Traci Engel Lesneski to lead architecture firm MSR Design as new CEO and president

Effective immediately, Traci Engel LesneskI, CID, IIDA, LEED AP, Associate AIA, will assume the role of chief executive officer (CEO) and president of MSR Design. Following the retirement of the founders and recent move into a new studio, this leadership shift marks the beginning of the next chapter in the 39-year-old firm’s history. Jack Poling,…

Effective immediately, Traci Engel LesneskI, CID, IIDA, LEED AP, Associate AIA, will assume the role of chief executive officer (CEO) and president of MSR Design. Following the retirement of the founders and recent move into a new studio, this leadership shift marks the beginning of the next chapter in the 39-year-old firm’s history. Jack Poling, FAIA, LEED AP, who has led the firm for 16 years, will continue his role as principal, now having more time to devote to leading design teams.

Jack states, “I am very grateful that we have the right person at the right time to lead us forward. Traci has the design vision, temperament, and drive to help us achieve in the coming years more than we have in the past. I look forward to experiencing what I already know will be great things to come.”

With 24 years at the firm, including 14 as principal and head of interiors, Traci promotes an integrated design approach—equally valuing human well-being, building performance, aesthetics, and delight. Her design leadership has resulted in more than 55 awards, including an AIA CAE Education Facility Design Award for Haverford College’s VCAM Building. Traci regularly contributes articles to library publications and lectures nationally and internationally about the built environment’s role in fostering well-being, promoting learning, and creating inclusive and cohesive communities.

“It’s an exciting and challenging time for the architecture industry,” says Traci. “MSR Design is well positioned to thrive by advancing an alchemy of design leadership, client aspirations, and advocacy for the environment to create transformative outcomes with every project. I’m delighted to lead the firm into its next phase.”

Founding principal emeritus, Tom Meyer, FAIA, states, “All of us are deeply grateful for the innate integrity and steady dedication Jack has brought to his stewardship of the firm. Now with unanimous support of MSR Design’s principals, Traci will assume overall leadership bringing her natural good cheer, grace, and articulate voice to the task. The firm is in good hands.”

Given that only three women hold the top position within the world’s 100 largest architecture firms (according to a recent Dezeen survey), Traci’s leadership also represents a crucial milestone for women in the design profession.

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