Patrick Davis started as a principal at Perkins Eastman in mid-September, but “architect” is nowhere on his resume. Instead, the geography major came from the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), where he spent more than seven years developing billion-dollar capital budgets, directing strategic planning for the district’s 117-school system, and implementing more than forty school modernization projects equitably across the District’s eight wards.
Davis is the new K-12 leader for PE Strategies, a service arm of Perkins Eastman that Co-Founder and Chairman Brad Perkins and other leaders see as an expanding presence that builds on the firm’s forty years of planning, designing, and implementing projects in a dozen different industries; it informs a future not wholly tied to architecture. Strategic planning and consulting have always been a part of the work, Perkins says, but as the firm heads into its fifth decade, PE Strategies is coming ever more into focus through recent hires such as Davis’ and acquisitions of consultancies such as Urbanomics, BFJ Planning, and other complementary firms. The unit also takes advantage of deep internal resources dedicated to advancing thought leadership and innovation via the firm’s Design Technology, Sustainability, and Design Research teams.
“More clients are demanding these services,” Perkins says. “It allows us to be more of an advisor, and to do it early before they’ve even thought about hiring an architect.” Davis, meanwhile, worked with K-12 Practice Area Leader Sean O’Donnell for several years as a representative of DCPS, Perkins Eastman’s longtime client, and frequently sought the firm’s strategic-planning advice long before a Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued for a facility’s design and construction. “There were a million things that happened before I’d call Sean with an RFP,” Davis says, praising the firm’s research into high-performance buildings before a project started and post-occupancy evaluations after it ended. Now that he’s O’Donnell’s colleague, Davis says, “I’m excited about using my experience at DCPS to help other clients and school systems. DCPS is recognized as the fastest improving urban school district in the country. The work we’ve done there has a huge impact.”