We lost an exceptional friend and mentor. We welcomed new leadership. We celebrated exciting project wins and milestones, and we grew and strengthened our firm. From mournful to monumental, 2023 was a year to remember.
The year began on a sad note with the passing of HOK CEO and Chairman Bill Hellmuth. An extraordinary architect and leader, Hellmuth designed dozens of award-winning buildings across the globe and elevated HOK’s profile within the design community and worldwide.
While we mourned Bill’s loss, we were comforted knowing he never led alone. Bill instilled leadership in everyone, and we were fortunate to fill his very large shoes with two exceptional protégés. In April, Susan Klumpp Williams and Eli Hoisington were promoted to co-CEOs of HOK. Their new roles broke new ground with the establishment of the youngest and first female CEOs in our nearly 70-year history.
The changes to top leadership didn’t end there. Marti Stubblefield was promoted to director of HR, and Misty Yanko was elevated to the role of chief financial officer, becoming one of three women in our C-Suite. In September, Riccardo Mascia also stepped into a new role as HOK’s first chief strategy officer, a position that leverages his deep knowledge of HOK business operations and the design profession.
Our people also took on more industry-wide leadership roles, none higher than Kim Dowdell’s elevation this month to president of the American Institute for Architects, marking the first time a Black woman has led the organization.
2023 was a memorable year for HOK project wins and milestones. The total number of project announcements is too exhaustive to list here, but highlights include:
Our Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice celebrated a phenomenal year with the successful opening of CITYPARK Stadium, followed by news that we’re also designing another new MLS stadium for New York City Football Club. Other exciting project announcements include Jacksonville Jaguar’s new stadium and the Denver Bronco’s new training facility and headquarters.
Our Science + Technology practice continued to win new projects that advance research and innovation. These include Caltech’s new Quantum Research Facility (above), Clemson University’s Advanced Materials Innovation Complex and the proposed $2 billion Berkeley Space Center at NASA Research Park.
Our Aviation + Transportation group announced two significant new projects at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport that will modernize its S Concourse and its North Main Terminal. In New York, our alternative plan to modernize Penn Station turned heads and earned praise from architecture critics from the New York Times, New York Magazine and other outlets.
In Healthcare, we celebrated the sod-turning of Bon Secours Health System’s new hospital in Limerick, Ireland, and the groundbreaking of the University of Kentucky’s new Health Education Building. Michigan Medicine’s 264-bed D. Dan and Betty Kahn Pavilion topped out in Ann Arbor, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center opened its new Vision and Rehabilitation Center (above).
Awards + Milestones
As a firm, we continued to strengthen and grow in 2023. We opened a new studio in Boston, bringing our global number of offices to 26. The International WELL Building Institute presented HOK with a prestigious WELL AP Impact Award for our commitment to designing buildings that prioritize health and well-being. In California, our LA studio was recognized as a DEI Company of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Speaking of diversity, in 2023 we expanded our Diversity x Design Scholarship and awarded 10 BIPOC design students each with $10,000 scholarships and opportunities to intern at HOK. Finally, we finished the year with news that seven recently completed HOK projects won American Architecture Awards, recognizing the best design from around the world.
There are many, many more wins, awards, hirings and promotions we could add to this list. But we’ll end here by thanking our colleagues and clients for turning what began as a somber year into a very special one. Thank you.