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Clark Patterson Lee has designs on growth

Clark Patterson Lee is in growth mode, adding 25 people to its Rochester office over the last 14 months.

The architectural and engineering firm has 300 employees companywide, including some 125 staffers in Rochester.

The firm’s growth is due to several factors, including a slew of projects around the country, which range from a pedestrian bridge at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the future home of the Atlanta Falcons, to Rochester Regional Health’s Ridge Goodman Clinic. Other notable projects of late include the Puppetry Arts Museum in Atlanta. 

Clark Patterson Lee is also adding offices. It plans to open a site in Raleigh, N.C., in April, giving the firm 12 offices. 

The Rochester-based firm ranked second on the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of architectural firms, with 25 locally registered architects, and sixth on the engineering firms list, with 23 New York licensed engineers.

The firm provides architectural and design services for clients in the public and private sectors such as education, health care, municipal and transportation. 

CEO Todd Liebert said an improved economy in the last few years, as well as more activity in the health care sector have helped drive business. 

Sales were up 12 percent in 2016, and Liebert expects Clark Patterson Lee to post a 25 percent increase in sales in 2017. 

The growth has led the firm to look for more space this year at its St. Paul Street headquarters, Liebert said, and he is working with the building owner. 

Locally, Clark Patterson Lee is involved in several projects. They include a multimillion-dollar expansion at the Seneca Park Zoo and development of the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park slated to be built in Genesee County. 

The education sector is also performing well, Liebert said, with Clark Patterson Lee working on school district projects across the state, including in Greece, West Irondequoit and Geneva. 

James Brennan, assistant superintendent for finance at the West Irondequoit Central School District, said the firm has completed projects for the district for the past few decades. 

Most recently, Clark Patterson Lee wrapped up an $8.7 million project that included additions to five of the district’s six kindergarten-through-third-grade buildings to accommodate full-day kindergarten, as well as additional renovations at the district. 

Clark Patterson Lee staff members do a good job of explaining the projects to school officials and the community, Brennan said. The firm also places an emphasis on project planning, a move that saved the district money. On the recent project, for example, hardly any of the $500,000 contingency budget had to be tapped, he said. 

“They do an absolutely excellent job and don’t miss anything,” he said.

Moving forward, one focus for the firm is on expanding its core services in markets where it already operates, Liebert said.

Another focus is on developing its workforce, which includes many young professionals. Employees are responding to the focus on company culture, Liebert said.

Connor Himes, a civil engineer designer, said the company culture empowers employees to get together socially. Himes is setting up a 3-on-3 basketball tournament as a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. 

Architectural designer Sara Katz said Clark Patterson Lee encourages employee growth. 

“We are respected as young designers and trusted to get the job done,” Katz said. 

3/10/2017 (c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email rbj@rbj.net.

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