Revival: HOK Builds Its Local Market to $30 Million

By on November 13, 2017

From St. Louis Business Journal:  As odd as it may sound, the growth of HOK’s St. Louis office can be traced to a massive multibillion-dollar project along the coast of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia.

HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm, finished designing and building the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, a 5.5-million-square-foot complex that spans 27 buildings, in 2009.

By that time, HOK’s corporate office (also based in St. Louis) had become more decentralized and the firm spun out its leading sports architecture practice HOK Sport Venue Event and based it in Kansas City, leaving St. Louis — once the company’s powerhouse office — without an identity as local billings slipped to just more than $4 million in 2010.

“We were not as present as we wanted to be in St. Louis,” said HOK St. Louis Principal Eli Hoisington.

But big projects tied to St. Louis’ life science and innovation sectors have brought new life to the local practice, which is led by Hoisington, and two other principals — Margaret McDonald and Angelo Arzano.

Since 2010, HOK has grown its local billings to $30.5 million last year, a five-year high. And the St. Louis office has steadily turned into more of a leading role amongst HOK’s 23 global offices — last year’s billings accounted for about 7 percent of HOK’s total revenue of $430 million, a six-year-high. At the same time, HOK has grown from 112 full-time staffers to nearly 150 over the last 24 months.

“Financially, (the St. Louis office) continues to claim its place as one of the most important HOK offices, and that stems from the design excellence Eli and his team have put forth, which continues to win new projects and clients,” said HOK Chairman and CEO Bill Hellmuth. “The dynamism of the current leadership is infectious. You see it throughout the office.”

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