Firm is Now Among the Largest Women-Owned Design Practices in the Nation

Alyson Steele, FAIA, LEED AP, president and CEO of Quinn Evans, has announced that the firm is now a majority women-owned business enterprise (WBE). According to Steele, the transition reflects a long-held commitment to developing a diverse leadership team, a critical step toward equity representation within the 200-person, nationwide design practice. Quinn Evans provides architecture, planning, historic preservation, interior design, and landscape architecture services from six offices in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic.

Quinn Evans is now among the largest women-owned design practices in the nation. In the home regions of its main offices—Baltimore-Washington; southeast Michigan where the firm has offices in Detroit and Ann Arbor; and Richmond, Virginia—the firm is the largest women-owned practice.

Under Steele’s leadership, along with her predecessor Larry Barr, FAIA, Quinn Evans has more than tripled in size over the past five years. During that time, the firm has significantly increased the representation of women and minorities on its staff and in company ownership. Currently, women hold a 51.5% majority of company stock, and more than half of the senior management positions (principal, senior associate, and associate). Notably, the firm’s president/CEO, chief financial officer, chief marketing officer, director of sustainability, director of diversity and inclusion, and three regional directors are women. With at least 51% owned by and operated by women in the majority on a daily basis, Quinn Evans now qualifies as a WBE.

"We are dedicated foremost to providing opportunities to those who can advance our profession and lead teams to do their best collaborative work. We are fortunate to have many spectacular women collaborators. Additionally, our women-owned status will expand our ability to connect and partner with a broader range of firms in the AEC community." said Steele. "We look forward to additional opportunities to team on challenging projects in the government, academic, and cultural realms. Our diverse professional team is ready to contribute expertise on significant preservation and new placemaking projects."

Major clients for the firm, which was established in 1984, include the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, the Architect of the Capitol, the U.S. General Services Administration, Amtrak, and numerous schools and universities. Approximately 64% of Quinn Evans’ work supports public-sector clients, at all levels of government.

The majority women-owned status represents the culmination in a series of milestone announcements for the firm, part of a long-planned leadership transition and strategic initiatives planned to enhance operations and workplace culture. Alyson Steele was elected president and CEO in February, followed by the promotion of Susan Pryor to co-director of the Richmond office in March, and the promotion of Thomas Jester, FAIA, FAPT, LEED AP as chief operating officer in early April. Most recently, Quinn Evans announced the expansion of its board of directors and the establishment of a new research fellowship that will focus on practices in the built environment that advance sustainable stewardship and inclusive design.

Quinn Evans is a Gold-level sponsor of the Women’s Leadership Summit (WLS) 2022, hosted by the American Institute of Architects from September 28 through October 1 in San Jose, California. The WLS is the largest event for women architects and designers in the country. The firm is also a member of the President’s Circle of the National Association for Minority Architects (NOMA) at the Corporate Champion level.

We are dedicated foremost to providing opportunities to those who can advance our profession and lead teams to do their best collaborative work. We are fortunate to have many spectacular women collaborators.
-Alyson Steele