Brenda McCabe

Professor Brenda McCabe, P.Eng.

Dr. Brenda McCabe is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at University of Toronto, Canada. Her area of research is construction management as it relates to safety, mega-projects, and automated data collection. She has graduated 30 Masters and PhD students with several more nearing completions. With over 65 journal and conference papers published to date, she continues to share research with her peers and the construction industry. As an instructor, she currently teaches construction management to second-year undergraduate civil engineering students, survey camp, and a graduate course in computer modelling techniques. She served in various leadership roles in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, including Associate Chair Undergraduate, Vice Dean Graduate, Chair of Civil Engineering, and most recently, Acting Dean.


Associate Director

Arash Shahi

Arash Shahi, Ph.D., P.Eng., PMP

Arash Shahi is the Associate Director of Building Tall Research Centre and a post-doctoral fellow in Civil Engineering Department at University of Toronto, working with Professor Brenda McCabe. He is a registered professional civil engineer (P.Eng.), and a registered Project Manager Professional (PMP), with years of experience in managing research and construction projects in Canada. Arash acts as a liaison between our partners from the construction industry and our research team at the university. He is also responsible for managing the research projects at Building Tall Research Centre.



Board of Advisors


Richard Lyall

RESCON – President

Richard Lyall has represented the residential building industry in Ontario since 1991 in his capacity as the President of RESCON, the President of the Metropolitan Toronto Apartment Builders Association (MTABA) and as the Executive Director of the Toronto Residential Construction Labour Bureau. RESCON represents the majority of the constructors of new buildings in Ontario, and having Richard as the sponsor and the industry partner of this research brings many years of experience to the program. Richard also sits on a number of related advisory boards such as the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development and the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario.

Paul De Berardis, M.Eng., P.Eng.

RESCON – Director of Building Science & Innovation

Paul De Berardis, the director of building science and innovation at RESCON, has a diverse technical background, including experience in forensic engineering, building science and asset management. His widespread yet complementary practical engineering knowledge has enabled him to tackle all types of building projects, ranging from ground related to high rise applications. Paul’s involvement is pivotal to the research activities of the centre as he brings many years of applied technical building experience to the team.



Sam Tassone, P.Eng.

The Daniels Corporation – Vice President

Since 1989, Sam Tassone has played an integral role in the construction of all of Daniels’ high rise buildings, from design and contracting to construction and after-sales service. He has overseen the construction of a vast number of signature towers, including the NY Towers at Bayview and Hwy. 401, Festival Tower and the TIFF Bell Lightbox, home of the Toronto International Film Festival in downtown Toronto, the City Centre West community adjacent to Mississauga City Hall, and the Regent Park Revitalization in Toronto’s downtown east.


Joe Francavilla

Menkes – Senior Vice President, Highrise Residential

Joe Francavilla, a graduate of the University of Waterloo, School of Urban and Regional Planning, joined Menkes in March of 1988. He brought to the Company his experience in residential construction and project management through his past employment with other area builders through field and head office positions. Through the years at Menkes, Joe has been an integral part of the residential high-rise division. In his current capacity, Joe is responsible for overseeing the development, design and construction for all Menkes residential and mixed-use projects. Joe has been involved in the development and construction of over 10,000 residential units with Menkes over the past 27 years. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Toronto Apartment Builders Association and a Director of the Residential Construction Association of Central Ontario.


Bruno Giancola

TRIDEL – Vice President of Construction Management

Bruno Giancola has over 27 years of experience in managing Residential and Commercial construction communities including Marketing, Construction and quantitative Surveying activities (including LEED buildings) in the Greater Toronto Area for the Tridel Group of Companies. Bruno’s responsibilities range from overseeing the project due-diligence prior to land purchase, presales, planning and development of multiple use highrise projects, including contract awarding, budgeting, tendering, site management and staffing. With 28 years of experience, Bruno has advanced in successive positions of leadership and responsibility starting as a Project Coordinator/Project Manager to his current position of leading his team as Vice President of Project Management

Mehran Heydari

Qoo Studio – President

Mehran Heydari has a Master’s degree in Architecture with over 25 years of experience in the fields of architecture and construction in both residential and commercial projects. Always looking to advance on the boundaries of what is possible, Mehran launched Qoo Studio, a digital 3D visualization studio capable of producing limitless interactive opportunities for virtual environments. Using the technology created with Qoo Studio, the realms of architecture and virtual reality can be linked, allowing for the creation of game environments where individuals of all backgrounds can experience the creations with unprecedented realism. With his leadership and expertise, Mehran is looking to further evolve the opportunities provided by 3D visualizations through research and innovation.