SmithGroupJJR, one of the nation’s largest architecture, engineering and planning firms, has promoted George Athens, Alexis Kim, Dan Kinkead, Mike Nowicki and Liz Vandermark to principal at its Detroit and Ann Arbor offices.
George Athens, AIA
George Athens joined SmithGroupJJR in September 2016 as the Detroit office’s Workplace Studio leader. Leveraging over 30 years of experience, Athens oversees the studio’s growth, including its project delivery and business development efforts throughout the Midwest U.S. His diverse portfolio includes national and international work for clients such as General Motors, SODIC, ADP and Tata Consultancy Services. Athens holds architectural registration in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and is an active member of the American Institute of Architects. He is a graduate of Carnegie-Mellon University where he received a Bachelor of Architecture. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Athens now resides in Birmingham, Mich.
Alexis Kim, IIDA, NCIDQ
As a senior interior designer at the Detroit office, Alexis Kim delivers strategic workplace solutions through research-based design. She is currently providing workplace strategy, programming and planning efforts for Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn Campus Master Plan, including its World Headquarters Campus where she serves as project designer. Slated for completion in 2026, the 10-year endeavor will consolidate three campuses into two, while accommodating for future growth. Kim is a member of the International Interior Design Association and received a Bachelor of Science in Interior Architecture from Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif. A native of Los Angeles, Kim now resides in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.
Dan Kinkead, AIA
Dan Kinkead is co-leader of SmithGroupJJR’s national Urban Design Practice. With nearly 20 years of experience in urban design and research, he is passionate about the reutilization of existing conditions in urban environments. Kinkead, along with Urban Design Practice co-leader Michael Johnson, will collaborate with Pink Zoning Detroit, an effort led by the City of Detroit’s Planning and Development department to conceptualize the revitalization of three vacant commercial corridors. Kinkead is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Architectural League of New York. He graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky’s School of Architecture, followed by a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Kinkead is a resident of Detroit.
Mike Nowicki, PE, REP, LEED AP
Mike Nowicki serves as leader of the electrical engineering discipline at SmithGroupJJR’s Detroit office. With a specialization in renewable energy systems, Nowicki is regularly sought after to work on complex, sophisticated projects. He is currently lead electrical engineer on the new 120,000-square-foot Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business in Detroit, slated to open in 2018. Nowicki is involved in several professional organizations including the Engineering Society of Detroit, Association of Energy Engineers and Toastmasters International. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, followed by a Master of Science in Alternative Energy Technology from Wayne State University, Detroit. Nowicki is a resident of St. Clair Shores, Mich.
Liz Vandermark, AIA
Liz Vandermark is an information analyst based at SmithGroupJJR’s Ann Arbor office. A member of the firm’s Technology in Practice group, Vandermark leads the Research and Data Solutions team, working to develop data-rich digital solutions for present-day design challenges. Promoting applied research opportunities across the firm, her team works with staff to foster inquiry and exploration through the collection and graphic analysis of information from project performance to business operations. She is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Vandermark received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, followed by a Master of Architecture and Master of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She currently resides in Ann Arbor, Mich.
SmithGroupJJR ( is a recognized, integrated architecture, engineering and planning firm ranked Top 10 in the U.S. by Building Design + Construction magazine. The firm’s staff of 1000 spans 10 offices, including its newest office in Shanghai, China. SmithGroupJJR is a national leader in sustainable design with 160 LEED certified projects.