Cambridge, MA – Architecture, engineering, interior design and planning firm SMMA has announced the promotion of four current directors – Lorraine Finnegan, Jen Howe, Michael Pardek and Ryan Farias – to new leadership positions to support business growth and customer initiatives.
“Beginning with our founders in 1955, the company has advanced generations of leadership to consistently create a resilient practice that values our people, our customers, and our unending commitment to design excellence,” said Ara. Krafian, Chairman, President and CEO of SMMA. . “I am delighted to report that the SMMA tradition of promoting local talent continues with these well-deserved nominations.”
Lorraine Finnegan, Board of Directors
Currently Director and Vice President, Lorraine leads SMMA’s K-12 market and is a creative and hands-on leader for many of the company’s most important instructional design projects.
“Lorraine addresses the challenges inherent in major public sector projects by applying a collaborative, goal-oriented approach based on building trust and client relationships,” said Alex Pitkin, Director and Senior Vice President.
Within the company, Lorraine champions employee engagement and interdisciplinary teamwork. She is also a dedicated mentor for younger staff members and an empathetic support for female colleagues inside and outside of SMMA who, like Lorraine, balance the demands of parenthood, work and life. family. She serves on the Boston Society of Architecture’s Educational Facilities Committee and the Women in Design Committee and is a Past President of the New England Chapter of the Association for Learning Environments.
Jennifer Howe, Board of Directors
Currently Director and Vice President, Jen is the Founder and Federal Government Market Leader of SMMA and a key leader of the Providence, RI office. She brings exceptional leadership skills, tenacity and an ability to build lasting relationships with federal, state and local clients.
“Jen’s passion, expertise and love for her team is an inspiration to everyone at the firm,” said Brian Lawlor, Principal and Senior Vice President. “That she built the federal government group from virtually zero to what it is today is extraordinary.”
Internally, she is a strong advocate for mentorship and professional growth, playing a key role in the firm’s Mentor/Protégé program. Outside of business, Jen recently served as President of ACEC Massachusetts and President of the ACEC MA Education Corporation, and is the current Secretary of the Board of Trustees of Pinecroft School in Rehoboth, MA.
Michael Pardek, Board of Directors, Vice President and Chief Design Officer
As a principal at SMMA, Michael’s experiences as an architect and design leader include construction work in urban and suburban environments as well as visioning early projects for a wide range of clients. For him, each project is an opportunity to guide clients and colleagues through a rich, creative and engaging process leading to a meaningful contribution to the built environment.
“Michael is an exceptional designer whose creativity and collaborative instinct helps SMMA clients and staff through the iterative stages of the design journey, from conceptualization to occupancy,” said Mark Spaulding, Director and Vice – senior president.
As Design Director, Michael will foster an integrated design culture to advance SMMA’s mission to create responsible, well-designed, adventurous and beautiful places. Outside of business, Michael is a board member of Lyceum Fellowship, a non-profit organization established in 1985 by SMMA founder Jon McKee, which seeks to advance the architectural profession by engaging students in design and travel.
Ryan Farias, Vice President
As Chief Marketing Officer and Principal at SMMA, Ryan provides objective and strategic leadership across the company’s disciplines and client markets. As an advocate for change, he encourages SMMA colleagues to think creatively and consider what is most important to customers. “Ryan is a high-impact leader at SMMA, often challenging us to think differently and abandon conventional approaches,” said Marie Fitzgerald, Principal and Senior Vice President. “He is a team player who knows how to bring concentration, ideas and simplicity to complex situations.”
His accomplishments include establishing the SMMA Knowledge Management System; advocate for the launch of an employee engagement group while facilitating the creation of the company’s competency model, a professional development initiative; guide SMMA’s marketing technology approach, including business intelligence research initiatives; and lead the overall brand strategy by sharing the best stories from across the business with the goal of educating people and connecting with new customers.
Announcing the four promotions, Krafian said, “The contributions Lorraine, Jen, Michael and Ryan have made to SMMA are outstanding, and I can’t wait to see where they take us next.” The three appointments to the board represent the first additions to the company’s board in 12 years, growing the group from six to nine directors.