Webinar: Lessons learned from renaming AEC firms: A frank discussion

Webinar – 31 July 2014, 10:00am PDT

There is a long tradition of professional services firms being named after founding partners. As companies grow and change with the times, there are numerous factors and triggering events that lead to questioning old paradigms and reconsidering a firm name: market changes; a partner’s departure or succession plan; and distancing the company from negative associations are but a few. The question is, how does a firm’s leadership decide when the company’s name is in the way, and then what do you do next? Renaming a company is serious stuff and can have tremendous benefits and consequences.

This webinar will be a little different as we invite a few partners from notable architecture firms who have been through the renaming process recently for a frank panel discussion about their experiences, the lessons they learned, and results of the process. Topics we’ll discuss will include:

  • Measuring the value (equity) in an existing company name
  • Identifying a name that resonates with meaning
  • Gaining consensus among partners and staff
  • Creating a platform that reinforces the name and brand message

Meet our panelists.


Heather Smith – National Director, Business Development
Architecture49 Inc. (formerly SmithCarter)

Heather has extensive experience leading organizations through complex strategic and tactical problems. A strong strategic thinker, Heather strives to bring tactical resolution to the problems encountered by her client groups whether they are related to long term facility planning, facility information management, financial justifications or functional programming. Heather’s past experience has included operational reviews, strategic facility planning, real estate portfolio reorganizations and facilitated workshops focused on a range of facility issues.

Heather holds a national leadership role with Architecture49 and has most recently spearheaded the reorganization of five legacy architectural firms into one national entity. Her background in Facility Management and strong understanding of the issues facing knowledge organizations in today’s world provide a multi-faceted background from which to analyze a wide range of corporate challenges.


Chris Pollard –  Principal
Think Ratio (formerly TRB Architecture)

For Chris, good design is the result of curiosity, careful listening and asking far too many questions. He is driven to fully understand the needs, aspirations and frustrations of clients and end users in order to create spaces where people truly want to be.

After 16 years of design and project leadership experience, he is an expert in bringing a client’s brand to life through the built environment. Chris is committed to designing spaces that make connections between the inside and the outside, promote engagement between people, soften our environmental footprint and evoke emotion and inspiration through the incorporation of art into the everyday.


Tom Sutherland –  Managing Principal

Mr. Tom Sutherland, Architect, RSW, AAA, AIBC, OAA, FRAIC, LEED® AP, served as Principal at Dialog. He also oversees commitment to Green Design, and the goal of better integrated, better designed and better performing buildings. He focuses on major projects, with the $1 billion Edmonton Clinic, NAIT’s Spartan Centre for Instrumentation Technology and Petro-Canada Centre for Millwright Technology as examples. He is an advocate for design excellence. He is a sought-after speaker at such conferences as the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), Constructions Specifications Canada (CSC) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). He graduated from Harvard.




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