Press Releases 11.02.2021

Perkins&Will Elevates Next-Generation Leaders in Boston and Chicago, Appoints New Chief Marketing Officer

Leadership transitions reflect the firm’s innovative spirit and commitment to fresh, bold ideas

BOSTON and CHICAGO—November 2, 2021—Architecture and design firm Perkins&Will announces the elevation of new leaders for two of its largest U.S. studios, as well as the appointment of a new executive global head of marketing.

In Boston, principal Yanel de Angel has become Managing Director. In Chicago, principal Lindsey Peckinpaugh has become Managing Director and principal Bryan Schabel has joined Ralph Johnson as the studio’s Co-Design Director. And Gina Berndt—formerly the Managing Director in Chicago—has been elevated to Chief Marketing Officer. Robert Brown, formerly the Managing Director in Boston, turns his full-time focus to leading the studio’s corporate and commercial architecture practice.

“This leadership succession is an important part of Perkins&Will’s evolution and business strategy. It reflects our commitment to talent development from within, as well as our responsiveness to changing client needs in a post-COVID era,” says CEO Phil Harrison.

“We’re grateful for the leadership of Robert and Gina as Managing Directors, and look forward to their continued contributions to the firm in their new roles. We also know our clients in Boston and Chicago are in excellent hands with Yanel, Lindsey, Bryan, and Ralph.”

Read more about the firm’s newly appointed leaders and their respective roles below:

Boston | Yanel de Angel, FAIA, NOMA

“This leadership transition represents an opportunity to lead the studio that saw my professional evolution and supported my growth for the last 13 years. It means I get to pay it forward nurturing next generation of talent. It also speaks volumes about Perkins&Will’s commitment to women in leadership.”

Architect Yanel de Angel assumes the role of Managing Director of Perkins&Will’s Boston studio after more than a decade with the firm. Early in her career, she developed a strong reputation for simplifying complexity and building consensus among diverse stakeholder groups. In fact, she was a founding member of the Perkins&Will Project Delivery Board, which develops strategies for streamlining the delivery of projects and services to clients.

De Angel rose to prominence at Perkins&Will by acting on her passions: sustainability, resilience, diversity, and equity. A known leader in the planning and design of higher educational spaces, in particular, in 2017, she funneled those passions into the creation of ResilientSEE, a global network of organizations committed to redesigning and rebuilding Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Today, that network has expanded to Atlanta, Boston, and Mexico.

She has also played an integral role in several culturally inclusive planning and design projects for a range of clients, including Delaware State University, a historically black college; Colorado State University; and the Boston Housing Authority. She was a founding member of the firm’s Justice, Equity, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Council, too.

In addition to her business and managerial responsibilities, de Yanel oversees a range of large mixed-use projects. She currently serves as vice president of practice at the Boston Society for Architecture (BSA), and is on the boards of Sociedad Latina and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. She also serves as CEO of the nonprofit research collaborative AREA, which works to improve the built environment through partnerships across design, academia, and research.

“Yanel has just the right mix of skills—design expertise, business acumen, articulate communication, empathy, and strategic problem-solving—to lead the Boston studio into the future,” says Robert Brown, principal and former Managing Director in Boston, who will continue to lead the studio’s corporate and commercial practice with a regional and national focus. “I have the utmost confidence in her leadership, and look forward to seeing where she takes us.”

Yanel and Robert sitting together at a table.
Chicago | Lindsey Peckinpaugh, AIA

“As a woman, as a single mom, as someone who just came to the firm via acquisition in 2017, you could say that the odds were not in my favor to reach this incredible milestone. This sort of thing only happens in an incredible firm that is keenly focused on the quality of our work and the health of our culture.”


Architect Lindsey Peckinpaugh takes on the role of Managing Director of Perkins&Will’s Chicago studio after four years with the firm. She joined through the 2017 merger with Sink Combs Dethlefs, a national leader in sports, recreation, and entertainment architecture. It was Peckinpaugh who built and managed Sink Combs Dethlefs’ successful Chicago practice, which focused on community recreation centers, as well as events, athletic, and performance facilities at colleges and universities. During that time, she developed a reputation for building consensus and championing inclusive, diverse teams.

A passionate advocate for diversity, representation, and stakeholder engagement, Peckinpaugh leads several projects in and around Chicago that are designed to bring communities together. Her clients include the Village of Oak Park, Illinois, with whom she has partnered to design a net-zero-energy, multi-generational community and mental health services center, and the City of Columbus, Indiana, with whom she is working to transform an abandoned shopping mall into a comprehensive community health and wellness center. She is an active member of Perkins&Will’s Justice, Equity, Engagement, Diversity, and Inclusion (J.E.D.I.) Council, contributing to the firm’s inclusive culture, and she’s actively engaged in her hometown and university communities, as well. In 2020, she won a Volunteer of the Year Award from Crossroads YMCA and an Outstanding Alumni Award from Ball State University, where she serves as a guest lecturer and sits on the Architecture Professional Advisory Board at the R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning.

Peckinpaugh’s experience working with clients to create places that prioritize well-being, equity, and resilience—core components of the firm’s Living Design framework—is particularly noteworthy, as clients across every market sector are seeking these project outcomes.

“Lindsey is a natural leader. She impresses me, our colleagues, and our clients every day with her clarity of communication, strategic thinking, compassionate teamwork, and finesse in managing complex projects,” says Gina Berndt, principal and former Managing Director in Chicago, now Perkins&Will’s Chief Marketing Officer. “If there’s anyone who can successfully lead our practice into the future, it’s Lindsey.”

Gina Berndt (left), Lindsey Peckinpaugh (right)
Shaping Our Future
Chicago | Bryan Schabel, AIA

“This transition says something about how important legacy is: There continues to be a respect for the history of our firm and our founding office. Not to say we do not and cannot continue to reinvent ourselves in many ways, but there is a foundation that we continue to build upon with strong values.”


Over his 25-year career at Perkins&Will, architect Bryan Schabel has designed projects for clients in the K-12 and higher education, science and technology, corporate and commercial, and residential sectors. A protégé of Ralph Johnson, one of architecture’s most celebrated designers, Schabel has spent much of his career collaborating with and learning from Johnson; both have a penchant for thoughtful planning and programming as a core element of good design.

Schabel’s work has been recognized with 30 national and local AIA design awards. These include the nationally celebrated Ryan Fieldhouse and Ryan Walter Athletic Center at Northwestern University; The Contemporaine, a glass and exposed concrete mixed-use residential building; and Bowling Green State University’s College of Business.

Currently, he is working on the Damen Green Line Station in Chicago’s Near West Side neighborhood, whose residents have historically been underserved, as well as a socially inclusive, net-zero-energy community center in the Village of Oak Park, Illinois—a project he co-leads with Lindsey Peckinpaugh.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Bryan for a quarter of century—that’s a long time!—and so I can attest to his skills as an excellent designer, a strong leader, and a consummate professional,” says Ralph Johnson, principal and now Co-Design Director of the Chicago studio. “I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Bryan on projects locally, nationally, and internationally.”

Ralph Johnson (left) and Bryan Schabel (right)
Building On A Legacy
Global | Gina Berndt, FIIDA

“I am truly excited about the next chapter for our firm. There is enormous opportunity to build on our strong, inclusive culture. And that is fundamental to serving our clients with sustainable, resilient design that enhances well-being.”

For more than 30 years, Gina Berndt has been a nationally known leader in design and placemaking. Her reputation for building successful interdisciplinary teams and trusted long-term relationships has earned accolades from colleagues and clients, alike. From her role as a Managing Principal of The Environments Group—an interiors practice she co-founded in 1991 that merged with Perkins&Will in 2008—to leading the Chicago studio of Perkins&Will for the past nine years, Berndt has achieved success for her clients through a unique combination of design skill, business savvy, and love of storytelling.

“Among her many talents, what makes Gina a standout is her undeniable grasp of the power of brand and storytelling, and how both provide value to our clients,” says CEO Phil Harrison. “When clients work with us, they get excellent design. They also get the support of passionate, creative storytellers who can help take their projects to the next level—and to the right audiences. There’s no better person to lead those storytellers than Gina.”

Berndt serves on the Perkins&Will board of directors and chairs the firm’s marketing board. Under her leadership, Perkins&Will has been recognized as a “Most Admired Firm” by Interior Design; one of Architectural Record’s Top 300 U.S. Architectural Firms; an AIA Chicago “Firm of the Year”; and a Fast Company “Brand That Matters.”

Berndt is an active member of the Chicago business and civic communities. Passionate about advancing the architecture and design industry, she is particularly interested in how design can address homelessness. She is a board member of All Chicago, which works to prevent and end homelessness; a trustee for the Chicago Architecture Center; and an executive committee member of the Chicago Central Area Committee, which is dedicated to shaping Chicago’s growth, equity, and quality of place.

Photography by Charlie Simokaitis (C) 2021