Last Friday, Spiezle Architectural Group, a 63-year-old design and planning firm, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new 15,000-sf office in Hamilton in central New Jersey.
Spiezle had recently relocated to its new headquarters from a former bank building in nearby Trenton, N.J., where the company had operated for over 25 years. Spiezle executives spent over a year looking for the right space, and its move included filling four 30-yard dumpsters with stuff that would not be traveling with Spiezle to its new home.
The headquarters relocation can be seen as the culmination of some big changes at the company over the past few years, including the appointment last November of 14-year company veteran Tom Perrino, AIA, LEED AP, as Spiezle’s President and CEO, after he served as interim CEO for 11 months.
Perrino is also a member of Spiezle’s five-person board of directors, which since March 2015 has been chaired by Anthony “Skip” Cimino, a Partner with the lobbying firm Kaufman Zita Group.
As part of its strategic growth plan, Spiezle last September acquired GS Architects, a Havertown, Pa.-based firm founded in 1999, which is strong in the hospital and interior design sectors. That transaction increased the employee-owned Spiezle’s workforce to 60, and extended its market reach to western Pennsylvania. “We are now servicing clients in Pittsburgh,” says Perrino.
The company considered vertically integrating into engineering, but decided against that at this time. However, it is seeking more landscape design work, after bringing on Adam Alexander, LLA, RLA, as its director of landscape architecture. Alexander, who had previously been with Partner Engineering & Science, has added a staff person and is looking to bring on a second.
Spiezle’s expertise now includes the educational sector (it has 30-plus Higher Ed clients and is a K-12 regional leader), acute healthcare, senior living, government, non-profit, and corporate office buildings.
Tom Perrino (right), Spiezle Architectural Group's President and CEO, with (from left) principals Scott Downie, AIA, LEED AP, and Steve Leone, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. They lead the employee-owned firm with 60 associates. Image: John Caulfield/BD+C
One of the firm’s more prominent assisted living projects, Parker at Monroe (N.J.), is a long-term care community with 96 residents, consisting of six “small homes” of 16 residents each, which are connected to a community center. Two small homes cater to residents with early to mid-stage dementias, three for residents with mid- to late-stage dementias, and one small home for people who are cognitively well but live with physical challenges.
Perrino says his firm generally prefers to avoid “fee-based” projects, and relies more on business from repeat customers. “We’re not a ‘one-and-done’ firm,” he says.
The company is involved in about 100 projects in various stages, more than 60 as AOR. Its recent commissions include the design for a new emergency services training center in Huntingdon County, N.J.; and a health sciences building at Neumann University in Aston, Pa. Voters in Hazlet, N.J., recently approved a $43 million bond for renovations at eight schools, for which Spiezle will be performing the design. The firm is also designing a $50 million science building at New Jersey City University scheduled for completion next year.
The company’s new headquarters, with its open-concept interior design that bathes the workspace with natural light, seeks to foster collaboration. Perrino says that Spiezle’s goal is “sustained growth,” not only for the company but also for its employees: it recently added “associate principal” to its organizational chart, as a way for its employee-owners to move up the ladder.