The award-winning multidisciplinary design firm Buro Happold has announced an unprecedented elevation of 17 senior firm members to partner this year, effective May 1. Among the firm’s new U.S. leaders are two prominent women practitioners: One known for innovative structural engineering, Yasmin Rehmanjee, and the other a leader in sustainable, high-performance built environments, Julie Janiski.
In addition, the announcement reflects Buro Happold’s joining forces with higher-education consultancy brightspot strategy, creating a specialized and integrated team of experts to help solve the weighty and complex challenges impacting colleges and universities today. Among the sector leaders is brightspot strategy’s founder and also a new Buro Happold partner, Elliot Felix.
Other new U.S. partners on May 1 will include Robert Okpala, who has led Buro Happold’s regional multidisciplinary teams for mechanical,
electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering on many large, complex projects, and the team that created a far-reaching sustainability plan for New York’s Battery Park City. Also an MEP leader, Panji Grainger has worked globally on high- profile stadiums, towers and mixed-used commercial, retail, and residential buildings, including projects in the United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, India, Malaysia, and the United States. Grainger served as MEP team leader for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. In addition, another sustainability leader advancing to Buro Happold’s roster of partners is Jeremy Snyder, who has accrued about two decades of experience in high-performance building and campus design. His credits include such innovative works as the Tower at PNC Plaza and the Pittsburgh International Airport Terminal Modernization.
The appointments add further strength and diversity to Buro Happold’s leadership team, supporting the firm’s strategy for continued growth through 2021 and beyond. Buro Happold CEO Neil Squibbs said of the new cohort, “They bring broad geographical and industry expertise, diverse lived experiences and energy that will drive the growth of Buro Happold, supporting our commitment to shape an equitable and sustainable future built environment for all.”
More biographical information on the newly elevated firm leaders follow below. Their promotions take effect in May this year and represent the highest number of new partners chosen by Buro Happold in a single year, encompassing experts working in five countries, 12 offices and a variety of disciplines and specializations. Details on all of the elevations may be found here, and a related announcement video is also online and found here: http://buro.im/newpart20.
Julie Janiski, LEED AP BD+C, MArch, MDesSci, is a Certified Passive House Consultant and a leader in Buro Happold’s Boston office, where she heads integrated teams of engineers, designers, analysts and other experts to deliver the highest-performance projects. Her career has encompassed work in construction, building operations, architecture, and engineering — broad experience laying the foundation for a fully integrated approach. Known for merging design, consulting and analysis to champion regenerative design in the built environment, Janiski directs projects at all scales achieving sectorleading levels of carbon reduction and water conservation as well as social equity and human health and wellbeing. Her recent work includes consulting on the Massachusetts Commercial Energy Code, a number of U.S. Embassy projects internationally for the U.S. State Department, USDA grant-funded research on forestry and heavy timber design, a Net Zero workforce training center in Pittsburgh, and The House at Cornell Tech, a residential high-rise in New York City which is certified LEED Platinum and Passive House. Janiski holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan and a Master of Design Science in Sustainable Design from the University of Sydney. Her commitments in the local Boston community include being a board member for Built Environment Plus, the co-chair of the Boston Carbon Leadership Forum, and a key contributing author for a proposed Net Zero stretch code.
Robert Okpala, MA BEng(Hons), CEng, MIEE MCIBSE, LEED AP, ESTIDAMA PQP, brings more than 25 years of experience in engineering design consultancy for commercial, cultural, educational and mixed-use buildings. Known for leading large multidisciplinary engineering design teams to integrate complex project requirements with aspirational architecture has helped Buro Happold clients achieve highperformance project ambitions. Okpala is an electrical engineer by training and serves as a Trustee of the Happold Foundation, a charity dedicated to using engineering skills and experience to make a positive impact on future talent for varied industries. Okpala joined BuroHappold in 1995 and has worked in Buro Happold’s London, Dubai and Riyadh offices before moving to New York in 2018. He is passionate about sustainable design within an integrated project delivery framework, and is recognized as an advocate for human-centric, smart technologies that improve resource efficiency, operational effectiveness, and user experience for clients’ built environment assets.
Yasmin Rehmanjee, PE, PE, SE, LEED AP, is a noted structural engineer in Buro Happold’s New York office with nearly two decades of experience in the building industry spanning the United States, the Middle East and Asia. Her expertise is in leading large-scale projects with teams across multiple offices has contributed to such iconic projects such as the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and the Hudson’s site mixed-use development in Detroit. Rehmanjee’s portfolio of projects spans across several sectors including stadia and auditoriums, commercial developments, higher education, and healthcare. She combines her technical acumen and leadership abilities to bring successful outcomes to the multidisciplinary projects she directs, and she is passionate about mentoring and teaching young engineers and architects. She has lectured and taught at several universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University School of Architecture and Syracuse University School of Architecture.
Elliot Felix has joined Buro Happold as partner and as founder of brightspot strategy, now a Buro Happold company. Together, Buro Happold and brightspot help institutions improve the experience for students, faculty, researchers, employees, travelers, fans, and visitors alike. Felix founded brightspot in 2011 with the mission to make higher education more engaging, more equitable, and more impactful by transforming programs, people, and places. An accomplished strategist, facilitator, and sense-maker who is focused on defining and solving problems for people, Felix has led brightspot in helping transform over 90 colleges and universities including Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, MIT, NC State University, New York University, Stanford University, the University of California Santa Cruz, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia. Felix is also a
prolific speaker and writer on reimagining higher education, having presented at more than 80 conferences including EDUCAUSE, SXSW, SCUP
and Tradeline, and he has been quoted frequently in publications such as Fast Company and Forbes. He has written more than 40 articles for such publications such as Planning for Higher Education, Library Journal, Business Officer Magazine, and Touchpoint: The Journal of Service Design. He serves on the Advisory Boards of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative as well as the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture.
Panji Grainger, BEng (Hons), MIET, CEng, MCIBSE, is a principal at Buro Happold with over 20 years of experience including working on site as the MEP team leader for the London 2012 Olympic Stadium. Grainger has a long history with Buro Happold leading complex, multidisciplinary design projects that are delivered within tight deadlines. His team-leading capabilities are a natural strength, complemented by his interpersonal skills and positive outlook on life. Grainger has been consistent in providing innovative yet practical design solutions on key Buro Happold projects by utilizing the most up-to-date technology in building services to enhance the performance, sustainability, and economic feasibility of the projects.
Jeremy Snyder P.E., LEED AP, is responsible for leading multidisciplinary engineering teams in the design of innovative and sustainable projects. He joined Buro Happold in 2003 and has worked on complex projects of varied scales around the United States and the world, always advocating for a truly integrated design and construction process. He promotes designs that are futureready, resilient, with maintainability, comfort and occupant efficiency in
mind. As a registered professional engineer in various states, Snyder has brought his expertise to such projects as Scaife Hall at Carnegie Mellon University, One PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh, The Roundhouse at Hazelwood Green, the James Building at Penn State, and Capital Crossing in Washington, D.C. Snyder speaks frequently at schools such as MIT and Columbia University as well as events including the AIA Conference on Architecture and ASHRAE’s High-Performance Building Conference.
Speaking about the partners to be elevated in May, the new partner Julie Janiski says, “Buro Happold is prioritizing sustainability, resiliency, equity, and diversity in our work and our business. I'm thrilled to join the partnership to help lead these efforts to continue to maximize our positive impact — from my own community to our company’s global communities and initiatives.”
Added Rehmanjee of the elevation to partner, “I am very excited to embark on this journey as we, Buro Happold, press ahead collectively to continue to have a positive and meaningful impact on our communities, our environment and our planet in the years and decades to come.”
For his part, Elliot Felix says, “As we begin brightspot strategy’s next chapter with Buro Happold, I'm excited to have colleagues to work with and learn from as we improve the experience for students, researchers, employers, and visitors alike in our client institutions. Information, inspiration, and support from fellow partners is critical to increasing the scale and impact of our work as we incorporate complementary skills and services in economics, analytics, technology, sustainability, and engineering."