Washington, DC—September 9th, 2021—Today we recognize the hard work and dedication of our colleagues by announcing our 2021 promotions and celebrating the expansion of our leadership team. As we begin the next era as a firm in our new NoMa headquarters, these new roles and responsibilities will provide a more focused avenue to further develop the most crucial elements of our practice—our culture of design, our commitment to research, and our ability to ensure all team members and projects have the support they need to flourish.

Please join us in celebrating our 2021 promotions. Congratulations to all!

Principal Promotions

Mark Ramirez, AIA has been promoted to Principal and Managing Director where he will play a robust role in managing project efficiencies and resources. In addition to his client development and financial management responsibilities, Mark will continue his work leading projects as a member of the Commercial Office team and join the Principal group in broader strategic planning conversations in pursuit of the firm’s overall vision.

“Mark has been a loyal member of the firm for decades, having shown initiative and investment in the performance of the firm, his project teams, and the staff as a whole,” says Senior Principal Mike Hickok. “He is a strong voice among the Principal group and will be an invaluable asset in guiding us towards our future goals.”

Associate Principal Promotions

Amy Shavelson, NCIDQ, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, Co-Director of Interiors, has been promoted to Associate Principal. In her new position, Amy will continue her work to strengthen client and broker relationships in the commercial interiors market while supporting team growth and development as they tackle new project typologies and geographies.

Melissa Brewer, NCIDQ, IIDA, Co-Director of Interiors has been promoted to Associate Principal. Melissa will continue her role in spearheading the interiors group’s corporate headquarters and build-to-suit projects while using her creativity and design management experience to steer the firm towards large-scale campus opportunities.

“Amy and Melissa have leveraged their complementary talents to steer the interiors group into the well-oiled machine it is today,” says Senior Principal Yolanda Cole. “They’ve displayed an impressive ability to pivot and evolve during a time when the state of the office market has been disrupted by unprecedented circumstances.”

Director Promotions

Rob Holzbach, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, was named Director of Commercial Office where he will lead and manage the sector’s project strategy and client relationships. As former Director of Staff Operations, Rob will also continue to play a leading role in the firm’s recruiting, retention, and DEI efforts.

Elba Morales, LEED AP, Assoc. AIA, Associate Principal, and Stefano Sani, LEED AP BD+C, Associate Principal, were named Director(s) of Design where they will serve to champion the firm’s design culture and fuel innovation. They will engage and nurture the talents of up-and-coming designers through the management of our internal Think Tank and Peer Review programs.

Rhea Vaflor, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, Associate Principal, will serve as Director of Trendcasting. Having launched and built the firm’s lifestyle and hospitality service, Rhea will continue to provide guidance over visioning and concept work while focusing on industry-wide trends and data tracking to help guide the firm’s research and design goals. 

Guilherme Almeida, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc., Fitwell Amb., Senior Associate, has been promoted to Director of Sustainability and High-Performance Design. As the Senior Designer on the American Geophysical Union’s new net zero energy headquarters, Gui will leverage his passion and expertise to advocate for the continued application of high-performance design strategies on future projects and pave the way for meaningful change within the industry.

Senior Associate + Associate Promotions

We are also proud to announce several promotions to Senior Associate and Associate levels, including Abigail Brown, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Johanna Lofstrom, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Laura Ewan, CPSM, Laura Roth, Patrick Gegen, Quy Nguyen, and Siobhan Steen, AIA to Senior Associate as well as Kerry Putnam, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, and Susan Sweazen to Associate. These firm leaders are recognized for their individual and collective efforts to strengthen the firm across our three tenants of Great Design, Great Management, and Great Place to Work.

About Hickok Cole
Hickok Cole is a forward-focused design practice connecting bold ideas, diverse expertise, and partners with vision to do work that matters. Informed by research and fueled by creative rigor, we look beyond today’s trends to help our clients embrace tomorrow’s opportunities. We’ve called DC home for more than 30 years, and are proud to have designed homes for some of the area’s leading organizations, including National Geographic, the International Spy Museum, and American Geophysical Union’s net-zero headquarters renovation.