About Us

The Cornerstone Institute has been delivering award-winning, world-class professional development and workforce training to those seeking to enter the construction, architecture, and engineering fields since 1986. The Institute began with a vision of helping young, disadvantaged people in the underserved communities of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Since our inception, we have expanded to educating other groups such as displaced workers, military veterans, women, people with disabilities, and others who are under-represented in the workforce, as well as offering executive courses that are customized for leaders facing the opportunities and challenges of an innovation-driven, ever-changing marketplace and society.


Our Institute exists to empower students with the insight and skills necessary to successfully compete in a globalized job market and attain economic independence. Cornerstone Institute is unique in that the instructors and administrators are industry professionals and subject matter experts with connections in the design, construction management, real estate, and technology industries. We know how to train for the skills required for business success and prepare students to be employable in today’s job market.



Founder of The Cornerstone Institute

When Wayne Perry was growing up in Richmond, California he had a passion for architecture and engineering but no role models to let him know that it was a career path he could follow. When he started his company, Cornerstone Concilium, he also founded the Cornerstone Institute so that young people could receive the mentoring that he never had.

That program is the Cornerstone Institute.

Perry is also passionate about supporting the economic and social vitality of his Bay Area community. He is an active contributor to the design and construction industry and has received several local and statewide appointments, including as Small Business Commissioner. He is also a local business advisor and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Awards & Recognitions

Over the years, the Cornerstone Institute has received recognition, accolades, and awards from industry groups, institutions, and community groups, including Congress, mayors, large non-profits, and national publications.

The Jane Morrison Award for Most Exemplary Employer

Given by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and Friends of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

Trailblazer Award

Given by the California State Board of Equalization

Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition

Given by the Honorable Barbara Lee, 13th Congressional District of California

Bridging the Gap: Outstanding Tech Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Given by Nicholas Josefowitz, Director, District 8, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District

Certificate of Honor

Given by the Board of Supervisors, City and County of San Francisco

Certificate of Recognition

Given by the State of California Senate

Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition

Given by Nancy Pelosi, Member of Congress

Certificate of Recognition

Given by the California Legislature Assembly


Faculty & Staff



Wayne H. Perry graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Design. He founded Cornerstone in 1986. Mr. Perry has decades of industry experience as a dynamic executive leader, educator, and mentor. Mr. Perry is also a subject matter expert with 40 years of experience in Public Works, Facilities Management, and Project Delivery. His credentials include lecturing on various technical subjects to Architecture and Engineering students at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, California Polytechnic University, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Zhejiang University in China. He also consults with business and industry professionals for leadership development training.

Monique Poydras


Monique L. Poydras is a graduate of Howard University School of Law, where she received a Juris Doctorate degree, and of Howard University School of Communications, where she received a BA in Journalism. Ms. Poydras is a results-driven senior level professional with over 25 years in business development and program management experience across multiple industries in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Serving as Vice President and General Manager for Cornerstone Concilium, Inc., she is purposeful in implementing strategies that lead to the development of strategic client relationships and the capture of emerging opportunities. She focuses on laying the foundation for the continued growth of the company in Washington, DC, and surrounding regions along the East Coast, specializing in public and commercial transportation, infrastructure, and capital improvement projects.

Jack S. Wang


Jack Wang graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. He has 33 years of experience working with numerous local, state, and federal agencies, providing a wide spectrum of professional engineering management services. Jack’s portfolio of past projects includes transit, airport, schools, hospitals, correctional facilities, and municipal buildings. He is a licensed civil engineer in the State of California as well as the District of Columbia. Jack will serve as the owner’s representative construction management expert for the Cornerstone Institute.

Derek Lawson


Derek Lawson began his career in technology, joining Hewlett Packard’s international business division as a Programmer/Analyst, after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Systems Analysis, with a Finance concentration, from Miami University. After over 30 years of experience in programming, project management, and technology sales working for Fortune 50 companies and several Silicon Valley start-ups, Derek continues to be fascinated by technology and its impact on the worlds’ human, environmental, political, and economic resources. Derek’s love for technology makes him a lifelong learner and passionate about education. It continues to drive his career success as Vice President of Cornerstone Consulting & Technology, where he has won and managed over $60 million in Information Technology contracts.



Charles Jackson III has led and facilitated various Leadership Trainings for the Cornerstone Institute since 2021. He is skilled in the systematic and documented commissioning processes to ensure government, commercial, and mission critical facility infrastructure systems perform efficiently and operate as designed. He is also proficient in short circuit/coordination study and power flow analysis utilizing ETAP and Easy Power Analysis software. In addition to instructing, Charles conducts reviews to ensure compliance with client criteria, codes, standards, local regulations, and company policies/procedures.



Rajlaxmi Guhagarkar has directed the Cornerstone Institute’s Workforce Development and Job Readiness Educational Training Program since 2008. She has successfully managed and facilitated educational partnerships with different organizations, including nonprofit communitybased, government, business industry, middle and high schools in the City of San Francisco and Bay Area. Within her role, Raj has implemented training for displaced workers, military veterans, returning citizens, persons with disabilities and other underrepresented community members. She’s also served as a liaison with the City of San Francisco agencies and departments, Mayor’s office, Chinese University of Hong Kong students and other nonprofit and communitybased organizations. Her expertise includes recruiting students and staff, curriculum development, budgeting, creating incentive programs, outreach and presentations, implementing policies and guidelines, talent placement, and vetting and interviewing candidates.



Cornerstone Concilium is founded, and the Cornerstone Institute for Anointing starts with mentoring and teaching workshops held in Cornerstone’s conference room every Saturday with mostly high school kids.


The Chief Probation Officer and County Director of Construction Services asks Cornerstone to partner with them to establish a satellite training program at Camp Sweeney to provide employment training and jobs for kids after their release from the juvenile justice system. During these years, Cornerstone provided those services to the Alameda County Juvenile Hall.


Cornerstone forms a partnership with the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Going forward, Wayne Perry teaches classes at CUHK and the best students from those programs become interns at Cornerstone’s office in San Francisco, while American students from the Institute train in Hong Kong.

Since 2013 to the present

Cornerstone trains hundreds of students to enter the workforce, with a 100% employment rate for students who seek jobs after graduation. They also conduct other professional development workshops and seminars:

          • They train small businesses on how to succeed in doing business in the City and County of San Francisco


          • They were contracted by the Department of Defense to lead a Mentor Protégé Contract, showing small businesses how to attain federal contracts


          • Through the Warrior Series, the Department of General Services (DGS) in Washington, DC has engaged Cornerstone to perform Leadership Training and other workshops to help their Senior Facilities Managers


          • The Institute held three successful training programs under the Workforce Development and Job Readiness Program for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) – to name just a few

Collaborative Partners

Alameda County Juvenile Justice: High School Students, STEM/Industry Skills Training and Job Placement (Ages 15-18)

Alameda County Office of Education: Ex-Offenders/GED/High School Graduates, Industry Skills Training and Job Placement (Ages 18 and over)

California and DC Army National Guard: Veterans, Industry Skills Consulting/Training and Job Placement

Chinese University of Hong Kong, School of Architecture, China: College Students/Faculty, Industry Lecture Series and Internships/Mentoring

City and County of San Francisco: Small Business, Enterprise-wide Consulting/Training Series and Mentoring

Richmond Housing Authority: Displaced Workers, HUD Section 3 Residents, Industry Skills Training and Job Placement

San Francisco County Transportation Authority: Industry Professional Workforce, Project Management Skills Training

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority: Industry Professional Workforce, Technology Skills Training

Stanford University, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering: College Students, Industry Lecture Series and Internships/Mentoring

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241 5th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 705-7800


1773 T Street NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 792-3500

Engineering & Technology Consulting

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