Our People


Brian L. Cates, P.E.


Brian Cates is the founder and president of CATES ENGINEERING, LTD. He has a diverse background of design and construction experience that enables him to obtain a proper perspective for each project. Mr. Cates' design philosophy allows the firm to be innovative while providing designs that are both economical and up to date with current construction techniques.

Mr. Cates strongly believes the role of the consulting engineer is to give the most efficient structural system possible for each project while allowing freedom for the architect. This approach leads to a positive work environment between the architect and engineer and assures that the design intent will not be compromised.

Mr. Cates is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a major in structures. He was enrolled in the Cooperative Education Program with VPI and employed by a large Architectural/Engineering firm located in McLean, VA. After obtaining his engineering degree, Mr. Cates returned as a structural engineer with the same A/E firm where he was involved primarily in the design of large commercial and institutional buildings. During this time he was able to obtain a great variety of design experiences and became a project manager before leaving to work for a structural consulting firm. His role at the consulting firm as a project engineer and manager enabled him to see each job through concept to completion. Mr. Cates was responsible for numerous commercial, industrial, institutional and residential projects and was exposed to all types of building systems and materials. He also performed field investigations, completed renovation projects and provided expert witness testimony for litigation purposes. Recognizing a market for innovative and high quality engineering services, he established CATES DESIGN in 1988 and CATES ENGINEERING, LTD. in 1997.

Mr. Cates is currently president of Cates Engineering Ltd. and oversees the day to day operations of the firm. He is involved directly with the conceptual design and working drawings for each project and is able to maintain a high level of unification over the design team. He has considerable experience with computer-aided design and finite element applications. Mr. Cates has also provided construction review services in many new jobs and renovation projects. He is familiar with government procedures and requirements for design professionals and currently maintains a security clearance with a branch of the Federal Government.

Mr. Cates is licensed as a professional engineer in the states of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia and Washington, DC. He is a member of SEA/CASE?MW, SERMC, BOCA, AISC, AWC and ACI.


Abraham Getachew, PhD, P.E.

Senior Structural Engineer

Prior to joining Cates Engineering in November 2013 as a Senior Structural Engineer, Abraham worked for nine years extensively with structural analysis and design of numerous conventionally reinforced and/or post-tensioned commercial and residential high rise building complexes as well as parking garages. He had also been providing provided technical and theoretical assistance to the engineers and contractors with project designs involving post tensioning systems where he earned an excellent reputation for being reliable and providing excellent services.

As a Senior Structural Engineer at Cates, Abraham works closely with the team on many projects, providing engineering advice and assistance in the designing and detailing of concrete structures to ensure Cates high-quality design is evident on each project completed. In addition, he is responsible for managing his own projects involving a wide range of construction materials including concrete, wood, steel, and cold-form steel as well as masonry.

Abraham is a dedicated, enthusiastic, hard worker and is proud to be a member of the Cates Engineering team. He was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and studied his higher education in Stockholm Sweden.

Abraham is a member of the Post-Tensioning Institute (PTI) and the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Washington Chapter. He earned his Degree of Master of Science and Ph.D. in Structural Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.


Nicasio G. Medina Jr., P.E.

Senior Engineer

Nick Medina, a registered civil engineer, has been in the civil-structural engineering field for more than 20 years. He finished his bachelor of science in Civil Engineering at the University of the Philippines, passed the board exam, and took units leading to a master’s degree in civil engineering major in structures. He joined Cates Engineering in 2001, after a fruitful career with some of the most established A/E firms in the Philippines and the Pacific Islands.

He passed the professional engineering exam in 2004 and is now a licensed engineer in Virginia. He did structural design of different types of structures i.e. commercial, residential, industrial, institutional, environmental and special, using various materials such as concrete ( precast, cast in place and prestressed ), steel, timber, masonry and light gage steel. He is proficient in a variety of structural softwares such as RAM Concept, ADAPT, ETABS, STAAD, ENERCALC, RISA 3D and MathCAD. Presently he shares this knowledge and expertise to the design engineers of the company.

Immediately before joining Cates, he was the chief structural engineer and vice-president for operations at ESCA, a well-established structural engineering consulting firm. He supervised the works of design engineers and the production of drawings for their completeness, accuracy and acceptability to the industry standards. Having previously worked with other multi-discipline and A/E firms, he had full grasp of the intricacies of the trade, from design development stage to the construction development stage.

He also worked with a US A/E firm with head office in Hawaii, establishing its office and becoming its branch manager for the Philippines. For seven years, he handled the structural design and production of drawings for their projects in Hawaii, Guam, Republic of Palau, Saipan, and the Marshall Islands. Their projects consisted of hotels, schools, bridges, office buildings, warehouses, residences, and airports. He is thus well versed with the US standards and building codes such as UBC, ACI, AISC and AISI.

Mr. Medina’s technical expertise stems from his several years of experience in various firms. He had done value engineering works, building strength assessment, feasibility studies, project management and construction supervision. He also had designed structures using post-tensioned beams, girders and flat plates and overseeing its implementation until its completion. He is also familiar with the US military standards, having done several US military facilities projects in Subic Naval Base, Clark Air Base and Wallace Air Base.

He also personally designed buildings from high rise to low rise which are state of the art edifices which became landmark in the area. Among these are the 44 story high One McKinley Place concrete building in Fort Bonifacio Global City, the 3 story braced steel frame National Science Center building, the Robinson’s Mall and Hotel Complex in Iloilo, and the Ayala Greenbelt commercial complex in Makati City.


Johnathan "John" Griffith, P.E.

Director of Engineering

John Griffith has been with Cates Engineering since he graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in May 2007. During his years at Virginia Tech he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering with a structural focus. His studies focused on the structural design of buildings using concrete, steel, and wood. John also studied land development and many aspects of Geotechnical and Civil Engineering.

At Virginia Tech, John was a member of the Steel Bridge team, and an active member of American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). Additionally he played intramural sports including softball, flag football, and basketball.

Currently, John is a Senior Project Manager with responsibilities in design, construction administration, supervision of project and design engineers, training, planning and resource delegation, and proposal writing . John’s experience embraces multiple project types including multi-family residential, commercial, and mixed-use properties. He has designed buildings using various structural systems which include: concrete, masonry, steel, and wood. To gain a deeper knowledge base in his field, John has participated in numerous seminars focusing on design methods and products. He also attended Autodesk University in 2007 and 2013 to further his understanding of the Autodesk BIM product Revit. He is now a member of the local Revit user group where he both teaches and continues to learn. His initiative with this product has rapidly brought this company to the front of the line in Revit design. John is a goal oriented individual with a desire to master the most recent software and analysis tools allowing him to design and analyze structure to the optimum level. He continues to be a strong asset to Cates Engineering.

In addition to his responsibilities as a Project Manager , John also maintains the day to day IT operations for the company and is responsible for all of the in-office technology (hardware and software).

John received his EIT certification in 2007 and his PE license in 2013. He is currently licensed in VA, NJ, NY, and PA, with the intent of acquiring licenses in our common practicing states.

John enjoys spending his spare time with his two daughters and wife. He enjoys wood working and is always working on a project around the house.


Chris Schutze

Senior Project Manager

Chris Schutze has been with Cates Engineering since February of 1996. He is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a BS degree in Engineering Technology, and also holds an Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology, and a specialization in Architectural Drafting & Design. While earning these degrees, Chris had the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in almost every aspect of the engineering, architectural & construction industry.

These opportunities arose while working with the Engineering Department of Farm Fresh, Inc. during the construction and renovation of several stores and also while working as a Draftsman and Engineer with an architectural firm in Norfolk, Virginia. His degree and work experience have allowed him the knowledge and skills to design projects that are economical, up to date with current construction techniques and coordinated with the many aspects and various trades involved in designing a project.

Chris Schutze and Brian Cates (Principal), have been acquaintances since the early 90's and after graduating in 1995, Chris was invited to join the company as a design engineer. At Cates, Chris has had the opportunity to prove his abilities as an engineer and to obtain a great variety of design experience. Within the first year Chris was promoted to Project Engineer/Manager and was responsible for the design and coordination of numerous residential, commercial, industrial and institutional projects and was exposed to all types of building systems and materials. Today, with his experience and proven abilities, Chris is now a Senior Engineer, with responsibilities that include designing and coordinating several projects in addition to overseeing projects and tasks delegated to junior engineers and drafters.


Adam Kaczmarek, E.I.T.

Project Manager

Adam Kaczmarek has been with Cates Engineering since July 2011. He graduated with a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering with a focus in structural systems from The Pennsylvania State University in May 2011. His studies focused on the structural design of buildings that successfully integrate structure, environmental systems, and architecture.

He has a strong background in statics, dynamics, materials, design, and analysis techniques. Additional courses included geotechnical and foundation engineering, surveying, residential and wood design, and advanced concrete and steel design.

In the summer of 2010, Adam had a structural engineering internship with Atlantic Engineering Services, a structural consulting firm located in Pittsburgh, PA. While there, he gained valuable experience assisting senior structural engineers in the design of minor structural features of building projects. In the summer of 2009, Adam participated in Sede di Roma, Penn State’s study abroad program in Rome, Italy. This 12-credit, 7 week program was an intense academic, cultural, and maturing experience which allowed him to gain an Architectural Studies Minor.

Currently, Adam is a Project Manager with experience in management and design of numerous projects from initial proposal through the completion of the project. He has experience with an array of projects including mid-rise concrete and steel structures, multi-family residential, mixed-use, clubhouses and custom homes. Adam has a strong familiarity with a wide range of construction types including wood, concrete, steel and masonry. He is a team player with demonstrated ability to quickly understand and adapt to job requirements and changing technology. His talent for working together as a team and as an individual, organizational skills, and problem solving techniques are some of his notable attributes. He continues to further his knowledge of current design methods, technology and products by attending numerous seminars and/or group sessions.

In addition to his academics at Penn State, Adam was a member of the Penn State Division 2 Hockey team where he assisted the team to reach National Tournaments as well as demonstrated his work ethic, leadership, and time management. Currently, he remains actively involved in multiple adult hockey leagues in the DC area. Mr. Adam received his EIT certification in April 2011 and continues to gain practical experience and work towards his licensure as a PE.


Matthew Pocius, P.E.

Project Manager

Matthew Pocius joined Cates Engineering in July 2011. He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in May 2011 with a Master of Architectural Engineering degree with a structural engineering concentration.

Matt is currently a Project Manager with Cates Engineering. His responsibilities include design and review of all project structural systems, coordination with various other design disciplines, submittal review, and general construction administration. Matt is one of several engineers in the office that performs construction observation visits for his projects, allowing him to better understand the building process from the contractor’s perspective in order to constantly improve his and Cates’ approach to design and detailing.

Matt received his EIT certification in 2011 and PE license in 2015. He is currently licensed in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Matt lives in Warrenton with his wife, Lisa. In his free time he enjoys working around his house and playing guitar.

Matthew Hoerner, E.I.T.

Project Engineer

Matt Hoerner joined Cates Engineering in July 2013. He graduated from Virginia Tech in May 2013 with a Bachelors Degree of Science in Civil Engineering with a structural focus. His studies focused on structural design of concrete and steel buildings. In addition to structural courses, Matt also took courses in geotechnical engineering, land development, and construction management.

In the summer months during college, Matt interned at Engineering Solutions, a structural engineering firm located in Harrisonburg, VA. While there, Matt worked on residential and small commercial projects, gaining experience with both structural design and drafting.

Matt is currently a project engineer with responsibilities that include design and construction administration of several projects. He has been heavily involved in the development of lateral design procedures and details for the company. In the short time Matt has been at Cates Engineering he has worked on projects including multi-family residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects. To keep himself and the company at the leading edge of technology, Matt has attended seminars for the most recent software and analysis programs.

Matt received his EIT certification in May 2013 and plans on pursuing his PE license.

An avid runner, Matt has run the Boston Marathon three times. He has run several other marathons, half marathons and other races. He enjoys running with his dad and brother, both avid runners as well. Matt co-organized the company’s first team Tough Mudder, and plans to engage his office mates in more in the future.


Seth Moyer, E.I.T.

Project Engineer

Seth Moyer joined Cates Engineering in June 2013. He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University in May 2013, earning both a Bachelor and Master of Architectural Engineering degree. At Penn State, his studies focused primarily on engineering analysis and design of structural building systems, but also included rigorous coursework in electrical, lighting, mechanical, construction management and acoustics. Seth received his EIT certification in May 2013.

Seth is currently a Project Engineer with responsibilities that include structural analysis and design, coordination and preparation of construction documents, construction administration, project management and planning. His design experience includes working with structural systems in wood, concrete, steel and masonry as well as a variety of project types, including multi-family residential, mixed-use and commercial. He looks forward to the continuing opportunity to gain valuable practical experience that will help to advance his career towards becoming a licensed professional engineer.


Jan Dokonal, E.I.T.

Design Engineer

Jan Dokonal joined Cates Engineering in July 2016 after graduating with a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University at Buffalo (UB). Jan serves as a Structural Design Engineer where his responsibilities include design, analysis and preparation of construction documents and associated on-site construction observation; he also helps maintain IT operations for the company.

During his graduate studies at UB, Jan was a graduate research student at the Smart Structures Research Laboratory (SSRL), where he worked on Non-destructive Evaluation and Structural Health Monitoring research pertaining to the sustainability, preservation, and maintenance of infrastructure over time. Parallel to his work at the SSRL, Jan was involved in managing IT infrastructure at the Structural and Earthquake Simulation Engineering Laboratory (SEESL). Jan also holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from UB and a B.A. in Physics with a minor in Mathematics from Geneseo State University of New York.

Jan received his E.I.T. certification from New York in April of 2016 and is working towards his P.E. certification.

Fun facts about Jan: He was born in Australia, speaks fluent Croatian, co-founded two businesses during his tenure at university and swam DIII NCAA at Geneseo where he helped his team maintain a dynasty of 15 straight SUNYAC conference championship titles. Jan spent three years coaching age-group club swimming during his time in Buffalo as a certified USA Swimming coach.


Zachary Pitner

Design Engineer

Zach Pitner joined Cates Engineering in July 2016 after graduating from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelors of Architectural Engineering with a focus in structural systems. The focus of his studies revolved around concrete and steel design of buildings, integrating the effects of how the other trades interact in the building environment as well as considerations of the architecture. Additional courses included work with wood design, foundations engineering, surveying and geotechnical information, and a look into various computer modeling software.

Zach previously worked at an internship at the Office of the Physical Plant at The Pennsylvania State University where he helped manage the construction of various campus buildings. He continued to work throughout his final year of school before gaining an employment opportunity here at Cates.

In his free time, Zach enjoys creating art. From painting to simple sketches, his walls are covered in the different art he has created. His art includes subjects of animals and people, combined with a multitude of colors to create exciting pieces.

Zach is a man of few words; cloaked in mystery. He often has trouble describing himself due to his humility and abundant sarcasm.


Matthew Shane, E.I.T.

Design Engineer

Matt Shane has been with Cates Engineering since August 2013. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech in May of 2013 with a focus in Structural Engineering. His coursework focused on structural design using materials such as steel and concrete. Matt has a strong background in statics, mechanics of materials, and various structural analysis techniques. He also studied other aspects of civil engineering including geotechnical engineering, land development, and construction management.

Matt is currently a design engineer and is also very active in the Cates field department. His responsibilities include design, field observations and construction administration for several projects. He gained valuable knowledge and experience with wood-framed construction through significant field exposure during his first two years at Cates Engineering. In addition, Matt played a vital role in streamlining Cates construction administration and construction observation practices. Since being with Cates Engineering he has worked on a variety of different project types including multi-family residential, commercial, and mixed use.

Matt is a very driven individual with a deep desire to learn. He actively attends seminars and researches various aspects of the design and construction industry to further his knowledge and understanding of modern design methods in order to be familiar with current design and construction standards and practices. Matt received his EIT certification in 2013 and intends on pursuing his PE license.


Ron Cates

Field Manager

Ron Cates has been employed by Cates Engineering since 1990. Ron attended Virginia Commonwealth University and supplemented his education with coursework at several community colleges. Currently, Ron plays an integral part in developing Cates’ field observation services. In 2010, Ron became our Senior Framing Advisor.

Ron’s many years of experience and his first hand knowledge of projects in construction allow him to relay information on the standards and techniques being performed in the field back to the engineers in the office. This is one of the many things that helps separate Cates engineers from the competition. In addition, Ron works closely with our clients throughout the construction process, helping to eliminate field discrepancies, time delays, and ultimately saves our clients’ money.

When he is not in the field, Ron attends seminars and courses to keep abreast of new construction standards and products. Ron also works closely with all of our engineers reviewing drawings and providing input from his field experience as well as helping to train new employees. Ron has also conducted several seminars for clients to help them better understand wood framing.

When Ron is not in the field or the office, he can usually be found at the ball field coaching his two sons’ baseball teams.


Daniel Weber

CAD/BIM Manager

Daniel Weber joined Cates Engineering in August, 2012 as a CAD Operator, and was promoted to CAD/BIM Manager in August 2013. His responsibilities include maintaining the REVIT library notes, writing details and drafting standards and developing standard processes in drafting for the company.

In addition, he has created detail components and techniques to expedite the drafting process, and continues to work with engineering and management to streamline and standardize the drafting department. Dan has written drafting training manuals and provides in-house training for both drafters and engineers in REVIT.

Dan studied at the University at Buffalo for civil engineering with a structural focus. He attended Autodesk University in 2013.

Dan loves bowling, golf and baseball. His bowling accolades include: four time New York State Individual High School Champion; two time New York State Team High School Champion; (11) 300 Games; (5) 800 Series; two time New York State Individual Adult Tournament Champion.


Laurie Schauss


Laurie Schauss has been with Cates Engineering since 2008. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a BS Accounting in 1983. Laurie brings over thirty years of progressive finance, accounting and human resources experience to the administration side of the organization.

She is responsible for all aspects of the “back of house”, with her personal goal to ensure that Brian feels confident that this area is running smoothly, enabling him to focus on the design side of operations.

Always a fan of system improvements and ready for the challenge and subsequent payoff that new software systems provides, Laurie has overseen software upgrades as well as implemented new project management software that has helped the engineering team better manage the information and planning side of the business.

Laurie lives in Warrenton, Virginia with her husband and three kids. She is an avid runner and is very active in missions work to Haiti as well as Christian outreach in her community.


Amy Horan

Contracts Admin

Amy Horan has been with Cates Engineering since December 2014. She brings over 15 years of experience to Cates having worked for a Government sub-contractor in the proposal field.

Amy directed proposal coordination, writing, and editing work for extensive contract opportunities in her division. Additionally, she worked hand in hand with the Business Development Manager to identify future opportunities for bid. Her undergraduate and graduate work gave her the foundation to apply all research and writing methods to any subject matter. Currently she works directly with the Business Development Manager in developing Cates’ proposals and contracts.

Amy and her family reside in Northern Virginia. She is active with several ministries in her church and in her down time also enjoys the outdoors and is a proponent for wildlife preservation and animal rescue.