GRAEF Announces Newly Elected Principals and Associates

GRAEF is proud to announce the recent election of two new Principals and six new Associates.

Each year, GRAEF selects an elite group of individuals within our firm to be named the newest collective of Principals and Associates. These individuals bring a remarkable skill set and a wealth of experience and expertise to our teams, projects, and clients. We proudly announce our 2024 class.

Newly Elected Principals

2024 Principals

Shawna Kratsch-Zepeda, Market Area Leader - Minnesota, Senior Structural Engineer

With nearly thirty years of expertise in structural engineering, Shawna stands as a trailblazer in the AEC industry. As a seasoned professional, she has garnered extensive experience in managing complex projects in healthcare, higher-ed, industrial, and commercial markets.

Leveraging her wealth of experience to forge strategic partnerships and drive growth opportunities, Shawna also serves as the Market Area Leader in GRAEF’s Minnesota region. Her passion lies in meeting with clients, understanding their vision, and collaborating to turn their ideas into reality.

With her unparalleled dedication and visionary leadership, Shawna thrives on the challenge of finding creative solutions to complex projects and continues to shape the landscape of structural engineering, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

Travis DuFour, Practice Team Leader - Structural Design

With more than a decade of experience, Travis is a seasoned structural engineer with a passion for managing complex projects. Travis thrives in multidisciplinary environments, cultivating partnerships with clients and design partners that span numerous projects. From inception to completion, he enjoys the transformation of original concepts into tangible structures.

One of Travis' most unique projects was the State Capitol Dome Repairs, a building that holds such significance for the state of Wisconsin. Travis' unique perspective extends beyond construction to long-term project outcomes, emphasizing the importance of forward-thinking design decisions that shape a building's future impact. His career is defined by a commitment to excellence and a genuine love for the entire lifecycle of engineering projects.

Newly Elected Associates

2024 Associates

Jessica Culver, Mechanical Engineer

Jessica sets the standard for excellence in conducting meticulous condition assessments and crafting innovative designs for mechanical, plumbing, and fire protection systems across diverse industries nationwide. With a passion for tackling a wide array of projects, she finds fulfillment in the variety of challenges presented by her work, from large industrial facilities to zoo exhibits and everything in between. With a distinguished track record of success and a relentless commitment to pushing the boundaries of engineering, Jessica’s leadership shines through in her involvement in notable projects like Komatsu South Harbor Campus and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's new state-of-the-art concert hall.


Justyce Dixon, Corporate Marketing and Communications Leader

Justyce spearheads all aspects of public relations and communications for GRAEF on a national scale, setting the marketing and communications strategy across the firm. Her strategic vision and innovative approach have played a pivotal role in enhancing the firm's reputation and market presence across various platforms. Her collaborative leadership style fosters cross-functional synergy, driving cohesive messaging and brand consistency throughout the organization. Additionally, she oversees the marketing team, leveraging their expertise to bring in new business to the firm.


Dan Komorowski, Structural Engineer

Dan is a distinguished structural engineer with a specialized focus on parking facility design and restoration. With over a decade of experience, he has worked on projects across the country, showcasing his expertise on a national scale. He thrives on collaborating with internal and external design teams to devise innovative solutions, finding fulfillment in seeing projects through to substantial completion. Dan's dedication to problem-solving and his passion for creating enduring structures make him an invaluable asset to the industry.


Jessica Mercier, HR Business Partner/Talent Acquisition

With over 20 years of experience and recognition as a human resource expert in the industry, Jessica is dedicated to leading GRAEF's corporate recruiting and talent acquisition efforts, ensuring the firm attracts top-tier professionals nationwide. From candidate sourcing to onboarding, she takes pride in sharing the firm's narrative with potential candidates. Jessica's work not only brings the right people into GRAEF but also helps ensure that the firm maintains its strong culture. Embracing GRAEF's technical excellence and collaborative culture, Jessica fosters an environment where employees thrive, driven by their passion for their work.


Turner M. Papendieck, Structural Engineer

As a structural engineer, Turner is dedicated to creating safe and efficient structures that cater to the needs of users and owners alike. With a portfolio that includes work on well-known and loved theming projects, he thrives on the opportunity to bring imagination to life while ensuring structural integrity. Turner’s commitment to innovation and creativity ensures that each project he undertakes not only meets but exceeds expectations, leaving a lasting impact on those who experience his designs.


Bob Steuck, Senior Transportation Engineer

As a senior transportation engineer, Bob excels as a Project Manager for State and Municipal Transportation Projects, guiding the execution of simple to complex projects for the past 19 years. In a field where collaboration is critical, Bob appreciates the opportunity to engage with a diverse array of skilled professionals and visionary leaders, enriching his expertise in a field where he can significantly enhance the safety and well-being of communities. Bob's dedication and expertise shine through as he navigates the intricate landscape of transportation engineering, consistently striving to innovate and optimize accessibility for all.