MCA Welcomes Two New Principals

By Stephen Bates, AIA, NCARB, President Emeritus

We are very happy to welcome Don Guthrie, AIA, LEED AP and Ed Gillikin AIA, LEED AP, VCCO to the MCA team as a Principals!  Don and ED are each bringing  30+ years of AE industry experience to MCA’s Richmond office.

Don Guthie is a Principal in MCA’s Richmond, Virginia office and has been with the firm since 2007. In his more than 30-year career, Don has cultivated a deep portfolio of experience spanning a variety of project types including higher education, healthcare, and local government. His portfolio of work includes a particular focus on life sciences buildings for educational clients, extensive work for Department of Corrections, offices and infrastructure for private corporations, and retail spaces. In addition, Don’s previous experience as a project manager for the Virginia National Guard (Department of Military Affairs) gives him a unique insight into the needs of the owner as they relate to building projects.

Don has built a reputation for developing an engaging and long-standing rapport with his clients. When asked, he says a keen listening ear and a solid dose of humor help in establishing an easy and productive banter that serves to provide a clear understanding of his client’s goals. Don believes that a great looking building is not a true success if it does not also meet the needs of the users and, as a result, he works hard to achieve a project outcome for which all parties are proud to have taken part.

It’s often not the grand façade or the impressive lobby that makes a project a success. Although those are important, Don says he has learned it’s attention paid to the small details that make a building a good place in which to work, conduct business, and experience. Don will spend time with an owner and the building occupants to genuinely understand how the building and its individual spaces will be used—beyond the necessary functions. For Don, it’s knowing that the courtroom deputy will be standing in a specific spot for 8 hours a day and then adding padding under the carpet in that area that leaves him with a sense of purpose in his work and keeps his clients coming back to MCA time and time again.

Ed Gillikin’s 30-year-plus career as an architect spans 16 years in private practice and 14 years in higher-education facilities management, where he concentrated his efforts on designing research & learning environments for schools of medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. While working in Higher Education, Ed budgeted, planned and managed 2M SF of new construction and renovation projects totaling over $700M. He also served four years as Architect for the Colleges and Deputy Chief Facilities Officer at the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).

While at the VCCS, Ed provided planning & design oversight and direction for capital construction projects and multiple master plans, including approval and planning for three new campuses serving Virginia’s 23 Community Colleges—40 campuses supporting 360 buildings and over 8.8M SF of space—spanning 3,750 acres across the State. His program manager duties at the VCCS included a $400M capital construction program for Tidewater Community College, Paul D. Camp Community College, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and Thomas Nelson Community College, and his College Architect duties supported a $1 billion capital construction program for the entire Community College System.

Prior to joining the VCCS, Ed spent 10 years as Project Manager at Virginia Commonwealth University, serving as Director of Design for Research Facilities. At VCU he planned and managed over $300 million in capital projects for biomedical research facilities, and was Project Executive for the $158M, 200,000 SF, 12-story VCU New School of Medicine Building. Ed has significant design experience with active group learning environments and medical simulation labs which leverage state-of-the-art Audio/Visual and Information Technology. He is also a Federal peer grant reviewer for the National Institute of Health’s research lab construction and equipment grants, specializing in BSL-2 and ABSL-2 containment labs and vivarium barrier facilities.

Ed is a registered architect, a graduate of Virginia Tech, and is Past President of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. He is active in various citizen-architect activities which both support and promote the architecture profession, and serve the public interest. The Virginia State Senate Rules Committee appointed Ed to the Capitol Square Preservation Council in 2013, where he served as Chairman from 2018 – 2020. In 2015 Ed became Principal and managing partner of K.O.P. Architects in Richmond, which is now the Richmond Office of MCA Architecture. Ed continues to concentrate his practice on designing world class cultural facilities, higher-education learning environments, and biomedical research facilities from the operator’s perspective.