American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter

Natural Selection: Perspectives on practice, business transitions and transformations

AIA San Francisco
130 Sutter Street
Suite 600
San Francisco, CA
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$10 students/$25 AIA SF members/$35 non-members (Includes lunch)

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The panel discussion will focus on how firms in the a/e/c industry evolve over time from a business standpoint, whether through a sale of the business, generational shifts or ESOP. Other topics which may be discussed include the pros and cons of the three previously mentioned paradigms; how firms transition, adapt and compete in these changing times; succession plans and mentorship; passing on brand equity (retaining a firm's essence, while remaining relevant, or creating relevance).The distinguished panel includes Kit Ratcliff, FAIA, Ratcliff; Lynn Simon, FAIA, Simon & Associates, now Thornton Tomasetti; and Cinda Gilliland, SWA. Ed Friedrichs, former Gensler CEO, moderates.

About the Panelists

Cinda Gilliland, LEED AP, SEED | Principal, SWA Group
For the last 18 years Cinda Gilliland has brought strong conceptual ideas and a highly attuned eye for design and art to SWA projects ranging from academic and corporate campuses to community parks. Her life-long interests in art, agriculture and the environment brought her to landscape architecture after years as an artist and small business entrepreneur. She has worked on landscape designs for civic, educational, institutional, mixed-use, and residential projects both in the US and overseas. As her career has progressed an underlying theme has emerged of using design and the infectious energy of human creativity to catalyze social change.

Lynn N. Simon, FAIA, LEED Fellow | Senior Vice President, Thornton Tomasetti
Lynn N. Simon is a green building pioneer with more than 20 years in the industry. Her focus is on promoting sustainable and healthy building design, construction, and operational practices. Lynn has served on the Board of Directors of several building industry organizations, including the AIA San Francisco Chapter and the U.S. Green Building Council. She is a Master LEED® Faculty member, Certified Green Building Professional, and is a licensed Architect in California, She has a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley and a Master of Architecture from the University of Washington.

Christopher P. ‘Kit’ Ratcliff, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP | Principal and CEO, Ratcliff
Kit Ratcliff carries on a three-generation family tradition in the practice of architecture and is president of Ratcliff, the firm his grandfather founded in 1906. A visionary leader, Kit brings into alignment a diverse array of energies, resources and skills, having overseen numerous projects for civic, academic and institutional clients. Committed to creating a sense of place that respects the existing environment, Kit is an innovator, a speaker and a writer on climate change. Author of the Green Action Plan (GAP): A Framework for Existing Built Environments, he helps guide organizations in making durable, sustainable design decisions that move towards environmental balance.

Ed Friedrichs | Former Gensler CEO and Founder of the Friedrichs Group
Ed Friedrichs joined Gensler in San Francisco in 1969, opening the firm’s Los Angeles office in 1976. During his tenure at Gensler he established the firm’s successful practice areas in entertainment, transportation, urban and master planning and strategic facility consulting. In 1995 he was appointed President and, in 2000, Chief Executive Officer of the firm, leading its development as one of the most successful and influential design firms in the U.S. Ed had responsibility for the firm’s strategic development efforts as well as business operations in 24 Gensler offices around the world. He and his wife Pat formed Friedrichs Group in 2003 to pursue their interest in guiding the development of high performance organizations and places, focusing on strategy, culture and values, organizational issues, sales and marketing design.