Press Releases January 9, 2024

Perkins&Will Announces Appointments of Next-Generation Executive Leaders

As part of its leadership succession strategy, the firm has elevated in-house talent to take on the roles of chief financial officer, chief operating officer, and chief talent officer.

Global architecture and design firm Perkins&Will has seated three new executives at some of the firm’s highest leadership levels:

  • Todd Gilles, firmwide director of finance, has become chief financial officer, succeeding Dana Waymire, who retires in March.
  • Susan Gushe, managing director of the firm’s Vancouver and Calgary studios, has become chief operating officer, succeeding Tyson Curcio, who has transitioned full-time into his role as chief practice officer.
  • Amber Hamilton, firmwide director of talent, has become chief talent officer, succeeding Meg Brown, who retired earlier this month.

“We’re in an exciting period of change, growth, and expansion,” says CEO Phil Harrison. “Now is the time for us to celebrate and express gratitude for Dana’s and Meg’s many contributions; to support Tyson as he focuses on his chief practice officer role; and to welcome a new generation of talented leaders to the table. Todd, Susan, and Amber have been with Perkins&Will for a long time and have a consummate understanding of our firm’s business, culture, and values, making this a very natural transition.”

Get to know the leaders:

Todd Gilles | Minneapolis 

Todd Gilles has been Perkins&Will’s firmwide director of finance since 2017, working in close collaboration with Harrison, Waymire, and other executive leaders on mergers and acquisitions, financial and project performance, risk and cash management, and financial reporting processes, and related strategic matters. With 25 years of experience in finance at architecture and engineering firms—and with early career experience as a project accountant—Gilles offers a unique combination of industry savvy, financial acumen, and a nuanced understanding of project budgeting and delivery.

“At the end of the day, the quality of our design work depends on our ability to sustain a vibrant, creative firm culture, and financial security affords us that ability,” Gilles says. “It’s fulfilling to be able to contribute to the success of our practice in this way.”

Gilles succeeds Dana Waymire, who joined the firm as CFO in 2015. She has led the firm through a period of unprecedented growth and financial success, including several mergers and acquisitions, studio expansions, and other strategic initiatives. She was also instrumental in ensuring the firm’s financial resilience in the wake of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Under her leadership, the firm consistently met or exceeded its fiscal goals.

“It’s been a wonderful eight years at Perkins&Will, and now, as I prepare for my retirement, there’s no one better equipped to take over my responsibilities than Todd,” Waymire says. “I know he will handle our firm’s finances with due care and diligence, allowing me to step away with great confidence.”

Susan Gushe | Vancouver 

Susan Gushe has been managing director of the firm’s Vancouver and Calgary studios for 12 years and 10 years, respectively. Under her leadership, the combined practices have grown their collective staff from 75 to 160 people—an increase of 213%—and increased their annual combined revenue by 268%. The Calgary studio announced its expansion in 2020.

Having joined Perkins&Will in 1993, Gushe has served in numerous roles over the years, from project architect to director of operations to managing director. During her tenure as managing director, her commitment to championing sustainability as a key feature of design excellence has helped the studios earn more than 200 awards, as well as recognition as one of the most environmentally progressive practices in North America.

“Over the last decade, it’s been so rewarding to see our teams thrive in pursuit of Living Design,” Gushe says. “As I embark on this next chapter of my career, I’m looking forward to bringing the lessons I’ve learned at the local and regional leadership levels to the entire firm. My goal is to ensure our global operations run optimally for the benefit of our clients, and for the betterment of our practice, communities, and planet.”

Gushe succeeds Tyson Curcio, who held the chief operations officer position since 2015. After spending the last year and a half serving as both COO and chief practice officer, he now turns his attention full-time to the latter role, in which he continues to identify and implement project delivery methods that enhance the firm’s strategic objectives.

“I look forward to partnering with Susan in the new year and know she will make a great addition to the executive leadership team,” Curcio says. “She’s already contributed so much to the success of our firm.”

Amber Hamilton | Atlanta

Amber Hamilton has been with Perkins&Will for a combined 16 years, most recently serving as director of talent for the firm’s Atlanta and Miami studios. Her experience includes leading local and regional strategies for recruitment, benefits administration, and performance management. She has also provided support on firmwide initiatives such as pay equity, compensation planning, and leadership training. Hamilton began her tenure with the firm in 2003 as a human resources coordinator.

“As someone whose entire career is focused on talent, it feels especially gratifying to step into this new leadership role because I am a living testament to our firm’s robust culture of learning, mentorship, and personal and professional growth,” Hamilton says. “I often tell our teams there’s opportunity for growth in every situation if we approach it with curiosity, an open mind, and a desire to learn.”

Hamilton succeeds Meg Brown, who retired earlier this month. Brown joined Perkins&Will as chief talent officer in 2004 and soon after introduced the firm’s acclaimed “Leadership Institute”—a talent development program that provides clear pathways for employee elevation and succession. Brown also led the firm to double down on pay equity, expand its parental leave policy, and earn recognition as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Rights” by the Human Rights Commission every year since 2019.

“The last 20 years at Perkins&Will have been so rewarding. I’m enormously proud to have worked for a firm that emphasizes talent as a key part of its success strategy,” Brown says. “I’m excited to pass the baton to Amber, who’s been a true and trusted partner of mine for a long time. I just know she’ll do great things.”

Positioning for Future Growth and Resilience

The three successions at the executive leadership level come on the heels of several notable changes at Perkins&WIll, including new appointments to the firm’s board of directors in 2022; the addition of a chief sustainability officer in 2022; new leadership hires in Denver, San Francisco, New York, and the U.S. Northeast in 2023; and the opening of two new studios—Philadelphia and Kansas City—last fall.

“As the firm continues to grow and evolve, naturally, so will our leadership,” Harrison says. “I believe these kinds of transitions and successions are exciting and invigorating, as they ensure our firm is fresh, nimble, and well-prepared for the future.”