“I believe a CFO’s responsibility has evolved from just crunching numbers to leading the company on various fronts. It is essential to interact with other functions and business-related matters – project process, marketing, technology – and determine their impact on the organization and the industry”.
Principal, Constance (Connie) Miller serves as LVDA’s Chief Financial Officer. More than 30 years of experience in the fields of accounting and administration for businesses involved in architecture, interior design, real estate development and construction solidifies her knowledge about all aspects of the AEC industry. With a big picture approach and the ability to contribute beyond her financial area of expertise, she manages the firm’s formulation and implementation of corporate policies and procedures.
Connie’s organization and leadership skills earn her respect as a thought partner who takes an active role in managing the business efficiently. She effectively collaborates, negotiates and manages people. An allied member of American Institute of Architect, she also is a member of the City Club of Chicago, Professional Women’s Club of Chicago, and Northwestern Alumni Association.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of James R DeStefano FAIA, FALA, RIBA | March 19, 1938- August 30, 2022.
DeStefano, age 84, passed away at his home in Evanston, Illinois, on Tuesday,
August 30, 2022. A native of Chicago, Jim graduated from DePaul Academy
High School in Lincoln Park and studied architecture at Illinois Institute of
Technology. While at IIT, Jim was in one of the last classes to study under the
leadership of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. After graduation in 1961, Jim joined
the prestigious architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill where he
quickly rose in its ranks to Associate in 1964, Associate Partner in 1967 and
General Partner in 1973. At the time, Jim was the youngest design partner ever
made at SOM at the age of 35. While at SOM, Jim spent much of his early years
working alongside Walter Netsch on institutional projects such as the
University of Illinois’ Chicago Campus, the master plan and the design of
multiple buildings at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge,
MA and the expansion of Northwestern University’s Campus in Evanston. He
eventually led the design for dozens of projects including the library at Wells
College in Aurora, NY, Three First National Plaza in Chicago, Pillsbury
Corporate Headquarters in Minneapolis, MN, the Arthur Anderson Training Center
in St. Charles, the City Place Office Center in Hartford, CT, the Caterpillar
Training Center in Peoria, the 1515 Poydras Office Building in New Orleans, LA,
the Gateway IV Office Building along the Chicago River, amongst multiple other
projects across the US, Mexico, United Kingdom and the Middle East. He won
national, state and local design awards for his design for the Menninger
Foundation Mental Health Campus in Topeka, KA, Industrial Trust and Savings
Bank in Muncie, IN, the Westinghouse Research and Development Center in
Churchill Borough, PA, First Wisconsin Bank in Milwaukee, WI, and the Wells
College library in Aurora, NY. In 1974, Jim was named managing director for
SOM’s office in Tehran, Iran. He spent 3 years designing a national university
in Tehran and master planning a new town for 280,000 people in the Persian Gulf
region for Reza Shah Pahlavi, before returning to the Chicago office in 1976 to
continue his career. In 1979, Jim was a founding member and director of the SOM
Foundation, which administered and awarded grants and annual fellowships. He
was named to the Board of Trustees for the Chicago Architectural Foundation. In
the 1981 November issue of Life Magazine, Jim was featured in an article on the
“Master Builders of the Windy City” along with Bruce Graham, Helmut Jahn, John
Vinci, Stanley Tigerman and Public Works Commissioner, Jerome Butler. In 1982,
Jim became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and in 1983, he was
named the Managing Director for SOM’s office in London. Jim moved to London and
spent five years building SOM’s office up to 300 employees and managing the
design of the Bishops Gate, Kings Cross and Canary Wharf mega projects in
1988, Jim left SOM and opened DeStefano + Goettsch in 1989 which became
DeStefano + Partners in 1991. Over the next 20 years, Jim built the 3rd largest
architectural firm in Chicago specializing in commercial, residential, institutional,
retail and master planning. DeStefano + Partners designed over 150 buildings in
the Chicago area and was responsible for the River East and Central Station
masterplans. Some of the most notable projects were the development of a
prototype elementary school for the Chicago Public Schools including Payton
College Prep, Westinghouse High School and others.
design work also includes the Puerto Rican Gateway flags on Division Street which
recently became a historic landmark, the LBGQ Gateway monuments on Halsted
Street, and the lighted bridges over the Kennedy for the 1998 Democratic
National Convention. In the 2000’s DeStefano + Partners maintained offices in
London, Los Angeles and Naples, FL. DeStefano + Partners partnered with Ricardo
Bofill’s office in Barcelona on the 77 West Wacker Office Tower and the Citadel
Center at 131 S. Dearborn along with Santiago Calatrava on the design of the
Chicago Spire located at the mouth of the Chicago River, which was never
constructed. In 2008 DeStefano + Partners received the coveted AIA Firm of the
has been a Consulting Principal at Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture since
the firm’s founding in 2011. His recent design work includes 1101 South Wabash,
Judge Doyle Square in Madison, WI, East Moline, IL Master Plan and City Hall Concept
Design in Lansing, MI. Over his 60+ year career, Jim DeStefano has
designed and managed major commercial, residential and civic projects in the
United States and internationally achieving recognition with the highest honors
in the industry for design and technical excellence. Jim took pride in
his many built projects in Chicago and his service within the architectural
community. He has mentored many young
architects in the architectural profession and participated in student
programs, HACIA, ACE mentor program and other civic organizations. Jim believed and supported minority and women
owned businesses. Jim was a kind,
considerate and generous human being. He will be greatly missed. To those who
have worked with Jim throughout the years, we will all remember and cherish good
memories of him.
“I see myself as the project overseer and an advocate to the client. My purpose is to be service oriented and I take it seriously”.
Founding Principal, Mary Ann Van Hook, AIA, LEED AP leads the management of the firm and serves as the Principal In Charge overseeing quality control and contract compliance for diverse building types and multi-project programs. Her 40 years of experience performing a variety of roles, including Managing Architect, Architect of Record, Design Architect, Owner’s Representative and Construction Manager, uniquely positions her to view a project from many perspectives. Clients and colleagues appreciate her knowledge of construction and ability to read people as well as she reads a set of drawings. Her energetic determination combined with her unique skills enable her to move a project along while assuring its constructability and effectiveness.
Mary Ann is a strong advocate for the growth and equitable participation of disadvantaged, minority and woman owned businesses in the AEC industry. She is an involved member of Hispanic American Construction Industry Association and currently serves on the Scholarship Foundation Board and on the Professional Development Committee. She also is a certified Illinois Capital Development Board Project Manager for Architecture/Engineering and a member of several design industry organizations.
Mary Ann received her Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she participated in Unite Pedigogique d’Architecture 3 while attending the Ecoles des Beaux Arts in Versailles, France.
“As part of a young design practice at the beginning of the 21st century, I am energized by the prospect of designing buildings that support and dignify contemporary life. We live at a unique time in the evolution of American culture, an era of limits; limits on budgets and schedules, on energy and infrastructure. At the same time, the programmatic and performance requirements of projects are more complex than ever. Rather than bemoan this current state of affairs, I embrace it. I use these limits to discipline and prioritize my design process and focus on the aspects of the project, including its resources and community most essential to creating a positive outcome”.
Founding Principal and Design Director, Avram (Avi) Lothan, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C leads the direction and development of the firm’s design efforts. Effective consensus building and a stimulating exchange of ideas define his process, while intellectual creativity and determination distinguish his outcome.
Characterized by a global and humanistic approach to contemporary architecture, his projects are widely recognized for planning and design excellence. Top-tier publications and organizations, respected by the architectural community as well as clients’ professional industries, regularly honor his work with editorial features and awards. Avi demonstrates his generous dedication to charitable and educational causes through years of teaching, advising, and pro bono services. He is an active member of several cultural and professional organizations and has served on the Board of Directors and various committees at Elmhurst Art Museum, Society for Contemporary Art, Harvard Club of Chicago, American Institute of Architects, and National Public Housing Museum.
Avi received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts from Washington University. Upon graduating from Harvard University, the National Professional Fraternity for Architecture and the Allied Arts honored Avi with the coveted Alpha Rho Chi Medal to recognize his affinity for leadership, willing service, and promise of professional merit through his attitude and personality.