Chief Executive Officer Steven McKay, RIBA Joins DLR Group

DLR Group CEO and Managing Principal Steve McKay

McKay has taken over as managing partner and head of the board from Griff Davenport, FAIA, who will continue to work at the business in an advisory capacity.

Starting October 1, 2022, the start of the DLR Firm’s 2023 Financial Term, the Board of Directors has appointed Steven McKay, RIBA, as the company’s next chief executive officer. He takes over for Griff Davenport, FAIA, who will continue to serve as a senior member and head of the board of directors. McKay is the chief design director and senior principal of DLR Group. He takes over as DLR Group’s fourth chief executive officer since the company was established in 1966.

“Steven McKay is ideally prepared to oversee our 100 percent employee-owned organization in delivering our goal to enrich the personal experiences via innovation,” stated Davenport. For the last 26 years, Steven has been our company’s biggest advocate for integrated design. At a time when critical design thinking is more important than ever, he is a firm believer in the ability of design to shape the built world. Steven is an industry leader who promotes sustainability and helps others advance in their careers. His worldwide experience and charisma as a leader make him an excellent choice to steer DLR Group into its next phase of development.

Some background about Steven McKay

McKay is a native Scotsman who attended Strathclyde University in Glasgow, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Studies as well as a Bachelor of Architecture. He then worked as an architect in both Scotland and Jamaica until joining DLR Group in Seattle in 1996. McKay has been at the helm of the firm’s integrated design practice since 2002, during which time the firm’s culture has shifted to place a premium on design quality. He played an essential role in establishing and growing the company’s Corporate practice, which encompasses Mixed-Use, Commercial, and Workspace. Together with Edward Mazria, creator of Architecture 2030, he worked on the China Accord in 2013, which aims to standardize the advancement and construction of carbon-neutral buildings and communities. To help the company show its design effect via evidence-based development, he launched a separate Research & Design Studio in 2017. Over the last 24 months, he has led a cross-disciplinary team in developing DLR Group’s integrative and holistic approach to provide customers worldwide with designs that are both safe and durable.

McKay: “I think DLR Group is the greatest integrated design company in the world, and I am proud to head our employee-owned organization as CEO.” “We have top-tier creative talent across all of our key client verticals, service offerings, and at the helm of our international network of offices. Together, we will build the DLR Group design reputation, provide rewarding opportunities for our staff, and achieve outstanding results in every facet of our company so that we may maximize value for our employee-owners.

The decision caps up a yearlong effort by the Board of Directors of DLR Group to choose the company’s new chief executive officer. Davenport is still very much involved with the company. He has retained his position as head of the board of directors, is essential in assessing potential mergers and acquisitions, and serves to promote DLR Group as chairman of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Large Firm Roundtable.

Since taking over as DLR Group’s CEO in October 2015, Davenport has overseen the company’s meteoric rise to new heights. Since 2012, the company’s sales have climbed by 154%, from $130 million to $330 million; the number of employees has increased by 113%; the number of offices has almost doubled, between 17 through 30; as well as the valuation of DLR Group shares held by employee-owner-shareholders has climbed by 195 percent.

McKay praised the DLR Company’s employee-ownership approach, saying, “The DLR Group concept is exceptional in its capacity to create a culture of high performance that produces distinctive value for customers.” I’ve had the privilege of learning from Griff and other great leaders in our company. Together with our leadership, I look forward to continuing to expand our business and strengthen our effect on our customers, our local communities, and the environment.

What You Need to Know About DLR Group

DLR Group is a comprehensive design business that offers services in new structure development, property rehabilitation, and facility management. Via our work, we aim to improve people’s lives through design. As a result of this guarantee, sustainable design is encouraged for a wide range of customers in the public and commercial sectors, as well as for local communities and the world as a whole. DLR Group is wholly owned by its employees, and its members have signed on as among of the first signatories to the China Accord and the AIA 2030 Commitment in favor of the 2030 Challenge’s activities and aims.

Education and Experience

Edinburgh, Scotland; Strathclyde University, Glasgow, Scotland

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Bachelor of Architecture Degree, 1993 Section 2

BSc in Architectural Studies from the Royal Institute of British Architects (1991). Part I

McKay worked as an architect apprentice for the City of Glasgow’s Directorate of Architectural Works in 1991 then 1992, and then later as a consultant with Michael Carter Partnership at Montego Bay, Jamaica, from 1993 until 1995.

Since joining DLR in 2001, McKay has risen through the ranks, becoming a Group Principal, then a Senior Principal, and finally a Managing Principal and a member of the board of directors in 2019.




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