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Cannon Design COO - Architecture/Engineering/Interior Design in Buffalo, New York

CannonDesign is looking to hire an individual functioning as a COO as part of the leadership team for our $200 Million net revenue Architecture, Engineering, and Interior Design (A/E/ID) business. We are looking for an experienced, dynamic, and inspiring leader with strong business acumen, preferably in an A/E/ID practice, to not only lead our practices today and hold teams accountable but to take us to the next stage of innovation and growth of our core business as we implement the next phase of our Strategic Framework. In this role, you will be a key contributor partnering with firm leaders and reporting directly to the CEO. The position title will be Executive Director of Operations AEI. This position may be filled remotely with preference given to candidates that can work in one of our established locations.


CannonDesign is an integrated design solutions firm focused on helping people continuously flourish. Whether designing for innovations in health, new scientific discoveries, equity in education or the next big idea in business, we use our Living-Centered Design approach to help organizations realize widespread change. Our ability to design transformational places, plans and strategies is why Fast Company named us a World Changing Company and one of the most innovative design firms in the world.


You will provide oversight for firm wide A/E/ID business and practice management with direct responsibility for leading our operational efficiency, resource management, productivity, business practices, project management, project delivery, technical quality, and project execution. You will lead and build out a scalable and growing comprehensive Business Practice Leadership operations team within the A/E/ID services. You will play a critical role in maintaining and elevating our Living Centered Design culture through advancing and improving our delivery approach.


Responsible for business operations and project delivery success through oversight of firmwide A/E/ID practice management which include:

  • Leading business process design and implementation for achieving design excellence, technical proficiency, and firm profitability.
  • Be a champion of a highly integrated and highly collaborative design led approach to our work.
  • Lead the Business Practice Leaders of Operations, Quality and Sustainability Teams (direct reports) to effectively forecast revenues and staffing levels across the A/E/ID disciplines.
  • Liaison with leaders in Consulting and Facility Optimization Solutions delivery workstreams.
  • Establish oversight of project delivery, pricing strategies, seeking to maintain the firm's competitive position.
  • Ensure project management approaches and tools are used effectively to deliver exceptional and profitable projects, implement, and lead new practices and processes.
  • Maintain contact with key firm clients as needed.
  • Contribute to business plans, strategies and methodologies necessary for the continuing growth and development of the firm.
  • Development of programs and initiatives around A/E/ID business practices. This includes mentorship and training of our next generation leaders.
  • Contribute to pursuits around Alternate Delivery (IPD, P3 and DB). Focus on integrated practice delivery and other alternative delivery approaches, ensuring transformative tools take hold and swiftly push new project delivery methods forward.
  • Build our brand internally and externally as a firm of technical and operational excellence through giving presentations and writing articles and papers.
  • Create, centralize, and build scalable business practices and processes for A//ID practice with accountability and visibility in mind.
  • Implement financial procedures in tandem with our Chief Financial Officer and organizational policies and with other leadership members such as Technology, Human Resources, etc. to drive positive results.
  • Monitor project performance and oversee audits, directing changes as necessary to ensure satisfactory results.
  • Strategically manage, organize, and lead employees from across A/E/ID locations to ensure efficiency - through our Single Firm Multiple Offices (SFMO) operating model.
  • Personal accountability in advancing innovative project delivery while working closely with the CEO and Management / Core Team on firm initiatives.
  • Ensure that we are making timely and appropriate talent decisions which include:
    • Licensure
    • Certification (Project Managers)
    • Be a champion for Diversity Equity and Inclusion-Ensure proper skill development and team build-out
    • Ensure that there is adequate talent to perform each required role on the team
    • Hourly rates and utilization expectations to achieve goals


  • Engage with firmwide Design, Market, Engineering, Quality leaders and Office Practice Leaders to actualize our initiatives for growth and key talent goals.
  • Partner with Executive Director of Design and CIO to promote the use of innovative design technologies throughout the firm that drive quality, efficiency, design excellence and sustainability.
  • Partner with Management / Core Team members to advance and execute strategic initiatives including merger and acquisitions, top line fee capture, client engagement, and recruiting strategies that drive overall firm growth.
  • Partner with firm Enterprise Leaders to implement firm policies and procedures while challenging the status quo to further evolve best practices.


  • Visionary Leadership - Displays passion and optimism; inspires respect and trust; mobilizes others to fulfill the firm's business and practice objectives and jumps in and rolls their sleeves up to get the job done. Is effective at attracting top talent, spotting high performers, and building high performing teams.
  • Is process oriented, strategic thinker with established track record in planning, execution and delivery of successful, profitable projects. Holds people accountable.
  • Embraces Change Management - Develops workable implementation plans; communicates changes effectively; builds commitment and overcomes resistance; prepares and supports those affected by change. Has a drive for results while also prioritizing quality outcomes.
  • Champions Innovation - Displays original thinking and creativity; meets challenges with resourcefulness; presents ideas and information in a manner that gets others' attention.
  • Communicates effectively - Strong and effective communication skills are required.
  • Has a growth mindset - open to new ideas and new workstreams to deliver design excellence.
  • Fully aligned with and demonstrates our Living Centered Design and DEI values.


  • Bachelor's degree required. Master's degree preferred.
  • A minimum of 10 years of related experience in an Operations Executive role with proven experience in successful and profitable operational leadership and management for A/E/ID practices.
  • Experience working for firms with 500+ staff and multi-locations preferred.
  • Strong knowledge of and experience with best-in-class practices, policies, and procedures.
  • Ability to motivate, organize and respond to employees of many different areas of expertise and levels.
  • Strong change management skills & experience.
  • Excellent business, analytical, managerial, leadership and budget planning skills.
  • Strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Phenomenal interpersonal and relationship building skills.
  • A self-starter who can take an idea to completion and motivate the team around bringing it to reality.
  • Commitment to design excellence and innovation around sustainability and energy use.
  • Ability to roll out training programs around business and project delivery practices.
  • This role will require approximately 30% travel, primarily in North America.


  • We are relentless in our pursuit of client adoration (not simply satisfaction). Consistent delivery of the best service is what we are about.
  • We are committed to ensuring our practice is equitable for all employees, representative of the communities around us - and focused on the future of design. We advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts through the leadership of our DEI Council, Employee Resource Groups and other community advocacy initiatives.
  • We're about communication and transparency here. If you want to talk to someone about an idea you have, or a challenge that needs addressing, we're ready for you.

The salary range for this position is $220,000 to $265,000 annually. This salary range is the range we believe is the anticipated range of possible base compensation at the timing of the posting. We may ultimately pay more or less than the anticipated salary range for the position. Employees may be eligible for discretionary bonuses. We offer a full benefit package including medical, dental and vision coverage and flexible spending account options and voluntary insurances. We have paid time off, flex-time summer hours, remote work options and a 401k plan and employee perk programs. For a general overview of our benefits, please visit our careers page at Actual compensation may vary from posting based on geographic location, work experience, education and/or skill level.

Please note that candidates can only apply to our positions on our company Careers site. It's not uncommon for scammers to create positions that look legitimate on other sites; never enter your information or apply for CannonDesign positions on any platform. Should an issue arise that you feel we should be aware of, please contact us. Please provide your resume and portfolio when applying.

As a condition of employment, all employees are expected to complete mandatory training, including compliance training, within required timeframes and adhere to our internal policies and our Code of Conduct.

CannonDesign recognizes the value of diversity in our workforce. We are committed to equal opportunity. We consider all qualified employment applicants without regard to race, religion, color, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, partnership status, protected veteran status, disability, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local law. Individuals who hold legal work authorization applicable to employment at CannonDesign in the United States will be considered without regard to citizenship/alienage.

Minimum Salary: 31200.00 Maximum Salary: 31200.00 Salary Unit: Yearly