Optima Leadership

Keith G. Pehl, P.E., LEED AP BD+C – President + CEO

Mr. Pehl founded Optima Engineering in 1992, and has overseen its growth from a small business to a well-respected firm made up of more than 60 talented engineers and professionals, spread across two regional offices. He has overall responsibility for all projects and also oversees all Quality Control, with special emphasis on resilient design and renewable energy systems. An Electrical Engineer by training, Mr. Pehl has carried a professional license for over 30 years and is registered in 34 states across the U.S. He has designed electrical distribution systems, fire alarm systems, telecom and lighting systems for projects ranging from industrial and educational facilities to churches, medical facilities and corporate data centers. He develops sustainable engineering strategies for all types of clients and facilities, and frequently speaks to numerous organizations on the topics of renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy tax credit opportunities. A North Carolina native, Mr. Pehl earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Ronald V. Almond, P.E., LEED AP – Executive Vice President + COO

With over 30 years of experience in HVAC, plumbing and fire protection systems design, Mr. Almond brings extensive insight to his role as Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. He oversees the firm’s management and culture to ensure that Optima Engineering consistently delivers the highest level of design and client service. His commitment to meet budget constraints and create efficient designs, no matter the size of the project, while maintaining impeccable design standards, has been a critical factor in maintaining the firm’s long-term client relationships. His expertise includes work in the higher education, mission critical, broadcast, government and commercial sectors. A registered Mechanical Engineer in more than a dozen states, Mr. Almond earned an A.A.S. in Architectural Technology from Central Piedmont Community College, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Steven R. Daley, P.E., LEED AP BD+C – Vice President | Charlotte

Since joining Optima Engineering in 1997, Mr. Daley has specialized in designing mechanical systems for a variety of facility types. He leads the firm in energy modeling expertise, and has day-to-day oversight of quality control, project management and business development in the education sector. To date, he has been involved in management, energy modeling and design work on over 100 education facilities across the Southeast, nearly one-quarter of which have achieved LEED certification. He has designed numerous HVAC systems based on sustainability goals, life cycle cost analysis and critical input from maintenance personnel. He routinely gives presentations on building performance, geothermal HVAC design and energy recovery to groups including the AIA and CEFPI. Mr. Daley earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Summa Cum Laude, from Ohio University, and is a registered Mechanical Engineer in seven states.

Brian E. Thompson, P.E., LEED AP – Managing Principal

Mr. Thompson has been with Optima Engineering since 1997. He oversees Optima’s corps of Project Managers and handles overall project scheduling for the firm. Prior to his current role as one of two Managing Principals for the Charlotte office, he served as Optima’s Mission Critical Division Manager, where he gained extensive experience in designing redundant power systems, guiding complex electrical commissioning and retro-commissioning, and leading data center and mission critical projects. Beyond his abilities in data center planning, Mr. Thompson has designed power distribution, lighting, communications and life safety systems for educational, institutional, commercial, military, residential, hospital and industrial facilities. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

Byron L. Ford, P.E., LEED AP – Managing Principal

Mr. Ford joined Optima Engineering as a mechanical designer in 1994, and has become one of the firm’s leading experts in healthcare engineering systems design. Prior to becoming a Principal, he served as the firm’s Healthcare Division Manager, and continues to have daily oversight of all on-going healthcare and medical industry projects at Optima. He has handled commissioning services and designed complex mechanical systems on projects of varying scales, from small medical offices to hospitals and ORs/ERs. Carrying professional registrations in more than ten states, Mr. Ford graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.