PGAL Alexandria: 25 Years of Design + Community + Partnerships
When PGAL - a Texas-based A/E firm - established the Alexandria, Virginia office in 1989, the staff already had a major assignment: design and program the $400 million, one million-square-foot Terminal B/C at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).
The venture into Alexandria was a bold move for PGAL, which had not expanded outside Texas since the firm's founding in 1946. Many of the nation's leading aviation firms were competing to design the Washington National project, and while PGAL had a considerable aviation portfolio, it was not as nationally-recognized as the competition. PGAL, determined to pursue the long-shot opportunity, recruited world-renown architect Cesar Pelli to join the proposed project team. To the surprise of some industry watchers, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority short listed and ultimately awarded the contract to PGAL; it was PGAL's aviation know-how and Pelli's design credentials that proved to be a winning combination.
Since the successful completion of the DCA Terminal in 1997, aviation design specialists in the Alexandria office have continued to lead other major PGAL aviation projects: the $140 million Washington Dulles International Arrivals Building Expansion; the $325 million Philadelphia International Airport Terminal A West; the $242 million Consolidated Rental Car Facility at Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta; the $250 million International Arrivals Building at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston; and the $2.4 billion Terminal 3 at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. In addition to continuing assignments at both Reagan and Dulles airports, PGAL is currently involved with major aviation projects at Newark Liberty International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
“Establishing the Alexandria office provided the geographical reach PGAL needed to successfully develop a national presence,” says PGAL's Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Gerber, AIA. “Its success has been a significant factor in the firm's growth over the past 25 years.”
The Alexandria team's portfolio continues to expand throughout the local community with commercial and civic work, including hospitality projects for Hilton and Embassy Suites, domestic and international membership clubs for numerous airlines and the Charles E. Beatley Central Library in Alexandria.
The local staff includes architects, engineers and interior designers, many of whom have considerable longevity with the firm. PGAL President Ken Brown, AIA, managed the initial DCA project and continues to call Alexandria his home base. “Our success is based on a talented and dedicated team that has worked together for many years sharing a passion for quality design and client service,” says Brown. “Most of our staff started their families while at PGAL and have gone from youth soccer moms and dads, to proud parents of high school and college students. 'Family first' is our culture; we represent all local counties and are actively involved in supporting numerous community programs.”
Ken shares office leadership with Principal Dennis Comiskey, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, who joined the firm in 1992. Others with tenure include: Associate Principal Eric A, Dagradi, AIA, LEED AP, 24 years; Associate Principal Bob Volpe, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, 23 years; Associate Principal Richard Layman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, 21 years; Associate Scott Allen, 17 years; Associate Principal Edwin Aqudelo, AIA and Associates Canan Usdu-Topalhan and Soohyun Kim, LEED AP BD+C, 15 years; Senior Associate Stephen Yelland, 14 years; Senior Associates Rebecca Hollins, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Sally Suarez, 13 years; and Senior Associate Veronica Enders, LEED AP BD+C, 12 years.
“I can't think of a better foundation for our East Coast operations than our Alexandria office,” added Gerber. “The long-term stability of the practice has given PGAL a strong and credible presence in the region and we want to build on that reputation to grow a solid local practice in other markets.”
Privately owned and operated, PGAL employs approximately 200 professionals in 11 offices throughout the US and Mexico.