles, is OSHA certified professional. She has taken also three classes from NYU – Preconstruction Project Planning, Construction Field Management and Obtaining New York City Building Permits, Approvals and Certificates of Occupancy. Before joining Aerial Shayenna served as a vital member of the Management team at La Paz Community Health Care Center, located in San Antonio, TX. As Administrative Project Manager, she was responsible for the development and implementation of multiple projects designed to enhance the quality of client care. She has outstanding knowledge of computers, and is able to utilize this knowledge to enhance program operations and develop timelines designed to increase productivity.
Shakina Sumi is a junior at York College CUNY working towards her bachelor degree in Psychology. Education has been a great passion for Sumi. While in college, she also enjoys being involved in student government, event planning, leadership, being club president, performing in cultural events and other volunteer activities. She is excited about learning different cultures, history, cuisine and customs. Her fluency in English, Bangla, Hindi and Urdu while learning Spanish and Arabic is a great asset. Sumi’s positive ethics and dedication to her role is crucial to Aerial Design and Build daily operations.
Victoria Telles is currently studying Business and Marketing. She is proud to assist Aerial in their endeavors to grow and be a successful company.
Photo credit: George Chiristanidis
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