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Bill Hellmuth to Retire in April 2023

Greenland Dalian East Harbor Tower, Dalian, China
National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia
King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center Community Masjid, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
District of Columbia Consolidated Forensic Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Hospital Renovation, Bethesda, Maryland
University of Maryland, Baltimore Health Sciences Facility III, Baltimore, Maryland

As HOK’s CEO since 2016 and chairman since 2017, Hellmuth has championed design excellence, sustainability and diversity while strengthening the firm’s position as one of the world’s largest architecture and engineering firms.

After a distinguished 32-year career at HOK and 44 years as an architect, Bill Hellmuth, FAIA, LEED AP, has announced that he will retire in April 2023, just ahead of the firm’s annual shareholder meeting.

Hellmuth is currently on medical leave. HOK executive committee members Eli Hoisington, AIA, LEED AP, design principal in St. Louis, and Susan Klumpp Williams, AIA, LEED AP, managing principal in Washington, D.C., are serving as interim co-CEOs leading the firm’s design vision, business strategy and day-to-day operations until Hellmuth’s retirement.

An extraordinary architect and leader, Hellmuth joined HOK in St. Louis in 1991 after spending his early career with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). In 1993, HOK Cofounder Gyo Obata tapped Hellmuth to lead HOK’s Washington, D.C., office. In 2004, he joined the firm’s executive committee and was named HOK, Inc. president a year later. Hellmuth became CEO in 2016 and chairman in 2017.

“It has been the greatest honor in my life to lead a firm doing such innovative design work across the world,” said Hellmuth. “We continue to grow and design a diverse range of projects that are important to society. Knowing what we do matters is very fulfilling for designers. HOK has a warm culture that doesn’t exist at every firm. I have great confidence in Eli and Susan’s leadership, along with the entire executive committee, to continue our focus on design excellence while sustaining our collaborative culture.”

Hellmuth’s work, which has won 29 awards from the American Institute of Architects, has spanned nearly every building type and 20 countries. The U.S. General Services Administration invited him to become a GSA Design Excellence Peer shortly after he directed the design of a confidential headquarters for a U.S. federal government agency in the late 1990s. In 2017, the AIA elevated him to its prestigious College of Fellows. In 2018, the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture honored him with its Distinguished Alumni Award. Hellmuth has also been a longtime proponent of sustainable design, believing that architects are obligated to design environmentally friendly projects.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Headquarters, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Hellmuth’s extensive project portfolio includes the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Headquarters in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Greenland Dalian East Harbor Tower in Dalian, China; National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia; King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center Community Masjid in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; District of Columbia Consolidated Forensic Laboratory in Washington, D.C.; Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement in Kaiserslautern, Germany; Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Hospital Renovation in Bethesda, Maryland; Sheraton Inn Timika Guest House in Irian Jaya, Indonesia; University of Maryland, Baltimore Health Sciences Facility III in Baltimore; NOAA National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in Riverdale, Maryland; Morgan State University Jenkins Hall Behavioral and Social Sciences Center in Baltimore; U.S. EPA’s Research Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; U.S. Embassy Chancery and Office Annex in Moscow; U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya; and 10 more embassy buildings around the world.

Sheraton Inn Timika Guest House, Irian Jaya, Indonesia

“Bill’s contributions to HOK and the architectural profession as a whole have been immeasurable,” said Hoisington. “His tremendous energy, optimistic nature and drive for excellence have made us all better. We’re grateful for everything he has done and pleased he will be available to share his wisdom with us during this transition.”

“Bill’s passion for design is contagious,” said Klumpp Williams. “He has established strong design leaders and management teams while driving our efforts to cultivate greater diversity throughout HOK. It has been a privilege to work so closely with him over three decades and to watch him engage with and to mentor our designers.”

“I can confidently say that I have never met an architect who is Bill’s equal in combining design thinking, empathetic leadership, client relations, business development and business acumen,” said HOK President Carl Galioto, FAIA. “He truly is one of a kind. We wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.”

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