It’s an understatement to say our expansion into Pittsburgh has gone well. In fact, it has exceeded all expectations. A big part of that success is building the right team, and it started with Managing Partner Tom Chidlow.
In 2017, DesignGroup knew it wanted to open a second location to extend its geographic reach and offer new opportunities for staff and leadership. The question was, where?
Managing Partner Jennifer Horvath was tasked with doing the groundwork: Identifying possible markets, gauging business potential, and searching for people to lead the new location. Going into the search, she knew finding the right person could be key to determining the place. “It was important to have someone local lead the office,” Jennifer says. “Someone who knew the community and was working in it, so the growth could be organic.”
When she met with Tom Chidlow at a Wheeling diner, she knew she’d found both. DesignGroup’s new office was formally opened in March of 2017. Starting with a core team of Project Architect Anastasia Markiw and Associate PrincipalJohn Ryan (the “OG”) and several key staff members, the Pittsburgh office grew to a staff of 13. It has doubled its original footprint, and Tom was named Managing Partner for the firm in 2021.
Located at Nova Place on the North Shore (close to the city’s famed Steelers and Pirates stadiums), the office’s open, collaborative workspace is in close proximity to several clients, including Allegheny Health Network, UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh, and others.
“Tom has done an amazing job building and managing our business in Pittsburgh,” says DesignGroup CEO Sherm Moreland. “It’s beyond where we thought it could be in five years. Managing that kind of growth during a pandemic is nothing short of remarkable.”
The key to this rapid success? “It’s twofold,” says Jennifer. “First, client service is Tom’s major strength. He has a quiet, steady hand on the wheel, and he’s so good at knowing the details of a project and making sure resources are being used at the highest possible level for the client.” The second reason: he cares deeply about Pittsburgh. “Tom is a local pillar, in both architecture circles and the community,” adds Jennifer. “He is embedded in this city.”
Among other projects, the Pittsburgh team is currently working on an ambitious renovation of the University of Pittsburgh’s main IT administrative complex. Located in the heart of campus, the historic building is being updated to meet the needs of modern technology workers. Other ongoing clients include Washington Health System, Penn Highlands, Indiana Regional Medical Center, and Butler Health System.
As the Pittsburgh office reaches this milestone, DesignGroup congratulates Tom and the team for their dedication, creativity, and success. We can’t wait to see what comes next.