Executive Leadership Team

Chad Cousins

Chief Operating Officer

As the Chief Operating Officer, Chad directs the firm’s strategic initiatives with an emphasis on firm operations, project management, and technology. He focuses on business leadership, processes, and financial performance guiding the firm’s growth across the Southeast. Chad has served in numerous leadership roles in the design, construction and technology industries.

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Joseph M. Pazdan, II, AIA

Principal In Charge

Joe Pazdan, a Greenville, South Carolina native, is an enthusiastic community leader and advocate recognized for a hands-on approach and dedicated level of service. He is an avid member of the Urban Land Institute and is actively engaged in economic development and private investment initiatives across the Southeast.  For 30 years, Joe has overseen the planning and design of retail, hospitality, mixed use, office and industrial projects for the firm’s Corporate and Community Studios. He currently sits on ULI’s National Sustainable Development Council and has also served as Vice Chair for South Carolina’s District Council.

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Ron G. Smith, AIA

Principal In Charge

Ron Smith, a western North Carolina native, serves as a managing principal and directs the Spartanburg office with a focus on the needs of Community, K12 and Higher Education clients. He was the original founder of McMillan Smith & Partners, a predecessor of the current firm, and is an entrepreneur at heart. A former collegiate football player with NFL experience, Ron is an avid Sports and Recreation enthusiast and has worked on more than 60 college campuses in the Southeast. Ron has received numerous award and publication opportunities centered on planning and design of effective educational environments.

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Brad B. Smith, AIA

Principal In Charge

As a Managing Principal, Brad’s role includes staff development, continuous integration of firm culture and internal communications. Brad has a diverse background of project experience including higher education, healthcare, commercial, civic and community projects. A gifted facilitator, Brad often guides planning, programming and design charrettes to engage stakeholders in the creative analysis of needs and effective solutions.

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Karen Calhoun

Principal & VP of Business Development

Karen oversees business development and marketing initiatives, identifying potential client needs and the appropriate strategic response to meet them. With over 20 years of experience, she has guided the successful geographic and market sector expansion of five studios and multiple office locations.

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K.J. Jacobs, AIA, LEED AP

Principal & Corporate Studio Director

K.J.’s professional experience in a broad range of project types has resulted in a distinctive collaborative style. He works closely with both public and private sector clients throughout South Carolina and North Carolina, with a primary emphasis on developer-led projects. K.J. has overseen some of the firm’s most significant projects and continues to manage all office, retail, restaurant, adaptive re-use, hospitality and industrial manufacturing design work.

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