A new president and CEO has been named at SWBR Architecture, Engineering & Landscape Architecture P.C., the Rochester area’s largest architectural firm.
One of Thomas Gears’ goals is to continue the growth path for the firm, which had a record year in 2016 with sales of nearly $14 million.
“We want to reprise in 2017 the success we had in 2016,” he said.
Gears was named president and CEO of the firm this week. His predecessor, David Beinetti, now serves as chairman.
Gears is no stranger to SWBR. He joined the business as a summer intern
in 1985 and became a full-time employee in 1987. He worked his way up to principal in 1996 and was promoted vice president in 2007. He most recently served as SWBR’s chief financial officer.
Company leaders said the leadership transition is part of SWBR’s strategic plan.
Beinetti described Gears as a big picture thinker with a calm demeanor. The new chief executive has a thorough understanding of SWBR’s corporate matters, client relations, culture, community and corporate oversight and design, he added.
“He has the right skillset to lead the business,” Beinetti said.
Gears described Beinetti as a mentor. The two first met through the Boy Scouts when Gears was in eighth grade. Beinetti showed him important buildings across Rochester, which Gears said led to his interest in buildings and architecture.
Gears holds a bachelor of architecture degree from Kent State University in Ohio. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, is certified with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and licensed in five states.
His work over the years has focused on independent/assisted living and skilled nursing environments. Several of his projects have incorporated elements of new urbanism into senior communities.
SWBR, founded in 1969, ranked first on the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of architectural firms and has nearly 90 employees. In addition to its downtown office, SWBR has a location in Syracuse.
Work this year is coming from a number of markets, Gears said. They include senior housing and assisted living, education, industrial and manufacturing.
SWBR is involved with several projects including ones at American Packaging Corp., DePaul Community Services Inc., Eastman Business Park, McQuaid Jesuit High School and Nazareth College.
In his role as chairman, Beinetti will focus on strategic growth and business development. He is to continue to have contact with clients.
Over his tenure that spans nearly 40 years at SWBR, Beinetti has spent a majority of his time on urban development and with university clients, such as Roberts Wesleyan College, Monroe Community College, Nazareth College and the University of Rochester.
He plans to remain active in the local community, serving on the Rochester Downtown Development Corp. and Monroe Community College Foundation boards.
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