Chantell J. Cornett

Chantell J. Cornett

Expert | Principal | Managing Partner | VP/CFO

Over the past ten years, Chantell’s dedication to the company as well as the construction and engineering forensics community has been invaluable and I am pleased to introduce Chantell as a named Principal partner at Ward Cornett & Associates.

Chantell Cornett is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Structural/Material Properties at the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU and will sit for the first of her Professional Engineer (P.E.) examinations in 2024. Ms. Cornett also serves as adjunct faculty in the engineering departments at both Arizona State University and the University of Washington.

Chantell has secured a KB-2 Dual General Contractor license, completed over 800 hours of OSHA and Job Site Safety Training and is certified as both an OSHA accident investigator and trainer. Chantell also holds certifications as a fire and explosion investigator (CFEI), and National Ready Mixed Concrete (NRMCA) concrete plant/truck inspector.

Chantell focuses her practice on disputes related to residential construction, OSHA and Job Site accidents, premise-liability construction code and standard of care compliance.

Chantell’s road to construction consulting and engineering took a more circuitous route. In 1997, while pursuing her undergraduate degrees in Spanish and Political Science from the University of Washington, Seattle, Chantell joined the firm of Hedeen & Caditz, providing General Counsel services to Contractors and Subcontractors for contract and dispute negotiation; bid protests; bid shopping; extra work clams, labor inefficiency claims and claims for default terminations and terminations for convenience; lien, bond and retainage claims; and providing dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration and litigation support.

In 2002, Chantell moved to Phoenix where she continued insurance defense work and in 2005, while simultaneously pursuing her graduate studies in Chemistry at Arizona State University, Chantell entered the world of construction defect litigation where she eventually met Doug Ward. Chantell was accepted to Medical School in 2007, but elected to defer her admission and continue her work in construction defect claims with Doug at their predecessor company. Inevitably, their partnership flourished and on January 4, 2012, electing to close the door to a career in medicine altogether, Chantell and Doug opened the doors to The Ward Group. In January 2022 the firm proudly changed its name to acknowledge Chantell's ongoing contributions to Ward Cornett & Assoc.

Chantell brings over twenty years of legal experience, claim evaluation, dispute resolution, construction management, construction job site safety, residential construction, and cost estimating. In 2016, Chantell decided to increase her expertise from cost estimating and exposure analysis to providing expert opinions in residential construction. As Managing Partner for Ward Cornett, historically, Chantell’s primary role was behind the scenes. But Chantell’s passion for knowledge and learning lead her to many a field inspection, client meeting, deposition or trial. And now again Chantell returns to the classroom to follow in her mentor and business partner’s footsteps as a Principal Expert. In January 2017 Chantell completed programs for licensure as a State of Arizona Registered Contractor, Arizona Real Estate Agent and Certified Professional Estimator. In 2023, Chantell completed a dual Bachelors/Masters in Construction/Civil Engineering (B.S.E.) (M.S.E.) at Arizona State University in the Ira B. Fulton School of Engineering.

And when not providing consulting services or completing her engineering studies, Chantell completed over 800 hours of OSHA and associated job site accident training. Chantell is an OSHA Certified Safety & Health Official (CSHO) and Specialist in Safety and Health (SSH). Chantell is also an OSHA authorized trainer and certified job site inspector. Recently, Chantell added certification in fire and explosion investigation to her toolbox becoming a CFEI.

Chantell holds an Arizona KB-2 Dual General Contractor license and focuses her practice on residential claims as well as code, OSHA, and ADA compliance in premises liability and job site accidents.

As an active member of committees on Forensic Engineering Standards with both the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), and with a fervent commitment to the pillars of the Code of Ethics, Chantell dedicates her career to not only advancing the field of engineering, but also to advocating for the principles that ensure the engineering profession contributes positively to society. The first canon, holding paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public, is the cornerstone of Chantell’s professional philosophy.

Chantell is passionate about embracing technology as a tool for advancement of the engineering profession. However, as AI continues to evolve, the integration with the practice of engineering presents new ethical challenges and opportunities. Chantell is committed to staying abreast of the continuously unfolding developments in AI, and learning to navigate the interface of AI and ethical engineering, while ensuring that technological advancements are harnessed responsibly and in the best interest of the public and society as a whole. This commitment extends beyond traditional engineering practices and encompasses the ethical considerations inherent in the development and implementation of AI technologies, ensuring that they align with the highest professional and ethical standards. Although Chantell's research into the intersection of AI and ethical engineering is a hobby, she regularly delivers presentations on her ongoing research regarding the ever-evolving AI and its intersection with ethical engineering.

When Chantell is not working she enjoys travel (always with a cribbage board in hand), riding horses, surfing, triathlons, boxing, golfing, fishing, skiing, camping, and anything that takes her outdoors -- especially trips back home to the Pacific Northwest -- and never misses a college football game.  Go Dawgs!