From the Firms – 9.9.22

By Posted on September 9, 2022

Member & Firm Updates


Haile Promoted to Principal at AE Works

AE Works, a building design and consulting firm headquartered in Pittsburgh, is excited to announce the promotion of Tiffany Haile, AICP, LEED AP to the role of Associate Principal, Planning + Project Services.  Tiffany, a long-tenured staff member, is the first person to be appointed to a Principal-level role at AE Works.

As Associate Principal, Planning + Project Services, Tiffany leads a fast-growing offering at AE Works focused on analysis, consulting, management and execution of building projects. Planning + Project Services delivers solutions that wrap around architecture and engineering to make building projects a better value. A Certified Planner and experienced client leader, Tiffany has years of working with diverse stakeholder groups to implement projects across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

More information is available here:


New Hire at Allen + Shariff

Allen + Shariff Corporation is pleased to announce that Caleb Wakeley has joined the Pittsburgh Office, as a Mechanical Designer. Allen + Shariff Corporation is a mechanical/electrical/plumbing/fire protection engineering and commissioning services company, with its headquarters in Columbia, MD and offices in Pittsburgh, PA, Zelienople, PA, Chicago, IL, Salisbury, MD, and Wilmington, NC.


DesignGroup Celebrates 50th Anniversary

In celebration of DesignGroup’s 50th anniversary, the firm created a detailed look back at their founding and the people, values, and experiences that made them who they are today. Download a preview of the book to meet the founders, current leaders, and predictions for the future, and learn more about 50 projects they feel represent the breadth and depth of their project work.


DLA+ Hires Alexandra Garcia as Architectural Designer

DLA+ Architecture and Interior Design is excited to announce that Alexandra Garcia, Assoc. AIA has joined the firm as Architectural Designer. Alexandra is a graduate of Penn State University with a Bachelor of Architecture. In her current role, Alexandra assists the firm’s Project Architects with all aspects of projects from programming through construction administration.


New Team Member at evolveEA

EvolveEA is excited to welcome Sarine Sahakian. Sarine recently joined evolveEA as an urban designer with international architecture and planning experience. She will be instrumental in advancing the firm’s design & infrastructure work, drawing upon past projects and studies from Beirut, Lebanon and Pittsburgh.


Perkins Eastman Names Emily Pierson-Brown as People Culture Manager

Emily Pierson-BrownAIA a Senior Associate with Perkins Eastman, has recently become the firm’s first “People Culture Manager” in which she will guide Perkins Eastman’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) goals and initiatives. Emily’s passion for bringing voice to marginalized groups has been pivotal in the DE&I space for several years, where she has served on Perkins Eastman’s DE&I committee, and led the Pittsburgh region’s Women+ in Design PGH.

Emily has fully embraced Perkins Eastman’s Human by Design ethos, bringing a thoughtful balance of design and empathy to her work in the Senior Living practice. In her interactions with clients doing initial visioning and planning work, she weaves a client’s mission and organizational goals into placemaking. Her background in planning and residential architecture has translated into a keen ability to converse with a wide variety of people, which has been highlighted through the workshops she has led in DE&I, Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), and with clients.

Emily’s twenty-year foundation in design, six of those with Perkins Eastman in Pittsburgh, is supported by a passion for bringing a sense of belonging to everything in which she engages. She has been a firmwide leader of the WLI since 2018 and a member of the DE&I Operations Team since its inception in 2020. In 2019, Emily received the Sho-Ping Chin memorial grant to attend the AIA Women’s Leadership Summit. The following year, she participated in the National Intercultural Leadership Program sponsored by AIA Minnesota, a ten-session program that aims to bring more cultural competence to the architecture industry. Emily holds a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University.

Emily is a co-founder and leader of Women+ in Design PGH, a board member of AIA Pittsburgh, and an adjunct studio instructor at the University of Pittsburgh architecture studios.

Perkins Eastman also welcomes new staff members Xiaoyang Xu, Ellis Vogt, Assoc. AIA, Anthony Loverher, and Megan Shrout to their Pittsburgh studio and sends their fantastic summer interns Anjali Gopalakrishnan (Penn State) and Meghna Koushik (CMU) back to school with a fond farewell.


Strada Elevates Five Stradistas

Strada, a cross-disciplinary design firm, recently elevated 5 Stradistas to leadership positions within the company.

As a studio that seeks to create meaningful experiences, the last three years have led Strada to evolve in unexpected ways. Facing uncertainty and inevitable change while working at an accelerated pace, they discovered unique skillsets and talents within their team and capitalized on them to reinforce their mission of Design with People in Mind®.

“We’re all a little weird and we love it,” said Tom Price – Strada Principal. Strada hires interesting and talented people with diverse perspectives because it makes their studios more robust. Embracing this specialness allows them to discover fresh potential and build intentional teams that focus on crafting design solutions that are thoughtful, engaging, and progressive.

Continuing along this path they are proud to announce the elevation of 5 Stradistas who regularly utilize their individual talents and interests to lead and enhance the evolution of Strada.

Mark Hensler, RA – Senior Associate – Mark is “On-Call” for every Stradista and manages to remain as calm as the sea during the fiercest storm. Mark rocks steady, delivering as promised with professionalism and spontaneous humor. He was elevated to Senior Associate from Associate for his exceptional and consistent display of leadership, project management, and technological prowess.

Kevan Rutledge, RA, AIA – Senior Associate – Kevan is the resident “Code Master.” He is known for his deep knowledge and strategic navigation of Building Codes. He is a mentor to many and a stranger to none. Kevan was elevated to Senior Associate from Associate for consistently demonstrating exceptional (complex) project management skills, outstanding professional development, and merciful mentorship.

Joanna Grace “Jo” Berchielli, NCIDQ, IIDA – Associate – On a scale from “No Diggity” to “An overwhelming surplus of Diggity,” there is no doubt that Jo pushes the envelope with clients, urging them to explore outside their design comfort zones. She was elevated to Associate for boosting the Studio’s design skills, excellent client engagement, and savvy business development aptitude.

Monika Gibson – Associate – Monika is the in-house Champion of Holistic and Inclusive Design. She has an innate ability to design through stories that powerfully connect people and place, coupled with a knack for communicating design intent beautifully through 2D & 3D mediums. Monika was elevated to Associate for her demonstrated ability to manage complex challenges, her leadership in project-based immersive design research sessions, and for being a unicorn in the world of hospitality design.

Mel Sloan – Associate – If Trailblazing were a person… it would be Mel Sloan. A big picture thinker with the chops to back it up, Mel is often praised for her visioning skills and sparking curiosity both internally and with clients. She was elevated to Associate for her ability to work through intricate opportunities, mentoring others, and driving/refreshing the Strada culture. Mel has simultaneously assumed Strada’s first-ever Experience Designer role (which she wittingly developed herself based on her talent and passions).

The future is bright at Strada. The firm is committed to turning visions to reality and helping to shape new places across the nation.


WTW Architects is Pleased to Announce New Staff Additions and Certifications

William Pope, Assoc. AIA joins WTW Architects as a Senior Project Manager. A graduate of Penn State University, Bill brings over 25 years of experience and leadership to the WTW team. He brings breadth and depth of knowledge in the areas of Higher Education and Commercial design. Bill previously worked at WTW and they are happy to have him with them again.

Christian Pegher, AIA joins WTW Architects as a Senior Project Manager. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, Chris brings nearly thirty years of architectural experience to the team as well as his expertise as a Certified Passive House Designer. His technical and design skills are a great asset to the team, especially to mentor their talented emerging professionals.

WTW is also thrilled to share that Senior Interior Designer Heather Marra has recently obtained her NCIDQ certification.  This achievement just reinforces her commitment to public health, safety and welfare within the built environment.  Heather has been an essential part of the team since 2014 and has lead the interior design of a broad range of projects, most recently Towson University’s Student Union and Aramark food service renovations at Albright College.




DRAW Collective’s New Intermediate Elementary School, Trinity Area S.D. Designed by All-Female Team

Historically a male-dominated industry, DRAW Collective has worked to buck the trend in recent years with close to half of their current staff comprised of women. This has had a tremendous impact on the firm’s growth and led to more diverse design teams and in some cases, teams made up entirely of female architects and designers. Most recently an all-female team led by Jacklyn Cowan, including Jessica Ondrusek, Kayla Benton and Victoria Hampton broke ground on a new 50-million-dollar intermediate school for the Trinity Area School District with a design focus on strengthening the relationships between individual classrooms and flexible learning environments.

Each of the building’s three levels will contain a centralized Innovation Project Classroom to support the STREAM elements of the curriculum. The school design integrates classroom adjacent support places for team activities, pull-out instruction, and small group learning.

The heart of this new building will be its specialized team learning areas aligned around a vertical atrium. The Media Center, STREAM Laboratory and Advanced Learning Classrooms which open to a second story outdoor project patio. A two story Blue Box Auditorium creates multi-purpose assembly space for arts and music programming and community presentations. The new Trinity Intermediate Elementary is designed to be expanded by an additional grade level if needed and its educational programming advancements offer all District students an accentuated learning transition between the Primary and Middle School platform.


Montana’s First LEED ND Certification by evolveEA

Montana’s first LEED Gold for Neighborhood Development(LEED ND) project is designed to enable affordable and sustainable living adjacent to Story Mill Community Park’s 40-acre wildlife sanctuary, community center, and trails in Bozeman. evolveEA led the architecture and landscape design team in creating 62 energy-efficient, mixed-income homes, and managed the LEED certification process for the project, which is currently under construction.

evolveEA is thrilled to see their sustainability strategies verified through the LEED V4 rating system, demonstrating unprecedented achievement as a model for future development in the region. Bridger View’s first available units will be completed and occupied later this year, with many priced below the typical local market rate.

Read more about the project here.

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