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Chris Ambridge, AIA, ARB, has been an integral member for a variety of projects since 2004 when he joined the firm. Chris earned his Master of Architecture and Diploma in Architecture from Cambridge University and worked in the UK for a number of years prior to coming to the US. Chris’ more notable projects at CGS include the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and Eaton Elementary School Modernizations.
In his free time Chris enjoys running, biking, traveling, and photography.
Marielle Asenjo earned her Bachelor of Interior Design at Florida State University and her Master of Architecture from Tulane University. After spending several years in the heat, she moved to the DC Metro area and joined CGS Architects. With 6+ years of experience in the architectural field, Marielle has worked on several project types including academic, cultural centers, residential, and institutional buildings. She is experienced in all phases of design and is quick to help and lend a hand no matter the size of the project.
Marielle’s taste for design doesn’t stop with architecture and interior design. She is a nail art enthusiast, painter, crafter, and enjoys putting together delicious and decadent meals for friends and family.
Derek Banocy, AIA, earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kansas where the Jayhawks rule; he will remind you of this. As a Principal with CGS Architects, Derek leads teams on a variety of projects ranging in program, scale, and complexity. Being the in-house BIM Manager, he regularly advises on best modeling practices and workflow, peppering his colleagues with phrases like “Level of Development”, “Industry Foundation Classes”, and “Fit for Purpose.”
When not working, he enjoys building with LEGOs and coaching his sons’ baseball and basketball teams. When the weather’s nice you can find him at a local winery enjoying a tasting with his wife.
Isaac Bonilla earned his Bachelor of Science and his Master of Architecture from Andrews University in Michigan. He joined the CGS Architects team in 2017 and has 16+ years of architectural experience in academic, institutional, and residential design. His approach to design is thoughtful, engaging, and collaborative. He is a strong leader and encourages others to strive for excellence.
In his free time, Isaac continues to hone his craft through drawing and sketching. He also enjoys coaching his kids in soccer.
Mary Butcher knew at a young age she wanted to work in architecture. She could spend hours building houses out of Legos and drawing up neighborhood plans when she was just in elementary school; her mom has the plans still! Mary earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degree from the University of Virginia. In 2021 she joined CGS Architects as the Marketing Manager with over 10 years’ experience in non-profit construction (in the US and Haiti), architecture, and urban design.
Mary, the constant prankster, has been known to photoshop colleagues from work into humorous scenes which can be seen throughout the office on large stickers. When not working, or pranking, Mary enjoys teaching yoga and barre, singing in a cover band, and hiking with her pup, PopPop, the dog she brought back from Haiti.
Jonathan Chung earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada where his love for poutine developed. He has been with CGS Architects since 2002 and has 26+ years of experience in the architecture field and interior design. He has led several award-winning projects through initial concept design to construction administration.
If Jonathan’s not in his garden perfecting his potato crop for his own poutine base, he is either Railfanning or wandering around the Home Depot, a favorite pastime.
E. Fijoy Fisiy has extensive experience in academic, mixed-use residential, and historic projects and has been involved in all phases of design and construction administration. Fijoy earned a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and a Master of Architecture from Boston Architectural College.
Fijoy stays connected with her community through their Community Garden program and volunteering with community design initiatives, such as serving as a mentor with the Design Like A Girl program run by the DC|AIA. She also spends an inordinate amount of time pondering about the water parameters for her corals–she would be a marine biologist in another life.
Ed Foley, AIA, is a Principal with CGS Architects with over 27 years of experience collaborating with clients and stakeholders to create engaging and inspiring spaces. He has been with the firm for over 24 years. Ed believes that community must be the center of every project; you must learn and listen from those who will be most affected by the space, the end-user. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Carleton College and Masters degrees in both Architecture and Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He also studied at Oxford University in the Architecture and Urban Design Programme.
Ed lives and breathes community design and service. He enjoys volunteering with a variety of non-profit groups, especially communities where CGS Architects has been fortunate to work in. He believes strongly in a relationship-based approach to providing design solutions, with the commitment to the client ever evolving long after the completion of the project. He also enjoys coaching youth sports and has been doing so for more than 20 years.
David Friend, PhD, AIA, earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Ball State University, a couple Masters degrees, and eventually Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Graduate Theological Union, where he studied the interplay of proximity and spatial depth in religious architecture. In addition to his many years of study, David has 16+ years of experience in the architectural field in a variety of project types which include educational, institutional, and governmental projects. He enjoys working with clients to form a common vision for their project and shaping these ideals into a practical expression that serves the community. His calm demeanor paired with his comprehensive knowledge of the field means he can adjust quickly when challenges arise, offering a thoughtful solution to the problem at hand.
David also has an affinity for world traveling and outdoor sports which include hiking, cycling, and fly-fishing!
Gretchen Ginnerty, AIA, ASID has 33+ years of experience in the architectural and interior design field. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the University of Connecticut and her Master of Architecture from New Jersey Institute of Technology. Gretchen has worked on a variety of award-winning projects including academic, commercial, residential, and cultural.
In 2011, Gretchen founded The Love Quilt Project after traveling to South Africa to see the completion of 2 homes built for foster children in the township of Masiphumelele. The mission of the project is to provide Love Quilts to orphaned and vulnerable South African and American children many of them affected by HIV/AIDS and to provide education support for each South African child that receives a quilt. As President, Gretchen continues to lead the group and make lasting impact.
Don Gregory, AIA, earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech and has been with CGS Architects for over 25 years. Don has extensive experience in several different building types including academic, retail, residential, transportation, civic design, and urban planning. His expertise is in historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and sensitively integrating new construction into an existing historic context and fabric.
In his free time, Don enjoys domestic and international travel and expressing his artistic talents in ways outside of architecture, including jewelry making. A former collegiate athlete, Don is stays very active in a variety of sports such volleyball, biking, and other outdoor activities. He enjoys working with his hands restoring and driving classic automobiles.
Russell Harmon, AIA, has been with CGS Architects since moving to the DC area in 2019 and has 8+ years in the architectural field. His strong communication skills coupled with a calm and competent demeanor makes him a key contributor to any project’s success. Russell has experience in all phases of design and construction administration on a variety of projects including academic, office, residential, cultural, and mixed-use. His passion for sustainable design is palpable; he leads the office efforts in best practice solutions for green building design.
Russell earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon and a Master of Science in Building Performance and Diagnostics from Carnegie Mellon University. During a summer in college, he conquered his fear of heights, asphalt shingles, and sloped surfaces by roofing houses in Oregon. Scary, but what a view!
Lindsay Hellender, AIA, is an Associate with CGS Architects with 24+ years of experience in the architectural field. She earned her Bachelor of Environmental Design from Miami University in Ohio and, deciding she wanted to be closer to the water, she earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Southern California. Her experience includes a wide range of project types including residential, office, religious, academic, civic, and hospitality. She has extensive knowledge on sustainable design, historic preservation, and renovation.
Lindsay’s home is full of fun and excitement with Legos galore. Her two boys are constantly creating new worlds and she’s just hoping to not step on a Brick!
Rodney Howlett comes to CGS Architects with 20+ years of experience in the architectural field. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he focused on design. His calm demeanor and radiant personality make him a joy to have on project teams, especially when working through tough challenges that come up during CA.
Rodney’s first job in the DC area was teaching for a Construction Management Program at a small college in Virginia. The courses included Construction Graphics, Engineering Mathematics for Builders, Construction Safety, Construction Materials and Methods, and a course on reading Construction Drawings. Most of his students were subcontractors and tradespersons seeking to become construction managers.
Anna Karewicz, AIA, was drawn to architecture after seeing beautifully drawn perspectives of buildings; she instantly wanted to draw, paint, and explore the world of architecture and design. Anna spent a month in Paris as a student sketching along with other artists at the Pont des Arts and continued to sketch as she traveled through France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Norway, and Australia. Always sketching and taking note of the variety in the architecture style. Eventually Anna became more interesting in the invisible parts of the building–looking at the building facades with x-ray vision, still enjoying the materials and proportions but fully investigating the structure behind.
When not dissecting buildings, Anna enjoys biking, hiking, skiing, mountain climbing, and gardening. She also loves dogs!
Joe Lobos earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami, his hometown. While he enjoys the warm weather of Florida, he wanted to branch out and came to CGS Architects in the summer of 2017. Since joining the firm, Joe has worked on many local DC Metro projects from schematic design through construction administration. His attention to detail and fun personality makes him the perfect addition to any design team.
Joe is a man of many talents, like playing piano. He is currently getting his WSET wine certification and enjoys visiting Virginia wineries to learn about the wine making process. Oh, and he flew a Cessna 150 plane the summer before college because his uncle wanted a personal pilot. You know, no big deal.
Mehrab Malik earned her bachelor of architecture at COMSATS University Islamabad in her home country of Pakistan. After completing her degree she worked with a few firms in Pakistan before moving to the DC Metro area in the Summer of 2019. Over the years, Mehrab has worked on a variety of projects ranging from small residential to innovative planning projects to large-scale institutional designs. She believes the end user of a space must be involved even before pen hits the paper to ensure the project is successful. Mehrab is a silent force, never to be underestimated!
Outside of the office, Mehrab is a loving mother to a beautiful boy and enjoys spending time with her little family.
Melissa Kazanci is a graduate student in architecture and net zero design at the Catholic University of America. She is a quick learner who is always ready to jump into projects to further develop her talents. No task is too big or too small for her to tackle, which she does with grace and ease. Since joining CGS, Melissa has been quickly noticed as a rising star with passion for the built environment.
In her free time, Melissa enjoys sketching, touring old buildings, and dinners with friends.
Patrick Masterson started life as an inchworm. Sorry, wrong bio. Patrick is the Office Manager, Plotter Whisperer, and Jack-of-All-Trades at CGS Architects. He earned both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and a Master’s in Arts Education from the Corcoran School of Art. Fun fact, while studying here, thanks to his proximity to the White House, he was on a first-name basis with the Secret Service.
Patrick enjoys pottery, painting, mixed-media sculpture, chillin’ with his pup, Finn, and a good whiskey. He also has a knack for accents.
Roland Michelman’s passion for design and attention to detail allows him to take on the most challenging projects with ease and grace. His architectural portfolio is of varied scale and genre, including residential, religious, academic, commercial, governmental, athletic, restaurant, and museum design. Roland is an engaged communicator, always interested in multiple perspectives on an issue or discussion. This is perhaps exemplified by his post-graduate path, as he risked offending the entire Commonwealth of Virginia by earning his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and then his Master of Architecture from Virginia Tech. He emerged from the experience academically enriched and more than happy to debate the merits of each.
Roland has recently discovered the joys of making bread. He reports that he has cultivated a sourdough starter that has yielded results that have steadily progressed from crouton to toast-quality level, and since to “guest" level, striving someday for mother-in-law level. If you really want to get him started however, set a course towards science fiction. He will unapologetically debate the relative cultural imports of Star Trek versus Star Wars. Hint, buckle up first.
Ron Ngiam has 35+ years of experience in master planning, architecture, and interior design. His numerous design award work ranges in mixed-use development, commercial office building, multi-family residential, public sector, interiors and broadcast facilities. He is well verse in the design field, engaging design process with collaborators and bringing complex situation and requirements into an elegant solution. He earned his degree from Texas Tech University and has been in Washington DC area after graduation.
Locally, he has been serving in his neighborhood architectural review committee board. Growing up, he has developed a passion in photography, currently still pursuing architectural photography after hours with published work that can be seen in popular architectural magazine.
Peter Novick, CPA, is the man behind the finances at CGS Architects, aka the Controller. He earned a Bachelor’s from James Madison University and a Master’s in Accounting from George Washington University.
Peter is fanatical about the Washington Nationals. He also once ran a 2-hour and 39-minute marathon. Maybe he could try out for one of the Racing Presidents, seen at Nationals’ home games. Or maybe he already is the racing President Taft or Abe Lincoln. We’ll never know since they are sworn to secrecy.
Virendra Rawat, warmly known as VR at CGS Architects, has been with the firm since 2021. His work in the architectural field is extensive and includes mixed-use, multi-family residential, commercial, academic, institutional, urban infill and historic preservation. VR is not only experienced but highly educated. He earned his Bachelor's in Architecture (RIBA Part-2) from the School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi, India; his Diploma in Architecture & Building Arts from the Prince of Wales’ Institute of Architecture, London, UK; and his Master of Arts in Architecture from the University of Wales, Cardiff, UK.
Fun fact, VR did not get his driver’s license until the ripe age of 39!
Lexa Rio, AIA, is an Associate with CGS Architects with 17+ years of experience in architecture and design. While earning her Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Virginia, she spent a lot of time working in the studio, but also made sure to get out and explore the mountains on hikes. She also studied industrial design and has an enduring interest in materials, construction, and the art of building things that last. Lexa has vast knowledge and experience in all phases of the design process. Her attention to detail and strong communication skills makes her the perfect person to lead the design from the initial concept through construction administration, ensuring the building adequately meets the expectations of the client and other stakeholders.
No matter what anyone says, Lexa was not the star and captain of a professional roller derby team while attending school at VT. She did play soccer for 12 years and refereed for 5, has a home FULL of instruments (5 guitars, 1 bass guitar, a mandolin, a viola, and a tin whistle), and she helped handle a Snoopy balloon for a 2000 New Year’s Day parade in London.
Rob Romano, AIA, has extensive experience in academic, institutional, religious, and commercial projects with special focus on sustainable design. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Design from Clemson University and his Master of Architecture from Washington University of St. Louis. When joining CGS Architects in 2002, it was immediately clear to everyone he was the go-to for sustainable design, adaptive reuse, and anything else pertaining to green building design.
Rob not only talks the talk but walks the walk. He bikes to work every day no matter the weather. He also enjoys urban exploration via bike or foot; getting lost is the best way to find little hidden gems.
Aina Santesmasses grew up in Barcelona, Spain where she earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura La Salle. Aina joined CGS Architects in 2018 with 10 years of experience in the architecture field, having worked with multiple architecture and interior design firms. She has collaborated on the development of a wide variety of projects and is highly skilled in several design programs. Her commitment to excellence and attention to detail make her a unique addition to any team.
Dedicated to her craft, Aina tries to visit architecturally significant locations such as the museums Glenstone in Potomac, MD and DIA Beacon, NY.
Bill Spack, AIA is a founding principal of CGS Architects and has been with the firm since 1986. Bill earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Maryland, College Park and since then has dedicated his career to forming strong relationships with stakeholders and their communities in the service of design that reflects and celebrates the values and culture of each unique client.
Over the last 40 years, Bill has become a recognized leader in the architectural community having served on the AIA|DC Chapter Board of Directors and Arlington County’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board where he chaired the Design Review Committee. Away from the office, Bill enjoys the endless challenges of continuous home renovation and exploring the far reaches of NY’s Adirondack Park….or sometimes just grabbing a beer and watching the Nats….
Joanna Schmickel, FAIA, is a Principal with CGS Architects with 37+ years of experience in the architectural field. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University and since completing her degree, has worked on a variety of award-winning projects including academic, residential, cultural, and master planning. Joanna’s thoughtful and engaging demeanor make her a sought-out advisor and mentor within the architectural profession. Throughout her career, Joanna has believed mentorship is an integral part of the architectural profession. She is the founder and lead mentor of the Design Like a Girl Mentor Program with the Washington Architectural Foundation where she works with students in middle school who are interested in design.
Joanna enjoys running, biking, traveling, skiing, hosting get-togethers with friends and family, and spending time with her lovable Great Dane, Margaux.
Richard Warren earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the Catholic University of America, along with a minor in Sustainability. Having experience in residential design, interior design, and the furniture and clothing retail world allows Richard to approach space making with a user oriented perspective. This perspective has been the base of several undergraduate studio projects that have received credible awards and acknowledgements.
Still very young in his career, Richard is excited to have joined CGS post-graduation, gain valuable experience in the academic design world, and have this opportunity to work with a talented team of architects.
Being able to play piano, run outdoors, furniture flip, and scavenge thrift stores as regular hobbies, keeps Richard sane when he is not in the studio enjoying the post-covid world.
Tom Wheeler, AIA is a Principal at CGS Architects with 30+ years of experience in the architecture field. Tom earned both his Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park. Over the years, he has worked on many institutional and educational projects throughout the DC Metro area, forming long lasting relationships with clients who continue to come to CGS Architects for next phases of work.
Prior to practicing architecture, Tom had several mini-careers: journeyman sheet metal worker, tugboat deckhand, and artist working with leaded and formed glass. Tom’s work can be found in homes and churches in the Washington area, including the Washington National Cathedral.
Kelsey Wilson earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her Master of Science in Architectural Lighting from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center. She has worked on all phases of the design process on a variety of project types including Residential, K-12, Higher Education, Hospitality, and Cultural.
The end-user experience is Kelsey's main focus; her involvement on large academic projects, coupled with her background in residential design, allows her to create spaces that address the client's goals from big to small. Kelsey provides a crucial level of detail to every project that she works on. Her discipline in the design process allows her to carry a conceptual design all the way through to completion in a smooth and efficient manner. Outside of work, Kelsey's interests include watching documentaries, listening to true crime podcasts, and adventures with her dog, Logan.
Brett Winterberg joined the CGS Architects’ team in 2018, bringing an enthusiastic and innovative approach to projects. He works diligently to ensure every detail is taken care of while still seeing the project at large and not losing sight of the overall goal.
He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky, soaking up all the sun and whiskey Lexington had to offer. His fun and witty personality make him an enjoyable addition to any collaboration. Plus, he’s always got the perfect meme at the ready!
Julianna von Zumbusch, AIA, is an Associate at CGS Architects with 15+ years of experience in the architecture field. She earned her Bachelor of Architecture from Columbia College and her Master of Architecture from Yale University. While in school, Julianna was a teaching assistant for several courses, which has prepared her for one of her favorite roles: mentoring younger staff and emerging professionals. One of the aspects that attracted Julianna to CGS was their strong commitment to design that focused on client needs and she enjoys engaging with end-users before focusing on how design will impact their daily lives. Julianna is known for her organization and attention to detail, skills that are a must for any phase of design. Her calm presence and clear communication style makes her an effective leader on any design team.
What kind of hobbies does Julianna like best? Baking, Brewing, and Birding.