Wannemacher Jensen Architects (WJA) announces the promotion of three employees to principal positions. Firm principals share management of the company including enhanced responsibilities and more direct relationships with the firm’s success.
“We have assembled some of the best architects and designers nationwide who are dedicated to the success and development of WJA both in numbers and ability. It’s important that we give talented people opportunity to grow along with the company. This is a natural progression to elevate three leaders into the management structure of the firm,” said WJA Managing Principal & President Jason Jensen.
Joining Jensen to help lead management, operations, and vision of the firm as Principals are: Everald Colas, Erin Mcgonegle, and Harold Somarriba.
Everald Colas is a licensed architect and educator with over a decade of experience. Prior to joining WJA, Everald practiced in New York City, working on commercial, aviation, multifamily, cultural, and institutional buildings throughout the US, Caribbean, China, and the Middle East. As a designer, Everald specializes in adaptive reuse and ground-up projects that require a sensitive approach to integrating mixed-use buildings in a historical context. He is skilled in guiding clients through the process of finding their project’s identity within numerous constraints and helps to ensure that WJA’s most complex projects are distilled to their design essence. Everald is a recipient of the AIA Tampa Bay Garcia Award and is the lead WJA Architect for the James Museum.
Erin Mcgonegle is a licensed interior designer with over 15 years of experience designing residential, higher education, corporate office and municipality projects across the country. She served for four consecutive years on the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) VA/WV Chapter Board as President and Treasurer, and now helps oversee the growth and development of WJA’s Interior Design department. With a warm and personal approach to service she looks to foster genuine connections with her clients while guiding them through the design process and management of their projects. A Florida native with a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design from Florida State University, “creative co-worker heckling” is a football season passion with her Gator colleagues.
Harold Somarriba is an award-winning design architect and project manager. For the past 16 years Harold has successfully completed work for an extensive variety of projects that include municipal and private work in South America, the Caribbean, and South and Central Florida. As a project manager, he’d work closely with local building department authorities, owners, and contractors to ensure that project goals and design objectives are accomplished and maintained throughout various phases of the building process. Before joining WJA, Harold was part of the design team for New Miami Airport Metro Station. In this role he explored the notions of traced Velocity, City Edge, and Gateway as inspiration for the conceptual approach of the project. With WJA he has focused on large-scale municipal projects, while also serving in mentoring roles for young architects as they grow in the profession.
Founding Principal Lisa Wannemacher continues to serve in an advisory role and as part of the firm’s leadership structure and strategic/visionary planning – rounding out a team of principals that boasts a unique combination of perspectives. “We’re able to craft sharp, creative environments because we have sharp, creative people – and they’re from all over – we offer truly international perspectives.”
Currently celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, WJA has completed hundreds of notable projects throughout Florida, including some of the most influential projects around Tampa Bay. Over recent years the firm has expanded locally and nationally, and in several related service areas, including:
- Design-Build – in conjunction with sister-firm WJCreate;
- Interior Design – a long-time practice with recent expansion;
- Entertainment – high-profile work, including Coachella, under banner WJEntertainment Architects;
- Development – a burgeoning focus area with small and large projects in the works.
Combining the firm’s core work with growth in these ancillary service areas, WJA has doubled both staff and revenue over the past three years. This continued growth encompasses a larger geographic reach, a deeper talent base, and substantially expanded production capabilities.
With WJA regularly conducting international searches in recruitment practices, Jensen says the popularity of the St. Petersburg area and its business scene have been an integral part of those efforts. Colas noted the serendipity of his plans to move after he saw an advertisement for St. Pete in a New York subway, “People see what’s happening here and truly want to be a part of building this community – that’s why I came here, to do this, to work on meaningful projects, on a team greater than its parts.”
“It’s fair and it’s sensible to spread stake in growth – plus it’s simply necessary to expand management authority in order to continue smart growth of the firm and its several focus areas,” said Jensen. “Our people are everything – we’re thrilled for team members to grow and to take on bigger roles. We’re also thrilled to add in some way to the insight and spirit of the St. Pete entrepreneurial community.”