TZL 1461 (web)




dynamic, brand-rich work environments, and campus life facilities for the nation’s leading developers, owners, academic institutions and users of real estate. “Under the new leadership, SGA will continue the transformational work that has established us as one of the most trusted architecture and design firms,” stated Chairman Al Spagnolo. “Our recent growth is a credit to the work of Gable, John, Adam, and the rest of our talented team. They are taking SGA to heights that Jeff, Bill, and I could not have dreamed of when we started the firm in 1991.” CEO Adam Spagnolo will lead and oversee the business of the practice including overall fiscal responsibilities and firm-wide operations. Adam will lean on his many years of organizational leadership in multiple industries including retail, architecture and design. For the past seven years he has modernized SGA’s business practices, opened the firm’s New York City office and managed its exponential growth. John Sullivan will serve as SGA’s President of Architecture. For 17 years he has led the firm’s many large-scale projects in the commercial, technology, life-sciences, and academic markets and often plays a major role in master

planning, conceptual design, and the public approvals process. Sullivan will lead the firm’s robust architecture practice focusing on design leadership and client management. President of Interior Design Gable Clarke has earned many prestigious honors and awards during her 20-plus year career, including 18 at SGA. She has been the driving force behind the expansion of the firm’s interior design practice and is an ambassador throughout the market. In addition to leading numerous interior design commissions and overseeing the Science and Technology discipline, Clarke will manage the firm’s human resources department. “John, Gable, and I are honored to lead SGA and this exceptional company into a new era,” said Adam Spagnolo. “In the role of CEO, I am here to serve the leadership team and our practice to ensure they have all of the tools needed to continue delivering industry-leading, tech-forward projects. SGA’s position as an innovator and trusted advisor to clients is a testament to the leadership and expertise of our founding partners Al Spagnolo, Jeff Tompkins, and Bill Gisness – we will continue to build upon the trusted and highly-regarded reputation they worked tirelessly to create.”

OWNERSHIP AND EXPANSION OF LEADERSHIP TEAM SGA – an award-winning architecture, design and planning firm specializing in life sciences, corporate and academic design – announced an internal transition of ownership and expansion of its leadership team. The firm will now be led by equal majority owners: President of Architecture John Sullivan, AIA; President of Interior Design Gable Clarke, NCIDQ, LEED AP, Certified Generations Trainer; and CEO Adam Spagnolo. Former SGA President and Founding Partner Al Spagnolo, AIA, NCARB will move to the role of Chairman and Founding Partners Bill Gisness, AIA, BSA, and Jeff Tompkins, IIDA, LEED AP, will transition from the firm. Michael Schroeder, CCM, will remain a minority partner. TRANSITION SGA has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, more than doubling the staff in its Boston and New York offices to more than 130 professionals. The firm has 15 million square feet of active projects. Continually at the forefront of its field, SGA has designed innovation campuses, emerging life sciences clusters, R&D accelerators, high-performance sustainable buildings, complex mixed-use developments,

CB: A motto here at J.S. Held is that “we hire adults.” Therefore, if a manager believes the best path for his or her group is to be in the office every day, we support that. If a different manager believes in a fully remote or hybrid remote/in- office environment, we support that as well. We feel that performance is almost always reflected in the bottom line. One of our core values is to think outside the box, so this practice and line of thought has been here for our people, even in the years leading up to the pandemic. We have a distinct culture that anyone can get behind. Anyone can get behind a company that starts small, adheres to its values, puts its people and talent first, does what it say it will do, and grows systematically without sacrificing culture. Talent and acquired firms respect that because it is a language they particularly understand. “The people are the assets in a service business. With that, there must be a focus on ensuring that people are happy, including titles, wages, and benefits. A happy staff, the main driver of billable hours and therefore revenue, is most important.”


Even as a buyer, we sometimes prefer advisors for the seller that may lead to a slightly worse deal for us because we gain efficiency through the documentation and diligence processes by having a party on the other side that has “walked the walk.” TZL: Is J.S. Held taking any precautionary measures relating to what some believe is an impending recession? CB: Our business is structured to temper impacts from cyclicality. Significant pieces of our business include insurance claims often resulting from bad weather events, litigation, and restructuring. All three of these services either don’t listen to the economy (bad weather) or may be counter-cyclical (litigation, restructuring). In my experience through the last two years, costs have increased and talent is a commodity. I feel we have the best talent to offer across many disciplines, so while we may have the aforementioned expertise that we believe may do well in a recession, our top-class talent makes us a sound choice for any client. TZL: How can newly formed entities reconcile disparate work environments behind a cohesive vision? Have you seen any shifts in conversations about work environment and flexibility, telecommuting, etc., post-COVID?

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