Transitions and Transformations

John Webre

March 8, 2022

Moving forward in a changing world

As I enter the final glidepath of my career as the leader of Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture, I begin to reflect on the loving trust given to me by the founders, Al Dreyfuss and Len Blackford, as I picked up the leadership of the firm. It was their faith in me that gave me the strength and vision to carry this legacy firm forward for more than 30 years. It is in that same spirit of trust and understanding that I have turned over the leadership of the firm to my core team of trusted collaborators and partners.

I have spent a lifetime thinking about leadership. I have learned that the culture of an organization is deeply important to every team member and core to its leadership. The passion for the work comes from a deep connection to its purpose and impact. This underlying “why” cannot be buried, it is right at the surface and top of mind for all to see that what we do contributes to the purpose and impact of the work. It is with that guiding principal in mind that we transition to the next chapter of the leadership of the firm.

Handing over leadership of the firm has been part of my job for the last 10 years. During that time, I have been mentoring and teaching four key individuals who possess the right skills and core values to lead the firm forward. They are each different and, in their differences, lies their strengths. Each has a “superpower” that makes their leadership in the firm unique. They align clearly on the core principle of the purpose and impact of the work, and from that platform a strong collaboration is formed to lead the firm into the next chapter.

These four individuals form the Managing Partners Group (MPG) which has been formally in place and leading the company since 2019. During their time as firm leaders we have grown, designed award winning projects, broken revenue records, and transformed to a very nimble and technologically advanced organization with a culture that is connected and very aware of its valuable impact. All of this was accomplished during COVID.  They have proven themselves as leaders and have shaped the direction of the firm that is completely aligned with the direction of the firm when Al and Len first set it in motion.

The MPG is formed from the collective skills of these four individuals:

Kristopher Barkley, AIA, NCARB – Design Principal/President

Kris has shaped the design work of the firm for over three decades. He also possesses a deep attention to administrative detail and design technology.  His strengths have moved us forward on many important fronts, including areas of firm administration and design technology.

Gus Fischer, AIA, LEED AP – Production Principal/Chief Financial Officer

Gus leads the operations of the organization. He has been chiefly responsible for providing clear analysis of our firm’s financial performance, and project management guidance. He has also been largely responsible for building an amazing team of talented individuals. His analytical mind and organized production skill set makes him uniquely qualified to guide the firm practice.

Scott Shannon, AIA – Principal/San Francisco

Scott is our practice leader in our San Francisco office.  His deep understanding of the Bay Area and practice management skills provide the firm with an important lens to use in evolving our firm in these markets.  His team leadership skills and deep understanding of the Healthcare Market provides us with an ability to grow our practice.

Jason A. Silva, AIA, LEED AP – Business Development/Design Principal

Jason is the “outward facing” part of the MPG and leads the firm’s overall business development efforts. His unique design abilities form an authentic platform to engage with our clients and partners. He understands how to develop strategic approaches to bringing in new work and setting design direction in motion.

As I retire, I know that I’m leaving the firm better than when I started. Many things have changed in this world since that time. Together, we have transformed the practice to meet this moment. I’m proud of the team that is leading the firm into the next chapter. I also know that I’m leaving it in the hands of an incredibly talented team who will take the firm to a whole new level.

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