About Us

The HG Cornerstone Story

Founding Partners

JOEL E. BREUER, PE, Managing Partner

Expert opinions are provided by Joel E. Breuer, PE, a professional civil engineer and construction engineer with over 30 years of engineering design, consulting and hands-on construction field experience. When you hire HG Cornerstone, you get Mr. Breuer.

Direct Contact Info:
Phone: (617) 575-2300 x 700
Email: jb@hgcornerstone.com


Mr. Joel E. Breuer, PE is a construction expert witness and forensic engineer. Mr. Breuer, a founding Managing Partner of the firm, works nationwide and has consulted on some of the most technically challenging and complicated construction, design, accident, and real estate related insurance claims and litigation. These have involved catastrophic property damage, major construction defects, building-products defects, architect and engineer design errors and omissions, onsite worker injury, and personal injury matters.

Mr. Breuer has provided expert witness opinions and oral testimony on a wide variety of issues involving building design, construction defects, building code issues, catastrophic insurance claims, personal injury matters and more and has proven to be extremely resolute under rigorous cross-examination. Whether on the witness stand or in a deposition, his exceptional communication skills, ability to simplify complex issues and aptitude for reading others well each make Mr. Breuer highly effective when providing oral testimony.

His extensive 30+ years of hands-on experience as a practicing civil engineer and former general building contractor make him an invaluable, highly effective, and well-sought-after national construction expert witness. Part of what makes Mr. Breuer a formidable expert witness is the fact that he is proficient in many of the construction trades and knows exactly what to looks for during a forensic site investigation. His combined engineering design knowledge and well-seasoned construction skills give him the ultimate blend of “book smarts” and “street smarts.” These are some of the key reasons his clients truly appreciate him.

Mr. Breuer thrives with working on large-dollar, technically-complex litigation with seemingly no resolution in sight. He has consistently brought to light ingenious, yet logical, answers for his clients that lead to amicable case resolutions through his innovative approaches to technical strategy, claims analysis, specialized research, evidence procurement and testing, and adherence to the central theme of the case.

Mr. Breuer has directly helped clients resolve cases valued in the tens of millions of dollars range and lasting for a number of years. He has also been successful in helping clients reach favorable resolutions concerning litigation where physical evidence no longer existed, lay witnesses were scarce, and only documents numbering in the tens of thousands of pages were available for examination. The litigation that Mr. Breuer has consulted on includes commercial buildings, high-rise condominiums, restaurants, multifamily apartment complexes, senior housing communities, single-family housing developments, office buildings, fitness centers, spas, warehouses, medical buildings, prisons, municipal buildings, public schools and more.

Mr. Breuer began his construction career during the mid 1980’s in downtown Boston, Massachusetts where he was responsible for the foundation monitoring of high-rise office towers during the up-down construction process, along with the construction monitoring of other critical commercial, condominium, and engineering projects. During the 1980s and 1990s, he continued working as a consulting civil engineer in Massachusetts, California, and nationwide where he was responsible for both the design and construction oversight of a variety of projects ranging from environmental cleanups, to geotechnical issues, to commercial and residential building construction projects, to civil engineering works.

From 1999 to 2012, Mr. Breuer was the principal owner of a general contracting firm in Southern California, where he specialized in extensive, corrective projects for existing multifamily complexes and commercial buildings. His projects included large-scale structural repairs, seismic retrofits and geotechnical improvements designed to save buildings from eminent failure or collapse, and capital improvement projects designed to increase cash flow and asset value.

Mr. Breuer is highly experienced in solving challenging design and construction-related issues under tight budgets and time constraints. He has provided invaluable design and construction advise to legal counsel, real estate owners, developers, REITs, investors and asset managers.

Mr. Breuer assists both in-house and outside legal counsel for insurers, construction-related bond holders, building products manufacturers, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, developers, building owners, business owners, and injured parties. He provides key engineering assessments, precise forensic engineering investigations, compelling expert witness testimony and highly effective engineering reports.

Mr. Breuer excels far beyond his peers in his capacity to simplify the technical aspects of legal matter, quickly and efficiently establish cause, support his findings and communicate his findings in a direct, easy-to-understand manner. Mr. Breuer also excels far beyond his peers in his capacity as a forensic engineer with his unique abilities and his unparalleled, innovative approaches to the examination and testing of evidence and the evaluation of the cause of failure, or alleged failure, associated with construction materials, building products, mechanical and plumbing equipment, and other building components. Bottom line–Mr. Breuer delivers results.

Mr. Breuer works closely with legal counsel to establish the theme and precise scope of each legal matter in order to proceed in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible. His winning approach involves well-researched, fact-based solutions and he has the track record to prove it.

Mr. Breuer’s Specialties Include:

Civil Engineering ❖ Environmental Engineering ❖ Construction Expert Witness ❖ Forensic Engineering ❖ Building Code Compliance ❖ Construction Defects Evaluation ❖ Construction Project Management ❖ Troubled Construction Project Advisory ❖ Real Estate Transaction Due Diligence ❖ Real Estate Advisory Owner Representative ❖ Litigation Support ❖ Dispute Resolution ❖ Income Property Evaluation ❖ Real Estate Acquisitions/Dispositions ❖ Real Estate Development & Redevelopment ❖ Pre-Construction Planning ❖ Permitting & Entitlements ❖ Brownfields Assessment & Cleanup


Joann Gannaway-Breuer brings innovation and vision to HG Cornerstone.

Direct Contact Info:
Phone: (617) 575-2300
Email: jgb@hgcornerstone.com

Ms. Joann Gannaway-Breuer is Managing Principal at HG Cornerstone, LLC. Ms. Gannaway-Breuer has over 20 years combined experience in real estate investment, real estate market data research and analytics, property management, construction operations supervision, and business strategy development. Ms. Gannaway-Breuer is responsible for setting the vision, tone, and direction of the firm and its general business practices. She is also responsible for cultivating and maintaining client relations.

An effective communicator, visionary, and innovative problem solver, Ms. Gannaway-Breuer brings people together to accomplish results and meet objectives as she truly inspires and motivates everyone she meets with her exuberant can-do mindset.

Ms. Gannaway-Breuer’s Specialties Include:

❖ Construction Operations Supervision ❖ Commercial Real Estate Investment ❖ Real Estate Valuation ❖ Real Estate Transactions ❖ Real Estate Economics ❖ Location Intelligence ❖ Property Management ❖ Business Strategy Development ❖ Business Development ❖ Client & Investor Relations ❖ Interior Environments

The HG Cornerstone Managing Partners
“We love hiking in New England and surfing in Southern California. What’s not to smile about?”

Our Great Story

Who is HG Cornerstone?

HG Cornerstone, LLC is the nation’s most innovative, effective construction expert witness, forensic engineering and advisory firm. Its two founding managing partners, Joel Breuer and Joann Gannaway-Breuer, formed HG Cornerstone out of a true entrepreneurial spirit based upon their long construction and real estate history together.

Joel brought his engineering and construction background together with Joann’s real estate background and in 1997, being the entrepreneurs they are, they started their first firm together, Cornerstone Real Estate in Costa Mesa, California. Cornerstone Real Estate was truly something special in that it focused on income-producing properties and Joel and Joann actually taught their clients how to evaluate the physical condition of the properties they were investing in as well as cash flow and adding value. Joel focused on the physical condition of each property based on his engineering and construction background. Joann, who purchased her first property at the age of 18, focused on market value plus identifying the unseen or hidden upside income potential of each property.

Together they operated Cornerstone Real Estate as a boutique real estate brokerage firm specializing in multifamily and commercial investment properties and property management. They delivered hands-on approaches and services to help clients analyze investment properties, and perform income-and-expense evaluations, pro-forma modeling, and transactional due diligence. They included property condition evaluations and identified unseen income potential. Working directly with clients on investment property identification, screening, and detailed analysis, Joel and Joann were able to deliver exceptional results for their clients.

Then, in 1999, Joel and Joann founded their own general contracting firm named Breuer Construction. Breuer Construction operated as a full-service general building contracting firm offering general contracting services and engineering design and development consulting to commercial and multifamily property investors, REITs, owners, and managers. In their true entrepreneurial spirit, Joel and Joann operated Breuer Construction from 1999 through 2012 in a way that helped institutional real estate owners, developers, investors, REITs, and property managers utilize capital improvement construction projects to maximize asset value and increase cash flow.

Later, in 2012, Joel and Joann launched HG Cornerstone, their third successful firm together that leveraged their cumulative experience in the engineering, construction and real estate fields. In doing so they chose to keep the name “Cornerstone” from their first successful endeavor. Today, they operate HG Cornerstone in such a way as to deliver exceptional services, based on their entrepreneurial spirit, that truly involve cutting-edge and “outside-of-the-box” thinking, yet that are rooted in diligence and sound principals. This is the HG Cornerstone advantage.

You may be asking yourself, “but who exactly is H.G.?”

H.G. stands for Harrell Gannaway, the grandfather of Joann Gannaway-Breuer who was responsible for instilling that entrepreneurial spirit into Joann at a young age and who was, in all aspects, a true industry pioneer and entrepreneur. Harrell had a big influence on his granddaughter, so much so that when HG Cornerstone was formed, Joann chose to include a small reminder of the man who influenced her to think big so long ago. So that’s the “HG.”

Harrell Gannaway was born in 1908 with big entrepreneurial dreams. His hardworking can-do attitude inspired Joann from a very young age to work hard and enjoy the fruits of her success. As a young man living on the family farm, Harrell purchased his first calf. After raising it, he sold the cow and used the earnings to purchase two more calves. This was exemplary of his hard work and appreciation for the value of a dollar. One of his favorite sayings was, “Everyone wants to spend a million dollars, but only few want to earn it.”

Harrell Gannaway 1908 - 1984

He later went on to invent and perfect the construction of the precast concrete pipe that not only became the higher level of quality standard in the industry, but also proved to be more time efficient. After that, Harrell became one of the founding partner’s in a string of banks in Arizona called Saguaro Savings. Here’s a bit of history about Harrell from the Arizona Republic:

“Harrell J. Gannaway designed new precast concrete duct section for underground electric cables that makes installation one-third faster. Pipe Inventor Retiring His Conduit Eases Traffic Flow Phoenix motorists owe a tip of their sombreros to a Phoenix man who’s retiring Thursday after 40 years of service with the O’Malley companies. He is Harrell J. Gannaway, 7755 N. Seventh Ave., organizer and manager of the O’Malley-Gannaway Concrete Pipe Co. of Phoenix. Gannaway is designer of a new precast concrete duct section for underground electric cables that allows utilities to excavate and recover trenches for underground electric systems about one-third faster than with previous techniques. THE RESULT—gratifying to motorists —is a reduction in the amount of time traffic is disrupted during the installation of underground cables near streets. The precast duct sections are being used extensively in this area by Arizona Public Service Co., pioneer in the new method. Gannaway, who designed the ducts at the request of APS, spent two years researching and developing the product. It was first marketed in 1967 when APS began installing the ducts on Roosevelt between Third Street and Third Avenue. The utility said Gannaway’s “invention” is an important boost to its beautification program by allowing the company to cut the time necessary in removing overhead power lines and placing them underground. ACCORDING TO APS underground engineers, the big advantage of Gannaway’s product is that it eliminates the need to keep trenches open as long as was necessary when freshly poured concrete was used for ductwork. The special duct section is normally 6 feet long and has a standard 27-inch diameter. Resembling the cylinder of a revolver, the duct provides ample room for installation of eight separate underground electric feeder cables, with room for a supervisory cable running through the ninth hole in the center. Gannaway organized the O’Malley- Gannaway operation in 1948 while manager of Six Points Lumber and Supply Co. He took over the full time management of the concrete business in 1960. New Consumer Feature Slated If Milton Moskowitz had tailored his life to the requirements of his new column, The Money Tree; he could not have cut a better fitting.” – Arizona Republic July 1968

One of Harrell Gannaway's Patents

Harrell also loved antique cars, including his own 1913 Ford Model T Runabout. Harrell Gannaway passed away on Christmas Day in 1984 at the age of 76, but will always be dearly remembered and appreciated.

A 1913 Ford Model T Runabout owned by Harrell Gannaway
Main Contact Information

(866) 204-3440


East Coast Contact Information

198 Tremont Street, No. 430, Boston, MA 02116

(617) 575-2300


West Coast Contact Information

1024 Bayside Drive, No. 521, Newport Beach, CA 92660

(949) 432-3212