By Maria Saporta
The architectural firm of tvsdesign has named Janet Simpson as its next president. She is only the third president in the firm’s 48-year history, and she is the first woman in that role.
Simpson will succeed Roger Neuenschwander, who has been president since 1994 and joined the firm in 1973 as an intern. He will remain as board chairman as he transfers day-to-day governance to Simpson, who will assume her new role on Jan. 1.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Simpson said in a telephone interview. “The leadership model going forward is about building a place where people grow. The leadership is here to support the greater good.”
Simpson, 44, is a principal in tvsdesign’s workplace design studio and has been with the firm for nine years. She has focused her career on office interiors, having previously spent a decade with Hendrick, a workplace interiors specialty firm.
Before moving to Atlanta to join Hendrick, Simpson attended Auburn University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in interior design from the College of Architecture Design and Construction. Simpson was drawn to interior architecture at an early age.
“I wanted to create environments that make people feel good,” Simpson said, adding she has loved working with clients and helping design the right work environments. “For years I’ve helped our clients understand how the workspace can be used to inspire and convey a bigger vision. I’m excited to call upon these understandings as I lead the talented people at tvsdesign.”
The tvsdesign firm has a relatively unique ownership structure. It is an ESOP, a company with an employee stock ownership plan, which creates a place where everyone is working for each other and the firm.
“Our selection committee couldn’t be more proud Janet will be our next president, as she’s already one of us and understands our culture,” said Neuenschwander. “She is absolutely the right choice to lead our firm into its next 50 years. She has the talent, the vision and the servant leader’s mindset we were looking for in our next president. We’re thrilled we found her inside our own four walls.”
As for her vision for the firm, Simpson wants to “design a better human experience. I want tvsdesign to be a place where people are interconnected, because interconnected people thrive, grow, learn and flourish.”
The firm already has implemented new programs “to empower more voices and encourage new ideas around servant leadership, young leaders and our company culture and values,” Simpson said. “I’m eager to build on the leadership and wisdom of our founders, of Roger and of the talented people who bring big ideas and energy through our doors every single day.”
The firm was founded by Bill Thompson, Tom Ventulett and Ray Stainback in 1968, and it is one of Atlanta’s leading architectural firms.
It designed CNN Center, the Georgia World Congress Center buildings, the AT&T Promenade buildings in Midtown and the Concourse at Landmark Center in Sandy Springs.
Currently the firm is working on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and helping create the fan experience. The firm, which employs about 130 people in Atlanta, also has offices in Chicago, Dubai and Shanghai for a total employee base of more than 150 people.
In terms of her own experience, Simpson mentioned three “career-building” projects in her two decades of experience: the recent 400,000 square foot renovation and consolidation of Fiserv’s headquarters in Alpharetta, the new headquarters for Mattress Firm in Houston, and the first Cox headquarters building at the Perimeter in Atlanta.
Simpson is a member of CoreNet, International Interior Design Association, American Society of Interior Designers and the Design Futures Council. She’s active with United Way through tvsdesign’s corporate giving program and lives in Johns Creek.