Detroit — SmithGroup, a national integrated design firm, promoted 28 employees to principal.
As the Health studio leader at the Washington, DC office, Cynthia Beckham has over 25 years of experience focusing on strategic facility planning, design and campus development for healthcare clients. In her role, she is responsible for growing the firm’s national Health Practice in the regional marketplace, as well as advancing its international market exposure in China and beyond. Beckham is currently serving as principal-in-charge on the $171 million expansion and renovation of the Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center in Athens, Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in speech, communication and theater arts from Monmouth College, followed by a Master of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. A native of Plymouth, Illinois, Beckham is now a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.
As a designer at the Chicago office, Sylvia Billisics, Associate AIA, LEED AP, strives to design spaces that emphasize the user-experience. Originally a trained cabinet and special object maker, Sylvia uses her unique skill set and perspective to conceptualize projects from the inside-out. A truly global citizen, Billisics was born in the U.S., educated in Austria and Germany, and gained work experience in Germany and the U.K. Notable work includes the Wanxiang Innova Energy City Block 6, a development of three battery factory buildings on an 80-acre site in Hangzhou, China. Billisics is a licensed architect in Germany, an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a member of the Advisory Board for Women in Design and Construction. Billisics earned a Bachelor of Interior Architecture from the University of Rosenheim, Germany, followed by a Master of Architecture from Academy of Art and Design, Kunsthochschule Weissensee in Berlin, Germany. She currently resides in Chicago.
Sandro Bressi is the Science & Technology studio leader for the firm’s Los Angeles and San Diego offices. In his role, he is responsible for developing and maintaining all client relationships, leading business development and marketing activities, and setting overall strategy and vision for the studio. With over 34 years of experience, Bressi is an expert in the planning, engineering, and construction of complex research facilities for a range of corporate, government, and academic clients. He is also a nationally recognized thought leader in the design of bio-containment systems and vivarium facilities. Bressi is currently serving as principal-in-charge on the new $200 million Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. He is an active member of several professional organizations, including the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science and the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers. He earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in mechanical engineering technology from the City University of New York, College of Technology. Bressi was raised in Brooklyn, New York and now resides in Pasadena, California.
As director of business development at the San Francisco office, Daniel Carfora, CPSM, LEED AP, has over 25 years of experience specializing in creating new opportunities, fostering client relationships and implementing best marketing practices. He is passionate about leveraging clients’ aspirations and goals to create truly unique and integrated design solutions to better communities, clients and organizations. Carfora was recently involved in the pursuit and win of the new Community Civic Campus for the City of South San Francisco. He is an active member and past-president of the Society for Marketing Professional Services San Francisco Bay Area chapter for 20 years and has served in several different positions. Carfora earned a Bachelor of Science in architecture from the University of Virginia. He resides in San Francisco.
A senior project manager and architect at the Detroit office, Jennifer Durham, AIA, LEED AP, has over 20 years of experience in the higher education market. She specializes in leading complex, interdisciplinary projects through all phases, from the initial design concept through completion. Durham served as project manager on the recently completed Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business. She’s also serving as project manager on the expansion of Saginaw Valley State University’s $25 million Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management. Durham is a member of the AIA. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in architecture, followed by a Master of Architecture and Master of Engineering in construction management. A native of Cadillac, Michigan, Durham now resides in Detroit.
A civil engineer at the Madison office, Cassie Goodwin, PE, LEED AP, ENV SP, specializes in leading multi-disciplinary projects in the campus, urban design and waterfront markets. She is passionate about the transformation of dilapidated urban sites through the use of green infrastructure, and how it can have a positive impact on future generations as well as the health and wellness of surrounding communities. Significant projects include the award-winning University of Wisconsin-Madison Master Plan; and a 21-acre mixed-use redevelopment project for Madison Yards at Hill Farms, where she’s serving as project manager. Goodwin is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, followed by a Master of Science in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is a resident of Madison.
Kevin Gurgel, PE, is an experienced structural engineer at the Detroit office who has worked on a wide-range of notable projects in the healthcare, higher education and workplace markets. Gurgel excels at managing large project teams. He draws inspiration from seeing a design come to life and making a positive and lasting impact on individuals and their communities. Recent work includes the new Henry Ford Health System Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion, expected to open in early 2020; and a new 81,000-square-foot facility in Lyon Township, Michigan, for Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology, LLC. Gurgel earned a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering, followed by a Master of Science in structural engineering from the University of Illinois. Originally from Darien, Illinois, he now resides in Canton, Michigan.
As an accomplished landscape architect at SmithGroup’s Ann Arbor office, Clare Jagenow, PLA, ASLA, has contributed significantly to several of the firm’s urban design and campus projects. She is serving as a landscape architect on various site-improvement projects at the General Motors Technical Center Campus in Warren, Michigan. She also served as project manager on a renovation and addition at Michigan State University’s Breslin Student Events Center. Jagenow is an active member of the Michigan chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects (MiASLA) and served as president from 2016 through 2018. In 2017 she received MiASLA’s Distinguished Member Award for her significant contributions to the organization and the community through volunteerism, advocacy and educational initiatives. Jagenow earned a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Michigan State University. Originally from Detroit, she now resides in Trenton.
As the Health studio leader at the Los Angeles office, Chai Jayachandran AIA, ACHA, ACHE, EDAC, LEED AP, has over 16 years of experience in the planning and design of healthcare spaces across the continuum of care. In her position, she is integral in driving business development, thought leadership, staff mentorship and overall project success throughout the region. Jayachandran is spearheading the executive architect effort with Scripps Health’s three largest campuses in San Diego, Encinitas, and La Jolla. Jayachandran is the chair for the AIA Los Angeles chapter’s Committee for Healthcare. She is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Architects, American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), on the board for Health Care Institute, and is an Evidence Based Design Accredited Professional. She earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Madras in Chennai, India, followed by a Master of Architecture in health systems design from Texas A&M University, College Station. Originally from Kerala, India, she now resides in Los Angeles.
Don Jerabek, AIA, is an experienced project manager at the San Francisco office who specializes in delivering large, complex projects from conception through construction. Jerabek served as project manager on the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center, which was awarded a 2018 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award Honorable Mention in the Spaces, Places and Cities category. He’s also currently managing the design and delivery of three civic buildings for the South San Francisco Community Civic Campus. Jerabek is a member of the AIA. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts from Ball State University. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, he now resides in Oakland, California.
An architect and project manager in the Phoenix office, Chris Ledwith, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, specializes in the real estate development process and provides comprehensive, value-added planning solutions to multiple developer clients throughout the U.S. Notable projects for Ledwith include the historic ‘Psycho’ Jefferson Hotel, a high-rise condominium development project in downtown Phoenix; and a 120,000-square-foot campus expansion to the Grace Lake Corporate Center located in the Van Buren Township, Michigan. One of his most unique projects to date was a multi-use classroom building for the Foundation for Blind Children in Phoenix, which is now the nation’s largest school specifically designed for blind children. Ledwith is a member of the AIA and United States Green Building Council. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Arizona and now resides in Chandler, Arizona.
A fire protection and life safety engineer at the Washington, DC office, Kyle Lehman, PE, is ardent and thorough when ensuring public safety in SmithGroup’s designs. Lehman served as a senior fire protection engineer on the new Engineering Building at the University of Texas at Dallas; and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Collections and Conservation Center in Maryland. He is also leading an internal effort to advance SmithGroup’s life safety Revit tools to improve quality and accuracy throughout the firm’s design documents. Lehman is a member of the National Fire Protection Association and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. He earned a Bachelor of Science in fire protection engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. Originally from Lexington Park, Maryland, Lehman now resides in Washington, DC.
Kris Lucius, PLA, ASLA, is a landscape architect at the Chicago office whose expertise lies in designing open spaces that engage communities, create unique experiences and improve overall human wellness. Lucius is currently leading the landscape and site design for Wanxiang Innova Energy City Block 6 in Hangzhou, China. He has also worked on the South Lakefront Framework Plan, helping to develop a 20-year vision plan for Chicago’s landmark Jackson Park and South Shore Cultural Center by facilitating a complex community involvement process. Lucius is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He earned a Bachelor of Science in landscape architecture from the Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, followed by a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. A native of Toledo, Ohio, he now resides in Chicago.
Stephanie Mitrovic, AIA, NCARB, NCIDQ, is the Science & Technology studio leader at the Phoenix office. In her role, she is working to diversify and expand the firm’s national Science & Technology Practice through her experience in academic research, federal, forensic and corporate R&D facilities. Notable work includes the new Water Building for Colorado State University at the National Western Center in Denver. Mitrovic was recently named by AZRE Business Magazine as one of 2018’s Most Influential Women in Arizona Business. She is active in her community as a member of AIA and United Way’s Women United Steering Committee. She is also a Translational Genomics Research Institute Foundation Ambassador. Mitrovic received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in interior design from Virginia Commonwealth University followed by a Master of Architecture from Arizona State University. A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, she now resides in Phoenix.
Steve Palumbo, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, joined SmithGroup in 2017 as the Science & Technology studio leader at the Boston office. In his role, he is responsible for growing the firm’s Science & Technology Practice in the Boston region and expanding its project portfolio. Palumbo is currently working on laboratory renovation projects for both Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as serving as a development and programming advisor for a midwestern university as it creates a facility dedicated to innovation in healthcare technology and delivery methods. Palumbo is a member of the Kendall Square Association, a group of individuals dedicated to improving, promoting and protecting the future of the vibrant 10-acre Kendall Square in Massachusetts. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from University of Rochester, followed by a Master of Architecture degree from Boston Architectural College. A native of Peabody, Massachusetts, he now resides in Wilmington.
Susan Pommerer, AIA, CDT, LEED AP, is a project manager at the Washington, DC office who specializes in the historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic sites and structures. She has served as a project manager and historic preservationist on several notable projects, including the rehabilitation of the National Park Service United States Marine Corps ‘Iwo Jima’ War Memorial; and the new Lillian and Albert Small Capital Jewish Museum. Pommerer is a member of the American Institute of Architects and serves as a co-chair for the Technical Committee on Documentation for the Association for Preservation Technology International. She earned a Bachelor of Design and a Master of Architecture from the University of Florida. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Pommerer now resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
Kevin Piontkowski joined SmithGroup in 2018 as the firm’s chief financial officer at the Detroit office. With over 25 years of experience, Piontkowski brings with him extensive international expertise and proficiency in strategic planning, banking relations, financial analysis, financial reporting, mergers, acquisitions, restructures, divestitures and more. Piontkowski is a true business partner. Utilizing a hands-on leadership style, Piontkowski works with leaders across the firm to establish and implement strategic financial objectives, while providing financial support and ensuring future financial success for the firm and its stakeholders. Piontkowski earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Wayne State University.
Luis Posada, ACHE, Lean Six Sigma Certified joined SmithGroup in 2017 as a client leader and senior medical planner at the Washington, DC office. With nearly 30 years of experience, Posada specializes in the planning and management of complex healthcare projects ranging from tertiary care facilities to community hospitals and ambulatory facilities, incorporating Lean principles to streamline operations and productivity. Recent projects include the $171 million renovation and expansion of Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center in Athens, Georgia; the Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute Expansion; and the new Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Posada is Lean Six Sigma Certified, and is an active member of several professional organizations, including the Advisory Board, American Society for Healthcare Engineers, and ACHE. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art & Design.
Karthik Ramadurai, AIA, WELL AP, LEED AP, is a design principal at the Chicago office who specializes in large-scale healthcare projects. Throughout his career, Ramadurai has been dedicated to designing high performing, resilient facilities that better the lives of its users and surrounding communities. He was the lead designer of the 1.3 million-square-foot Manazel Medical Center in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He also led the design on the recently completed 230,000-square-foot, 120-bed Sutter Health CPMC Mission Bernal Hospital in San Francisco. Ramadurai is a registered architect and member of AIA, and co-chairs the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health’s annual design awards committee. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Madras in Chennai, India, followed by a Master of Architecture from Texas A&M University – College Station. Originally from Chennai, India, Ramadurai now lives in Chicago.
Michelle Ray, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, joined SmithGroup in 2018 as a mixed-use specialist in the Phoenix office. With more than 25 years of experience, she has been involved in numerous large retail, office, multifamily and hospitality projects. In her position, Ray is co-leading the firm’s Mixed-Use Convergence team, weaving together a network of SmithGroup professionals with diverse knowledge and experience to create long lasting and impactful solutions for multi-purpose environments. She has a passion for promoting women in architecture and is a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Group for AIA Arizona. Ray also co-founded Arizona Kids Build, an award-winning program aimed to teach young students how the built environment affects both their well-being and the world around us. Ray received a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is a resident of Phoenix.
As the electrical engineering discipline leader at the Chicago office, Brian Rener, PE, LEED AP, has over 30 years of experience in the design of critical electrical systems for health, government, university, and science and advanced technology facilities. Rener is currently serving as the engineering design lead on Milwaukee School of Engineering’s new 64,000-square-foot Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall; and as the electrical leader on Lakeland Health’s $160 million Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion expansion and renovation. Rener is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Electric Association, Consulting Electrical Engineers. He also serves on the editorial advisory board of Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine. He is active in his community, previously serving 10 years as an elected official in the Village of Lake Bluff and is the current co-chair of the committee on sustainability. Rener graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. He resides in Lake Bluff, Illinois.
Luke Renwick, IALD, CLD, LC, is a talented lighting designer at the Detroit office. He is passionate about how lighting can inspire people, express a client’s identity, inform visual hierarchy, and encourage movement throughout spaces to create a psychological and biological response. He has led the lighting design on multiple award-winning and acclaimed projects, including the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC; and the restoration of the General Motors Durant-Dort Factory One in Flint, Michigan. Renwick is a professional member and Certified Lighting Designer with the International Association of Lighting Designers. He earned a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering with a Minor of Architectural Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. A native of Butler, Pennsylvania, Renwick now resides in Canton, Michigan.
As a mechanical engineering leader at the San Francisco office, Stet Sanborn, AIA, LEED AP, CPHC, is passionate about Net Zero Energy building and design. With expertise in radiant heating and cooling, heat recovery systems and high-performance building enclosures, he works to establish the highest indoor environmental quality on all his projects. Recent work includes a new city hall building for the City of Sunnyvale, California. He’s a member of several professional organizations, including AIA, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning, Passive House California, Society of Building Science Educators, and International Living Futures Institute. He was also named one of Consulting-Specifying Engineers 2018 “40 Under 40.” Sanborn earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Kettering University, followed by a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. A native of Marshalltown, Iowa, he now lives in Oakland, California.
Coty Sandberg, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is a lead designer at the Chicago office who excels at creating thoughtful and innovative design solutions that positively impact the human experience. Her diverse array of expertise spans the health, higher education and science and technology markets. Sandberg has served as an architectural designer on multiple award-winning projects, including the Electrical and Computer Engineering Building at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Center for Advanced Care in Chicago. She also served as lead designer on Lakeland Health’s $160 million Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion expansion and renovation, expected to complete in 2020. Sandberg is a member of AIA. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, followed by a Master of Architecture from Savannah College of Art & Design. Sandberg is a resident of Oak Park, Illinois.
Stacie Thornton, PHR, is a corporate senior human resources manager at the Detroit office. In her role, Thornton works with leaders to create tools and processes that provide employee coaching and talent development opportunities. She’s also serving on SmithGroup’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative team which directly addresses barriers to success for future professionals and facilitates an environment and firm culture where our differences are embraced. In addition to being a firmwide resource, Thornton serves as the human resources manager for the firm’s Shanghai office. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies in social science from Michigan State University, followed by a Master of Science in Administration in human resources administration from Central Michigan University.
As an electrical engineer at the Detroit office, Andrew Varilone, PE, LEED AP BD+C, specializes in providing complex electrical design solutions to healthcare facilities of all sizes. He has an inherent understanding of how invaluable a healthcare facility can be to its surrounding community and is passionate about providing successful and reliable electrical system operations. Notable projects include the new four-story, 187,000-square-foot Henry Ford Health System Brigitte Harris Cancer Pavilion in Detroit, scheduled to open in early 2020; and the recently completed 174,000-square-foot McLaren Port Huron South Tower addition. He earned a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Originally from Livonia, Michigan, he now resides in Northville.
As an electrical engineering discipline leader at the Boston office, Nick Votaw, PE, LEED AP BD+C, specializes in the collaboration and interdisciplinary integration on large-scale healthcare projects. Votaw is currently serving as the MEP project manager on The “New” Valley Hospital, a 372-bed, 910-000-square-foot facility located in Paramus, New Jersey, acting as the liaison between multiple stakeholders. Other notable work includes multiple phased electrical substation and air handling unit replacements for The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Votaw is a member of IEEE and National Society of Professional Engineers. He received a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Purdue University. Originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana, Votaw now lives in Melrose, Massachusetts.
Andrew Williams has over 20 years of experience in the AEC industry. He joined SmithGroup in 2018 as the director of operations for the San Diego and Los Angeles offices, managing all financial and operational aspects for the two offices. Guided by the firm’s vision and objectives, Williams ensures the offices have proper operational controls, administrative and reporting procedures, and people in place to drive growth and guarantee financial strength and operating efficiency. Williams is an associate member of the AIA and a member of AEC IT Leaders. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Washington, followed by a Master of Architecture from Pratt University. He currently resides in Long Beach, California.