Congratulations on Retirement, Steve McFadden!

Please join us in extending best wishes to Steve McFadden, Design Director, who after over thirty years in the industry—the last seventeen of with FitzGerald—is retiring. Steve has been an invaluable leader at FitzGerald. He will be greatly missed. We have all benefited from Steve’s creativity, leadership, and passion for excellent design solutions that help clients achieve success and address site challenges. Steve has been the Project Designer on several of the firm’s most significant mixed-use developments including 727 West Madison, Artisan | Circle Square, Arkadia, Milieu, and North+Vine. We will miss Steve’s passion for design excellence through his quick mind and confident design sense, his contemplative thoughtfulness and willingness to jump into any project.

As much as Steve contributed to the quality of the firm’s design, his contribution to our culture of learning and inclusivity has been invaluable. He leaves a legacy of having mentored young designers and brought thoughtful conversation about design and its impact on the building, occupants, and community. Steve changed the way we talked about design through insightful conversation by establishing firm-wide activities that foster active dialogue on design—3D Day where team members are given the opportunity to show off their talents and passions, forums to see what we are working on, and internal design reviews where input from all is encouraged and considered. Steve epitomizes the “check your ego at the door” mentality.

When asked to reflect upon his over three decades in the industry and time here at FitzGerald, Steve said: 

“Architecture was the only career that really got me excited. I started collecting books as a teenager (and—unfortunately—never stopped). Always looking at and reading about buildings. My vacations were more about chasing down interesting buildings. 

In my mid-40’s, however, I wasn’t so sure that I wanted to continue in the business—it had become “just a job”. A few years later I moved to Chicago for family reasons, joined FitzGerald and never looked back. I was so lucky to join a firm that was eager to improve and expand their design capabilities, at a time when many clients were wanting to differentiate their buildings with good design. I still pinch myself thinking about the projects that I have been involved with, whether as the designer or the design coach.  

 I am thankful for the family team at FitzGerald and all the wonderful things that we have done. I am also thankful for the clients who have helped promote good architecture. One can always say there’s more to be done, but I look back and I’m proud—everything comes to an end and it’s time for me to make way for smarter, more talented, and eager architects forging their own path to a successful design career.”

Notably, we’ll miss how well he demonstrated living design in one’s everyday life—from painting, to food, to being an avid traveler discovering varied styles of design, to sharing with us the work of a range of artists including industrial designers and practitioners of design. Showing us that passion for design reaches to all corners of one’s life and comes from multiple directions. His counsel and perspective about our business will also be missed – albeit only a phone call away while he paints!

We thank you Steve for all you have done and the legacy you left with us. Congratulations!